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Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

mcswell Re:zomg singularity! (145 comments)

...and the other half will post to slashdot.

2 days ago
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Machine Learning Expert Michael Jordan On the Delusions of Big Data

mcswell Re:zomg singularity! (145 comments)

Sounds like you chose the right parents. Your name wouldn't be Lazurus Long, would it?

2 days ago
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Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

mcswell Re:Grass and other plants are solar powered, silly (237 comments)

I go trail running a lot, out in the woods. Surprise, surprise; there's little or no grass out in the woods. Ferns and a few small plants sprout up in the spring, before the trees shade them out. Then the growth down on the forest floor pretty much dies out until the following year, except for the few sunny spots where a tree has fallen. I guess there's a little moss, too, but cows don't eat moss.

about two weeks ago
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Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

mcswell Re:Yes, it does. The light either hits corn or pan (237 comments)

You missed the point: a photon either hits the solar panel (and is absorbed, with some fraction of that absorbed energy turning into electricity), or it hits the leaves below. Doesn't matter how high the panels are. And I'm not sure where this reflected light comes from--maybe the steel frames holding the panels up in the air? It can't come from the panels, which are facing the sun--so any light they reflect (which is relatively little, since they're black) is directed back at the sun. And finally, cows can't graze off of dirt, you can only graze (if you're a cow) off of plants, preferably grass. Which has to grow out in the sunlight.

So as raymorris points out, you can put the solar panels out in the field, where they'll cast a shadow, preventing grass from growing; or you can put them somewhere else, where they won't get in the way and you won't need tall legs for them to stand on. Either way, the farmland and the panel-land will take up the same amount of room.

about two weeks ago
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

mcswell Re:Just moves a choke point (395 comments)

A flux capacitor, I think.

about two weeks ago
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

mcswell Re:I call bullshit (395 comments)

But it needs Libyan terrorists to supply the fuel.

about two weeks ago
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Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

mcswell Re:Charging amperage (395 comments)

My uncle had one of those, late 1950s as I recall. He was a farmer, and the pump was labeled for non-street use (i.e. for his tractors), since there was no gas tax on it. Not that this prevented him from filling up his car from it...

about two weeks ago
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NSA To Scientists: We Won't Tell You What We've Told You; That's Classified

mcswell Re:Makes perfect sense to me. (106 comments)

Ability to cause "exceptionally grave damage" is the definition of Top Secret. (Ability to cause damage --> Confidential, Ability to cause grave damage --> Secret.)

Of course, maybe what you're saying is that the document(s) in question aren't able to cause damage.

about two weeks ago
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NSA To Scientists: We Won't Tell You What We've Told You; That's Classified

mcswell Re:Just disband it (106 comments)

"America was doing fine before these douchebag agencies were ever dreamed up." You mean like in the interim between WWI and WWII? As Under Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson wrote, "Gentlemen do not read each other's mail." (I guess he changed his mind after Pearl.)

The problem is that no matter whether we spy or not, other nations will.

about two weeks ago
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To Fight $5.2B In Identity Theft, IRS May Need To Change the Way You File Taxes

mcswell Re:Simplify Taxes (410 comments)

New simplified form: Line 1: Enter amount you earned this year: ____ Line 2: Write a check to the IRS for the amount on line 1.

about a month ago
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CDC: Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million In 4 Months

mcswell Re:BS (280 comments)

You could be right about the prediction by experts; it could be like the expert predictions about Y2K, which IMO was "Increase our funding so we can reduce the coming world-wide disaster." (Depending on your beliefs, you might see the current climate catastrophe warnings in the same light.) That said, if this becomes epidemic, a lot of people might flee the area/ country, and some of those people would doubtless be contagious.

about a month ago
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The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

mcswell Re:First sentence (120 comments)

No, but he thpeakth with a Lithp.

about 2 months ago
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The Grumpy Programmer has Advice for Young Computer Workers (Video)

mcswell Re:First sentence (120 comments)

Well, that was my reaction, too. This guy is old, and he must have started programming when computers were really new. So he's unique. Then I realized that I'm over 60 (64, in fact) and that I (afair) was in my teens (19) when I took my first computer programming class (Fortran and PL/1). So either he's not so old, or I'm really old. But I'm only grumpy when I'm awake.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Dr. Andy Chun Answers Your Questions About Artificial Intelligence

mcswell Re:Samantha (33 comments)

Machines will never fly, for all the analogous reasons. 1) We don't know exactly how birds, bats, flying fish, or insects fly. 2) Machines are machines.

about 3 months ago

Submissions

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unwinding vertebra

mcswell mcswell writes  |  about 3 years ago

mcswell writes "Daniël Noordermeer and Denis Duboule, two researchers at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the University of Geneva claim to have discovered how vertebrae get build in sequence in embryos (and by extension, how ribs, arms and so forth wind up in the right place). The story is that the DNA strands contain a linear series of HOX genes, and that the strands slowly unwind over a period of two days, successively exposing each HOX gene, thereby allowing it to be transcribed to form the segments of the vertebra.

Snakes, it seems, have a defect that causes the system not to shut down; eventually it "runs out of steam."

The same process is said to apply in many invertebrates, including worms (presumably segmented worms) and insects.

The report is coming out in the journal Science (behind a paywall)."

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