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Comments

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NASA Tests Microwave Space Drive

minogully Re:Sensationalism at its worst (201 comments)

Fact 2: The NASA team experienced a similar thrust

[citation needed]

From the NASA article:

Thrust was observed on both test articles, even though one of the test articles was designed with the expectation that it would not produce thrust.

and

Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma.

I don't read this as a "similar thrust" but rather as a non-zero but different thrust. So, yes, there's an error in the experiment causing the non-zero thrust, but there was still enough of a difference between the two experiments to lead them to the conclusion that something is going on.

about three weeks ago
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Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

minogully Re:wat (227 comments)

So, if a bunch of "goop" is effectively gathering around a black hole, wouldn't the gravitational pull of all of that matter eventually add up to increase the gravitational field of the black hole, thereby extending the radius of the event horizon? And wouldn't this then effectively make the goop itself enter the event horizon?

Honestly, if someone could explain this one, I'm really interested to know. Even if it's some logical fallacy of mine :)

about a month ago
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Arecibo Radio Telescope Confirms Extra-galactic Fast Radio Pulses

minogully The Elephant in the Room (95 comments)

The summary doesn't mention extra terrestrials. Is this because they don't want to jump to conclusions or is it because the nature of the pulses doesn't appear to be organic?

about a month and a half ago
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Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

minogully Re:Ummm (347 comments)

So, if this proposed effect can happen to visible light. Could the idea in this article be an alternative explanation for how gravity effectively "bends light"?

(I'm not a physicist, so sorry if this sounds stupid)

about 2 months ago
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"Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

minogully Re:low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (166 comments)

In the past, I've tried to merely restrict calories and eat what the food pyramid recommends... plenty of "healthy whole grains" and limiting fats. I lost a tiny bit of weight and was miserable and hungry

I don't know why people seem surprised that when they restrict calories (more specifically, eating less than they use), they're miserable and hungry. It seems obvious to me that your body would resist a lower calorie diet by sending out the hunger feelings/pains. And being hungry usually makes people irritable, so of course you could be miserable.

I went to the gym every day but was tired and listless mosf of the time.

So there's already a low calorie diet, and you're using up extra calories on top of that (and a lot of extra calories if you're going to the gym every day). Of course you'd feel tired, you're body has to get into a lower energetic state to live off of the seemingly low calorie input/output ratio.

I have a lot of assumptions here that I could be way off on, but it seems to me that you were just over doing the amount of calorie reduction or else you were exercising too much. That or you have an untreated thyroid problem.

I also don't get why people (not you, necessarily) think that you can lose the weight super fast, when it might have taken 10/20 years to gradually put it on. We should expect it to take just as long to take off the weight. Sure, you can speed up the weight loss through various methods, but people should keep things in the perspective of how long it took to put on the weight in the first place.

about 2 months ago
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Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

minogully Re:Progenitors? (686 comments)

I imagine that an alien world that is so argressive that it would blindly eliminate another alien world, would also be agressive towards its own inhabitants and be in constant war.

Oh wait, that's earth... Kill the aliens!

about 2 months ago
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HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

minogully Re:Sounds about right (593 comments)

If only 1% of the students that are hired by Google are female but Google ends up with a 50% female work force, I think there's discrimination.

Sorry, that came out poorly. What I meant was, if only 1% of the students in the educational programs that Google hires from are female but Google ends up with a 50% female workforce.

about 3 months ago
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HR Chief: Google Sexual, Racial Diversity "Not Where We Want to Be"

minogully Sounds about right (593 comments)

I'd estimate that roughly 17% of my computer science classes in University were female and roughly 1% were black. I understand that Google doesn't ONLY hire people who studied computer science, but I think this could be a good representative sample.

What they should be doing is comparing these diversity statistics against how diverse their labour pool is. If only 1% of the students that are hired by Google are female but Google ends up with a 50% female work force, I think there's discrimination.

But really, I think society needs to do something about removing any barriers that exist that are preventing interested minorities from entering certain fields of study.

about 3 months ago
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Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

minogully Re:A crisis? (784 comments)

Nobody (that I know) thinks the fact that the world changing is the crisis. It's the rate at which the world is changing that is the problem. Sudden changes to the climate in the past have caused extinction events. I would call the possibility of entering another extinction event a crisis for sure.

I imagine that at least some humans would survive an extinction event, but I doubt a planet with a severely damaged ecosystem from such an event would be able to sustain the lives of 7 billion of us.

about 3 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

minogully Re: Dangerous (490 comments)

I can't speak to your jurisdiction, but seeing as most traffic laws are identical in North America, I'll use my own. In Ontario, the drivers handbook specifically states that passing on the right is permitted in multi-lane roads. As a side point it also states to change lanes when passing a bike.

If it is generally accepted that a car can pass a bike without changing lanes because there is enough space to do so, then that means that there is also enough space for me to pass on the right without changing lanes. If cars can't pass on the left unless they change lanes, then I can't and don't pass on the right without changing lanes.

Is this technically illegal to pass within the same lane? Sure, but seeing as the status quo allows it, it must not be that big of a deal. Is this unsafe? No. Because as I mentioned, there's clearly enough room to do so. Stop getting worked up about your need to go first through an intersection when you're going to pass the cyclist like 30 seconds later anyways. And if you're really just that upset by seeing other people break traffic laws, look at yourself first. Do you ever pass a bike in the same lane? Do you always come to a COMPLETE STOP at a stop sign ? (I don't mean a rolling stop) Do you ever go above the posted speed LIMIT?

about 3 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

minogully Re:enforce existing laws? (490 comments)

Having rode my bike in the exact same conditions you're describing, I feel I should mention that one time early on I tried pulling over to let cars pass. The shoulder was covered in large gravel. To my surprise it was an extremely unstable surface to ride on with a road bike and I almost lost my balance and had to step down. I imagine that losing your balance so close to a highway could be even more dangerous than just riding close to edge of the road with more stability.

On top of that the gravel on unpaved shoulders tends to be covered in many sharp corners. Not sharp for a car tire, but for a bike tire could cause a flat without too much effort. Imagine driving in your car, disrupting traffic, and your only option to let the other cars by is to drive on nails.

about 3 months ago
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Traffic Optimization: Cyclists Should Roll Past Stop Signs, Pause At Red Lights

minogully Re: Dangerous (490 comments)

But, if I'm in the right lane and a bike passes using the small space between me and the curb (not a designated bike lane), they're doing it illegally.

Perhaps in your jurisdiction this is illegal, but in most, as far as I can see, this is not illegal, even if it's not a designated bike lane. Think of it this way:

Ignore bikes for now, and consider a two lane road. You're in the right-hand lane approaching a line-up of cars in the left-hand lane who are waiting for someone up ahead to turn left. Do you stop in your lane so that you don't pass any of these cars on the right? No. So passing on the right is not out of the question when there are two lanes.

Now, if a car is in the right lane and approaches a bike traveling on the right-side of that lane and there is enough space in the lane most cars will pass that bike within the same lane (to the left of the bike), especially if there is no way to changes lanes to the left lane. I don't think cars are allowed to pass other cars within the same lane, even if it's a super wide lane. So that means that for the purposes of passing the bike, we must view the right-lane of the road as actually having two sub-lanes, one for cars, and one for bikes. If there are two lanes such as this, we could have the same scenario as described above except where the bike has the clear path in his/her lane.

about 3 months ago
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Blood of World's Oldest Woman Hints At Limits of Life

minogully Re:Not an upper limit (333 comments)

What about in organisms that do asexual reproduction? How do they generate a new genetic structure for their offspring?

about 4 months ago
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Using Handheld Phone GPS While Driving Is Legal In California

minogully Re:Distracted driving (142 comments)

If you take your eyes of the road for any amount of time at all you *are* distracted, and a hazard to others.

And yet you are supposed to check your mirrors, and blind spots (while changing lanes) so as not to be a hazard to others.

about 6 months ago
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Using Handheld Phone GPS While Driving Is Legal In California

minogully Re:This doesn't make much sense. (142 comments)

Sounds just like when my 3 year old is asking me questions while I'm driving. He has no idea how to STFU. Yet, nowhere is it even remotely considered illegal to have talking children in the car while you're driving.

I honestly don't know how a person driving and talking on the phone who approaches a dangerous situation can't (and doesn't apparently?) just STOP TALKING, deal with the situation, then continue the conversation when the danger has passed.

about 6 months ago
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How About A Spherical Solar Collector ?

minogully You're missing the main point (5 comments)

The gain in efficiency is that the sphere is acting like a magnifying glass. So, yes, the photovoltaics have the same efficiency as normal, but they can produce more electricity if the effective amount of sunlight shone on them is increased through concentration.

about 6 months ago
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Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

minogully Re:They aren't being excluded (545 comments)

you (like myself) are a man, and simply will never have this problem

Men have this problem too. Look at the field of nursing.

I recall my wife telling me about the 2 guys in her nursing class. All the girls thought that they must be gay for going into nursing, because guys just don't go into nursing. And out of a class of around 200 students, there only being 2 guys was a pretty telling statistic. Once they found out that one of them was straight, they instantly all got creeped out by him, which is one hostile environment for a guy.

What's worse, is that she ended up in the field of labour and delivery. A new male nurse just started in the post partem area (where they go after the baby is born), and they all immediately thought this guy was gay too. Then they found out that he was straight and now they're all weirded out that a straight guy CHOSE to go into the unit where he helps new mothers breastfeed all day.

Now personally, I'd never WANT to go into nursing, but maybe I've just been conditioned into thinking that it's a woman's job? Probably it's just that I'd rather go into something I'm interested in.

about 7 months ago
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Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

minogully Re:Canadian driving (723 comments)

you really can't compare driving on snow to driving on a sheet of ice

I'll admit, I didn't RTFA since I had heard news reports about this on my local radio station. And those combined with this summary only mentioned snow. So, I wasn't talking about driving on ice. But now, let me talk about that.

Folks far north rarely get the kind of ice that occasionally causes snarls in the southeastern US

Just this month we had freezing rain. And I would not say that we "rarely" get it.

But nobody can drive in these ice conditions in a typical 2wd car that has no winter tires

My car, in fact, matches your 2wd and no winter tires description (it's not required by law in Ontario to have them). The winter experience I was talking about would have us AVOID driving in these ice conditions, but, it still is possible, if you give yourself enough time to stop. The key is to never use your brakes (only coast) and turn your wheel as little as possible. This requires a lot of patience, which is why I would rather avoid driving until the salt trucks have gone by.

But as I was saying, we would bounce back from these conditions quicker, since we have loads of salt trucks to deal with it. So, I feel for Atlanta, I really do.

about 7 months ago
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Atlanta Gambled With Winter Storm and Lost

minogully Re:Canadian driving (723 comments)

Being a Canadian, I feel I should weigh in on this topic.

When you say that Canadians will drive in much worse conditions, that's only partially true. In the winter, we have salt trucks and snow plows going (seemingly) constantly. So, the 2-3 inches of snow dumped on Atlanta would have been cleared simply because we're prepared for that kind of snow. Also, Canadians are well experienced in dealing with snowy roads so we would have faired better for that reason too.

Don't be so hard on Atlanta, this is quite a lot like what happens to us every year on the first snow fall, BEFORE the salt trucks and plows have gotten out and before people have remembered what it's like to drive in the winter.

What sucks for them is that they can't recover as quickly as we can due to lack of experience and infrastructure.

about 7 months ago
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Brain Function "Boosted For Days After Reading a Novel"

minogully How about video games? (110 comments)

I wonder if a similar thing happens when playing video games?

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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A Solution for Broken Patent Law?

minogully minogully writes  |  more than 2 years ago

minogully (1855264) writes "After a patent is awarded to a person or company, that company must, within the following [perhaps 3?] years, either: 1) sell rights to use that patent to or 2) sell an object that applies the idea of the patent, and such an object must not include other features that are currently patented.
Either of these sales must be made to a third party (ie. not in some sort of agreement with the patent holder to circumvent this law). And the sale price must be consistent with all future sales.
If a sale is not made within the time period, the patent is revoked and the technology is considered public property.

This idea came to me the other day and I wanted to hear everyone's thoughts on it — and if it turns out to be good, perhaps some of the slashdot readers who have a capacity to affect change in this area could do so (as I do not).

I'm hoping this would give competitors the option of either waiting out the time period for the patent to expire, purchase the rights to build the object themselves, or purchase an object that they can, hopefully, plug into their technology. And I'm also hoping that the company that owns the patent would be motivated to keep the price for the sale reasonable to promote a sale.

So what do you think?"

Journals

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Parallel Memoization

minogully minogully writes  |  more than 3 years ago

What if memoization was done on all calculations by a separate processing unit and memory?

So you'd have the main CPU that would do calculations, and the Memoization Processing Unit (MPU) that would look to see if the calculation was already done, and if so, return the result, and if not, wait for the result from the main CPU. If the MPU is able to return a result faster than the CPU, than the CPU cancels the calculation. If the CPU returns the result faster than the MPU can set up a new hash lookup, then the MPU stops where it is and starts with the next calculation (we don't need to record something that the CPU can do faster). The MPU would have it's own dedicated memory so there isn't an issue with using up system RAM. The MPU's memory should be flash so that it won't lose results when powered off, but due to the speed reduction in using flash vs. RAM, this could be supplemented with RAM in some configuration to get a best of both worlds situation.

The aim is for the MPU to save everything and to deal with the limit on the memory, the MPU can discard low priority items, which it would prioritize based on the length of time it took to do the original calculation, and also how long it has been since the result was accessed.

The inspiration for this idea is how I perceive our brains to work. We don't do complicated calculations in our heads when we, say, make an estimate on whether or not we have enough time to cross the road before the car that's coming will hit us. No, instead, we've seen objects moving towards us before and based on past experience we can estimate how long it will take to arrive at our position from how fast it looks like it's going. So our brains are constantly matching up current experiences with past ones, and when our brains find a match we know what to expect out of the current experience. This isn't doing calculations, this is recalling the result from a previous experience.

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