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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

outlander Re:What are the practical results of this? (203 comments)

Comcast will suddenly get religion and actually start providing the speeds they advertise.... .....(or not)

1 minute ago
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US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One

outlander Not going to disappear quickly.... (7 comments)

Even if Boeing stopped building 747 variants tomorrow, they'd be around for ages. They're the mainstay for long-haul travel, and dwindling sales probably are more related to market saturation - as in, there are enough in the air now to meet current demand - than any inherent shortcoming in the design.

I suspect that there are more refinements to come - it's just too useful an airframe to discard. It may take Boeing a bit to roll in some of the working dreamliner tech but it seems reasonable that they'd try to do that when time and demand permit.

3 minutes ago
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The Search For Starivores, Intelligent Life That Could Eat the Sun

outlander Re:Starivore? (300 comments)

SharkNebula, now on SyFy!

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Tech Companies Won't Be Around In 10 Years?

outlander Re: 10 Years Can Be A Long Time (332 comments)

I'd like to see it happen - it really would make a difference in the world bc it changes cost structures and allows more people to get in the game, esp in poor countries.

I've been running Linux on portable systems since it was released, and it's good. Unfortunately, it doesn't do the same sort of vertical hardware integration as, for example, Apple, so people don't see immediate refresh from hibernation right out of the box, and so think it is deficient or not as advanced. That's unfortunate, and a lot of it is the result of people building optional functionality but a lack of consensus regarding which packages and functionality should be included right out of the gate for a consumer system. With a variety of packages for what users now expect enabled on a commodity PC, it'll do just fine...... .....I hope.

about a month ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

outlander Re:Short-Lived? (778 comments)

> You may have heard of the concept of volunteering, people spending many hours every week doing unpaid work. In those cases, money is obviously not a motivation because they are possessed of sufficient income provided by their own work, a pension fund, investment account, or other means of income to cover their basic needs .

FTFY...

about 6 months ago
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States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

outlander Re: Local testing works? (778 comments)

If working full-time pays so little that a person cannot meet essential basic needs, I respectfully suggest that there's a disconnect. All the human dignity in the world doesn't make a person full when they're hungry, and to implicitly state that the dignity of full-time employ should cancel out deprivation from income inequality fails to take into account the costs associated with being poor - like not being able to buy items in bulk at low unit costs due to lack of liquid cash, or time losses from using the US' grossly inadequate public transport infrastructure to travel to/from work and appointments, to name two.

about 6 months ago
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The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

outlander Re:tl;dr nature is BORING (63 comments)

Sisyphus.

Syphilis is between shit and sympathy in the dictionary....

about 6 months ago
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The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

outlander Re:Not Quite the Same (63 comments)

Also not an evolutionary biologist, but I think you're on the right track. I don't know whether a given environment will favor a specific set of mutations (e.g., the exact same path each time), but assuming a constant environment, the organisms that result will probably be similarly adapted to the environment. It's kind of a cool idea because at a molecular-genetic level, there are probably something like functions (vs individual lines of code) which interact and can be documented at some sort of macro level, which combine in more or less predictable ways ('predictable' being a gross oversimplification of the molecular complexity involved).

Ah, I need to go read some genetics textbooks. The evolutionary biologists have a lot of this stuff mapped already - look at what they know about HOX genes. So.cool.

about 6 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

outlander Re:The art of inconsistency (469 comments)

Hmm. I'd suggest that when you say 'inconsistency,' what you're referring to is the range of timbres available throughout the instrument's entire compass. Part of the richness associated with the old master instruments is a sweetening of the high end, caused by a variety of factors but mostly by the instrument being in tune with itself. The idea of building the instrument to be consonant with itself - that is, in tune with itself - is quite old. Builders who do this (tuning the top and back to specific pitches when rapped, working the bass bar and neck to work with the body, et cetera) tend to build instruments where the harmonics pile up on each other in the upper register and sound sweet - there's not a lot of phase cancellation. Builders who don't tend to have 'wolf' notes, which are odd resonances caused by any number of things, mostly mass either existing or lacking in a particular location in the body.

Many modern builders do tune the instrument such that it gets sweeter as the pitch increases, which can lead to a deceptive increase in perceived volume.

A number of modern guitarmakers have adopted the build-without-stress and consonance philosophy as well, most notably students of the late Arthur Overholzer, including Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitars and a number of the people he's taught. It definitely makes for a more pleasant players' experience - they move all of a piece and feel very alive.

about 10 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

outlander Re:Time to add another layer of BS indirection: (469 comments)

Hmmm. On the west coast, Jai Heide (www.jayheide.com, Berkeley CA) or Scott Cao (www.scottcaoviolins.com, Campbell, CA) are wonderful. On the east coast, I'd call David Bromberg in Delaware (yes, *that* David Bromberg) as he's now a dealer in violins. In Chicago, the Chicago School of Violin Making will have referrals, as will North Bennet Street School in Boston.

There are *so* many good violins out there (and so many crackerboxes) that a knowledgeable and trustworthy dealer will do you right.

about 10 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

outlander Re:What's in a name? (469 comments)

Stradivari means "toll collector." IJS.....

about 10 months ago
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Elite Violinists Can't Distinguish Between a Stradivarius and a Modern Violin

outlander Re:Time to add another layer of BS indirection: (469 comments)

Sample size being what it is, this isn't really a surprise. In the lutherie world, tests like these get conducted on a relatively regular basis to determine whether or not the qualities attributed to old master violins are replicable by newer makers. In general, the tests (often conducted under the aegis of the Guild of American Luthiers (GAL) or Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans (ASIA)) have tended to validate the claim that many modern builders - Paul Schuback, Joseph Curtin, Michael Darnton, Scott Cao, many others - are doing work that matches (or exceeds) the performance of Old Master violins.

Keep in mind that what we think of as a modern violin is emphatically NOT what the old masters built. Really. They generally made baroque violins, with lower bridges, shorter fingerboards made of maple or other fruitwood, much flatter neck angles, and lower tuning (where A could be as low as 405 to 415 Hz, vs 440 for modern instruments). Over the years, any old master violin which is being played regularly has had its neck reset to a steeper pitch, its fingerboard replaced with a longer ebony board, a much taller and thinner bridge, sometimes a new tailpiece, sometimes even a new scroll. Many times, the top has been regraduated to lighten it in an attempt to reduce mass and increase brilliance. Bass bars are routinely replaced.....some well-known Strads have fifteen to twenty chalk-fitted area patches to repair damage caused by wear, accident, or worm, and at least one has had the entire top thinned to .5mm and new spruce chalk-fitted to structurally rebuild the instrument. (See GAL Red Books; lots of articles on this topic). So the instruments are NOT what the old masters built - they've been hotrodded to suit the needs of players. Baroque violins sound beautiful (listen to Ars Musica ensemble for great examples) but lack volume and power and sustain.....and hotrodded violins have all of these qualities in spades.

What remains of the original violin after hotrodding? Well, for a lot of Strads/Guarneris/Amatis and the like, it's the arching of the top and back, and the general design of the body The patterns of arching and the shapes and outlines have been studied for over two hundred years by violin makers, and has accelerated dramatically with the advent of computing power whch can measure resonance patterns (laser interferometry. for example, and 3D scanning, and materials analysis) and there are extraordinarily accurate plans readily available for interpretation by skilled modern builders. Since, in general, the violin lutherie world is chiefly an apprenticeship system, notwithstanding a few excellent schools, builders learn their craft at the feet of great design and often with strict but excellent teachers.

The implication is that the art of violin making has continued to evolve, with greater access to the science behind the instrument as much as great manual skill to actually do the work of construction. Modern builders don't have and generally don't need magic varnishes or magic wood; they have good materials - and in fact a wider choice of materials than ever before, deforestation notwithstanding - and great skill in working with it to create superlative instruments. And honestly, while old master instruments are nice, I'll take a new, slightly 'tight' violin, and play it in until it loosens up; it costs less, is less to risk, and listeners can not distinguish between it and the ancient instrument. And I'll be delighted to be able to interact with the person that made it, and give feedback to help make the next ones even better.

Oh, and the whole magic varnish theories of people like Nagyvary are nonsense. Construction is more of a determinant than finish....think about it. Which determines structure, the construction, or the extremely thin finish layer? Yes, ash varnishes are beautiful, and salt-of-gems varnishes are beautiful, but they don't necessarily exhibit the visual properties (chiefly dichroism and clarity) of old master instruments.

about 10 months ago
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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

outlander Re:How is presenting all theories a problem? (665 comments)

evolution != abiogenesis

evolution is the change in allelles observable over generations.
abiogenesis is the study of the origins of life.

Please quite using that tired strawman argument.

thanks

about a year ago
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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

outlander Re:Which Creation? (665 comments)

It's tortoises all the way down :)

about a year ago
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Massive New Cambrian-Era Fossil Bed Found

outlander Re:It's the devil (108 comments)

He wouldn't have done it via image. He'd have kicked 'em, and used [puppet | chef | salt ] to customize the configs.

about a year ago
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Dyson Invests £5 Million To Create 'Intelligent Domestic Robots'

outlander Re:dyson (125 comments)

They have to have better aesthetic values than Rosie on the Jetsons.....

about a year ago
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Map of Publicly-Funded Creationism Teaching

outlander Re:Good (544 comments)

Actually, yes. I was raised in a mainline Protestant denomination - not Baptist - and the items cited in the prior post were all part of the ideology, even if they were soft-pedaled because some of them weren't acceptable even then.

It's a morass of contradictions and Bronze Age rank superstition, with no saving grace but the poetry in some Old Testament books.

1 year,1 day
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Bletchley Park's Bitter Dispute Over Its Future

outlander Re:History is historic (99 comments)

Exactly. The second world war was won, in large part, by the efforts of Bletchley Park (and its cognates elsewhere in the world).

It is a terribly important historical site. The copy of Colossus there is a major milestone in the history of computing.

1 year,1 day

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