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Being Wrong is What Makes Humans Smart

reillymj I must be a genius. (2 comments)

Wrong all the time.

more than 4 years ago
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Foxconn May Close Factories In China

reillymj Can't run forever (476 comments)

If China isn't the best place in the world to hire cheap, slave-like labor, where does that leave? Eventually, Foxconn and all the companies that rely on it to produce cheap electronics are going to have to start paying workers more. That cost will get passed on to us, the consumers. This is a good thing as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather pay more for my laptop or iPhone than have to live with idea that my high-tech gadget habit is causing suicides on the other side of the world.

more than 4 years ago
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Should Kids Be Bribed to Do Well in School?

reillymj Getting what we pay for? (1 comments)

So, let's say this works and kids get better test scores when we pay them. Are they actually learning anything? (And, do we care whether or not they learn anything if test scores get kids into college, get them jobs, etc.?)

more than 4 years ago
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Twitter Predicts Box Office Results

reillymj Can Twitter predict the Stock Market? (44 comments)

I'm sure some Gecko-type has already thought of this, and is trying it in a secret lab somewhere. Then again, if I was an investment banker, I'd be immensely greedy and paranoid and never tweet about any company I was interested in.

more than 4 years ago
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Tsunami Warning From Space?

reillymj So, how do we detect tsunamis from space, exactly? (351 comments)

how is detecting a tsunami from space better than our current method? 1. seismometers detect earthquake, computers & scientists quickly determine possibility of tsunami generation and issue a warning. 2. buoys in the ocean and pressure sensors on the ocean floor detect passing tsunami energy wave, allowing warnings to be updated. This system works well in about 90% of cases where it's installed; it still isn't fully operational in the Indian Ocean(the Pacific system worked very well after the Chile quake in February), but should be soon. The only major gap that leaves is the places where time from wave generation to impact is only a few minutes -- that is, a city like Padang, Indonesia, or Seattle, which sit just a few miles from a huge fault. What do we do then? A satellite might be useful, but only if it can detect the formation and size of a tsunami and issue a warning *instantly*. Fortunately, those cities have a natural warning system in place: the earthquake itself. They're so close to the fault that inhabitants will certainly feel any tsunami-generating quake. So, spending tens (hundreds?) of millions of dollars on a satellite or satellites to monitor tsunamis probably isn't the best course when you can educated people about how to get out of harm's way for a tiny fraction of the cost.

more than 4 years ago
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PARC Builds iPod-Sized HIV Detector

reillymj Doesn't actually detect HIV?? (2 comments)

So, according to the article, the device uses a laser to optically measure white cell count, not look at HIV itself. Aren't there other diseases of the immune system that could trigger a false positive, and lead to someone who is HIV-negative being prescribed anti-retroviral drugs? I suppose in places like Haiti, Lesotho, South Africa and elsewhere, HIV is such a problem that the benefit would outweigh the risk. Still, I wouldn't want to be the one who was misdiagnosed...

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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AI learns to tell "that's what she said" jokes

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 3 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "The Office's Michael Scott is replaceable after all — with a computer. A new piece of software studies the relationships between words to figure out when a sentence or phrase could be the beginning of a "that's what she said" joke. Got the word "wet", "rod", or "hard" in a sentence? Watch out: immature AI humor is bound to follow."
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Nexus S Phone Floats to Edge of Space

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 3 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "A bunch of Google engineers and grad students gathered in California's Central Valley to to launch the Nexus S phone to the edge of space using weather balloons. While up there, the phones ran Google Map, SkyMaps, and a bunch of other apps, to see how the phones would fare in a freezing cold, near vacuum. The stunt was just for fun — the latest in a recent fad of launching DIY smartphone 'stratellites' — but one of the Nexus S product managers hinted that big G is talking with a European space contractor about building small "commodity" satellites around the phone's core processing unit."
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Exploding Lake Provides Electricity for Rwanda

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "There are three known "exploding lakes" in the world, where volcanic gases build up near the lake bottom until they suddenly fizz over, suffocating people with huge amounts of carbon dioxide. But the lakes also hold methane and one of them, Rwanda's Lake Kivu, is being actively tapped as a source of natural gas to fuel a power plant on the lake's shores. The government hopes that within two years, the plant will be covering a third of the country's needs. By siphoning off the gas, engineers simultaneously defuse a ticking time bomb in the lake and provide power to local communities."
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Ocean Color Can Steer Hurricanes

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Microscopic plankton are ubiquitous, turning Earth's blue oceans green with chlorophyll. Now it turns out their tint has a huge effect on the formation, intensity, and path of hurricanes. How do the tiny critters do it? The greener the ocean, the more sunlight gets trapped in shallow waters. The extra heat makes for warm, hurricane-friendly waters that help storms spin up and wander north or south from their equatorial breeding grounds."
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Island Made to Block Oil Is Washed Away in Gulf

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "The federal government has dolled out hundreds of millions of dollars to build six artificial islands around the Louisiana coast to try and protect it from being inundated by the oil spill in the gulf. Only a few weeks into construction of the islands, pictures taken by an anonymous government employee show at least one of them has mostly been eroded and washed away by wave action. Even more amazingly, heavy equipment at the construction site appears to be under several feet of water and being pounded by the breakers."
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AI Predicts Manhole Explosions in New York City

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Every so often, a 300-pound manhole cover in blows sky high in Gotham, followed sometimes by a column of flame. Researchers have applied machine learning algorithms to Con Edison's warren of aging electrical wires and sewage access points around Brooklyn and the Bronx (Manhattan's next). As the system learns where dangerous mixtures of sewer gas and decrepit wiring are likely to come in contact, it makes forecasts about trouble spots, including where the next explosion may occur."
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Airplanes Unexpectedly Modify Weather

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Commercial airliners have a strange ability to create rain and snow when they fly through certain clouds. Scientists have known for some time that planes can make outlandish "hole-punch" and "canal" features in clouds. A new study has found that these odd formations are in fact evidence that planes are seeding clouds and changing local weather patterns as they fly through. In one case, researchers noted that a plane triggered several inches of snowfall directly beneath its flight path."
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Giant Guatemalan Sinkhole Isn't a Sinkhole

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Despite hundreds of media reports to the contrary, a geologist whose life's work has been studying Guatemalan geology has plainly said that the dramatic "sinkhole" in Guatemala City that opened over the weekend isn't a sinkhole at all. Instead, he called it a "piping feature" and warned that because the country's capital city sits on a pile of loose volcanic ash, the over one million people living on top of the ash are in danger of having it happen again in the future."
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Termite Networks are Architects of African Savanna

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Termite mounds form a vast, evenly-spaced network throughout the African savanna. From satellite photos, scientists have found that the mounds are actually the underpinnings of the entire savanna ecosystem — from lions to giraffes down to geckos and plants, everything starts with the these mounds. And their spacing is important — researchers found that when they tried to randomly space the mounds in a controlled experiment, the whole thing fell apart. Somehow termites have engineered a vast complex natural system that's given rise to some of the world's most famous large beasts simply by building piles of nutrient-rich dirt in a specific pattern across the Serengeti."
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Iceland Volcano?? Pssh, this is Nothin'

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Iceland's erupting Eyjafjallajokull volcano is keeping planes grounded throughout Europe — a drag for thousands of would-be travelers. But it could be a lot worse. The nearby volcano Katla has a track record of going off soon after an eruption like this one, and it's much more violent. If that happens again this time around, air travel will be the least of people's worries — the ash could kill thousands of people across the continent."
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Earthquake Predicted by Toads, Scientists Say

reillymj reillymj writes  |  more than 4 years ago

reillymj (1780136) writes "Research claims toads sensed a severe quake in last year five days before it hit. Last spring's L'Aquila earthquake devastated the medieval city of the same name in Italy. Five days earlier, a group of biologists noticed some toads behaving strangely in a pond nearby what would later be the quake's epicenter. Coincidence? These researchers think not."
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