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Comments

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apparently someone cares enough to attack me via moderation

smitty777 Re:Sorry to hear it (3 comments)

No prob - let me know how that works out for ya. The Eds seem pretty responsive IMHO, at least they were when Taco was around.

more than 2 years ago
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apparently someone cares enough to attack me via moderation

smitty777 Sorry to hear it (3 comments)

You should send a note to the editors - they don't take too kindly to mod abuse.

more than 2 years ago
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3,500 Year Old Florida Tree Dies of Natural Causes

smitty777 Re:Sigh (206 comments)

There is an interesting article on the oldest trees in the world in this article. It also has a good picture of The Senator before the fire.

more than 2 years ago
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Pentagon: 30,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

smitty777 Re:No more narrator? (612 comments)

Hmmmm....I was wondering about that too. Maybe they used xtranormal to hide the identity of the speaker.

more than 2 years ago
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Pentagon: 30,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

smitty777 Re:B61-11 ground penetrating tactical nuclear miss (612 comments)

No, actually I think the how is much more relevant. Are you saying that if there's a good why, than the how (B61 vs GBU-57) is not important? Clearly the country and it's allies would disagree with you.

more than 2 years ago
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DoD Using Plant DNA To Combat Counterfeit Parts

smitty777 Re:Um... (39 comments)

Yes, but I believe arranging the sequence is the trick. That's like saying you have a briefcase with 20 keys...

more than 2 years ago
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DoD Using Plant DNA To Combat Counterfeit Parts

smitty777 Re:Um... (39 comments)

I think the operational phrase here is "if a sample could be taken". I'm assuming that since the military doesn't want folks to find out what the sequence is, they probably have their own secret strain of algae/moss/bamboo/whatever that's locked away in a lab somewhere. Swab it off the top of the bolt? I'm sure they thought of that.

According to this whitepaper, the DNA sequencing is "unequivocally uncopyable".

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Open Source Answer to Dreamweaver?

smitty777 Re:SeaMonkey Composer (300 comments)

I've tried this pretty successfully in the past. The only problem is that it has trouble with CSS and some of the newer technologies sometimes. Not always that easy to work with.

more than 2 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best Open Source Answer to Dreamweaver?

smitty777 Amaya (300 comments)

You should definitely try Amaya

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:not totally ridiculous, just too much (543 comments)

Hmmm...interesting. I've never thought about it like that before. So, basically it says that the government will protect your ideas to encourage you to make them (and profit from them) in the short term so we can all benefit from them later.

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:Exponential Growth (543 comments)

There is one - it's called (Mod +1 Insightful)

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:Imagine there's no copyright (543 comments)

He has to have a point, because Joost Smiers wrote a book? BTW, did you notice one of his other books is on sale on Amazon for $104.00 USD? I'll bet he has a copyright on that baby.

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:not totally ridiculous, just too much (543 comments)

getting the copyright monopoly must provide something besides just effort, namely originality.

I think you really hit the nail on the head with this one - after all, it would be impossible by definition to copyright something that *wasn't* original. I also agree that effort is a de-coupled issue. The copyright doesn't care whether it was easy or hard for you to come up with your idea. But, whether outdated or not, it is the only means of protection an artist/scientist/whetver has at the current time.

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:There's Not Enough Lawyers! (543 comments)

It's also interesting (and somewhat ironic) in it's relation to the Mickey Mouse Copyright act. They have real chutzpah if you ask me. Thanks for the link - great refs.

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:Wrong (543 comments)

What you're saying is true. ...but in your own words, "the purpose of copyrighting is to incentivize more creation." The entire purpose of copyrighting is to protect your intellectual property/ideas/designs in order to keep others from using them, right? Why would I want this type of protection? 1) to keep others from using it for financial gain (i.e., it would cut into my profit margin), and/or 2) to be recognized as the intellectual origin of the artifact.

If I were only interested in spreading knowledge for the benefit of mankind, I would just release my product into the wild without a copyright, as has been done numerous times. Take something like a free CSS template on the web - the terms of use are something like "just give us credit for creating this".

more than 2 years ago
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 Re:He seems to confuse the purpose of copyright (543 comments)

Hmmmm...well, not to mince words,but I said "expect", and you said "deserve" a profit. I don't know of any investors that think they *deserve* a profit. Investing, almost by definition, implies a level of risk and gambling. I definitely agree with your statement that people should be discouraged from expecting profits from unprofitable things. Kinda reminds me of the real-estate bubble fiasco we just went through.

more than 2 years ago
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Almost 1 In 3 US Warplanes Is a Drone

smitty777 Re:That's a ton of bandwidth (328 comments)

True, but I was thinking more of the Reaper, which does have real time control and weapons systems. Which (according to wiki, it does have both autonomous and real time control, and of course can carry the Hellfire, Paveway, and JDAM missile systems. As far as data inputs for the systems, we've all seen the footage of the laser pointer guiding the LGMs to the target.

more than 2 years ago
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Almost 1 In 3 US Warplanes Is a Drone

smitty777 Re:That's a ton of bandwidth (328 comments)

Let's not forget some of the bandwidth is taken up with real-time control of the aircraft. Other than video, there are a ton of sensors these things could carry, and I'm sure the weapons systems take up some bandwidth of their own.

more than 2 years ago

Submissions

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Richard Dawkins: Not Sure There Is No God

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Richard Dawkins, arguably the worlds most known atheist, admitted in a debate with the Archbishop of Canterbury that he was uncertain that a God does not exist. In this video, he admits to being an agnostic rather than an atheist. FTA: There was surprise when Prof Dawkins acknowledged that he was less than 100 per cent certain of his conviction that there is no creator. The philosopher Sir Anthony Kenny, who chaired the discussion, interjected: “Why don’t you call yourself an agnostic?” Prof Dawkins answered that he did. An incredulous Sir Anthony replied: “You are described as the world’s most famous atheist.”"

Dawkins has also been in the (virtual) papers lately for reports on how his family had amassed their fortunes in the 1700s."

Link to Original Source
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Researchers: Pigs Now Responsible For MRSA Superbug

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "It was assumed that the rise of the superbug Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) occured due to the overuse of antibiotics in hospitals — a fact which is even mentioned on the CDC website. However, new reserch from Nothern Arizona University is pointing in a new direction: pigs. According to this research, the superbug made the jump from human to porcine farms where they are given a routine course of antibiotics.

FTA: "Price, the study's lead author, said the research was "like watching the birth of a superbug — it is simultaneously fascinating and disconcerting." He said that while this strain of MRSA was discovered less than a decade ago it appears to be spreading very quickly. "Our findings underscore the potential public health risks of widespread antibiotic use in food animal production," Price said. "Staph thrives in crowded and unsanitary conditions. Add antibiotics to that environment and you're going to create a public health problem."""

Link to Original Source
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Nigerian Scam Artists Taken for $33,000

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "An Australian woman who was being used by a group of Nigerian scam artists stole over $33,000 from the group who employed her. Her bank account was being used to funnel the cash from a dodgy internet car sales website. Irony aside, it makes one wonder how these folks ever got the nerve to go to the police with this matter. Those of you wondering, this article offers some answers to the question of why so many of these scams originate from this area."
Link to Original Source
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2 Billion Bill Handed to Zuckerberg From The IRS?

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Due to Facebook founder Mark Zukerberg's move to exercise stock options, he may be facing a tax bill as high as 2 billion dollars. He currently owns some 400 million shares, but has the option to buy 120 million shares more at the rock bottom price of .06 cents each. FTA: "The type of options Zuckerberg holds are taxable as ordinary income when they're exercised, even if the shareholder hangs onto the shares and doesn't sell them. That means Zuckerberg will owe taxes on the difference between what he pays for his Facebook shares — 6 cents — and their market value the day he exercises the options.""
Link to Original Source
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Alzheimer's Transmission Pathway Discovered

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Two separate studies by the Taub Institute and Harvard have discovered the pathway used by Alzheimer's Disease to spread throught the brain. The studies indicate it's not a virus, but a distorted protien called Tau which moves from cell to cell. This article further explains that "The latest discovery, proving the latter, may now offer scientists a way to move forward and develop a way to block tau’s spread in Alzheimer’s patients, said Karen Duff, a researcher at Columbia’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s disease and co-author of one study published Wednesday in journal PLoS One.

“It’s enlightening for us because it now provides a whole other area for potential therapeutic impact,” said Duff. “It’s possible that you can identify the disease and intervene (with potential tau-blocking drugs) before the dementia actually sets in.”""

Link to Original Source
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Pentagon: 37,000 Pound Bomb Too Small

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "According to the pentagon, the 37,000 precision guided Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb is just too small. Concerns around Iran's fortification of their nuclear program facilities has the DoD seeking from congress something not quite as subdued as the GBU-57, the largest non-nuke bomb operated by the USAF. This "smaller" was just recently won a prize for its abilit to cut through 60 feet of concrete. The upgrades will cost $82 million in addition to the $330 million already used so far to develop the system.


There is some interesting high speed camera footage of the GBU-57 in this video."

Link to Original Source
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DoD Using Plant DNA to Combat Counterfeit Parts

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Highlighting another unique way to use cutting edge DNA technology, the US Department of Defense has a new weapont to combat counterfiet parts: plant DNA. This article discusses how plant DNA can be used to make an almost (1 in 1 trillion) unique code for parts identification. This nifty graphic shows some of the ways this could be done; bolts with DNA-marked coating, invisible barcodes, and flourescing inks are some of the possible applications. In a similar but unrelated project, World Micro has a different solution to detect counterfeit items in the military that have been "blacktopped", where items have been re-surfaced to allow remarking."
Link to Original Source
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SOPA Author Violates Copyright

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Jamie Lee Curtis Taete wrote an interesting piece on the official campaign website of Lamar Smith, the author of the Stop Online Piracy Act. According to the article, the site used an uncredited Wiki Commons image without crediting the original artist DJ Shulte. By not giving attribution to the original author, his website could be shut down by his own legislation, if passed. He must have gotten wind of the story, as his current site has been modified."
Link to Original Source
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Major Financial Groups Share Data to Fight Online

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting on an some unprecedented steps being taken by major financial institutions to combat online theft. The intitiatives include a new type of data center that would be used to analyze bank data for potential security threats. Additionally, a quarterly round-table between the rivals to attack security issues was proposed. The article notes that "secuirty threats are pushing the big banks to do something that doesn't come naturally for these secrecy-steeped institutions: share information with one another". This video digs into it a little bit more, and points out that the banks will spend an estimated $1 billion on protection this year, which represents a 12% increase.

Technologically, there has been much discussion of a two factor authentification to improve security. In fact, security officials in Singapore are even hinting at biometric solutions."

Link to Original Source
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Pirate Party Leader: Copyright Laws Ridiculous

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Rick Falkvinge, better known as the leader for Sweden's Pirate Party, recommends doing away with copyright laws, since no one is following them anyway. FTA: "he uses examples from the buttonmakers guild in 1600s France to justify eliminating the five major parts of copyright law today. The first two are cover duplication and public performance, and piracy today has ruined those. The next two cover rights of the creator to get credit and prevent other performances, satires, remixes etc they don't like. Falkvinge says giving credit is important, but not worthy of a law. Finally, "neighboring rights" are used by the music industry to block duplication, which Falkvinge rejects.""
Link to Original Source
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China to Begin Submitting Air Pollution Reports

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "China will start to publish air pollution reports, possibly in response to reports from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing which has been publishing its own data. This report is significant in that it's based on the PM2.5 standard, which measures the more harmful particles that are less than 2.5 microns.

This comes on the heels of a separate report that lists China as the worst polluter worldwide. According to this report, China now produces 6,832 m tons of CO2, a 754% increase since 1971. While the US is in second at 5,195 m, this represents an increase of only 21%. This articlce notes "the rapid growth in emissions for China, India, and Africa. This will continue as their middle classes buy houses and vehicles. The growth in Middle East emissions is staggering, a reflection of their growing oil fortunes. "

While we're on the subject of India, their pollution levels are thought to be responsible for a dense cloud of fog that is so thick it created a cold front, and is repsonsible for a number of deaths."

Link to Original Source
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Droneception: A drone within a drone within a dron

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Given the US's recent drone issues, what is the new recipe for sending a drone over another country of interest? Simple, just take a balloon, and attach a Tempest drone to the bottom of it. Now, attach two more CICADA (sic) drones to that. The balloon climbs to over 55k feet, drops the first drone which can travel another 11 miles or so. It then deploys the CICADA drones. These unpowered gliders slip past the radars undetected and start sending back info. There are future plans to mount many (count hundreds) of the CICADA glider drones to the Tempest in the future. The article quotes the flight engineer describing the process as "straight forward"."
Link to Original Source
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In vitro Mouse Sperm Cells Grown

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in male infertility, researchers from Muenster and Ben Gurion Universities were able to actually grow mouse sperm cells in a petri dish. Researchers feel this is just a short step away from human in vitro sperm cell production.

The precise details of how this will be accomplished are still being worked out. FTA: "[According to Professor Richard Sharpe], "What this research shows is that it will be possible to make human sperm outside the body. The germ cells just need the right environment. That's the tricky part getting them to think they are in the testes.

Professor Sharpe believes that one novel way may make.it possible. He proposes using a live mouse as a 'host' to make human sperm. He said: "What you would do is take some human testicular tissue with germ cells and place that under the skin of the mouse and use it to incubate the cells.
"You could then extract any sperm and use it in fertility treatment. But we would have to demonstrate that there were no mouse cells present in the extracted sperm if we were to use this technique and I believe that's possible.""

Link to Original Source
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TSA: Cupcakes are Potential Threat

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Rebecca Haines was stopped at McCarran International Airport for attempting to carry two cupcakes on board an airliner, while seeming to overlook a sword on a different flight. Meanwhile, CNJ Online is reporting on the expanding responsibility of this agency beyond airports to include subways, buses and other forms of transportation. FTA: "“TSA teams are increasingly conducting searches and screenings at train stations, subways, ferry terminals and other mass-transit locations around the country,” the Los Angeles Times reported. Ray Dineen, the air marshal in charge of the TSA office in Charlotte, N.C., told the paper, “We are not the Airport Security Administration. We take that transportation part seriously.”" Hopefully, they will avoid some of these unusual events when they do."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Superphone to Dethrone iPhone5?

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Forbes is running an intriguing story on a new "Superphone" under development by the folks at Microsoft. According to this leaked MS roadmap document, the plan is to build the Apollo based phone in the 4th quarter of 2012. FTA: "In the end, however, none of this matters. Microsoft’s “peek into the future” is barely a glimpse into what the company may or may not have planned for 2012. While the “superphone” bullet is worth noting, it is not the confirmation of a revolutionary new product. At best, it indicates that Microsoft wishes to compete with Apple by offering a product that is, well, super.". It's also interesting that Sony and AT&T also appear to be working on superphones of their own. All this hype left me wondering what actually does make a phone "super" anyway?"
Link to Original Source
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Maze Learning Slime Mold "More Intelligent Than Co

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Professor Toshiyuki Nakagaki of the at Future University Hakodate have discovered an "intelligent slime mold" that is capable of navigating a maze. According to the article: "Nakagaki said: 'Humans are not the only living things with information-processing abilities, simple creatures can solve certain kinds of difficult puzzles. 'If you want to spotlight the essence of life or intelligence, it's easier to use these simple creatures.' Slime mould, which resides on rotting leaves, may not be the most advanced target of study with regards to intelligence but scientists believe it could hold the key to biocomputers of the future.
According to this Newspoint article, the organismis were chosen because "the cells in these organisms get perfectly organized prior creating the best possible and the exact guided route through any toughest maze"."

Link to Original Source
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2011: Record Year for Airline Safety

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "Unless something bad happens in the next two days, we are on track for having a new record for airline safety. The new record of one death for every 7.1 million passengers beats the 2004 record of 1 to 6.4m. The WSJ also notes:
— Another low is the total number of passenger deaths; as of today that number stands at 401. Though it was lower in 2004, when 344 passengers were killed in commercial aviation accidents, that year saw 30% fewer passengers as well as far fewer flights.
— Western-built planes have fared best, with one major crash per 3 million flights, the best number since the International Air Transport Association began tracking crashes in the 1940s. When factoring in other types of airliners, the crash rate is about two per million flights.
— We are also in the midst of the longest period without a fatal airliner accident in modern aviation; nobody has died in an airliner since an Oct. 13 propeller plane crash in Papua New Guinea. The previous record was 61 days in 1985.
There was also the North American and Russian numbers as well — the only country that saw a drop.

2011 also seemed to break the record for unusual airline travel events as well."

Link to Original Source
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Recent Discovery Shows Oldest Depiction of Tower o

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "The recent discovery of the Tower of Babel stele by a team of scholars shows what might be the earliest depiction of the ancient Tower of Babel. The stele belongs to Martin Schøyen, who also owns a large number of pictographic and cuneiform tablets, some of the earliest known written documents. The tablet also contains a depiction of King Nebuchadnezzar II, a time when Babylon was a cultural leader in astronomy, mathematics, literature and medicine. It's also interesting to note the somewhat recent Slashdot article linking the common ancestry of languages to this area."
Link to Original Source
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New Discovered Earliest Document Shows Tower Of Ba

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "The recent discovery of the Tower of Babel stele by a team of scholars shows what might be the earliest depiction of the ancient Tower of Babel. The stele belongs to Martin Schøyen, who also owns a large number of pictographic and cuneiform tablets, some of the earliest known written documents. The tablet also contains a depiction of King Nebuchadnezzar II, a time when Babylon was a cultural leader in astronomy, mathematics, literature and medicine. It's also interesting to note the somewhat recent Slashdot article linking the common ancestry of languages to this area."
Link to Original Source
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Twin GRAIL Probes to Map Lunar Magnetic Field

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

smitty777 (1612557) writes "The two washing machine sized satellites from the GRAIL program (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) launched in September are set to enter lunar orbit this weekend. As can be seen from this nifty infographic, the probes will monitor the magnetic fields from orbit via the precise distance measurements of microwaves passing between the two satellites. FTA: "The twin spacecrafts are named Grail-A and Grail-B. Grail-A will enter the moon’s orbit on New Year’s Eve, Grail-B will follow on New Year’s Day. "The purpose of the GRAIL mission is to obtain gravity data on the Moon. And with that data, the scientists are able to determine the structure of the lunar interior, from crust to core," said David Lehman of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory."

This is similar to the earlier GRACE project, which not only helped map out the magnetic field of the Earth, but also helped drought conditions in the US."

Journals

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Roboswarm Technology Demonstrator

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Invent Baltics, an Estonian research company has made some advances in robot swarm technoloy. FTA:

The project partners used fixed RFID (radio frequency identification) tags to help the swarms with positioning and navigation. The tags are used by the robots for coordination and task sharing, and are marked with various surfaces and objects.

Thanks to the ROBOSWARM technology, simple robots will be able to communicate extensively so as to split individual tasks in order to heighten the functionality of the swarm (i.e. scalability), to learn from the experience of individual swarm members through the local or international knowledge base (i.e. self-learning), and to operate with as few sensing capabilities as possible (i.e. cost efficiency).

Let the overlord jokes begin...

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Self Healing Clay = New Plastic?

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago The New Scientist is reporting on a new type of clay that could serve as a replacement for plastic. According to the article, the researchers at the University of Japan were seeking replacements for plastic that were non-oil based. According to the article:

Takuzo Aida and his team mixed a few grams of clay with 100 grams of water in the presence of tiny quantities of a thickening agent called sodium polyacrylate and an organic "molecular glue". The thickening agent teases apart the clay into thin sheets, increasing its surface area and allowing the glue to get a better hold on it.

It will be interesting to watch this technology for developments.

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RFID Killer

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Nothing big today - just an RFID Terminator Gun. It basically fries any RFID chip in range. Not sure what good it is, unless you want to play a trick on your friends and family by frying their passports. Big fun.

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Nielsen's Usability Heresy

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago My latest rant: Jakob Nielsen's lastest version of Alertbox discusses usability for the masses. During my ~1.5 decades as a professional usability expert, I've seen quite a wide variety of user interface screens, ranging from perfect elegance to mind numbingly contorted and ugly. I've also worked with many self professed "experts" - many of which are developers that have had no formal training and only a passing interest in good UI design. On the plus side, Jakob does have a point that it is spreading the gospel of usability and getting it infused into many more projects. On the other hand, most of the mind numbingly contorted designs I've seen are the result of the "experts".

So, what do you think Slashdot? Is this a good idea? What are your experiences with trained vs untrained usability professionals?

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Become Your Own Private Robotic Overlord: 20M Yen Android of Yourself

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago Gizmag is reporting on a company in Japan that will create a "robotic dopplegager" of yourself. All you do is shell out a cool 20 M Yen, and they will create a robot that...well actually looks a lot like you. It's actually kind of uncanny to look at the picture from TFA - if you didn't know it was an article about robots, you would just assume that it was about twins or something.

So, I was thinking about the applications of having such an item on one's inventory. Of course, my nefarious mind immediately thought about security and deception. If you were a high ranking official, it might serve as a pretty convincing decoy. I wonder about the criminal element though. It might be possible to use such technology to establish an alibi during the commission of a crime? It would be easy to have someone take a picture or video of you and establish a false timeline. Hrmmm....maybe I've been watching too many episodes of CSI.

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Visualizing Prime Numbers

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Ok, so I know I already wrote my daily journal entry, but this is just way to good to pass up. Carlos Paris has an extremely interesting blog entry about the visualization of prime numbers, or has he calls it, a "map of factors". After you scroll past his intro, there are a number of visualizations that are fairly remarkable. Amazingly, all this was done in Autocad. There are also some nifty videos of the visualization to check out as well - especially the last one.

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Artificial Red Blood Cells

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 3 years ago There's an interesting article in Technolgy Review that discusses the newest developments in artificial red blood cells. The lastest versions are both the correct shape and biodegradable, and can be used for carrying treatment and markers as well as oxygen. Apparently, these little guys are pretty hard to reproduce artificially: previous attempts result in a spherical shape rather than the double concave shape of the RBC. However, the article describes the process for developing this unique shape:

They expose the spheres to rubbing alcohol, which causes them to deflate and collapse into the dimpled shape of a red blood cell. The hard PLGA particle acts as a mold, around which the researchers can deposit layer after layer of proteins. They crosslink the proteins to get them to hold to the PLGA, then dissolve the rigid inner structure. The result is a soft, flexible protein shell the size and shape of a red blood cell. The researchers can also vary the protein coatings depending, for example adding hemoglobin, which could carry oxygen.

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Hypersonic Travel

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago It would seem that hypersonic travel is here to stay...finally. Most define hypersonic as travel above Mach 5. Michael Cooney reports that the good ol USAF is now preparing to launch a scramjet test platform designed to reach speeds of Mach 6+. This is fairly significant; while the last testbed reached these speeds a few seconds, this will sustain hypersonic speeds for about 5 minutes. The idea is to make sure "the engine doesn't disintegrate". Spectacular.

Scramjets are very cool in that there are no real working parts. This is an exaggeration of course - the engine relies on high speeds for compression instead of the compressor fans of a normal turbofan engine. The kicker is that you have to get the engine to extremely high speeds to start the compression cycle - most solutions so far utilize a rocket to jump-start the cycle.

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Craigslist Creator Betrayed by eBay?

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Reuters is reporting on an interview with Craig Newmark, the creator of Craigslist, that he feels somewhat betrayed by his new corporate (robotic?) overlords at Ebay. eBay initially claimed to share the same values as Craigslist in order to close the deal, but later launched the rival site Kiji. There also appears to be a clash between the notoriously anti-establishment Craigslist cultre and the eBay bigwigs. eBay execs, on the other hand, have portrayed Newmark as "resistant to change". One final interesting quote FTA: "Earlier Thursday, Price -- who was eBay's principal deal maker in acquiring its $32 million stake in Craigslist -- said the decision to buy a stake in Craigslist was partly to block a sale to Google Inc.". To quote Sherlock Holmes "There's evil afoot!".

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Apple Move to Verizon

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago First, a usability rant about /. (sorry folks, I'm in the business). Just a nit, but can't you guys put a link allowing me to write in the journal at the *top* of the page? Come on folks, this is usability 101.

On to the article. So, Eric Slivka is reporting in on MacRumors.com about the reasons Apple might move to Verizon in the near future. One of the reasons is the poor network record for AT&T. While it's too soon for this to happen in 2010, it could happen in the next couple of years once there is a convergence of 4G technology - there is also a requirement to fall back on the 3G network if necessary. Also interesting is speculation around the inclusion of new battery technology as well as an RFID-enabled payment system.

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Military Wingsuits

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago Everyone on /. has been following the story of the jetman. It turns out that Wired is now running a story on military grade wingsuits which will allow soldiers to drop in from as great distances. The new lifting body suits have achieved a forward flight ratio of 5:1, which means a drop from 30,000 feet will translate to a 30 mile forward flight. At an estimated 60 mph, this would translate into a 15 minute flight. If you add jets to this thing like Rossy did, it is possible to double that to a 60 mile flight.

Even more interesting, New Scientist is speculating on the possibility of landing these things without a parachute as they currently do. This would be done by increasing the angle of descent from the current 2.5:1 to 4:1. You would also have to detach the lower half of your body to increase the angle if incidence as well. This video shows these crazy people grazing mountain tops as they fly only meters away from the ground on their way down. I may have to take a shot at this if my mid-life crisis keeps up any longer.

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Toyota Linkz: Half Car, Half Facebook, Half Hockey Stick

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago (apologies to Yogi Berra for the title) So as part of the 2009 LA Car Show Design Challenge, Toyota created a cool concept called LINKS, which is an odd looking...well, vehicle. The most interesting aspect of it is that you link two of these together so that you can interact with fellow students as you travel; exchange notes, download music, or whatever. You pick up your LINK at a HUB, which appears to be the place where all the cool people meet to drink coffee, play bongos and recite poetry...while they're waiting for their LINKS to recharge.

It's interesting to me how the car companies are jumping on the social networking bandwagon. This seems a little extreme to me, though. One last thought - students don't seem to be a highly mobile lot to me. Most seem content to stay confined within a somewhat small geographic location. Pinning the hopes of this project on that particular target group might make this one a non-starter. Besides, they look like pregnant hockey sticks.

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iPhone App For Creating Cashless Society???

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

There's an app for that??!! Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey said somewhat grandiosely that his new iPhone product Square will cause the world to stop using cold hard cash and turn to a creditless system. Apparently, attaching this device to your iPhone allows you to conduct any range of credit card operations. Plugging in the postage stamp sized hardware into your headphone jack provides swipe access to other's cards. You don't have to be a business either - if cousin Billy Bob owes you 10 bucks, just whip out your iPhone and scan his card. Laugh if you will, but they've already raised a cool $10 million for a company that is valued at $50 million bucks!

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Traffic Light Timer

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago Is this a good idea or a bad one (as my wife used to say to the kids)? Eko has developed a streetlight with a timer. Motorists waiting at the light can now see how much time there is left to wait by an outer disc of lights that counts down to the end of the red. I have some concerns about this from a safety perspective. Will there be an increase in accidents caused by over eager waiters colliding with last minute yellow light runners? Bottom line, what is the benefit?

There are also some other interesting concepts on the site that should be checked out. One that caught my eye is the chigra, a cool floating tea infuser with a propeller on the top. The user blows on the propeller, which simultaneously cools the tea and spins the diffuser to release more flavor. Job well done to Eko.

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Happy Thanksgiving Slashdot

smitty777 smitty777 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Are you really reading this right now? Turn off the universal computing device and spend some quality time with your biological organic familial units.

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