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Comments

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Boston Dynamics Wildcat Can Gallop — No Strings Attached

sonnejw0 Government waste (257 comments)

Why not just use a horse? Costs less, more reliable, powered by renewable resources ... the horse.

1 year,14 days
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Israeli Firm Makes Kilomile Claims For Electric Car Battery Tech

sonnejw0 'Refill with water every 200 mi' (247 comments)

So the battery supposedly has a 1,000 mile range, but you have to stop every 100 to 200 miles to refill it with water? ... So it only has a 100-200 mile range. And on top of that, it's a disposable (recyclable) battery, not a rechargable one ... pros and cons to that, but it does require an infrastructure of replacement battery stations. Certainly better in my opinion than a charging station, but at least charging stations exist.

about a year and a half ago
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The Man Who Sold Shares of Himself

sonnejw0 The only problem I see... (215 comments)

... was that he set the IPO price way too low. That, or his policy on voting rights for shareholders was way off base.

about a year and a half ago
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Facebook Knows If You're Gay, Use Drugs, Or Are a Republican

sonnejw0 Re:Knows and Presumes are not the same thing (473 comments)

This actually raises interesting questions about stereotypes and whether or not they are true, which I think would be a bane in the opinion of most minority groups. Stereotypes, after all, are just statistical observations. This study would seem to provide significant evidence to support stereotypes, and I think that's even more impactful on society than any privacy concerns you may have about how your public actions (in this case, 'Liking' on Facebook) portray your personal beliefs.

about a year and a half ago
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Physicists Discover a Way Around Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle

sonnejw0 Re:It's the fault of the stupid haedline (153 comments)

They are repeating the measurement multiple times on a stream of photons. They're not measuring the same particle repeatedly, they're not even close to overcoming the uncertainty principle.

about a year and a half ago
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Tesla Motors Battles the New York Times

sonnejw0 Re:Barbara Streisand Effect? (700 comments)

You may not have heard about it, but plenty of other people did when Tesla's stock price plummeted 2.5% moments after the review was uploaded to New York Times's website. The damage was immediate. In other words, Tesla lost $100 Million in capital in a matter of minutes because of the New York Times's review. That could be a devastating libel claim, but in the mean time, Tesla has to deal with $100 million fewer dollars.

about a year and a half ago
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Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

sonnejw0 Re:Problem? (644 comments)

Not that I would intuitively think Germany actually gets more sunlight than the U.S., but when a scientist (such as myself) says I used a model to extrapolate something, or normalized to conditions, it basically means I performed transformative maths to make the data look good enough to get grant money so I can get tenure because my stats program shot out more asterisks at me, all while being as obtusely transparent about it as I need to be to feel a sufficient amount of moral ambiguity.

about a year and a half ago
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Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

sonnejw0 Re:Problem? (644 comments)

You jest about the different time points, but in essence this is what the linked image has basically done. The data from Germany is from 1981-1990 using ground data, while the data from the US is from 1998-2005 using satellite data in a modeled extrapolation.

about a year and a half ago
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Apple Bans DUI Checkpoint Apps

sonnejw0 Aside from hype, Apple's real policy... (601 comments)

... is merely to ban apps that contain checkpoint information that is not publicly available. A Checkpoint app that uses data from public police information is still acceptable, and nearly every police department in the nation not only publishes their checkpoint dates and locations, but ADVERTISES THEM on TV and the local news.

Everybody wants so much drama where there actually isn't any. It's annoying.

more than 3 years ago
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Ask Slashdot: What To Do With Other People's Email?

sonnejw0 Re:Tell the person (619 comments)

I also have received a few mistyped emails, where my email address contains no period between my names, someone else's is the same but does contain a period. I have not received important information, just friends of this other person typing in the wrong address. I've simply responded letting them know and I have not gotten them in a long time, but if you're getting important stuff like bank data, then email the person they are supposed to be going to to let them know. I RECOMMEND NOT FORWARDING THE EMAILS, i.e. the emails with bank account information, because that will probably upset someone possibly into suing you for hacking or something dumb like that. People are paranoid these days.

In addition, I have filled out my online profiles to include state of residence and a photo picture just in case anyone is searching for a person they know they can verify very quickly that I am not that person. It helps.

more than 3 years ago
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Student Sues FBI For Planting GPS Tracker

sonnejw0 Expectation of Privacy on Public Roads (586 comments)

The GPS device was attached to his vehicle, which is driven on public, state and federally owned road infrastructure. There is no legally defensible expectation of privacy in public places. His car is registered to him, with a license plate that ties him to the vehicle. Tracking him visually by having agents follow him, or tracking him by GPS signal, is nominally different both effectively and physically. There was no breach of privacy, there was no attempt to prosecute this man for anything. The FBI has the constitutional right to track him in public places. The individual also has the constitutional right to avoid being tracked, as this individual did by removing the GPS tracker.

Now, if they wiretapped his telephones and recorded all of his conversations without a warrant, that might be a little different ... but that's what the Patriot Act specifically allows.

more than 3 years ago
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Kids Who Skip School Get Tracked By GPS

sonnejw0 Re:Great plan there (515 comments)

I missed 40 days of school in 8th grade (a personal high point), and I didn't get much better about it during highschool. Now I'm working on a Ph.D. in Neurobiology at a translation research and teaching hospital. I credit my not-being-at-my-public-school for the level of success I've achieved.

As a parent, it's my business where my kid is. I'll smash that damn device and hand it back to the truant officer on my kid's behalf. Schools have become the Juvenile Executive branch of the government, and it's not their responsibility. "We'll educate you with the information we want you to know, whether you like it or not!"

more than 3 years ago
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TiVo To Brick All Remaining UK PVRs On June 1

sonnejw0 Re:MythTV + Freeview DVB-T Tuners (286 comments)

If you can see/hear it, you can copy it. Heck, isn't that what the education system is all about?

How many people held up a recorder to an old mono-boombox back in the day? It wasn't too long ago that everyone recorded TV shows on their VCRs and watched them whenever simply by hooking up an inline video feed with a recording timer. As signals become higher and higher quality, the same recording equipment become available to the consumer at lower and lower cost ... why even bother recording? Hook a vinyl recorder up to the speaker leads and have a 99.9999% perfect copy made for you.

I don't understand what the fascination is. It's just because everyone and their nephew has a computer at home ... but only one person has to make a recording and post it on the internet to produce the same amount of 'damage' as there being no copy-protection on media at all.

more than 3 years ago
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Spam Text Prematurely Blows Up Suicide Bomber

sonnejw0 Re:Oh, I laughed when I read this (573 comments)

I hope the terrorists use AT&T, because my txts get delayed all the time!

more than 3 years ago
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Team Use Stem Cells to Restore Mobility in Paralyzed Monkey

sonnejw0 Peer-Review v. Newspaper (196 comments)

There's only a handful of reasons why you'd hear about this first from a newspaper called "The Inquirer" as opposed to Nature Neuroscience ... I'll leave it to you to figure out what those reasons are.

more than 3 years ago
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Hawking Picks Physics Over God For Big Bang

sonnejw0 Re:But what created the law of gravity? (1328 comments)

I am a scientist and philosopher (degrees in both Religion and Neurobiology), and this is a valid question. Where did the law of gravity come from? Yes, the Big Bang and pockets of density that turn into galaxies would spontaneously form based on the laws of gravity and entropy, but why do those laws exist to begin with?

That is a question to which an answer will never be found. Never. I'm not being pessimistic, it's simply that to discover the answer, one has to be able to manipulate the system from outside of it. The known universe is 8.79829142 x10^26 meters in diameter. We're about 1.5 x10^0 meters.

more than 4 years ago
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Man Takes Up Internal Farming

sonnejw0 Re:Pine tree lung (136 comments)

You brought up "intention" by suggesting brains are different than bark in some fundamental way (interestingly, "cortex" is latin for "bark"), but that's simply not true. And now you're backing down by saying it's semantics, when it's not, it's a fundamental Aristotle v Plato world view difference.
The same biochemical processes underlie the functions of both neurons and plant cells. But just because the brain is a very complex system does not mean we have to invent some "emergent" property ... that's just calling it a 'black box' and ignoring the complexity when truly it's just a matter of buckling down and looking at it. Sure the components don't describe the whole, that's what synergism is for; but synergism is sufficient to describe the behavioural effects of neural networks.
It's not a matter of not having the tools, it's a matter of not having the patience.

more than 4 years ago
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Man Takes Up Internal Farming

sonnejw0 Re:Pine tree lung (136 comments)

How does anything evolve? What's your point?

It's not a division error, and linking to an explanation of a division error doesn't make it one any more. There's no reductionism about it. That's like saying that describing how an engine causes a car move is reductionist.
Neurons operate via complex set of modalities involving physical, chemical, and temporal actuators. "Intention" is a human invention foisted upon objects which results in superstition and type I error. Great evolutionarily to protect us from predators, but bad at making us effective logicians. Synergism of neurons can create inordinately complex results, but that does not create a qualitative upheaval in which "intention" is born. Free will cannot exist without cause-and-effect. If we truly had free will, our actions would have no correlation to our environment at all ... but they do. What we sense in our environment causes us to produce a certain effect, like sensing a sabertooth tiger "causes" our sympathetic noradrenergic systems to overpower our parasympathetic system and produce a preference to RUN! It's all very elegant ... but complexity and synergism is quantitatively exponential, it does not produce something where there was nothing.

more than 4 years ago
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Man Takes Up Internal Farming

sonnejw0 Re:Pine tree lung (136 comments)

Humans don't have "intentions" either, we're just a mix of chemicals that obey physical laws. Evolutionarily, plants could just as easily sense human 'pheromones' in the environment through receptors on their bark or leaves, which initiaties a cascade of chemical events leading to the release of toxic pollen. That's basically what a glutamate receptor in your brain does: senses a neurochemical causing neuronal depolarization of the target cell.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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ATT Service Down in Reston, VA for a Week

sonnejw0 sonnejw0 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

sonnejw0 (1114901) writes "Seems all of AT&T's wireless services have been down in the town of Reston, VA for at least a week now, and AT&T does not seem to be fixing the problem. No data, no phone calls, no voice or texts. And of course, no 3G ... although the town is usually fully covered. Phones even show full bars but the signal crashes out whenever someone tries to use it.

"Then I noticed that the bars would drop to zero and come back with the E (edge) symbol. Then it would go to NO SERVICE. And then a minute later back to 3G but still no ability to use the phone. Nothing including turning off the phone would help.

On Tuesday I was at the town center and again having issues so I went to the Apple Store to test one of their phones in the store. Before I could even get to a phone, the Apple Store Greeter guy asked if I needed any help. I explained the issue and he immediately said they were aware of the issue with AT&T. No one in the Apple Store could use the network or was able to make calls at that location! Wow. Bad."

"

Link to Original Source
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Galaxy Survey Confounds Dark Matter Theory

sonnejw0 sonnejw0 writes  |  about 5 years ago

sonnejw0 writes "Dark matter, a theoretical substance that lines the galaxies of outer-space, was postulated to account for the observed rotational energy in neighbouring galaxies which could not be accounted for in current theories of gravity. NewScientist is reporting on a new sky survey that has found constant ratios of dark matter deposited in these newly studied galaxies. This is a problem because galaxies should not have a constant ratio of dark to regular matter; this ratio should depend on the processes of their formation. These results point to a possible new theory of gravity:

"Now, the tale has taken a deeper turn into the unknown, thanks to an analysis of the normal matter at the centres of 28 galaxies of all shapes and sizes. The study shows that there is always five times more dark matter than normal matter where the dark matter density has dropped to one-quarter of its central value. The finding goes against expectations because the ratio of dark to normal matter should depend on the galaxy's history â" for example, whether it has merged with another galaxy or remained isolated during its entire existence. Mergers should skew the ratio of dark to normal matter on an individual basis."

"

Link to Original Source
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Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats

sonnejw0 sonnejw0 writes  |  about 5 years ago

sonnejw0 writes "Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws and inherent inefficiencies at sea, such as barnacle build-up on hulls. Many marine animals avoid the build-up of drag-inducing barnacles through secreting oily residues from their pores or through the nano-molecular arrangement of their skin. Sailors regularly defoul their hulls, remove the barnacles, at dry-dock, which requires them to reduce the amount of time they have at sea. Some synthetic chemicals in paints have been used to prevent barnacle build-up but have been found to be toxic to marine animals and thus outlawed by several nations. Now, engineers are trying to replicate the skin of marine animals to produce a slippery hull to which marine bacteria cannot attach, saving fuel costs and improving speeds:

Designing ships to exude slime from their hulls could cut their fuel consumption by up to 20 per cent. The slime would form a gelatinous skin that continually sloughs off, taking with it the barnacles and other marine life forms that cause energy-sapping drag as they accumulate on the ships' underside.

"

Link to Original Source
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NASA's plan to Harvest Moon Water

sonnejw0 sonnejw0 writes  |  about 5 years ago

sonnejw0 writes "Now that we have identified water on the moon, how can we harvest it for lunar bases, for power and for drinking, and will it be a renewable lunar resource? NASA is already testing possible methods of harvesting this water in the vacuum of space ... using a regular microwave oven. Do you think they used the "Defrost" or "Popcorn" setting? From the article:

"But how do you extract water that is likely locked up as small concentrations of ice in the lunar soil? Microwaves could provide the key, according to work by Edwin Ethridge of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and William Kaukler of the University of Alabama, both in Huntsville, who first demonstrated the technique in 2006."

"

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Alzheimer's Disease linked to Sleep Deprivation

sonnejw0 sonnejw0 writes  |  about 5 years ago

sonnejw0 writes "NewScientist is reporting a link between sleep deprivation and increased amyloid-beta plaque load, the protein thought responsible for a large part of the symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease, in mice. Medication to abrogate insomnia reduced the plaque load. Also discussed is a recently discovered sleep cycle of amyloid-beta deposition in the brain, in which levels decrease while asleep. From the article:

"Holtzman also tried sending the mice to sleep with a drug that is being trialled for insomnia, called Almorexant. This reduced the amount of plaque-forming protein. He suggests that sleeping for longer could limit the formation of plaques, and perhaps block it altogether."

"

Link to Original Source

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