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Scientists Capture the Sound Made By a Single Atom

thisisauniqueid Shroedinger's Phonon (100 comments)

Q: If an atom slams into another atom in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, did it make a phonon or not? A: Yes.

about two weeks ago

Magnitude 6.0 Quake Hits Northern California, Causing Injuries and Outages

thisisauniqueid Brick houses in earthquake zones (135 comments)

People who live in brick houses with tile roofs in earthquake zones are just asking for trouble.

about a month ago

Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

thisisauniqueid Re:Would YOU be able to sleep in space?? (106 comments)

I know Yi So-Yeon, the first Korean astronaut. She said she hated space. She wanted to throw up the whole time, and felt like her head was going to explode. (Both of these symptoms are caused by gravity not pulling things downwards, as well as the vestibular system being screwed up.)

Personally, I have been on a Zero-G "Vomit comet" flight, and it *was* "frickin awesome" until about the 15th parabola, then I started feeling extremely nauseated. I'm lucky we landed before I needed to throw up (some poor shmuck paid $6000 for the flight and had to strap himself into a seat so he could throw up constantly into a bag after the very first parabola). However, I have never felt more motion-sick -- it was *awful* -- and it didn't subside for over five hours after we landed.

about a month and a half ago

Inside BitFury's 20 Megawatt Bitcoin Mine

thisisauniqueid They do mine with your equipment before shipping (195 comments)

Almost all hardware manufacturers *do* mine with all the hardware they make. They make it and mine with it even after you have paid for it. They then ship it to you right before the break-even point. There are endless stories out there about missed shipping deadline after missed shipping deadline, mining hardware companies making empty promises, and would-be miners receiving hardware a few months too late, by which point their projected return is orders of magnitude smaller than it would have been due to the increase in network hash rate between when they paid for the hardware and when they received it.

about a month and a half ago

OKCupid Experiments on Users Too

thisisauniqueid OKC's match algos suck (161 comments)

Findings include that ... suggesting a bad match is a good match causes people to converse nearly as much as ideal matches would.

All this means is that OKC's match algorithms suck: there's only a weak correlation between match scores and real-world compatibility (like with every other dating site).

about 2 months ago

Earth In the Midst of Sixth Mass Extinction: the 'Anthropocene Defaunation'

thisisauniqueid Building Roads (342 comments)

Building roads all over a continent is one of the fastest ways to decimate species.

about 2 months ago

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

thisisauniqueid Re:Structural integrity of cornea impacted with La (550 comments)

Oh, and the reason I finally got PRK was because I realized PRK cost the same amount as my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, and I valued seeing things with my eyes more than through a camera lens. I sold the camera and got PRK.

about 2 months ago

Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

thisisauniqueid Structural integrity of cornea impacted with Lasik (550 comments)

If you get Lasik, the structural integrity of your cornea will never be the same as it was. One impact of a branch on your eye, or a tag from your jacket flicking you in the eye, could dislodge the corneal flap... and trust me, that's an injury you don't want to have.

I opted for PRK instead of Lasik for the following three reasons: (1) there's no flap with PRK, so no loss of structural integrity; (2) PRK reportedly causes fewer problems with dry eyes (because you're not severing the nerves within the cornea, just cutting off the nerve endings); and (3) PRK removes less of the cornea than Lasik, making a later "touch up" operation more of an option.

Recovery from PRK was brutal -- for two weeks you can't see anything ("I see men as trees, walking") and it feels like someone has poked both your eyes with their thumbs. Five years later I still have frequent issues with dry eyes -- primarily, I often can't really open my eyes when I wake up until I have put drops in, they're very painful otherwise. Getting salt from the Dead Sea in my eyes recently was excruciatingly painful -- more so than for normal people. I don't have halos at night, but if my eyes are dry I get some glare. Would I do it again? I think so -- life without glasses is awesome, and my vision is better than 20/20 now. I can live life without glasses for the next 10 years, then only need them while reading once presybyopia sets in. But the dry eyes almost make me say no, maybe it wasn't worth it. I go back and forth on this. And I miss the style factor of wearing glasses, to be honest.

about 2 months ago

Was Turing Test Legitimately Beaten, Or Just Cleverly Tricked?

thisisauniqueid Artificial stupidity (309 comments)

From Every news outlet is currently covering the story that a chatbot pretending to be a 13-year old Ukranian boy has deceived 33% of human judges into thinking it is a human, thereby "passing the Turing test for the first time". There are so many problems with the Turing test (even with the numerous refinements to it that many have proposed) that I don't know if it will ever tell us anything useful. The creators of the above chatbot hinted that part of their success in convincing the judges was that “his age ... makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn’t know everything” -- in other words, to make a believable bot, you can't give your bot super-human knowledge or capabilities, even if this is technically possible to do (e.g. computers can multiply large numbers almost instantly). Limiting computational power to appear human-like is known as "artificial stupidity". The need for artificial stupidity to pass the Turing test illustrates one of the deepest issues with the test, and one that cannot be fixed by simply tweaking the rules: the Turing test is a test of human dupe-ability, not of machine intelligence. I'm pretty sure we'll start seeing several claims per year that a bot has "passed the Turing test", followed by a flurry of discussion about what was actually tested and whether the result is believable or even meaningful, until it becomes so cliche'd to say that your bot passed the Turing test that nobody with a halfway decent AI would actually *want* to claim that their AI passed a test of this form. Hopefully we see the day when the Turing test is inverted, and we realize we need a test to establish that someone is a "genuine human" and not a bot ;-) But until then, we still have a heck of a lot of work to do!

about 3 months ago

WebKit Unifies JavaScript Compilation With LLVM Optimizer

thisisauniqueid FTL = Faster Than Light (170 comments)

In Physics, FTL = Faster Than Light. Nice pun. However, the sheer horrendous complexity of the system they described in the blog post indicates all that is wrong with Javascript as "the assembly language of the Web". Why, oh why, haven't we replaced Javascript with something cleaner, more robust and more efficient? It's 2014, people.

about 4 months ago

Cellular Compound May Increase Lifespan Without the Need For Strict Dieting

thisisauniqueid Riiight (66 comments)

(1) So since it works in worms, it will work in humans? (2) And of course nature never thought of this before or tried this before. Reminds me of a TV character in the 80s (was it ALF? or Steve Urkel?) who was modifying car engines to get 200mpg. Trouble is, 500 miles down the road, the engine fell out of the car. (3) Maybe nature doesn't want us living for 200 years? See (2).

about 4 months ago

Why Scientists Are Still Using FORTRAN in 2014

thisisauniqueid Why is anyone still using C++ in 2014? (634 comments)

Forget Fortran, I want to know why anybody in their right mind is still using the obtuse juggernaut mongrel of a language known as C++ in 2014. (Even with the 11 and 14 versions don't make things any better, they only wallpaper over obtuse features with other obtuse features... very few people alive truly know all the weird quirks of C++ inside and out.)

about 4 months ago

Bill Would End US Govt's Sale of Already-Available Technical Papers To Itself

thisisauniqueid Who is Bill? (32 comments)

Just wondering.

about 5 months ago

A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile

thisisauniqueid Latency (135 comments)

Low motion latency (not above half the frame interval) is far more important than resolution. None of these headsets are there yet.

about 5 months ago

Google Unveils Android Wear

thisisauniqueid You could also look out the window. (103 comments)

You could also look out the window. That's the other thing on the wall that looks like a monitor, only it's 3D.

about 6 months ago

Who's On WhatsApp, and Why?

thisisauniqueid Bedouin nomads (280 comments)

I just got back from traveling through Bedouin country in Jordan, and several Bedouin men who live miles from civilization without wired electricity and whose extent of knowledge of technology is how to drive their truck and charge their feature phone from solar panels separately told me that they use WhatsApp to communicate with other Bedouin families and friends. The cost savings over SMS is key, but the brilliance of WhatsApp was the decision even in this day and age to implement Symbian and J2ME clients.

about 7 months ago

If I Had a Hammer

thisisauniqueid This is ridiculous (732 comments)

This is ridiculous. The capabilities of man + machine will always be greater than the capabilities of a machine by itself, so we're not going to run out of intellectual jobs just because machines can do smarter things. Machines, including computers, are just power tools for the brain. (And I say this even as a full-time AI researcher with a PhD in the field, developing new AI algorithms for my day job at a major tech company.)

about 8 months ago

How Asimov's Three Laws Ran Out of Steam

thisisauniqueid The real problem with the laws (153 comments)

The real problem with Asimov's Laws is that for them to be followed, they must be understood, and we are so far from being able to build any system capable of genuinely understanding anything that it is not realistic to believe we can impute laws with social nuance to an algorithm anytime in the immediate predictable future. Mounting guns on robots that run computer vision algorithms to detect and kill humans, however, is last decade's technology. (Disclaimer: I am an AI and NLP researcher at Google.)

about 8 months ago

Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Has Been Found

thisisauniqueid Re:Classic... (85 comments)

An open source project stuck in "refactoring hell". Seems to have happened to Inkscape too. Such a waste.

Heavily refactoring projects of this size rarely brings any benefit for the users, it's just technical masturbation. If you're lucky, you will after a few years end up with a project that does the same things as before, most likely it will have acquired some bugs as icing on the cake.

That's why when we don't like code, we should start reimplementing it from scratch immediately.

about 8 months ago



ALS suffrer uses last strength to submit patch

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

thisisauniqueid writes "Perhaps the most touching FOSS story ever: Adrian Hands, ALS sufferer, used his last strength before he passed away to write and submit a patch to fix a 9-year old accessibility-related bug in the eog project. He did it using a Morse code mouse."
Link to Original Source

Android vs iPhone4 signal strength bars comparison

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 4 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "In the light of the debacle over the iPhone 4 Grip of Death, AnandTech recently reverse-engineered the signal-strength-to-bars mapping for the iPhone 4. Because Android is open source, we can determine the corresponding mapping for Android in combination with the 3GPP spec referenced in the source, allowing the signal-strength-to-bars mapping for both Android and the iPhone 4 to be plotted on the same axes. This shows that the iPhone 4 consistently reports a higher percentage signal strength (as defined by the fraction of bars lit) than Android GSM devices at the same signal strength."
Link to Original Source

How would you improve life for 1B people in 10yrs?

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid writes "I am in the inaugural class of Singularity University, whose stated mission is to "assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies and apply, focus and guide these tools to address humanity's grand challenges". We have been tasked with finding interdisciplinary solutions to global problems that leverage accelerating technologies to positively affect the lives of 10^9+ people within 10 years, preferably focused upon the areas of water, climate, health and energy, and we will be connected with VCs who can make any useful ideas that emerge happen. We are currently in the team project planning stages, and a number of interesting ideas have already emerged. However because crowdsourcing itself is a useful means for problem solving on an exponential scale, I would like to throw the question out to Slashdot readers. What would YOU do to positively impact the lives of one billion people in 10 years through creative use of accelerating technologies?"

Switch the US to the metric system by 2019

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "A petition at calls for the Obama government to start the process of metrication now, and complete it a decade from now in 2019. This will reduce trade impediments due to the US using an antiquated and non-scientifically-based system of units, and will avoid more embarrassments like the Mars Climate Orbiter fiasco, where a $328 million NASA initiative burned up on entry into the Mars atmosphere because a NASA subcontractor, Lockheed Martin, was using Imperial units rather than the metric units mandated for the project, so the orbiter came into orbit too low. The Obama government has been actively soliciting citizen ideas, calling it the rebirth of democracy, and this may be the most fundamental scientifically-grounded change that needs to happen now for America's future. Go sign the petition now and make your voice known!"

Smooth MultiTouch Zooming on the T-Mobile G1

thisisauniqueid thisisauniqueid writes  |  more than 5 years ago

thisisauniqueid (825395) writes "The T-Mobile G1 was released without multi-touch capability, although it was demonstrated a couple of months ago that the screen was multitouch-capable if you hack the Synaptics kernel driver to dump out multitouch events to a file. It turns out though that the kernel driver actually sends the multitouch events all the way to the Android UI stack, where they are promptly dropped. There is now a patch for the Android stack that captures these events and passes them through the event pipeline in a way that is backwards-compatible with single-touch. Perhaps multitouch for the G1 is on its way? (Note that you have to reflash your phone to get this working.)"


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