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Comments

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I typically start my workday ...

vuo Re:Academics.. (141 comments)

I have to counter this with my opposite experience. I came to work at 9 or 9:30, and everyone thought I was lazy. Most seemed to come at 8-8:30, and some at 7:00. Notwithstanding that these people often left at around 14:00-15:30, so their working days had actually like 6-7 hours. I guess they felt good arriving early, and that gave them justification to leave earlier. It was already pretty quiet at 16:00 and dead at 17:00. My boss once even asked "Are you still here" at 17:00. I usually stayed at the office up to 18:00 and couple of times a week up to 19-20:00, thus working a minimum of 8½ hours, occasionally up to 11 hours. People that get selected for studying towards higher degrees often are set in their ways, and are bewildered at any deviation from their petty notions of what it means to be hardworking and what not. If you're not at the office at 7:58, you must be automatically a lazy drunk; if you work after 16:00, you must be an obsessed weirdo.

about 3 months ago
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Favorite Star Wars Movie?

vuo Re:Episode V! (457 comments)

Remember, it's made on a government contract. Lowest bidder, or by the most "well-connected". Like some voting machines and health insurance sites you might have heard from. In any case, military hardware rarely has all the safety measures required for civilian applications. And the evil empire and troops considered expendable part might be a factor, too.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Fastest, Cheapest Path To a Bachelor's Degree?

vuo Re:Move out of the US (370 comments)

Mod parent up. Having to pay big $$$ to get a degree is something that happens in developing countries and the U.S. only. Admissions by merit is the rule - only diploma mills and other "not actually universities" would accept cash. Also, don't believe the "freedom fries" neocon story, Americans are well-received abroad. You already know English; you don't have to be fluent in any other language except if you go to a large country where people don't strictly need to know other languages (so forget Germany, France, Russia and Brazil). Of the checkboxes in the HR form, you get not only the Bachelor's degree, but also international experience. That, and you might also actually learn something.

As for Finland, there are a lot of AMK's that are quite easy to get into. They get funded by the government based on student numbers, so they have an incentive to accept students. These are 3-4-year degrees, but I believe you can negotiate to get the Associates studies included. (Such a degree doesn't exist in Finland.)

about 6 months ago
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LABONFOIL: A Portable Bond-Style Lab

vuo Unbonding this... (30 comments)

The story completely fails to elaborate on the contents of the box. If it's just an instant test for drugs, then there's little new. The idea that you could just replace a general analytical laboratory with a single gizmo is the product of a mind untrained in chemistry. A gas, liquid or ion chromatograph has a column, which must be of at least a certain length to produce good resolution, and ramping up the pressure would hardly be an option, since that would require heavier pressure-proof lines and pumps. How to set up a column oven inside a credit card is not obvious either. A mass spectrometer has a high-vacuum chamber (high vacuum = thick steel) and a strong magnet; the smallest are tabletop-size. Likewise, NMR spectrometers have a strong magnet, and have been miniaturized to a 1x1x1 ft cubes, but I don't see how, barring discovery of new elements, the magnets could be made smaller. (NQR might be an option, but that would then beg the question of how to miniaturize the radio transmitter and receiver. And no one has, as of yet, actually produced a working field NQR, ADE 651 not withstanding) For inorganic analysis, XRF is probably the closest, with handheld devices being the smallest. XPS or Auger is again high vacuum and involves vacuum tubes, so no luck here either. This equipment would cover much of the functionality of a 'James Bond' lab, and would still be useless without a trained analytical chemist.

about 7 months ago
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I think wearable computing will take off...

vuo Re:Define "wearable" (254 comments)

I was in the Aachen-Dresden International Textile Conference last November, and most of the concepts presented are just like you say: unwashable. Promotion of in-sewn electronics does continue; this fad hasn't died out. Practically, most concepts are essentially taking an existing hard chip (i.e. steel-encased silicon) and using conventional techniques to sew it in and wire it with metal wires. There was even an outright idiotic idea - offense meant - that OLED screens would be sewn in. It turns out OLED is extremely sensitive to moisture; thus, if you can protect an OLED screen from moisture, you can protect anything. Any defect or hole in a coating, no matter how small, will render the whole coating useless. The only clear materials impervious enough are all glasslike solid metal oxides. A minute crack would destroy the whole screen.

But, fortunately, that's not all. It turns out carbon nanotubes can be made into filaments and potentially made into conductive yarn. This was shown to be washable, with no change in performance after multiple washes. There were also ideas how to make conformable electronics. Most "flexible" electronics are actually flexible only on one axis, like a credit card; bending them across two dimensions or forcing folds and bumps into them would break them. Whereas, a conformable piece of electronics would resemble a piece of a plastic bag. Conformable electronics that resist moisture would make it possible to incorporate the electronics as an insert into clothing, like washing labels are today.

But, I voted never. There are two obvious reasons. First, power. To get enough power, you need a battery, and it's unlikely that a foldable, washable and safe lithium battery could be made. So, you have a lump of hard material there anyway, and once it's there, the second reason becomes apparent: there is no need. There's nothing a lump + sheet of plastic can do that just the lump couldn't do alone. (Granted, screens, but I wrote about those above.)

about 9 months ago
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I wish my cell phone was...

vuo Usability-- (495 comments)

"More convenient and responsive" would be my vote, so I had to vote "faster". Most apps are still clunky, and there's an obvious air of "not there yet". For instance, I want to give the spoken command "find the route options for bus from here to home". Now, I have to click the bus search client, manually write the address, and then wait. Wait a long time, because it first tries and fails to get a GPS fix. Then, it communicates with the remote server several times, each taking 1-2 seconds. Finally, I get one route option, not a selection of options. (Andropas) Since the GPS fix doesn't work and the algorithm for finding the route to the final address is rickety, usually I just memorize the bus stop numbers and directly search between them. Now an "update" installed a forced autosuggest feature that forces the user to wait until the client contacts the server for allowed options, so the memorizing stop numbers trick works even less efficiently.

This just barely beats taking a paper timetable and just looking it up there. This sort of experience isn't just one app, it's pretty much all of them.

about 10 months ago
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WRT trans fats, the FDA should ...

vuo Re:Synthetic trans fats (376 comments)

Trans fats aren't "lifestyle", they're artificial contamination from processing. If you do hydrogenation incompletely, you also do isomerization. This is a purely technological problem, and it already has straightforward solutions. Interesterification, for instance, allows to have a "partially hydrogenated" fat without any actual partial hydrogenation. Many other countries have solved the problem already.

about a year ago
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Nokia Insider On Why It Failed and Why Apple Could Be Next

vuo Re: Newkia (420 comments)

Why such a stupid Finglish name, I wonder too. Univ student humor magazine Tamppi suggested LempÃÃlà Mobile Phones in 2000. But seriously, there is Westend ICT. Karamalmi or Keilaniemi would be obvious choices, but the guy's name, Zilliacus, is cool too.

1 year,24 days
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Aiming For a Commercially Available Submersible

vuo Re:Mir (66 comments)

The promises of orders are not mentioned in this article, but were in a TV documentary about the case. (Whatever the case, it's not known if the Soviets would've approved of orders by other countries or private individuals, for instance Israel.)

about a year ago
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Aiming For a Commercially Available Submersible

vuo Mir (66 comments)

Mir. The interesting thing is that the CIA killed this project, leaving only the two pieces already produced. They feared that the technology was too advanced to be sold to the Soviet Union. They promised the manufacturer compensating orders from the West, but you should never trust the U.S. government - this was of course a lie.

about a year ago
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Physicist Proposes New Way To Think About Intelligence

vuo Make it work (233 comments)

You can make the examples work if you modify the problem. For instance, define that the box is cold, the room is hot and the food is hot. Then, putting the food in the box increases entropy. This is in fact analogous to eating, even in physical terms; the box that eats the food is an energy sink, just like a living being.

about a year and a half ago
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IBM Dipping Chips In 'Ionic Liquid' To Save Power

vuo Re:The Cost of the Liquid? (68 comments)

And just to clarify, their IL was 1-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide, or better known as [hmim][NTf2], fairly nonexotic as far as ILs go. Although I didn't find the price for this, the butyl version (whose synthesis is very similar) goes for 1150 €/kg at SigmaAldrich.

about a year and a half ago
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IBM Dipping Chips In 'Ionic Liquid' To Save Power

vuo Re:The Cost of the Liquid? (68 comments)

Joking aside, ILs are expensive, because they're yet nothing but custom-manufactured small-batch chemicals for research. We're talking about 500-1200 €/kg for low grade (2-5% impurities). For high purity, you need very deep pockets, since producing pure ILs is not routine and may need expensive custom synthesis and research. If production is scaled up, though, then we're in the normal custom manufacturing range, order of magnitude being 10-100 €/kg. In this case, though, I think the price of the IL is not going to be a problem, simply because the amount needed is so small.

Personally, I think that what kills this eventually is the inability to control the degradation of the IL or the memory itself, and accumulation of harmful degradation products. Since this is a chip that you'll package and seal in, you wouldn't want to do an "oil change" now and then.

about a year and a half ago
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For 2012's U.S. tax season ...

vuo Gain for pain (526 comments)

Parent is right. There's also one funny thing if you compare taxes in Finland, which most red-state Americans would call a "damn Communist country", with U.S. taxes. If you do the math on the statistics, the result is that both pay the same sum in PPP dollars. In Finland, the government does all sorts of things: healthcare (average for a developed country but efficient), education (world's best education system according to PISA), proper school lunches at no cost, free tuition at universities + a student benefit for all students, unemployment benefits, childcare, maternity benefits, child allowance, etc. The list is very long and much of it simply doesn't exist in the U.S.; not at all or in a very restricted form.

For instance, I fathered a baby recently. During the pregnancy, my wife was treated with a monthly checkup at the local municipal clinic. We went to a municipal hospital for the delivery, and were cared for excellently. The government gave us a box full of clothes and supplies for the baby. My wife could now care for the baby on maternity leave, while being paid 60% of her wages by the government. What's more, I'm a doctoral student currently. In the future, the child will get annual health checks, daycare, school and university tuition. All of this costs nothing or a nominal fee. In the U.S., all of this would be paid by me or my parents. (Ok, you're poor, so you have no choice? Wrong. I and my wife are a high-income family.) I will happily pay high taxes if I get something in return.

about a year and a half ago
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Intel To Help Stephen Hawking Communicate Faster

vuo Re:Eye Tracking (133 comments)

There is also the option of using Dasher. You only need four controls: up, down and forward and back. The program shows a tree of the possible options, emphasizing more frequent words. You can write "the" by just looking at "t" and then at the "h e" that appear. This is pretty intuitive with eye-tracking, more so than a keyboard.

about a year and a half ago
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Astronomers Discover a Group of Quasars 4 Billion Light Years Across

vuo What force? (106 comments)

What force? That's the difficult question here, and the problem with your argument (an argument from ignorance). Of the four fundamental forces in nature, gravity has the longest range. But, structures larger than a supercluster are too large for gravity, because the metric expansion of the universe is a stronger "force" at that scale or larger, and necessarily tears apart any larger structures. That implies larger structures must have formed in process of the Big Bang.

The only known mechanism for creating large cosmic structures, baryon acoustic oscillations, is based on gravity. It tends to produce voids of 490 million light-years or smaller. The trouble is that you run out of possible fundamental forces when explaining the formation of larger structures. You literally need new physics to construct an object ten times larger than the limit given by known physics.

By the way, the size of the observable universe is 46.6 Mly, since the universe has expanded since then; the age of light and the current distance of its emitter are not interchangeable at cosmic distances.

about a year and a half ago
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Worldwide Shortage of Barium

vuo Re:Diatrizoic Acid (270 comments)

The essential feature of the element is that it has a high X-ray absorbance. But, any heavy metal has a high X-ray absorbance; this is why thorium was used in the first place. The problem is the solubility: barium sulfate is essentially insoluble, but other metals are usually somewhat soluble and thus toxic. In principle you could use any heavy element (iodine, mercury, lead, uranium, thorium, bismuth, etc.). In practice, barium, iodine, bismuth and thorium have been used.

One alternative that is worth a mention is something that absorbs less that tissue, namely air.

about a year and a half ago
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NASA Pondering L2 Outpost, Return To Moon

vuo Re:Budget (122 comments)

The ExoMars rover will be launched in 2018. There was some reorganization when NASA was replaced by another partner, Roscosmos. The ESA site about the rover was updated last month, so it seems they're still on track.

about 2 years ago
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The Periodic Table of Tech

vuo Mod parent up (39 comments)

The table is incredibly half-assed. Even if you assume "tech" really means "electronics", how about iron, copper and cadmium left blank? Duh. Also, arsenic, germanium, fluorine, chromium, mercury, lead, nitrogen, ... AAARRGGH!

about 2 years ago
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Woman Successfully Grows Ear From Arm

vuo Re:Is this kind of like... (74 comments)

Slashdot reported earlier of a new upper jaw grown inside the body, not from the patient's excised bone, but from his stem cells. The operation in this post, as far as I understand, is an established part of modern medicine: epithelial tissue is excised, reshaped and reimplanted. This is not novel; it has been done since World War I.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Human Brain is Sensitive to Light in Ears

vuo vuo writes  |  more than 3 years ago

vuo (156163) writes "Finnish researchers have shown that the human brain contains photoreceptors that react to intracranial illumination. Light is provided through the ear canal with bright-light headsets by Valkee. These devices, much like earphones or should we say "earlumes", are registered medical devices. Retinal illumination or bright-light therapy has been previously assumed to be the only way light indirectly affects brains. Light therapy helps with mood swings, seasonal affective disorder, jetlag and other circadian rhythm disruptions."
Link to Original Source
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Servers run well outside in cold winter

vuo vuo writes  |  about 4 years ago

vuo (156163) writes "Servers left outside in a tent in this year's exceptionally cold winter in Finland survived equally well as servers left in an office. Professor Jussi Kangasharju of University of Helsinki presented the results of a study in the first ACM SIGCOMM workshop on Green networking. 9 servers were left outside in winter, where outside temperatures varied and relative humidity was 80-90%, and were only protected from rain by a tent. Nevertheless, they were not found to suffer from a higher failure rate (5.6%) than found by Intel in a temperate climate. When the outside temperature was -22 C, the tent was at -5 C, cooling effected by wind and free air exchange."
Link to Original Source
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Aland court cuts government's Internet due to P2P

vuo vuo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

vuo writes "For the first time in the European Union, an Åland court has ordered an Internet connection to be cut because of P2P use. Åland Islands is a small, Swedish-speaking, autonomously governed island province, with about 27.000 inhabitants, under the sovereignity of Finland. An employee of the local provincial government had used a P2P program using the government's Internet connection. The copyright interest group TTVK approached the court, and without consulting the operator, the court ordered the connection to be cut. The connection was quickly brought on line after the matter had been settled with the local administration. The decision has been criticized by Electronic Frontier Finland, because it resembles a denial-of-service attack and is a potential information security threat. Effi's president, Tapani Tarvainen, notes: "What if it was a hospital or other institution, where cutting connections would have caused real grave danger?" He also says that the courts simply lack the know-how, and the law allowing such orders (Lex Karpela, a Finnish national law not required by EU directive) needs to be repealed. TTVK's and Åland administration's take on the issue is that P2P use in an intranet is necessarily a risk to information security, citing examples from Pfizer and Citigroup. (Note: Google has recently introduced Finnish to Language Tools.)"
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft's provides Live@edu to Finland, gratis

vuo vuo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

vuo (156163) writes "During Finland's Prime Minister Vanhanen's visit to Microsoft, where he met Bill Gates, Microsoft announced that the Windows Live@edu platform will be given gratis to the Finnish government. Live@edu is hosted on Microsoft's servers, and designed for communicating in the school environment, and includes electronic message boards, chats, school schedules and email. Vanhanen's government accepts the gift and notes that it will improve the development of the Finnish information society, particularly in remote regions where lack of expertise has precluded buying such software. Microsoft thinks that most Finnish schools will move into using Live@edu. However, Finnish software companies have reacted adversely to favoring gratis, but non-free American software. The CEO of Nextime Solutions, Jere Polvi, has sent a letter to Vanhanen to remind him to consider Finnish alternatives, which employ people in Finland and which have been developed for Finnish schools right from the start. (this is discussed in the main URL) In English:Helsingin Sanomat, Seattle Times, YLE News."
Link to Original Source
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Teenager arrested for virtual robbery

vuo vuo writes  |  more than 6 years ago

vuo (156163) writes "Another link from Reuters: Dutch police arrests teenager for virtual robbery of virtual furniture worth 4000 ($5900) in Habbo Hotel, a website by Sulake Corporation. Sulake has 80 million registered users of its sites in 31 countries."
Link to Original Source
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Digital TV switchover in Finland

vuo vuo writes  |  about 7 years ago

vuo (156163) writes "At 04:00, 1 September 2007, all analog television networks were shut down, and the switchover to digital television has been completed. Watching television requires a digital decoder, such as a set-top box, a television with an integrated decoder, or a computer with a digital TV card. Currently, the national broadcasting corporation Yleisradio (YLE), which operates five digital channels, is funded by a television licence fee (208.15 per year per household). However, a consequence of digitalization is that nearly every device with a screen is potentially a television set. Minister of Communications Suvi Lindén has questioned the current policy, and promotes funding of YLE from the national budget and reducing the production of domestic programmes. YLE's director, also a former Microsoft PR director Mikael Jungner (sd.) opposes the plans."
Link to Original Source

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