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NASA Tests Feasibility of 3D Printing on the Moon and Other Planets

wonkey_monkey Re:April Fool's already? (40 comments)

Either it is joke, or a commentary about the utility of 3D printing.

Or it says something about what you think a poop pile looks like, in which case you may need to see a doctor.

7 hours ago
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NASA Tests Feasibility of 3D Printing on the Moon and Other Planets

wonkey_monkey Enough of this! (40 comments)

Enough of this 3D printing malarkey. When are they going to find out if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space?

7 hours ago
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

wonkey_monkey Re:Philosophy (77 comments)

Is this a school bus?

8 hours ago
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Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It's Looking At

wonkey_monkey Re:There is no such thing as AI (77 comments)

and never will be

How could you possibly know that?

An electronic switch knows nothing. A massive piles of electronic switches cannot know something.

A neuron knows nothing, and yet a "massive pile" of neurons can know, understand, imagine, lie, cheat, steal, love, hate, and dream.

AI may not be here yet, but it's practically inevitable.

8 hours ago
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New Cargo Ship Is 488 Meters Long

wonkey_monkey Re:Displacing five times as much water... (102 comments)

It'd be hard for it not to given that it weighs five times as much.

But that's not "given" - it's not stated in the story, and I don't personally happen to have any idea how much an aircraft carrier weighs off the top of my head, so the story pointing out that it displaces as much water as six aircraft carriers - that's what the linked article says - is useful information. Though a direct weight comparison would probably make more sense to the average reader.

11 hours ago
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Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

wonkey_monkey A 10,000ft tether? (161 comments)

Technically considered aerostats, since they are tethered to mooring stations, these lighter-than-air vehicles will hover at a height of 10,000 feet

What do you make a 10,000ft tether out of, and what are the dangers? Presumably it's going to limit air traffic in the area, and will the angle and direction of the tether will vary depending on wind strength and direction?

What would happen if the tension provided by the balloon's lift was removed, for whatever reason?

12 hours ago
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New AP Course, "Computer Science Principles," Aims To Make CS More Accessible

wonkey_monkey You could start... (190 comments)

...by telling us what "AP" and "CS" mean.

Nah, just kidding this time. About CS, at least. AP I don't know.

One of Microsoft's particular goals is to "reach every individual girl in her house."

Oh, I see, it's okay when Microsoft says it, but I get a lecture from the cops. Typical!

yesterday
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A New Law For Superconductors

wonkey_monkey Re:Division by Zero (51 comments)

At a complete guess, the sheet resistance is possibly as measured at above the superconducting temperature.

yesterday
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Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

wonkey_monkey Re:If you point the camera on a politician.. (427 comments)

Although it doesn't really fit the quote, one theory is that what's actually meant is that six lines is a decent amount on which to base a forgery, with which to condemn.

yesterday
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Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography

wonkey_monkey Re:Drill sideways (183 comments)

All thanks to Burns Slant-Drilling Co.

Tito Puente!

2 days ago
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The Joker Behind the Signetics 25120 Write-Only Memory Chip Hoax

wonkey_monkey 31 mega pixel background image (100 comments)

Jeez, I know we've all got super-fast broadband and the like, but is there really any good reason to have a 31 megapixel background image?

Remember, every byte transmitted hastens the heat death of the universe!

2 days ago
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How Birds Lost Their Teeth

wonkey_monkey Re:Wasn't there a book about this? (137 comments)

Why give up teeth

Because as things changed and the years passed they became more of a hindrance than a help to birds (or their ancestors) and so those offspring born with fewer teeth, or smaller teeth, were better at surviving and having offspring.

how to convince your unborn offspring to do take it to the next step.

Why would any "convincing" be required? The offspring are likely to face the same challenges as their parents. If they've got traits that help them survive better than their peers - such as fewer or smaller teeth - then they'll pass these on to their offspring. Then, in turn, those offspring will be facing the same pressures again. So once again, among those offspring, those with fewer or smaller have a better chance at surviving than their brothers and sisters (and cousins).

You would expect these animals to be superior to us and make conscious decisions to change their DNA, to evolve

What animals are you talking about? No animal needs to make a conscious decision to evolve. It's already taken care of by inheritance and selection pressure.

As long as you've got a mechanism for children to be largely similar to but ever-so-slightly different from their parents, and a reason for some of those offspring to reproduce more successfully than others because of those differences, then evolution is inevitable.

2 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

wonkey_monkey Re:clarity - wrong assumption (431 comments)

CD's however can (and do) have built in hidden signals that allows the software police to track the origin of any ripped tracks.

Feel free to prove me wrong, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they can't (and don't). CDs are mass produced from glass masters. How could they have "hidden signals"?

Once ripped and compressed, sure, you're going to see differences between files of the same track (unless the same software was used with the same settings, and the rip was error free).

Not sure how practical any "tracking" would be, either - at best, finding the same rip on two computers tells you... well, it tells you that it's the same rip. It doesn't really tell you anything about how it got there, and it certainly doesn't tell you that it came from computer A to computer B.

3 days ago
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Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

wonkey_monkey Re:Nitche Market (431 comments)

Mr Rabbit, of course.

3 days ago
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California's Hydrogen Highway Adds Another Station

wonkey_monkey Re:In case anyone else is behind on this (87 comments)

You have to dump the resulting water

I assumed you meant that it was contaminated or something, and wasn't safe just to vent from the car, but it seems that...

The Mirai has a button labeled H2O that opens a gate at the rear, dumping the water vapor that forms from the hydrogen-oxygen reaction in the fuel cell.

Is this really not something they could automate?

4 days ago
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Deflating Claims That ESA Craft Has Spotted Dark Matter

wonkey_monkey Re:Dark matter and the sniff test (83 comments)

Compared to the galaxy as a whole, the solar system is very dense. That would (or so something I read said) made it harder to detect because the gravity of all the regular matter in the immediate neighbourhood swamps the signal.

4 days ago
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Deflating Claims That ESA Craft Has Spotted Dark Matter

wonkey_monkey Re:Dark matter and the sniff test (83 comments)

I'm just a lowly engineer, but for me "dark matter" has never passed the sniff test.

And yet it seems like most physicists - of whom I am not one - seem to think it is the simplest explanation for what we see.

The quote in the summary sums up, for me, the somewhat churlish attitude some people adopt when faced with dark matter:

There seems to be a formula for this very specific extraordinary claim: point your high-energy telescope at the center of a galaxy or cluster of galaxies, discover an X-ray or gamma ray signal that you can't account for through conventional, known astrophysics, and claim you've detected dark matter! Only, these results never pan out;

Of course they have never panned out - so far. If one of them had panned out, we would have stopped looking. Your keys are always in the last place you look.

Photons started out their theoretical life as a kludge factor to solve the ultraviolet catastrophe (great band), and people were appalled by the idea.

4 days ago
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Possible Dark Matter Signal Spotted

wonkey_monkey Re:What, what? Something's wrong here. (65 comments)

It's not a bad thing to be extra cautious around buzz words.

Dark matter isn't a buzz word, at least not to the people who are actually trying to discover if it exists, and what it is. It's a hypothesis, or a class of hypotheses.

Dark Matter feels like a fudge factor for our ability to observe the universe or our models of it.

You could say that about anything that was hypothesised before it was confirmed - the atomic nucleus, photons, quantum mechanics.

Hey, these numbers don't add up- just stick in another variable.

And then see if the new model is a better match for observations, work out if there are any other consequences of the new variable, search for experimental evidence of those consequences... AKA science.

Is it more likely that there is a magic unobservable substance that makes our models correct or that our models need tuning?

That the model needs tuning is already given, because we've got observations that the model can't explain, so there's no "or" about it. The "magic unobservable substance" seems to be the best explanation anyone's been able to come up with so far.

5 days ago
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BGP Hijacking Continues, Despite the Ability To Prevent It

wonkey_monkey Re:BGP? (57 comments)

I don't think BGP is simple enough for a non-nerd...

Since when did "nerd" only cover people who understand BGP? I don't remember that on the entrance exam...

Heaven forbid anyone should be allowed to come away from reading a story on Slashdot more informed. Can't be having that!

A simple, painless expansion of an acronym would at least give every reader a fighting chance at a rough guess of what it does, or at least what it relates to.

5 days ago

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