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Comment Re:Cereberal Network Variability (Score 3, Insightful) 103

Uh, no. If what you asserted were the case, then things like cortical visual prostheses would not be a possibility. I suggest you look them up. While they are still under development, they most certainly do intend on creating fine-grained control over neural activity. Same for cortical somatosensory prostheses. On the flip side, we can definitely read-out fine-grained information about neural activity, such as is used for motor system prostheses, ranging from limb prostheses to vocal chord prostheses.

On both the read-out (decoding) side, and the driving (encoding) side, we have the ability to receive and transmit information on an individual basis. Yes, there is a lot of variability, but that is part and parcel of the challenge. Just as individual variation in foot size and shape does not preclude the creation of shoes because there is an underlying structure, so individual variation in brain morphology and wiring is unlikely to preclude creation of brain/machine interfaces because again there is an underlying structure.

Any time you hear someone say it is impossible to do something, it's likely they are just not thinking in advanced enough terms to overcome whatever barrier they perceive. I myself am guilty of such mistaken proclamations.

Comment Re:Reality DIstortion Field: CHECK! (Score 1) 230

Please see the table of recent sales at ...

While there certainly is variability, the iOS market share nowhere is "immense," as the summary suggests. Only in Japan is it even a majority.

Does Apple make immense amounts of money? Yes, certainly. Are its sales immense? Quite so. Is its market share immense? On a percentage basis, no.

Comment Reality DIstortion Field: CHECK! (Score 1) 230

What killed Flash was Apple's decision not to support it on iOS, combined with iOS's immense popularity and the lucrative demographics of iOS users.

Um, iOS is barely at 10-20% market penetration. The hypothetical immense popularity contest went to Android a long time ago.

Comment Pedantic irony (Score 1) 301

The irony is deep here. The pedantic eschewing of the standard usage of he as a neutral pronoun in English is, well, lessened by not understanding the significantly more important usage of italics when incorporating words from a foreign language. The neutral pronoun in French is on (OHN, pronounced more like the start of unknown than onomopoetic).

If you are going to be pedantic about things, then get it right, please. The submitter and, more substantially, the editor have embarrassed themselves here.

Vastly more important to the community here, what the heck is this doing on Slashdot? What remote relevance does this have to do with anything technical? Is there a CPU involved? Any transistors, even? A neato new technology? Some keen new technical observation? A fantastic scientific discovery? An impressive use of technology? This morning's news feed (on another site) describes how a common laborer's face from Medieval times has been recently reconstructed, who, to my eye, looks startlingly familiar and modern. Why is that not on Slashdot, as cool use of technology, instead of this SJW puffery?

Comment Re: Pricing... (Score 2) 150

The people who would be flying supersonic would undoubtedly have Global Entry, and with dedicated security lines, would not spend 3 hours at the airport prior to departure.

Heck, I travel often enough that I rarely get there 1 hour before departure time on domestic or international itineraries, and usually have enough time to have a quick beverage at the lounge before boarding. For most travellers, 2-3 hours is required because they fundamentally don't know what to do, so are figuring out the system and often have unreasonable expectations or incorrect assumptions that require extra time to handle.

In contrast, a seasoned frequent traveller will have carry-on only, be GE (and thus Pre-Check), be an elite FF, will know exactly where each gate is, and, depending on the airport, could easily get from curbside to gate in 15 minutes. Those are the people who would be flying on this service.

Also, inflation-adjusted fuel cost has dropped considerably since when the Concorde was flying.

Comment Re:Pricing... (Score 4, Informative) 150

I have an uncle who flew the Concorde from NYC to London frequently. It was entirely worth the extra money to his company to have him there and back in one day. When he would make trips like this, it was to talk to investment banks and the like, and the stock price would take a non-trivial tick upward as a result. The six-hour-plus savings in his time was entirely worth the cost. Moreover, not having to sleep on a plane and have a shitty night's sleep rendering him less effective the next day was even better.

Now, there aren't many people who are like that, but the number is also not zero. Given the large collection of companies in the northeast with insane valuations (e.g., Big Pharma), I'd wager that there is still a market for supersonic travel to London at what amounts to business-class prices.

Comment Now with more distortion (Score 3, Insightful) 321

Boston Public Schools Map Switch Aims To Amend 500 Years of Distortion

... by adding even greater distortion that is entirely motivated by a petty political agenda, rather than scientific accuracy. I read the article, and the quoted motivations are not well-founded (Europe, for example, is not in the center of the maps used in the US, the United States is). The distortion in the propsed map (which, gallingly, is "an internal decision that will not be put up to public approval" or some words to that effect that make the person behind them sound more like a petty dictator who will shout down any dissenting view) is far worse than the traditional Mercator projection. You can see it: South America and Africa look stretched vertically (because they are).

There are so many, many projections that are scientifically superior. The only reason to select this one is political. Shame on those educators.

And I had such hope with the momentum building up behind the STEM movement.

Comment Legal Requirement vs Moral Obligation (Score 2) 448

There are lots of comments above that range from what amounts to victim-blaming (Don't like the result? Then change the laws.) to tax education (Apple merely collects the VAT for the government, but the customer is considered to have paid it.) to hysterical outrage (kill them kill them kill them ... oh, wait, maybe that was a different thread).

In my country (USA), we have non-profit and for-profit entities, as they are commonly called. The non-profits include entities that can have considerable land wealth, like universities. Two of our most famous universities, MIT and Harvard, jointly own over half of the land in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the city where they are located. Neither of them are legally required to pay state property tax, because of their non-profit status (let's overlook for the moment that state and federal tax exempt status are related but technically separate things). But they also both benefit greatly from the surrounding city and its services, so they BOTH pay tens of millions of dollars to the city; such that are called "payment in lieu of tax" so that they retain their non-profit status. I don't know if they are paying the same amount as they would if they had for-profit status.

There is no legal requirement for them to do so. Indeed, there is a clear legal position that has been created, the not-for-profit status, in order to provide them a clear and explicit means to NOT pay, as their mission is considered important to the well-being of society. But they make payments ANYWAY. It is a moral obligation. It is also not entirely altruistic, as without these payments, the social environment around the universities would deteriorate significantly. You want nice things like infrastructure, emergency services, primary and secondary education, democracy? You gotta pay for them.

There is no fundamental reason that Apple, despite there being a legal path to avoid taxes no matter how complicated, could not make contributions to each and every country in which they sell products while still making embarrassingly immense profits. I bet some sharp-penciled tax attorneys would even find a way to make such contributions tax deductable. Apple would rid themselves of the negative press, get a nice write-off, and the countries (here, NZ) would benefit as well.

Comment Re:Oakhurst Dairy is correct (Score 1) 331

Nope. If your parents were Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty, then the correct orthography would be:

I love my parents Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

But because you added the comma, it becomes a list of four people:

I love my parents, Lady Gaga and Humpty Dumpty.

Personally, I prefer the Oxford comma, as it helps further disambiguate such instances.

Comment Re:Wait! I just remembered the memory man. (Score 2) 190

I turn on my phone's GPS to use an on-line mapping tool only rarely, such as when I'm visiting an unfamiliar city. Otherwise, I check a mapping service beforehand, memorize any key specifics, and off we go!

The upside: I'm always looking at the road and can avoid the idiots who aren't.

Comment Re:Time Crystal == Oscillator? (Score 1) 129

Ah, no. A stable oscillator can be easily constructed that fully resists changes in input (power supply) voltage. Your $5 quartz watch has one. From that perspective I really only see a difference being one of scale: this is a first only because it has been done on an atomic level.

And now that I happened to use the word "atomic", that makes me question: what's the difference between this and the cesium oscillator in an atomic clock?

Comment Time Crystal == Oscillator? (Score 5, Interesting) 129

I read the linked article (which is a summary of the real report). It's not my field.

How is what they describe anything other than just a stable oscillator? It consumes energy, since to run it requires regular (although perhaps not periodic?) pulses of light.

How is this different from a macroscopic tuned circuit that also resists changes in driving force, and oscillates at a stable frequency? Because it's made with a handful of atoms instead of gazoober electrons streaming around a circuit? I'm (not intentionally) being snarky -- I'm curious because by the article the physicists are peeing all over themselves in excitement, so I'm guessing they think there's something to this that I don't see.

Comment Re: Declining fields and Pole Reversals. . (Score 1) 118

So the supposition is that kilns have been found with pots inside, we can demonstrate that the pots have been left undisturbed since the start of their last firing many thousands of years ago so you can judge the orientation of the earth's field at the time of cooling, and, moreover, we know the kilns haven't been moved either?

Color me skeptical.

Note that the article talks about intensity not orientation. Intensity, I understand. Orientation seems implausible with this method.

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