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Comment Honest callow stupid question... (Score 1) 161

Dark matter is proposed because galaxies hold together despite having greater rotational speed than 'normal' matter would keep together, yes? There's is presumed to be a black hole at the center of all galaxies, yes? How is the (equivalent?) mass of a black hole estimated? For instance, if matter is dynamically spiraling into this black-hole (not in a stable orbit), might orbital assessments of the black hole's mass be wrong?

Comment Missing parameters (Score 1) 267

Just suppose there has to be temperature oscillations on the order of a year in order to nudge amino acid chains into lipid vesicles, so seasons are required for life. In order to have seasons you have to have your planetary axis significantly different from your orbital axis, so you have to be hit at just the right time post accretion by a body of just the right size at just the right distance from your host star. This is just one silly example of one of a vast number of life "requirements" we're currently ignorant of yet to be factored into "the math". Once the most significant factors are established then probabilities can be estimated; but there's no reason to assume we aren't just cranking out random results at this point. Step one: what are the essential conditions for abiotic goop to become self replicating.

Comment make nobeta the default (Score 5, Insightful) 1839

It's lamentably inconsistent with the business sense of "moving forward", but it should be stated that the old "no_beta" slashdot was superior in nearly every way. That is, the less you manage to do, the more the loyal old farts (myself among them) will sing your praises. Make glitzy choices which head opposite to a clean text interface and you will lose four geeks to only one newbie gained.

Comment divisions and unscripted? (Score 1) 77

If there aren't carefully designed divisions, for example: autonomous versus wired puppet, this is doomed. If we can't somehow be assured events are unscripted, (the winner being assigned beforehand), then this is doomed just like the previous scripted (saucy?) puppet show. Final blather: if a 'win' is "smoking lump" then my solid block of titanium on a roller-skate will never lose, so a referee must be an actual agent of decision, or else, (yep) it's doomed.

Comment if it's a 'V' you see (turban) it's a Sikh (Score 4, Informative) 954

Dangit folks, learn your turban: Sikh's tie their turban's so that there's an inverted V at the forehead. and if one had to belong to a religious sect then being Sikh is in the top three (they're much nicer to females than your average Baptist). I'd sooner share a lunch with a Sikh than nearly any 'follower of Abraham' (for the curry, if naught else)

Comment Private operators and traffic cameras (Score 2) 200

I don't know the case for Chicago, but Seattle's traffic ticketing cameras are run by a private contractor. It works like this: the city doesn't have to pay to install or monitor or maintain the equipment and doesn't even own it, but is assured of its accuracy and, of course, a substantial cut of the revenue. Reports roll in of notably increased 'safety' at the monitored intersection, (yet it's not clear who prepares this data). Does a private interest which understandably wants to maximize its profits being able to assess violation fines from the public concern you? it sure as hell does me.

Comment Re:Clearly a "flaw" they wanted to protect (Score 1) 103

(something tells me lacking all manner of references and affidavits this will be a fool's errand, but...)

Fluke and Tektronix for two. and I know one Boeing engineer who got a raise when he pointed out a major "flaw" in one of their QC servers. "controlled circumstance" in that it's an in-house discovery with no screaming clients demanding a fix yesterday (cf "zero-day")

Comment Clearly a "flaw" they wanted to protect (Score 3, Insightful) 103

Some (inspired) companies provide rewards for discovering flaws in their products; allowing them to improve them under controlled circumstances. Some (shorted-sighted) companies punish the discovery of product flaws, preferring the illusion of a pristine public image over the security of their clients. Yet this is clearly a third case: that of it being an intentional "flaw" which was intended to provide revenue. So, if there was such a thing as justice at this level (there isn't) then Facebook should be doubly embarrassed.

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