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Comment: Overcoming hardware limitations with software (Score 2) 126

by 93 Escort Wagon (#46796347) Attached to: Google's New Camera App Simulates Shallow Depth of Field

The summary makes it sound like this is an algorithm tuning problem - "err on the side of too much in focus" - which isn't the case. It's a byproduct of sensor size.

Even with real cameras the rule of thumb is a full frame (35mm film equivalent size) camera, at a given focal length, has a stop "better" depth of field than a camera with an APS-C sensor taking the same picture - so a Nikon D7100 would need to shoot at f/2.0 to get the same blurring as a D800 shooting the same photo at f/2.8.

Most camera phone sensors are rather tiny compared to real cameras.

On a side note... pedants may going to have fun nitpicking all of this apart. :-)

Comment: Re:Missing a rather large point (Score 1) 136

by 93 Escort Wagon (#46788781) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

A truly "stabilized" hybrid is usually considered open pollinated - no longer a hybrid. The loss of hybrid vigor is a recognized byproduct of stabilization.

However, as you allude to, for many varieties of legume the flowers self-pollinate. With soybeans and snap beans in particular, the flowers pollinate themselves before they're even open - which incidentally makes it much more difficult to develop new varieties (whether the goal is a hybrid or the development of a new OP). Species like that have developed their own methods of dealing with the problems that usually come with in-breeding. I'd guess (but do not know) that those genetic coping strategies might also help counter the usual loss of vigor that would normally be observed as the generations progress.

Comment: Missing a rather large point (Score 5, Interesting) 136

by 93 Escort Wagon (#46786013) Attached to: Plant Breeders Release 'Open Source Seeds'

One thing that's sort of buried in the article is this movement is also anti-hybrid, which is not all that surprising. But hybrids offer a definite, measurable benefit to the farmer - not only are they more uniform (important for commercial harvesting), they are invariably more vigorous than open pollinated varieties. Greater vigor per plant means greater profit per plant.

As a gardener I understand and applaud attempts to develop and improve open pollinated varieties of vegetables and fruits. It's fun to save your own seeds, and OPs have more diverse genes - so they are important to the continued existence of plant species. But it's going to be an uphill battle trying to convince farmers to give up hybrids, if that's really the movement's goal. And I don't think it's really what they should be focussing on. But plant purists can be every bit as inflexible as the most ardent GPL zealot, so I expect philosophy will win out over practicality.

Comment: Re:For the first time ever... (Score 1) 386

by 93 Escort Wagon (#46757235) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Do You Pay Your Taxes?

One year I filed an extension... then completely forgot about it! Fortunately they owed me money (I had sent a check for my estimated taxes due when I filed for the extension, and it turns out I'd overpaid), so when I finally filed it a few years late I wasn't in trouble. But the only reason I ever remembered was I got a letter from the IRS saying "we never received this tax return, and if you don't file before XX-XX-XXXX any money we might owe you will be forfeit".

Every young man should have a hobby: learning how to handle money is the best one. -- Jack Hurley