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Comment All in the definitions (Score 5, Insightful) 80

The comment that the algorithm does better at predicting personality than a person's friends will depend very strongly on how you define a friend. I have a very large number of Facebook friends about whom I know almost nothing, so I am not at all surprised that an algorithm will do better.

Comment Re:There have been too many scams... (Score 1) 280

That's why you have Wikipedia...which will tell you that aneutronic fusion needs much higher temperatures, in addition, at least fifty times the density-time of D-T fusion, and generates three orders of magnitude lower power density.

In their paper in Physics of Plasmas they report having achieved the density and temparature necessary for aneutronic (hydrogen-boron) fusion. The new electrode will enable them to demonstrate a reaction which creates more energy than is required to trigger it - not a finished device, but one which will demonstrate its practicality and attach the funding necessary to commercialise it.

For more detail, an interview with the project founder can be found on the Future and You podcast here.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a joke a Welsh priest once told m (Score 1) 668

Why wasn't Jesus born in Wales?

Because God couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.

Irrelevant. Both the wise men and the virgin came from elsewhere.

Now I come to think of it - the wise men came from the East, which would be London in the case of Wales, while the virgin came form the North, which would be Scotland.

Perhaps your priest knew what he was talking about after all.

Comment Re:Not snacks but plenty of coffee (Score 1) 172

We had something like this happen were I worked. In our case we have a devices which dispenses boiling or chilled water and people make their own coffee. When it broke down and didn't get fixed immediately I went out & bought a cheap plug in kettle and left it in the kitchen. Made me very popular. Not that the situation is otherwise very close - our building is in the CBD and surrounded by good coffee shops.

Comment Re:Wait a minute... (Score 2) 243

This doesn't involve eating babies, does it?

For those who aren't English majors (or married to one ;-), 93 Escort Wagon is referring to a satirical essay written by Jonathan Swift, "A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden on Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public". Swift's "modest proposal" is that children of the poor Irish could be sold as food to wealthy English.

I can't tell if the authors of the article we are discussing are alluding to Swift's essay or whether they are thereby flagging their own proposal as similarly ridiculous.

Comment Re:Much to my surprise (Score 5, Informative) 263

I didn't like it much.

I went to see the movie with my kids last night, and liked it a lot less than I expected to.


My main gripe was the set up of how the city was held to ransom for an extended period of time, which simply didn't feel credible. We have a situation where the bad guys manage to hold a city of ~12 million people hostage for a period of about 6 months (not completely sure of the numbers here) by threatening to blow them up with the fusion reactor. The bad guys keep control by their initial army of outlaws who have been training in the city's sewers, augmented by the hundreds liberated from the Bastille - sorry, the prison. During this time no one is allowed to escape because of the threat to blow the nuke, a threat which is enforced from the outside, yet somehow the city manages to function after a fashion - food supplies are provided from the outside, and somehow enough order is maintained that the city doesn't simply collapse. I would expect plagues and famine and riots, not to mention fire after all the explosions at the start of the siege.

I found this all rather hard to buy. In terms of the story the extended siege is done to give Bruce Wayne time to heal up in his remote prison, and to make his spiritual journey that allows him to escape from it and return to Gotham. I find it hard to believe that such a siege with so many hostages could be maintained - this is a city after all, and would leak people like a sieve. Similarly, the maintenance of order would be a real problem in such circumstances. Least credible of all, I could not swallow that a thousand or so police offices could be trapped underground for six months, somehow supplied with food & such, then be busted out and run off to battle, fully fit and wearing clean uniforms. Really?

Did anyone else spot all the French Revolution/Tale of Two Cites references? I mean the conflict between aristocracy and underclass, the storming of the prison (the Bastille), the citizens' court against the oppressors, the final sacrifice and Bruce Wayne's epitaph, read from the close of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. Interesting to see that put into a modern setting.

I wondered about some of the technology also. I thought the helicopter thing was pretty neat, though it was fortunate that the missiles fired at it were so slow that the copter could keep ahead while it outmanoeuvred them . Did Bane buy them from the lowest bidder, perhaps? I didn't really buy that the fusion core could be (a) so easily turned into a bomb, or (b) be removable from the reactor and still remain deadly without the need to keep it fuelled or maintained.

That said, there was a lot to like. I don't think I'll be in a hurry to watch this one again, though - unlike the first two movies in the series.


Submission + - Australian Federal Court awards damages to artist for false copyright claim->

BarryHaworth writes: In a decision handed down earlier this month, the Australian Federal Court awarded damages to Aboriginal artist Richard Bell over a false claim of copyright infringement. The claim related to a take-down notice claiming copyright infringement from film footage used in a trailer for a film being made by the artist. The court declared Mr Bell the owner of the copyright and awarded him $147,000 in damages for lost sales of paintings and catalogues. The full decision can be found here.

At time of writing, Youtube does not appear to have caught up with the decision.

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:I'll bet the science fiction is well-covered (Score 1) 1244

I was going to suggest "A Voyage to Arcturus" but I've been beaten to the draw. I will mention that it is available on project Gutenberg.

Another author you might check out is Charles Williams, whose novels straddle science fiction & Fantasy (though heavily slanted towards the latter). These can be found on Project Gutenberg Australia.


Submission + - Is the cyberpunk future becoming real?

yanom writes: 26 years ago, William Gibson imagined a future dominated by computers, high-tech outlaws and corporate thugs. Now, I can't help wondering if Gibson's vision in Neuromancer is coming true. Almost everyone in the industrialized world has access to a global network, and the power of cyber-criminals and mega-corporations seems to be growing every day. Sentient AI seems closer and closer to reality. Will the cyberpunk future be real?
The Military

Submission + - Mystery Drone Over Syria->

garymortimer writes: "Speculation abounds online that the UAS caught by an amateur cameraman flying over Kafr Batna on valentines day is either a variant of the Iranian Mohajer or a new platform altogether, being called at the moment ”Pahpad” which is the Persian equivalent of UAV. The drone would very likely be a Syrian government airframe.

Iran has defied arms embargos and exported several unmanned systems to Sudan and a similar mystery airframe has been spotted there."

Link to Original Source

As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison