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Comment Re:Interesting (Score 1) 75 75

Well, it is likely connected to the fact that Japan has an insanely high conviction rate, over 99% https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conviction_rate. Part of this is due to the fact that prosecutors in Japan only bring cases if they are very confident of a conviction (probably part of why the prosecutors did not want to prosecute in this case) but also cultural issues where once a person is prosecuted, the default assumption in terms of how people treat it is that the person is guilty.

Comment Re:Potential uses? (Score 2) 39 39

Basic research is one of the things that really does make sense for taxpayer money to go it. It needs to happen, but the advantages of it often pay out very far down the line after a few steps, so companies don't have that much incentive to do it unless they are near monopolies (think the old Bell Labs). That's exactly where tax money should go: things that in the aggregate provide a benefit for almost everyone and where there's no economic incentive for private organizations to fund it.

Comment Re:Tipping? (Score 1) 869 869

Or drive by's.

A few years ago the U.S. military were evaluating a new hybrid vehicle to replace the Hummer. Their main interest was logistics, since Hummers aren't the most economical vehicles to operate. They couldn't help but notice that in electric mode their new vehicle was quiet.

Around here the Toyotas are positively noisy. The Teslas, on the other hand, only make a faint whirr from their tires.

...laura

Submission + - Scientists identify possible new substance with highest melting point

JoshuaZ writes: "Researchers from Brown University have tentatively identified an alloy of hafnium, nitrogen and carbon as having an expected melting point of about 7,460 degrees Fahrenheit (4120 Celsius). This exceeds the previous record breaker tantalum hafnium carbide which melts at 7,128 F (3942 C) and had stood as the record holder for almost a century. However, at this point, the record setter is still hypothetical, based on simulations. The new record has not yet been confirmed by experiment. http://journals.aps.org/prb/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevB.92.020104 is the actual article while http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/07/28/behold-a-new-record-for-the-worlds-highest-melting-point/ is a lay summary. If the simulations turn out to be correct, the new alloy may be useful in parts like jet engines, and the door will be opened to using similar simulations to search for substances with even higher melting points or with other exotic properties.

Comment Debian on an Ultra 5 (Score 1) 152 152

The standard desktop at the company I work for used to be a Sun Ultra 5, and when the company imploded I picked an Ultra 5 with a fast processor (400 MHz), put some more memory in it, took it home and put Debian on it. It worked fine. Entirely decent interactive performance, like a fast Pentium 2. Not a box for video editing or other high-CPU/bandwidth activities, but fine otherwise.

I was amused to note that it wasn't a Windows box, so it was immune to Windows attacks. It wasn't an x86 box, so it was immune to x86 attacks. I guess I amuse easily. :-)

We had a pile of 32 bit SparcStations. We (literally) couldn't give them away.

...laura

Comment Re:Lunar Space Elevator (Score 2) 48 48

I agree. Everything sounded reasonable up until I got to that point, and then I had to ask how much of what was above wasn't at all correct I was surprised about his statement that one might expect a lower cancer level in space from the lack of carcinogenic chemicals, and was thinking about that when I got to this point, and then updated with "oh, he just doesn't know what he's talking about."

Comment Re:Pre-cambrian computing (Score 1) 191 191

And I am guessing that spaceyhackerlady does, in fact, know she is surrounded by linux machines.

My employers pay me to do cool shit, and we use Linux to do it. Company standard is CentOS, but my personal research/playpen box is Slackware.

FWIW, I've run Linux on x86, 68k, ARM and UltraSPARC. My home computer, the one I actually spend my own money on, is a Mac. It shares desk space with an x86 Linux box and a Raspberry Pi.

...laura

Comment Pre-cambrian computing (Score 4, Informative) 191 191

Prior to the IBM PC there was enormous diversity in computing. I have some early issues of Byte and the hardware in the ads is all over the place. Most of the names are long forgotten now.

The BBC did Micro Men, a cute (and mostly historically accurate) program about the rise and fall of Acorn, which happened in the same time period. They too got broadsided by IBM, but managed to develop the ARM processor before they imploded.

...laura

Comment Re:I see theyre using the Step 2 profit model (Score 3, Informative) 188 188

Actually, replacing coal is happening already. The percentage of plants that are coal has been going down. Moreover, the plants which are coal have been getting progressively cleaner. And as electric-plugins become more common, that means there will be more on-grid storage which will help make solar and wind more common (since one of their big problems is the intermittent nature of the power they supply). Moreover, the study uses the current crop of electric cars, where they are getting more and more efficient, and as electric cars get more efficient they'll compare more favorably in more locations.

Comment Re:What about Data in Star Trek TNG (Score 1) 236 236

Yup. There are some examples of good AI in tv shows. Data and the hubots in Real Humans stand out in my mind.

I remember the scene in The Offspring where Data's daughter Lal was complaining about not being able to feel emotions. While doing an awfully good imitation of anger and frustration...

...laura

Comment Re:And when she is questioned by CBP... (Score 1) 334 334

1. I am an American citizen, and I have the right to enter my country.

You do. Just as I, a Canadian citizen, have the right to enter Canada. I do not have the legal right to enter the United States, but can do so with official permission. Which usually amounts to the Customs agent at the border or airport telling me to have a nice day.

If the government want to be difficult, your citizenship must be verified. Then Customs can give you the once over: yes, you can enter the country, but they want to know what you're bringing with you.

...laura

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