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Comment: Re:Maybe Someone Can Help (Score 1) 388

by Bigjeff5 (#43165203) Attached to: Dr. Robert Bakker Answers Your Questions About Science and Religion

These days, Arab countries and Muslim culture are anti-science, but for a large part of Christianity's existence, they often had better medicine, mathematics...

There, fixed that for you. ;)

Just because something was good in the past, doesn't mean it's still good now. Except for a few small pockets of enlightenment, the majority of the Muslim world is so anti-science it's shocking just how progressive their cultures used to be.

There are reasons for this (relating to something akin to the Catholic/Protestant divide in Christianity) but yeah, they're pretty much backasswords these days.

Comment: Re:That's not the complete nature of the brain (Score 1) 290

by Bigjeff5 (#43163855) Attached to: Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise

One recent documentary I watched, can't remember the name, gave a good deal of evidence that Neanderthals were at least as smart as humans, and gave a similar theory for why humans "won", but for an entirely different reason.

Their theory was based on the attachment point for the trachea to the skull. In Neanderthals the shape was such that it would have forced the larynx to be a particular shape or position which would have precluded the level of vocal agility we enjoy, and therefore the complex verbal communication we developed. Thus, cultural adaptations and communal knowledge spread much slower for Neanderthals than humans.

The communication theory makes a lot of sense to me, considering the fact that there is a lot of evidence suggesting Neanderthals were bigger, stronger, and just as smart as modern humans. Less effective communication is just the sort of thing that could really muck things up for the Neanderthals, and allow us to "win".

Comment: Re:Brain Size == Simplistic Drivel (Score 1) 290

by Bigjeff5 (#43163393) Attached to: Manga Girls Beware: Extra Large Eyes Caused Neanderthal's Demise

You've apparently failed at reading comprehension:

Although the overall size and asymmetrical shape of Einstein’s brain were normal...

The structure of his brain was odd, which may have had something to do with how he thought (or not, there isn't enough evidence to say conclusively), but he certainly didn't have a large brain.

Also, as noted by another poster below, primordial dwarfism seems to shatter the idea that what matters for intelligence is pure brain size.

I don't remember where I heard/read this, but my understanding is that what matters is the ratio of brain size to body size. The larger the relative size of the brain, the smarter the animal. This fits with the idea of primordial dwarfism, where individuals have brains half the size of their peers or smaller but are no less intelligent, on average.


+ - France pushes for controls on Skype calls->

Submitted by
helix2301 writes "French prosecutors have been asked to investigate Microsoft’s Skype because of its failure to register in the country as a telecoms operator, in the latest attempt by France to control the activities of global internet companies. Skype rejected the claims, saying: “We have engaged with Arcep in discussion over the last several months during which we shared our view that Skype is not a provider of electronic communications services under French law.”"
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Mac to Linux Return Flow? 1

Submitted by jasnw
jasnw (1913892) writes "I'm one of apparently many people who moved to OS X from Linux in the early/mid 2000s for their desktop system, keeping Linux boxes around for the heavy lifting and server work. I may also be part of a large segment of that group now considering a return because of all the iOS-ification of OS X, despite the fact that the Linux desktop still falls short in the "it just works" area. I'm pissed enough at Apple, and wary enough of Linux, that I might just go to using Windows 7 for the desktop (not Win8, however). What is the feeling/experience of other "traitors" who run OS X for the desktop and Linux for everything else?"

Comment: Re:Shorter Yellow Lights (Score 1) 984

by Bigjeff5 (#43150713) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Generally the way it works is if you enter an intersection (crossed the first white lines) on yellow then you must proceed through the intersection, thus you are not running a red light even if the light turned red before you made it all the way through.

The problem happens when you shorten yellow lights, and people are aware the lights are shortened, and are thus aware they no longer have sufficient time to stop at a reasonable pace before the light. When you know you don't have enough time to stop reasonably, you either floor it to try to make a light you would normally stop for, or you slam your brakes to try to stop before edging into the intersection on red and getting a ticket.

As you can imagine, several studies have shown both of these behaviors dramatically increase the number of T-bones and rear end accidents.

Comment: Re:Easy solution (Score 1) 984

by Bigjeff5 (#43150517) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Pay them a negotiated fee to operate the cameras that is completely separate from any ticket counts.

Now they have no direct incentive to mis-represent the photo evidence. Of course, no traffic camera company is going to take the deal, so problem solved.

That's basically what happened in Alaska. It was determined by the court (and upheld on appeal) that camera evidence not observed directly by a police officer before a ticket was written constituted hearsay evidence only, and the 70% stake in every ticket made the camera operators unreliable witnesses. Lack of calibration by any independent organization further made the camera evidence itself unreliable. Ergo, unless Alaska makes a deal no traffic camera operator is ever going to agree too (fixed, relatively low fee unrelated to number of tickets) then photo camera evidence does not constitute evidence for a traffic violation. That made cameras pointless, since all you had to do to beat the ticket was show up in court and say "I didn't do it" and you'd win.

Comment: Re:Only in America (Score 1) 984

by Bigjeff5 (#43150395) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

I don't think Chicago qualifies as a hick town, and it's contracts were for 25% of ticket revenue.

Anchorage Alaska is nowhere near the size of Chicago, but at 300k+ population it isn't exactly hicksville either, and when it had photo enforcement in the 90's ATS got 70% of the revenue from tickets. That only only lasted a few years, though, before photo tickets were made illegal.

Comment: Re:Not true. (Score 1) 984

by Bigjeff5 (#43144737) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

There are a number of studies that suggest the rates of serious traffic accidents significantly increase after installing traffic cameras.

So the only possible incentive for traffic cameras is revenue. I imagine if all traffic camera revenues were required by law to be sent to non-profit charities (as an Arizona state senator is attempting to do, just in case his outright ban fails) that you wouldn't see a single camera installed.

Comment: Re:Not true. (Score 1) 984

by Bigjeff5 (#43144721) Attached to: Ohio Judge Rules Speed Cameras Are a Scam

Many states and counties have laws requiring drivers keep up with the flow of traffic. This isn't something pulled out of thin air, and it's definitely not a fallacy. Some governments articulate this with minimum as well as maximum speed limits (which creates a whole new set of issues - what if your safe speed for conditions is below the minimum?), while others leave what constitutes an unsafe driving speed to the officer.

Comment: Re:Replace the smartphone bump (Score 1) 180

by Bigjeff5 (#43141815) Attached to: Mobile Sharing: "Bezos Beep" Vs. Smartphone Bump

I think the reason most people don't do that is because they don't know they can, or because they actually can't (don't have the hardware in their phone).

I can think of a number of occasions where I wanted to share a photo with a friend or grab a photo from a friend's phone or something similar, but didn't because it would be a huge hassle going through online or direct phone to phone means. Hell of a lot easier than it was 10 years ago, but still too much hassle to bother with. If all we had to do was select the photo and bump phones, there's not much reason not to share the photo. It's one of the things I'm looking forward

Lower the barrier far enough and it will become common place, and bumping is about as low as that barrier goes. You may not use it every day, but if everybody were using it you'd probably use it too.

Comment: Re:Aside from patent carping, has anyone tried thi (Score 1) 180

by Bigjeff5 (#43140911) Attached to: Mobile Sharing: "Bezos Beep" Vs. Smartphone Bump

A previous poster noted that Chirp for Android and Iphone does exactly that - passes a link via little audio chirps. Anybody running Chirp can pickup the link and follow it, like an audio QR code.

Bezos's idea sounds like sort of a combination of Bump and Chirp - using audio chirps to set up an internet connection (via the cloud) between the phones instead of using sensor data from the bumps to set up that same connection.

Neat, but pretty damn obvious (you've already got two companies doing almost the same thing) so I don't see how it's patent worthy.

Comment: Re:Prior art? (Score 1) 180

by Bigjeff5 (#43139711) Attached to: Mobile Sharing: "Bezos Beep" Vs. Smartphone Bump

10 seconds on the Bump website told me how - Bump sends the phone's sensor data to Bump's servers the cloud in order to be processed to determine who the bump was from and what the bump was for, before making a connection between the two.

Chirp just sends a link via audio that the other user(s) can follow. No cloud necessary, and any device close enough to pick up the chirp can follow the link.

Chirp has to be an order of magnitude more efficient in terms of getting its information from one device to another. However, the two apps obviously do very different things. Chirp is only sending links to content - it's like an audio QR code. Bump is using the bump information to identify the two devices and make a secure connection between them over the internet in order to transfer data from one device to the other. It's kinda like bluetooth except that it leverages the cloud instead of transmitting directly and you don't have to pair the devices - or rather pairing the devices is as easy as bumping them.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.