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Science

Giant Snails Invade Florida 245

Posted by samzenpus
from the slow-doom dept.
Edgewood_Dirk writes "First spotted in 2011, Giant African Land Snails have migrated to Florida, and are causing massive agricultural and social problems in the state. Hugely destructive to crops, the creatures themselves are dangerous, in that they are able to gnaw through stucco and plastics, will eat almost any organic material, their shells are hard enough to pop tires on the freeway and become shrapnel when run over by lawnmowers. Over a thousand are caught each week in Miami-Dade County and their numbers are only growing as more come out of hibernation. They also carry a form of rat lungworm which can cause meningitis in humans, although no human cases have been reported yet."

Comment: Re:"greater... THAT"... my god... (Score 1, Interesting) 371

by Bill Currie (#42807087) Attached to: Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

I've come to the suspicion that it's not so much lack of understanding of grammar or inability to spell that's at the root of the than/then problem, but rather the inablity to hear/speak the difference. The English sounds represented by "e" and "a" are not very far apart. Many of the people might be conflating the two sounds into one. If this is the case, you can correct them until you're blue in the face and they'll never understand because they can't hear the difference. Proof reading their own work won't help because they won't hear the mistake.

I started thinking this way for two reasons: too many people saying "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less" (understandable, that t can be difficult to hear) and having Japanese students think I said "pet" when I said "pat" (I've taught English in Japan).

However, for this particular case, I've got a slightly different theory, based on my own mistakes: the writer sub-vocalizes while touch-typing and something between tongue, brain and fingers short circuited and instead of N, T was hit. The tongue is in the same place for both sounds, and when touch typing, the index finger on opposite hands is used for both letters (and the movement is rotationally symmetrical). The vast majority of my typos follow a similar pattern (and swapping N and T is very common for me). Heck, I sometimes make the same mistakes with pen and paper!

Comment: Re:Good News (Score 4, Insightful) 159

Of course most of us don't have the knowledge, but if we're motivated enough, we can obtain that knowledge. Worst case, we go to someone who does have the knowledge and say "here's $X, fix it". With closed drivers, none of that is even possible. You need $X**N to get noticed by most closed sources.

Comment: Re:Reminded me of my first C application (Score 1) 241

by Bill Currie (#42333687) Attached to: Whose Bug Is This Anyway?

Ick, that's what real compilers (eg, gcc) are for: good warning messages (such as "suggest parenthesis around assignment used as truth value"), and better yet, -Werror. "if (1 == i)" is completely unnatural (for an English speaker anyway), which makes it more likely to forget to do 1 == i than it is to forget to double the equals sign. I too used to make the same mistake when I first started with C (having come from Pascal: that was fun := became =, = became ==), but I quickly learned to double check my tests first when bug hunting. While mixing up = and == has become extremely rare for me (it helps that I usually test against some variant of 0 and thus can avoid using any operator other than !), I often mix up my other tests...

Comment: Re:Where does the 'hum' enter the recording? (Score 1) 167

by Bill Currie (#42266415) Attached to: Engineers Use Electrical Hum To Fight Crime

The thing with noise is it's impossible to eliminate completely. All that can be done is to knock off a few more dB, though I imagine the noise can be reduced to the point where it's sufficiently smaller than the resolution of the ADC that the bits don't shift. That said, any electrical equipment nearby will be producing a hum. Even if we can't hear it, the mic might pick it up. Then there's the magnetic fields affecting sheet metal, causing it to flex.

Short answer: epsilon.

I suspect a completely noise-free recording would raise just as many, if not more, eyebrows than a recording with a few discontinuities in the hum.

Comment: Re:A 3D printer that uses paper? (Score 3, Informative) 85

by Bill Currie (#42138753) Attached to: Staples To Offer 3D Printing Services

This is probably more appropriate as a response to the gp, but it also works as agreement with you: don't underestimate the strength of paper saturated with super-glue. I repaired the belt-clip of an Aiwa "walkman" by first super-gluing the parts together, then super-gluing paper across the joint (second attempt: first was just the parts, promptly re-broke). 20 years on, the repair was still solid.

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