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Comment: Re:Can someone who knows about astronomy fill me i (Score 2) 129

A paper by Bailey et al. is here... http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.1265

The age is estimated from the primary star. Presumably the system formed all at the same time, star and planet together. (It's difficult to gain a planet in some other way, such as "capture," especially in such a short period of time since the star's birth.)

The planet's mass is estimated from the brightness and color of the planet. HD 106906 b is a rare case where the companion can be resolved from its primary so a spectrum can be measured. Known models of planet brightness can be used to work backwards from the brightness and color to get mass.

Distance is usually a hard one to solve, but in this case the star is bright and Hipparcos has a distance derived from parallax. A distance of 92 parsecs means that the annual parallax is 1/92 arcsec. For comparison the moon is 1800 parsecs in diameter.

Comment: Beautiful, but somewhat disappointing (Score 2) 172

by CBM (#45473283) Attached to: Cupertino Approves New Apple Spaceship HQ

The actual design of the building is beautiful and marvelous.

But I have to say that the entire design of the campus is a little disappointing. The buildings on campus are completely isolated from the rest of the city of Cupertino. The campus will be separated by a new security wall/fence surrounding the perimeter that will prevent all unauthorized entry, and most of the buildings will be hidden behind substantial landscaping. The plan also demolishes a city street that will disturb local automotive and bicycle routes.

Apple workers will get to appreciate the beauty of the architecture, and the calmness of the natural park-like setting, but the public will have to gaze from a distance.

I think Apple had a chance here to integrate the campus more closely with the city, and the city had an opportunity to ask for more of a community feeling than an ivory tower feeling. What if the park-like portions of the campus were an actual public park? The public could appreciate the architectural wonder and feel that the campus was at least a little bit a part of their city. What if the campus had more walking-friendly routes to and from the rest of the city, to encourage interaction between workers and local businesses? Facebook did this, by basically buying a little mini-city (http://mediagallery.usatoday.com/Inside+Facebook%27s+headquarters/G3949) which integrates work and life elements. You'd get a better city, quite frankly.

Comment: Re:It's not "bells and whistles!!!" (Score 1) 177

by CBM (#45088871) Attached to: Nest Protect: Trojan Horse For 'The Internet of Things'?

You ordered just one Protect?

Most fire codes require a smoke detector in each bedroom, each hallway outside a bedroom, and on every level, and sometimes near kitchens and bathrooms. If you have an efficiency apartment, I guess you only need one alarm, but most homes are going to need at least 3, maybe a lot more depending on number of bedrooms and layout. At $129 per device, that starts to add up cost quickly.

Comment: Re:Easy! (Score 1) 481

by CBM (#44920643) Attached to: CCC Says Apple iPhone 5S TouchID Broken

You keep saying "it's a capacitive scanner" like that's some magical technology. Skin is partially conductive and has capacitance. The same for the derma layers under the epidermis. If you can take a picture of someone's fingerprint pattern (epidermis), that will most likely reflect the dermis pattern underneath (which is where the "blood vessels" are).

AuthentTec's own PR slides show how this works. (http://www.zvetcobiometrics.com/Documents/Trueprinttechnology.ppt)

I'm convinced the advantage of AuthenTec's technology is not that it senses the pattern of blood vessels in your finger (other than the blood vessels indicate where the dermis is), but rather that the signals can penetrate the sapphire protection layer more easily, as well as the outer layers of scarred or abraded epidermis.

Comment: Re:Easy! (Score 1) 481

by CBM (#44920609) Attached to: CCC Says Apple iPhone 5S TouchID Broken

Yep. A briefing by the designing company, AuthenTec, found here,
    http://www.zvetcobiometrics.com/Documents/Trueprinttechnology.ppt
shows that even though the sensing technology is different than static capacitance, it still basically reads your fingerprint pattern (see slide 12).

It probably does measure the blood vessels - the blood vessels within the derma portion of the skin that makes up your fingerprints.

Comment: Re:Salaries for editorial staff. (Score 1) 166

by CBM (#43306747) Attached to: What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper?

In the scientific field I work in, the primary journals are owned and run by our (non-profit) professional societies. The journal expenses are transparently reported the society management and membership. There is no incentive for profit, but rather to have an excellent quality journal that will be preserved for posterity. Refereeing is done pro-bono by professional members. After a few years from publication, the journal issues become open access.

Even though it is a non-profit enterprise, it's still expensive: ~ US$ 100-200 per page for submitters and $500-$2000 for annual subscriptions. The quality pays for editorial services, copyediting and publishing.

Comment: Re:First Post (Score 1) 404

by CBM (#41150767) Attached to: Google Distances Android From Samsung Patent Verdict

You should be a little more careful. You're right that, in the “Samsung-Apple Licensing Discussion” document, Apple proposed $30 for handsets (and $40 for tablets).

The difference is that Apple offered a 20% "discount" if Samsung licensed back all of its patents. And another unspecified discount if Samsung stopped using certain foundational technology. So those additional Apple requests had some incentive for Samsung.

That being said, I think the royalty rate of $30-$40 is pretty outrageous. When the typical cost of *all* techonology licensing royalties for a mobile device is 5-10% of the device cost, (source "IP Finance"), Apple would propose to add on another 5-8% just for itself. People used to joke about the "Microsoft tax," and this is just the same: an "Apple tax." It's pretty clear that Apple had Samsung over a barrel. Either Samsung pays an exorbitant royalty, or it stops using the patented technology, or it loses a lawsuit. Any way they sliced it, Apple was set up to win.

Comment: Making it work (Score 1) 71

by CBM (#39019473) Attached to: NASA Considers Privatizing GALEX Astrophysics Satellite

Hopefully Caltech has a nice endowment that can help them operate GALEX, because it will not be cheap. Maybe they can help train students to be future satellite operators, and save costs that way.

I was involved in a recent decommissioning of a NASA satellite. We tried to look for a privitization route, but the private funds and the timing just didn't come together in time. Kudos to Caltech for putting this together for GALEX.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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