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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: What desktop? All I see is a monitor & a keybo (Score 2) 453

by Caption Wierd (#45594703) Attached to: The Desktop Is Dead, Long Live the Desktop!
All of these desktop vs. laptop vs. tablet vs. phone vs. etc. discussions imply that the computer is the focus when really it should be the interfaces. If my quadcore phone had methods to type and see the results as well as I can on my keyboard and multiple XX-inch monitors, I doubt that I'd have a need for anything else. For me, as my eyes fade and fingers age, the screens are also getting smaller and the keyboards need greater agility. Yea, progress!

Comment: Laforge (Score 2) 456

by Caption Wierd (#43216013) Attached to: If I could augment my senses (w/ implant or similar) ...
The wider color spectrum, the radiation meter, and detecting electrical currents could be the same thing--perhaps some sort of visor that can see the entire EM spectrum from radio to gamma rays. Once you were good at it, you could also be a lie detector (although TNG seems to have ignored that ability in most shows.)

Comment: Re:I always wondered if this is feasible (Score 1) 59

by Caption Wierd (#40467907) Attached to: Injected Proteins Protect Mice From Lethal Radiation Dose
Actually, radiation doesn't provide that much of the mutations. The studies on animals show a small mutation rate--ratioing down from the experimental exposures to a background exposure--compared to the natural rate of mutations. In humans, the effect has not been seen at all. To the third generation of decendents of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima survivors, there is no increased rate of birth defects. See the Bilogical Effects of Ionization Radiation reports (BEIR I - BEIR VI) for more.

Comment: Re:Short summary (Score 1) 140

True, but remember radiation increases the risk of cancer. Radiation does not give everyone cancer. Even for the atomic bomb survivors--the ones who got the greatest doses but still survived the blast effects--the majority never got cancer.The question is and always has been, what is the risk. We may not know what this number accurately is for low radiation doses, but we know it is not a large number. I as an individual will accecpt a very small risk. However, I as a regulator or planner must take that risk and multiply it among the affected population and then plan to accept (or prevent) those cancer deaths.

Comment: Re:And it took this long to "make the connection"? (Score 1) 248

by Caption Wierd (#39635787) Attached to: Dental X-Rays Linked To Common Brain Tumor
I am a radiation expert. Occupational instead of medical, but radiation is radiation and x-rays have the best understood physics. Theory says injury is proportional to dose. Dose is independant of type (i.e. 1 rem of gamma should give the same effect of 1 rem of x-ray.) So if this data is correct, we would see an obvious increase of brain tumours among occupational workers at these low levels (which we don't even among occupational x-ray workers) and increases tied to areas of increased background radiation. Also, in the article, the study was retrospective, asking people if they remember having such dental procedures. From my work, I can say with confidence that people with cancer will always remember a cause for their cancer, particularly if it is phrased as "Do you remember being exposed to yada-yada as a child?" For a similar issue, look for cancer-from-transformer stories. Researchers asked if the people remembered living near elictrical transformers and those with cancer or cancer in their family remembered the transformers at a greater rate--leading to a statistical result similar to the one in this article.

Comment: Attention Admins - Let users add options! (Score 1) 722

by Caption Wierd (#36541356) Attached to: I Name My Servers After:
OK. I'm tired of seeing the "lack of options" complaint. Not because of the lack of validity, particularly in this case. There is clearly a lack of options! It is time to fix this problem. Please, please automate the poll options! No one can foresee all possible choices. In some cases, one cannot see the obvious choices. (Do a search for "lack of options" and count the results.) Salt the poll with the choices but allow a method for new choices to be included on the fly. You're smart. I'll leave it to you to figure out how. Hell, crowdsource the solution, even. But fix this oft repeated irritation. Thank you.

Comment: Add "radioactive" to get news coverage (Score 1) 50

by Caption Wierd (#35817382) Attached to: Taking Radioactive Contaminants From Water With Shells
There is no difference in removing radioactive materials from seawater than removing non-radioactive materials. Each atom of I-131 is exactly Iodine until that moment when it decides to decay and transform into Xenon-131, a stable isotope. This method may be useful only if it can remove contaminants at very low mass concentrations. The total amount of I-131 released at Fukushima is only around 100 grams, assuming the values in the news are correct. The reported concentration at one of the outfalls, at several thousand times the drinking water limits, works out to about 0.03 PPB.

Comment: Michele's Theory (Score 1) 387

by Caption Wierd (#35061108) Attached to: <em>The Hidden Reality</em> Draws Ire From Physicists
My wife came up with the best multiverse theory I've heard. She said that if there are an infinite number of universes and everything that could happen happens in some universe, then there must be a universe somewhere without (the need for) a multiverse. And if there is one, then it must be the one we're living in. QED: No multiverse

Comment: Re:Ranging from proof of life to first contact? (Score 1) 286

by Caption Wierd (#34394180) Attached to: Curious NASA Pre-Announcement
Come on. Are we so jaded now that life-in-space research (even if it is just an amino acid found on a comet) is just ho-hum news? Speaking as one of the generation that sat up all night watching blurry images of men walking on the Moon, we did not expect this. Everything we knew then eliminated the bulk of the solar system as being able to support life. Sure, we did expect to be out to Jupiter by now but that we would already be on the verge of proving that life is not limited to this one planet is incredible. I just want to be around when the first critter comes skittering in front of a rover's camera.

Comment: Maxed out the bandwidth, no problem (Score 1) 577

by Caption Wierd (#34127570) Attached to: Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?
My wife and I watch a lot of Netflix download movies, anything new that's halfway good plus I watch the older science fiction ones in the afternoon she doesn't care that much about. The ISP is DSL but the movies are very watchable on a 42" screen. (some stutter occasionally.) Plus, I surf YouTube, Reddit, Slashdot, etc. daily. About four months ago, my nephew put a hi def Slingbox in our house for his overseas tour of duty and it is on for a few hours every day. Luckily he is 13 hours away so he watches mostly in the AM when we're at work, we found we can't do both at once. My ISP has not said one word about it nor has there been any indication that we're causing problems. Sure, occasionally a bird will land on the phone wire and burst into flames, but that's about it.

Comment: Re:Health risk (Score 1) 313

by Caption Wierd (#34048446) Attached to: Inside a Full-Body-Scanning X-Ray Van
The reflection of the x-rays is actually greater for skin than metal due to the elements--hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon shine brighter than iron. That's the basic trick used, to be able to see through higher number elements such as metals by looking only a type of relection called Compton Scattering. I did some more reading and I was _wrong_ about the penetration of the skin. The reason the risk is low is just that not much x-ray is used.

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