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Comment: Re:And how much do we spend on Software Research? (Score 2) 287

by Dr. Tom (#48744207) Attached to: Should We Be Content With Our Paltry Space Program?

I once heard it estimated that during the same time period as the Apollo Space program, American women spent more on cosmetics than what it cost to put a man on the Moon. Obviously, if women would just give up makeup for 5 or 10 years, we could easily afford to build a Mars base.

Comment: Re:They said that about cell phones (Score 1) 386

by Dr. Tom (#48703841) Attached to: The One Mistake Google Keeps Making

"Someone who, given the choice of spending $30K on a car that they fully control and can go anywhere they want at any speed they want – or another, likely more expensive buggy that will only travel on certain routes at slower speeds and with less options." Which car would you buy?"

Cell phones? They said that about horses when cars first came out! Given the choice between an intelligent, sure-footed creature that can travel over any terrain and a noisy, smelly, prone-to-breakdown mechanical contraption, which would you buy?

Comment: Brodmann Areas (Score 1) 91

by Dr. Tom (#48344865) Attached to: fMRI Data Reveals How Many Parallel Processes Run In the Brain

Brodmann already counted the CPUs of the brain. They are called Brodmann areas. BA17, for example, is primary visual cortex. BA45 is Broca's area (speech). There are about 50. They are defined by differences in the micro-cellular architecture of the area. Most areas of cortex look roughly the same, but there are many differences, for example the input layers of primary sensory areas are larger than in other areas. Some areas have large output layers, or more inhibitory cells, etc.

The brain does have many distinct areas, asynchronously operating, highly connected with both local and long distance connections, and the areas themselves are composed of a rich mosaic of different cell types that continuously self-regulate, process information, and adapt.

Comment: Homeland Security vs CDC (Score 5, Interesting) 190

by Dr. Tom (#47517607) Attached to: The Department of Homeland Security Needs Its Own Edward Snowden

You all remember the recent smallpox discovery at the NIH ... well it turns out they found quite a number of samples of various other things, and their disposition was somewhat odd: some of them went to the FDA, the CDC, or were destroyed, but a number of samples (they didn't say what) were sent to Homeland Security.

WTF?!

What possible business can H.S. have with vials of deadly diseases?

'The original smallpox samples, along with ten others that were unclearly labeled, were securely transferred to the CDC’s high-containment facility in Atlanta., the FDA said, and 32 other vials have already been destroyed. The remaining 279 were transferred to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Bioforensic Analysis Center “for safeguarding.”'

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/1...

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A Physicist Says He Can Tornado-Proof the Midwest With 1,000-Foot Walls 501 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the up-against-the-wall dept.
meghan elizabeth writes: Temple physicist Rongjia Tao has a utopian proposal to build three massive, 1,000-foot-high, 165-foot-thick walls around the American Midwest, in order to keep the tornadoes out. Building three unfathomably massive anti-tornado walls would count as the infrastructure project of the decade, if not the century. It would be also be exceedingly expensive. "Building such walls is feasible," Tao says. "They are much easier than constructing a skyscraper. For example, in Philadelphia, the newly completed Comcast building has about 300-meter height. The wall with similar height as the Comcast building should be much easier to be constructed." Update: 06/28 04:14 GMT by T : Note: originally, this story said that Tao was at Drexel rather than Temple -- now corrected

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