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Comment: Re:fMRI? (Score 4, Interesting) 52

by Elbows (#47522603) Attached to: Empathy For Virtual Characters Studied With FMRI Brain Imaging

Interesting article. But I don't think it reaches the conclusion that you're suggesting.

Some people like to use the salmon study as proof that fMRI is woo, but this isn't the case, it's actually a study to show the importance of correcting your stats.

So basically fMRI studies are only as good (or as bad) as the statistical analysis you do of the data. Which is probably the case for a large portion of modern science.

Comment: Re:"Undead" doesn't mean vibrant, though. (Score 1) 283

by Elbows (#47307563) Attached to: Perl Is Undead

But my editor can do the indentation for me based on the braces. And if I change the control flow (for example, moving a block of code into an if), the editor can easily reindent the whole block. So using whitespace for indentation doesn't save me any work and in some cases takes more work (when I have to manually adjust indentation because the editor can't figure it out).

It's a relatively minor annoyance, and I'm actually a big fan of Python. But I sometimes wish it had an "end" keyword like Lua or Ruby.

Comment: Re:bit heavy on the fud (Score 1) 274

by Elbows (#46229059) Attached to: The Death Cap Mushroom Is Spreading Across the US

in North America, all native berries with a blue or purple color are edible

Pokeweed has purple berries and some species are poisonous:

According to the linked article they are native to North America. They certainly grew wild all around my house when I was a kid.


Oracle Attacks Open Source; Says Community-Developed Code Is Inferior 394

Posted by Soulskill
from the completely-unbiased-and-without-any-sort-of-agenda dept.
sfcrazy writes "Oracle has a love-hate relationship with open source technologies. In a whitepaper (PDF) for the Deparment of Defense, Oracle claims that TCO (total cost of ownership) goes up with the use of open source. They're essentially trying to build a case for the use of their own products within the government. 'The skill required to successfully and economically blend source code into a commercially viable product is relatively scarce. It should not be done directly at government expense.' Oracle also attacks the community-based development model, calling it more insecure than company developed products. 'Government-sponsored community development approaches to software creation lack the financial incentives of commercial companies to produce low-defect, well-documented code.'"

+ - First Gear Mechanism Discovered in Nature->

Submitted by GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH (1153867) writes "A gear mechanism has been discovered for the first time in nature in the nymph of the Issus, a small plant-hopping insect common in Europe. It uses the gears to synchronize the movement and power of its hind legs, forcing the legs to propel it in a straight line when jumping, which would otherwise be impossible for the insect if it had to control the timing and force of its leg muscles independently. The journal paper is paywalled but you can read a summary at"
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:so its not global warming? (Score 2) 111

Fire burns up undergrowth and dead branches on the forest floor, but the larger trees mostly survive. Logging removes the large trees and allows brush to grow up in its place.

So logging has a totally different ecological impact, and probably increases the risk of fire.


Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-together dept.
First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-look dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."

Comment: Re:It isn't that complicated (Score 5, Insightful) 517

by Elbows (#38700208) Attached to: White House Responds To SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN

20 year copyright term limits are very reasonable. The current term limits + options to extend are absolutely unreasonable, and they drive people to rebellion.

I mostly agree with you, and I definitely favor shorter copyright terms. But I doubt that 20+ year-old works make up a significant chunk of online piracy. People are largely downloading recent movies, games, and music, and limiting copyright to 20 years probably won't put much of a dent in it.

Comment: Re:Games (Score 1) 1880

by Elbows (#38023646) Attached to: What's Keeping You On Windows?

I can see where the GP is coming from. I suppose it depends on your definition of productive -- there are lots of things in life that can produce feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction even if you don't make any money at them (playing music, studying martial arts, hobby coding, etc). I personally classify those as "productive" activities.

Gaming can be a good way to relax or kill time if you're bored, but in the long run I don't find it as rewarding as my other hobbies. On the other hand, if I'm a bit tired/unmotivated, and have a good game at hand, it's easy to spend all day playing it. But at the end of the day I'll be less happy than if I did something "productive".

Comment: Teach Him About Failure (Score 1) 659

by Elbows (#37667290) Attached to: How Do You Educate a Prodigy?

I'd find something for him to do that *doesn't* come easily -- it would probably have to be something outside the academic realm, maybe a sport or martial art.

Why? Because eventually, he's going to outgrow his genius and reach a point where he needs to study and work hard in order to succeed. That seems to be the point where most child prodigies burn out. Their whole ego/self worth gets tied up with being "smart" and succeeding effortlessly -- when they fail, it can be devastating, and they may decide that they're not so smart after all and give up.

If he experiences some failures early on, he can develop the resilience to keep working when things get tough. There's a lot of evidence that, in the long run, success has a lot more to do with effort and focused practice than innate talent.

Comment: Re:Rewrite the Constitution or face default! (Score 1) 1042

by Elbows (#36900784) Attached to: House Websites Jammed After Obama Debt Speech

He did put forth a plan, and it's been analyzed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which is where the $2.2 trillion figure comes from.

Real Users never know what they want, but they always know when your program doesn't deliver it.