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Comment: Estonia in 2030 (Score 3, Interesting) 149

by Fartypants (#49039617) Attached to: Mooted: An Undersea Link From Finland To Estonia

Well, Finland already has a border with Russia and the way things are going, it's entirely possible Estonia and the rest of the Baltics will be returned to Russia's "sphere of influence" by 2030. Promises made by NATO to put a brigade in Poland and create local headquarters in each of the Baltic states have made depressingly little progress and the EU has made it clear that avoiding conflict with Russia is worth the sacrifice of nations on the periphery of Europe.

Comment: Re:Dual screen game system? (Score 1) 129

by Fartypants (#35949358) Attached to: Sony's New Android-based Dual Screen Tablets

It's always Sony vs. their customers, unfortunately. a shame because they have some incredible engineering talent. It will probably be beautiful device but will have a proprietary media format, proprietary headphone jack, proprietary charger, proprietary batteries. And media and peripherals will cost double everybody else's. Sony's scammer mentality is to screw their customers at every turn rather than build something beautiful and usable that will then become indispensable. Their Walkman music player products and phones are a tragedy... So much potential, such a waste.

Comment: I think it was my fault (Score 1) 236

by Fartypants (#35035926) Attached to: Challenger 25 Years Later

I remember being in a school assembly for an earlier launch - Columbia or Atlantis, I think - and the whole way up, I just kept thinking to myself, "explode, explode, c'mon explode. please explode. c'mon, this is booring... explode!" not out of any malicious or malevolent intent, but just because I thought it would be cool and I wasn't old enough to realize the ramifications.

When the Challenger disaster happened two years later, I was mortified. By that time I already could understand what it meant and was wracked with guilt, convinced it was somehow my fault for having wished that such a thing would happen.

Which, of course, is silly. But just in case - I really hope that no more shuttles or rockets explode.


+ - Iron-Eating Bug Is Gobbling Up the Titanic->

Submitted by gambit3
gambit3 (463693) writes "A newly discovered microbe dubbed Halomonas titanicae is chewing its way through the wreck of the famous ship and leaving little behind except a fine dust, researchers report in today's issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. "In 1995, I was predicting that Titanic had another 30 years," said Henrietta Mann, a civil engineering adjunct professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. "It's deteriorating much faster than that now.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Reproductive Scientists Create Mice from 2 Fathers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Using stem cell technology, reproductive scientists in Texas, led by Dr. Richard R. Berhringer at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, have produced male and female mice from two fathers. The study was posted today (Wednesday, December 8) at the online site of the journal Biology of Reproduction. The achievement of two-father offspring in a species of mammal could be a step toward preserving endangered species, improving livestock breeds, and advancing human assisted reproductive technology (ART). It also opens the provocative possibility of same-sex couples having their own genetic children, the researchers note."

Comment: Web of Trust (Score 1) 225

by Fartypants (#34488752) Attached to: Malicious Online Retailer Ordered Held Without Bail

According to Google's blog post on the issue, automated sentiment analysis doesn't really work...

As it turns out, Google has a world-class sentiment analysis system (Large-Scale Sentiment Analysis for News and Blogs). But if we demoted web pages that have negative comments against them, you might not be able to find information about many elected officials, not to mention a lot of important but controversial concepts. So far we have not found an effective way to significantly improve search using sentiment analysis. Of course, we will continue trying.

which makes it seem like whatever fix they instituted in their algorithm in response to this problem is just a kludge and that the underlying problem remains...

There is a solution to this problem that a lot of people are already using, however: Web Of Trust, which lists user recommendations as to trustworthiness, vendor reliability, privacy and child safety. Sure enough, WOT gives decormyeyes the lowest combined rating, which according to my settings would not allow my browser to even visit such a site.

Comment: Re:No wonder the amateur got the story (Score 1) 335

by Fartypants (#34201114) Attached to: Mystery 'Missile' Identified As US Airways Flight 808

All those big name news outfits, CBS or FOX or what not, they are in the business of selling ad time. Digging and finding the truth costs money and produces uninteresting information. "Was there a mystery missile? Film at 11" collects eye-balls and sells ads. The amateur on the other hand does not have any incentive to hype the mystery and in fact has an incentive to debunk the myth. So he got it. Way to go.

Wish there are more such amateurs tracking the money and misinformation spread by everyone about politics.

getting a bit offtopic, but, there are such amateur sleuths following the money in politics... check out and

Comment: Re:nearly useless (Score 1) 282

by Fartypants (#34200228) Attached to: Military Uses 'Bat-Hook' To Tap Power From Lines

why not plug into an outdoor outlet, or just go inside and borrow the use of an outlet., shelter, etc.

I'm guessing it's because there might not be an outdoor outlet and the people inside might either shoot you or act in such a way as to increase the chances that you'll have to shoot them. Seems like a better idea to just stay undetected outside, steal your juice and go on your way.

Comment: Nooooo!!!!!!! (Score 1) 602

by Fartypants (#34049692) Attached to: BSG Prequel Series Caprica Canceled

Aaargh!!! Oh, the anguish of being a fan of slow-moving sporadically entertaining cerebral sci-fi!!

I do believe the show had hope, but it certainly suffered from the same problems that affect almost all long-story-arc television these days: 1) the producers don't know how many years they are going to have to tell the story going into the project. (In LOST, for example, this resulted in a good 2-3 seasons of 'filler material' during which the show became so convoluted that basically everybody stopped caring enough to try to understand it. 2) the shows don't provide any resolution of major plot points on a season-by-season level. 24, of course, is the best example of a program doing this well. Every season there is resolution of the main plot. Mad Men also, has a separate central theme for each season which is fully explored and then discarded by the next season. Caprica didn't have that. It just sort of slowly ground on, and given the producers had no idea how long it was supposed to go on for, it's difficult to bring major plot points to satisfying conclusions in a timely enough schedule to keep audiences satisfied.

But I, for one, was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt... Oh well, now I guess I'll have to turn all my attention to the new Sherlock Holmes on PBS. Go Sherlock! (

Comment: Re:sooo (Score 1) 181

by Fartypants (#33711254) Attached to: Panasonic's 16-Finger, Hair-Washing Robot

We have a $20k machine that does what a person could do in about 30 seconds? Or could be resolved for weeks with a beard trimmer in under a 60 seconds? This looks like a problem that wasn't needing a solution.

According to the article, the robot was developed to assist caregivers in hospitals and health-care facilities. So, yes, it is a completely useless and overpriced machine but it will be paid for by the taxpayers so it should end up being a big money maker for Panasonic.

It is the quality rather than the quantity that matters. - Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C. - A.D. 65)