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Comment Re: Corrects multipath problem. (Score 1) 63

My first thought would be not entirely, although it would make life simpler. The signal will be seen directly, and from reflections from the ground (or in this case roof). You would limit the reflections from nearby walls, interruptions due to cover (like trees), etc. and the reflections would be fairly constant. It would not eliminate them, however.

Comment Re:I seem to have missed something... (Score 1) 104

Yes, I understand this. I understand that they can look for most common answers among correct control responses, and crowd source the OCR of difficult street view images. My point is that is not what the experiment is doing. The point of the experiment is to determine if these images are as effective as the current images used in the tests. For the purposes of that experiment, it would be much easier (and probably more scientifically accurate) to use images where the correct answer is already known. As Google already has a large number of those images where it has extracted street names and numbers, they would have a large sample size to use for this experiment. They do not need, at this point, to use the unknown images.

If the experiment shows the street view images are equally effective, people can debate whether it's ok to have random web users do your OCR for you. Until then I'm not going to panic.

Comment I seem to have missed something... (Score 4, Informative) 104

I have read the quote from Google about what they are doing several times, and I don't see what everyone else sees. It appears to me that they are using the already known street names and numbers as possible ReCAPTCHA images. What they are NOT doing is using the results given by people to define what the image says. The point of the experiment is to determine whether these images are sufficient to separate people from web-bots. I imagine that they will look at the number of 'wrong' answers from both sides of the test, and see if bots are able to parse the street view images significantly more often than the standard test images.

So... can anyone point to something in the Google quote to show me where I went wrong? From TFA, here is the quote:

We’re currently running an experiment in which characters from Street View images are appearing in CAPTCHAs. We often extract data such as street names and traffic signs from Street View imagery to improve Google Maps with useful information like business addresses and locations. Based on the data and results of these reCaptcha tests, we’ll determine if using imagery might also be an effective way to further refine our tools for fighting machine and bot-related abuse online.

Comment Re:$25/30d - shipping + ??? = profit? (Score 1) 150

At end of product life cycle (when a new, shinier iPad comes out, for example), old stock could be offloaded through places like Amazon, which already provides for selling of used electronics. This business plan is very similar to what car rental agencies have used for quite a while.

Comment Re:He's probably right. (Score 2) 352

Trying to do much REAL WORK(tm) on a tablet is an exercise in frustration

I have seen quotes similar to this by several CEOs, including from Microsoft. I really think this more than anything shows a lack of vision. We currently have laptops with docking stations that people can set up to use both a "desktop computer" they carry easily from work and home. While these are ok, they are typically limited to a specific make (and often model) of laptop. A shift to a more generic docking station is hopefully not too far off. As the processor market continues to evolve, I think we will start to see something similar for tablets. While on the go, you can maybe do simple things, like browse the web, etc. When you get home or to work, it plugs in and becomes your computer. Longer term, the same may be true even for phones, although that may be a decade or more from now.

I can imagine buying a "monitor" with a sort of universal phone jack on the back of it. You get one for home, work provides one at the office. Coffee shops install a few of them for pretentious writer types. You carry your computer with you as you do a phone now, and wherever you go you plug it into a monitor that has a keyboard & mouse. Imagine if every computer you logged into (by connecting your phone) had the same OS, desktop, all of you files, applications, contacts, internet connection (from the phone), etc.

Dismissing the tablet (and phone) as never replacing the computer is probably short sighted. Will there still be high end systems? Of course. Some consumers will always either have or want more processing power, be it for regression modelling, compiling, ego boosting, or whatever else. For the majority of people.. if you can buy a phone that has the processing power to do everything you need, buying a full power PC becomes a lot less interesting.

Comment Re:Not to take sides (Score 3, Insightful) 1003

While this is true, it misses the larger issue. There are a number of factors that change driving performance. Eating while driving has a similar effect to talking on a cell phone, much like applying makeup, shaving, etc. In contrast, having a second person (or more) seems to improve driving performance. A young child who is sleeping in the back seat can greatly improve performance, while a small child who is screaming and crying has a negative effect.

If we want to use the logic "it hurts performance", we should ban all electronic devices, and have the radios in cars have 1 big button that can turn on or off road information messages. We should ban all eating while driving. We should require any children that are in cars to be drugged and remain unconscious, and it should be illegal to drive without a second person in the car. That would, statistically, increase driving performance across the board.

Banning cell phones simply because they can be shown to have a negative performance is singling out a single cause because we don't like it. Instead, as usual, the problem is larger and more problematic to fix. Personally, it comes down to how much risk we, as a society, are willing to accept. The current rates of traffic accidents and fatalities are lower than they have been in previous years[*]. Personally, I am comfortable with the current level of risk when I step into a vehicle, either to drive or to ride as a passenger. If society, in general, would like to make changes to improve those numbers, we should have a realistic discussion about what would changes would help, how much each change would help, and what cost would be associated with each change. Simply pointing out one cause, and removing it, without addressing any other issues, is simply punishing a behavior based on personal bias.


Heroic Engineer Crashes Own Vehicle To Save a Life 486

scottbomb sends in this feel-good story of an engineer-hero, calling it "one of the coolest stories I've read in a long time." "A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — 'there was no time to take a vote' — Innes kicked into engineer mode. 'Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together,' Innes explained."

Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty Black Ops Edition 102

gadgetking writes "When I first saw this I thought it was a joke — the Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition. Seriously? I mean I like my COD first person shooter game as much as the next nerd but this really shows how mainstream video games have become. From the article: 'The Jeep brand today announced it has been named exclusive automotive partner by Activision for Call of Duty: Black Ops, and that they're making a COD Jeep. Hitting show floors next month, this limited-edition Jeep Wrangler will be available for a MSRP of $30,625 for the two-door model and $33,500 for the four-door. The 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops Edition comes standard with "aggressive 32-inch tires, unique military style and Call of Duty graphics."'"

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Comment Re:Analysuis done about 10 years (Score 1) 321

I could be wrong, but I believe the logic goes that if the entire area was land, the cities in the area were allied with each other and this allowed for the sharing of technology between them. When the sea rushed in, it destroyed all but the few cities left at the edge of the new sea, leaving us with the "mystery" of how these few cities connected by only the sea could all have independently developed this tech, when no one else did.

Comment Re:Analysuis done about 10 years (Score 1) 321

I read an interesting paper about 10 or 15 years ago positing that during the last ice age the levels of the oceans were reduced to the point that the Mediterranean Sea was either much smaller or non existent. Unfortunately the people at that time didn't get the warning about climate change coming.. as the global ice caps shrunk back to "normal" levels, the Mediterranean was formed. (In reality, this was aprox 20k years ago, not the 10 to 12k spoken of in regards to Atlantis.)

I don't really follow Atlantis stuff much, but there has been at least some scientific research along the lines of what H.G. Wells was making up; Whether that theory has been confirmed or tossed out I really have no idea, but I wouldn't say that "scientific theories" don't cover this.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.