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Comment Re:Build one (Score 1) 239

Back when I worked for the County of Santa Cruz (at the age of 17, mind you) I once installed a 486 chip 90 degrees out. Because you could do that back then. Now, it's not even possible. The only thing you can do is destroy pins trying to incorrectly insert the processor. If you're gentle, that won't happen either. Oh, I just thought about BGA packages, presumably they still have this problem? Hooray PGA

Comment Re:Landfill-saving hero (Score 1) 68

Right because Google always has your best interests at heart

Google released Android as Open Source, so I could look out for my own best interests. And I do; I load an alternate ROM on every device I own. Even if this tool lets you do that with Windows on Lumia phones, you still won't have the sources to what you're running, so you'll still be worse off in the best case... which ought to be Microsoft's slogan by now. "Microsoft: Worse off in the Best Case". Of course, Truth won't sell their crap.

Comment Re:Not replaced: serial and parallel ports. (Score 1) 196

I wish I could find USB-RS232 adapters that actually output the proper voltages...

You piqued my curiosity, so I did that with google in three minutes. The device uses the FTDI FT231X USB to serial with the FTDI FT3243S serial level shifter and promises an output swing of maximum +/- 15V, with all I/O protected against ESD. You may paypal the beer money to my email address, above.

Comment Re:oh no! (Score 1) 29

I quit using IRC about 15 yrs ago because it was the same shit over and over again.

You might as well kill yourself, because life is more than a bit samey, too. Every day I get up, take a shower, make breakfast... I could go on but isn't the point made? Admittedly, I don't irc any more either, but that's because I get the same shit over and over again from social networking and no longer need irc.

Comment Re:This is a breakthrough? (Score 1) 26

Yeah... I really don't understand a lot of robotics research. They seem to be forever chasing these awkward "proof-of-concept" implementations of concepts that are completely uninteresting. This is a perfect example: obviously you could make some robots that could do this, but it's really unclear what you'd learn by doing so, and the result is useless.

You get to focus on the software operating in an ideal environment, so you get to explore strategies before having to deal with the complexities of making the actual sensors work. There's nothing wrong with the idea, the problem is when you stop there. A lot of this work is done at universities by students, though, and they're learning. They don't know what they're doing. Their primary goal is to learn how to make the software work, not how to get good data out of a specific sensor that might not even be on the market by the time they get out of school.

Comment HAIL SATAN (Score 1) 48

For a change, soccer moms with too much spare time and nothing to do but protecting their precious little snowflakes could become useful.

Swearing? Nobody cares. That shit is on the radio now, at least some of it. Interfering with religious indoctrination? THAT will get the religious wingnuts up in arms with their burning crosses.

Comment Re:Reminds me of catwalk models (Score 1) 74

The original goal of the fashion industry and catwalk models was simply to promote slim women - women who were a healthy weight. This was fair enough, and a decent goal - the happy medium. But the fashion industry didn't stop there. They became psychotic about thinness until the point where they now fetishize anorexic women who are very far from attractive and need to see a fucking doctor.

Yeah, I've heard two competing theories and I think they're both right, albeit more the first one than the second one. The first one is that when women are attractive people look at the women and not the clothes, so they wanted women who are more like a clothes hanger. Second, the influence of the homosexual fashion designer, who doesn't want to look at women anyway. (I know queers who like to look at boobs, so it's not all of them, but I also have met queers who seem to have a problem with women. It's a lumpy world.)

Comment Re:Problem with the definition of a planet (Score 2) 34

They'll say, "oh, it's okay, there's enough of a size difference between those bodies that they don't count". But the thing is that there's no way that most of the current "8 planets" would have cleared their orbits without help from the giants. It's pretty much accepted science in astronomy that Jupiter, and to a lesser extent Saturn, scattered most of the bodies in our solar system. Mars has a Stern-Levison parameter (rating of the ability of a body to scatter small bodies) two orders of magnitude less than Neptune, and Neptune has multiple Pluto-scale bodies in its orbit. Pluto may be small compared to Neptune, but it's not so small in comparison to Mars, yet Mars has two orders magnitude less ability to scatter them. Mars didn't scatter these things away - Jupiter did. Heck, a number of the models show that the planets didn't even form in their current locations.

There's all this misuse of the Stern-Levison parameter out there to say things that it doesn't. The parameter is based around a probabilistic simulation of the body and a bunch of "small bodies" with a mass distribution and orbital distribution similar to our asteroid belt. But of course, that tells you very little - our asteroid belt only has the size and mass distribution that it does today because of the influence of other planets - and when I say "other planets", I really mean overwhelmingly Jupiter (only a tiny fraction of asteroids are in Mars resonances). Jupiter has stopped these bodies from coalescing into larger bodies and scattered the vast majority of its mass elsewhere. That's not the situation that the solar system was in during formation. There were numerous large "planetissimals" scattered around. The Stern-Levison parameter says absolutely nothing about the ability of a body to scatter large planetissimals. And even concerning scattering asteroids, it doesn't state that the scatters are enough to "clear the orbit", only that their angle changes on a pass by more than a given number of degrees.

Basic point: a standard based around the "8 planets" having cleared their orbit is a lie. The science says that most of them aren't responsible for clearing their own orbits.

And while we're at it: what sort of stupid standard puts Mars and Jupiter in the same group but in a different group than Pluto and Ceres? There was a perfectly reasonable standard under discussion at the IAU conference shortly before they switched what they were voting on: a definition built around hydrostatic equlibrium. A lot of the planetary scientists left thinking that this was the version that was going to be voted on, and being happy with either "no definition" or an "equilibrium definition", saw no need to stick around for the final vote. Hydrostatic equilibrium actually is valid science, and it's very meaningful. A body not in hydrostatic equilibrium is generally made of primordial minerals. It's the sort of place you'd go to research, for example, properties of how the solar system formed. A body in hydrostatic equilibrium has undergone mass conversion of its primordial minerals to new forms. It's undergone massive releases of energy (which may still be present, depending), associated action of fluids, etc, and are the sorts of places you would go to study mineralization processes, internal processes or search for life. They're very different bodies, and there's a very simple dividing line - one that's much easier to calculate/measure than a pseudoscience "cleared the neighborhood" standard.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.