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Comment: Re:I thought that was Nintendo's failure... (Score 1) 150

by ModelX (#49115249) Attached to: Is Sega the Next Atari?

GD-ROM instead of DVD was not really the key problem, Dreamcast was buried by the developers before PS2 even launched!

The key problem was trivial piracy and the stupid feature that rebooted the machine when swapping disks (who wants to play a 1GB CG intensive game).

Also, many developers were porting to WinCE for Dreamcast, but that thing was buggy, like really buggy, like showstopping buggy. And then Microsoft withdrew support (or if they didn't officially in practice support was inadequate).

When it was obvious PS2 has got it Dreamcast was toast as far as developer/publisher support goes and that was about half a year before PS2 launch. Sega's financial problems due also to collapse of arcades market prevented another attempt at consoles.

Comment: Re:How can a civilization perish without AGW? (Score 1) 55

by ModelX (#49065305) Attached to: Drones and Satellites Spot Lost Civilizations In Unlikely Places

The Sahara as we know it now exists mainly because during 'roman times' (+/-500 years) the woods there got lumbered down.
So yes, it is mainly man made.

That's not quite true. Lumbering only affected the progress of northern border of Sahara.

The weather patterns were also changing during Roman times. There was more rain in some places and some places were even warmer than today.

Comment: 3D imaging + 3D printing = missing bone parts (Score 2) 164

by ModelX (#48813069) Attached to: Man Saves Wife's Sight By 3D Printing Her Tumor

About two years ago I was at a presentation by a surgeon who used 3d imaging to produce a 3d model of a partially missing bone and a complete symmetric bone. He mirrored the model of the symmetric bone to approximate the part of the missing bone. The part was printed on 3d printer and used to prepare a mold for the appropriate alloy for the implant.

Comment: A comedy? (Score 1) 166

by ModelX (#48788769) Attached to: Nuclear Waste Accident Costs Los Alamos Contractor $57 Million

"The accident was a horrific comedy of errors," says James Conca, a scientific advisor and expert on the WIPP. "

What comedy, there's nothing funny about plutonium leaking. Once it got into the ventilation shafts it got into the air for us to breathe and improve our chances of getting cancer. So the whole so called isolation project was compromised.

Comment: Basic firefigting (Score 1) 80

by ModelX (#47060141) Attached to: Researchers Experiment With Explosives To Fight Wildfires

Any basic firefighting course will teach you there are two components to fire: oxygen and heat. If you remove either you will put out the fire. However, if there's enough heat left fire will reignite. That's why firefighters keep pouring water long after flames have been extinguished.

So an explosion will not stop the fire unless it also creates enough airflow to cool down whatever was burning. That will work for some materials but not for everything. Just remember how easily blowing at the barbecue charcoal brings back the flames.

Comment: Re:Relevant paragraph (Score 1) 610

by ModelX (#45273873) Attached to: Toyota's Killer Firmware

The far more likely explanation is that these people thought they were stomping on the brake, when they were in fact stomping on the accelerator. I've actually done that when the passenger kicked over a folding sun shade and it (unknown to me) wedged so that every time I pressed the brake, it also pressed the accelerator. The car would lurch forward whenever I started braking. Nothing happened because when I jammed down the brake pedal, the brake overpowered the engine and the car came to a stop. The engine was revving at an uncomfortably high RPM, but the car was stopped.

The Toyota Avensis I used to drive had some protection against this. When I pressed the accelerator pedal all the way quickly the electronic injection control would refuse to accelerate quickly instead performing a gradual acceleration. This was very annoying when I actually wanted to accelerate quickly. I had to learn to press the pedal gradually with just the right speed.

Comment: Installing for free is possible anyways (Score 1) 314

by ModelX (#45227435) Attached to: Torvalds: Free OS X Is No Threat To Linux

According to our experience every installer version since Leopard upgraded the previous version without checking anything except for Apple hardware. iTunes doesn't care. Our institution eventually paid for OS upgrade licenses once a year, but by that time we already had the latest version installed. It seems to be Apple policy to move users to the latest OS version whether you pay for it or not. Now they are just making it official for the latest upgrade.

Comment: Re:So Just So I'm Seeing This Clearly (Score 0) 225

by ModelX (#44750821) Attached to: Japanese Ice Wall To Stop Reactor Leaks

Nuclear accidents have not been proven to have killed a single person.

That's not true. There have been many documented deaths.

There are reasonable estimates that as many as a couple of hundred people have died from radiation derived from power plants, total.

So what, you are telling us only 200 people suffered after Chernobil? Have you counted the early liquidators? What about hundreds of kids from that region being treated for cancer that come to the local clinic each year, is that just some unlucky coincidence?
There have been many studies that correlate radiation to cancer, you just need to multiply the numbers by the number of people and you get some nasty numbers. Like some experts have calculated 1M-4M extra cancers from Fukushima. If the #3 explosion was significantly laced with plutonium that number could even be much higher.

A hundred THOUSAND people are known to die from immediate causes of fossil fuel use every single year. Most of that is coal - which only a total idiot would use to power their home. It even releases more irradiation into the environment than nuclear power does. Coal has tiny bits of radioactive particles in it. When you burn it, you release those particles into the air. They usually settle around the coal plant, only affecting the poor shmucks stuck working or living near the coal burning power plant.

Apart from blowing reactor buildings sky high the Japanese have also been incinerating radioactive debris. The radioactive particles are being taken over by jet stream. So just inhale deeply if it's so much cleaner than coal smoke. Also you might want to store the spent fuel somewhere close to you, it will warm you up and surely there won't ever be any accident with that in the next few thousand years while it cools down and decays.

Learn math. It is your friend. It will keep you from doing stupid things like objecting to a safe, clean power source because it involves complex physics that you don't understand.

Learn nuclear physics. Learn chemistry. Learn bio-chemistry. Then redo your math. If more people understood it there would be violent demonstrations at every nuclear installation already. People like you should be conscripted to clean up after the accidents.

Comment: Re:Depends.. (Score 1) 197

by ModelX (#44379079) Attached to: NSA Utah Data Center Blueprints Reveal It Holds Less Than Thought

Voice data is analyzed for key words using automation. (Think about when you call your credit card company, and can input your CC number by voice)
If no keyword flags are raised, delete the conversation after X time (or immediately, who knows?)

You forgot one important step: voice data is converted to a very low bitrate phoneme-like representation that is good enough for subsequent approximate searches and voice based analytics (speaker recognition...).

Comment: Re:neat idea (Score 1) 120

by ModelX (#44170429) Attached to: Alcatel-Lucent Gives DSL Networks a Gigabit Boost

There's unpredictable (random) noise and there's predictable noise. You can't do much about random noise except for trying to determine how much of the noise there is in particular frequency bands. But you can work around predictable noise. The general idea is for the telco equipment to run a bundle of connections in sync. Then they can correlate noise going from connection to connection in a bundle. Then they modify signals transmitted to a particular connection to include anti-noise component, that is a negative of the signal that is expected to be radiated by the other nearby connections. Well actually they have to modify all the signals to run each connection optimally, the math can be done.

Comment: Re:What interesting things are people doing with i (Score 1) 268

I've been on a 1 Gbps connection for about 5 years now. The nice things about it are:
- you don't need to find that DVD, downloading is faster
- moving around disk and VM images is a one minute job
- you can do everything over remote desktop including video playback and editing
- low latency is nice for interactive applications like videoconferencing (no stupid late echoes)
- a large torrent downloads while you are using the toilet
- video on demand is a non issue, thats just a few Mbps, you can stream quite a few IP cameras all the time just for fun

Comment: Re:At least one has merit... (Score 1) 97

by ModelX (#42619463) Attached to: Europe's Got Talent For Geeks

There are several levels of abstraction that one can pursue when modeling things. We already know a lot about things in all of these levels, only not in a fully comprehensive way. Modeling and simulation is an excellent way to give insights about the gaps in the knowledge and to direct further research.

And each of the 250+ neurotransmitters has different physic-chemical dynamics. Does that mean we need to know everything before we make an overall functional model? Definitely no.

Do I have to take into consideration every car in existence to make a model of congestion on roads? No. Now bring me my spherical cow please.

If anything recent neuroscience research has shown us how little we know about how the brain works. Even for the parts whose function we do know we don't know the actual principles of operation. This is not even close to comprehensive understanding. Basically we know the functionality of the first few layers of neurons closest to receptors then we think we know bits about the next few layers but we know we don't know how the whole learning, adaptation and top-down processes work, and then the further up you go the less we know.

So while in principle I do agree that quantitative modeling going hand in hand with neuroscience research is the way to go pretending to know we can build a somewhat functioning model of the whole brain is a bit of a joke. It's OK as a far fetched goal but we should really go step by step by understanding how parts work.

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.

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