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Comment: Re:I don't think so... (Score 4, Interesting) 72

by Omni-Cognate (#39465897) Attached to: Animating From Markup Code To Rendered Result

Having just watched the video, it looks like the reason it's better (as alluded to in the summary) is eye focus. When you tab to a different browser you have to then find your place in a potentially large document. Ditto when you tab back. With this thing, if you keep your eye on where you are in one view and follow the animation you end up looking in the right place in the other view.

I find this a genuine problem, and as a solution this looks positively awesome.

Comment: Re:"Caveat in paragraph 19" (Score 1) 815

by Omni-Cognate (#38114012) Attached to: In the EU, Water Doesn't (Officially) Prevent Dehydration
They're not claiming it's not a disease. It's a bit more subtle than that.

The Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 defines reduction of disease risk claims as claims which state that the consumption of a food “significantly reduces a risk factor in the development of a human disease”. Thus, for reduction of disease risk claims, the beneficial physiological effect results from the reduction of a risk factor for the development of a human disease. The Panel notes that dehydration was identified as the disease by the applicant. Dehydration is a condition of body water depletion. The Panel notes that the proposed risk factors, “water loss in tissues” or “reduced water content in tissues”, are measures of water depletion and thus are measures of the disease. The Panel considers that the proposed claim does not comply with the requirements for a disease risk reduction claim pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.

So it sounds like the regulation requires that the food reduces a "risk factor" for the disease, which must be distinct from the disease itself. They rejected it because it is claimed to reduce the disease itself, not a "risk factor" for it. I couldn't see anything else in the ruling explaining that further, and can't be bothered to look at the regulation itself (though at 5am on a Sunday, it might help with my insomnia).

I don't know why they allow claims with respect to reducing risk factors but not with respect to reducing the diseases themselves. Perhaps the latter would be considered medicinal claims?

It sounds like either the regulation is too strict, the panel overinterpreted it or the application was incompetent. Perhaps a combination of all three. I wonder if the application would have been accepted if, instead of "water loss in tissues", he'd identified the risk factor as "insufficient consumption of water" :-)

Comment: Re:What I have been telling people. (Score 1) 229

by Omni-Cognate (#34710390) Attached to: Nintendo Warns 3D Games Can Ruin Children's Eyes

your eye can't even tell the difference between light rays entering it from a 3D system vs light rays entering your eyes from the real world, it's the same thing to your eyes.

Apparently you haven't watched any 3D films.

The correct name for what happens in a "3D" cinema or on a "3D" TV is not "3D" - it isn't really significantly more "3D" than a normal perspective image (I'll explain why below). The correct name for the effect is "stereoscopy" and it only reproduces one part, actually a rather unimportant part, of the experience of viewing a true 3-dimensional scene.

In the real world, when you move your gaze from a point at one depth to a point at a different depth, your brain has to cause two changes to take place in your visual system (no doubt amongst many others):

  1. 1. Your eyeballs have to be moved so that the point you are looking at is within the most sensitive area of your retina (the fovea). If the new point is further away than the old one, this will require that the eyes move outwards. If closer, they have to move inwards. In addition to keeping the point of interest within both foveas, this alignment is required in order for the brain to "match up" the two images. If the alignment is wrong, the result is that you perceive a double image.
  2. 2. The lenses in your eyes have to change shape to bring the new point in focus. The closer a point is to your eyes, the fatter the lens in your eyeball has to be to focus the light onto your retina properly. The lens shape is controlled by tiny muscles called "cilliary muscles". When you look at a real scene, points other than those you are focussing on generally appear blurry.

When looking at a normal perspective image, you don't have to do either of these things. Both pointing and focussing is constant, because as far as the mechanisms for pointing and focussing the eyes are concerned you are simply looking at a coloured rectangle held at a constant distance from the eyes.

With such a perspective image, our brains have absolutely no difficulty reconstructing the full 3-dimensional image purely from the content of the scene. They also have no difficulty keeping this reconstruction separate from the fact that it's really just a flat rectangle. We've been looking at such image for hundreds of years, and moving versions for over a century, and we know it doesn't cause any problems.

With stereoscopy, the brain starts having to do the processing described in point 1. However, point 2 is unchanged. To watch a stereoscopic film involves pointing the eyes, but not focussing them. The lens shapes remain constant, but the eyes now have to point to different depths. This is significantly different both from looking at a normal perspective image and from looking at a real 3-dimensional scene.

Clearly, people can achieve this feat without any great difficulty, or "3D" films would be hard to watch. However, there may indeed be reasons to worry about the early development of the visual system. The trick of pointing and focussing your eyes is not something you are born with. It develops over time, and in a way which crucially depends on the particular input it receives. One extreme way to demonstrate how much visual development depends on input is rather cruel: to rear a cat in total darkness.

Problems with the mechanisms for pointing/focussing the eyes are common - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strabismus and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accommodation_(eye)#Disorders_of_accommodation. Can such disorders be caused by presenting stereoscopic images to the eyes for long periods during early development? Nobody knows. Is a warning necessary? I don't know or particularly care - it's just a bit of arse-covering. If I had a small child, would I allow him or her to watch a 3D television for the average 4-5 hours a day? No, though fears of vision abnormalities would only be a small part of the reason.

What most annoys me about "3D" though, is that it adds absolutely nothing to the experience, except perhaps the first few times you see the effect. It carries absolutely no extra information. All the depth information you need is there in the image. The brain does not need different images or even different focussing to determine depth (actually, I think it may even be the opposite - i.e. you use the information in the scene to determine the depth and therefore figure out how to focus/point the eyes).

Stereoscopy adds no extra information and just requires you to keep repointing your eyes. In non-CGI films you generally don't even have full freedom as to where to point them because the focussing has been decided for you - there's not much point looking at a backdrop that's out of focus. It seems to me to be equivalent to putting the watcher on a treadmill so they have to run whenever the protagonist runs - just pointless extra work for the viewer. And it takes a stop of light out of the picture (i.e. halves its brightness) into the bargain.

For the love of God, why?

Science

Israeli Scientists Freeze Water By Warming It 165

Posted by timothy
from the you-must-become-the-frozen-water dept.
ccktech writes "As reported by NPR and Chemistry world, the journal Science has a paper by David Ehre, Etay Lavert, Meir Lahav, and Igor Lubomirsky [note: abstract online; payment required to read the full paper] of Israel's Weizmann Institute, who have figured out a way to freeze pure water by warming it up. The trick is that pure water has different freezing points depending on the electrical charge of the surface it resides on. They found out that a negatively charged surface causes water to freeze at a lower temperature than a positively charged surface. By putting water on the pyroelectric material Lithium Tantalate, which has a negative charge when cooler but a positive change when warmer; water would remain a liquid down to -17 degrees C., and then freeze when the substrate and water were warmed up and the charge changed to positive, where water freezes at -7 degrees C."
Science

Why the First Cowboy To Draw Always Gets Shot 398

Posted by timothy
from the more-guns-less-crime dept.
cremeglace writes "Have you ever noticed that the first cowboy to draw his gun in a Hollywood Western is invariably the one to get shot? Nobel-winning physicist Niels Bohr did, once arranging mock duels to test the validity of this cinematic curiosity. Researchers have now confirmed that people indeed move faster if they are reacting, rather than acting first."

Comment: The most important concept in WinSxS (Score 4, Informative) 433

by Omni-Cognate (#29642611) Attached to: "Side By Side Assemblies" Bring DLL Hell 2.0

Hands up anyone who knows what an "activation context" is! If you don't you have no idea what WinSxS does, how it does it or how to diagnose it when it goes wrong.

In my opinion, WinSxS is a good mechanism, or at least as good as Microsoft could have made it while working within the constraints of history. However, WinSxS cannot be used in the real world without properly understanding it, and achieving that understanding is very painful indeed. The MSDN documentation is piecemeal, appears incomplete and inaccurate in a few places and lacks a proper overview. I think the only reason I properly twigged what activation contexts are about is that I had recently written a mechanism that operated on similar principles (a thread-local stack of context-related information).

I wrote a Wiki page at work describing what (I think) WinSxS's motivation is, how it works and some of the problems it suffers from. I'd like to put it somewhere on the public internet - any suggestions? It should ideally be somewhere wiki-like where people can correct its inevitable inaccuracies without me having to maintain it, but I'm not sure it's appropriate for wikipedia.

Comment: Re:No - there are plenty of safer alternatives (Score 1) 486

by Omni-Cognate (#27977321) Attached to: Microsoft To Banish Memcpy()

I'm assuming this was due to a typo on the first line (and presumably no code reviews). With memcpy_s and the same development practices, this would most likely become:

char *buffer = malloc(200);
memcpy(buffer,2000,message,2000);
send_message(buffer);
free(buffer);

, which would behave exactly the same and illustrate the point many people here are making about this really not fixing the supposed insecurity. The reason the code you show crashed is not that memcpy takes no destination size parameter. The reason is that the code contained an obvious typo that nobody noticed because there were no formal code reviews.

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