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Comment: Great OPL music (Score 1) 251

by PDF (#47071773) Attached to: It's Time For the <em>Descent</em> Games Return

While we're on the subject of Descent, the Yamaha OPL MIDI tracks were some of the best I've heard. The way it was meant to sound:

Playing it in DOSBox doesn't sound anywhere near as good as the real deal... you've got to switch the OPL instrument patch bank and the support for doing that in DOSBox isn't too good. If you play the OPL MIDI files with adlmidi and the proper Descent patch bank, then it sounds good.

Comment: Re:Where did the chips come from? (Score 5, Informative) 167

by PDF (#43789303) Attached to: EPA Makes a Rad Decision

The only radioactive isotope of carbon is C14. The amount of C14 versus C12 is roughly 0.0000000001%. That is one part in one trillion. A human body has roughly 80 trillion cells.


So 80 of your cells contain *ONE* atom of C14. Your whole body contains 80 C14 atoms ...

No. An 80-kilogram person has about 14 or 15 kg of carbon atoms. This works out to trillions of carbon atoms per human cell. Therefore every cell has approximately one atom of C14, and the human body as a whole has almost a quadrillion C14 atoms.

Comment: Re:Java and flash... (Score 1) 97

by PDF (#43191345) Attached to: Apple Nabs Java Exploit That Bypassed Disabled Plugin

On Linux and probably some other unices, chroot is not intended for use as a security mechanism. See and also man 2 chroot.

If you can take the performance hit, a VM of some kind (emulated bytecode, virtualization or JIT compilation) is much better for security. Unfortunately, security is more difficult than it seems at first glance, so it doesn't always get the attention it needs. Hence we have gaping holes in Java applets. This is why we can't have nice things.

Comment: Re:Are you a human being? (Score 3, Interesting) 527

by PDF (#41291545) Attached to: Following FEMA's Zombie Preparedness Plan Could Land You On Terrorist List

there was an IWW member (Industrial Workers of the World for anyone unfamiliar -- aka "wobblies") standing on a street corner doing nothing but publicly reading our own Declaration of Independence. After a few minutes, a police officer comes by and arrests him

That was Frank Little.

Comment: Re:Satellites in zero-gravity? (Score 4, Informative) 75

by PDF (#41028403) Attached to: Microthrusters For Small Satellites
From Wikipedia:

"zero-gravity" is usually used synonymously to mean effective weightlessness, neglecting tidal effects.

So, yes, there is plenty of gravity acting upon satellites in orbits, but they are in free fall, so there isn't a significant gravitational force experienced by the components of the satellite due to their accelerating reference frame. Thanks to our somewhat sloppy terminology, this is zero-gravity.


+ - Microsoft Seeks Patent for 'Search by Sketch'

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "So, how does one search for images that aren't tagged with keywords? Google does offer its sometimes-spotty search by image, but what if you don't have an image handy that looks like what you're searching for? Microsoft, reports GeekWire, offers a solution that's 'a little like playing Pictionary with a search engine — drawing a sketch and seeing if the algorithm can return pictures that match it.' That’s the concept behind Microsoft Research's patent-pending 'MindFinder' project, which has already been incorporated into a Windows Phone app called Sketch Match. A patent application made public Thursday notes that touch computing makes sketching easier than ever, making one wonder if we'll be 'giving Bing the finger' with Windows 8!"

Comment: Re:Feynman - Books and Covers (Score 1) 446

by PDF (#39239249) Attached to: Math Textbooks a Textbook Example of Bad Textbooks

Humans work with base 10 [ten] for good reason.

What reason(s)? All I can see are:

  • Because we have ten fingers and ten toes,
  • because ten is a product of two and five making division by these two numbers easier,
  • and simple momentum (it's too late to change now).

I personally think that hexadecimal is a superior system, especially for communicating with binary computers which use binary naturally. The only reason we can't use it is because we decided that ten was a great number base for some reason.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin