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Comment: Re:I didn't RTFA or TFS (Score 4, Informative) 86

by PSVMOrnot (#45892411) Attached to: The $100 3D-Printed Artificial Limb

The beautiful thing about this is that while such certification and testing may be required of manufacturers and distributors of such products, there is nothing that can be done to stop you from building one yourself or with a few friends.

There are others who have also traveled this path, and a number of open source designs available for anyone to have a go at: Robohand @ Thingiverse, Prosthetics @ Thingiverse

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 1) 730

by PSVMOrnot (#45526117) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

She serves as an important 'symbolic' head of state.

Yes, and we are all her "subjects", and pay for the upkeep of her properties and for state events in her honour. Most unsatisfactory.

*snip*

It's a simple deal: She gets to keep her vast country-ruling powers, on condition she never uses them.

Don't forget all the free money from taxpayers, even though she is the richest woman in the country. Not sure about her but her son is a tax dodger too.

Whenever I hear the 'free money from taxpayers' argument, I feel compelled to point to the following: The true cost of the Royal family explained. Regardless of whether the stuff the article at the end of that link says about how much money they bring in for the UK is true or not, I'd still be quite happy paying the 65p per year to have a monarchy.

Comment: Re:hrm (Score 4, Insightful) 730

by PSVMOrnot (#45515921) Attached to: Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries

Brit here.

To answer this, let us first consider what the American President does: on the one hand there is a bunch of PR work and flag waving, on the other a bunch of keeping up with what's going on in the country,authorizing things and politicing.

In essence, the Queen handles most of the PR and flag waving, while the Prime Minister (a simplification in this case) handles most of the keeping up on things, authorizing and politicing.

Of course, the PM also does a bunch of flag waving and PR. The Queen also spends hours every day keeping up on what's going on in the country (and has done so for the past 60 years or so) so that she can discuss this with the PM in their weekly meetings. While the Queen may not have much recognized power anymore, a discrete comment of 'do you really think that is such a good idea?' from her will carry considerable weight.

Naturally, this is an over-simplification which glosses over things, and applies mostly to the UK rather than the other countries of which she is Queen.

Comment: Re:It's Cost Benefit Time (Score 1) 182

by PSVMOrnot (#45173973) Attached to: DNA Sequence Withheld From New Botulism Paper

any legitimate researchers can just email or phone the guy.

How does that work? "Hi, I'm John Smith and I'm legitimate researcher. Can you send me the DNA sequence please?" - something like that?

More along the lines of "Hi Dr Barash, I'm Dr. Smith. We met at that conference in Florida on terrifyingly deadly diseases last year... No, my colleague Dr Jones was the one who fell in the pool. Anyway, I saw your article on Clostridium botulinum in J. Infect Dis. and have a few ideas; would you be willing to meet and discuss a possible collaboration?".

Comment: It's Cost Benefit Time (Score 2) 182

by PSVMOrnot (#45173381) Attached to: DNA Sequence Withheld From New Botulism Paper

It's a national security threat. There are antitoxins to regular botulism.

This guy is right, by keeping the DNA Sequence out of the paper it prevent ye-random-crazy from having a go at synthesizing some. On the other hand, it doesn't stop research into cures, because any legitimate researchers can just email or phone the guy.

For those of you who haven't been in academia; part of your job is knowing who the leading guys in your field are. This new stuff is nasty, so it makes sense to secure it behind a 'have I heard of this guy' and 'what has he done lately' check, if only to make sure you don't have an accidental outbreak.

Comment: Re:I don't care (Score 2) 532

by PSVMOrnot (#44980251) Attached to: I'd prefer my money be made of ...

Back in ye olden days currency was backed by gold, or other goods. In this modern age of fiat currency currency is backed by the economy of the society which issued it. That is to say, the value of the GBP is that with about six of them (£6) you can get a relatively unskilled minimum wage worker to do an hour's worth of work for you. With £10-20 of them you can get the same hour or so's work from a range of increasingly skilled professionals.

If you are interested in this, then you might want to read Making Money by Terry Pratchett

Comment: Re:How many people don't know a 2nd search engine? (Score 3, Insightful) 352

by PSVMOrnot (#44605665) Attached to: Google Outage: Internet Traffic Plunges 40%
The trouble is that Google that what you see as Google's services is only the tip of the iceberg. To most people Google is search, Gmail, Youtube, etc. What they don't see is the GoogleAPI javascript stuff they host which is used by hundreds of sites all over the net. Try surfing with noscript for a while and see what effect it would have on you.

Comment: Re:Tactile feedback (Score 1) 54

For basic typing, which is only one specific case, swype comes close to being suitable. However, swype is still limited. It guesses what you are typing based on a weighted dictionary of common words. While it may be fairly accurate it is still only a guess. Add to that it will not be able to handle uncommon words or symbols as well.

In other words: programming on one of those is a pain. Accurately entering lots of numbers is a pain. Playing Doom would be a pain.

To sum it up: swype may be good for inputting basic text on capacitive touchscreen devices - and this may be enough for 90% of people - but it doesn't hold a candle to a keyboard in many other areas.

All that said, that was still only one case: text input/keyboarding. Don't forget all the others.

Comment: Tactile feedback (Score 4, Insightful) 54

People keep coming up with these nice shiny user interface devices, but they always seem to forget how important tactile feedback is.

Sure I can type on a touchscreen keyboard, but it takes twice as long, because I have to actually look at the screen and check that a) it has noticed I am typing, and b) it has correctly recognised what I had intended to type. With a proper physical keyboard I can pick up such information purely by proprioception, audio and tactile feedback.

The same sort of issue applies with any sort of hand waving interface: there is a much greater potential for the computer getting it wrong, and it takes longer to recognise & fix it when it occurs.

Untill these things can be made as reliable as a physical push button I think people should be a lot more careful where and what they use them for.

Comment: Re:astounding that defaults are not tougher (Score 2) 210

by PSVMOrnot (#43405799) Attached to: The Search Engine More Dangerous Than Google

1 2 3 4 is no less secure than 4 t & q, mathematically speaking.

Only in the naive combinations case, when we discard the priors.

In other words, the probablility of 1234 being the password is not just 1/num_possible_combinations, but also the probability of 1234 being the default chapter AND the default password not having been changed.

Another megabytes the dust.

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