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Comment: Re:Lies, not statistics (Score 1) 221

by RDW (#49503985) Attached to: Norway Will Switch Off FM Radio In 2017

We get the same nonsense in the UK, where they've set a '50% digital' listening threshold for analogue switch-off. Right now DAB accounts for under a quarter of radio listening, but they can boost that to over 1/3 by throwing in the other digital platforms. I don't really see the point of buying a DAB set for my home use - there are half a dozen devices around the house that already do a better job of it via IP or Freeview DTV (which carries the national radio channels).

I do have a pocket DAB radio, which drains batteries at an alarming rate and, while small by DAB standards, is much bulkier than the FM equivalent. It generally stays at home while I actually use the FM tuner in my (much smaller) mp3 player, or an IP radio app on my phone.

The powers that be have also decided that the UK will stick with the antiquated original DAB system rather than DAB+, so we have a lot of poor quality low bitrate broadcasts (often worse than FM). In 2015, it's a bit like decreeing that LPs will be phased out in favour of MiniDisc. Of course quality and 'choice' isn't the Government's real concern - they just want to shut off FM so they can sell off the radio spectrum to the highest bidder from the mobile phone/data industry.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 698

by RDW (#49481023) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Hardly a fair comparison. Scholarly editions of major religious texts are not secret, and their prices reflect their academic market (Reader's pass for the British Library or Library of Congress - free of charge). The Vatican doesn't ask for $380,000 just to read the standard version of the Book of Revelation. Even Lucasfilm only wants $90 for the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray, including the apocryphal prequels (though to be fair, the original master tapes of the Holiday Special are as closely guarded as OT IX and X).

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 5, Insightful) 698

by RDW (#49478017) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

The question, I believe, is whether the CoS really is a belief organization, or a financial scam.

Cost of reading the most sacred beliefs of all major religions: free online, or $10 for the paperback. Jedi may also need to invest in the DVDs.

Cost of reading the most sacred beliefs of CoS: $380,000 (2006 pricing: ). Discounts available by signing a billion year contract and working full time in return for food.

Comment: Space Cadets (Score 4, Insightful) 169

by RDW (#49269397) Attached to: A Mars One Finalist Speaks Out On the "Dangerously Flawed" Project

Reports emerged that the contract with the TV production company Endemol - which Mars One claimed could bring in up to $6 billion in revenue - was no longer in place and that the companies had gone their separate ways.

Interesting that they originally partnered with Endemol, who previously produced this:

'Space Cadets':

"The series described itself as the most elaborate hoax perpetrated in television history...A group of twelve contestants (who answered an advert looking for "thrill seekers") were selected to become the first British televised space tourists, including going to Russia to train as cosmonauts at the "Space Tourist Agency of Russia" (STAR) military base, with the series culminating in a group of four embarking on a five-day space mission in low Earth orbit...However, the show was in fact an elaborate practical joke...Unknown to the "space cadets", they were not in Russia at all...and the "space trip" was entirely fake, complete with a wooden "shuttle" and actor "pilots".

In the last episode, I recall the presenter joking that the next series would be called 'Mission to Mars'...

Comment: Re:terminal? (Score 1) 698

by RDW (#49130843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Though I imagine that the original poster has exhausted all his standard treatment options, it might also be worth mentioning the sort of 'precision medicine' that major cancer centres like Sloan-Kettering are now starting to do. The idea is to take a sample of the tumour and sequence all the genes in which mutations might make the cancer responsive to some specific treatment (perhaps a drug that would not normally be considered for that type of tumour). This can now be done very rapidly. If one of the genes comes up as positive for an 'actionable' mutation, then in some circumstances the patient may be offered a treatment that is intended to exploit the damaged gene to target the tumour (e.g., as part of a new type of clinical trial that runs across cancers of different types where individual cases happen to have mutations in the same gene). Further details, including contact information, are here:

My best wishes to the poster and his family at this very difficult time.

Comment: Re:Now needs a better phone app (Score 3, Informative) 77

by RDW (#49073551) Attached to: Gets Routing

Google's mapping products have been getting steadily worse for the last couple of years. On a phone, Maps 6 was the last great version, with My Maps and Latitude nicely integrated, half-decent offline caching, and sane road colouring (especially for, e.g., UK users). Now we have a dumbed-down app that's superficially prettier with the currently fashionable low-contrast look that's harder to read, poorer road colouring in various countries, Latitude swallowed by Google+, and My Maps pointlessly spun off into a separate app. The desktop version also has a trendier but largely poorer interface, and although the 'Classic' version remains for the moment, 'migrated' My Maps tracks and locations no longer work properly. Purely for offline use, the Nokia Here maps app is so much better it's embarrassing - on a phone, you can cache an entire country or US state in a form that's fully searchable and routable with turn by turn navigation, and doesn't expire.

Comment: Re:Java-Free Like NeoOffice? (Score 4, Informative) 148

by RDW (#48938843) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

If you remove the plugin manually it will be reinstalled with every update, and if the plugin is on your system browsers will find it an use it.

Windows versions of Java now come with a control panel applet that lets you turn off the browser plugin, and I think this setting persists when Java is updated.

Comment: Re:For real fun! (Score 1) 351

by RDW (#48898077) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Ask if they would consider eating radioactive food!

A scientifically inclined artist, Zoe Papadopoulou, had some fun with this idea in an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London a couple of years ago. Visitors were invited to eat 'yellow cake' which, while sharing a name with processed uranium ore, was actually a real cake made from edible but naturally slightly radioactive ingredients (enough to pick up on a Geiger counter):

I don't know exactly what she used - Carbon-14 is ubiquitous, of course, though hard to detect in small quantities, but the ingredients seem to include brazil nuts (which tend to concentrate environmental radium) and she might have added some 'Lo Salt' for the potassium-40.

Comment: Re:And they found... (Score 4, Interesting) 66

by RDW (#48861823) Attached to: Interior of Burnt Herculaneum Scroll Read For First Time

... the oldest goatse in history.

They already found that:

"A statue of the Roman half-goat, half-man god Pan - who was the Greeks' god of the wild - getting wild with a female goat (see above) has proven so NSFW (or, in this case, NSFM) that the British Museum has placed a parental advisory in the gallery where it will be on view as part of the upcoming exhibition 'Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.' The statue was excavated from beneath some 100 feet of Volcanic ash that enveloped the Villa of the Papyri, the residence of Julius Caesar's father-in-law Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, on the slope Mount Vesuvius."

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.