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Comment: DEs are Important - Drop the Teacher (Score 1) 656

by Ropati (#43875397) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Important Is Advanced Math In a CS Degree?

As has been posted earlier mastering differential equations is an exercise in symbol manipulation, but the underlying equations are really important.

Mathematics is an ordering of nature via symbols. In the ordering of nature, Newton realized that most equations had a second level of ordering that described the original equation. These equations of differentiation and integration were achieved by making differencing ratios and approaching a limit. Differential formula can be used in every field of science. They are used regularly in Computer Science usually as an algorithm to optimize a process.

Learning to manipulate these equations in your situation is probably unnecessary. Understanding what these equations are used for in the real world is very useful. I suggest you consult Google for each equations use in real world situations, if only to give you some mnemonic for learning this stuff. (You can probably consult Google for the DE problem answers too.) If you know how the equation/formula is used in the real world you might see a use for the same concept in a program, hence it is good for a degree in CS.

On the flip side, a good teacher should be able to make this stuff come alive and be far less dry then you make it out to be. Your academic career will flourish if you spend a lot more time researching your teachers for next semester. Consider a different institution if the student consensus is that there are no good math teachers where you toil.

Comment: How 20th Century (Score 1) 393

by Ropati (#37502982) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Calculators With 1-2-3 Number Pads?

Why use keypads?

I've learned to do verbal calculations with my Android phone. Just say the calculation you want into voice search and Google will return the results. There is no need to carry both a phone and a calculator, and speaking the formula is much easier than trying to use a miniature calculator keyboard.

Image

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts 487

Posted by samzenpus
from the my-mama-no-raise-no-dummies-I-dug-her-rap dept.
In addition to helping decipher their Lil Wayne albums, the Justice Department is seeking Ebonics experts to help monitor, translate and transcribe wire tapped conversations. The DEA wants to fill nine full time positions. From the article: "A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a 'DEA Sensitive' security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of 'telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media.'”
Image

China's Nine-Day Traffic Jam Tops 62 Miles 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the living-on-the-road dept.
A traffic jam on the Beijing-Tibet expressway has now entered its ninth day and has grown to over 62 miles in length. This mother-of-all delays has even spawned its own micro-economy of local merchants selling water and food at inflated prices to stranded drivers. Can you imagine how infuriating it must be to see someone leave their blinker on for 9 days?
Image

Geek Squad Sends Cease-and-Desist Letter To God Squad 357

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-would-jesus-sue dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A Wisconsin priest has God on his car but Best Buy's lawyers on his back. Father Luke Strand at the Holy Family Parish in Fond Du Lac says he has received a cease-and-desist letter from the electronics retailer. From the article: 'At issue is Strand's black Volkswagen Beetle with door stickers bearing the name "God Squad" in a logo similar to that of Best Buy's Geek Squad, a group of electronics troubleshooters. Strand told the Fond du Lac Reporter that the car is a creative way to spur discussion and bring his faith to others. Best Buy Co. tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it appreciates what Strand is trying to do, but it's bad precedent to let groups violate its trademarks.'"
Image

Study Says Your Personality Doesn't Change After 1st Grade 221

Posted by samzenpus
from the everybody-I-ever-needed-to-be-I-was-in-first-grade dept.
A study authored by Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, says that our personalities stay pretty much the same from early childhood all the way through old age. From the article: "Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance)." This must explain my overriding need to be first captain when we pick kickball teams at the office.
Toys

Man Repairs Crumbling Walls With Legos 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-block-at-a-time dept.
Lanxon writes "German-born artist Jan Vormann, 27, has spent the past three years traveling the world repairing crumbling walls and monuments with Lego, reports Wired. His "Dispatchwork" began in 2007 in the small village of Bocchignano, Italy, as part of the contemporary art festival 20 Eventi. Developing the work in situ, he became intrigued by the makeshift repairs that had been made to the crumbling walls. The approach favored function over appearance, reminding Vormann of the haphazard Lego designs created by children."
Image

The "King of All Computer Mice" Finally Ships 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the there's-a-button-for-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The much-anticipated, much-mocked 18-button joystick mouse from WarMouse is now shipping. The press release features an impressive set of user quotes from game designer Chris Taylor, new SFWA president John Scalzi, and a doctor who runs a medical software company. Crazy or not, it's obviously more than just a gaming mouse."

Comment: More than a little flawed (Score 1) 168

by Ropati (#31386234) Attached to: Wear Leveling, RAID Can Wipe Out SSD Advantage

Henry Newman may know SSD drives but he doesn't know enterprise storage. Henry, enterprise shops don't talk about MB/s unless they are streaming video or working on their laptop.

All IO in the a storage networked enterprise are random. Most important IOs are usually small block (databases). There is no concept of MB/s of bandwidth except to gauge channel capacity. Any one who does enterprise storage works in IOPS. SSD drives smoke for random IOPS to the tune of 50x for writes and 200x for reads (MLC vs same size 15k RPM drives). These are significant numbers. Even if we lost 1/2 the write IOPS to wear leveling, that would be 25x faster. Want your database to scream.

RAID controllers will only be able to do RAID 10. Most RAID controllers can do RAID 10 in their sleep. The bottle neck will now be the channels in and out of the controllers. The first roll out of SSD storage in the enterprise will be direct attached SSD trays to bus attached controllers with the most external channels (bandwidth).

SSD drives are going to choke SAN channels. In a couple of years when administrators want to network their SSD drives there will be a really big push to get better pipes in the SAN. I wonder if inifiniband will get back in the mix?

This kind of disruptive technology keeps us employed.

Comment: Take it to the board (Score 4, Insightful) 490

by Ropati (#31358770) Attached to: A Public Funded "Microsoft Shop?"

If the hospital is tax payer funded, then you have every right as a taxpayer to take this memo to the board.

I would suggest that you gather a number of like minded taxpayers (and voters) and make a visit to the board to explain your stance.

You might want to do some research and find that your IT director got a free beer (golf trip) out of this. Fodder for the meeting.

Comment: Re:The facts about urban wireless towers (Score 1) 791

by Ropati (#31314216) Attached to: Killer Apartment Vs. Persistent Microwave Exposure?

George probably has it right.

This is low level non-ionizing radiation, so the only real effect is body heating. Generally body heating is dispersed (except in the eyeballs and testicles) by the flow of body fluids. It takes a lot of power to heat a human body (even eyeballs). There probably isn't enough heat being generated in your body by radio wave absorption to be measured.

However you do sleep in one position. These types of antennas are highly directional and they could have hotspots. Cell towers operators don't care about RF hazards except to satisfy the FCC. If you are worried, you could put some grounded foil on the wall between your bed and the antenna and make a modified tin foil hat.

Comment: Re:Eh wouldn't surprise me... (Score 1) 451

by Ropati (#31229586) Attached to: Windows 7 Memory Usage Critic Outed As Fraud

WTF,

MS still hasn't fixed the storport driver with an OS release:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968675.

Nor does MS make it easy to write 3rd party drivers. There documentation is usually incorrect and the samples inoperative. If MS can't get their drivers to work, how is a vendor suppose to do it.

As for beta drivers, forget it. This guy expects every vendor to spend hours of dev time making drivers for a growing tree. No. No. No.

Nobody even tried to write a driver for 2008 until it was RTM, and that isn't much of a window.

Transportation

Porsche Unveils 911 Hybrid With Flywheel Booster 197

Posted by timothy
from the yeah-well-I-get-better-mileage dept.
MikeChino writes "Porsche has just unveiled its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, a 480 horsepower track vehicle ready to rock the 24-hour Nurburgring race this May. Porsche's latest supercar will use the same 911 production platform available to consumers today, with a few race-ready features including front-wheel hybrid drive and an innovative flywheel system that stores kinetic energy from braking and then uses it to provide a 160 horsepower burst of speed. The setup is sure to offer an advantage when powering out of turns and passing by other racers."
Idle

Directed Energy Weapon Downs Mosquitos 428

Posted by samzenpus
from the two-pound-hammer-and-ten-penny-nail dept.
wisebabo writes "Nathan Myhrvol demonstrated at TED a laser, built from parts scrounged from eBay, capable of shooting down not one but 50 to 100 mosquitos a second. The system is 'so precise that it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted.' Currently, for the sake of efficiency, it leaves the males alone because only females are bloodsuckers. Best of all the system could cost as little as $50. Maybe that's too expensive for use in preventing malaria in Africa but I'd buy one in a second!" We ran a story about this last year. It looks like the company has added a bit more polish, and burning mosquito footage to their marketing.
Biotech

One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman 232

Posted by timothy
from the would-never-leave-the-house dept.
dragonturtle69 writes with this story, short on details but interesting: "These sea slugs, Elysia chlorotica, have evolved the ability to gain energy via photosynthesis. Forget about genetic modifications for sports enhancements. I want to be able to never need to eat again — or do I?"

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