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Comment: Re:I don't see it (Score 4, Insightful) 74

I guess they are trying to argue that the placement of the items is the connection?

Pretty much. I suspect this is one of those situations where "correlation != causality" is an appropriate comment.

I would say instead that, given a sufficiently large enough data set, patterns and correlations are bound to appear. The likelihood that thousands of paintings were analyzed in this way and no matches were found, purely on a random basis, is very small.


Researchers Discover New Plant "Language" 70

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-does-the-ficus-say? dept.
An anonymous reader writes A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, that allows them to share genetic information with one another. Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science, found evidence of this new communication mode by investigating the relationship between dodder, a parasitic plant, and the flowering plant Arabidopsis and tomato plants to which it attaches and sucks out nutrients with an appendage called a haustorium. Westwood examined the plants' mRNA, the molecule in cells that instructs organisms how to code certain proteins that are key to functioning. MRNA helps to regulate plant development and can control when plants eventually flowers. He found that the parasitic and the host plants were exchanging thousands of mRNA molecules between each other, thus creating a conversation.

Comment: Re:something made of hardwood (Score 1) 611

by Skewray (#47109339) Attached to: Which desktop environment do you like the best?

large, flat, a couple of nice drawers, place to keep pens, pencils, a stapler, my kneadable eraser, and room for a teevee, good loudspeakers, and a nice computer. and a comfortable chair. now that's a nice desktop environment.

Don't forget a motorized standing desk. Who wants to sit all day?

Comment: What airgap? (Score 2) 213

by Skewray (#45757291) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Can Commercial Hardware Routers Be Trusted?

It doesn't matter. Either there's an airgap, where nothing can get out regardless, so it doesn't matter, or their's a hop along the path you don't control so the security of your device doesn't matter.

If you have an Intel processor, then there is already a radio backdoor built in. See

Comment: Re:Sigh (Score 1) 532

by Skewray (#44063995) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Does LED Backlight PWM Drive You Crazy?

I've seen these before, and I hate them with a passion. Can't see it if you look directly at it, but the more motion-oriented vision at the edge of my vision would catch it.

They seem to be rare, though.

Peripheral vision is much more sensitive to higher frequencies. The central vision taps out at around 40 Hz, while the far peripheral can sense up to around 120 Hz. Doesn't mean that the sensitivity is zero above that, though, just diminished. So any self-respecting system engineer would set the modulation frequency to twice that. Sadly LCD monitors are apparently not designed by self-respecting system engineers.

Comment: Lie Detectors ans Friends (Score 1) 768

by Skewray (#43938065) Attached to: Seeking Fifth Amendment Defenders
The government could put you on a lie detector or similar machine and ask you the questions. Even if you refuse to speak, the machine could detect a response which incriminates you. Given that there are now machines that can use 'mind reading' to control other machines, the likelihood that such machines some day soon be able to detect if you did it without your speaking is quite high.

Ask Slashdot: What Would You Look For In a Prosthetic Hand? 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the swiss-army-fingers dept.
Arglebarf writes "A family member is recovering from a serious illness and, unfortunately, the medication that saved her life will probably cost her hands and feet. She is an artist by trade, so this is a pretty big deal. Replacement prostheses might restore a degree of independence, as well as enabling her to continue with her creative passions. Do any Slashdotters have experience with replacement hands? What features do you look for? Do any models allow you tweak the software for fine tuning? Beyond the day-to-day uses, she will want something that can hold small objects precisely (e.g. a paintbrush)."

Comment: Re:Oh geee... (Score 1) 54

No it's not. It means a patent is garbage that's been obscured and made useless for the purpose of CONVEYING KNOWLEDGE.

If I can clarify, patents have two parts. The first is a description written so that you can understand it. The second part has the claims, which are the incomprehensible part. If you want to implement the idea, you only need to understand the first part. The claims explain what aspects of the invention are covered by the patent. The claims are what you are interested in if you want to have your day in court. If all you want is to implement the idea in your back yard, read the first part and have at it.

Comment: Mosquitoes (Score 1) 124

by Skewray (#43297003) Attached to: Ask Nathan Myhrvold What You Will, Live Q&A April 3
The Photonic Fence project was proposed with much fanfare about six years ago, to rid Africa is disease-carrying mosquitoes. Rumor has it that the Gates Foundation has cut funding. The project appears to have developed nothing of practical use, although the project leaders responsible appear to still be in control. Is there going to be a serious forensic analysis of how the project went south?

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.