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Comment Here is the kille feature (Score 4, Insightful) 261

I remember back in the day when I got a Facebook account, the colleague next to me asking: so what is this Facebook thing all about? Not very many people had heard about then. But for those family and friends that had, it was a great way to keep track of everyone (staying updated without, you know, actually engaging in social activities like phoning or e-mailing or meeting up). Which was great from the introvert standpoint. Back then, not much thought was spent on the more sinister intelligence-gathering capabilities. Ads were not really obnoxious.

Then it slowly, very slowly, turned up the frog heat. Today it is a place where the few social updates that you are still interested in, are buried between reams of mindless meme reposts, ads in which you have not the slightest interest, and algorithmic down-prioritisations.

Be the time G+ came along, I guess a lot of the more tech-savvy people had become clued-up and wary about the data-collection. I for one didn't want to give more data to yet another company, and strenuously declined to enter details, or use a G+ profile to log in to any of the few other google services I used. I also linked-out, have never twittered, instgrammed, whatsapped etc.

Giving people back a non-data-farmed, non-ad-soldout experience would have needed to be an indispensable part of their required killer feature set. But that of course didn't serve their purpose.

Comment 18 years??? (Score 1) 318

I don't know. Where I live, 18 year olds are pretty much still stupid kids. They may have legal majority status, allowing them to vote, sign contracts, drive, drink and smoke, but many still have some years of their most stupid antics and moronic postings ahead of them. More often than not precisely because they are now allowed to legally drink alcohol and not listen to their parents any more.

Comment Re:"Automatic" Weapon? (Score 1) 312

I wonder if it fits into the category of automatic weapon.

A lot depends, of course, on the type of handgun used, the calibre and load of the ammunition, the drone, etc. etc., but I imagine that for some combination of these factors cycling will not take place (light ammo load, light gun/drone combination). For another combination, recoil may be too heavy for the drone to handle and keep following shots in a safe direction....

Comment Re:Paper (Score 1) 38

To quote the summary: "The device is made out of nanopaper, a tangled mat made of nanometers-wide cellulose fibers". You should find that the non-nano kind is also made of cellulose fibers, so no surprise there.

Which does not negate the non-paper parts, i.e. carbon nanotubes and the polyethylene film (plastic) sandwiched between the paper layers.....

Comment Re:Privatize them (Score 1) 202

If I own the last 20 white rhinos, they are worth a fortune. I have a tremendous economic incentive to protect them from poaching and reproduce them. Eventually as their population grows, I might be able to sell some for profit and the new owners would also have the incentive to protect and reproduce theirs. As supply grows, the value of an individual rhino drops and eventually it might be economical to sell them to hunters. If there are too many rhinos the free market would hunt them, and if there are too few the free market would protect them, keeping a stable and sustainable population. This is why any animal we can own (chickens, pigs, cows, horses, dogs, etc...) are not in any danger of extinction.

Rhinos only have economic value, as described, if you can sell them (to hunters, traditional chinese medicinemen, Kenya Fried Rhino restaurants, whatever). Having people look at them only brings in so much and wildlife tourism establishments seem perpetually low on funds.

Comment Re:Cheap Knockoffs (Score 1) 202

The rumor I heard is that the horns contain not only keratin, but also some deposits of testosterone (and probably other minerals and body chemicals). I say rumor as I have no way of verifying this. However, deer antler velvet (if you want to google it) seems to be a popular fad amongst some bodybuilders and other athletes, as well as in traditional Chinese medicine.

My point: There MAY in fact be some truth to the medicinal effects attributed to rhino horn due to well-known biochemistry - it is just not known that those chemicals exist in in rhino horn. To claim that something is "chemically identical", you have to have an exhaustive list of chemicals to test for. You have to decide what compound to test for, then run a test (usually something that reacts with the substance you test for and doesn't react in its absence), which further may only detect it if in sufficient quantities - and if it never popped into your imagination and budget to test for (say) testosterone, prostaglandin, IGF-1, zinc, magnesium, or who knows what else, well, then people are of course going to claim that rhino horn is identical to finger nail clippings.

Comment Cheaper options (Score 2) 340

I've got a couple of problems that prevent me from running out to buy a standing desk:
* I'm 6'4" - just about past the upper limit for some standing desks, from what I hear;
* I've worked as a contractor for large parts of my recent professional life, quite mobile including laptop - you get to sit at whatever workspace is assigned to you, and this may change at a moment's notice.

Some chairs really do make the lower half of my body pain after a while, so I'm all for standing (part of the time, at least). What worked for me in the past is to stick an empty cardboard box under the laptop - and another one under the monitor, if a separate one has been provided. Cheap, and fairly easy to move aside when you want to sit down for a while.

The arms parallel and monitor at eye level didn't work, obviously, but even so it was quite comfortable and helped to alleviate the chair's insult to my butt.

A colleague at one more permanent place used boards and bricks to build a higher platform on his desk (days before standing desk came into fashion).

You might want to try something like that out first before shelling out money. But chances are good you are going to like it.

Comment Re:correlation != causation (Score 3, Insightful) 29

Do a scientific experiment (or maybe the whole point of the article is a hit piece against the Chinese zoo).

Simulate P-wave in controlled environment to see if the animals can detect them.

Otherwise, what they're doing with observing animals is not meaningful.

I guess if one is able to simulate a P-wave, it would be trivial to build a (technological) detector for P-waves (as in fact exists already in e.g. the Earthquake Early Warning systems of Japan). They seem to be banking on some anecdotal stories that animals are able to warn of an impending earthquake, in which a P-wave would not have been emitted yet and a P-wave detector thus useless. I say if that is the case, then such monitoring would be eminently useful, as it would either debunk or lend credence to such anecdotes, and if the latter, make a good case for further investigation into the mechanism at work that enable that ability in animals - which might then lead to "technological" detectors of such hypothetical phenomenon.

1 Mole = 25 Cagey Bees