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Comment: This is not a new technology. (Score 1) 214

by cyn1c77 (#46812667) Attached to: Reinventing the Axe

Anyone who knows how to properly split wood is already doing what this funny looking axe does with their wrists.

1. Buy a basic splitting axe. This is the one with the wide ramped head.
2. Learn to twist the axe head during impact to split the wood more effectively.
3. Look like a man.

I mean, come on, if you want the modern version of the axe to make it easier to split wood, buy a Sawzall.

Comment: Re:I'm liking how Russia is standing up these days (Score 1) 234

by cyn1c77 (#46798125) Attached to: Russia Writes Off 90 Percent of North Korea Debt

That weakling got Osama, has Iran giving up it's highly enriched Uranium to lift the sanctions, and cut a deal that got Syria to give up their chemical weapons. There are other measures of strength than blowing shit up. Diplomacy works.

Now, as a dirty lib, I do believe he is a weak president on the homefront. Dude hasn't even TRIED to fulfill his campaign promises and keeps trying to cut deals with the Republicans who clearly aren't going to give him squadoo even though he gives them 90% of what they wanted anyway. Sigh....

If you're going to hate on Obama, hate on him for real reasons. His foreign policy had strengthened us, not weakened us. Bush is the one that took us from having the whole world supporting us to having everyone revile us. Again....

Seriously? Are you that naive?

1. The US Military and Intelligence Services got Osama. All Obama did was say: "OK" and a day later "I gave the order to kill Osama..."

2. Do you really think that Iran doesn't have other sites that inspectors have not yet found? Also, they can still make more because they didn't give up the capability!

3. Do you really think that Syria gave up all its chemical weapons?

Comment: Re:So what? (Score 1) 348

by cyn1c77 (#46793331) Attached to: VA Supreme Court: Michael Mann Needn't Turn Over All His Email

What seems to be missing from this article: Mark Steyn, a conservative talk show host, called Mann a fraud. So, Mann is suing Steyn for defamation. As his defense, Steyn is trying to prove that the data was manipulated and cherry picked. Therefore, proving that Steyn's comments were justified. So, Steyn requested the data under the FIOA, since Mann's work was publicly funded.

But Mann - the scientist who warns us that global warming is real and dangerous based on a computer model - refuses to give out the computer code and data that he used to form his assertions. To me, this doesn't sound very scientific or very honest.

This highlights one of the problems with current science.

Early on (1960's) scientist used to include their code at the end of their paper, for all to evaluate. Today, predictive codes are significantly more complex and have grown into a real cash cow for the scientist, if they catch on. Thus, they are no longer distributed for free because the scientist wants to keep the code internal to their group to maintain funding.

This creates a real problem from a peer-review perspective because you can never really figure out what the code is doing or if it has been fudged. At best, you get a few half-ass validation efforts that are published in some crappy journal. After that, the authors just refer to that crappy article as proof that their code work perfectly and feel they never have to justify its accuracy again. (The editors feel that way too!)

For highly controversial and groundbreaking studies, I would argue that all the data and code needs to be clearly laid out after acceptance of the paper. The data needs to be available for people to analyze on their own. The code needs to be available for a more rigorous peer review. I understand that that may pose a hardship on the scientist for future studies as it gives away their "edge," but he has clearly reaped tremendous press over his paper so maybe it balances out.

My personal opinion (aside from what I think of global warming) is that the fact that Mann is unwilling to release his code or data supporting his famous paper probably indicates that he is at least a little bit worried that the code is wrong or some data was cherry picked. That's not really a very good stance for an academic who is making a groundbreaking argument.

Comment: Re:Alarm clock???? (Score 1) 694

by cyn1c77 (#46790557) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Tech Products Were Built To Last?

Alarm Clock? Really?

I used to live across the street from police & fire stations. I can sleep through anything. A few years ago, searching for ever louder and more earth-shaking alarm clocks, I got to thinking about that. For tens of thousands of years mankind has not had alarm clocks. We relied on the Sun and Daylight to wake us up. So I went down to the local megamart and bought a digital outlet timer. You know, the sort of thing you use to turn your lights on automatically while you're out of town. Hooked up a power strip to it, and plugged in a bunch of $5 floor lamps. Nothing like a Redundant Array of Inexpensive Lamps.

Every morning at exactly 6:55 the digital timer turns on and my room is brightened by 5,000+ lumens of light. It's a nice way to wake up. Very gentle. You come out of sleep slowly rather than abruptly.

What if your significant other doesn't want to wake up at the same time that you do?

Comment: Re:BS (Score 1) 359

by cyn1c77 (#46764155) Attached to: San Francisco's Housing Crisis Explained

Wow, I am so sick of Californians stroking themselves. There are 49 other states in the country filled with people equivalently valuable to those in Cali. Try to keep that in mind.

They Bay Area is one of the few economically active places in the USA, that's why housing is expensive there.

If you want cheap housing, go to an economically dying area, like Detroit; or a place with no regulations such that chemicals leak into your house or explode in your face, like Texas.

The Bay area is boxed in by water, limiting available space and it has a high-population density. The land is also scenically desirable. So yeah, rent is going to be high.

Other cities in the US and across the world have the same issues, but don't resort to socialist approaches such as rent control or have the same sense of entitlement (for better or worse). They just let capitalism work things out.

Amazingly enough, they are also able to restrain themselves from insulting other states when expressing any displeasure online. Amazing!

Comment: No quarintine = no containment (Score 2) 112

by cyn1c77 (#46738175) Attached to: Racing To Contain Ebola

Let's see what we are working with:
(1) 90% mortality rate,
(2) No known vaccine,
(3) Spreads by bodily fluids,
(4) Area with poor hygiene,
(5) All experts recommend letting the virus "burn itself out."

Objectively, is there really anything to do other than to strictly and conservatively quarantine every country (and sub-quarantine cities as necessary) with a positive case?

We should not even be sending in aid workers, who could potentially be exposed. Medicine and water can be airdropped.

That's the short term solution. In the long term, you need to educate the population, improve hygiene and infrastructure, and figure out where the infection is coming from. In general, the African governments have not really been interested in doing any of the above.

Comment: Re:Great, just what we need (Score 1) 126

by cyn1c77 (#46731843) Attached to: The Graffiti Drone

graffiti artists are the people responsible for those really cool murals;

The thing is, those "really cool murals" aren't as cool when you find one on your house one morning. Or on your fence that you just had painted. The day that you are having a big party at your house for your staid work colleagues, including your boss.

Comment: Re:Level of public funding ? (Score 1) 292

by cyn1c77 (#46724883) Attached to: Nat Geo Writer: Science Is Running Out of "Great" Things To Discover

Actually, I do think it's a bad thing. You might know the old saying "applied research brings improvements, but basic research brings revolutions".

I've never heard that saying. Google doesn't seem to be able to find it either.

My pet example of this is lasers. The theoretic foundation for lasers was done somewhere around 1920. Long, long before materials were ready for it. Only in the 1960s the first lasers came into existence, huge, expensive pieces of technology that relied on very expensive crystals to work. Only in the 1980s we started to be able to build cheaper lasers, and it took another ten years before they became mainstream in our consumer electronics.

Your example is fantastic, however, because it clearly highlights the OP's point. It took 40 years to engineer the laser after it was theoretically conceptualized. It then took another 40 years to reduce it to a commonplace piece of technology. That's two scientific lifetimes.

My view is that most early discoveries (1800-1900's) were more a result of the development of the scientific method, which allowed a clear methodology to test hypotheses. Later discoveries (1950's) have tracked with technology development, like electricity, vacuum tubes, nuclear physics capabilities, lasers and computers.

We've currently reached a point now where technological development has stagnated relative to the rapid rates previously. Scientists are effectively using the same equipment they had 10-20 years ago, it's smaller, bit faster, but not much better. Additionally, most new physical theories require more than three or four dimensions, which is outside most scientists intuitive range.

If you want to get back to the rapid discovery rates that we have previously enjoyed, we're going to need to develop some groundbreaking technology, be it unlimited energy, computers that are actually more intelligent than us (not just faster), or some sort of evolution of the human brain to open up a new level of human scientific comprehension. And even with all that, people are still going to have to teach themselves an increasing amount of scientific history to catch up to the present, before they can contribute to new developments.

Comment: Re:Don't bother. (Score 2) 509

by cyn1c77 (#46657623) Attached to: The Problem With Congress's Scientific Illiterates

We have another group at a little less than half that are so worn out with work, the 3 kids society said they should have, the junk they spend their money on, etc.. etc.. that they don't have the time to pay attention.

Oh, we pay attention. But there is no one to vote for who will fix the problem since all of the parties collude to keep themselves in power.

What do you expect us to do? What are you doing other than complaining on /.?

Are all the childless people really making more of a difference? I didn't know that clubbing, going to the movies, and trying to get laid really was that effective at motivating political reform!

Comment: Re:Politcs vs. Science (Score 3, Insightful) 291

by cyn1c77 (#46642297) Attached to: NASA Halts Non-ISS Work With Russia Over Ukraine Crisis

This. NASA is not a political body and should not act like one.

You're joking right?

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is a government organization that has to appeal to the president and Congress every year for funding and scope. Their employees are considered federal employees on the GS (general schedule) pay scale. NASA has both "national" and "administration" in the title. It doesn't get any more political than that.

How are they NOT a political body?

Comment: Re:Not practical as contact lenses (Score 1) 99

by cyn1c77 (#46623037) Attached to: Contact Lenses With Infrared Vision?

Infrared essentially blocks out normal vision. While this may be useful as wearable computing, it wouldn't be useful if you had to poke around in your eye every time you needed to switch back to normal vision.

You are missing the point. (And must not need bifocals!)

It would be useful if I could put one IR-capable contact lens in one eye, while having a regular lens in the other eye. This would be fantastic for driving at night, or hunting those pesky pack rats that live in my backyard.

Many people who need bifocals use a different lens in each eye for distance and reading. Some also get laser-corrected to this state. Most peoples' brains are able to successfully merge the different images, but some are not. (So it is better to try it with contacts before lasik!!!)

Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft ... and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labor. -- Wernher von Braun