Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:I'm surprised that this technology is available (Score 1) 248

by gedrin (#30133514) Attached to: Engineered Bacteria Glows To Reveal Land Mines
My first thought as well. I think it's laudable that people are working on the ability to locate and disarm relic mines. Unfortunately, that same technology could likely be used by those wanting access to areas defended by current minefields.

Of course, the solution could be as simple as spraying a field with a substance that is toxic to the bacteria in question. It wouldn't have any impact on manned fields, but would still allow the use in areas that have abandonned mines. Unfortunately, that strikes me as creating yet another problem in a hunk of land currently filled with burried explosives, but it might be the way of it.

Comment: Re:The hills are alive... (Score 3, Informative) 248

by John Hasler (#30133496) Attached to: Engineered Bacteria Glows To Reveal Land Mines

> The hills are alive...

True. Topsoil is several percent bacteria by weight.

> What assurances do we have that the bacteria won't mutate, self-replicate, or
> turn against its master in the form of some horrendous new super-bug that
> makes the 20,000 land-mine casualties a year seem like a drop in a bucket?

None. And the sames goes for the millions of other species of bacteria that infest every square meter of the Earth's surface.

Comment: Re:More stuff that misses the point (Score 1) 236

by bws111 (#29616093) Attached to: Obama Bars Federal Workers From Texting and Driving

The problem with using reckless driving types laws is that they are too late. Once you are exhibiting a behavior which is reckless (lane changes, etc) the only thing that separates that from a accident is that no-one else had the misfortune of being there at the time. The purpose of texting bans, etc is to stop a behavior which is likely to be a problem BEFORE it is actually a problem.

Broad laws are OK after the fact - you crashed, so it is reasonable to say you were reckless. Broad laws to prevent behavior are horrible, they put way to much discretion into the hands of the police. Some cops may think texting is reckless, some may think talking with a passenger is reckless, some may think driving with head-pounding music blasting is reckless, etc. That is why it is important the specific behaviors are specified.

Comment: Re:Major pain (Score 1) 334

by cnvandev (#29610615) Attached to: Fake Antivirus Overwhelming Scanners

This is the same problem that teachers face every day. Teachers who give up and figure most teenagers "just don't care" aren't the ones kids thank later in life. Of course people are going to react negatively when you try and take away their YouTube. Let their manager deal with their lack of productivity in whatever ways managers do it best (or worst...).

The problem is that there's a fine line between "keeping twerps from using up all the company bandwidth" and "administering draconian policies to get everyone to work your way or else". The only difference between the two is the discretion of whoever's in charge, and leaving it up to that person often has disastrous results. The answer is definitely not to fight from both sides until someone gives up, that just makes enemies out of both sides, when it's in the interest of both parties to be on the same side.

For example: a common method to limit bandwidth is to block users from installing Flash and thus block websites which use Flash to stream content (YouTube, streaming radio stations, etc.) But then you run into having to allow access to people who want to use Flash for legitimate reasons. Or people who want to stream content in the background while working more productively (like listening to music at work)?

If you're in IT, it's your job to make sure the systems work so that people can do their jobs better, not to hinder the systems so that people do their jobs worse.

Comment: Re:Why it's more dangerous. (Score 1) 263

by malandro23 (#29610591) Attached to: Cosmic Ray Intensity Reaches Highest Levels In 50 years
Fair enough, but did you check on the flux of cosmic rays of this energy? It's 1 per square kilometer per century. Cosmic rays with 10^20 eV happen, but very infrequently. Obviously as you go lower in energy, the higher the flux, so particles that are significantly affected by the solar wind and earth's magnetic field dominate the cosmic ray spectrum. I never thought I could use this knowledge for anything, good to see I didn't waste 5 years of my life. Oh wait...

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 4, Interesting) 238

by commodore64_love (#29592643) Attached to: $338M Patent Ruling Against Microsoft Overturned

>>>Surely there we're games/shareware apps that did that before this patent too.

Please name them. I'm not aware of any that predate 1993 (when the inventor originally tried to sell his idea to MS). Most of the software of that time used the following methods to enable trialware: Let you play a level and then type in a "code" from a book or wheel. -or- Allow software to be used but disabled if you did not have the mechanical dongle on the rear of the machine.

This inventor's idea was different in that it allowed online registration via phoneline dialup or internet connection.

Comment: Re:One wonders if reversible computing will help (Score 1) 246

by Eunuchswear (#29592565) Attached to: Growing Power Gap Could Force Smartphone Tradeoffs

Honestly, "maintaining the network connection and drawing to the screen" is about all the current- and last-gen smartphones are capable of in software. Absolutely everything else is done in hardware or DSPs and can be (and is) turned off at will.

So Symbian, OSX, Maemo, Android, and so on are just figments of our imagination? I can't really run Python on my phone?

Comment: Re:Translation (Score 1) 238

by sopssa (#29592491) Attached to: $338M Patent Ruling Against Microsoft Overturned

Microsoft Letting Patents Move To Linux Firms

move of some patents originally held by Microsoft to the Open Invention Network, where they will join a portfolio whose purpose is to inoculate open source companies against patent trolls.

Doesn't seem a lot like patent trolling from MS. They've pretty much always just cared about protecting their own ass from patent trolls - and now moving the patents to Open Invention Network, that does it for them and keep the technologies open to everyone else too.

Comment: Re:Waste MORE time!? (Score 1) 1073

by mcgrew (#29592419) Attached to: Obama Makes a Push To Add Time To the School Year

There's lots of useless things already, religion being the first one that comes to my mind.

Religion was never mentioned in any of my classes; in fact it was strictly avoided, and afaik it was avoided in my kids' schools as well. In a Catholic school, sure, but not public school.

The first thing that comes to my mind that's useless is DARE, the second thing is PE. There are a lot of examples, but yours was a poor example indeed. In fact, I think if they learned about Bhuddism, Hidusim, Islam, and other mostly non-US religions it would be a good thing to study in a Social Studies or history class.

And make more choices to the students to take the classes they're interested in

An eight year old has no business choosing his or her classes, although the parents should. Actually, HS students as well. Kids simply don't have the experience or knowledge to be able to make such an important decision. That's why you have to be 18 to enter into a contract.

Comment: Re:Correllation is Not Causation (Score 1) 276

by JimFive (#29565181) Attached to: A New Explanation For the Plight of Winter Babies

b) the baby's increased risk of health and education problems causes him or her to be born in the winter (clearly ridiculous)

I don't think that this possibility can be dismissed as easily as you would like. It is entirely possible that congenital problems with the fetus, in combination with the stress that cold weather puts on the mother, leads to an increase in premature births in the winter months. This effect, if it exists, would push a certain number of births that would have occurred in the spring, back into the winter months and those births that moved would be precisely those at risk for health problems.

N.B. I'm not actually saying this is true, I'm just pointing out that you shouldn't be so quick to discard the "clearly ridiculous" option out of hand.
--
JimFive

Comment: Re:Don't do it! (Score 1) 176

by Lord Crosis (#29532723) Attached to: Best Tablet PC For Classroom Instruction?

The way you describe using a tablet is the best you can do with a tablet, but it is far worse than using a chalkboard.

First, in providing the lecture notes you discourage students from taking their own notes, since they know that most of what they might have written will be provided. When a student is actively taking their own notes, they often add detail that help them understand their own notes later. Don't worry about whether or not student's "like the convenience of being able to look at their lectures outside of the classroom". Learning math isn't convenient. It's hard work. They need to be in class, taking good notes, following the lecture, and applying it to the homework problems. If they have to miss a lecture, they need be responsible for the material, and if they can't figure it out from the textbook they need to see you during your office hours, or a tutor. It's a system that's worked for a very long time, and the tablet changes it without providing any real gain, and in fact some loss. In the best of cases it promotes student laziness, and in the worst of cases it lends to students being even more lost than they might have been in a traditional class.

Second, because you are writing on something that is more like pen-and-paper, you will write faster. This makes it so that it is difficult for those of us who weren't discouraged from taking notes (in the first point) to keep up in recording our notes and at the same time follow what you are actually doing. It's always difficult, when you fully understand a mathematical concept, to force yourself to explain it slowly enough that someone who doesn't understand it yet can follow. The chalkboard imposes a bit of a speed restriction since it forces you to write everything in a larger space which takes longer.

Third, a typical classroom chalkboard provides more real estate, so if the student is taking notes and falls a bit behind (because they recorded more detail on a point, or decided to do a side calculation to ensure that they are following what you've done), it provides more of a buffer for them to use to catch up.

Finally, and maybe this one is just me, but there is a huge difference between using a cursor to point to something you've already written, and actually pointing at it on the chalkboard.

One other comment, not related to the tablet: The best math instructor I have ever had did the least lecture preparation: He looked at the book to see what subjects were covered in the sections he planned to go over before class, and then did not look at the book again. He then spent the class period explaining and proving the material as much to himself as to the rest of the class. The notes I took from his lectures were always more thorough and better explained than any text book I have ever read.

Comment: not targeted for the same users / devices (Score 1) 108

by farble1670 (#29515373) Attached to: Intel To Challenge Android With Moblin For Mobile Devices

the moblin site advertises it for netbooks and "netttops". netbooks have laptop-like batteries which are orders of magnitude more powerful than those in true mobile devices. nettops are "very small form factor , inexpensive, low-wattage desktop computers" (from wikipedia).

even on android which puts a lot of design into getting the most out of your battery, you can easily shoot yourself in the foot by running the simplest process continuously. people don't understand how tiny and weak mobile batteries are. trying to run any "normal" operating system on it is going to fail for that reason.

Theory is gray, but the golden tree of life is green. -- Goethe

Working...