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Researchers Race To Recover Radioactive Rabbits 145

Posted by samzenpus
from the night-of-the-lepus dept.
Ponca City writes "The Tri-City Herald reports that radioactive rabbit droppings were recently found near the old Hanford Nuclear Site in southeast Washington that produced nuclear materials for 40 years and is now being decontaminated. The Department of Health looks for contamination off-site to make sure there is no public hazard and a rabbit trapped at the 300 Area caught their attention because it was close enough to the site's boundaries to potentially come in contact with the public. Joe Franco, an assistant manager for the Department of Energy, said workers erected fences, removed potential food sources and even sprayed the scent of a predator around the perimeter to prevent any other rabbit contamination and the Department of Energy said only one of 18 rabbits surveyed were deemed contaminated. Researchers narrowed the area of possible contamination to the 327 Building used during the Cold War for testing highly radioactive materials, particularly fuel elements and cladding that were irradiated at Hanford reactors as part of plutonium production for the nation's nuclear weapons program. Because the number of contaminated droppings being discovered on-site has decreased, officials now believe it's possible that just one rabbit might have been contaminated and they now are finding old droppings from it."

Comment: Re:Good luck with that ... (Score 2, Interesting) 198

by dintlu (#33048284) Attached to: Google Nabs Patent To Monitor Your Cursor Movement

I highlight text, too.

Some people hover over the text that they are reading, moving the mouse in parallel lines across the screen and indicating to Google the speed at which they read,
Some people don't move the mouse at all while reading.
Some people throw the mouse to the corner of the screen while they're reading.
Some people hover over ads but don't click. Others avoid hovering over ads.
Some people's behavior changes when they use a laptop versus a desktop.

Most of the people I know consistently perform a single mousing behavior on websites, and there's a finite amount of variation between individuals.

The idea to observe people's idiosyncratic behaviors in order to classify them into actionable categories is pretty obvious, though, and I don't see how Google's saying "This *specific* behavior, in this *specific* industry" in a patent application qualifies them to prevent other organizations from performing this sort of analysis.

Comment: Re:Retarded (Score 4, Informative) 570

by dintlu (#32168494) Attached to: Mozilla Reveals Firefox 4 Plans

It doesn't help that the linked article is terrible. A whole pile of performance updates are being made in addition to the UI changes:

JagerMonkey
HTML5 Parser off main thread
64 bit support
Startup timeline optimizations
Reduced I/O operations on main thread
JS threads and GC
DOM Performance improvements
Layers for compositing, scrolling

+

Graphics compositing with Layers
Hardware acceleration using Direct3D
Multitouch support
Aero Peek integration
OSX integration

I'd suggest reading the actual presentation for more information:
http://beltzner.ca/mike/2010/05/10/firefox-4-fast-powerful-and-empowering/

Comment: Re:Why is it illegal? (Score 1) 574

by dintlu (#31330690) Attached to: Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

It doesn't work, because it's a silly libertarian ideal, based on an incomplete model of rationality.

Calling people idiots because they are either unwilling or unable to mold their behavior to fit your ideal is juvenile, and it doesn't change the fact that your arguments are based on completely unrealistic assumptions.

Comment: Re:Why is it illegal? (Score 1) 574

by dintlu (#31330056) Attached to: Scalpers Earned $25M Gaming Online Ticket Sellers

Scalpers are rent-seeking middlemen who don't add any value to their product.

Supermarkets and McDonalds and BK all add value to the products they resell, either by assembling them into individual servings of bulk product, or by presenting their products for sale with many other options. Scalpers, in contrast, push people out of the ticket-buying process using unfair automation tactics (in violation of the first seller's TOS, typically), then relist those tickets at higher prices for their own personal gain, taking advantage of people's desire to consume a limited resource to earn money for themselves. Scalpers are a broken window, a drain on society. Their "business" is fundamentally unfair and if it isn't illegal, it should be.

This "vote with your dollars" bullshit doesn't work in the real world.

Comment: Re:Time does not exist (Score 1) 578

by dintlu (#31292670) Attached to: What Is Time? One Researcher Shares His Exploration

This is the most ridiculous semantic argument I have ever read. Saying that "time doesn't exist" is a cop-out for simple minds.

"Time" is the word we use to describe the chain of causality that human beings can commonly observe. Yes, there are a lot of assumptions inherent in our definition of the word, but that doesn't mean you can say it doesn't exist. All you can do is speculate on the nature of time based on your observations (i.e. "The only thing we have is present-moment memories, etc"), attempt to formulate a testable hypothesis, and seek falsifying or confirming evidence for that hypothesis.

It just so happens that's really difficult to do when every frame of reference you have occurs (or appears to occur) within the very thing you're trying to study.

Comment: Re:That would be all well and good (Score 4, Insightful) 461

by dintlu (#31170014) Attached to: FCC Proposes 100Mbps Minimum Home Broadband Speed

I see this is a sign that the government is realizing the importance of the internet to the future of commerce and national security.

Minimum speed mandates are the first step towards government-maintained infrastructure. By setting a target the telcos will be unable to reach, and buoying consumer expectations to expect this level of service soon, the door is opened for the government to implement solutions for upgrading or providing a portion of the telecommunications infrastructure themselves.

Frankly the telcos have nobody but themselves to blame. They took taxpayer money and instead of spending it on infrastructure upgrades to keep the US competitive with other nations, they sat on their collective asses raking in record profits while the quality of their networks and their customer satisfaction went to shit. If market forces worked, this would be unnecessary.

Comment: Re:Anonymous Coward Trolls (Score 2, Insightful) 125

by dintlu (#31023740) Attached to: Google and NSA Teaming Up

The NSA and Google are in the same business: information.

They may have different motivations and methods, but at their core they are both organizations that collect huge amounts of information and use that information as a means to an end.

Google's "don't be evil" is a tacit acknowledgment of the power information wields, and seeing them team up with a disreputable organization like the NSA makes the parallels between the two very obvious, generating a flurry of AC comments to capitalize on the memetic opportunity.

Comment: Re:The next line states... (Score 1) 360

by dintlu (#31011606) Attached to: Heavy Internet Use Linked To Depression

Unfortunately, that article is worthless and I don't know where I can find the actual paper.

While the article describes 1.2% of Britons between 15 and 51 years of age as being "internet addicted, it does NOT tell us how much the likelihood of depression increases among those addicts when compared to non-addicts.

I don't see a discussion of depression rates by age or other socioeconomic factors, either. People under the age of 30 are more likely to have been online their entire adult lives, people from wealthy families are likely to have been online sooner in life. People over 40 have divided experience- life before the internet, and life after - examining the mental health history of this particular subset of study participants would be very illuminating. I honestly would not be surprised if the study discusses all these factors and more.

This moment in history is the ONLY time we will have the opportunity to study differences between people who experienced life without the internet and people who have had access their entire lives, and it's a damned shame that these lousy newspapers distill such interesting science down to water cooler conversation points.

Comment: Re:Economy of Scale (Score 4, Interesting) 283

by dintlu (#31000898) Attached to: The Upside of the NASA Budget

NASA's constellation program was ill-conceived waste of taxpayer money. Florida's been a "purple" state for the past three elections, and NASA has a tremendous presence down here. To argue that cutting NASA's budget is politically motivated is to say that Obama's administrations *wants to lose votes* in the state of Florida, which is patently absurd.

What's happening to NASA is like an alcoholic stopping the sauce. Not only do they save a bunch of money, but they also free up a bunch of time and brainpower to pursue better things.

Comment: Re:Good story? (Score 1) 331

by dintlu (#30987266) Attached to: Review: <em>Mass Effect 2</em>

I hate to break it to you, but playing a game in which your actions have significant consequences for the story and your party is unpleasant for a lot of people, myself included.

I walked away from Dragon Age because I didn't want to have to commit to multiple playthroughs to enjoy all the content the game had to offer. The game was a chore - when you have to look online for character primers so that you don't make the mistake of leveling up characters whose alignment doesn't match your playing style, when you have to sacrifice following interesting storylines because you'll lose the perks or powers that come with strong loyalty, when you have to play the game through 2-3 times to access all the content, it's just no fun!

I've been playing Mass Effect 2 for a couple days now, and and very happy with it compared to their previous titles. The story's interesting, the gameplay doesn't get bogged down with complicated inventory items or repetitive sidequests, finishing a mission deposits you back on the ship (eliminating travel time), and the cutscene renegade/paragon triggers are lighthearted and enjoyable, as opposed to being moral quandaries.

Comment: Re:Replacement for air bags? (Score 4, Interesting) 367

by dintlu (#30986768) Attached to: Super Strong Metal Foam Discovered

Airbags and bumpers serve two entirely different purposes.

If this material lives up to the hype (unlikely), your next car will feature both items.

I'm curious to know more about the 28mph -> 5mph assertion. That stat was given to the media because it sounds impressive (grant guff), but how does it compare to the deceleration of a traditional auto bumper.

An adequate bootstrap is a contradiction in terms.

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