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Comment: Re:I fail to see what is newsworthy (Score 1) 456

by dlwire (#33073994) Attached to: Man Wants to Donate His Heart Before He Dies

Unacceptable.

My body, my choice. Not yours. Not the Doctors. Not some legislator in Albany or Washington. My choice.

As I understand the suggested method with this modification if you can't be identified you will not be used as a donor. Furthermore, if you have chosen to opt out you will not be used as a donor.

I fail to see how someone besides yourself is making the choice for you anymore than they would be making the choice for you today. The difference being, today you happen to agree with them.

Comment: Re:The steady slide to Police State continues (Score 1) 1123

by dlwire (#32448604) Attached to: Police Officers Seek Right Not To Be Recorded

If a cop is good, he will survive scrutiny and be elected. If a cop is bad, he loses his job and gets sued by the victims.

This sounds remarkably like the 'if you've got nothing to hide, why are you worried about losing your privacy?' argument.

Although, in this case you are on the job, providing a service to the public.

Comment: Re:Environmentalism (Score 1) 593

by dlwire (#32298134) Attached to: BP's Final "Top Kill" Procedure For Gulf Oil Spill

...if we get into a car accident, we're quick to shrug it off as just that: an accident. Nobody's fault. We pick up the pieces and move on.

--In the beginning, there was nothing. Then it exploded.

In the beginning, I was driving in my lane at a reasonable speed for the conditions, following at a safe distance and paying attention. The I hit another car.

Comment: Re:FrostPeas (Score 1) 1238

by dlwire (#32238138) Attached to: Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History

...But shouldn't they be more suspicious when they see a nervous Pakistani paying his ticket in cash, or when they see young white men in militia uniforms driving around federal buildings in a white Econoline? I mean, at some point one has to stop being self-righteous and let some common sense take over.

It's funny, you could easily say 'a nervous person paying for his or her ticket in cash' and 'people in militia uniforms driving around federal buildings in a white Econoline' and the behavior sounds equally suspicious.

Perhaps gender, age, and ethnicity have nothing to do with.

Software

Genetic Algorithm Helps Identify Criminals 84

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the playing-to-your-strengths dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes to tell us that a new software approach to police sketch artists is finding surprising success in a trial run of 15 police departments in the UK and a few other sites. The software borrows principles from evolution with an interactive genetic algorithm that progressively changes as witnesses try to remember specific details. Current field trials are reporting an increase in successful identification by as much as double conventional methods. A short video with a few working shots of the new "EFIT-V" system is also available on YouTube. "[Researcher Christopher Solomon]'s software generates its own faces that progressively evolve to match the witness' memories. The witness starts with a general description such as 'I remember a young white male with dark hair.' Nine different computer-generated faces that roughly fit the description are generated, and the witness identifies the best and worst matches. The software uses the best fit as a template to automatically generate nine new faces with slightly tweaked features, based on what it learned from the rejected faces. 'Over a number of generations, the computer can learn what face you're looking for,' says Solomon. The mathematics underlying the software is borrowed from Solomon's experience using optics to image turbulence in the atmosphere in the 1990s."
Businesses

Less Than Free 330

Posted by kdawson
from the fine-price-point dept.
VC Bill Gurley has up an insightful piece on the strategy behind Google's releasing turn-by-turn mapping for free. He calls it the "Less Than Free" business model, and it is beyond disruptive. On the day that Google announced its new service, the stock in the two companies that had controlled the market for map data, Garmin and TomTom, dropped by 16% and 21%, respectively. (Those companies had bought Google's erstwhile map-data suppliers, Tele Atlas and NavTeq, in 2007.) "When I asked a mobile industry veteran why carriers were so willing to dance with Google, a company they once feared, he suggested that Google was the 'lesser of two evils.' With Blackberry and iPhone grabbing more and more subs, the carriers were losing control of the customer UI... With Android, carriers could re-claim their customer 'deck.' Additionally, because Google has created an open source version of Android, carriers believe they have an 'out' if they part ways with Google in the future. I then asked my friend, 'So why would they ever use the Google (non open source) license version?' ... Here was the big punch line — because Google will give you ad splits on search if you use that version! That's right; Google will pay you to use their mobile OS. I like to call this the 'less than free' business model. This is a remarkable card to play. Because of its dominance in search, Google has ad rates that blow away the competition. To compete at an equally 'less than free' price point, Symbian or Windows Mobile would need to subsidize." Gurley speculates that the company may broaden "less than free" to include the Google Chrome OS.
Earth

NASA Attempts To Assuage 2012 Fears 881

Posted by timothy
from the nostalgia-for-y2k dept.
eldavojohn writes "The apocalyptic film 2012 has dominated the box office, taking in $65 million on opening weekend. But with all those uninformed eyeballs watching the film, NASA has found itself answering so many common questions that their Ask an Astrobiologist blog offers calming, professional reassurance that there is no planet Nibiru, nor will it collide with Earth (although I do recall a massive solar storm forecast). NASA's main site even offers a FAQ answering similar questions. NPR has more on NASA scientist David Morrison and his efforts to calm the ensuing public hysteria, but survivalists are already planning for the big one. Pretty funny, right? Not according to Morrison: 'I've had three from young people saying they were contemplating committing suicide. I've had two from women contemplating killing their children and themselves. I had one last week from a person who said, "I'm so scared, my only friend is my little dog. When should I put it to sleep so it won't suffer?" And I don't know how to answer those questions.'"
Handhelds

Alternative Mobile Browsers Tested For Speed, Usability, JavaScript Rendering 103

Posted by timothy
from the but-can-it-run-slashdot dept.
CNETNate writes "Do Opera Mobile, Skyfire, or Mozilla's Fennec have the power to take down the BlackBerry browser, IE on Windows Mobile, or Safari on the iPhone? This lengthy test aimed to find out. Speed, Acid3 compliance, JavaScript rendering capabilities, and general subjective usability were all tested and reviewed. So were Opera Mini and the default Symbian browser, but these two were unable to complete some of the tests and benchmarks."
Earth

CERN Physicist Warns About Uranium Shortage 581

Posted by timothy
from the switch-to-geraniums dept.
eldavojohn writes "Uranium mines provide us with 40,000 tons of uranium each year. Sounds like that ought to be enough for anyone, but it comes up about 25,000 tons short of what we consume yearly in our nuclear power plants. The difference is made up by stockpiles, reprocessed fuel and re-enriched uranium — which should be completely used up by 2013. And the problem with just opening more uranium mines is that nobody really knows where to go for the next big uranium lode. Dr. Michael Dittmar has been warning us for some time about the coming shortage (PDF) and has recently uploaded a four-part comprehensive report on the future of nuclear energy and how socioeconomic change is exacerbating the effect this coming shortage will have on our power consumption. Although not quite on par with zombie apocalypse, Dr. Dittmar's final conclusions paint a dire picture, stating that options like large-scale commercial fission breeder reactors are not an option by 2013 and 'no matter how far into the future we may look, nuclear fusion as an energy source is even less probable than large-scale breeder reactors, for the accumulated knowledge on this subject is already sufficient to say that commercial fusion power will never become a reality.'"
The Military

Two Sunken Japanese Submarines Found Off Hawaii 239

Posted by kdawson
from the toro-toro-and-we-don't-mean-lawnmowers dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "The NY Times reports that two World War II Japanese submarines, including one meant to carry aircraft for attacks on American cities, have been found in deep water off Hawaii where they were sunk in 1946. Specifically designed for a stealth attack on the US East Coast — perhaps targeting Washington, DC and New York City — the 'samurai subs' were fast, far-ranging, and some carried folding-wing aircraft. Five Japanese submarines were captured by American forces at the end of the war and taken to Pearl Harbor for study, then towed to sea and torpedoed, probably to avoid having to share any of their technology with the Russian military. One of the Japanese craft, the I-201, was covered with a rubberized coating on the hull, an innovation intended to make it less apparent to sonar or radar; it was capable of speeds of about 20 knots while submerged, making it among the fastest diesel submarines ever made. The other, the I-14, much larger and slower, was designed to carry two small planes, Aichi M6A Seirans that could be brought onto the deck and launched by a catapult. The submarines were meant to threaten the United States directly, but none of the attacks occurred because the subs were developed too late in the war, and American intelligence was too good. 'It's very moving to see objects like this underwater,' says Hans Van Tilburg of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 'because it's a very peaceful environment, but these subs were designed for aggression.'"
Space

Rosetta Fly-By To Probe "Pioneer Anomaly" 89

Posted by kdawson
from the tous-le-mond dept.
DynaSoar writes "On Friday November 13th, ESA'a Rosetta probe will get its third and final gravity assist slingshot from Earth on its way to its primary targets, the asteroid Lutetia and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. But the slingshot itself will allow ESA scientists to examine the trajectory for unusual changes seen in several other probes' velocities. An unaccountable variation was first noticed as excess speed in Pioneers 11 and 12, and has since been called the Pioneer Anomaly. More troubling than mere speed increase is the inconsistency of the effect. While Galileo and NEAR had appreciable speed increases, Cassini and Messenger did not. Rosetta itself gained more speed than expected from its 2005 fly-by, but only the expected amount from its 2007 fly-by. Several theories have been advanced, from mundane atmospheric drag to exotic variations on special relativity, but none are so far adequate to explain both the unexpected velocity increases and the lack of them in different instances. Armed with tracking hardware and software capable of measuring Rosetta's velocity within a few millimeters per second while it flies past at 45,000 km/hr, ESA will be gathering data which it hopes will help unravel the mystery."
Math

The Math of a Fly's Eye May Prove Useful 90

Posted by kdawson
from the saw-that-one-coming dept.
cunniff writes "Wired Magazine points us to recent research that demonstrates an algorithm derived from the actual biological implementation of fly vision (PLoS paper here). Quoting the paper: 'Here we present a model with multiple levels of non-linear dynamic adaptive components based directly on the known or suspected responses of neurons within the visual motion pathway of the fly brain. By testing the model under realistic high-dynamic range conditions we show that the addition of these elements makes the motion detection model robust across a large variety of images, velocities and accelerations.' The researchers claim that 'The implementation of this new algorithm could provide a very useful and robust velocity estimator for artificial navigation systems.' Additionally, the paper describes the algorithm as extremely simple, capable of being implemented on very small and power-efficient processors. Best of all, the entire paper is public and hosted via a service that allows authenticated users to give feedback."

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