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Comment: 30,000 years? (Score 3, Interesting) 66

by Tablizer (#47429015) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

The sample being 30,000 years old doesn't seem significant because it's quite recent relative to the history of life, and even primates. The same kind of virus or a close relative is probably still around and the sample age probably has nothing to do with its size, but rather a happenstance of observation in that we tend to study old things harder than we do current things, and thus notice more.

Comment: Re:What is life? What is a virus? (Score 1) 66

by rgmoore (#47428611) Attached to: Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

Everything is a continuum.

That is an exaggeration. Things grow as a continuum, but they can get separated when the parts in the middle die off. You wind up with a branched structure because things really can get far enough separated that when the middle dies off they can't reconnect. For example, mammals really are distinct from other tetrapods because the forms that connected them died off and they've been developing in different directions ever since.


How Google Map Hackers Can Destroy a Business 111

Posted by timothy
from the you-aren't-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from Wired about the one big problem that comes with crowdsourced data: enough eyeballs may make all bugs shallow, but may not fare as well against malice and greed: Maps are dotted with thousands of spam business listings for nonexistent locksmiths and plumbers. Legitimate businesses sometimes see their listings hijacked by competitors or cloned into a duplicate with a different phone number or website. In January, someone bulk-modified the Google Maps presence of thousands of hotels around the country, changing the website URLs to a commercial third-party booking site ... Small businesses are the usual targets. ....These attacks happen because Google Maps is, at its heart, a massive crowdsourcing project, a shared conception of the world that skilled practitioners can bend and reshape in small ways using tools like Google's Mapmaker or Google Places for Business. ... In February, an SEO consultant-turned-whistleblower named Bryan Seely demonstrated the risk dramatically when he set up doppelganger Google Maps listings for the offices of the FBI and Secret Service..

Comment: Re:Is it too much to ask... (Score 1) 137

Is is too much to ask that we could have some comments from posters who are interested in, you know, math and science?

I'm sure many of us are interested, but seriously out of our depth on the topic -- I don't even know what stupid questions to ask first without sounding even more stupid. :-P

I have no idea of what this actually means in terms of anything practical.

Here I was getting ready to dredge up all that symmetry and topology that got drilled in to me in grad school.

By all means, bust it out .. because the whinging about "soccer v football" are kind of boring, and I'd love to know what this actually implies to chemists. But since the extent of my chemistry background is from Grade 11, and since that was a very long time ago, this is a little out of my grasp.

Comment: Re:And another question (Score 1) 137

Jesus fuck. That's your go-to amazing moment for soccer? Don't waste your time watching the video, kids. The dude kicks the ball from a moderate distance at moderate speed and it goes into the net.

On behalf of those of us who didn't do so well in gym class ... that would be somewhat amazing. Even if the net was empty. ;-)

Comment: And that means? (Score 1) 137

But here's question that has been puzzling chemists, topologists fans: is there a molecular analogue of the Brazuca?

OK ... so mathematicians proved you could have molecules with a symmetry similar to a new fangled soccer ball.

Is this good? Is it not good? Is it useful in any way? Or it this purely an intellectual exercise?

I'm afraid I don't grok chemistry with fullness, so I don't know if different symmetries give us different materials, or prettier chemicals.

I know shape usually defines the other kinds of bonds it can make, but I have no idea if this specific thing is of any benefit to anybody.

Can anybody give a lay summary for what the practical applications of this tidbit of knowledge actually are? Because I've got nothing solid here.

Luck, that's when preparation and opportunity meet. -- P.E. Trudeau