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Comment: Re:Old school (Score 1) 161

by engineerofsorts (#36480962) Attached to: The 8-Bit Computer That's Been Built By Hand
Circa 1975-76, this was just a design exercise at the tail-end of our logic design class--we just called it a minicomputer then, using SSI and MSI TTL modules--it would have been a bit tricky to come up with 64K of storage then, since 1Kbit to maybe 4Kbit chips was state of the art. If anything, you do have to commend the guy, not for design, but for getting such a large number of proto-boards and all those aggravating wires hooked up and get all of it working. A wire-wrapped version would be more compact/reliable, and just about as "homemade" in my book. No big deal.

Comment: Satellites don't cut it (Score 1) 271

by engineerofsorts (#33614868) Attached to: Boeing Gets $89M To Build Drone That Can Fly For 5 Years Straight
Come on folks--surveillance satellites can, just like any other satellites, come in a couple of flavors: high-orbit geosynchronous or geostationary, and low-orbit. The high-flyers/geostat/geosync are great for getting a marginal picture of the same area--great for tracking hurricanes and himmicanes. The low-flyers are great for taking some sorda-detailed pictures every few hours or days, depending on how many birds you have flying. On the other hand, survaillance aircraft have their varioius advantages/disadvantage: The Global Hawk/UAVs have maybe 12 to 24 hour "dwell time" over a target area, but they, in reality, have serious operational difficulties--marginal payload capabilities/reliability/etc (unless you talk to someone trying to sell you some). The now-retired SR-71 was fast, but had lousy dwell time--maybe 30 minutes over target before you had to go home. The venerable U-2 (yes, they still fly them) still provides "reasonable" dwell time--about 12 hours total flight time, and still provides some of the best/most diverse recon capabilities around, but requires a lot of inconvenient life support for the pilot. My concern--being such a noted authority on everything--is that a lightweight, stay in the air forever recon plane as proposed will not have anywhere near the mulit-spectral recon capability that a U-2 presently has, and will prove as worthless as the Global Hawk.

Comment: Lame excuse/solution department precedents (Score 1) 417

by engineerofsorts (#32746674) Attached to: Apple Hires Antenna Engineers. Really.
This "hold the phone this way" crap reminds me of the battle about 35 years ago when IBM was trying to compete against Brand X(erox) in the office copier market. IBM's first attempt looked like a lot of Selectric typewriter parts, but didn't work as well. The second attempt produced a copier which could do about two pages/minute, whereas Brand X was then doing about ten pages/minute. IBM salesmen were given a solution: Tell the customer "Our studies have shown that too many unnecessary copies are made on copiers that run faster that two pages/minute". IBM no longer makes copiers.
Image

Snails On Methamphetamine 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the escargot-on-ice dept.
sciencehabit writes "Science answers the question: What happens when you put a snail on speed? From the article: 'The results suggest that meth improves memory, something that has been previously observed in creatures with large, complex brains like rats and humans. But since the snails store their memories in a simple, three-neuron network, the team hopes that studying the meth effect in these gastropods will help pinpoint how the drug's memory magnification powers work.'"
Cellphones

Why Overheard Cell Phone Chats Are Annoying 344

Posted by timothy
from the they-drown-out-the-bark-of-my-gun dept.
__roo writes "American researchers think they have found the answer to the question of why overhearing cell phone chats are annoying. According to scientists at Cornell University, when only half of the conversation is overheard, it drains more attention and concentration than when overhearing two people talking. According to one researcher, 'We have less control to move away our attention from half a conversation (or halfalogue) than when listening to a dialogue. Since halfalogues really are more distracting and you can't tune them out, this could explain why people are irritated.' Their study will be published in the journal Psychological Science."
Image

Russian Officials To Investigate Regional President's Alien Abduction Claims 184

Posted by samzenpus
from the mars-wants-to-play-chess dept.
wdef writes "The BBC reports that a Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalymkia, made his claim in a television interview. Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples — and claims to have several witnesses. He has been president of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years. As president of the World Chess Federation, he has spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players — building an entire village to host international tournaments. MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern. He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets."
Image

Dad Delivers Baby Using Wiki 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the 9cm-edited dept.
sonamchauhan writes "A Londoner helped his wife deliver their baby by Googling 'how to deliver a baby' on his mobile phone. From the article: 'Today proud Mr Smith said: "The midwife had checked Emma earlier in the day but contractions started up again at about 8pm so we called the midwife to come back. But then everything happened so quickly I realized Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry."'"
Science

Aussie Scientists Find Coconut-Carrying Octopus 205

Posted by timothy
from the concealed-carry-in-australian-waters dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from an AP report: "Australian scientists have discovered an octopus in Indonesia that collects coconut shells for shelter — unusually sophisticated behavior that the researchers believe is the first evidence of tool use in an invertebrate animal. The scientists filmed the veined octopus, Amphioctopus marginatus, selecting halved coconut shells from the sea floor, emptying them out, carrying them under their bodies up to 65 feet (20 meters), and assembling two shells together to make a spherical hiding spot. ... 'I was gobsmacked,' said Finn, a research biologist at the museum who specializes in cephalopods. 'I mean, I've seen a lot of octopuses hiding in shells, but I've never seen one that grabs it up and jogs across the sea floor. I was trying hard not to laugh.'"
Image

The Perfect Way To Slice a Pizza 282

Posted by samzenpus
from the equal-distribution-of-the-pie dept.
iamapizza writes "New Scientist reports on the quest of two math boffins for the perfect way to slice a pizza. It's an interesting and in-depth article; 'The problem that bothered them was this. Suppose the harried waiter cuts the pizza off-center, but with all the edge-to-edge cuts crossing at a single point, and with the same angle between adjacent cuts. The off-center cuts mean the slices will not all be the same size, so if two people take turns to take neighboring slices, will they get equal shares by the time they have gone right round the pizza — and if not, who will get more?' This is useful, of course, if you're familiar with the concept of 'sharing' a pizza."
Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-for-one dept.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."

Comment: How long does sequencing take nowadays? (Score 1) 126

by engineerofsorts (#28002149) Attached to: 13,000 Volunteer To Put Personal Genomes Online
It seems like the initial human genome sequencing took several years, ending back in 2003 or thereabouts. Just how fast is the process nowadays? I trust, if they plan to sequence DNA from tens of thousands of individuals, it must be multiple orders of magnitude faster than what the original sequencing took????

The sooner all the animals are extinct, the sooner we'll find their money. - Ed Bluestone

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