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Comment Re:Meta-corruption? (Score 1) 94 94

It's even simpler - they have a new chief of the space agency, two spectacular failures to reach an orbit in one month and the new cosmodrome which was promised to Putin to be able to launch its first rocket by the end of this year (which is clearly impossible). So, it's time to sacrifice some person or two.

Comment It is probably business as usual (Score 1) 146 146

They used to launch satellites and then call them debries or test missions or something like this if they aren't behave well from Soviet times. It could be one of these satellites which responded in some limited way after launch, but guys at the mission control still tweaking with it.

Comment Rather vice versa (Score 1) 197 197

Ukrainian coups (exactly two in 23 years) were unique and effective measure to stop typical for ex-USSR countries creeping into some sort of gulag. It's quite sad that almost every one of former Soviet republics (except Baltic states and maybe Georgia) has abandoned their checks and balances and early attempts to build functional free market rule of law democracies and went into 'strict power vertical' aka dictatorship of variable mildness. But not Ukraine. It's chaotic, yes, but free and democratic as hell.

Comment Re: Communist revolution is needed (Score 2) 548 548

If you read in Russian, you should google , and 1960. In short, being a civilian in the USSR, you could get strictly a hunting rifle. There was no Castle doctrine, so you couldn't realistically use it for own protection. Such action would make yourself a criminal almost automatically. The registering process and regular checks were quite strict, and you were bound to sell or abandon weapons if you have failed to renew your license in term. Hunters were watched over quite carefully, and a case of bad behavior could make their license revoked (there was a kind of civil watch program in the USSR). The '10 in 100' number posted above seems not very realistic for me. In my own town of birth (with plenty of forests with sporting game around) there were less than a thousand of registered hunters out of the 130,000-strong population. Disclosure: my father was a hunter for a few years in 1970s, even before my birth, then get rid of his rifle.

Comment Re:From Wikipedia (Score 1) 110 110

Of course, but I see a problem with statistics here: just 3 out of 9 persons in the group which I expected should die by freezing, have more or less 'natural' picture of injuries. Others have very heavy traumas — broken skulls, broken rib cages (not single ribs but entire cages), missing tongues etc. At least three of them couldn't move after being hit by lethal force — the death was instant or close to it. But not a single of them was found on the clear scene of such action, not under a big rock, not under a cliff and so on. It's strange when you expecting to find two broken ancles, three broken wrists, injured knees, bruised heads but have such a treasure trove of really heavy injuries.

Comment Re:Yes, I read it before (Score 1) 110 110

The avalanche version is quite unrealistic— the terrain is actually low hills with gentle slopes, and the tent, of course, was erected on a flattest spot around. The 'tan' as far as I remember, was described not like a sun tan, but rather a reddish or purple dye, and I can remember the conclusion that it's because of thawing waters running through the rocks with inclusions of some dyeing minerals — so, nothing mysterious here. The traces of radioactivity on some clothes were documented in the materials of the investigation. The level was not very high but still significant to be detected with quite a crude device detecting just gamma rays (with no further analysis of contamination, so no data on which isotope was involved). Also you shouldn't forget that it was few months later, when isotopes were partially decayed and rinsed by water from the thawing snow. The investigation was closed a day or two later after that finding, so it could be actually the reason to stop the efforts (or just a coincidence). The thing is, at least one of the group was an engineer working for the absolutely secret facility producing nuclear bomb grade materials (Mayak in Chelyabinsk-40).

Comment Re:Why Ukraine is a mess (Score 1) 233 233

The divide between the parts of the country is not that big actually. As far as I remember, in the last more or less adequate poll before Yanukovich's U-turn about integration with the EU, the numbers were like 35% for joining the EU (as a strategic goal maybe 10 or 15 years later, not about the current agreement on association, which was nearly signed couple of months ago), 28 against, and the rest is undecided or not care about it. So, it's not the case of 90% in the East strictly for Russia, 90% in the West for the Europe, the difference between them is slightly more than 10%.

Comment Checks and balances and automated killer robots (Score 1) 514 514

Probably I have an idea how to change public perception of this kind of robots. The initial batch should be deployed to oversee the government(s). Each public servant trying to knowingly act against the Constitution (not saying to usurp the power) should be executed automatically. The laws these days are written in quite formal language; any decent neural network will parse through them with minor troubles if any. I guess, such program could bring some public support to the idea.
Science

Submission + - A Computer Inside a Cell ->

sciencehabit writes: For the first time, synthetic biologists have created a genetic device that mimics one of the widgets on which all of modern electronics is based, the three-terminal transistor. Like standard electronic transistors, the new biological transistor is expected to work in many different biological circuit designs. Together with other advances in crafting genetic circuitry, that should make it easier for scientists to program cells to do everything from monitor pollutants and the progression of disease to turning on the output of medicines and biofuels.
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Science

Submission + - Bees Communicate with Electric Fields->

sciencehabit writes: The electric fields that build up on honey bees as they fly, flutter their wings, or rub body parts together may allow the insects to talk to each other, a new study suggests. Tests show that the electric fields, which can be quite strong, deflect the bees' antennae, which, in turn, provide signals to the brain through specialized organs at their bases. Antenna deflections induced by an electrically charged honey bee wing are about 10 times the size of those that would be caused by airflow from the wing fluttering at the same distance—a sign that electrical fields could be an important signal.
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Comment Re:MLK and friends went to jail as well (Score 3, Insightful) 243 243

It's more complicated — those who practice civil disobedience are actually appealing to the higher instance: the social contract. If the state is not willing to walk along their part of the contract, citizens can proclaim yourself free from the law as well.

If all else fails, lower your standards.

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