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Comment: Re:Get it right (Score 1) 102

by excelsior_gr (#47395267) Attached to: Two Earth-Like Exoplanets Don't Actually Exist

You might want to check out Stanislaw Lem's "His master's voice". He writes about the futile attempts of humanity in decoding an alien signal sent to earth, not only because of the difficulty of the encoding itself, but also due to the chasm between the two civilizations, mindsets etc. It is very dark and pessimistic, but definitely a good read.

Comment: Re:Not surprising. (Score 1) 688

by excelsior_gr (#47394881) Attached to: When Beliefs and Facts Collide

You'll have to acknowledge though that in the rest of the "western" world religion and science are kept nice and separate. For example, debates on whether kids at school should learn about the genesis or evolution are very, very seldom. They are both taught at school, one at religion class and the other at biology class. People do go to church, pray etc. but they also know that this has nothing to do with science.


Ninety-Nine Percent of the Ocean's Plastic Is Missing 304

Posted by samzenpus
from the In-his-plastic-house-at-R'lyeh-dead-Cthulhu-waits-dreaming dept.
sciencehabit writes Millions of tons. That's how much plastic should be floating in the world's oceans, given our ubiquitous use of the stuff. But a new study (abstract) finds that 99% of this plastic is missing. One disturbing possibility: Fish are eating it. If that's the case, "there is potential for this plastic to enter the global ocean food web," says Carlos Duarte, an oceanographer at the University of Western Australia, Crawley. "And we are part of this food web."

Comment: lock/unlock function (Score 1) 427

by excelsior_gr (#47319843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?

The only advantage of a smartwatch over a smartphone is that it can't be that easily stolen/lost/broken. I would therefore like it to take over more critical functions that, however, require a minimum of interaction with the smartwatch. Have it automatically unlock/lock my house/car using proximity sensors, for example. Of course it should provide all sorts of time-telling functions, like time-zone conversion and it should have calendar reminders. It should be 100% waterproof so I can wash my hands without having to take it off. Did I mention that the battery should last for at least a year? Don't bother with anything inferior than that.

Comment: Crappy websites (Score 4, Informative) 133

by excelsior_gr (#47294597) Attached to: The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

Here's the list using the Wikipedia pages, so that you don't have to click through the tedious article and follow the links to various crappy websites that don't even have pictures:
  AH-56 Cheyenne
  B-70 Valkyrie
  A-12 Avenger
  Future Combat Systems
  Sea Control Ship

Comment: Computational thinking? (Score 1) 155

by excelsior_gr (#47292933) Attached to: Computational Thinking: AP Computer Science Vs AP Statistics?

Cool, another phrase to add to buzzword bingo.

In fact, the whole blog-post is full of similar bullshit. Here's an example: "Computational thinking for scientists, engineers, and other professionals further means being able to: [ ] Discover new science through analysis of large data". What is that even supposed to mean? Science doesn't get "discovered", it develops. It's a methodology. The analysis of the data (large and small) is the science. Never mind the fact that the "definition" itself of "computational thinking" quite pompously restricts its application to the upper white-collar class "of scientists, engineers and other professionals" as if science is not for the unprivileged plebs.

Comment: Re:And hippies will protest it (Score 1) 396

by excelsior_gr (#47250173) Attached to: "Super Bananas" May Save Millions of Lives In Africa

All the ingredients of my evening meal were already in my kitchen. I didn't have to drive anywhere, and the price must have been below 5 Euros. For the record, that was half a package of spaghetti (that I saved a month or so ago then I cooked the other half) with a sauce of fresh tomatoes (three of them), olive oil (about 50 g), garlic (three cloves), an onion, some dried basil (that I buy in a large jar and is always available), salt and pepper (that I buy whole so that it remains fresh for ages). It tasted so good, it didn't even need cheese.

I get what you say about the poor neighborhoods and the lack of decent grocery stores, but I really think that it's a matter of culture. At any given time I can cook a two course meal for 5 people with the stuff that I have lying around. I go to the supermarket once a week: All sorts of pasta lasts for ages. Onions and (fresh) potatoes last for many weeks if kept dry. Canned stuff (tomatoes, tuna) are pretty good and frozen stuff are usually excellent, the only limitation is space. Pulses and rice are dirt cheap and super robust. Dried fruit and herbs go for months if stored right. The only things that I have to buy regularly are fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, fresh meat/fish and milk.

Did I just wake up one day and decided that this is the way my kitchen should be organized? No. I grew up in a household where our mom would dry her own tomatoes and herbs. She would make candy out of fruit. You get the picture. I learned a lot. Some blanks I filled in by reading books on cooking. Some other stuff I learned the hard way, recipes would go awry and stuff would rot in the fridge, but I see that as an investment.

Here's the catch: our parents would rather let us go hungry than bring us junk food for dinner. In your scenario, my dad would be like, sorry kids, no money today for some decent food, I'll see what I can get for you tomorrow. The next day, he would have 20 bucks and with that he would be able to not only get something more worthwhile and nutritious, but also something that would last for the next two days. The budget remains at 10 $/day but by starving for a single day and afterwards spending in $20 increments you can get more bang for the buck. After a week or so, you live a day on the leftovers and you can now raise the amount to $30 for three days worth of food. Repeat a few times and you have successfully uncoupled your stomach from your wallet.

"A mind is a terrible thing to have leaking out your ears." -- The League of Sadistic Telepaths