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Comment: Re:Uh, T-Shirts? (Score 3, Informative) 35 35

"A team of sceintists and engineers spent many years and millions of dollars to land a spacecraft on a comet -- an unprecedented achievement in human history."

Nope. Deep Impact managed the first landing. Philae managed the first, second and third softish landings.

"Feminists and gender warriors decided that landing a spacecraft on a comet wasn't important -- their supposedly hurt feelings about the pictures on the shirt were the only thing worth talking about that happened that day."

Err no. There was some criticism of the shirt yes but there was no suggestions that the wider landing shouldn't be talked about (although since at that point the ESA were still keeping the initial data from the landings under wraps there wasn't much to discuss).

"Rather than telling the gender warriors to go fuck themselves (or, more appropriately, to go achieve something themselves before coming back and making demands), the scientist was forced to make a tearful apology."

No he wasn't. I assume the PR people told him to apologise but the tears were entirely optional. Of course given that they were trying to spin multiple failures into a success story there not completely slick handling of the matter can be forgiven.

Comment: Re:Why is it worth that much? (Score 1) 143 143

Computers are a big obvious part of our civilisation at the moment thus people take an interest in early examples. The apple 1 is probably the earliest example that:

1)turns up on the open market on a regular basis (are there any Ferranti Mark 1s in private hands?)
2)people have heard of (Kenbak-1 anyone?)
3)Is a reasonable size (Ross Perot may be prepared to give space over to a few ENIAC cabinets but not all collectors will).

While there are other options that fulfil some of the requirements the apple 1 is probably the only one that fills all free.

Comment: Re:Why is it worth that much? (Score 3, Interesting) 143 143

There are already at least 4 in museums (Smithsonian, Sydney Powerhouse, London Science, Henry Ford Michigan). From the POV of museums they make a nice item. The name is recognisable (first apple computer is going to get more attention than say a OSI Model 500), its a convenient size (which is why a lot of british museums have a ZX Spectrum on display while the APE(X)C is in storage) and history of computing galleries are pretty much a must for any science/technology museum at the moment

Comment: Re:She has a point. (Score 1) 628 628

>This exact same line of reasoning is being used at this very moment to remove all pictures and mentions of pigs in children's stories and textbooks in the United Kingdom because some Muslims might be offended.

You appear to have believed something you read in the Daily Mail. Unfortunate.

In practice one of the most popular character's aimed at children is Peppa Pig. Perhaps you don't know anyone with young children so aren't aware of this fact. In which case I'd suggest you avoid expressing opinions on the matter.

Comment: Re:Dumb stuff (Score 1) 628 628

>Short answer: Reproducibility. The image is one of several which have been commonly used in the literature for decades.

If we are going by that standard we would probably have to use something like BBC Test Card F

>Also, it's actually, it's a really good photo for testing various types of computer vision algorithms - complex backgrounds (including a mirror), varying textures and colors (e.g. the hat feather thing), and a simple grayscale conversion works well.

Not really. Firstly we don't have great documentation on the hardware involved. The hardware involved is also highly non typical by modern standards (if your system is designed around drum scanned film and its 2015 you are doing something wrong). Using an image produced by a digital camera using Bayer filter would be more fit for purpose (the most obvious difference is that you will get more information on the green channel that the red and blue channel, this doesn't happen with film) . It would also avoid the rather messy copyright situation around the image.

Its not 1973 we are not short of digital images to use for testing any more. Chosing one that doesn't come from playboy is a reasonable choice.

Comment: Re:39/100 is the new passing grade. (Score 1) 174 174

Will the first issue is that about the only thing we would have got out of the Large Hadron Collider is confirmation of the Top quark.

Various space probes would also be rather limited. For example MESSANGER would be limited to stuff that had previously been found from earth or Mariner 11.

In fields like chemistry the overwhelming majority of studies produce results that are pretty much what you would expect so there is little reason not to accept them (other than the yield always assume the yield is inflated unless it is a process optimisation paper).

In a field like archaeology not only are most findings pretty uncontroversial (we found some surrey whiteware at Stafford Castle) but repeating an excavation is only going to work so well.

Comment: Re:Why does my tiny town in Iowa ... (Score 2) 191 191

Probably they wanted a larger vehicle able to hold a fair number of offices with some cross country ability. Getting something from the military is significantly cheaper than buying something built for that purpose. It may not be perfect but it is good value.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.

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