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Comment: Some symphony/director joke goes here (Score 1) 107

Is this the online equivalent to getting tickets to the symphony? If so, it's no wonder they're all going under.

or maybe

If a symphony director thinks having all his buddies sign up for $9000 websites is a good idea, maybe we're paying symphony players too much.

or, perhaps better

Symphony conductor wants to keep all of the instrumentalists off his new site, so he sets the entry fee to be more than what they make in a year.

Comment: Re:No surprise (Score 3, Interesting) 146

by radtea (#47943001) Attached to: Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

War as practised by humans and chimps is fundementally different, it is a coordinated social activity most animals simply don't comprehend let alone practice.

Two words: "kin selection".

Humans and chimps are social primates. We live in groups that are relatively close to us, genetically, although humans practice exogamy (mating outside their immediate kin group) a lot more aggressively than any of our cousins.

So to say "fighting for mates is always one vs one" is to say "kin selection does not exist", which it manifestly does.

War is mate competition carried out by other means. There is no other rational for it (war is always economically irrational, although this is not generally understood because it "just makes sense" to so many people that war is somehow a good idea.)

No individual of any species ever under any circumstances kills another member of the same species for any reason other than mate competition, either for themselves or for close kin (this is not quite true, but it should be the starting point of any analysis of deadly interpersonal violence.) Killing has zero to do with hunting behaviour--both male and female bonobos hunt, and don't kill each other. Elk are vegetarian, and do kill each other. Only when reproduction is on the line does the risk of being killed in a potentially deadly fight make evolutionary sense, in humans as well as in other species.

In humans, war creates all kinds of mating opportunities beyond the simple-minded "conquer the enemy and rape their women" scenario. In particular, it creates opportunities on the home front of all kinds, and that is a very fundamental part of its completely irrational appeal.

Comment: Re:This. (Score 1) 207

by tlambert (#47942943) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

Now add to this that most major contributions in any scientific field occur before someone hits their mid 20's...

Tell me, does this account for the fact that the majority of people working in a scientific field graduate with a PhD in their mid 20s, or is it simply a reflection of that?

I expect that it's a little bit of both. Look however at Kepler and Tycho Brahe. Brahe's observational contributions aided Kepler, but he started well before he was 30. Kepler had his theories before 30, and was aided by Brahe into his 30's proving them out. Counter examples include Newton, and so on. Most Large contributions that aren't ideas themselves are contributions based on the wealth of the contributor, e.g. The Allen Telescope Array.

Like the GP, I'm in my late 30s and have found that my current field is less than optimal. It is a) unfulfilling, b) extremely underpaid (if I do more than 13 hours a week, the CEO running the studio is just as likely to steal my hours from me as not), and c) unlikely to go anywhere.

Reason (a) is motivation to do something that could be big, if the new reason is passion.
Reason (b) is a piss poor reason to do something big; there's no passion involved.
Reason (c) is ennui.

If you get into something solely to satisfy (a), you have a chance at greatness; if you do it for the other two reasons, even in part, you are unlikely to have the fire to spark the necessary effort. For example, the OP's willingness to dedicate 10 hours a week from a 24x7 = 168 total hours in a week really speaks to the idea of someone acting out a dilettante reason, rather than a reason of passion. Excluding sleeping, you could probably argue for 86 hours a week for a passion, and that's less than 11% of the "every moment of every day" you'd expect with a passion.

Comment: They will be required by July 2015 (Score 1) 112

by Overzeetop (#47941331) Attached to: Next Android To Enable Local Encryption By Default Too, Says Google

California law will require that handsets be able to be remotely disabled by the user. This is one of the easiest ways to do that - to encrypt the phone so that there is no way to operate it without entering the passcode. No resets, no workarounds. Both Google and Apple know that this is the chance to get it into the only x.0 release before that deadline.

It's not high and mighty, it's just getting into compliance. IMHO, it's a good thing, but it's not some special high road either one is taking.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 51

by radtea (#47941309) Attached to: Mystery Signal Could Be Dark Matter Hint In ISS Detector

Sooooo when did dark matter become anti-matter? Or am I missing something?

Probably pretty much everything.

Matter and anti-matter are--up to a flip in charge and parity--the same thing. That is, if you take an electron (a matter particle), flip its charge and look at in a mirror you'll see a positron (an anti-matter particle).

So it is actually perfectly consistent, logically if not linguistically, for dark matter to be entirely anti-matter.

Exotic dark matter can also produce anti-matter when its particles collide with each other, which is what this report seems to be about. The significant thing is that the energy spectrum of the positrons that the AMS detector sees appear to have about the right energy spectrum for one particular type of exotic dark matter (which I personally have a pretty low prior for).

There are a whole bunch of follow-on papers from other people doing what scientists do, which is check for consistency between the exotic dark matter interpretation of this result and reality, in the sense that if this signal really is due to exotic dark matter there should be a number of different consequences (including the anti-proton signal the article mentions):

Comment: This. (Score 1) 207

by tlambert (#47940771) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

I can only spend maybe 10 hours a week on this

Since you already have a full life, something would have to give. The amount of time you estimate to be available would get to hobby level: the same as the other thousands of amateur astronomers in the country. But it's not enough to do any serious studying, get qualified or do research to a publishable quality.


I read through the comments to find this comment so that I didn't just post a duplicate if someone else had covered the ground.

Let me be really blunt about the amount of time you are intending to invest in this project. If you were taking a college course, you should expect to spend 2 hours out of class for each hour you spend in class, and given that you only have 10 hours to dedicate to the idea, that's effectively 3 credit hours for every interval. So if you picked a community college, and they offered all the classes you needed, you should expect to have your Bachelor's of Science in any given degree field in about 23 years. That gets you to the necessary 210 credit hours for an Astronomy degree.

Let's say, though that you are a super genius, and can do 1:1 instead of 1:2 for in/out of class. That only cuts your time by 1/3, which means that you get that degree in 15 years instead.

Now add to this that most major contributions in any scientific field occur before someone hits their mid 20's; there are exceptions, but let's say again that you are exceptional. What contributions do you expect to be able to make after age 61 / 53, with your shiny new Bachelor's, since you're unlikely to find someone to hire you at that age, and you're unlikely to be able to afford instrument time on the necessary equipment on your own?

Comment: CS bonanza (Score 1) 450

by Overzeetop (#47938439) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

Are you kidding, it's much easier to say "we cannot do that" than have to go through verifying and unlocking a device every time someone forgets their passcode. It may piss off those customers, but there's nothing they can do.

I think the iPhone 6s should have a user-writable strip on the back so you can write down your passcode in case you forget it. Maybe a little sticky strip to cover it up so people can't see it normally.

Comment: Backups are still provided with a smile (Score 1) 450

by Overzeetop (#47938399) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

The backups are not encrypted with keys that Apple doesn't have, so they can turn over all of your backed up data - they just can't remotely unlock the physical phone device. All that's required is to make sure the phone is in range when it backs up and Apple can provide (nearly) all the data police require.

Comment: Preferred by terrorists and druggies worldwide (Score 1) 450

by Overzeetop (#47938371) Attached to: Apple Will No Longer Unlock Most iPhones, iPads For Police

This is security on the device, but not of the backups. They should be doing client side encryption and zero-knowledge storage in the cloud.

So remember, kids - if you're going to go all jihad or spaceman with your iPhone, just make sure you set it not to save any backups!

Comment: Re:Does HFCS count? (Score 1) 266

by ArhcAngel (#47938029) Attached to: Study Finds Link Between Artificial Sweeteners and Glucose Intolerance
I've seen a similar study taken apart on the grounds you suggested but not this one specifically. I'm skeptical to a fault of everything but even more so when huge sums of money are involved and the alternative sweetener arena is just such an animal. I've seen reports of all the disastrous side effects of Aspartame and vehement denials and counter reports but I've also seen first hand the negative affect it has had on people I know. Even if this study were not accurate there is enough evidence for me to avoid HFCS where/when I can. That said I eat a lot of things daily that contain HFCS. But when I have a choice I choose sugar or stevia or agave.

Comment: The difference between Apple and others is trivial (Score 1) 302

by Overzeetop (#47937715) Attached to: Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

So it's nearly identical to all other secure payment systems on the market. You still have the payment processor is the bank - who is a VISA/MC/AMEX 3rd party vendor who tracks and sells your information - instead of a non-bank corporate VISA/MC/AMEX 3rd party vendor who tracks and sells your information. No other secure system uses your CC, expiration date, or CVV code as part of a transaction either - not your smart-chip credit card, not google wallet, not the wireless providers.

The only difference here is that there is that Apple isn't privy to your transaction data at the register - though the merchant, the bank, and VISA/MC/AMEX still are. That and they have you transmit a photo of your credit card (and photos are unhackable, just ask the stars who took nude selfies) instead putting the onerous task of entering twenty two digits *all by yourself* into another payment processor's web/app form. I mean, that's 15 seconds you'll never get back.

"Most of us, when all is said and done, like what we like and make up reasons for it afterwards." -- Soren F. Petersen