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Comment: Re:Reserved Judgement (Score 1) 107 107

Or it could be one of those serious dramas intended for the Oscars. I mean the Snowden brand could be good enough for a low-budget movie to break even, so if you add an A-list director and actor, it could make more money than a blockbuster that gets universally panned by the critics. Every studio has an "indie" pictures divsions precisely for this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S...

Comment: Re:Don't forget SEALAB! (Score 1) 81 81

This is noted in the official NASA biography:

Scott Carpenter, a dynamic pioneer of modern exploration, has the unique distinction of being the first human ever to penetrate both inner and outer space, thereby acquiring the dual title, Astronaut/Aquanaut.

Before I did a quick Wiki lookup on the word aquanaut, I thought he was the first astronaut who knew how to swim. Apparently you need to dive deeper and longer to qualify for the distinction of being an aquanaut, just as you need to fly up a certain number of km's to be considered an astronaut.

On a side note, it appears that certain NASA web sites are still operational despite the US government shutdown of non-essential facilities.

Comment: Re:Why switch? (Score 5, Interesting) 93 93

VM's have a performance penalty. What's the state of virtualization in the ARM world anyway? Mere emulation similar to what you find in the Android SDK will run faster, but you won't get the full Android experience. Running Linux in a chroot inside the Android host might be a better option performance-wise, but the Android kernel and userland have quirks not found in desktop Linux.

Comment: Re:So, enthusiast computing switches to ... (Score 1) 128 128

Right. Motherboard companies should start churning out Raspberry Pi-sized motherboards, cases and accessories. Better still: why can't we have DIY tablets with upgradeable SoCs, touch screens, RAM and flash memory? I find it perverse that no major tablet brand even has a user-replaceable battery. Why can't an OEM produce a tablet that uses two or even three off-the-shelf cellphone batteries to match the capacity of the larger tablet batteries?

Comment: Re:They've got a good shot at it (Score 1) 252 252

Doesn't an Android HDMI TV dongle or CD-sized media player like the Minix Neo already have access to literally thousands of games simply by having Google Play installed? You get practically the whole range of games available for a dedicated console minus the graphics quality, which shouldn't be an issue for most people who aren't die-hard console gamers.

Comment: Chinese-American blogger? (Score 1) 349 349

Wikipedia has an article about one Charles Xue, described as a Chinese-born American entrepreneur and Angel investor, better known by his screen name Xue Manzi. Is this the same guy? If he is, why hasn't the US filed a protest even as an empty gesture of concern? The info box is a bit confusing. His nationality is Chinese, while his citizenship is United States. Another interesting fact: he's 60 years old. So he doesn't belong to the Arab Spring and Occupy Wallstreet generation, and there might be other reasons he was arrested.

Comment: Re:Alphabet (Score 1) 247 247

if the water drinking in unsafe there is a chance the subsequent breast milk could also not be.

I don't think that's the way nature works. Having developed immunities, the mother is presumably more resistant to the bacteria and other stuff in the water that would be toxic to a new-born baby. This is besides the natural filtration that happens inside the mother's bodies before the tap water turns into milk. So, as long as the mother cleans her teat, her breast milk should be safer and less expensive than infant formula + Third World tap water. (Boiled or bottled water is not always an option.)

Comment: Semi-official support for desktop Linux (Score 1) 197 197

The only thing that's really news here is that the mini-PC comes with semi-official Linux support, basically a community forum that's linked off the home page. Otherwise there are dozens of other thumb to palm-size computers out there, starting from the most famous Raspberry Pi's to generic HDMI dongles. Except for the cheapest ones which run some chip-specific OS, all of the HDMI dongles run Android. Installing desktop Linux on them should, at worst, be a matter of rooting the device and bootstrapping a bare-bones ARM distro like Debian or Arch on top of the Android kernel.

Comment: No mention of Android anywhere in the article? (Score 3, Informative) 340 340

Of course... Android is a better learning tool, and an iOS device such as a iPhone or iPad should not be the first one you get or your first choice: if you might be an engineering type and want to learn about, tinker with the technology, or see how it works.

Still halfway to reading the article, but I did a quick browser search. There are several instances of "ipad" in the article but no mention of the terms "Android" or even just "tablet". Why does Apple have such a lock on the educational system that it's effectively created a duopoly with Microsoft? Macs and now iPads for the rich or talented kids, Windows PCs for everybody else.

+ - Is it time for DC power revolution for the home?

kLimePie writes: I've just replaced the 80 Plus Gold power supply unit of my desktop computer with a DC PSU. I'm not terribly impressed by the supposed higher efficiency of DC PSUs. I suspect it's because the DC power unit still has to draw power from an AC adapter.

Inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla are famous for being at opposite camps in the famous AC-DC war, with Edison's former apprentice emerging the big winner. Now I'm beginnning to think Edison's vision for small neighborhood generators may have greater merit than the power monopolies made possible by the longer range of AC power. Maybe it's time for a DC revolution, or a counter-revolution for increased power efficiency around the home.

What do you recommend as a general DC power solution, not just for our gadgets and desktop, but for the entire home? Solar-powered USB chargers are one thing, but is there actually an off-the-shelf (or off-the-Net) solution for power vampires like vacuum cleaners and air conditioners?

Comment: Ultra-thin space or bio suit? (Score 2) 46 46

For example, if a synthetic skin is studded with pressure and heat sensors, it could be used as a lifelike covering for prosthetic limbs.

If we laminated the whole person, or at least the whole body short of the facial orifices, this might make for an ultra-thin space suit. The suit would be a mechanical counter-pressure suit that uses the suit fabric itself rather than a balloon-like cushion of air to compress the body in the vacuum of space. While whole body electronics isn't necessary for such a suit, it would make it more efficient by allowing for subtle variations in pressure, elasticity, or rigidness across the surface of the suit.

In a consumer society there are inevitably two kinds of slaves: the prisoners of addiction and the prisoners of envy.

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