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Comment: Re:Oh, the irony (Score 2, Insightful) 549

by klaun (#30528738) Attached to: Florida Congressman Wants Blogging Critic Fined, Jailed

According to the article, the blogger criticized the congressman for his "childish approach" towards governing.

Of course that's the rub. The article and the Slashdot summary misrepresent the complaint that is in the letter. It is actually about the Political Committee the woman organized to raise funds to support election campaigns. And while she is referred to here as a blogger, she was a former employee of the Republican National Committee. One of the things Congressman Grayson points out in his letter is that it seems a bit disingenuous of her to claim to just be a "private citizen" unconnected with any other political organization when she formerly worked for the RNC.

Further, the fraud he accuses her of is related to raising money for supporting a candidate in an election. Her claim to be his constituent is criminal, not because she is criticizing him, but because she is using it to raise money for an election campaign. At least that is what the congressman is asserting. Further, despite what the summary indicates, it is not his only or even his chief complaint. Rather the chief complaint is that she claims that her organization is a PAC (and raises money for multiple candidates in several campaigns) but in fact appears to only be concerned about one campaign. This would effect who could donate to her committee and how much. It is certainly not a trivial accusation, and there are really laws that govern how much money you can contribute to politicians and political committees.

Whether Congressman Grayson's accusations have merit or it is all a ruse to silence a vociferous critic, I can't say. But I'm very leery of anyone who starts down the path of criticizing someones actions by first misrepresenting what they were. (Why didn't the submitter include a link to the letter [primary source] as opposed to, or at least in addition to, a rather opinionated report on it?)

Comment: Re:Probably not a bad idea (Score 1) 314

by klaun (#30515014) Attached to: Legislator Wants Cancer Warnings For Cell Phones

there are a number of studies that do seem to show that cell phones are capable of causing, at the very least, changes in levels of certain proteins in cells, but potentially damaging neurons and causing cancer.

I don't want to be dismissive of this claim, but given the number of studies you mentioned, it would have been useful to reference some.

I'd particularly be interested in how a study measures cell phone effects on protein levels in the cells of the brain. Also, you mention that they damage neurons. However, over 85% of malignant brain tumors arise from glial cells or cancers of other non-neural cells in the brain.

I myself am aware of studies that show non-ionizing, non-thermal radiation can affect DNA replication. (Sorry can't find a reference.) But from what I've read, it had not been linked to any pathology and the studies were strictly limited to examining cell cultures, not entire organisms.

But the sheer number of studies that are coming out showing an apparent cause and effect between cell phones and a number of cellular mechanisms, is leading me to believe that there is something very real there.

The National Cancer institute links to several studies that at best are inconclusive on any link and for the most part seem to conclude that there is no link. Where are the sheer numbers of studies that you are refering to?

I'm not sure what the numerous cellular mechanism you are referring to is either. We are talking strictly cancer, right? So in general we are only concerned with replication and transcription of DNA, correct?

Comment: Re:ion bridges cost? Consumable? (Score 2, Informative) 128

by klaun (#29937211) Attached to: A Clever New Approach To Desalination

Chemically, that "equation" just doesn't balance without an input of energy.

The energy was input by the sun before the different solutions were brought together.

it will require some energy to offset the entropy increase

delta S > 0 for a closed system as a consequence of the second law of the thermodynamics. No need for additional energy. The entropy of a the concentrated solution is less than the entropy of the dilute solution, hence dilution happens spontaneously, much like osmosis.

Comment: Re:Maybe (Score 4, Informative) 128

by klaun (#29936769) Attached to: A Clever New Approach To Desalination

The ions are not a substitute for electrons, they're the source. There is no electricity without electrons. :)

Electricity is the flow of charge, not electrons.

If your statement was accurate, your computer would not work as it depends upon semiconductors which function in part based on the flow of positively charged holes in the electron structure of the material. (see p-n junctions, etc.) The Hall effect can be used to verify the charge of the moving carrier within a current. It can be either positive or negative.

Note that this desalinization mechanism works very similarly to a fuel-cell which also involves ion flow as part of an electric circuit.

Comment: AT&T allows both tethering and MMS (Score 2, Insightful) 326

by klaun (#28312503) Attached to: Will AT&T Charge Extra For MMS & Tethering?

So just to take a dispassionate look at this.

First, AT&T's network supports MMS and tethering just fine. I use connection share on my Windows Mobile smart phone via Bluetooth all the time. No problems. I send MMS on the AT&T network all the time as well. So I'm not sure why there are so many stories that suggest the AT&T network is incapable of doing this. I'm not sure about the HSDPA, but for GPRS... there really isn't any effective way for AT&T to prevent you from using connection sharing. And you can put any GSM phone on their network.

Second, how many iPhones are on AT&T's network? Three and a half million, maybe? With over 75 million subscribers the idea that 4% are going to overload the MMS or GPRS infrastructure is crazy. That stuff is so over-built at AT&T that they hardly sweat. Now, RF capacity might be a different story... but I rarely see any articles even mention that. And its hardly an iPhone specific problem.

AT&T definitely benefits from its deal with Apple. AT&T definitely wants to maintain an exclusive deal. So how could they be dictating to Apple? To me it looks like Apple is the ones who either want rules changed for their benefit or some other concession. You build a phone to the GSMA spec, AT&T can't stop you from allowing people to share the GPRS connection. You can definitely turn MMS service on and off per MSISDN... but it has nothing to do with the device. Why do it?

None of it makes economic sense. Generally, mobile providers are selling phones at a loss or at cost if you don't sign up for a contract. I don't see how AT&T has an interest in crippling Apple phones. All they want is the subscribers. The more people who think an iPhone is good to by... the better.

Comment: Re:One Resource (Score 1) 451

by klaun (#27832935) Attached to: Classic Books of Science?

Modern optics was pioneered by the discoveries of Ibn Sahl (who discovered Snell's law 800 years before Snellius renamed it).

Snel did not name the law after himself and there is every reason to believe that he discovered it independently of Ibn Sahl. Your statement makes him look like a plagiarist, which he certainly was not. (Especially since he never published his paper in which Snell's Law appears!)

More than one person can independently think up the same idea. I think you weaken the point of your entire post (which for the most part is perfectly valid) by making a baseless accusation against Snel.

Further I'd say you are overstating the accomplishment of Ibn Sahl. Snel's Law is not the beginning and end of Classical Optics. And it doesn't begin to encompass Modern Optics, which is the study of light taking into account its electromagnetic or quantum nature.

Comment: Re:magnetic (Score 1) 141

by klaun (#27534797) Attached to: Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesive Set For Space

"The count" doesn't exist if it is infinite. It's uncountable. It doesn't equal infinity; it's infinite. There's a subtle difference.

I'm afraid you are digging yourself deeper here. I actually made a mistake in my previous post asking for a count of Real Numbers since the Reals are not countable... However, infinite sets in general are not uncountable. The other example, for counts that I gave, the integers are certainly a countable set. Rationals are another infinite and countable set. Wikipedia is your friend on what qualifies as countable. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countable_set

A count is only one quality of a number, denoting quantity is another... you seem to have totally disregarded that portion of my post. The countability argument actually touches on one of the more rigorous ways of defining a particular number in mathematics. For example what is 3? One way of looking at it is that it is the collection of sets that contain 3 elements. So in saying 3 (meant to denote "blackboard" bold) we are denoting the set of all sets that have 3 elements. So the number is itself a set. And sets contain 3 elements if they exist in the set 3.

This provides a bit of clarity in why infinity is a number. Infinity in this view is the set of sets that contain an infinite count of elements. You can see that this way of defining numbers shows the equivalence of 3 and Infinity in terms of both having the quality of being a number.

While this thread is diverting to an extent I think we've played it out. I leave you with a question, since you assert that infinity is not a number, what is the largest number?

Comment: Re:magnetic (Score 1) 141

by klaun (#27534115) Attached to: Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesive Set For Space

Look, I'm not really contradicting you. Infinity is sometimes treated as if it were a number - it's sometimes convenient and useful to do so. However, that doesn't make it a number. So you're one of the people who's used to treating it as if it were a number - naturally you'll take exception when someone says it isn't.

Infinity is a number, full stop. What makes something a number? What is a number? A count of something? A quantity of something? That concept that expresses the count or quantity of something?

Perhaps you could give me the count of real numbers? Or the count of integers? Alternately what is the quantity of elements in the set of reals? or the set of integers? Or natural numbers? Or computable numbers?

Are you saying the count or quantity that answers the previous questions is not a number? Why not? What quality does it have that differentiates it from a number? What attribute can you ascribe to it that cannot be ascribed to a number?

I certainly don't take exception with you assertion. To me, it just seems to be a limited understanding of the concept in question. My perception is that you have not indulged in a lot of introspection regarding how you arrived at your concept of a number and of infinity.

Comment: Re:magnetic (Score 1) 141

by klaun (#27532039) Attached to: Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesive Set For Space

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinity In mathematics, "infinity" is often used in contexts where it is treated as if it were a number (i.e., it counts or measures things: "an infinite number of terms") but it is a different type of "number" from the real numbers.

I never said it was a real number. Although whether it is or not kind of depends on what kind of mathematics you are doing.

Note in this context the phrase "real numbers" is referring to the set of Reals, as opposed to say the set of Imaginaries. Wikipedia is not saying that infinity is not really a number.

In any case the quote you provide refers to infinity as a number. Just as a different type of number. Since the original assertion was that infinity was not a number, the quote refutes that assertion.

Comment: Re:In my case (Score 2, Insightful) 357

by klaun (#27531909) Attached to: How Does Flash Media Fail?

Washing machines are pretty harsh places. You get tidal forces that will apply various physical stresses to the components. Rapid heating and cooling can cause expansion

I'm sorry, tidal forces in a washing machine? Tidal forces are caused by gravity. It's an effect of the inverse square distance portion of the gravity force equation. They certainly exist in a washing machine as they do anywhere else subject to the effects of gravity, but no more so than anywhere else.

Within the rotating frame of a washing machine drum, there are dynamic forces, centrifugal and Coriolis. I imagine that only the former is really significant, but I would think contact with an agitator or sides of the drum would subject the flash memory to far higher forces.

Comment: Re:magnetic (Score 1) 141

by klaun (#27531761) Attached to: Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesive Set For Space

Except that isn't accurate. 1/0 != infinity. Does infinity * 0 = 1? No...

...and that's why they say "infinity is not a number". A value can be infinite, but it doesn't actually equal infinity, because no such number exists.

Well, I'm not sure who you are identifying as saying that infinity is not a number, but unfortunately they are not correct. You're statement that two infinite values may not be equal certainly has validity to it. Transfinite mathematics and hyperreals deal with rigorous analysis of such things... and in that analysis treat infinities as both ordinal and cardinal numbers.

I suggest that it is worth further investigation on your part if you are interested in making definitive statements about such things.

Comment: Re:magnetic (Score 1) 141

by klaun (#27525791) Attached to: Gecko-Inspired Dry Adhesive Set For Space

Just explain it like this... 1/1 = 1, 1/0.5 = 2, 1/0.1 = 10, 1/0.01 = 100, 1/0.001 = 1000, 1/0 = infinity. You CAN divide by zero, but the answer isn't useful for finite math.

Except that isn't accurate. 1/0 != infinity. Does infinity * 0 = 1? No... of course not. Since multiplication is the inverse function of division... your statement is incorrect. Now if you'd written lim(x->0) of [1/x] is infinity, you'd have been right.

x/0 for any non-zero number is simply undefined. Its not useful for transfinite math either.

p.s. exceptions in linear algebra, abstract algebra, etc. generally involve different division operators from arithmetic.

Comment: Re:As used in Ireland (Score 3, Insightful) 585

by klaun (#26857493) Attached to: Automation May Make Toll Roads More Common
I simply cannot understand how you were marked insightful.

The longer space between cities and suburbs means that while traveling your pretty safe inside your own vehicle and so are all the other drivers. IF you forced everyone to take subway or buses there would be more assaults both from thugs and regular people having a bad day.

Do you have any data at all to support these assertions? From the second statement I assume that the safety you refer to in your first statement is related to violent crime. Of course you seem to totally ignore the question of safety from accidents related to transportation, which is far more likely to cause death or injury to any given individual than violent crime.

Regarding the likelihood of an increase in ridership leading to a rise in violent crime on mass transit, I'd like to seem some data to support that assumption. Further, even if we assume that violent crime rates did rise with say a 400% increase in mass transit utilization, something I'm not willing to concede is likely but certainly not totally outside the realm of possibility, what is going to matter most to the riders is the per mass-transit user crime rate (which would determine the likelihood of any individual person being the victim of a crime).

I don't think American society could adapt to the slower pace of a mass-transit system. The average work week is 10 hours longer than in most of Europe, without cars there's simply not enough time per day to go where you gotta be.

Of course it is highly dependent upon where you are, where you are going, and how well designed and operated the mass transit system you are riding is, but I don't see any reason to believe that a blanket statement that mass transit takes longer than commuting in a car. From my own personal experience, having spent three years commuting ever day on a subway to an from work with an occasional trip by car, I can say unequivocally it was much faster by train. What's more it wasn't wasted time. I could read on the train, which I could not safely do in the car. Add to that it was much less stressful.

I think American society could adapt just fine to mass transit. I'm definitely speculating but from the tone of your post, I think it is you yourself who feels you could not adapt to a car-less existence.

Comment: Re:Sumbmitters? Editors? (Score 1) 625

by klaun (#26535557) Attached to: Canonical Close To $30M Critical Mass; Should Microsoft Worry?

However, the point remains: $30 Million of what? Gross Revenue? Profit? It makes no sense to not specify what it refers to. You can have revenue of $30 Million and still be losing money hand over fist. You can have small sales, but still be pulling in a $30 Million profit margin. The summary makes no sense without this info.

I'll concede the summary is a bit cryptic, but from the perspective of talking about a business it wasn't unclear to me what was being discussed. It is revenue annually they are referring to in the summary as evidenced by the statement following the one containing the reference to $30M. It says the number is what they need to be self-sustaining. Self-sustaining = free cash flow positive. (simplified) Free cash flow = revenues - operational expenses - debt maintenance. So the only thing they could be talking about was revenue. They can't be making a profit because a pre-requisite for profitability is being cash flow positive which the statement about approaching sustainability makes clear that they are not. In any case the linked article makes it all perfectly clear in the first three paragraphs.

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