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Comment: Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 357

by michelcolman (#49153885) Attached to: Is That Dress White and Gold Or Blue and Black?

The definitive clue is in the almost perfectly specular reflection on the draped bits near the shoulders: This is clearly a reflection of the illuminating light, and it's a bluish color in the picture. Pick that as the white point and you get a white dress with golden-brown applications.(...)Then you'll clearly see that it's a picture where the white balance is off (in terms that most people will find on their cameras, the camera balanced for "incandescent light" instead of "fluorescent light"), not a blue dress.

Great theory, except for the fact that the company that makes the dress has confirmed that it's blue and black.

When I first saw it, I was completely convinced it was blue and black. But then later that day, I saw it again and it was definitely white and gold. I couldn't believe I had ever seen it as blue and black. Ambient light and monitor color settings definitely change the perception. When you see the dress as white and gold, looking at the bright spot at the lower right of the picture makes the dress start to turn blue. Dimming the monitor also helps.

Comment: Re:Don't bother (Score 2) 202

by michelcolman (#49125443) Attached to: What Happens When Betelgeuse Explodes?

Indeed, it doesn't really say much interesting. Half the article is about the definition of absolute and relative magnitude (yawn...), then they say it will be about a quarter as bright as the moon. What about radiation? Lots of highly charged particles will be coming our way. Could give a pretty significant EMP pulse.

Comment: Re:News Media (Score 1) 110

by michelcolman (#49113627) Attached to: Mars One Does Not Renew Contracts For Robotic Missions

Would it only cost $4.5 billion? Bill Gates' net worth is $79.2 billion, Zuckerberg has $33.4 billion, Elon Musk has $7.9 billion and then I've skipped a lot of billionaires in between. If a few of those guys pool together, $4.5 billion sounds like peanuts. I suspect that figure was wildly optimistic, though. And anyway, even with all the money in the world, pulling off such a mission is simply unlikely with current technology. They'll get something wrong, or some vital equipment will fail unexpectedly, and that will be the end of it.

SpaceX is still having trouble simply landing a rocket booster back on the same planet it came from, would they be able to do it with twice the amount of money? Ten times? A hundred times? Nope, they just have to try, fail, try again, and finally they'll get it right. It's not about money, it's about experience.

Maybe try the moon first. I've always wondered why they didn't go for that first. See if you can get people to live there and survive. You can even get them back after a few years. Then, when we've got a colony up and running on the moon, we can start thinking about Mars.

Comment: Re:the samples are resistant to anti-malarial arte (Score 1) 71

by michelcolman (#49104653) Attached to: Drug-Resistant Malaria May Pose Major Threat

DDT doesn't just kill mosquitoes, but lots of other more useful insects (pollinators) and even some larger animals as well. Not exactly good for the ecosystem. It accumulates in fat tissue and works itself up through the food chain, even making it into penguins on Antarctica.

It could be useful when applied locally, for example inside homes, but afaik spraying large areas of land is no longer considered a good idea. And then of course there's the pesky little problem of resistance to DDT which has been shown to develop rather quickly when DDT is used indiscriminately.

Comment: Re:Overuse of artemisinin? (Score 2) 71

by michelcolman (#49104609) Attached to: Drug-Resistant Malaria May Pose Major Threat

I do seem to remember an article saying that drug resistance decreased when the organisms were no longer frequently exposed to the drug. Resistance is a huge genetic advantage when the drug is regularly applied (as with antibiotics in hospitals), but actually a small disadvantage when the drug is no longer applied because it makes the rest of the organism less efficient. In an environment without the drug, the non-resistant bacteria apparently outperformed the resistant bacteria so that resistance faded away. The article was about antibiotics, but I imagine it probably applies to protozoa as well. I wish I could find the link.

"Consequences, Schmonsequences, as long as I'm rich." -- "Ali Baba Bunny" [1957, Chuck Jones]