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Comment Tape drives (Score 1) 307

actually, its tape drives, followed by power supplies, then disk drives... very difficult to find a reliable tape drive technology... power supplies and disk drives are probably about equal in their problems (failure rates)... but it is easier to protect yourself against a disk drive failure than a power supply failure because disk drives have very standard interfaces and sizes whereas power supplies are more specific to the housing of the PC...

Comment Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 420

"Oh, so RGB={0,0,255} isn't "quantitatively blue", huh? Horseshit. If there is no red, no green, and %100 blue, then the color is quantitatively blue."

You've missed the point... the question is NOT "Give me an example of something that is liikely to be blue". Sure RGB=[0,0,255] on a standard commercial display device, viewing with a wide range of background conditions and lighting is very likely to appear blue to a normal observer.

But that is not real life and RGB only exists in the confines of a display device, not the real world where can have almost limitless levels of light energies of all different wavelengths and spectral signatures. Even in RGB space, could you reliably tell me whether a pixel in a visual scene that has values [100,100,120] will appear to be blue or bluish? NO YOU CANNOT.

The question of "is there a quantitative BLUE" is instead the question of "Is there a quantitative description of what about the physics of a visual scene (or light stimulus) that will ALWAYS appear to be BLUE, and DEFINES what blue is"... there IS NOT, certainly not a simple one, though we can come up with approximations based on physiology and psychphysics.

Comment Re:White balance and contrast in camera. (Score 1) 420

"Put it into to Photoshop and eye-dropper the colours. They are quantitatively light blue and dark brown." NO. As several of the neuroscientists interviewed have tried to explain, there is NO such thing as "quantitative color"". Color is a PERCEPTUAL phenomenon that is INTERNAL to the individual perceiver (human). Physics has nothing to say about color, and color is not a function of any simple physical or quantitative system. Color is certainly tied to wavelength or any other similar quantification of physical properties. You can't just make measurements using Photoshop and determine color (nevermind the FACT that there is no dependable mapping between RGB GUN values and actual photon/physical output of the display device you are using to look at the image).

Comment forest/trees, tries to get big stuff right, utterl (Score 1) 289

Nice that Nolan tried to get the big science in Interstellar right (although I didn't buy the depiction of the giant tidal waves), but so many logic and other science errors made the film. The most ridiculous is why 12 humans were sent to scope out tiny patches of promising planets when they clearly had the technology to send out hundreds of smart probes to do the scouting work and report back accurate, untainted data. Even Coop could have first sent out TARS to explore the planets before risking human landings. Other silliness like the solid clouds, or the manner of liftoff from the water planet (with the huge gravitational waves), or the presence of so much free oxygen on a lifeless planet, or the logic of even consideration the viability of choosing a planet with such large time dilation issues just ruined the film...

Comment Helium shortage, US govt effed-up (Score 1) 116

Helium is a totally nonrenewal resource, extremely valuable for thousands of important applications like MRI machines and other superconductors, and yet the US govt is selling off its reserve at cutrate prices that encourages party balloons and other wasteful uses. Helium will likely become a scarce resource that impacts national security and we're being stupid about managing its future supply.

Comment Re:FAX,: not really dead... (Score 1) 410

One hears that FAX is dead, but its really not... I typically send or receive 1-2 FAXes per week... not that much, but these are to companies, offices, etc where it really was the bestest, fastest way to get something done -- i.e. email would NOT have worked, for whatever reason. A lot of medical records and notes are still faxed. I just did a car loan which worked much better through FAX than email. Insurance companies often fax docs, temporary insurance cards, etc.

Comment FAX, security systems, credit card swipers, etc (Score 1) 410

Still plenty of dialup modem usage that most of us probably have used recently in one way or another, including FAX machines, home security systems, credit card machines, even DirectTV boxes. So I'll bet that most that said they haven't used a modem in 5 years or more are wrong...

Comment Re:Not much worry a CPU... (Score 1) 472

"Backdooring a CPU wouldn't actually be that difficult."

but fairly unlikely, at least not in the way you describe, with a "specific command sequence". 1) its at too low a level to be really useful as a backdoor, not without the help of backdoor software higher up, but then what's the point? there are already many "backdoor"-like ways to gain privileges as long as the software is there to support them, 2) it would have to be designed to NOT slow the CPU down or take up obvious chip real estate... the CPU biz is so competitive that any extra overhead of either type would make that chip less competitive in the market.

Comment Tmp obstruction, sheriff says roll down window... (Score 1) 282

I really don't see how these vehicles can actually work in real-live driving situations... Supposing there is an accident, or other temporary traffic re-routing... the local cop wants you to roll down your window, and he is going to TELL you where to drive to get around this obstruction... Or deer running across the street... I'm sure VERY hard to detect (I can barely see them myself coming off from the side...) Or small things in the road that you want to avoid (potholes, glass, etc) Or avoiding certain streets but only during certain times or days of the year or certain sporadic happenings (parties, riots, drug street wars, or snow, flooding, etc)

Comment Ridiculous... phones, toilets, water, coffee, wifi (Score 1) 631

So much foolishness... some workers pay $150/mo for parking at work, so those with "free" parking have to pay taxes on it? all those personal calls on company phones? some places have pay toilets, so I have to pay taxes on the men's room?, spring water at the fountain and free wifi? leave it alone... geesh...

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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