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Comment: Hmmm. (Score 1) 37

by jd (#47921793) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

If Kip Thorne can win a year's worth of Playboys for his bet that Cygnus X1 was a Black Hole, when current theory from Professor Hawking says Black Holes don't really exist, then can Professor Thorne please give me a year's subscription to the porno of my choice due to the non-existent bet that this wasn't such a star?

Comment: Re:Downloading music for free? Scandelous! (Score 1) 267

by phayes (#47921513) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

No, Apple made the album available to be downloaded. People needed to change their configuration for the album to be auto-downloaded. As removing the album is trivial (swipe each song to the left), what I am rightfully upset about is the people falsely pretending that the album is on their device without any action on their part & that that this is supposed to be some kind of hardship.

Comment: Re:Not good enough (Score 1) 267

by phayes (#47921443) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

"Settings>iTunes & App Store". Configuring auto-downloads of Music, Apps, Books & Updates is front & center. It isn't hard to find -- except in all probability for the people who don't have an iDevice but are falsely claiming to be "outraged" by having the album auto-downloaded to their inexistent device.

Comment: Re:Not good enough (Score 1) 267

by phayes (#47921363) Attached to: Say Goodbye To That Unwanted U2 Album

I'm surprised that Apple would be so tone-deaf to think everyone would automatically want this new album pushed to them. It wouldn't bother me (but I don't own any Apple devices and you couldn't pay me to use iTunes), but I can guarantee I'd want a very easy way to get rid of it if I didn't like it. I haven't spent decades curating a collection of music just to have it be carelessly junked up.

Fortunately, auto-downloading music is NOT the default configuration, and even for those that changed their configuration to autodownload it, removing the album is trivial: swipe each song to the left.

So, clearly the problem isn't that the album was auto downloaded because it's sooo hard to prevent or get rid of.

No, it's an opportunity for those who want to rag on U2 or Apple to do so & reading the comments of those to are posturing "outrage" shows that this is the case.

Comment: Re:Similar to "Runaround" in I, Robot... (Score 1) 119

by radtea (#47920583) Attached to: Developing the First Law of Robotics

Yup, and the solution available to any rational being is the same: since by hypothesis the two choices are indistinguishable, flip a coin to create a new situation in which one of them has a trivial weight on its side.

Starving to death (or letting everyone die) is obviously inferior to this to any rational being (which the donkey and the robot are both presumed to be) and adding randomness is a perfectly general solution to the problem.

Buridan's donkey is not in fact an example of a rational being, but rather a passive, uncreative being, who must for some unspecified reason decide without acting on the situation, as if it was living in some bizarrely unrealistic world like Plato's Cave, where it could only know the world via shadows on the wall which it cannot act on in any way.

Why anyone thinks thought-experiments about such limited beings, which are completely unlike humans in their inability to act on the world to change their situation, is beyond me.

Comment: Re:Of course you use force control to run fast. (Score 2) 85

by Animats (#47920041) Attached to: MIT's Cheetah Robot Runs Untethered

Pardon my ignorant question, but how is it a problem to have traction control? Wouldn't it be enough to glue traction strips to the feet or something?

That's like wearing shoes with golf spikes all the time.

Traction control for feet does roughly the same thing as automotive traction control for cars. The basic idea is to keep the sideways force below the break-loose point. This is the down force on the wheel times the coefficient of friction.

For car wheels, the down force is mostly constant. For a legged robot, it changes throughout the ground contact phase So the side force has to be actively controlled and changed throughout the ground contact. It's also necessary to compensate for leg angle.

Legs have an additional option. If a leg has three joints, you can adjust the angle at which the contact force is applied. This is a big win on hills.

I used to work on this stuff in the mid-1990s, but nobody was interested in building legged robots back then. It could be used for animation, but it was overkill for games. I never expected that DARPA would spend $120 million on BigDog. Robotics projects in the 1990s were tiny.

Comment: Re:I'm not surprised (Score 1) 84

by Reziac (#47919069) Attached to: Canon Printer Hacked To Run <em>Doom</em> Video Game

Or with the average laser printer, plug in printer, don't bother with the install disk, select whatever is the nearest version of the HPLJ that Windows happens to have handy. (This also works for older inkjets and some pin-impact printers.)

As to TFA, didn't you know that no device is complete until it can play DOOM? :D

But yeah, methinks if software started from the perspective of the douchebag, 90% of the hacks would go away and the rest wouldn't be worth the trouble.

Comment: Re:Translation... (Score 1) 176

by jellomizer (#47918597) Attached to: WSJ Reports Boeing To Beat SpaceX For Manned Taxi To ISS

The Government Bidding process for services is corrupt by design.
You can make bid for service.
Then you have stipulations which weigh it in a companies favor, not because they are required for the job, but to write the contract for the company.

I have seen State Bids for services for a Web Site. Which has odd requirements, such as 20+ years in COBOL, 10+ Years in RPG, 3 Years of HTML, 2 Years of ASP.NET
When you see these contracts you know they are for a particular person they want to keep on board.

"Once they go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department." -- Werner von Braun