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Comment: Pocket Spacecraft (Score 1) 90

by notjim (#44131065) Attached to: Cute Japanese Robots To Be Launched Into Space
Even better, the Pocket Spacecraft project has started its Kickstarter

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1677943140/send-your-own-pocket-spacecraft-on-a-mission-to-th

"We’ve developed a very low cost, open source, open access, mass space exploration system that anyone can use, and we need your help to send your very own Pocket Spacecraft, and thousands of others, on a first of its kind expedition to the moon."

A dude from the project had a stand at the recent RPi day in @Bristol and the whole thing is awesome, thousand of spacecraft thinner than a floppy disk will crash land on the MOON!

Comment: We also love the count (Score 2) 241

by notjim (#38683990) Attached to: 7000 e-Voting Machines Now Deemed Worthless By Irish Government
Irish elections are decided by a transferable vote in multiseat constituencies; the counts are quite difficult, most take a whole day and recounts in individual constituencies can take days and, on a few occasions, weeks. One perhaps surprising thing is that we like the delay; one reason the insecurity of the electronic system was take seriously was that were was a general lack of enthusiasm for speeding the count. Irish votes are first sorted and then counted, in public; a species of political activist, called tally men, watch the sorting and make estimates of the outcomes, these are discussed on the radio, on twitter, around kitchen tables, in pubs and the gradual unfolding of the count, with its estimates and predictions, with the anticipation of coalition talks and general horse trading, forms a sort of political theater and moment of political engagement which is part and parcel of our system of government. I think we did not want to loose that and there was some dismay at the swiftness with which the results were announced in the three trial constituencies. That removed any real will to make the count more efficient, coupled to the problem with security, that halted deployment.

Comment: Re:Stop posting articles from arXiv! (Score 4, Informative) 650

by notjim (#30717930) Attached to: The End Of Gravity As a Fundamental Force
It is worth noting that these days _all_ theoretical physics papers appear on arXiv first; it is at this point that they are usually disseminated and discussed and publication in a peer review journal is a post-hoc event. Theoretical physicists typically judge a paper by reading it and based on the reputation of the author, Erik Verlinde's is very high, they generally ignore peer-review.

Comment: Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 926

by notjim (#30667430) Attached to: Slovak Police Planted Explosives On Air Travelers
I live more or less across the road from where the explosives ended up: they explosive itself is unstable below -4 centigrade, the night time temperature in Dublin at the moment is -5 to -10, the guy with the bomb didn't notice he had it for three days, what would have happened if he'd thrown it out by accident? I'm unlikely to have been hurt but frankly, although I do fly quite often it seems to me that, if you'd done the calculation a few days ago, my odds of being killed by the Slovakian police where far higher than being killed by Islamic terrorists.

Comment: Politics (Score 1) 272

by notjim (#29071455) Attached to: Genetic Mutation Enables Less Sleep
Oddly enough there is classic research (Hartmann and Brewer 1976) linking sleep pattern to political opinion: they looked at people who needed over 10 or under six hours of sleep and found the short sleeper worried less about the world, less about the consequence of their actions and valued hard work and productivity, and general had more right wing views, the long sleeper were more creative, less focused and more liberal on issues like welfare. The article claims Einstein as a architypical long sleeper and Edison as the opposite.

Comment: Period of reflection (Score 1) 154

by notjim (#27723277) Attached to: Irish Reject E-Voting, Go Back To Paper
Although there was some anxiety about the paper audit, the main problem people had in Ireland with electronic voting was that it was too damn fast. Ireland has quite a complex voting system, there are between three and five seats for each constituency and votes are transfered, either when someone is elected with more than enough votes, or when someone who hasn't a chance is eliminated. The counts take a day or so, with disputed seats taking much longer to resolve. When the results come in the government will be a coalition, there are two large parties, one medium party, some small parties and some independents. Even within parties there is quite a range of views. While the counting is going on there is tallying, people watch the sorting and guess the result and the period of the count is important as a time of reflection on the result, the different potential results, on the countries political direction and on the possible future governments. Even when one party does well, the final composition of the government is usually unclear until the end. In the last election but one electronic voting was trialled in a small number of constituencies and people hated it, to fast, no tallies, no rumours, the candidates told the results without getting used to some likely outcome. It seemed to injure the whole ritual of democracy and the idea of it happening everywhere in every constituency seems terrible. A lot had been spent on the machines and the count at the moment is quite expensive, so it took a while to admit the trial had failed, but failed it had.

Those who can, do; those who can't, simulate.

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