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Comment Re:Adderall?... Complicted. (Score 1) 154 154

WTF does naturally even mean?

If you take two 'master race' parents (because epigenetics) bred them and then trained their child every day and only fed them a very good diet, and they were sponsored their life so didn't have to worry about making a living, would that be natural? By your definition, yes, it's just selective breeding for the purpose of sports. That's the kind of stuff that is happening already.

Comment Re:What about "legitimate" use? (Score 1) 154 154

>The whole point of a competition is to find people who are *naturally* extraordinary

Ha, in professional and olympic league sports that's not been true for quite some time. You see it in China where they take young kids and their entire life becomes training. They eat special diets, they take weird drug cocktails that influence their growth. Buy the time they compete they are not on anything you can test for, but they have been grown just for that purpose just like a plant. Ya, a lot of them fail out, and god only knows what happens with them after that point. The issue is now there is no 'even' playing field, the people that have the highest likelihood to get there are going to be the ones that were lucky/unlucky enough to be a trained robot from birth.

Comment Re:Uber should countersue (Score 1) 245 245

What a terrible analogy.

Sets say you go to the store to buy a chocolate bar, but when you get there they are all $20 each and you have to wait in line 30 minutes for one. So you go out and buy chocolate bars for $1 each and sell them for $5 and people only have to wait a minute or two to purchase them, the customers are very happy with this as they are getting what they wanted.

Now lets say the store that was selling the bars is now very pissed, because they have to pay the city $200,000 a year for the ability to sell chocolate bars and is now trying to sue you for violating the law.

Who is 'stealing', who is wrong?

Comment Re:Redirecting (Score 5, Funny) 188 188 is clearly unresponsible to DMCA takedown efforts; legal approaches simply won't suffice. I recommend that Universal Pictures launch a coordinated effort hack into it using as many computers as possible, gain root access, and write over its hard drive.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 2) 82 82

That actually doesn't sound that bad:

"For example both alcohol (ethanol) and water produce large peaks on an IR spectrum and from the video it would seem that the user provides some background data on what the sample is via the app, so that saves a lot of work. It would be easy for the algorithm to say, 'the user says this is drink and I can see that about 40 per cent of the total spectrum is ethanol so I should give a reading of alcoholic beverage with 40 per cent alcohol content'. Or 'this is a plant and 70 per cent of the spectrum is water so it must be 70 per cent hydrated'. This could also be done with total sugar content for common sugars such as sucrose and fructose," he said.

"Similarly, it would be possible to get a spectrum good enough to recognise something like fruit or Tylenol and then send back generic data (easily found via Google)

That would hardly be useless. I presume that the person knows whether what they're looking at is a fruit or an alcoholic beverage. It's not a big deal to ask the user to do whatever degree of categorization that they can to help it out. And being able to pick out common drugs? Definitely not useless.

Comment Re:Interesting; likely more limited than advertise (Score 1) 82 82

Thanks for your insights. Still trying to decide whether something like this should go on my wish list ;) (see above for my potential uses).

How accurate, exactly, do you think such a device could be? Obviously it's not going to be pulling out the sort of precision of a professional spectrometer. But you mention, for example, being able to identify the signatures of herbicides and pesticides. Do you mean, for example, "This contains imidacloprid", or more like, "This contains a nicotinoid of some variety"?

How useful do you think it could be on identifying mineral species - say, distinguishing between different zeolites? Or, back to food, if given, say, a mango, to get readings of, say, water, sugar (in general, or specific sugars), fat (in general, or specific categories of fats, or specific fats), protein (in general, or specific categories of proteins, or specific common protiens... obviously it's not going to be able to pull out 5 ppb of Some-Complex-Unique-Protein), common vitamins (generally found in dozens of ppm quantity - some more, some less), minerals (likewise), etc?

Comment Re:Smartphone as powerful as 80's supercomputer (Score 2) 82 82

Smartphones are still drastically slower than individual PCs, let alone cloud services.

I know they're overstating the case, and that it's a near-IR spectrometer, not a mass spectrometer. That said, I still like the general concept. Does anyone know whether near-IR spectroscopy can be used for identifying mineral species (for example, between different types of zeolites and the like)? I love rock hunting but many species have similar visual appearances.

And even on the food standpoint I find it interesting... I'm a tropical plant nut, and lots of people I know over on the forum breed unusual varieties of common fruits as well as rare fruits (some of which don't even have scientific names). It's be neat to be able to get a basic compositional profile - no, not "this fruit contains X ppb of this gigantic-complex-unique-protein", but just the major constituents. It'd help, for example, the mango breeders to know if their fruits are compositionally different from the fruit of the parent cultivar.

Comment Re:Finger and Sand (Score 4, Funny) 617 617

I've cut a plastic binding with a sharp rock. I didn't knap it myself, it was naturally sharp, but... I don't think it gets much more old school than that ;) Unless there's someone here who made productive use of throwing their own excrement in a production environment.

Comment Re:Futile search? (Score 1) 208 208

I agree with most of what you wrote. But I have the most interest in sample returns because we have such vastly greater analysis capabilities here on Earth than we could ever send on a mission - especially a lower budget mission. And by leaving off surface science hardware, you save development costs and a significant amount of spacecraft mass.

Also, capturing samples, you don't have to land to have a low impact velocity. If you reach Saturn via ion propulsion then you could at little cost enter a Molniya-like orbit over the plumes so that the spacecraft would be nearly stationary relative to the particles during collection. Enceladus orbits are slow to begin with due to the low gravity (0,114m/s versus Earth's 9,81), and by positioning a high apogee or near-apogee over the plumes it might even be possible to collect jet material at lower impact velocity than one could from the ground. Enceladus's gravity would contribute to decelerating the particles and, if desired, one could have the probe's ascent phase over the plumes (rather than the apogee) for further relative velocity reduction. Impact velocity would be not much more than the random variation between the particles' individual trajectories, and some would impact with near-zero velocity. Combined with a carbon aerogel collector (much less dense than the silica aerogel used by Stardust), I seriously doubt you'd do any damage at all to what's collected - most particles shouldn't even melt.

Every added system is added mass and development cost; landers don't usually come cheap, even on a low-gravity body like Enceladus. And dropping a lander near potentially unpredictable fissure geysers carries a risk. So I personally tend to favor spaceborne collection. That said, one would probably learn more from the surface, and you'd be able to sample surface ices as well, not just plumes.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein