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Comment: In summary (Score 1) 268

by perfessor multigeek (#18357975) Attached to: Scientifically Accurate Sci-Fi for High-Schoolers?
Great post but kinda hard to read.

Summary points:

- much of the "science" in Crichton-based movies is actually, at best, superficially plausable handwaving.

- statistics handling in movies in general is kinda painful, with crucial misuse of basic terms and principles.

- the movie of I. Robot is crrrrrap!

- if you really want scientifically plausible s.f. movies and television, then Firefly/Serentity is spot-on, both in technology and plotting that comes from actual adult concerns with ambiguous and untidy endings.

It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Scientists create world's largest novelty atom

Submitted by
haja
haja writes "CNN Reports: Scientists create world's largest novelty atom: Scientists have long been labeled as overly serious, narrowly focused individuals who don't have time for fun. But two University of Chicago atomic physicists proved that even the most buttoned-down professionals are capable of enjoying a good laugh every now and then. Last week, Drs. Marcus Hurley and Thom Fredericks unveiled what they are calling their "most hilarious work to date": an oversize novelty atom that measures "a ridiculously huge" 8.2 x 10-10 meters in diameter."
The Internet

+ - Furnation falls to Secondlife one sided TOS

Submitted by
Rokann
Rokann writes "A year and a half ago, the furnation group went into Secondlife and set up Furnation worlds. A wildly popular hangout for in-game furries. After the head of the group recieved what he believed was a legitimate donation to help maintain Furnation in world, Linden Labs shut down his account, and the accounts of many others due to claims of fraud, even though Linden Labs admitted they knew he and his group had nothing to do with it. His story is here.

The bigger picture in this is the apparently one sided TOS that linden labs maintains in which they are allowed to confiscate and shut down any "Owned" assets on their servers because Linden Labs "...has the right at any time for any reason or no reason to suspend or terminate your Account..."

Even more so, someone who has thousands of dollars of In-game currency could face a complete loss of it under the tos because "Linden Lab has the absolute right to manage, regulate, control, modify and/or eliminate such Currency as it sees fit in its sole discretion, in any general or specific case, and that Linden Lab will have no liability to you based on its exercise of such right."

Is this the future of the TOS for services or assets you purchase on the internet? That you could lose them in a heartbeat without any reason. Kinda like losing your car back to the dealer, AFTER you paid for it."
United States

+ - The Sarbanes Oxley Ruse

Submitted by
theangryfool
theangryfool writes "It's obvious to me now that Sarbanes Oxley is often being used as a ruse for managers to get their pet projects pushed through without opposition. Any good stories from the trenches? A favorite of mine is a manager who explained to me how we needed to use clearcase because "CVS doesn't maintain the version history" of a file. I obviously had no argument, so evidently did not know what I was talking about. In private conversation, it was later revealed that they really just wanted to standardize on a platform and SOX was a great tool to force everyone to do it."
AMD/OSTG

AMD Announces Development of DTX Open Standard

Submitted by OSTG Marketing
AMD wants to enable to broad adoption of small form factor PCS with the development of DTX , and open standards specification. "The DTX standard will take advantage of the existing ATX infrastructure and benefits, including cost efficiency, system options and backward-compatibility, to allow for ground-breaking PC design. The DTX standard will be designed to embrace energy-efficient processors from AMD or other hardware vendors,
Hardware Hacking

+ - What's not standard, and in your geek tool kit?

Submitted by Kwiik
Kwiik (655591) writes "Aside from the standard screw drivers, multi tools, flash lights, collapsible chopsticks, bootable usb drives with linux, spyware software/hijackthis etc. what do you have in your tool kit? What do you have for repairing software, versus repairing hardware? Do you have a separate tool kit for Windows, Linux and OS-X? What do you recommend for a hardware tech/contracter getting started on his own and stepping away from the world of IT powerhouses? I'm trying to find "one of those things" that will make a client go "wow", and he'll know he found the right tech."
Google

+ - Google DNS Hacked?

Submitted by
Germain
Germain writes "Um this doesnt look right, either WHOIS has been hacked or I'm up too late :S img>http://img376.imageshack.us/img376/651/googleh ackedto9.jpg"
Enlightenment

+ - Ball lightning successfully reproduced in lab

Submitted by
secretsather
secretsather writes "http://tech.blorge.com/Structure:%20/2007/01/10/ba ll-lightning-successfully-reproduced-in-lab/

Aleister Crowley once reported what he referred to as globular electricity in 1916, "what I can only describe as calm amazement, that a dazzling globe of electric fire, apparently between six and twelve inches in diameter was stationary about six inches below and to the right of my knee." Mr. Crowley, it may not be all in your head.

A Brazilian team has managed to make similar spheres of light in the lab, while getting them to bounce around for several seconds.

The real mystery here is that ball lightning is a rare occurrence, where few people (approx. 3,000 in US) have actually encountered it. Ball lightning reportedly floats in the air and looks like a sphere, teardrop, or rod-like shape. Many have been said to be red, yellow, blue, or white in color, sometimes transparent, and are commonly associated with large thunderstorms; although, some claim to have experienced this phenomenon during normal weather.

It is typically the size of a grapefruit and lasts for a few seconds or minutes, sometimes hovering, even bouncing along the ground.

Many have made valiant efforts to explain ball lightning including Nikola Tesla in 1904, but a theory proposed by John Abrahamson and James Dinniss at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, claims this is the result of lighting striking soil; thereby converting silica within the soil into a vapor.

Antonio Pavao and Gerson Paiva from the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil decided to test this theory by placing silicon between two electrodes and running a current through them. Moving the electrodes away from each other created an electrical arc which shot out glowing pieces of silicon.

This continued to occur until, suddenly, a sphere the size of a ping pong ball formed, and lasted around 8 seconds. "The luminous balls seem to be alive," says Pavao.

They suggested the ball lighting was spinning by the movement of smoke trails that were left behind the orb, and estimated that they were approx 2000 Kelvin; hot enough to burn a hole in Paiva's jeans!

Few have had little success reproducing ball lightning using microwaves; which some disagree on whether it is the same phenomenon for they disappeared milliseconds after the microwaves were taken away.

These silica based orbs of lightning are by far the longest-lived made in the lab to date. These amazing spheres of light can be seen at http://www.espacociencia.pe.gov.br/multimidia.php"
Spam

+ - Dominos Pizza = Latest Guerilla Ads

Submitted by SinGunner
SinGunner (911891) writes "On Youtube recently, there have been posts of a supposed spoiled rich girl (Mckenzie) who gets a red car instead of blue for her birthday and freaks out. Supposedly her little brother films the whole thing and posts it on Youtube. The resolution follow-up vids show her getting a new car and claiming to sell the old one on Ebay for 9.99 with a flash at the end for "anythinggoesdeal.com", which redirects (slowly) to Dominos' latest ad campaign. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzG_oHDLZdc

I'm not in marketing or an editor, you kids can re-write this with a Slashdot spin. It's bogus and only mildly amusing until you realize they're all actors and the joke is on you."
Power

+ - Dramatic shift in balance of power in Canada

Submitted by
veenoghu
veenoghu writes "The defection of Wajid Khan to the minority governing Conservatives gives the socialist NDP the balance of power in the Canadian Parliament.

"There's no doubt about it — New Democrats are the number one Conservative fighters in Canada. We have the seats to prove it. And we have the votes on the record to prove it too. We are the only party that has voted unanimously against the Conservatives on every confidence motion that has come before the House: whether it was the budget, extending the Liberal-Conservative mission in Afghanistan, or ratifying the soft-wood sell out."

From a speech by NDP leader Jack Layton explaining how power will be (or won't be) shared between the Bush-aligned Conservatives and the NDP who have never won a Canadian federal election."
United States

+ - How can we convert the US to the metric system?

Submitted by
thesolo
thesolo writes "Despite past efforts of the 1970s and 1980s, the United States remains one of only three countries (others are Liberia and Myanmar) that does not use the metric system. Staying with imperial measurements has only served to handicap American industry and economy. Attempts to get Americans using the Celsius scale or putting up speed limits in kilometers per hour have been squashed dead. Not only that, but some Americans actually see metrication efforts as an assault on "our way" of measuring.

I personally deal with European scientists on a daily basis, and find our lack of common measurement to be extremely frustrating. Are we so entrenched with imperial units that we cannot get our fellow citizens to simply learn something new? What are those of us who wish to finally see America catch up to the rest of the world supposed to do? Are there any organizations that we may back, or any pro-metric legislators who we can support?"
AMD/OSTG

Windows Vista and AMD to Send a Person to Space

Submitted by OSTG Marketing
If you've been dying to ride into sub-orbital space , then sign up for the 'Vanishing Point' sweepstakes. Sponsored by Microsoft and AMD, the sweepstakes is a large-scale online and offline collaborative puzzle game to celebrate the forthcoming consumer release of Windows Vista. "There are nearly a half million dollars in prizes, and the eventual winner will secure a ride into sub-orbital space, courtesy of Rocketplane Lim
Handhelds

+ - Donut of Destiny...Freespace Pointing Device

Submitted by
TheTechLounge
TheTechLounge writes "The Hillcrest Labs Freespace works similarly to a wireless gyro-based pointing device, if you're familiar with those. What makes it unique, however, is that the orientation of the device in your hands does not limit its functionality. Whether you're holding it upright, to the side, or even upside down, it still accurately tracks movement in every direction. Max and I both took a few minutes to try it out and we even got to put its groundhog-smashing functionality to the test."
Mozilla

+ - Offline Gmail and Blogger

Submitted by
BradNeuberg
BradNeuberg writes "Check out these cool mockups of what an offline version of Gmail or Blogger could look like; imagine writing Blogger posts away from the network on your laptop, or checking your newest emails through Gmail while on an airplane. These mockups are for the Dojo Offline Toolkit, an open source project SitePen and I are creating to bring true offline access to web applications. See more info on Dojo Offline here."

"We are on the verge: Today our program proved Fermat's next-to-last theorem." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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