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Comment Re:Power (Score 1) 62

I'm not an expert, but I imagine they would do at least these three things:

1. Correlate waveforms recorded by multiple phones in multiple places, i.e. look for a single fingerprint in the waveforms. If it's a bunch of different waveforms then it's probably not an earthquake.
2. For those waveforms that match the fingerprint: plot the velocity that the waves would have to be moving at in order to cause the waveforms in those particular places at those particular times and see if the speeds are consistent with the speed that earthquakes travel at and if the velocity vectors diverge from an epicentre. If the speeds are too low or too high or if the vectors do not diverge from an epicentre then it's not an earthquake,
3. Compare the waveforms with known waveforms from historical earthquakes, i.e. see if it looks anything like an earthquake.

In order to fool the system you would have to have multiple people in multiple places doing the same "silly walk" at just the right times.

Comment Re:This could be really useful for docks and ferri (Score 1) 100

Why try to maneuver the huge vessel? A simple floating bridge with gangways manually controlled like they do with airbridges for the airplanes is even more simple. Given the mass and inertia of the ships, throwing a couple of thick ropes and tightening them automatically will adjust the floating bridge gangway to the ship.

Comment Who were the peer reviewers? (Score 2) 126

The unsung heroes of science are the peer reviewers. It is the peer review that gives science the feedback to stay on course. Without a strong and independent peer review there will be no difference between a philosopher, a quack, a pundit and a scientist.

Most of the general public would not know that even Einstein's publications went through peer review and there were reviewers who checked and rejected Einstein's math. Think about it.

Do we know the reviewers who rejected the flawed paper by Einstein? Or, are their names lost to history, without even a Tomb of the Unknown Reviewer?

Comment Re:Power (Score 1) 62

But yeah, you could also just take an old smartphone, run it off of a car battery and have the app keep the CPU and WiFi on at all times. The amount of data that you would send if you sent a 50 Hz signal without any compression is on the order of 2 GB per month.

Comment Re:Power (Score 1) 62

I actually wouldn't mind buying a usb doohickey that has an accelerometer that sends info to a centralized place to detect and report quakes. I dont, however, think I want to spend battery-life on my phone for it. I mean, wouldn't it need to frequently check the GPS?

I think cell-tower positioning would generally be good enough. If you have thousands of users then the positioning errors will tend to cancel each other out. You probably don't need to update the position very often either, since most people spend most of their time not moving very fast or very far.

I believe the main problems with regards to battery use are:
1. Recording a continuous stream of accelerometer samples without keeping the CPU awake.
2. Measuring the power ad other relevant characteristics of the accelerometer signal without using the phone's main CPU, only waking up the CPU if the signal meets your criteria, so that you can pipe interesting signals (and only interesting signals) over the network to your servers for further analysis.
3. Find a good match between false positives and false negatives so that you don't make network requests too often. The cellular radio on your phone is quite power hungry. The cellular radio in transmission mode is a lot hungrier than the GPS.

Basically, you need to be able to run code on a low power CPU/MCU that the accelerometer delivers data to and then have it wake up the main CPU when you detect something that looks like an earthquake signal. If you're lucky the manufacturer already has that code in place for you, so that you can just tell the system to wake itself up if it detect such and such a signal.

Comment Rick Snyder uses this research to fend off. (Score 1) 97

The administration of Gov Rick Snyder is under lot of fire for its lacklustre response to the crisis in Flint. The residents are still being asked to walk to the local fire station to pick their daily ration of water bottles. Today his spokesman vigorously pushed back claiming it is according to plan. He said, "The latest research shows aerobic exercises improve the brain cell count and the children with lead affected brains need to get all the exercise they can get to get back on track. This is how the administration is finding innovative ways to make Flint residents get adequate physical exercise".

Comment They should also try Jedi helmet technology (Score 1) 600

Basically the idea is, people are driving fast because the windshield is transparent and allows them to see the road, giving them a false sense of security. This Jedi helmet technology was first demonstrated by the famous scientist Dr Obi Wan Kenobi and his graduate student Luke Skywalker back in the 1970s. Once your eyes are covered and stop overloading the brain with useless visual information, the brain will start becoming more sensitive to extra sensory perception from the Force. Further replacing glass windshields with steel will also improve the crash worthiness and improve the strength.

So pretty soon road safety engineers will be advocating for opaque windshields, probably made of steel.

Comment Old technology. (Score 2) 49

Till about the 1990s, all over Indian even in very small towns there were "Typewriting and Shorthand Institutes" . In those institutes pupils have been typing since 1900s. .

They started morphing into programmer mills churning out dBase III, COBOL, coders and now they teach everything from Java to Ansys Fluid Mechanics R17.1 (Register for two courses and AutoCAD is free!)

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Established technology tends to persist in the face of new technology. -- G. Blaauw, one of the designers of System 360