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Comment: Re:Evolution is a theory, but not "just a theory". (Score 1) 665

by rjmnz (#46225629) Attached to: South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

The thing about Science is that it is not that much about finding the truth, it is about building models to do things (like predicting that harmful organisms will become immune to antibiotics because of natural selection) to help mankind. A big part of Science is to challenge the old models to see if they still hold up in new scenarios.

Newton model of physics breaks down at the subatomic level, so it is essentially not "truth". But the model is still used for a myriad of applications and taught in all high schools, because it is useful to mankind.

Ahh a realist, "use whatever theory best suits the circumstance, the truth doesn't matter"
An absolutist is always concerned with the truth irrespective of all the associated problems.

An absolutist will always prefer a theory that is perceived to be closer to the "truth", whatever that is. Unfortunately we have no way of knowing if we have succeeded in our efforts (confirmation problem), only that our best theories have either not been dis-proven (possibly true) or are known to be incomplete but lacking a better candidate (gravity).
Newtonian mechanics and gravitation is taught at school because it is understandable and a mathematically sound approximation of Einsteinian mechanics and relativity. If learning Newtonian mechanics made comprehension of Einsteinian mechanics more difficult it would have gone the way of epicycles (also a good way of calculating orbits).
I work in health care. I am a lonely absolutist in an industry largely composed of realists.

Comment: Re:Future historians will be confused (Score 1) 89

by rjmnz (#41624943) Attached to: New Zealand Turning Hobbits Into Actual Cash

Actually grandparent is right. Our public debt is our government or sovereign debt. This is the debt that the government and all of us collectively are responsible for. This is low.
Our private debt is high. This is the debt you and I chose to take on (credit cards, car finance mortgage etc) and are individually responsible for.
Fortunately for us this debt does not have as much impact on national credit ratings and perceptions of financial stability.

Comment: Re:so i can't make a clock with no numbers? (Score 5, Informative) 274

by rjmnz (#41431375) Attached to: Swiss Railway: Apple's Using Its Clock Design Without Permission

The design is also trademarked. That's a different kettle of fish. How old is the trademarked shape of the Coke bottle?

Mod parent up.
Trademarks and trade dress expire only when you fail to defend them. The term is trademark dilution.

Put a beverage in a waisted bottle and watch CocaCola successfully sue your ass, just like they have done before. It doesn't have to be identical.
These things however require active defence. The Swiss Railway must defend their mark. If they allow this then the mark is diluted and they lose ownership.
This is not new. Just because "trade dress" is a new concept here (partly due to the inappropriate (in my view) use of the term "patent", does not make it new.

The same rules required Apple to sue to protect their design.
I wonder if Samsung actually understand the concept of "trade dress" and it's long (European) well defined legal status (in case law as opposed to statute).
I would bet that the CocaCola execs were completely happy with the Samsung Vs Apple verdict.

Comment: Mod parent up, this is about design, not tech (Score 1) 260

by rjmnz (#36245842) Attached to: Samsung Ordered To Hand Over Unreleased Designs To Apple

If you make soda that tastes like Coca-Cola, you don't have any issues. There are many generics today. If you make your cans and bottles look like Coca-Cola or Pepsi ones with similar color, logos, fonts, etc; you are going to get your ass sued. That's the distinction Apple is making and why they didn't sue LG or Motorola or Nokia or RIM for copying design.

In particular the shape of the Coke Bottle is zealously defended. It is instantly recognizable anywhere in the world, with or without label. Any copycat designs are relentlessly pursued worldwide.
The only asset CocaCola has is their "Trade Dress". This is what protects their brand identity.

Comment: Re:My kids are not vaccinated. (Score 1) 813

by rjmnz (#34784188) Attached to: Famous British Autism Study an 'Elaborate Fraud'

Urine has saved lives.
Initially penicillin was so hard to produce doctors resorted to recovering it from the urine of patients and reusing it.
Thousands of heart attacks have been prevented by IV administration of purified nun's urine (Urokinase)

Molecules are molecules, the source of many in everyday use would shock you.

The Almighty Buck

Boy Finds £2.5M Gold Locket With Metal Detector 169

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-that-glitters dept.
Instead of bottle caps and ridicule from his peers, 3-year-old James Hyatt found a locket worth millions with his metal detector. James and his dad found the gold locket last May in Essex. Since then the 500-year-old treasure has been appraised at around £2.5million. From the article: "James’s father Jason, 34, said: ‘My son is one of the luckiest people ever. If we go to the doctors he’ll put his hand down the side of the sofa and pull out a tenner.’"

3 Drinks a Day Keeps the Doctor Away 470

Posted by samzenpus
from the drink-em-if-you-got-em dept.
Nzimmer911 writes "Heavy drinkers outlive non-drinkers according to a 20 years study following 1,824 people. From the article: 'But a new paper in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research suggests that - for reasons that aren't entirely clear - abstaining from alcohol does actually tend to increase one's risk of dying even when you exclude former drinkers. The most shocking part? Abstainers' mortality rates are higher than those of heavy drinkers.'"

New Wii Menu Update Targets Homebrew Again 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the glad-to-know-you're-still-watching dept.
Nintendo has tried to block homebrew during firmware updates in the past, often unsuccessfully. Now, as it rolls out version 4.3 of the Wii System Menu, stopping homebrew modifications once again seems to be its primary goal. From Nintendo's support site: "Because unauthorized channels or firmware may impair game play or the Wii console, updating to Wii Menu version 4.3 will check for and automatically remove such unauthorized files." Since it's hard to bill that as an upgrade, they vaguely add, "In addition, there are some behind the scenes enhancements that do not affect any prominently-used features or menus but will improve system performance."

Has Apple Created the Perfect Board Game Platform? 531

Posted by kdawson
from the triple-word-score dept.
andylim writes " is running an interesting piece about how Apple has created a 'Jumanji (board game) platform.' The 9.7-inch multi-touch screen is perfect for playing board games at home, and you could use Wi-Fi or 3G to play against other people when you're on your own. What would be really interesting is if you could pair the iPad with iPhones, 'Imagine a Scrabble iPad game that used iPhones as letter holders. You could hold up your iPhone so that no one else could see your letters and when you were ready to make a word on the Scrabble iPad board, you could slide them on to the board by flicking the word tiles off your iPhone.' Now that would be cool."

Comment: Re:They dont want a computer (Score 1) 1634

by rjmnz (#30945046) Attached to: iPad Is a "Huge Step Backward"

They want a secretary.

New brand name! MiniSec (TM)
Hmm maybe Arthur C Clarke beat me to that one.

Seriously, we are just getting to where the stateless personal organizer that everyone carried as described by Arthur C Clarke is just becoming possible. The minisec was an appliance that just did stuff. It was a closed device and locked tightly down as it carried all your personal data.


Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

Posted by samzenpus
from the less-math-more-social-science dept.
artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Apple Orders 10 Million Tablets? 221

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the pricepoint-better-be-right dept.
Arvisp writes "According to a blog post by former Google China president Kai-Fu Lee, Apple plans to produce nearly 10 million tablets in the still-unannounced product's first year. If Lee's blog post is to be believed, Apple plans to sell nearly twice as many tablets as it did iPhones in the product's first year."

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

Posted by timothy
from the vlc-generally-rocks dept.
plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Old programmers never die, they just become managers.