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Comment: Got to play with this last week at SpaceX (Score 2) 109

by roberthead (#44784563) Attached to: Elon Musk Shows His Vision of Holographic Design Technology
It's a great proof of concept. I got to play with it with the hand controls and 3d glasses. Visually impressive. Works well for examining something, but doesn't feel terribly useful for design because it's not very precise. Technologically, it's still early -- buggy Windows app that crashed on me after 5 minutes of exploration. tl;dr Great first steps.

Comment: One queue to rule them all (Score 1) 221

by roberthead (#44245719) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Development Requirements Change But Deadlines Do Not?
Pivotal Tracker and similar tools do an excellent job of addressing this kind of cognitive dissonance. "I need you to do this ASAP. Priority ZERO!!1!!" "Adding scope? No problem! We'll estimate the new task. There's the queue of user stories. Prioritize however you'd like." "Two older stories just got pushed out of this iteration." "Yes... Yes, they did. Any questions?"

Comment: Relative priorities is the only solution (Score 2) 304

Projects should not be organized into buckets. They should be organized into One True List. Absolute priority values (High, Higher, Highest, Ludicrous Speed...) are meaningless. The only workable solution is relative priorities. One PM should have the authority to prioritize one list of projects. Dev just does whatever is at the top of the list. This is the only process that I have ever seen work effectively and painlessly.
Image

Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

Posted by samzenpus
from the fair-balanced-and-simple dept.
A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!
Power

Factory To Make Biodiesel From Chicken Fat 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the extra-crispy-miles dept.
telekon writes "Tyson foods has finally found a use for chicken fat and leftover food grease that isn't McNuggets — they've partnered with Syntroleum to produce biodiesel from the stuff. Their first plant in Louisiana will be able to churn out 75 million gallons a year. The question is, will the exhaust smell like fried chicken?"
Displays

For Normals, Jobs' "Retina Display" Claim May Be Fair After All 386

Posted by timothy
from the sharp-dealing dept.
The Bad Astronomer writes "AT WWDC, Steve Jobs claimed that the iPhone 4's display has about the same resolution as the human eye — held at one foot away, the iPhone 4's pixels are too small to see. After reading an earlier Slashdot post about an expert disputing Jobs' claim, I decided to run the numbers myself. I found that Jobs is correct for people with normal vision, and the expert was using numbers for theoretically perfect vision. So to most people, the iPhone 4 display will look unpixellated."
Education

Univ. of California Faculty May Boycott Nature Publisher 277

Posted by timothy
from the what-market-will-bear-is-an-empirical-question dept.
Marian the Librarian writes "Nature Publishing Group (NPG), which publishes the prestigious journal Nature along with 67 affiliated journals, has proposed a 400% increase in the price of its license to the University of California. UC is poised to just say no to exorbitant price gouging. If UC walks, the faculty are willing to stage a boycott; they could, potentially, decline to submit papers to NPG journals, decline to review for them and resign from their editorial boards."

Comment: Re:Ridiculous! (Score 1) 366

by roberthead (#29370945) Attached to: Teenager Invents Cheap Solar Panel From Human Hair
The story is atrocious, which is typical of "science" reporting. However, I think it's possible that we are misinterpreting what we are seeing (and that the caption is inaccurate). Perhaps the black stuff (the bulk of the panel) is the hair-based material, and those little wires are something else. On the other hand, I think it's suspicious that this kid calls out his neighbors as ignorant bumpkins. Plays a little too well to the subconscious assumptions of a Western audience.
Biotech

Novel Algae Fuel-Farming Method Gets Big Backing 176

Posted by timothy
from the alcohol-project-leads-to-endowment dept.
Al writes "Dow Chemical has given its backing to a Florida startup called Algenol Biofuels that hopes to produce commercial quantities of ethanol directly from algae without the need for fresh water or agricultural lands. Dozens of companies are trying to produce biofuels from algae, mostly by growing and harvesting the microorganisms to extract their oil. Algenol has chosen instead to genetically enhance certain strains of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, to convert as much carbon dioxide as possible into ethanol using a process that doesn't require harvesting to collect the fuel. Algenol's bioreactors are troughs covered by a dome of semitransparent film and filled with salt water that has been pumped in straight from the ocean. The photosynthetic algae growing inside are exposed to sunlight and fed a stream of carbon dioxide from Dow's chemical production units. The goal is to produce 100,000 gallons of ethanol annually."

"What man has done, man can aspire to do." -- Jerry Pournelle, about space flight

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