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Comment AltaVista user interface (Score 1) 176

I know they use the same engine (Bing), but IMO AltaVista's results page seems more complete and intuitive than Yahoo's. For two equivalent searches, the AltaVista page has more similar searches, has more "more results from ...." links, and just seems tighter and more cohesive.

Comment Tracking and identifying (Score 5, Interesting) 78

Interestingly the electrodes were implanted in the "tactile information" processor, so the infrared light is interpreted as touch. That would seem to mean that in "tracking" the source of the signal, the rats meander until the infrared light hits their eyes, and then head toward it as the strength of the touch signal increases.

TFA says "a new sensory input can be interpreted by a region of the brain that normally does something else," but isn't the input just being "converted" into the sense of touch by activating that region of the brain?

Comment Not of practical use? (Score 0) 262

Of course this is practically useful. Even if you have to run it multiple times before arriving at the right answer, you're virtually guaranteed to get there in orders of magnitude less time. Just verify the result (multiply the factors, try to decrypt whatever you're guessing the key for, etc.) until it's correct.

Many people are unenthusiastic about their work.