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Comment: differentiating science (Score 1) 603

by swell (#47969735) Attached to: How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

This explanation may be helpful to some in explaining a common approach to science:

A scientist has an idea about reality, which she carefully states as a theory. She performs experiments in an effort to DISPROVE her theory. After many experiments, if the theory isn't disproven, she publishes her theory and others will attempt to DISPROVE the theory. If it survives all these tests, it begins to gain respect and may someday be accepted as fact by educated people.

A non-scientist has an idea about reality, and without ever making a defining statement of the idea, proceeds to look for proof that it is true. Contrary evidence will probably be ignored.

Comment: please be specific (Score 1) 479

by swell (#47960313) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Is iOS 8 a Pig?

It's been 4 days since the exhaustive Ars review of iOS 8 was discussed here
Have you compared your experience with theirs?
Did you notice the methodical way in which they examined each aspect of performance?

As already stated, your specific device should be mentioned, as well as the conditions under which you are experiencing problems. If a particular app or group of apps are giving you problems, they should be specified. You seem to be pro-Apple, so don't just let this vague complaint hang there.

Comment: California incentive (Score 1) 149

by swell (#47892231) Attached to: Direct Sales OK Baked Into Nevada's $1.3 Billion Incentive Deal With Tesla

In a recent debate with the Republican candidate for governor, Governor Brown had to defend his business incentive policies. Particularly the loss of the battery factory. He simply stated that the incentives that Tesla demanded were too much of a burden on taxpayers in CA. Now we know that he was probably correct.

Comment: older & newer studies... (Score 1) 166

by swell (#47248881) Attached to: "Eskimo Diet" Lacks Support For Better Cardiovascular Health

By the '70s, the Eskimos were already eating Twinkies like the rest of us. The important study of aboriginal diets, including Eskimos, was that of Dr. Robert Price in the early 1900s. This study was conducted when Eskimos were still consuming traditional foods. You can learn more about this at the still vibrant Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation ( ).

In addition, you may wish to read the cover story of Time magazine which says to Eat Butter. Dr. Atkins advised this over 30 years ago and 30,000,000 people benefited by following his advice. Eat fat, avoid carbohydrates- simple advice but the medical establishment still supports General Mills, Kellogg, and the Wonder Bread lookalikes.

Comment: Re:Cash and checks (Score 3, Insightful) 117

by swell (#47209199) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

"I use credit cards for 99% of my purchases. That way I avoid the issue of dealing with change and refilling on cash. I've never been held responsible for a fraudulent charge."

  - OTOH, I use CASH for 90% of my purchases. Only one retailer (a major online company) knows my card number and they are unlikely to leak it. Similarly I have no revealing 'loyalty cards' for grocery & drug store purchases.

So my wallet is much thinner than yours and I have little fear of identity theft. I carry $200-$400 at all times. If it is stolen, I will be unhappy but not as much as if my identity is stolen.

I don't think it's anyone's business if I purchase adult diapers or pron or medicines or alcohol. Should I reveal that in return for 'rewards'? You will have to decide for yourself if you want to advertise your lifestyle in exquisite detail to worldwide data marketers.

Comment: forget digital (Score 1) 170

""I'm curious whether there are good prospects for 'time capsule encryption,' one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions â" such as the passage of time â" are met?"

The motivation for this question is vague. It could be that the OP has information about a criminal element that she wants released if she suffers an untimely death. It could be that the OP has solved the problem of nuclear fusion but is not ready to share it yet. The motivation is so vague that there is no way to address the question coherently - let's assume it's just for releasing info at a much later time.

'Time capsule' - I attended a time capsule burial a while back. Someone will dig it up in 100 years. It contains a variety of stuff- printed text, objects & some digital material. The digital stuff will probably be indecipherable with equipment available in the year 2108. The 'time capsule' concept might still be best despite our gravitation to digital and the 'cloud'. Encryption will not be necessary.

Printed text on quality paper should be good for well over 100 years. Physical materials might be the best way to preserve the message. A physical location might be the best place. A simple timer that sets off a weak explosion that exposes the trove might be ideal. Locate the capsule thoughtfully- not in downtown London, not in Antarctica, not in the Mariana Trench. Protect the payload from the elements. The timer & explosives need to survive the time you set. You might offer hints to potentially interested parties about the locale and timing of the release of your important capsule.

But before you go to all this trouble you should ask yourself- what information do you have that might matter to people in the future? Is this just an ego stunt or something that might really benefit someone in that time?

Comment: hype (Score 1) 243

by swell (#47191041) Attached to: New Car Can Lean Into Curves, Literally

The car is designed to ride ~5 inches above the road surface. A normal car like this might tilt 2 degrees in a curve, toward the outside of the curve, causing that part of the car to be ~4 inches from the road surface. This Mercedes could conceivably tilt 2 degrees toward the inside of the curve, causing that part of the car to be about 4 inches from the road.

The total difference between the tilt of a normal car and this Mercedes is perhaps 2 inches. Not at all like a motorcycle tilt in the same curve, in fact probably not detectable by the driver except for the cost of the extra complexity.

Comment: our greatest hopes (Score 0) 267

by swell (#47177201) Attached to: Why NASA's Budget "Victory" Is Anything But

"... putting our greatest dreams of exploring and understanding the Universe on hold."

You talkin' to me white boy?

It may surprise some that not everyone has high falutin' dreams about space exploration. Some people would be happy with a safe place to sleep, relief from disease, or a hot meal. Until those dreams are fulfilled for every human, space can wait.

Comment: iPad mini with Retina Display ... duh (Score 1) 321

by gig (#47145489) Attached to: I Want a Kindle Killer

You add all those things you asked for to a Kindle and you get an iPad mini with Retina Display. How could you not know that?

There are a number of book reading apps for iPad that have the features you want. iPad even runs a Kindle app.

> think of the competition if [Apple] built [a Kindle competitor]

You are so right. Kindle hardware sells less than 1 million units per quarter, and iPads sell almost 20 million units per quarter. The Apple book reader totally blows the Kindle out of the water.

> handwriting
> great for note taking

No. No it's not. Handwriting is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOW. It's so slow that we don't have time for it anymore. You can type exponentially faster on an iPad virtual keyboard, and faster again on a tiny mechanical keyboard. Even better, use one of the iPad apps that records what is going on around you as audio and timestamps it against what you are typing as notes, so that your notes not only have your own thoughts, but an actual audio recording of what you were taking notes about.

Comment: Re:SSC? (Score 1) 262

by swell (#47060619) Attached to: The Brakes That Stop a 1,000 MPH Bloodhound SSC

irritating summary

And what is the braking problem? Whatever an SSC is, it will stop by itself eventually. Or, perhaps someone wants it to stop within a particular distance; but of course speed and mass would have to be considered in addition to materials technology and heat dissipation.

Neither the summary nor the comments seem to offer a holistic picture of the problem (if there is one) or a solution. If you expect readers to follow three links to piece this together, count me out.

Comment: Re:Text editing vs. typesetting (Score 1) 522

The first thing I do when editing a book is try to get the writer to switch from Microsoft Word (or equivalent word processor) to BBEdit (or equivalent UTF-8 text editor) and teach them to write italics in markdown, and also hyperlinks if they are necessary for the project. It makes the writing easier, it makes including characters from other languages easier, it makes the editing easier, it makes sharing documents easier, it makes backing up documents easier, it makes the original manuscript have longevity so that it can be read or revised years later, and it enables the writer and editor to work on their choice of hundreds of different devices instead of one or two.

There are hundreds of iPad text editors that take all of 15 minutes to learn and be comfortable with, and which just present you with an infinite page you can write UTF-8 text into. That is what a writer should be using to write. Or something very much like it. A quiet place to capture your typing as universally-compatible UTF-8 text.

Comment: This is the same reason so many writers use iPads (Score 1) 522

An iPad with the Wi-Fi off and with a $5 writing app and your favorite Bluetooth keyboard (chosen from about 30,000 options) is a great “digital typewriter.” Many writers have moved their writing to an iPad and their Macs are just for Internet and research and so on. Just having your writing on the iPad screen 24/7, your writing app always frontmost, is a huge benefit. Being able to close the Mac and turn the world off and just write is also a huge benefit.

I like the portability of the iPad, too, but if you always write in the same room at the same desk, it doesn't matter if your digital typewriter is an old DOS machine.

For a long time now, I thought that Linux-on-the-desktop should stop trying to make yet another Mac clone and make novel devices using Linux instead. Like a digital typewrite that George R R Martin would switch to.

"If there isn't a population problem, why is the government putting cancer in the cigarettes?" -- the elder Steptoe, c. 1970