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Comment: Re:MUCH easier. (Score 1) 239

Even more to the point, if the car has to take into account death vs injury, it may actually "prefer" to hit people in safer vehicles. If the safe car is hit, it's 10% likely the occupants will die, whereas if the unsafe car is hit, it's 90% likely the occupant will die. Aim for the safe car to minimize the risk of killing people...

It's like a penalty for owning a safer vehicle.
Space

Mystery Alignment of Planetary Nebulae Discovered 86

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mass-of-flying-mantrid-arm-drone-thingies dept.
astroengine writes "Astronomers have discovered something weird in the Milky Way's galactic bulge — a population of planetary nebula are all mysteriously pointing in the same direction. They noticed the mysterious alignment in the long axes of bipolar planetary nebulae. 'This really is a surprising find and, if it holds true, a very important one,' said Bryan Rees of the University of Manchester, co-author of the paper (PDF) to appear in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 'Many of these ghostly butterflies appear to have their long axes aligned along the plane of our galaxy.' The team of astronomers, who used data from Hubble and the European Southern Observatory's New Technology Telescope (NTT) to survey 130 nebulae, posit that powerful magnetic fields may be behind the phenomenon."

Comment: Re:What "challenge of learning"?? (Score 1) 141

by wikdwarlock (#43780739) Attached to: What Professors Can Learn From "Hard Core" MOOC Students
We mechanical engineers called those "Baby Statics" :) They actually taught a subset of sum(F)=sum(m*a) to the civil engineers that got rid of all that useless m and a business. All forces summed to zero, and that's how they liked it!

No judgement on you, though. My EE knowledge goes just about far enough to remember V=I*R, and my greatest software achievements have manifested themselves in MS Excel VBA scripts!

Congrats to you for expanding your knowledge and stepping into the messy world of physics!

Comment: Re:So many questions... (Score 1) 297

You cannot possibly leave off the list HCBaily, who is, I dare say, the most prolific LP'er in the universe. He does JRPGs, and is really damned good at it. He's funny, quirky, and deeply knowledgeable about the games he plays, and the genre as a whole. He has something like 10,000 videos and 57 million video views.

As far as I know, he doesn't do advertising or paid LPs.

Comment: Re:yeah. (Score 1) 195

by wikdwarlock (#43740011) Attached to: Russia Captures Alleged American CIA Agent In Moscow
It's easy to see how it could be torture. For the specific case of Muslim terrorists who find it spiritually objectionable to drink alcohol, imagine their forced feeding slurry including wine. Or if not wine, maybe the terrorist believes eating pork is sinful, and the liquid food comes from processed pork. Or lima beans, or whatever. The effect of knowingly, but against your will, ingesting a food could be psychologically traumatizing and cause mental pain.

A completely reasonable food, administered in a completely reasonable way could still be torture.

Comment: Re:It's started... (Score 2) 302

by wikdwarlock (#43730685) Attached to: DHS Shuts Down Dwolla Payments To and From Mt. Gox
I imagine some of it has to do with Quantum Electro Dynamics, and the fact that the electron arrangement in gold makes it naturally a very different color under white light than most other metals. Ancient people found a rock that had a color like no other rocks, and also could be shaped into trinkets. That's my best guess for how it all got started.

Comment: Re:yeah. (Score 1) 195

by wikdwarlock (#43729733) Attached to: Russia Captures Alleged American CIA Agent In Moscow
Millions of US citizens also take baths every day. Some even dunk their head under the water to rinse away shampoo.

Close enough that water boarding is just maintaining the prisoners' head hygiene?

Without making any judgement on interrogation practices or detainee treatment, the argument that something is a "routine ... procedure performed daily for large numbers of people" and therefore not torture is illogical.

Comment: Re:This is a new twist ... (Score 1) 668

by wikdwarlock (#43707851) Attached to: How Colleges Are Pushing Out the Poor To Court the Rich
While I believe that the amount of debt I accrued during my time in college was high, and is a significant part of my monthly budget now (~1 mortgage payment), I do not believe that I could have gained the knowledge, experience, and training in any other way.

It may be argued that life experience, time in the local library, etc, can give someone a great deal of useful education. And honestly, I don't disagree. However, my population 6,000 hometown had none of the resources available to compare to 3.5 years of undergraduate mechanical engineering curriculum from my alma mater. "Stress" was a psychological term, not a mathematical description of load and area. "Fluid dynamics" sounded like a plumber's job, not the study of pressures and flows in liquids and gases. Nobody in Small Town, Ohio knew about AutoCAD, or Maple, or Fortran, or differential equations, mechatronics, or engineering management. These are all things I learned first in college, and have since refined in my professional practice on a daily basis.

I agree that not all costs for college seem rational for the student, and indeed, many colleges do take advantage of their "customers". For me, I'm glad I made the investment, as it's expanded my understanding of the world and my earning potential (well in excess of what it costs me, even 10 yrs beyond graduation). I would make the same purchase again. And I'll teach my kids about the costs and benefits and help them pay if they choose to and our college savings are adequate.

"The chain which can be yanked is not the eternal chain." -- G. Fitch

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