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Comment: Re:testable? (Score 1) 285

by witherby (#34506508) Attached to: X Particle Might Explain Dark Matter & Antimatter
Actually, Kant had a decent refutation for Descartes. He (K) asserted that Descartes' leap from cogito to sum was invalid -- and that rather than "I think, therefore I am", it should be "I think, therefore thinking is occurring". The act of being is not necessarily entailed in thinking.

See the case against the cogito here .

Comment: Re:Quality, not quantity (Score 1) 554

by witherby (#34375444) Attached to: Aging Reversed In Mice
Living forever isn't all it's cracked up to be. I've had the conversation with a couple of people (so my results are purely anecdotal and should be interpreted as such), and it's my experience that people don't really think about just how long *forever* is. Imagine living for just 150 years. Pretty much everyone you've known is going to be dead. You'll have the opportunity to meet new people, sure, but if you know that all the people you'll ever meet will be lost to you at some point (when they die), what's the incentive to live forever?

Even assuming that you could do some good in the world, which isn't given at all, eventually the Sun will expand and all life on Earth will die. Then the planet might get struck by some huge meteor and you'd be floating out in the vastness of space until *time itself* came to an end. Doesn't sound that great to me.

I'd much rather take the limited amount of time that I have to try to improve my life and the lives of those people that I love. I know that every atom in my body was once a part of a star, and I like the idea that eventually I'll be returned to that state. Just makes everyday life much more enjoyable, and meaningful, to embrace your finitude.

Comment: Re:Remove it! (Score 1) 123

by witherby (#34210264) Attached to: Dissecting the Neural Circuitry of Fear
I definitely agree. I'm not so sure that you'd be able to reason properly without fear, though. I can't remember the specifics, but I read a case a couple years ago about test subjects who through some kind of brain injury had lost the ability to feel emotion. They were not only emotionally numbed, but also logically and rationally impaired.

Here's a site devoted to more-or-less the same thing.

"'In Animals in Translation, Grandin and Johnson write: "We humans tend to think of emotions as dangerous forces that need to be strictly controlled by reason and logic. But that's not how the brain works. In the brain logic and reason are never separate from emotion. Even nonsense syllables have an emotional charge, either positive or negative. Nothing is neutral.'"

Granted, this is based on the assumption that fear is a functionally similar psychological/physiochemical response to say, grief and joy, but I could definitely see how you might begin to argue that without the ability to feel fear, you'd lose some of that rational cognitive ability as well.
Education

+ - Open Textbook Publisher Not So Open->

Submitted by cel4145
cel4145 (468272) writes "I discovered that Flat World Knowledge, the commercial open textbook publisher that has gotten much press in the last couple of years, is not very "open" in the way that Slashdotters would expect. While the HTML versions of the texts are licensed as CC-BY-NC-SA, the website appears intentionally designed such that a teacher or student cannot print out the full HTML version of a document they are reading, nor can they easily save a copy to share with someone else. As an alternative, FWK provides a prominent link to buy a non-CC licensed PDF version of a chapter, one that has a notice printed on each page indicating it is for personal use only. Seems that the CC license is more marketing gimmick to sell proprietary textbooks than commitment to the principles of sharing that underlie open textbook publishing."
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Businesses

+ - The Myth Of Gillette's Razors & Blades Model->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It's one of the standard concepts in business: King Gillette came up with a smart new business model of giving away (or selling cheaply) razors, but then making his money on high margin blades. It's now common to find similar models elsewhere in business, and people have written whole books about how such business models work. Of course, there's just one problem: King Gillette didn't actually use that model. It came into being after he'd left the company. Before that, he charged an awful lot for the razors (about 5x some competitors). Perhaps more interesting is the role of patents in the story. The "conventional wisdom" says locking others out (such as with patents) is the key to a razors & blades model, but the history shows that Gillette did the opposite. When it could lock others out, it didn't use the strategy, and it was only after it no longer had protection (when the business theorists say that such models won't work because others would just sell the "blades" themselves) that it actually did work for Gillette."
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IT

+ - 'Cloudwashing' Hits Wall Street->

Submitted by
snydeq
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Eric Knorr speaks out against the recent spate of 'cloudwashing' — a trend that has nearly every technology tagged 'for the cloud.' Virtualization, processors, servers, the iPad — all are being pitched as 'cloud' technologies despite that they are hardware easily used for non-cloud purposes. So obscured is the definition of what constitutes cloud computing that Wall Street is beginning to eat up the association of anything technical with the cloud. 'A few days ago, I actually heard about Intel's "investment in cloud computing" (i.e., cloud management provider Adaptive Computing) on AM radio. Wall Street, it was reported, reacted positively.'"
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Firefox

+ - Firefox 4 Gets Another JavaScript Engine?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released an add-on for Firefox 4 that enables the integration of the Narcissus JavaScript engine that can be run in addition to Mozilla’s latest JaegerMonkey JavaScript engine. It is not quite as fast, but it is an alternative that enables developers and especially enterprises to run custom JavaScript applications in Firefox 4."
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Sony

+ - The Sony Move Arrives; A Hands-on Report->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The Playstation Move hit retail stores on Friday and blogger Peter Smith spent the weekend putting it (and his shoulder) through its paces. So how does this motion controller compare to the Wii? Smith says it 'felt a lot more precise' but that 'there were instances where the depth perception of the camera got lost for a moment'. 'The more significant difference is the graphics,' says Smith. 'The PS3 does HD and the Wii doesn't.' The bottom line: 'If you have a Wii and the Wii Motion Plus accessory, there isn't a whole lot here right now to justify $100-$170 worth of gear for most gamers.'"
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Iphone

+ - Plane Finder App Identifies Planes In The Sky

Submitted by andylim
andylim (1618383) writes "recombu.com has written up an iPhone app that lets you identify planes in the sky: "Point the camera at a plane and you'll see the flight number, aircraft registration, speed, altitude and how far away it is!" It's based on an existing service called Plane Finder, which tracks planes using something called ADS-B — the signals transmitted by commercial airliners with all this data the AR adds augmented reality into the mix."
Science

+ - Xerox PARC Turns 40: The Legacy Continues->

Submitted by CWmike
CWmike (1292728) writes "For 40 years, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center has been a place of technological creativity and bold ideas (see timeline and photo gallery), writes Todd Weiss. The inventions it has spawned, from Ethernet networking to laser printing and the graphical user interface, have led to myriad technologies that allow us to use computers in ways that we take for granted today. When it opened on July 1, 1970, PARC was set up as a division of Xerox Corp. The idea was to invest in PARC as a springboard for developing new technologies and fresh concepts that would lead to future products. 'Conducting research at PARC four decades ago was like magic," says Dr. Robert S. Bauer, who worked at PARC from 1970 to 2001. 'In an era of political and social upheaval, we came to work every day with a passion to free technology from the grip of the military-industrial complex and bring computation to the people.' Indeed, the company's 'technology first' culture has sometimes brought it under fire. PARC has often been criticized for its past failures to capitalize on some of its greatest inventions, allowing other companies to cash in on its ideas. (Today, PARC has a team working to protect its intellectual property.) Nevertheless, its reputation as a technology innovator is impeccable. On its 40th anniversary, PARC researchers provide a behind-the-scenes peek into the company's culture and projects, past and present."
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