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Comment It's the reconnaissance, stupid! (Score 2, Funny) 303

With the lurking and ever-increasing possibility (and use?) of drones in the US not for strikes but simply to keep a "watchful eye" on the civilian population, a more aware and less surveilled American public may be an unintended positive outcome of the war on terror. (Thanks, al-Qaeda.)

Comment "Just the facts, ma'am." (Score 1) 1651

I ask both sides to make this entire argument really simple. Just go by the statistics, which are consistent and factual after being gathered and analyzed for at least 20-30 years now by no less than the Centers for Disease Control and the National Highway Transportation Safety Board, neither of which have an agenda either way. And as stated in the topic's starting quoted paragraph, that very large body of data simply does not support the purely anecdotal evidence the pro-helmet crowd without fail uses as justification for their position. The pro-helmet zealots is one group which simply refuses to be swayed by the facts. If they were swayed by now indisputable facts, they'd religiously put on their showering or walking helmets before stepping into the shower or crossing the street as pedestrians--both activities being far more likely to result in bodily harm or death than cycling without a helmet. (This is why I hate religions. Facts are very rarely are taken into consideration. Belief and faith without any supporting evidence whatsoever is good enough.)

Comment Re:Mac vs. Windows? (or faith vs. facts) (Score 1) 1651

As a bona fide statistician and research scientist, I make no false claims. However, it's quite clear that you abhor statistics and refuse to even refer to them, but feel free to verify what I've said by looking at those non-anecdotal statistics you'll find at the CDC. In addition to the CDC statistics, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the odds of death vs. injury while on foot at 1 in 15. Compare that to the far lower odds cited for death while cycling at 1 in 71. Very simply put, walking is 4-5 times as deadly as cycling so be certain to put that helmet on when you go for a walk. :)
That said, also double-check your reading comprehension skills. My comment about friends' deaths was hardly provided as anecdotal justification, but merely as an aside. Did you see the "BTW?" However, I will grant you the correction that the remark should then have been placed in parentheses. :)

Comment Re:So rare in fact... (Score 1) 1651

Anecdotal evidence is just that. It's not unlike people saying they don't wear a seat belt because they've known people who were killed while wearing a seat belt. In this case, the outcomes are merely reversed. Three deaths do not negate the statistics of thousands data points across decades of years which very clearly show if you're going to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, then is even wiser to wear one as a pedestrian when crossing a street. You're almost twice as likely to suffer serious injury or death as that pedestrian not wearing a helmet when crossing a street than a cyclist not wearing a helmet when riding those same roads.

Comment Mac vs. Windows? (or faith vs. facts) (Score 1) 1651

As a racing cyclist of 25+ years, I've seen this discussion a thousand times. The fact is you're far more likely to get injured or die crossing the street as a pedestrian than you are riding a bicycle in any environment. The Centers for Disease Control has the mortality statistics to prove that, but just like with Windows fans vs. Mac fans no one wants to look at the facts, but instead they prefer to simply preach own "religious" beliefs regarding the wearing of helmets--and contrary to facts, religion is based on mere faith. BTW, I've had three friends killed while riding bikes over the past 30+ years. All three were wearing helmets. The helmet industry has done a marvelous job at marketing helmets in order to sell them, lots of them. They have preyed on the public not at all understanding or even looking at the actual statistics. Like it or not, that's the bottom line. (P.S. -- I only wear a helmet in races where they are required.)

Comment WW III is now. (Score 1) 244

Commensurate with Web 3.0, history will look back and see this as (at least the start of) the third world war. With recent "conflicts" like Stuxnet, we are seeing the following countries and regions either offensively or defensively engaged or involved in cyber-warfare right now: China, U.S.A., Israel, Iran, India, Pakistan, Germany, Great Britain, Taiwan, Ireland, France, Eastern Europe, Korea, Finland, and no doubt others. With countries around the world very actively involved, potentially millions of innocent lives at stake, the cost of equipment and supplies, defense departments geared-up, and the recruitment of "warriors" in preparation for even more, it certainly sounds like war to me.

Comment "Flowers are better than bullets." ~ A. Krause (Score 2, Informative) 594

This guy must be really pissed-off about missing Kent State where he could have killed a protester for placing a flower in his gun. So in memory of Kent State student Allison Krause who was killed on 4 May 1970 and said, "Flowers are better than bullets", after placing a flower in the barrel of a national guardsman's rifle, 40 years later I remind Officer Bubbles that, "Bubbles are better than bullets."

Comment Blood from a turnip. (Score 4, Interesting) 421

The bottom line is whatever Microsoft says or attempts as a fear tactic, it won't make any difference whatsoever to a very large number of those consumers. They simply cannot afford Office at any price Microsoft would offer it--other than free. When you have no money, free (or theft*) is the only alternative. Given that reality, Microsoft is jousting at windmills and trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.
* Might we next be seeing not-so-subtle threats in those emerging markets about using illegal copies of Office? Betcha we will.

Comment Re:Nothing to sell (Score 1) 151

What is there to commercialize? Imagine an application in emergency medicine whereby a person with minimum training in first aid can suddenly perform major emergency surgery on someone in the middle of nowhere, or a surgical procedure and process available but unknown to a physician in a third world country are suddenly visibly rendered in real time and space as he makes the incision, possibly encounters complications and then provided solutions, is fed the patient's vital signs, and all done with less staff and training than typically required--and without the physician ever having once before seen or performed the procedure.

Or, imagine an airplane being landed, after pilots have become incapacitated, by someone who has never flown a plane and needs more than an air controller's audible instructions to safely do so. There are indeed problems which need this solution. In fact, I'm certain we can't even imagine most of them at this point in time--just as Tom Watson (IBM) once thought the world would never need more than a handful of computers.

(And as for form factor, could Edison ever have imagined his cylinder phonograph with its huge horn now being no larger than Apple's iPod shuffle, and with infinitely better quality in every respect? Advice: Neither underestimate the future nor believe it won't be here sooner than you think.)

Comment Why all the marketing? (Score 2, Interesting) 252

Anyone else noticed DARPA's recent major marketing/publicity campaign? There is now this well-publicized balloon hunt. There was the televised robotic vehicle challenge. Even very recently, DARPA was central to the plot of an episode of NCIS: LA. Its research efforts have been given very visible press in magazines such as Scientific American. (Look here for another recent SA article about DARPA research.) DARPA has also been featured twice on 60 Minutes in the past few months. And, it now has quite a following on Facebook.

All of these somehow involve or inform the general public--not exactly par for the course given DARPA activities historically have been kept very much under wraps. What's really going on here? Why the recent publicity barrage? Two years ago, or less, I'm willing to bet 98% of Americans had no idea DARPA even existed. Might it be the old magician's trick of having us watch one hand while the other hand is actually performing the "magic?" For example, have you seen iRobot's shape-shifting Chembot recently developed with DARPA funding?


Submission + - Frozen Smoke (AreoGel) New Miricle Substance-> 1

thejuggler writes: Scientists hail 'frozen smoke' as material that will change world. A MIRACLE material for the 21st century could protect your home against bomb blasts, mop up oil spillages and even help man to fly to Mars. Aerogel, one of the world's lightest solids, can withstand a direct blast of 1kg of dynamite and protect against heat from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C.

I had to keep checking to make sure I wasn't reading The Onion. It seems that this AeroGel can save "The World" by stopping global warming, saving whales and polar bears, eliminating our need for oil. Never has so much been said about something that isn't even there (or at least 99%) of isn't there.

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As long as we're going to reinvent the wheel again, we might as well try making it round this time. - Mike Dennison