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Submission + - Unlimited Detail - The End of the Geometry Race? 3

TeachingMachines writes: An interesting video is making the rounds, although its claims seem somewhat difficult to believe. In the video (also available here, at the developer's website), a graphics display technology demo is presented that seems to render (no pun intended) the current battle between graphics card makers ATI and NVidia somewhat pointless (again, sorry about the puns). This is because unlimited detail is exactly that: unlimited graphic detail, without polygons. Graphics are instead produced through search algorithms, similar in function to those used by search engines. Pixels presented on the screen, and based on the search algorithm, are based on points rather than polygons (the idea being that each point is equivalent to a screen's pixel, in terms of the colors that are presented to the user). The video demo itself is somewhat, well, alarming, considering that the demo is running in software...

Comment But (Score 0) 53

If the best expected performance of the new technology is just 5 times better than current technology, is it really worth pursuing it? Current technology is current, as in real. Best expected performance needs to be divided by a correcting factor which is unlikely to be much lower than 5.
Google

Submission + - SPAM: Losing Google would hit Chinese science hard

designperfection9 writes: "More than three-quarters of scientists in China use the search engine Google as a primary research tool and say their work would be significantly hampered if they were to lose it, a survey showed on Wednesday. In the survey, 84 percent said losing Google would "somewhat or significantly" hamper their research and 78 percent said international collaborations would be affected.

"Research without Google would be like life without electricity," one Chinese scientist said in the survey, which asked more than 700 scientists for their views"

Link to Original Source

Comment Re:Evolution, suckers.... (Score 1) 139

Let me see if I can make my post evolve to a less typoed version:

It makes some sense. The idea is that whenever you have a lot of bacteria reproducing, mutation rates being what they are, benefitial mutations will eventually appear. Chemostats, which are what these reactors will essentially be, have been used to test evolution experimentally in just this way.

Now, the flaw in Niedi's reasoning is that evolution is directed only to better differential reproduction. So, if bacteria reproduce before self-destruction, there will be no environmental pressure to select against this feature.

Comment Re:Evolution, suckers.... (Score 4, Insightful) 139

It makes some sense. The idea is that whenever you have a lot of bacteria reproducing, mutation rates being what they are, benefitial mutations will eventually appear. Something like this has been used to. Chemostats, which are what these things will essentially be, have been used to test evolution experimentally in just this way.

Now, the flaw in Niedi's reasoning is that evolution is directed only be better differential reproduction. So, if bacteria reproduce before self-destruction, there will be no environmental pressure to select against this feature.

Submission + - Reborn Coma Man’s Words May Be Bogus (wired.com)

Schiphol writes: The statements of a Belgian man believed to be in a coma for 23 years, but recently discovered to be conscious, are poignant, but experts say they may not be his words at all.

Rom Houben’s account of his ordeal, repeated in scores of news stories since appearing Saturday in Der Spiegel, appears to be delivered with assistance from an aide who helps guide his finger to letters on a flat computer keyboard. Called “facilitated communication,” that technique has been widely discredited, and is not considered scientifically valid.

“If facilitated communication is part of this, and it appears to be, then I don’t trust it,” said Arthur Caplan, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Bioethics. “I’m not saying the whole thing is a hoax, but somebody ought to be checking this in greater detail. Any time facilitated communication of any sort is involved, red flags fly.”

Submission + - Paralysed Belgian misdiagnosed as in coma for 23 (bbc.co.uk)

Schiphol writes: A Belgian man who doctors thought was in a coma for 23 years was conscious all along. Medical staff believed Rom Houben had sunk irretrievably into a coma after he was injured in a car crash in 1983, and it was only in 2006 that a scan revealed Mr Houben's brain was in fact almost entirely functioning.

Comment Re:VERY interesting study in linguistics (Score 1) 31

Apparently, this is what happened with the Nicaraguan Sign Language, one of the latest natural languages to have appeared (on Earth).

Deaf people in Nicaragua used to communicate with hearing relatives using ad-hoc signing. Once the Sandinist revolution increased the schooling of deaf kids in the late 70s, all of these signing schemes surfaced at Nicaraguan schools, and little deaf kids, well, fixed them, and in the process created a real language.

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