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Comment Re:Exactly. Using open wifi is not stealing. (Score 1) 263

While in general I agree with you, I don't think it's quite that crystal clear. Let's suppose that the person with the internet subscription and his neighbor are both technologically clueless. Person A buys a device which, by default, allows anyone within range internet access (a wireless router). Person B buys a device which, by default, connects to the closest available network (a Windows computer). Both these devices are fully legal. Can you really say that Person B is stealing when he turns on his computer and discovers he has internet access? Maybe he doesn't even realize that you have to pay for such things. He could be a complete moron. The point is, all he did was turn on his computer and use its native features. The other reason the theft analogy breaks down is that in most cases, the person with the internet subscription does not suffer any losses from the freeloader, unless he's downloading tons of data. Except for that case, it's more akin to somebody using your driveway when you're out of town. Is that really stealing? Trespassing seems a more appropriate analogy.

Comment Re:Ah, I unplugged the atomic clock... (Score 5, Interesting) 193

You are absolutely correct, the time measured by such a clock is going to be dependent on general relativistic effects, most prominently by distance from the mean geoid. However, I fail to understand how you jump from that to concluding that it's useless. For example, you could use such a clock to make precision measurements of general relativity and test possible extensions. Moreover, a clock that sensitive should be able to "feel" changes in gravity caused by density fluctuations in the Earth. This could help find oil deposits, for example. The summary says as much. Generally speaking, you NEVER lose by increased precision. It is true that if your specific application is limited by low precision in some other component, you won't gain by increasing precision somewhere else. However, that's not the case here. I'll admit that I don't know enough about GPS and satellites to answer your specific question, but my impression is that they currently ARE limited by time standards.

Comment Re:Editorializing (Score 1) 430

Of *course* healthy people don't get a significant personal benefit from being vaccinated. Nobody ever said they did.

Are you crazy? Maybe you and a few other people get vaccinated for altruistic reasons, but the vast vast vast majority of people get vaccinated because they honestly believe that it will protect them from getting infected. Moreover, this is exactly what the doctors and researchers say it will do.

Comment Re:I get it but... (Score 1) 83

Science is done for science's sake. You would be hard pressed to find any discovery in the field of astronomy which has led to a practical discovery (I won't say there is none, because I'm sure someone can come up with an example.) Who cares about the atmosphere of Venus, or the structure of the Sun? The point is, we do science for its own sake, and when it leads to a discovery, that's nice, but hardly the goal.
Software

Submission + - Open source software for experimental physics 1

jmizrahi writes: "I've recently started working in experimental physics. There are quite a few programs used in the lab, for assorted purposes--Labview, Igor, Inventor, Eagle, just to name a few. I've noticed that they're all proprietary. This seems to be standard practice, which surprised me. Does anybody know of any open source software intended for scientific research? Does anybody work in a lab that makes an effort to use open source software?"

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