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Comment Use biological *informed* systems. (Score 4, Interesting) 29

Why not design a connectomics informed system that mimics the neural retina and visual system? Something that takes the results of research like this and uses true biologically informed computing to do what neural systems are good at and silicon based systems are not so good at? After all, what they are looking at is a system that works like a retina works (more like a video camera and not a still camera), so why not go to the biology which is really good at comparing like streams of information and making like or not like decisions.

More traditional background on retinal design and research can be found here.

Comment The Internet, where else? (Score 5, Insightful) 337

Seriously though, the Internet is actually where just about everybody goes in academia to stay on top of the latest research and most areas of focus have their own resources like PubMed for biomedical research.

Also, a good way to make sure you keep up with the absolute torrent of work out there (slowing due to budget cuts) is by keeping a blog generated around the area of science interest you have. Webvision http://webvision.med.utah.edu/ is such an effort to keep up with the latest and greatest in vision research. While this one is tuned to be slightly more accessible to the general public, it has not been uncommon for other lay individuals to rapidly become "experts" in their fields through their blogs. This high school kid, Sawyer has established a blog http://www.talkingspaceonline.com/ that already has him winning awards and getting international accolades from folks like Xeni Jardin and Miles O'Brien.

Comment Re:Another angle (Score 1) 26

Yeah, I was panning in mode 2 on the lens, handheld with autofocus which is actually pretty good on the 1DMkIV.

Chad was closer with a faster, fixed focal length lens which let him use a lower ISO. The NASA guys get up close leaving the media folks and others far away.

Yes, indeed. Do let me know if you come out for Speed Week.

Comment Re:Sonic booms (Score 3, Interesting) 26

Those sonic booms were the loudest, sharpest and most clear of any I've ever heard in my life. This is due to the Shuttle being so big and having 1) a large vertical stabilizer (sonic boom) and 2) large wing surfaces (sonic boom). There is apparently a 3rd sonic boom that is sandwiched in there somewhere, but its difficult to distinguish.

Comment Rotational media (Score 4, Interesting) 397

For this project, we have multiple multi-terabyte (5-18 terabyte) datasets that need backup. We have online and offline strategies and the offline strategy is simply multiple, redundant copies on hard drives stored in static proof containers onsite and off site.

Hard drives are *very* cheap all things considered, are easy to store, take up very little physical space and if things go badly, restoring from them is faster than just about any other method. For datasets in the GB range, its a no-brainer to go with hard disks.

Comment Re:Focus stacking (Score 1) 155

Absolutely. The algorithms and principles are the same. The issue is that it tends to be more useful when your plane of focus (depth of field) is limited as it in in microscopy. You can experiment with this with an SLR camera by selecting an aperture wide open (f/1.2, 1.4 or 1.8 on a 50mm lens for instance). Take pictures of things close, mid and far away and stack the images. Works great.

As for alignment, Photoshop CS5 contains algorithms that also automatically align your images. Very useful.

Comment A stacked deck (Score 3, Informative) 176

For all of you who are pointing out, with some rightness, that Netscape Communicator 4 had quality issues - let me remind you of something.

This was the time period when Microsoft had decided to, as a Microsoft executive stated during the antitrust trial, "cut off [Netscape's] air supply". For each product Netscape was trying to make money on - web servers, proxy servers, ecommerce solutions - Microsoft was giving away a workalike product for free, funded with the earnings from Microsoft Windows.

And, at the same time, Microsoft was forcing its OEM partners to keep Netscape Communicator off the computers they sold. Any company that refused would no longer get volume licensing discounts on Windows, which would then price their computers out of the market.

So Netscape was starved for cash at the same time as it had to put in a lot of effort to keep up with the extremely-well-funded Internet Explorer. There was no way that Netscape could have survived, much less competed, against this.

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