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Comment Re: about a "dumbphone"? - Nokia 1280, shop in UK (Score 1) 111

The Nokia 1280 has been originally designed for India and some of the East African Markets (hence, Swahili as one of the languages selectable for the menus).

The Nokia 1280 is readily available in a number of case colours in the U.K. these days (around 23 pounds).
I bought my Nokia 1280 in Germany, where just the black variety seems to be available (between 26 and 30 euros).

And for the original poster who mentioned the Motophone (which was called the Motorola F3 hereabouts):

Among other things, I especially like the 1280's black-and-white display.
Another very simplistic but well made phone with a black-and-white display is the Motorola W156. It can still be bought in Germany, maybe in other European markets as well (around 30 euros). I have a W156 here as a fallback option to the 1280, but the Nokia doesn't show any weaknesses. ;-)

The Moto W156 does not have the unique electrophoretic display technology like the Motophone. So it does not offer the F3's exceptional battery time, but when it comes to reading or writing SMS or just to looking at a long international telephone number, it's advantage W156 (which still has very good battery time).

Comment Re:Isn't this (Score 1) 164

The growth of a black hole is a process that takes place on a completely different time scale than the evaporation of the black hole as proposed by Hawking.

The eventual evaporation of a black hole of astronomical size will take many magnitudes more time than the one that has passed since the Big Bang.

Comment Re:Con CERN (Score 1) 164

It's the mass to size ratio that is relevant here.

If you manage to compress an object the mass of the Himalayas (i.e. a minuscule mass on an astronomical scale) way down to the size of an elementary particle, you end up with a black hole in your laboratory. Enjoy, but enjoy quick, as the thing will start to eat your laboratory immediately...

Should you prefer to make a black hole out of Grandpa's old lawn mower instead, just make sure to compress it down to a far, far tinier size than you'd have compressed the Himalayans to. A nice little black hole will be the reward for your efforts...

Comment $30 million for 30,000 iPads? (Score 1) 232

That's a refreshing $1,000 a pop.

Wasn't "high volume purchase" meant to work the other way, originally?

Did I just miss another great innovation by Pearson and Apple, along the lines of
"The more you buy, the higher the per-item price"?

Not to mention the fact that iPads are, by design, nearly non-repairable. What a bad idea to give such an example of non-sustainability to young people these days.

Not to mention that an all purpose computing platform, like a netbook, with a choice of OSes and application software (preferably OSS/FOSS), not just single task "apps", would render a better service to high school students

Comment Re:You may cross alive (Score 1) 412

This theory has some merit as the universe itself is a black hole from a certain point of view.

Care to explain this a little better?

One of the top experts in the field (maybe Leonard Susskind?) put it once that some of the most essential characteristics of a black hole the size (and the mass etc.) of the universe would be exactly the same as those of the universe itself.

So, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, maybe one could say:

"A black hole the size of the universe would be indistinguishable from the universe itself."

Comment Re:Gravitational tides will kill you (Score 1) 412

Tidal forces depend on the size (and thus, on the density or compactness) of the black hole being approached.

If the black hole is a big one (i.e., not a very dense one), like the one that probably is sitting at the center of our galaxy, an astronaut falling into it would only start feeling tidal effects long after having passed the event horizon, being eventually killed already far inside the black hole..

On the other hand, if the black hole is a small (and thus a compact) one, like one having just a couple of masses of our sun, the astronaut would painfully experience the tidal forces long before he (or she) passed the black hole's event horizon, probably being killed before even having reached the horizon, still outside the black hole.

Comment Quote from the Terms of Service, USPS: (Score 0) 1121

"Note that we are not prepared to render equal services to the religious and the infidels.
However, the fees we will charge to the religious and the infidels are exactly equal, though.

May at least one of the gods officially approved by USPS be with you, if not all of them.

Services Justification Service Dept.,
United States Postal Service."

Comment Re:Or IS there even a genetic test?. (Score 1) 626

IANAG (as in "I am not a geneticist"), but -

I wonder if this 100 percent genetical identicality might be just the "start condition" for twins and some (albeit tiny) differences between them might still develop over the years?

Perhaps such minimal differences just occur in some more "peripheral" tissues of the twins' organisms, like skin cells oder bodily fluids?

If so, a valid and reliable test procedure for this case would require very finely tuned levels of discrimination and would be non-standard (maybe not even related to common DNA analysis) and according to this, very expensive, like the article said.

Comment Re:Automation and Unemployment (Score 1) 602

But there is a hypothetical case where everything we need can be made by robots, even the robots. In that case we would need a new economic system to distribute wealth.

Agreed, full-heartedly.
In addition to this, some adjustments to the legal system will be necessary as well.

As the French writer Anatole France put it in 1894, in a pretty cynical way:
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

The alternative to these adjustments (in fact, a lot more than just that, of course), to quote from a posting above, by Mr. Tom Guycot:

The only other option is the one we're currently going down, which is that of some kind of sci fi dystopian corporate future with massive slums/even greater prison population (maybe they'll just start merging them)

Comment Re:a thing of beauty? (Score 1) 438

But that thing looks like the Staten Island Ferry. A nice one, but a ferry none the less.

I just went to Google, typed in yachts and hit image. There were some truly beautiful boats; sail and powered. Steve Jobs was NO boat designer.

Philippe Starck isn't, either.

The stern of the vessel has obviously been designed with later alternative purpose use in mind.

So she might end up as a luxury ferry boat delivering services exclusively for owners of eight and twelve cylinder cars (Bugattis, Porsches, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, you name it) between some of the most fashionable sea side locations of the world, such as Hyannis Port and Biarritz were in their days.

Maybe one of the princes in the Persian Gulf area wants to run a ferry between Dubai and Kuwait, who knows? Just cut a wide enough opening into the stern of the hull, Philippe Starck will again be pleased to help with the aestetics, I am sure.

The thing is dead ugly.

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