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Comment eye contact is cultural (Score 1) 272

Other cultures have different rules on eye contact. In the second part of the study when they measured where people looked the most, the people were looking at the eyes. It's hardly surprising that if you make the bits that people focus on look more artificial, they think the whole model looks artificial.

If they had done this test in a different country where people don't make eye contact then the results might have been different.

Comment Re:Chance of cancer (Score 1) 728

Those figures are wrong. They're based on several false assumptions. The chances of cancer aren't known and neither are the chances of the scanners leading to birth defects.

Also it's not true that the radiation risks from being at a high altitude are more than the risks from the back scatter machines. At high altitude, you're inside a plane and the fuselage protects you. In fact in a normal x-ray they use a sheet of aluminum to filter out the back scatter rays. (They do this because they're concerned about the health effects).

Anyway, it will take some years before we can start measuring the increased rate of birth defects. I don't care about the privacy issues, but the health concerns are real so I won't be going through the back scatter machines.

Comment The radiation concerns are real (Score 1) 297

The TSA has been fairly successful at portraying people who worry about X-rays in the same way as people who worry about cell phone radiation.

They say that these X-rays are:
1) "soft" X-rays
2) they only go through a tiny layer of skin and soft tissue
3) if you're in an air plane then you are getting cosmic radiation anyway and you don't worry about that.

But actually the hard x-rays at the dentist are absorbed by your teeth. No one gets tooth cancer. But soft tissue like your skin and breasts do get cancer. Your balls are seldom exposed to radiation so no one knows if your balls get cancer or if it makes you impotent or means your kids have birth defects or what happens. The fact that it gets absorbed in a small area of your body means that while it's a small dose, it's very concentrated in areas where you don't want to get cancer. If you're on a plane and this radiation was coming from the space then the fuselage would absorb almost of it.

The X-ray scanners work like the TV at your grand parents house. It scans a beam of X-rays and creates a picture. You know how your grand parents put up with a lousy picture instead of getting a new TV? The TSA is like that. These guys aren't trained radiologists. They'll live with a degraded picture instead of wondering if it's giving you too high a dose of radiation.

X-rays really are quite a different thing from cell phone radiation. It's true that most scientists don't think cell phones cause cancer, but these are a different thing and the TSA is being dishonest here. If the protest succeeded or if it didn't succeed doesn't matter. I'm not going to go through the scanners until you people have beta tested it.

Comment Re:I've got a BETTER emergency rule for you... (Score 2, Insightful) 436

The kids are all foreign. When they all go home, we won't have anything left at all.

If we didn't drive them out, they would say here. You're right that we should eliminate the H1-B visas, instead we should just let the smart people live here indefinitely.

The mere act of immigrating means that you are willing to take risks and try new things. That you are willing to make sacrifices. That you are highly motivated. These are the people we need to build the economy.

Unfortunately, the H1-B visa is business unfriendly because it doesn't let immigrants create their own start-ups. It's also worker unfriendly. H1-B workers know they have can't afford to get fired so they take all kinds of abuse at work. And we have to do it too because we have to compete with them.

When we boot them out of the country, most of them don't go home. Once they have immigrated the first time, it's easy to do it again. Most go to Canada, Germany or Switzerland. They only go home when they want to. But when they do you're right that we're screwed. These days anything can be made anywhere and sold anywhere. They'll compete with us directly. They'll have a lower cost of living. They'll pay taxes to their government instead of to ours. When our company goes out of business, we'll have to learn Mandarin or retire early.

Comment Re:Not really, no (Score 1) 249

These days most of Africa has pretty OK water. Governments and NGOs have put wells everywhere. I've drank water from hundreds of villages across southern Africa and I didn't get any sicker than when I only drank bottled water.

The locals are often paranoid about their water. They'll boil city water, or in Zambia they mix Klorin[tm] into it.

I drink filtered water at home because it's no work, but if I were visiting someone's house I'd be fine with drinking whatever water they drink.

Except if it comes from a river. Only drink well water or tap water. Never drink water from a river.

And the can't hurt you. Except for the raw beaf in Ethiopia. It's risky to eat raw beaf, but it's good to try new things. :)

Comment Re:What are they afraid of? (Score 2, Informative) 134

I live in Zambia so I mostly know that area of Africa. The US was sponsering wars in Mozambique, Angola and Zaire as part of the cold war efforts.

Also the if you look at Sudan the civil war with the south and the current crisis in Darfur are funded by European oil interests. Read up on the story of Tiny Roland. He made his money by funding rebel movements in exchange for land and minerals. He was a large SPLA funder.

There is also a dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea funded by oil. The US is the largest foreign investor in that country.

Comment It's the long delays that annoy people (Score 1) 148

We all know that security researchers are drama queens. As soon as they find a bug, they want to get a bull-horn out and start crowing about it.

Microsoft on the other hand says that if you don't keep it secret for months or even years then you are a bad person and will try to get you fired.

What they should do is just pay a $100 per day for keeping it secret until the bug is fixed. That way even if you don't get bragging rights, you get a pay check.

Signing a non-disclosure agreement like this is pretty normal. It's a part of most businesses but no one wants to do it for free.

The Courts

SCO v. Novell Goes To the Jury 67

Excelcia writes "Closing arguments in the six and a bit year old slander of title case between SCO and Novell occurred today and the case is finally in the hands of the jury. It's been an interesting case, with SCO alternately claiming that the copyrights to UNIX did get transferred to them, and that the copyrights should have been transferred to them. 'Judge Ted Stewart said, after the jury left to begin to deliberate, that in all his years on the bench, he's never seen such fine lawyering as in this case.' We're not going to find out the results until at least Tuesday, however, as one juror is taking a long weekend. Great lawyering notwithstanding, we can all hope next week that the Energizer bunny of all spurious lawsuits will finally go away."

Comment Test (Score 1) 18

I'm going to test out the comments feature as well to make sure everything is working...

Yup. Looks Ok.

Comment Re:To Err is Human--to Persist is Microsoft? (Score 1) 842

There is no wifi in East Africa. You're wrong that laying cables is unimportant and also wrong that it's not happening.

When I traveled in Ethiopia they had 200 day labourers digging ditches for fibre optic cables to Kenya. On the Kenyan side it's mechanized and faster. One night I camped next to a huge pile of fibre optic cables higher than my head. In Zambia as well they are laying cable everywhere. It's very exciting.

Comment Re:Good! (Score 1) 68

From the guardian article, they're projecting that biogas will be cheaper.

"What's more, aside from the intial set-up costs, we expect to see an average saving of 0.40 per litre of fuel (based on an average diesel price of 0.67 per litre compared with biomethane at 0.27 per litre)".

Of course, 200 buses is quite a small scale operation, but it's still very cool.


Submission + - Crystalspace 1.0 released

Qbertino writes: The high-end open-source 3D engine Crystalspace has reached Version 1.0. From the website: "After almost 10 years of development we finally release Crystal Space and Crystal Entity Layer 1.0!" Crytalspace has several sub-projects: A game engine called CEL, a scripting exstension for that game engine called Cellstart, and CrystalCore, a single-player FPS Demo-Game built to show off Crystalspaces features. Crystalspace is generally considered a modern and extremely powerfull 3D engine and allready is in use in commercial products.
The Media

Submission + - High Tech Search for Jim Gray

necro81 writes: The NY Times has an article describing the high-tech involvement of Silicon Valley in the search for computer scientist Jim Gray, who went missing while sailing last week. High-resolution satellite images of the 132,000 sq. mi. search area were requisitioned from DigitalGlobe, and volunteers are pouring over them through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Affluent dot-com'ers with small aircraft have searched the coastline. "'It wouldn't have surprised me to get a brush off [from the Coast Guard],' Professor [James] Frew said. 'They're professionals, and they know what they're doing, and here comes this army of nerds, bashing down the doors. But they've dealt with us very nicely.'"

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