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Comment Re:Gyroscopic effect? (Score 1) 197

If the flywheel is horizontal, it will strongly resist roll (where a car's weight moves to the outer wheels on a corner), and may improve handling significantly.

If the flywheel is vertical (very unlikely), the car will resist turning and have very poor handling.

Conservation of angular momentum is the same force that makes bikes easy to balance (slow to fall over) when they're moving.

With a spinning wheel, rotating the axis (axle) towards the plane of the wheel is hard, but rotating around the axis offers no resistance.

More reading.

Comment Re:Consistent Histories? (Score 1) 365

That sounds right to me.

The interpretation I like is that the superposition of states simply gets larger and encompasses the person doing the measuring. The person themselves is then in a superposition, each part believing a certain measurement was recorded.

This is just an interpretation (the "many worlds" theory) -- I don't think it can be tested any more than the fact "God"(s) exists can.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging Least Influential

theodp writes: In the world envisioned by Microsoft's just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or even $25 for the identical item based on the influence they wield — better start accepting those Facebook friend requests! A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called 'influence and exploit' strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (pdf). By the way, the invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates' pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics, kids!

Comment One more small step... (Score 1) 96

Apart from the implications this might have for classical electronics, the long-term goal here is to build solid-state quantum computing devices. The phosphorus donor has one lonely electron, and that electron's spin is a good candidate for a qubit. One of the good things about P in Si is the long decoherence times -- T2 times of almost one second have been demonstrated. The phosphorus' nuclear spin of 1/2 stays coherent for hours, if we can find a way to get at it.

Of course, the NIST guys with their ion traps have demonstrated several interacting qubits, but perhaps P in Si chips might be useful as a more stable, more scalable, cheaper or smaller alternative.

Submission + - Firefox Prompts to Disable Microsoft .NET Addon

ZosX writes: "Around 11:45 PM (Eastern time for those that care), I was prompted by Firefox that it had disabled the addons that Microsoft includes with .NET. Specifically the .NET Framework Assistant and the Windows Presentation Foundation. Citing that the "following addons have been known to cause stability or security issues with Firefox." Thanks mozilla team for hitting the kill switch and hopefully this will get Microsoft to release a patch sooner for the millions of poor souls that are too unfortunate to be aware of faster, more secure alternatives to their precious Internet Explorer. (Is it possible to troll for IE apologists on slashdot?)"

Comment Re:Long Weekend (Score 1) 341

The kicking and punching stopped only when it became apparent that all the mob was attacking was itself. And, since the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters, it was never very clear to anyone what had happened.

--Maskerade, Terry Pratchett

The intelligence of that creature known as a crowd is the square root of the number of people in it.

--Jingo, Terry Pratchett

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FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: #44 Zebras are colored with dark stripes on a light background.