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Comment Re:Alternative Bling (Score 1) 101

I'm not an expert in chemistry (I'm an electrical engineer by trade), but I would think that if the carbon was formed into a real diamond, it wouldn't break apart easily. Each carbon atom in a diamond is linked to four others nearby in a tetrahedral shape. This makes for a very strong bond. Graphite, by contrast, consists of carbon atoms linked to only three neighboring atoms in a sort of hexagon-tile sheet. This makes it pretty easy for them to break apart.

Here's more on synthetic diamonds and here's the website of a company that makes them.

Comment Alternative Bling (Score 1) 101

A more expensive post-cremation...procedure...I've heard about is a company that takes your ashes and subjects them to intense pressures for days (maybe even weeks). After the process is done, you're left with a rough diamond, which is (reportedly) tinted blue because of the composition of your body. Costs thousands of dollars, but then you get a new existence as a sparkly piece of carbon.

Comment What is Innovation? (Score 2, Interesting) 378

All this discussion and debate over innovation begs a question (perhaps in true Socratic style): what is innovation?

There are products being released every year that one-up their predecessors in terms of features, appeal, and usability. Is this innovation? To some extent, I would admit that it is a form of innovation; ideas are being created and (re)combined to produce new and (sometimes) wonderful things.

At the same time, it is my opinion that none of this "Apple vs Microsoft vs Google vs {fill in the blank}" is truly groundbreaking innovation. What technology has been produced that has fundamentally altered the way the world works? Some of the things that come to my mind when that question hits are the printing press, electricity, the telephone, manned flight, wireless communications, the integrated circuit, and the internet.

What technology has been invented/produced recently (say, a decade or so) that has made such a fundamental shift as these? (Honestly, if you can think of one, please post a reply. I'd love to hear your opinion)

Comment Anonymity (Score 1) 355

One thing that would prevent the dissemination of fingerprints to authorities would be to hash the output of the mathematical fingerprint transform. Like passwords on a Linux box, a hash will (almost always) allow an instance of a fingerprint to be matched to a person without giving the exact fingerprint itself. In addition, don't store any other data about the person. To resolve late fines/missing books, require all graduating students to go to the library one last time and get a sort of "This person returned all their stuff" slip signed by a librarian (which, of course, would require said person to return all their books and pay their fines).

(Am I missing anything?)

Comment Re:Scary indeed! (Score 1) 140

I don't think it is either an "awesome museum" or "crappy amusement park." I would call it an awesome fun-house/jungle-gym with some museum qualities about it. If you would stop running & climbing like crazy for a second and look around, a lot of older industrial themes are present. Add two jet fighters and other add-ons and it definitely has a bit of a museum air about it. It is definitely not the type of museum that you would visit to learn a lot about a given topic (maybe in this case the limitations of your body). However, compared to other amusement parks, the value of admission is well worth it (personal experience). Just bring sturdy clothes and schedule a massage for the next day.

Comment Related Technology (Score 1) 56

There is a related technology that shows great promise for rural medicine, especially in poor and remote places. The concept is based around a small, chemically-treated piece of paper (okay, not technically just a piece of paper, but it helps to visualize it that way) about the size of a postage stamp. A small sample of urine or blood (depending on the type of test) is placed on a receptor point and the blood is sucked across traces to several pads with special chemicals. These chemicals act as basic tests. For example, two urine tests could be for glucose levels and protein levels. The pads will change colors across a spectrum, giving a range of possible readings for each test. The pad can then be photographed with, say, a cellphone with a higher-resolution camera, then that picture can be sent to a computer elsewhere for analysis. The tests themselves are ridiculously cheap compared to typical 1st-world lab tests.

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