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Comment Learn to use your F1 key (Score 1) 84

Mathematica syntax is actually quite easy once you get used to it. This is enhanced enormously by the excellent help/reference/tutorial database. Can't remember the syntax for a certain command? Curious about options? Need a similar command but can't remember/don't know it? Highlight your command and hit F1. Takes all of about 2 seconds, and you have all the requisite knowledge to construct some pretty sophisticated functions. I'm a physics student, and I've used Mathematica extensively for both quick and dirty and more involved numerical work, and in this respect its proved invaluable. My one reservation is that it's handling of procedural programming blows-- sometimes I wish I knew C better than I do...

Comment Someone who has actually worked a DARPA contract: (Score 2, Interesting) 302

DARPA is the canonical "high risk, high reward" agency. Sure some of their funded proposals/contracts sound bat shit insane, but what if this actually succeeds? This is, after all, the organization that brought us the precursor to the internet and the predator drone. A pilot-less combat plane you say? Blasphemy. Lay people exchanging information and culture near instantaneously across the world using light traveling through a cable? Apostasy. IMHO, quit whining about what in all reality is a small, small fraction of the federal budget, and focus on what really matters. And by that I mean ensuring net neutrality. =)

Comment Re:if that's true... (Score 1) 272

You know what the great thing about making absolute statements (or in your case, the insinuation) is? It only takes one counter example to prove the statement false. I played WoW for about 5 years, consistently performing at the highest levels of both PVE and PVP (top 100 world wide PVE, multiple gladiator titles). I'm also a physics major at a world class research university who has publications in a major journal. While your statement may be true of many WoW players, it's downright asinine to assume no benefits come from the game at all or that it inevitably wrecks your life. In short, I defy you, sir.

Comment Re:Critical temperature (Score 1) 72

Yeah, I figured the literature was probably fluff so I didn't even bother to track it down. It's interesting that they can't even show an expulsion of flux--my experience has been that you can take quite a few ceramics and throw them into a SQUID and see the "Meissner" effect... but when you try and measure resistivity it's always finite but measurable. Seems they didn't even get that far...

Comment Critical temperature (Score 5, Insightful) 72

Doing research in a solid state physics lab, I can tell you that this article is worth nothing without the inclusion of the critical temperature Tc at which the "superconductor" starts working. Given that its some sort of ceramic, its a class II superconductor which means that it could possibly be one of the "high Tc" superconductors, a misleading title because they do still need to be cooled with LN2 (just not liquid helium, a much more expensive/difficult prospect). If their "superconductor" only works at .7 kelvin, it's not very impressive--there are lots of materials that do that. To quote (more or less) one of my lab mates "if I dunked my cat in liquid helium, it would probably begin to superconduct." In summary, the devil is in the details.

Comment I think I have a solution (Score 5, Funny) 574

Follow me here: The average household is somewhere around 2400 square feet. Let's assume for simplicity sake that it's a box measuring 49'x49'x10'. That makes for about 6800 square feet of interior surface area. The skin depth for gold at 2.4 GHz is pretty close to 200nm, but to be sure that the vast majority of the signal is stopped lets assume a coating of 1um thickness. 6800 square feet multiplied by 1um yields a volume of about 6e-4 m^3 of gold. Multiplying this by the density of gold (~20gm/cm^3) yields about 12 kilograms of gold. The last time I checked, gold was something close to $1200 dollars an ounce, which works out to be about $508k. So all the guy really wants to do is use the settlement money to WiFi proof his house. And have a gold plated interior. And a little bit left over for hookers and blow.
Image

Man Sues Neighbor Claiming Wi-Fi Made Him Sick 574

OrangeMonkey11 writes "A Santa Fe man who claims to suffer from 'electromagnetic sensitivities' has sued his neighbor after she refused to stop using wireless devices. 59-year-old Arthur Firstenberg claims his sensitivity can be set off by cellphones, routers and other electronic devices. From the article: 'Firstenberg, 59, wanted Raphaela Monribot to limit her use of the devices. "I asked her to work with me," he said. "Basically, she refused." So he sued Monribot in state district court, seeking $530,000 in damages and an injunction to force her to turn off the electronics. "Being the target of this lawsuit has affected me very adversely," Monribot said Friday in response to e-mailed questions. "I feel as if my life and liberty are under attack for no valid reason, and it has forced me to have to defend my very basic human rights."'"
Censorship

GoDaddy Follows Google's Lead; No More Registrations In China 243

phantomfive writes "GoDaddy has announced it will no longer register domain names in China, in response to new requirements that each registrant be photographed, and their business ID number be submitted. GoDaddy's representative said, 'The intent of the procedures appeared, to us, to be based on a desire by the Chinese authorities to exercise increased control over the subject matter of domain name registrations by Chinese nationals.'"
Australia

Anti-Gamer South Australian Attorney General Quits 104

dogbolter writes "South Australian Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, infamous for the banning of R18+ rated games and the censoring of political comment in Australia, has quit. The recent South Australian election provided a massive swing against Atkinson's governing labor party. As a direct result of the South Australian election result, he is standing down. Hopefully someone with half a clue will assume the vacant post and overturn the decision to ban adult oriented computer games."

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