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Comment Re:A Breathtaking Report!! (Score 4, Informative) 158

Well, ok. Though there's not much more that I could have written in that short of a space that can teach the subject.

I linked the Calgary Herald / Postmedia News article because it's an astonishingly well-written bit of science journalism that lays it all out superbly – kudos to Randy Boswell. He didn't put *exactly* the same emphasis on exactly the same things that Proemse (the principal author) would have, but it's minor. That's the "public" piece, and it's full of tons of great information.

I also linked the official research article. Unfortunately it's behind a paywall. However, if that's the kind of thing that really turns your crank you probably already have access to it one way or another (in the worst case: via a physical trip to your local university). If you can't, well, correspondence with an author is a time-honored method for obtaining your own copy.

Submission + - Global anoxia ruled out as main culprit in the P-T extinction

Garin writes: The late Permian saw the greatest mass extinction event of all-time. The causes for this extinction are hotly debated, but one key piece of the puzzle has recently been revealed: while the deep-water environments were anoxic, shallower waters showed clear signs of being oxygenated. This rules out global anoxia, and strongly suggests that other factors, such as the Siberian Traps vulcanism, must have played a dominant role.

From the article: "Rather than the direct cause of global extinction, anoxia may be more a contributing factor along with numerous other impacts associated with Siberian Traps eruption and other perturbations to the Earth system.”

See the full research article (behind a paywall) here.

Comment Re:So how does it work? (Score 1) 135

Nah, he's not wrong. But neither are you.

Seismic processing is about as embarrassingly parallel as it comes. Just about every processing step can be split up into e.g. single shot record steps, taking advantage of assumed linearity in wave equations. Furthermore, most production industrial imaging codes weren't actually using my original example of a full finite difference solution until quite recently, and instead they were using algorithms that have been developed for decades under the limitations of very old computers. Sure, some of the big shops have full blown "proper" HPC, shared-ram setups, etc. However, it's common to see much more simplistic parallelization with very ad-hoc clusters being used.

In short, there are loads of processing shops that run off-the-shelf servers on gigabit ethernet, and they do a good business with it. Heck, there are loads of processing shops out there that do a good business running relatively crude time migrations.

Comment Re:So how does it work? (Score 5, Informative) 135

Seismic imaging. Imagine solving a wave equation (acoustic, elastic, or worse) over a 3D grid many kilometers on a side with grid spacing on the order of meters. Imagine you're doing it with a strong high-order finite-difference code. Calculate for tens of thousands of timesteps. Now repeat that entire thing thousands of times for a given full survey.

No matter how much computer you have, it's never nearly enough for seismic imaging.

Comment Re:Public access? (Score 1) 135

No, the public won't see these results as a rule, at least not right away (while it's still commercially valuable to protect as a secret), though strictly speaking it depends on the countries involved. Nor would it matter for property value, as the "land owners" usually don't own the mineral rights in most places. Furthermore, this setup will be used probably mostly for marine/offshore seismic imaging, ie not much land involved.

Comment Obvious, not insightful (Score 1) 500

The fact that Facebook and Apple are Google's competitors in certain markets -- namely advertising and mobile eco-system -- doesn't diminish his point that a walled-garden, unsearchable web (Facebook) is a poor substitute for what we had 10 years ago, and that a walled-garden mobile eco-system that ties you to a single hardware vendor (Apple) is similarly no good. Google+ posts are searchable on Bing or any other search engine and if you don't link your Samsung Galaxy SII, you can replace it with an HTC Rezound or a Motorola Razr Maxx without losing your apps or data.

You haven't addressed the points he makes about Facebook and Apple, nor his concern about governments imposing restrictions on use of the internet and surveillance legislation that affects internet users' privacy. Stating that Facebook and Apple are competitors isn't insightful - it's obvious, and it doesn't invalidate his argument.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 770

Not to mention they don't cover the fact that while the 3G was updated, the updates (particularly iOS4) left it barely useable. Tap camera... wait 30s... shutter opens. Tap Maps... wait 1 min... maps crashes. Tap it again... another crash... phone starting to heat up now. At first I thought it was faulty hardware, but my wife's had essentially the same problems.


"Do Not Eat iPod Shuffle": 30 Dumb Warning Labels 143

jfruhlinger writes "You'd think that people would know electronic equipment isn't for eating, but apparently you'd be wrong. Find out what dumb things companies felt compelled to warn their customers not to do in this list compiled by JR Raphael. Some of the best include: Don't throw your mouse at a co-worker, do not attempt to stop with hands or genitals, and do not put lit candles on phone."

Submission + - Portrait of a Superproductive Programmer (

Esther Schindler writes: "Hollywood portrayals of computing superstars are more rooted in comic-book super-heroics than the realities of software development. Except that in programming, superpowers do exist. As Cameron Laird explains, Fabrice Bellard has them. Bellard is "a serial achiever," responsible for well over a dozen open source tools (such as TinyCC Boot Loader) and computer science/math OhBoy moments (he set world record for calculation of the digits of pi in 2009). This article gives an overview of Bellard's work and contemplates what makes one programmer so much more productive than another."

Submission + - Supermoon Saturday night (

watermark writes: About every 28 years a "supermoon" occurs. This is when the moon's orbit is closest to earth at the same time as a full moon. Saturday night will be the biggest, brightest full moon you will see in the next 28 years.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Wireless Voting

RabidRabbit23 writes: I volunteer for a non-profit that organizes Model UN conferences for high school students. We need a quick and low cost way to record votes done by the students in large committees. There will be two or three committees with about 200 students in each. We need to be able to record yes, no or abstention vote and must be able to identify each student's vote. We looked into radio response clickers but it is very expensive to buy 400-600 clickers. They cost about $40 at university bookstores, which is way out of our budget, but we don't know what kind of discount we could get by buying directly from the manufacturer. We do have wireless internet but we do not have enough bandwidth to support everyone using a laptop. Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions for a better way to record the students' votes?

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