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Comment Re:"Most" doesn't mean "very". (Score 1) 465

Overall a good summary, but it was IBM that inspired "FUD", not Microsoft.

IBM is (AFAIK) not especially evil anymore, but they were deeply evil and hated in the 60s and 70s. Microsoft took over from them like a runner taking the baton in a relay race.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt#Definition

Biotech

Scientists To Breed the Auroch From Extinction 277

ImNotARealPerson writes "Scientists in Italy are hoping to breed back from extinction the mighty auroch, a bovine species which has been extinct since 1627. The auroch weighed 2,200 pounds (1000kg) and its shoulders stood at 6'6". The beasts once roamed most of Asia and northern Africa. The animal was depicted in cave paintings and Julius Caesar described it as being a little less in size than an elephant. A member of the Consortium for Experimental Biotechnology suggests that 99% of the auroch's DNA can be recreated from genetic material found in surviving bone material. Wikipedia mentions that researchers in Poland are working on the same problem."
Space

A Hyper-Velocity Impact In the Asteroid Belt? 114

astroengine writes "Astronomers have spotted something rather odd in the asteroid belt. It looks like a comet, but it's got a circular orbit, similar to an asteroid. Whether it's an asteroid or a comet, it has a long, comet-like tail, suggesting something is being vented into space. Some experts think it could be a very rare comet/asteroid hybrid being heated by the sun, but there's an even more exciting possibility: It could be the first ever observation of two asteroids colliding in the asteroid belt."
Idle

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Comment string theory vs. standard model (Score 1) 236

A modified standard model works for me

Of course it does. That's like saying that digital electronics theory works for you, no need to bother with analog electronics theory.

True, yet digital is nonetheless based on analog.

I'm by no means the biggest advocate of string theory, but obviously it is intended (regardless of its current incompleteness) to be a deeper level of description of the universe than is the standard model.

Even if string theory (or loop quantum gravity or spin foams) eventually succeeds at being a good theory of everything, it is quite possible, even likely, that it will continue to be more practical for most purposes to work in terms of a modified standard model.

We still make heavy use of Newtonian physics, after all.

But that doesn't mean that a theory of everything is pointless; its purpose is not identical to that of simplified working models.

Comment $200 sound card? (Score 1) 84

Years ago I knew why some premium sound cards were worth the money, but I've long since lost track of the marketplace (aside from reading various things in the last year about old versus current versus upcoming Linux sound support).

So I'm curious, what do you get on today's systems that makes it worthwhile to pay $200 for a sound card?

I had the feeling it was no longer for wavetable, nor for number of bits of d-to-a conversion. Is it 7.1 surround, or what?

Comment Re:This NOT already done (Score 1) 183

Since you posted as AC and I'm answering 10 days later, you probably won't see this, but for the hell of it: I maxed out on karma years ago, back when they still displayed it numerically.

That means that it's likely that my karma will never change to speak of (since I'm not planning to ruin it with a career of trolling), so it's questionable what "karma whoring" even means, under those circumstances.

I was just peeved at the incorrect claims endlessly repeated, so I made multiple corrections rather than just one.

I did get modded down for redundancy, understandably, and that seems the more apt term. FWIW.

Comment Re:This NOT already done (Score 1) 183

Sorry for the delay in answering. You raise some interesting issues, not all of which are answerable given the state of the art, as I understand it at least.

On the subject of noise, there are very strong theoretical reasons (e.g. Shannon's theorem) to think that noise in a channel in the same mode as the information modulation is an absolute limit to the rate of data transmission in that channel using that mode of modulation

The bolded caveats are important. Noise present only in one channel doesn't affect information transmission in a different channel (e.g. one channel using radio, a second using optical). Approximately white noise in the amplitude domain has limited impact on frequency domain modulation (to a first loose approximation), which is why phase locked loops manage the apparent magic of being able to track FM signals below the noise floor.

Little is known about sources of noise in this new OAM channel. Certainly nature must produce *some* noise there (due to various fundamental principles), but it is likely IMHO to decrease with increasing OAM energy (see the history of physics topic "ultraviolet catastrophe" to see why). But we have much to learn; we shall see.

As to single photon RF systems and exotic technology, well, we're certainly talking about a very exotic technology here, so I wouldn't worry about exotic-ness. :-)

Finally, as to photon counting versus group ensemble production/detection in other regards, that's something interesting to ponder. I have a dozen half-baked thoughts on the subject, but mostly they are about various kinds of tradeoffs and circumstances, rather than about a rule of thumb concerning maximizing data rate. Instead of trying to to verbalize all that, I'll just say that I don't know.

Comment Re:This NOT already done (Score 1) 183

Thanks. :-)

Usually I and others will just make a correction once, and shrug off repetition of nonsense (although I must admit a lot of it was unusually erudite nonsense), but I got peeved this time.

It's been a pet topic, ever since I heard a little tidbit about it years ago I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it finally did (a bit, anyway), but what I thought was some of the coolest news of the century was swamped by noise. Argh!

Comment Re:NOT 140 years late (Score 1) 183

"I looked at it. It looks like they're using an interferometer to gauge degrees of polarization."

Well, you're contradicting them. Look at the left side of the page; there's an animation of polarized light.

Look at the right side of the page; there's an animation of light with orbital angular momentum.

Look at the text in between the right and the left, explaining how polarization is different than OAM, and that what they are doing is the latter, not the former.

Now pretend they're lying, is that your plan? Their page is unambiguous, so I don't know what you think you'll accomplish by stubbornly misinterpreting it.

I agree that Shannon steps in with random noise; no one said differently.

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