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Space

Hayabusa Captured Asteroid Dust Confirmed 60

astroengine writes "It's been a seven-year roller-coaster ride for the asteroid sample return mission, but JAXA — the Japanese space agency — has confirmed that 1,500 particles of dust from the surface of asteroid Itokawa have been found inside the sample return capsule. The capsule parachuted to Earth shortly before the Hayabusa spacecraft reentered over the Australian Outback in June. Since then, scientists have been painstakingly analyzing the capsule's contents to make sure the dust they found wasn't terrestrial contamination. Now they are sure, making this the first time a sample has been collected from the surface of an asteroid (and only the second time a sample has been returned from a celestial object, the first being the Moon missions)."

Comment So Facebook is serving targeted advertising... (Score 1) 196

Isn't this the point of Facebook? Let's be honest, Facebook is a marketing platform that provides a social networking service in return for payment in the form of your personal information. You post information about yourself on the site, and the site serves you targeted advertising. If you tell Facebook your sexual orientation then you've outed yourself already. It would be a different story if they were analyzing your friend list and your "like" pages and deducing that you were gay. Then you'd have grounds for outrage.

Comment UN geo-engineering treaties are a good thing (Score 1) 377

I watched an interesting TED presentation a while ago about geo-engineering. The presenter pointed out that we should develop international agreements around geo-engineering to prevent one country from unilaterally deploying a solution that may benefit them but be to the detriment of the rest of the world. Not that it would stop anybody from going ahead and doing it anyways...

Comment Re:Thermal Receipts have the most BPA (Score 2, Insightful) 168

Bisphenol A is a coating painted on thermal paper that readily comes off onto your hands and will transfer onto anything you touch. This stuff must be coating everything near the cash registers at your local supermarket. There's apparently 60-100mg of Bisphenol A on the average receipt. At least in polycarbonate it's bonded into the plastic and doesn't just come out.

Comment Re:Root of the Problem (Score 2, Insightful) 477

You are being charged for text messages because it's a service that you opt to use. The cell phone companies are under no obligation to offer text messaging, much less free text messaging. They've found a product they can produce for next to nothing that people buy like hotcakes at a premium price. Nothing wrong with that.

Comment Re:Less protection for free speech? (Score 5, Insightful) 383

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees a Canadian's right to free speech, is inherently weaker than the US constitution because it contains a notwithstanding clause that allows a province to suspend many rights for 5 year periods. Quebec's language laws wouldn't stand up to a first amendment challenge in the US but it is allowed to violate the charter of rights and Freedoms in Canada because they used the notwithstanding clause.

Comment Lazy eye? not exactly. (Score 1) 386

The term lazy eye is used for a related condition called amblyopia, not strabismus itself. Strabismus causes double vision because both eyes are not aligned in a manner that allows the brain to fuse both pictures together to form a single 3D image. The brain attenuates the signal from the misaligned eye in order to reduce double vision. The reduction of vision in that eye is a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye. Since you need 2 eyes to form a 3D image, people with amblyopia have reduced depth perception.

Looking at 3D TV isn't doing to give you strabismus or amblyopia. The risk to children is that until a certain age, the section of your brain that controls 3D fusion is still developing so if they spend all their time looking crosseyed at a tv, the brain may calibrate itself to provide fusion while the eyes are crossed. That would result in double vision when the eyes are properly aligned. That's why it's important to have a child treated for strabismus as early as possible.

Comment Re:Windows Live Photo Gallery (Score 1) 326

For the average uninformed user, you have a point. However you are nowhere near correct. There's a reason all professional image management tools on the market, plus Picasa store their edits in a database. Modifying the original is extremely destructive. You can't get your image data back once you save over top your original. Every time you modify and save your data, it will degrade considerably.

Picasa maintains the original which is by definition the highest quality copy of the file. By taking the original and applying edits on the fly every time you open the file, you are assured of having the best quality image possible and the flexibility to change one of your edits. If you open a file that has been saved 5 times as a jpg then you're going to have a blurry, noisy piece of crap.

Every professional grade photo manager saves edits to a database. Your camera's vendor's raw file developer does too, although it the database is embedded in the raw file. Even Photoshop users after their 3rd day using the program don't perform edits directly on on the background layer. Picasa does this too, and it's a huge bonus. You're getting close to professional grade photo management for free.

Maybe Picasa needs to be more up front about how it's managing its edits, and provide more options to back up your catalog. The notion that Picasa should be overwriting your jpg files every time you twiddle with something is dead wrong.

Comment CISS systems and bulk ink (Score 2, Informative) 651

I resisted buying an inkjet for years, preferring instead to use an HP business laser printer. After looking at horrible Costco soft proofs for some photos I was going to print, I decided that instead of buying a $50 costco printer I'd buy a $50 inkjet printer and use after market inks.

Only suckers by genuine OEM ink. Get yourself a Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS). They're basically a bunch of dummy cartridges that connect to bulk ink tanks that sit outside the printer. A good CISS vendor such as Inkjetfly or inkrepublic will sell you inks that closely match your OEM ink for 1/10th the price. Reputable vendors even provide ICC profiles for their ink and common papers, although if you're serious you'll want to pick up something like a spyder 3 print sr that will generate your own profiles. That will effectively lower your printer costs to the price of the paper. The output on an inkjet is actually much better than someplace like Costco, and you have much more control over how your prints will come out. The downside is a CISS requires more maintenance than cartridges and can be difficult to set up.

Of course now I regret printing anything because trying to frame anything larger than 4x6 is practically impossible. Frames, mats, photo paper and your camera's frame all use incompatible aspect ratios. If you think printer ink is expensive, wait until you try to buy non-standard framing supplies!

Comment Re:Religious Viewers= $ (Score 1) 955

So the afterlife was more ridiculous than all the other ridiculous concepts like smoke monsters and time travelling islands just because you are an athiest? Come on. I'm an athiest and I just considered the whole series as rather outlandish fiction. I don't particularly care if they present a religious aspect because to me it's the same thing as any other fictional plot device.

As others have pointed out, Lost at some point reached a point where the series outlived its intended story arc and the writers scratched their head and said where can we go from here? The plot became more and more outlandish until it broke out of my suspension of disbelief and to be honest I stopped caring about the island as much. Personally I think the writers were smart to just discard the convoluted, steaming pile of dung they created and focus on wrapping up the characters. I don't think there was any way they could tie up all the loose ends with the island in a way that would satisfy people because it would clash with what they had built up in their imagination. People connected emotionally to the characters so it was a smart alternative to tie up a few loose ends and then give the characters closure.

Comment Can't avoid being rear ended at a red light (Score 1) 423

Most traffic accidents happen at a traffic light. It's good practice to leave space somewhere around the vehicle when stopped at a traffic light so that you have an escape route if you find you're about to be rear-ended. If your engine has been switched off, you lose the ability to move out of the way of the dump truck that's coming towards your vehicle.

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