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Comment Seconded! (Score 4, Insightful) 163

A story worthy of slashdot. Please post more of these (not being sarcastic).

I second this.

I'm adequately supplied with political stories, you can get those anywhere. Stories that raise the indignation level are also common - "oh! how unjust that is!".

When you have stuff that nerds find interesting that you don't see everywhere else, nerds will come here to see it.

Comment Re:Foam/warpage (Score 1) 62

If only we had large machines that monitored the production products of matter-antimatter reactions in detail millions of times a second.

In order to test the OP's conjecture, you have to actually look for effects he is talking about. None of the big-iron systems have been looking for this effect.

Do you have a paper or citation link? I'd be very interested in any study that looked for effects due to the non-homogenoius distribution of dark matter.

Submission + - James Bond Likely To Die An Early Death Of Alcoholism, Study Finds (

Okian Warrior writes: Forbes magazine reports that three British scientists studying drinking habits have concluded that James Bond was indeed a raging alcoholic.

The study further notes: "Bond’s drinking would have led some serious long-term ramifications since it puts him into the level-3 category, “the highest risk group for malignancies, depression, hypertension, and cirrhosis. He is also at high risk of suffering from sexual dysfunction, which would considerably affect his womanising.” They give him a life expectancy of just 56 years."

Comment Re:Better ideas anyone? (Score 5, Informative) 393

I could empty an AR-15 w/30 rounds from inside an airliner flying at 30K feet, reload, do it again, and still not depressurize the cabin to any serious extent as long as no windows were blown out. I serviced/repaired aircraft for a living.

I designed and coded the software for cabin pressurization systems used in commercial aircraft. BlueStrat is correct in all details, and if you know a little engineering you can easily convince yourself.

The cabin pressurization valve is an inflatable balloon (of sorts) sitting in an 8" diameter hole, and there are two of them. The system will easily compensate for even a large number of bullet holes in the body - 1" holes are much smaller than the area the valve system has to work with.

The pressure differential between the inside and outside can be at most 15 pounds per square inch(*). That means that a 1" hole would only present 15 lbs of force pressure on an object pressing against it, which can be easily overcome by a person. Bullet holes are much smaller than 1" diameter. Further away and the effect is negligible.

A window being shot out would not suck out a passenger. From experience, when an 8" diameter hole (the pressurization valve) is suddenly uncovered, it doesn't pull very hard on people standing near it and the pull ends almost instantly. Force isn't present for any length of time, and since F=M*A and V = A*T, you end up with very little velocity.

Sorry folks, Goldfinger doesn't get sucked across the cabin and forced through the blown-out window, and Pussy Galore doesn't have to pull the plane out of a tailspin.

(*) To reduce stress on the airframe, the cabin is depressurized as the aircraft reaches cruising altitude.This reduces the maximum differential by about 1/3.

Submission + - Russia's Dyatlov Pass Incident explained by modern science? (

swellconvivialguy writes: Fifty-five years ago today, nine young Russians died under suspicious circumstances during a winter hiking trip in the Ural mountains. Despite an exhaustive investigation and the recovery of the group’s journals and photographs, the deaths remained unexplained, blamed on “an unknown compelling force.” Now American film and television producer Donnie Eichar believes he has solved the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass Incident. Working in conjunction with scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, CO, Eichar developed a theory that the hikers died because they panicked in the face of infrasound produced by a Kármán vortex street.

Submission + - Senator Makes NASA Complete $350 Million Testing Tower That it Will Never Use

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Phillip Swarts reports in the Washington Times that NASA is completing a $350 million rocket-engine testing tower at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi that NASA doesn’t want it and will never use. “Because the Constellation Program was canceled in 2010 the A-3’s unique testing capabilities will not be needed and the stand will be mothballed upon completion (PDF),” said NASA’s inspector general. The A-3 testing tower will stand 300 feet and be able to withstand 1 million pounds of thrust (PDF). The massive steel structure is designed to test how rocket engines operate at altitudes of up to 100,000 feet by creating a vacuum within the testing chamber to simulate the upper reaches of the atmosphere. Although NASA does not expect to use the tower after construction it is compelled by legislation from Sen. Roger F. Wicker, Mississippi Republican, who says the testing tower will help maintain the research center’s place at the forefront of U.S. space exploration. “Stennis Space Center is the nation’s premier rocket engine testing facility,” says Wicker. “It is a magnet for public and private research investment because of infrastructure projects like the A-3 test stand. In 2010, I authored an amendment to require the completion of that particular project, ensuring the Stennis facility is prepared for ever-changing technologies and demands.” Others disagree calling the project the "Tower of Pork" and noting that the unused structure will cost taxpayers $840,000 a year to maintain. “Current federal spending trends are not sustainable, and if NASA can make a relatively painless contribution to deficit reduction by shutting down an unwanted program, why not let it happen?” says Pete Sepp, executive vice president of the National Taxpayers Union. “It’s not rocket science, at least fiscally.”

Submission + - Mysterious Underwater Circles Explained (

sciencehabit writes: The truth behind the mysterious underwater circles that periodically appear off the coast of Denmark has been discovered, and sadly it doesn’t involve aliens, fairies, or the fabled lost city of Atlantis. In 2008, a tourist snapped photos of several large dark rings that appeared near the white cliffs of Denmark’s island of Møn in the Baltic Sea. The circles, several as large as a tennis courts, sparked numerous theories of their origin—some more outlandish than others. In 2011, when the formations reappeared, scientists discovered they were actually round bands of marine eelgrass, similar to rings of mushrooms known as fairy rings. Because eelgrass usually grows as continuous underwater meadows, scientists were still baffled by the rims of lush eelgrass with barren cores. Now, researchers say they at last know the rings’ true cause. .

Submission + - Guess Which State Has The Highest Percentage Of Electric Cars 6

cartechboy writes: Bet you read that and instantly just blurted out California. Nope! You're wrong my friend. Yes, California makes headlines constantly for its going green initiatives, plug-in hybrids, and the stickers for the fast lane in on the highway. Surprise! It turns out the state of Washington has the largest percentage of electric vehicle sales. In fact, California isn't even in second place, that honor goes to Hawaii which pushes the electric-car friendly state of California to third place. The former two states had a 1.6 percent share of new car registrations from January through November 2013, with California on 1.4 percent. Of course, Oregon and Georgia also make the list with a 1.1 percent share. Rounding out the list we have District of Columbia, Utah, Colorado, Tennesse, and Illinois. It's worth mentioning that Tesla has now sold a car in all 50 states, though, California has been the largest market for the Tesla Model S to date. It'll likely take a while before another state catches up in that department.

Comment Like slashdot? (Score 0) 209

But of course, the server and client sides have to work together to deliver what people actually want.

You mean, like Slashdot?

Like, automatically refreshing every x minutes, jumping the page even while I'm in the middle of reading it?

Or refusing to let us link to a specific comment? (Pick any comment and try to come up with a link you can send to someone.)

Or like adding new styles and layouts that, at each iteration, reduce the information a visitor sees per page? (Reading Slashdot through an ever-dwindling portal - sort of like reading a newspaper through a straw.)

I'd mention "friends, foes, freaks, and journals, but there may be a compelling need to "unfriend" someone. I wonder how many millions of Skashdot accounts there are, and the number who actually write in their journals. You can't delete your account, because theres no need to (of course!).

Useability experts exist for a reason. Software experts don't seem to realize that other experts exist and that good systems have multiple facets of "good". Instead, it's "good software is all you need, and the more features the better."

(Tooltip: "Documentation is boring! I'll just pit up a wiki and let the users fill in pages for me.")

Comment Twenty questions (Score 4, Interesting) 206

Jeff Hawkins pointed out that the game "twenty questions" is popular and significant. In twenty yes/no questions you can identify one million objects or concepts (2^20 = 1024*1024).

He conjectured that the reason the game isn't "twenty five questions" or any other number is that the data capacity of the human brain is about this much. By the anthropic principle, we use twenty questions because a game with any other number would be too easy or hard.

(Perhaps the game is interesting because our brains hold 2 million concepts, giving the game a 50% chance of success. While arguable, this is still predicts a range of "about a million" concepts for the fully loaded brain.)

This number (and the conjecture) has stuck with me. The idea that you can build a culturally literate mind - with the ability to understand a political speech, read a newspaper article, apply for a job - would take an understanding of only about a million concepts.

Comment uh... what? (Score 0) 84

The method by which neuromorphic processors handle problems varies with the way they're linked together, as is the case with neurons in the brain.

First of all, no one knows how neurons are linked together in the brain(*).

Second of all, as far as anyone can tell, the cerebral cortex is a repeated pattern of small structures ("Cortical Columns") which are, again - as far as anyone can tell, wired identically.

There's some variation: The afferent and efferent layers have thicker neuronal sections which correspond to "amplifiers" needed to send and receive signals to the rest of the body, the pre-frontal cortex is an endpoint layer, and there's lots of organelles with connections from place to place...

But so far as anyone can tell, the seat of intelligence (cerebral cortex) is just a repeating pattern of sub-processors, functioning in a way that we haven't been able to yet fully understand.

(*) To the level of detail needed to link simulated neurons together as a program.

Comment Guaranteed income (Score 2) 343

I hope he wins. Having an independent source of income will remove a lot of stress from his life.

Prof. Farnsworth: "... that may well win me the Nobel Prize!"
Leela: "In what field?"
Prof. Farnsworth"I don't care! They all pay the same!"

"First secure an independent income, then practice virtue."

      -- Old Greek Proverb

Submission + - Predator Drone Sends North Dakota Man to Jail (

An anonymous reader writes: What do you say to a drone that makes an arrest?

“Book him, Predator?”

This was no joke for a North Dakota farmer who has the dubious honor of being the first American sentenced to prison with the assistance of a Predator drone. Rodney Brossart was sentenced to three years in prison, of which all but six months was suspended, for a June 2011 incident in which police attempted to arrest him over his failure to return three cows from a neighboring farm that had strayed on to his property.

Submission + - When does "the observed" become fact? When does data suggest "knowledge?"

An anonymous reader writes: Our eyes can be deceived, no doubt about it, but, what do we do when "data" does not fit known patterns? When does the observed turn into fact? I am sure that Ohm did enough readings on voltages and currents to say the observed turned to fact: E=IR. But, some things are not as clear as reading a meter. What do we do then? Is the observer always declared wrong, or at some point do we change the "observed" to "fact?"

Here is a story about "officials" — (as in doctors, nurses, police) who say they saw a 9 year old boy walk backwards up a wall. Do we disbelive the observers or do we somehow after enough "viewings of such events" say that it is possible to walk up a wall or be demon possessed?

Here is the story ->

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