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Comment If you're going to do this you need "royal icing" (Score 4, Informative) 61

If you're going to do this you need something called "royal icing." Ordinary icing stays soft and goey. Royal icing hardens up almost like hard candy overnight.

Here's a decent recipe: . The reason it calls for pasturized egg whites is there's no cooking involved and raw eggs are risky. We have used powdered egg whites (reconstituted according to directions) to good effect.

Submission + - What in your house has been raptured?

elwinc writes: At first I thought the whole rapture thing was a dud, but then I realized: my kid was playing with a magnetic toy, "Ball of Whacks" and we can't find one of the pieces anywhere. It must have been raptured!! The Lord sure does work in mysterious ways... So what in your house or workplace has been raptured?

Comment Re:It's not evil. If it were, why is Skyhook OK? (Score 4, Insightful) 212

Ever wonder how a device like an ipad Touch, with no GPS, can locate itself in urban and suburban areas?

The answer is Skyhook, a company that war-drives our neighborhoods, collects WiFi info without permission, associates WiFi MACs or other identifying info with Lat. & Long. coordinates and sells a service that can tell WiFi receivers where they are.

So if it's evil for Google to war-drive and collect WiFi identifiers, shouldn't it also be evil for Skyhook?

Disclosure: I don't work for Google but a couple friends do...

Comment Re:Does not Affect Prior Art Doctrine (Score 1) 362

> Algorithms are unpatentable subject matter under 35 USC 101, so both scenarios are inapplicable. Oh really? What about SIFT (Scale Invariant Feature Transform), US patent number 6711293 ahref=> The SIFT patent cites of patents including computing the Laplacian, finding contour features, and blur difference encodings. Here's what happened -- someone invented the silicon compiler. Suddenly an algorithm and an apparatus are the same thing. boom!

Comment Re:And let's just clarify: screening = deterrence (Score 1, Troll) 609

The TSA has not yet caught a single terrorist attempting to get on a plane.

Nice straw man. Sure, comments like this pass for "reason" on Rush Limbaugh, but I thought slashdot was slightly higher caliber.

The purpose of screening is deterrence. Let me repeat that: the screening is there to deter, not capture, terrorists. Take for example the famous "underwear bomber" of last Xmas. Even Bruce Schneier, vocal critic of the TSA, admits that airport security helped foil the underwear bomber.

From the link: "In order to get through airport security, Abdulmutallab -- or, more precisely, whoever built the bomb -- had to construct a far less reliable bomb than he would have otherwise; he had to resort to a much more ineffective detonation mechanism. And, as we've learned, detonating PETN is actually very hard."

Admittedly, it's easier to count angels on the head of a pin than deterred terrorists, but the underwear bomber was truly foiled by airport security, and his failure surely adds to the deterrence power of airport security.

Comment Re:Sigh, more Christian bashing. (Score 1) 474

Unfortunately, nowhere in the Bible does Satan ever have a trident. But this is Slashdot... sigh let the Christian bashing begin if it must! :(

True. However, the Book of Revelations does refer to Satan's realm as Hades. The early Christians carried a lot of baggage from ancient Rome and thereby from ancient Greece. The Roman god of the underworld, Pluto (Greek = Hades) was frequently depicted carrying a bident - a two pronged staff. As any reader of the Percy Jackson series knows, the trident is carried by Hades' brother, the god of the sea (Roman name = Neptune, Greek = Poseidon).

Since Pluto/Hades was the god of the underworld, he became associated with Satan in many early Christians' minds, and the Book of Revelations referred to the underworld as Hades. At some point, for reasons unknown to me, some depictions of Pluto/Hades began to carry the trident. I guess it's cooler. Or maybe crueler. Hence the Satan - trident connection.

"Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him." Revelation 6:8, New International Version, also New American Bible.

"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death." Revelation 20:14, New International Version, also New American Bible.

For another fine example of the early Christians inheriting from the ancient Romans and Greeks, take a look at the 1633 trial of Galileo for heresy for suggesting that his observations prove the Earth revolves around the Sun. The bible never says explicitly that the Sun revolves around the Earth (though the creation story is implicitly terracentric), but the Church, through its tradition of Scholasticism, was at the time still committed to many of the theories of Aristotle who explicitly supported the implicit terracentrism of the bible. Aristotle/Scholasticism won the early rounds, but today Galileo and the scientific method are the heavyweight tag-team champs, and the Catholic church has admitted is error vis-a-vis Galileo.

Comment Re:Even so! Can you spot the trend? (Score 1) 521

More figures, all from 2007, comparing the USA to developed western nations with national health care. See for infant mortality and life expectancy; see for costs. im = infant mortality, L= life expectancy.

United States L= 78.0, im= 6.4, cost $7290, 16.0% of GDP
Canada L= 80.3, im= 4.6, cost $3895, 10.1% of GDP
Austria L= 79.2, im= 4.5, cost $3763, 10.1% of GDP
United Kingdom L= 78.7, im= 5.0, cost $2992, 8.4% of GDP
Denmark L= 78.0, im= 4.5, cost $3362, 10.4% of GDP
Finland L= 78.7, im= 3.5, cost $2840, 8.2% of GDP
France L= 79.9, im= 4.2, cost $4763, 11.0% of GDP
Germany L= 79.0, im= 4.1, cost $3527, 10.4% of GDP
Greece L= 79.4, im= 5.3, cost $2727, 9.6% of GDP
Italy L= 79.9, im= 5.7, cost $2686, 8.7% of GDP
Norway L= 79.7, im= 3.6, cost $4763, 8.9% of GDP
Spain L= 79.8, im= 4.3, cost $2671, 8.5% of GDP
Sweden L= 80.6, im= 2.8, cost $3323, 9.1% of GDP
Switzerland L= 80.6, im= 4.3, cost $4417, 10.8% of GDP
Ireland L= 77.9, im= 5.2, cost $3424, 7.6% of GDP
Portugal L= 77.9, im= 4.9, cost $2150, 9.9% of GDP

USA is not worst in class; Ireland and Portugal both have slightly lower life expectancy.

The study cited in TFA only discusses US citizens 65 and above, i.e. those benefiting from nationalized public health care in the form of Medicare. I think the data unequivocally says that people with life-long national health care almost always live longer, and get much more bang for their health care buck.

Comment Re:Well, duh, it's when Medicare kicks in! (Score 5, Insightful) 521

Overall, life expectancy in Canada and Britain exceed life expectancy in the USA.

Canadian life expectancy = 80.3 years, UK ife expectancy = 78.7 years, and US life expectancy = 78.0 years (in 2007) according to and that's because Canada and the UK have life-long public health care.

But when medicare starts to cover US citizens at age 65, suddenly US citizens have a much better outlook. US citizens lucky enough to survive until age 65 and receive medicare coverage have a longer life expectancy than their British peers.

Actually, if you go back and study the data at and you'll discover that the US has both higher infant mortality and lower life expectancy than Canada and almost every developed European democracy (even Germany who absorbed the disaster known as East Germany a few decades back). For what its worth, the US also pays much more per capita for their lower life expectancies. I wonder if this data would change anyone's mind about the benefits of health care reform...

Comment Re:Same test for both groups (Score 1) 115

I think part of the issue here is that IQ tests do not actually measure what they purport to measure. In other words, IQ is supposed to be an innate and immutable indicator of a person's ability. But whatever it is that IQ tests measure, that measurement can be changed by education and cultural circumstances. IQ is supposed to be purely about ability, but in fact it is very much about achievement. And the latest generation of 70 year olds have achieved more, so they score better.

Comment Re:Root Cause Analysis Fail (Score 1) 439

The words that jumped out at me were "prescheduled programming." It sounds like cable card folks still won't have access to on-demand programming. Probably a quarter of our watching is "free" on-demand (i.e. no additional cost), and access to on-demand is a major component of our choice of cable box.

If the FCC isn't going to require that cable card customers also get access to on-demand programming, they haven't fixed much of anything.


IBM's Plans For the Cell Processor 124

angry tapir writes "Development around the original Cell processor hasn't stalled, and IBM will continue to develop chips and supply hardware for future gaming consoles, a company executive said. IBM is working with gaming machine vendors including Nintendo and Sony, said Jai Menon, CTO of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, during an interview Thursday. 'We want to stay in the business, we intend to stay in the business,' he said. IBM confirmed in a statement that it continues to manufacture the Cell processor for use by Sony in its PlayStation 3. IBM also will continue to invest in Cell as part of its hybrid and multicore chip strategy, Menon said."

Comment Re:one step closer to drive thru degrees (Score 4, Insightful) 371

???? What drive thru degrees????? Many of my grad level courses involved final projects instead of exams. There's still a huge crunch at the end of semester, but it's about the project instead of the exam. Exams are useful for testing theoretical knowledge in mature fields -- such as diff eq or stochastics -- but projects are better tests of applying said theoretical knowledge in an emerging field that a seminar might cover.

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