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Submission + - Which weighs more, 1s or 0s? 1

tillerman35 writes: Pick a a type of storage device (hard drive, thumb drive, RAM memory chip, CD, DVD, BRD, whatever), and set every bit possible to 1, within the limits of how the device works. Would it weigh more than it would if you set all the bits to 0? Obviously if there's a difference, it wouldn't be large even if the storage device could hold terabytes. I'm not sure it would even be measurable. But in theory is there a difference, however small?

Comment This crap is why we have "Math Explorations." (Score 1) 677

I'm all for "math is cool," and "let's explore," but this guy seriously torques me off. My kids are currently suffering from the influence of people like him. They have taken the basics out of math and substituted this useless "math explorations" curriculum. Other folks have written better criticisms, but suffice it to say that the vast majority of kids don't benefit from all this "exploration" and "visualization" and the ones who do would have had those epiphanies anyway without any help whatsoever.

The BETTER way is to stick to the basics and train teachers to recognize kids who have a mathematically artistic talent and then remove them to an environment where it can flourish. That's tough for a couple of reasons. First, those kids might not actually get good grades. The author of TFA is entirely correct that the basics bore them which results in inattention and lack of motivation. Second, when they ARE good, removing them will lower the overall test scores of the class. Since teachers' pay and bonus structures are based on their students' test scores, there would be a strong monetary motivation to intentionally fail to recognize them.

Assuming that those two problems can be overcome (big assumption there), you continue to train the "artistic" kids in the basics, but only just enough to get by. The rest of the time, you motivate them in a way that would make the author of TFA happy.

The problem is, people have this wonderful but sadly mistaken belief that ALL kids can benefit from artistic mathematics when in fact most can't. Compounding the problem is the bizarre theory that teaching the artistic mathematics will somehow magically result in the basics becoming trivially easy. It doesn't. And unfortunately, our kids have to fail spectacularly in order to teach the education system this simple fact. "Luckily," that's what they're doing in droves.

Comment Not immoral to block ads. (Score 1) 615

There is no difference (other than media) between an ABP filterset and a set of pages custom-cut to fit over a particular edition of a newspaper or magazine and block the print of all advertisements therein, leaving non-advertisement text and pictures visible via cut-outs.

Let's say you obtain said magazine and page-by-age place the "PABP" (paper ad-block plus) "filters" such that you can read the entire magazine without ever setting eyes on a single advertisement. Is this illegal? Immoral? Unethical? I can't see how it is. Doesn't matter if the magazine is sold or given away for free. Once you get it, it's yours and you can look at any part of it you like.

In the paper publishing world, delivery of the "substrate" media (the magazine, newspaper, etc) is exactly equivalent to delivery of the advertising media. They cannot be separated. The advertiser, therefore, knows that his message has been delivered and counts on its positioning and his own unique presentation to make it eye-catching enough that the reader notices.

In the electronic publishing world, some genius decided to separate the advertisements from the content. Where previously it would have impossibly difficult to block the ads (who is patient enough to make a paper cut-out for every page of a magazine and carefully place it so that only the articles' text shows through?), now blocking is only a matter of applying a series of regular expressions. But the same principle applies. Once you've downloaded the "substrate" content (i.e. the pages hosting the advertisements), you are under no obligation follow any of the links. It's YOUR bandwidth, not the advertisers. If anything, the advertisers are stealing from YOU when they download commercial media without your consent.

The real problem is this: Advertisers are lazy. They are faced with a new type of media and are unwilling to invest the time and money to fully integrate the advertising with the "substrate." It's not impossible, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Look at the Hemmingway mock-prose competition that gets held every year. The contestants are required to incorporate the name of the sponsor in every submission, or the submission is disqualified. And for the price of a few trophies and a little PR, the sponsor of that contest gets amazing amounts of advertising.

Unfortunately, really integrating advertising with its "substrate" media takes a lot of thought and effort. So basically it boils down to a bunch of stupid lazy individuals who would rather point fingers at "evil users" than do their jobs. Sorry, fellas. The Whinery Tour starts every hour on the hour. Queue up under the sign with the picture of Sour Grapes.

Comment Update: Top Quark Cancels EHarmony.com Account (Score 2, Funny) 194

Rueters, Batavia IL: Citing a weak nuclear force and inability to provide satisfying quantum entanglement, a local Top Quark has cancelled his EHarmony.com account and given up on finding a paired partner. "I feel like I'm decaying into something strange. I'm down all the time. At the bottom of my barrel. It's sort of like I'm never quite sure of where I am, or where I'm going, or at least not both at the same time," said the disappointed fundamental particle of creation.

EHarmony.com representatives say they tried to talk the depressed 31x10^-33year-old, but were unable to convince him to keep his account active. "We don't offer refunds, but we did him an additional 6 femtoseconds to find that scintillating someone."

When interviewed, the parents of the particle, also expressed disappointment. "We were hoping he'd find a Jewish girl, get married, maybe give us a little boson someday. Where did I go wrong?" sobbed his mother. "He'll be fine, honey" said the quark's father, comforting his wife. "After all, we had to go through 20 billion collisions to find each other, didn't we?" The father, a well-respected lawyer and his wife, a homemaker, live in Hackensack but speak to their son regularly.

Looking at his latest matches, the Top Quark sighed. "Mom and Dad are so different. He's a proton, she's so totally anti-proton. I don't know. If they could find each other, why can't I find anybody?"

Comment Dedicated Squid / Dan's Guardian Box? (Score 1) 464

I'd like to see something cheap and simple like this that I can plug one side of into the internet and the otherside into the "outbound" port of my home network. The goal would be to provide easy "net nanny" functionality that couldn't be defeated by a savy 14-year old. Since I would have physical control of the network (it's in the locked utility closet), I could have reasonable assurance that he's not visiting questionable sites (like that wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Slashdot).

Comment Pine sap and stick boats FTW!!! (Score 1) 234

This is nothing new. I've been making boats like this since I was a kid. All it takes is a calm pond with pine trees growing nearby.

Take a matchstick sized dry twig. Find a pine tree that's oozing sap from a scratch in the bark or a broken branch/twig. The sap should have the viscosity of syrup. Dip one end of the dry twig in the pine sap, bringing up a tear drop-sized dollop of sap. Drop your highly-advanced research vessel in a nearby pond and watch it put-put around for a good minute or so before all the sap is gone or it gets stuck in its own sap trail.

Thinking about it, you could probably do this at home with an actual match stick and some pancake syrup. It's just always been an outdoor sort of thing for me.

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