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Comment Re:You don't need a damned game to play music! (Score 1) 172

Exactly. Some people just learn differently. I've only been playing for about, oh, 5 years (has it been that long already?). At first, I tried books. I had a bunch of different books about learning guitar. I spent more time reading and researching different threads of thought than I actually did playing. Then I spent a decent amount of money on a highly-recommended set of video lessons (13 DVDs!) that I just never really took to.

I seem to do best with a guitar instructor. I think being able to stop and ask questions about the theory of what we're playing, or alternate chord voicing, etc at any time and being able to explore something in depth on a whim -- while playing music -- really jives with how I, as an individual, learn. The only books I retained are of the reference type (theory, chord voicing and scales). I still have the video lessons, but am saving those for a few more years for my niece, who is showing interest in learning guitar, in the hopes that she might do better with them than I did.

These damn kids these days may learn better through an interactive, video game environment. Some might not, and prefer video lessons, or that fancy book learnin'.

Comment Re:Happens all the time (Score 1) 317

This is due to how an INS works and how it determines heading. How do you think they calculate the magnetic heading? The systems I work on have a table that calculates the magnetic variation for the location you're at, then subtracts that from "true heading," which the INS figures out by measuring the earth's rotation. There's no magnetic compass built-in on these boxes.

How do you think your smartphone calculates true heading? Most likely by taking the magnetic heading from the internal magnetic compass then using the location service to find where you are, then doing a lookup out on the network somewhere to find out what your magnetic variation is, then approximating true heading from that.

Comment Re:Wow. (Score 1) 693

I "cheated" in a programming class. It was system software, and we were supposed to write an assembler for an assembly language given by the professor. I had 2 other major projects due around the same time and was coming down to the wire. So I did a search for the assignment online and came across a person who had the same class the year before and had posted his code online. The problem? His code didn't work. The structure was there, but there were so many errors that the output wasn't right. It wouldn't even compile. So I fixed it and made it work in an evening, changed some variable names and code style to match my own, and turned it in.

The professor asked to speak to me the next week and said my code and another person's code were almost identically structured, except mine worked and the other's didn't. He wanted to know if we worked together on the assignment. I didn't even know who the other person was. I copped to what I did and how I found the code online, and emailed the professor the link to the webpage it was on. I also explained what the bugs were that needed to be fixed to demonstrate an understanding of the assignment and converting assembly code to binary machine code. The other person didn't even change the pilfered code to make it work.

I ended up getting full credit, so it all worked out in the end. I took a shortcut to save some time due to poor planning on my part. I thought I would have more time to work on the assembler after completing my other projects. I was upset with myself for not being caught, but for having to be in that situation in the first place.

Comment Re:Wow! I could be so productive! (Score 1) 561

I think airbags that can deploy beforehand already exist. I seem to remember some Mercedes commercials from a few years ago that claimed it would tighten the seat belts in the event of an impending collision.

Why not cite a more common failure, like a blown or punctured tyre? Perhaps debris in the road? Monitoring all around the car for other humans or pets who might wander into traffic?

Comment Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score 1) 827

And 'magical cables make sound better!' is a factually untrue statement, not an opinion.

Actually, I quite think it's both. It is, how you say, confirmation bias? The author may claim he was skeptical at the outset, but such quantities as "warmth," "naturalness" and "organicness" of the music are such subjective qualities that it all becomes opinion, rather than fact.

The statement is factually false, but to the listener, it becomes true due to their own biases.

Comment Re:Isn't this the SECOND time ... (Score 1) 479

I've heard of a couple of jackpots a while back called off because a user entering the coin, or pulling the lever, or even present while someone they knew gambled was under the legal gambling age at the time and the jackpot was called off.

When I was 14, I went on a cruise with my parents. The ship had a casino on board with some slot machines and some of the more popular table games. My sister and I would scrounge for loose quarters or get a couple of quarters from our parents, and just drop them in a machine as we passed through. Nobody ever complained until I won $50 on a pull. After dropping in about $2 worth of quarters prior to that. So it was ok if I was underage and spending money, but if I was winning suddenly it was an issue.


Planned Nuclear Reactors Will Destroy Atomic Waste 344

separsons writes "A group of French scientists are developing a nuclear reactor that burns up actinides — highly radioactive uranium isotopes. They estimate that 'the volume of high-level nuclear waste produced by all of France’s 58 reactors over the past 40 years could fit in one Olympic-size swimming pool.' And they're not the only ones trying to eliminate atomic waste: Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin are working on a fusion-fission reactor. The reactor destroys waste by firing streams of neutrons at it, reducing atomic waste by up to 99 percent!"

StarCraft II Beta To Begin This Month 182

mrxak writes "It's official; Activision Blizzard's much-anticipated sequel to 12-year-old StarCraft is going to enter closed beta 'this month,' according to company President Mike Morhaime during an investor conference call. This comes in the wake of the SC2 beta forums showing up briefly on If you've got a account, it's probably not too late to opt-in for upcoming Blizzard beta tests."

Comment Re:Depends on specialization and responsibilities (Score 1) 844

Do you have more then 3 c/c++ compilers on your computer

I have 3, but 2 of them are different versions of Visual C++. But I also have 2 Ada environments and a VAX emulator so I can run the JOVIAL compiler/linker. Not to mention Matlab and LabView environments.

I'll bet I sound like I'm 60 with those old languages. I assure you I am not. I just happen to work on a number of different projects at my job, most of which have their own environment.


Spectrum of Light Captured From Distant World 32

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Cosmos: "Astronomers have made the first direct capture of a spectrum of light from a planet outside the Solar System and are deciphering its composition. The light was snared from a giant planet that orbits a bright young star called HR 8799 about 130 light-years from Earth, said the European Southern Observatory (ESO). ... The find is important, because hidden within a light spectrum are clues about the relative amounts of different elements in the planet's atmosphere. 'The features observed in the spectrum are not compatible with current theoretical models,' said co-author Wolfgang Brandner. 'We need to take into account a more detailed description of the atmospheric dust clouds, or accept that the atmosphere has a different chemical composition from that previously assumed.' The result represents a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the universe, said the ESO. Until now, astronomers have been able to get only an indirect light sample from an exoplanet, as worlds beyond our Solar System are called. They do this by measuring the spectrum of a star twice — while an orbiting exoplanet passes near to the front of it, and again while the planet is directly behind it. The planet's spectrum is thus calculated by subtracting one light sample from another."

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