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Comment Relevant discussion. (Score 1) 427

So, I'm not really sure why a posting on sugar beets makes it onto /. anyway, but I'll cast in a couple important points for civil discussion. 1) The pollen from sugar beets does travel a very long distance (Darmency, H. et al., 2009. Pollen dispersal in sugar beet production fields. TAG Theoretical and Applied Genetics, 118(6), 1083-1092). 2) This is may be an environmental concern, but it is also a concern for anyone growing sugar beets. That is, there are problems controlling weedy beets when herbicide-resistant beets sprout up. 3) This entire issue is unimportant when beet growers cultivate off the tops of their beets, rendering them sterile. If they receive a higher yield for the herbicide usage, this may be an extra drive across the field may be a good option for preserving the integrity of the resistance trait.

Comment Re:when does a stone become an axe (Score 2, Informative) 200

Look it up (and maybe read the article too). There is usually a considerable amount of evidence that goes along with these axes that makes them much more likely to be tools than the result of geologic processes. This particular item was collected from a a site that has a history of producing items from an ancient culture. Yes, there are stones out there sharp enough to be useful (e.g., naturally broken pieces of obsidian). The point isn't that they are useful, but that they have been used. Some tools are made and some are found.

Comment Re:In need of perspective? (Score 1) 138

Upon further reflection, and with your succinct description, I think I understand. Obviously, stereoscopic view isn't needed to track orbits, most telescopes are monocular. One just needs to see something moving (e.g., a tool-bag in orbit). I guess for some reason the impression of an object heading straight at the lens came to mind, which is clearly, well silly.

Submission + - MySQL CEO says open source is unstoppable

StonyandCher writes: Despite a growing acceptance of open-source software, MySQL CEO Marten Mickos, said Monday in a keynote speech at the first-ever Ubuntu Live Conference, that there are also ongoing threats to open source development. Those threats, he told attendees, come from proprietary software companies such as Microsoft, which can spread criticism and doubt — backed by their legal and economic might — to push proprietary products.

"Microsoft can use [its] money in other ways to threaten free and open-source software, and I'm sure that they have," Mickos said. "But I think we will see less of that in the future because they've done it and it hasn't helped them."

"...I'm not too worried," Mickos said. "This open source movement is so strong that nothing can stop it anymore."

Submission + - Data Visualization Tools for Linux

An anonymous reader writes: In this article, I provide a survey of a number of popular Linux data visualization tools and include some insight into their other capabilities. Finally, I identify the strengths of each tool to help you decide which is best for your application. The open source tools that I explore in this article are gnuplot, GNU Octave, Scilab, MayaVi, Maxima, and OpenDX.

Submission + - Verizon Copper Cutoff Traps Customers

theodp writes: "As it hooks up homes and businesses to its FiOS fiber-optic network service, Verizon has been routinely disconnecting the copper infrastructure that it was required to lease to other phone companies, locking customers into higher broadband bills, eliminating power outage safeguards, and hampering rivals. A Verizon spokesman argues customers are being given adequate notice of the copper cutoff, which includes this read-between-the-lines fine print: 'Current Verizon High Speed Internet customers who move to FiOS Internet service will have their Verizon High Speed Internet permanently disabled after their FiOS conversion.'"

Submission + - Jumping robots for space exploration?

Roland Piquepaille writes: "According to a team of engineers at the University of Bath, "jumping is a good way to move over rough terrain, and is considerably easier to design than walking." reports that this is why they've designed two jumping robots inspired by animals. They think that their two new robots, Jollbot and Glumper, will help astronauts to during future space missions. As one researcher said, "the cost per kilogram of launching something into space is very large, so jumping robots, which are likely to be light in weight to maximize their own performance, are ideally suited from that perspective." Of course, such robots would also be useful to explore any other places involving traversing rough terrains such as volcanoes. Read more for additional references and excellent pictures of these jumping robots."

Submission + - floating wind turbines (

The Great Pulgoso writes: Norwegian energy group Norsk Hydro is to place giant floating wind turbines in the North Sea that will provide a reasonable, environmentally-friendly and economically feasible alternative to standard energy generation processes. The design uses a three-able tethered system, similar to the ones used in oil rigs, that holds a 200 meter tall steel tube with an attached turbine and three 60-meter-long blades. It expects to be able to use this technology on sites located 50-100 miles off shore, and with a depth of up to 500 meters. Images on the prototypes are on the link provided
Data Storage

Submission + - Artificial neural network storage - a first? (

GovCheese writes: Two scientists at the University of Tel Aviv, Professors Baruchi and Ben-Jacob, claim to have stored information in an medium of a network of neurons cultured outside the brain. The stored information, which they called "memories," persisted for a matter of days. The short article in the Jerusalem Post remarks, "They are apparently the first in the world to have actually stored information in a cultured neural network for an extended period." Of course it was the headline "cyberbrain" that caught my attention, and the phrase in the article "neuro-silico cyberchip" isn't too shabby either. Johnny Mnemonic anyone?

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