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Comment Re:If only Los alamos were as smart as slashdot, e (Score 1) 112

The problem with the Casimir force is that it is difficult to measure experimentally and difficult to calculate theoretically. The research in the past several years has focused on expanding the class of geometries and materials that can be simulated in addition to devising more accurate experiments and methods of fabricating the nanoscale structures.

With Intravaia et. al's paper, they are dealing with a phenomenon that has been predicted theoretically, but has not been verified experimentally. The novelty here would be in being able to construct a periodic nanoscale grating and incorporating it into a measurement device. They also note a deviation in the theoretical force with their plates for large separations. It seems that this comes about due to their use of the Proximity Force Approximation as the kernel in their calculations. The disparate length scales that they are working with in terms of the object size, feature size, and separations are too much for current numerical methods.

Comment Re:The great thing about today (Score 1) 281

There is a long tradition in the scientific community for the discussion and exchange of ideas that covers this. For example, the Royal Society was a group of people who got together to read their papers to one another as a group. The lectures were then collected and published to the world as a whole in the proceedings. Conferences are simply the modern day equivalent. In my field, conferences are a prime chance to bounce off your research to a large group of experts to get feedback and comments prior to publishing your work. Anyone can attend the conference as long as you show up and pay (but we all pay regardless). When submitting a paper to a journal, it is passed on to experts in the paper's field who provide feedback on the validity, results, method and prior work. Upon publishing a paper, a correspondence address is always included as well as the affiliation of the authors. People can write directly to the corresponding author or even write comments to the journal editor to be published in the near future (I've seen some rather negative rebuttals published in this fashion). There has always been a long tradition of exchange of ideas and thoughts amongst researchers, I've had people send me notes based upon my conference talks, journal papers, and preprints on arxiv. This isn't a closed network though. Anyone can attend the conferences, anyone can read the journal papers, anyone can write to the authors. Admittedly, the barrier to do this is rather high since access can be expensive.

The comments section on a popular science website is not the place for any real discourse, particularly with the authors. Researchers are under no obligation, nor do they have the copious free time, to shift through the chaff to answer all the questions and any serious discussion requires a lengthy back and forth for which a comment section is ill suited.

If you are interested in seeing more about how discourse is conducted in the research community, there are many collections of correspondences that have been published that gives an insight into just how much back and forth exists. I've read through a collection on letters on wave mechanics that you can get on Amazon for a small price that details correspondence between Einstein and other physicists. Many important ideas and inspirations in physics have evolved out of a passing comment in a postcard or daily walk.

Comment Re:what about puppies? (Score 1) 374

They have done studies to see if "nurture" can lead to domestication but it simply doesn't. For example, they have taken wolf pups and raised them exclusively with humans as they would dogs (and they did the same for a group of puppies as control) and it was seen that the wolf pups did not demonstrate any domestication once they aged. I think that the silver foxes experiments have shown just how quickly domestication can occur. It only takes a few generations for domestication to really take root.

Comment Re:Creepy, but it used to be more common (Score 3, Insightful) 354

That isn't what they want to do here. What they want to do is become the prime retailer for a set of products that people start buying at certain stages in their lives. Like how Gillette will send out free razors to people when the turn 18 to try and make them Gillette consumers for their life's supply of shaving products. Target here is trying to predict people who are pregnant and have reached the stage where they are ready to buy the associated baby products and providing incentives for these people to buy the products at Target. Then, the customers will be predisposed to continue buying these products at Target.

They aren't trying to convince them to buy products they don't need, they are trying to convince them to buy a new range of products that they will need or want to buy from a specific retailer.

Comment What does NASA have to do with this though? (Score 1) 556

The worst thing about this summary is that it attempts to link Rossi to the far more legitimate research being conducted by NASA. The linked NASA materials make no reference to Rossi from what I can find. But it is this repeated implied associations that Rossi relies on to get people to buy in on what only screams snakeoil.

Comment BSNES? Well there's your problem. (Score 1) 229

BSNES would make a supercomputer beg for mercy. The author of the program even wrote an article entitled, "Why Perfect Hardware SNES Emulation Requires a 3GHz CPU." Just use SNES9X as it is pretty efficient and it doesn't suffer from some of the... errors... that the BSNES author harps on again and again in his defense of BSNES.

Comment Re:And the Cost Reflects This (Score 1) 674

I don't know about you, but I don't buy my speaker equipment using gold, I use USD (when in the proper country). If we look at the change in the strength of the dollar due to inflation, the price in 2011 is only 3.5 times the 1978 price. ($4571.35). So it's actually cheaper than the current flagship model. Seriously, given that the rate of inflation is usually around 4% on average, do you really think that after 33 years the dollar would drop to a seventh of its value?

Not that I totally trust the above but if we allow 4% constant inflation it's not too far off.

Comment Re:Yea (Score 2) 320

Commies, or Communists, come in many dastardly forms. They include:

1. Pinko.
2. Bolshevik.
3. Russian.
4. Chinese.
5. Cuban.
6. Canadian.
7. European.
8. Anyone of differing opinion.

God help us if anyone of the above manage to infiltrate the US and spread their Communist creed.

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