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Comment Re: Possible explanation (Score 2) 63

No, that was my point - I thought I'd emphasised that in the last line. It might - quite literally - have come out of a field of study riddled with hoaxes and kooks, but it does appear that Hawkins discovered a set of previously unknown Euclidean-style geometric relationships in his meticulous study of the various designs the perpetrators used.

Comment Re:Possible explanation (Score 3, Interesting) 63

I recalled something on this too, so I did a little Googling. Turns out that a former Chair of the Astronomy Dept. at Boston University called Gerald S. Hawkins did indeed propose some theories based on designs found in crop circles. There's more than a little kookiness in the search results because a lot of the nature of the topic, not helped by some echos of Gödel Escher Bach with some musical connections in his findings, but there does appear to be some genuine math behind it - although it's questionable whether the perpetrators of the crop circles were just using trial and error or actually doing the math first. Basically, it all comes down to relationships between nested regular polygons that touch at each vertex or mid-point of an edge, e.g. a circle that touches all four corners of a square and so on. Euclid documented many of these, but Hawkins supposedly found a bunch of new variations that he (or anyone else) failed to find any evidence of past proofs for; it's hardly up there with Pythagoras' theorem, but they are genuine geometric theorems.

Comment Re:Depends on price (Score 1) 337

Yes, that's conceivable. But in reality, we probably visit the cinema 2-3 times per year, while this year we have probably bought 100+ hours of entertainment on discs and watched 100+ more using online streaming services, including numerous movies in each case.

The studios might like to think that the alternative to us waiting for their movies to arrive on those discs and streaming services would be to pay for cinema tickets for everyone, but their unrealistic assumptions aren't my problem. If they set similarly unrealistic prices for early access, equating it with going to a cinema rather than getting what we would have got anyway just a bit earlier, then that won't be my problem either.

Ultimately, I'm happy to pay a reasonable price and support TV shows and movies I enjoy, and I've reached a stage in my life where disposable income on that level isn't a problem and I have more I could spend on this kind of thing if I thought it was worth it. But equally, there's way more stuff out there than I'm ever going to have time to watch and there are plenty of other ways I enjoy spending my leisure time that I'll just do more of if it becomes too inconvenient or expensive to watch some things, so it's up to the studios and distributors to make an attractive offer if they want my money.

Submission + - Melinda Gates' Guide to Holiday STEM Shopping

theodp writes: In My Guide to Holiday Gifts, Melinda Gates presents "a STEM gift guide, with ideas for toys, games, and books that I hope will delight kids while encouraging them to find creative answers to challenging puzzles." Truth be told, the world's richest Mom's gift guide is less than inspiring; it certainly pales by comparison to Amazon's STEM picks. Back in 2009, Slashdot discussed science gifts for kids. So, how about a 2016 update?

Comment Re: Welcome to the Trump future... (Score 1) 481

Abortion really depends on where you view the beginning of life. If you view it as starting with that first breath after exiting the birth canal then abortion is no big deal. I remember laying in bed with my wife during both her pregnancies and listening to our child's heart beat as I lay my head on her stomach. I could feel them move and kick. It's hard for me to think of a fetus as not human.

Comment Re:Microsoft is killing the business use of Window (Score 1) 139

They're just trying to keep up with Google. More than once, I've given a sales person a locally installed demonstrator for some web app that was working when they left the office, and then the demo was undermined when they connected their laptop to the Internet while out of the office and Chrome self-updated and broke something.

Comment Re: Who's to say? (Score 1) 109

Well, if you want to be pedantic (of course you do), heat isn't radiation. Black body radiation is a consequence of heat. And in point of fact the ionizing spectral components of the Sun's radiation generates over seventy-thousand cases of cancer in the US annually, and over ten thousand deaths. If there were an artificial radiation source that was that harmful we'd be right to be very concerned about it, that's substantially more than 3x the number of people who perished in 9/11 every single year.

The real issue here isn't people using linguistic short hand like "radiation" that Internet trolls can play "gotcha" with; it's people not understanding the difference between radiation per se, ionizing radiation, and radioactive fallout. Maybe you don't need to be a Nobel Prize-winning physicist to run the DoE, but you should at least be able to explain the difference between these things. And you'd certainly want anyone working in government to know the difference between preventable and non-preventable deaths.

Comment Re:No mention of the internet architecture of cour (Score 2) 78

Not really, they are *all* part of the problem, including all of the people pointing fingers - no one is perfect at security, nor will anyone they ever be if you are realistic, although I do agree that lax end-user ISPs are playing a huge part in this particular instance with Mirai and its derivatives - e.g. TalkTalk is still a huge source of the Mirai traffic being dropped by my firewall, whereas Eircom and Deutsche Telekom are now dropping off fast. The security principles of defense in depth, while normally applied by an individual organization, can be applied on the large scale as well, and that's what's ultimately needed here - the issue is coercing people who are able to do something but can't be bothered to actually do it, and that generally means some form of legislation. *Everyone*, regardless of whether they are a device maker (of IoT devices and routers), end user, service provider, or backbone carrier, needs to assume that their devices and/or users are dumb, and put appropriate security and mitigation measures in place to the best of their ability. You're never going to completely fix the problem, so the best you can do is to try as hard as you can to mitigate against the damage with the resources you have, and hopefully that will be enough to reduce the problem to a mere nuisance.

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