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Comment Re:So what happens (Score 1) 190

Of course gravity is a force. F=mA, or, a force causes a certain mass to accelerate by a certain amount. IIRC, the gravitational model Einstein developed was something like a sheet being streched out across space. Objects (like those that make up our planetary solar system) rest on this 'sheet' and create 'wells'. Thus, objects that are close enough to each other will slide down the well, experiencing higher attractive, "pulling", force. However, such traditionally observed gravitational forces are not predominate on all scales. In other words, gravity seems to behave differently depending on what scale you are looking at.

It was once assumed that the universe was contracting towards some central 'big bang' point because it was assumed that this model held universally. However, we know that at the atomic level, there are grvitational forces that repel particals. Towards the opposite end of the scale, because the universe is expanding, we know that there is a point at which gravity changes from an attractive to a repulsive force as well. Thus, one could say that we exist in a 'sheet' of gravitation law.

In fact, the recent discoveries that show the universe is expanding is where the concept of "dark matter" producing "dark energy" comes from. We dont exactly know how the laws of gravity apply on different scales.

Traditionally speaking, I would think the existance of gravitational waves to be easily verifiable. I suspect that the experiments described in this article are designed to probe the limits of what we know in order to determine exactly how gravity behaves on previously unobserved scales.

Comment Re:you can get that today (Score 1) 216

The point being people buy the iPhone by choice, and get Symbian because it is cheaper- but never actually use the device.

Sorry, but that's a ridiculous interpretation. If that were the case, people would only buy the most basic Nokia phones. But phones like the N95 and E71 have been big successes despite their high prices.

(You're seriously trapped in Apple's reality distortion field.)

Comment Re:FP (Score 1) 853

I will agree that there has never been full individual freedom, but there definitely was a principled approach to place government as a servant of the individual, not the other way around as all other government's have been.

The primary reason that a large-scale pro-individual movement has not sprung up is because, even at the founding of the US, altruism had already taken root as an widely adopted ethical premise. Even Jefferson, with his Jesus-stripped version of the bible, was particularly keen of the self-sacrificial elements.

In that sense, there has been a 250 year contradiction: on the political hand, the individual should be free, but on the ethical hand, man must give up his life for others.

Only a handful of thinkers throughout history have ever challenged altruism, which is the cornerstone of anti-freedom, anti-man, and anti-YOU. The battle over self will the seminal issue of the modern world.

Comment Re:Push for proper patent reform (Score 1) 495

The main point of a patent is to give the inventor a chance to recover the development costs and make a profit from their hard work before anybody else is allowed to copy them. If you think that this can be done in such a short time, you have a very simplistic idea of the costs of research and development.

Alright, let's do some calculations, shall we?

Source.

The 16GB iPhone 3GS only costs the company three percent more to make than last year's model, with a bill of materials totalling $172.46 plus $6.50 in manufacturing costs, says the company.

Apple's US carrier, AT&T, sells the 16GB iPhone 3GS at a subsidized $199, but industry watchers reckon that AT&T and other carriers cough up around $600 per phone. In the UK, Apple's carrier of choice, O2, sells a pay as you go 16GB iPhone 3GS for a whopping $719.85.

Apple claims it sold a million iPhone 3GS phones in the three days following its launch, which would equate to a cool $420 million profit if iSuppli's numbers are accurate.

And how about the cost of R&D?

In absolute terms, Appleâ(TM)s R&D investment is up $59 million in Q4 2005 over Q4 2004. For all we know this might be a good, sustainable R&D investment rate for them.

Assuming that's per quarter, that means that exactly one model of iPhone, in exactly three days, paid for Apple's entire R&D budget for over a year and a half -- "entire" meaning "not limited to iPhones".

Now, not everything's an iPhone, but you see the point -- from the first public release of a product to a profit doesn't have to take a long time. In cases where it does, chances are the inventor's doing something wrong, and deserve to lose their protection.

In either case, notice again that competition doesn't necessarily kill the device in question, nor do cheap imitators actually prevent innovation.

Security

Lenovo Service Disables Laptops With a Text Message 257

narramissic writes "Lenovo plans to announce on Tuesday a service that allows users to remotely disable a PC by sending a text message. A user can send the command from a specified cell phone number — each ThinkPad can be paired with up to 10 cell phones — to kill a PC. The software will be available free from Lenovo's Web site. It will also be available on certain ThinkPad notebooks equipped with mobile broadband starting in the first half of 2009. 'You steal my PC and ... if I can deliver a signal to that PC that turns it off, hey, I'm good now,' said Stacy Cannady, product manager of security at Lenovo. 'The limitation here is that you have to have a WAN card in the PC and you must be paying a data plan for it,' Cannady added."
Image

Indonesians Want To Microchip AIDS Patients Screenshot-sm 120

Lawmakers in Papua, Indonesia have thrown their support behind a bill requiring some HIV/AIDS patients to be implanted with microchips in order to better monitor the disease. In addition, legislator John Manangsang said by implanting chips in "sexually aggressive" patients, authorities would be in a better position to identify, track and punish those who deliberately infect others. Health workers and rights activists sharply criticized the plan. It would make the dating scene a lot less scary if you could carry your AIDS chip reader into the club.
Space

New "Juno" Mission To Jupiter Announced 71

Riding with Robots writes "Today NASA announced it is officially proceeding with the Juno robotic mission to Jupiter. Scheduled to launch in August 2011 and reach the largest planet in 2016, the spacecraft will orbit the planet 32 times, skimming about 4,800 kilometers over the planet's cloud tops for about a year. The mission will focus on Jupiter's structure and evolution, and not on Europa or the other icy moons that may hide oceans under their surfaces — a disappointment if you ask me. Then again, all planetary missions so far have turned up amazing images and surprising scientific discoveries, and I doubt this expedition will be any different." We discussed NASA's deliberation of its short list a few days back.
Data Storage

Samsung Mass Produces Fast 256GB SSDs 280

Lucas123 writes "Samsung said it's now mass producing a 256GB solid state disk that it says has sequential read/write rates of 220MB/sec and 200/MBsec, respectively. Samsung said it focused on narrowing the disparity of read/write rates on its SSD drive with this model by interleaving NAND flash chips using eight channels, the same way Intel boosts its X25 SSD. The drive doubles the performance of Samsung's previous 64GB and 128GB SSDs. 'The 256GB SSD launches applications 10 times faster than the fastest 7200rpm notebook HDD,' Samsung said in a statement."
Image

Anathem Screenshot-sm 356

Max Tardiveau writes "I just finished reading Neal Stephenson's latest novel, Anathem. I was awaiting it with some anticipation because I absolutely loved Stephenson's best-known novels: Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicon. One of Stephenson's non-fiction pieces, called In the beginning was the command line, simply wowed me when I read it. The man can write. A few years ago, I got really excited when I heard that he was writing a whole cycle of novels (the Baroque cycle). But I read the first book of the cycle — Quicksilver — and I was somewhat disappointed, so I skipped the rest of the cycle. I realize that many people enjoyed these novels, but I was hoping that Stephenson would get back his old style and inspiration. So, when Anathem was announced, I was full of anticipation — was this going to be the one? Would he find his mark again?" Keep reading for Max's impressions of Anathem
Privacy

Verizon Employees Fired For Snooping Obama's Record 344

longhairedgnome writes "The curiosity in President-elect Barack Obama's phone records came with a high price tag for Verizon Wireless employees. According to CNN, the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired. 'This was some employees' idle curiosity,' a company source told CNN and added 'we now consider this matter closed.' Justice served? What about legal possibilities?" Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.
Space

SpaceX Successfully Tests Nine-Engine Cluster 182

the_other_chewey writes "At their test facility in Texas, SpaceX, the privately funded space-flight company, have successfully tested their nine-engine cluster which is planned to provide the heavy lifting capability for their Falcon 9 and Falcon 9 Heavy rockets. The firing lasted three minutes (a full 'mission duty cycle,' i.e. a simulated launch) under full power, delivering 3.8MN (or 855,000 lbs.) of thrust. SpaceX have made a video of the test available. The Waco Tribune has a short report about it, with comments by locals."
Hardware

Australia's Largest Private Computer Collection In Pictures 131

Da Massive writes "UNIX PDP-7, a classic DEC PDP-8, the original IBM PC, Commodore's C64, Apple's Lisa, a MITS Altair 8800 made famous by Bill Gates, through to a working PDP-11 that plays the ADVENTURE and DUNGEON games. Max Burnet has got it all. Burnet has turned his home in the leafy suburbs of Sydney into arguably Australia's, if not the world's, largest private computer museum. Since retiring as director of Digital Equipment Corporation a decade ago, Burnet has converted his home into a snapshot of computer history. Every available space from his basement to the top floor of his two-storey home is covered with relics from the past. On top of his hardware collection are numerous punch cards, tape machines (including the original paper tape) and over 6000 computer reference books. So in demand is his collection that one Australian film called on him to recreate a computer setting (PDP-9) for a movie about the moon landing in 1969."

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