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Comment Re:moving that fast, missing one element (Score 1) 177

Fellow roboticist here: regarding your statement "There have been some very novel products in [synthetic skin]... they just don't happen to apply to dynamic control of legged robots."

I was recently demoing a robot at one of the RCTA meetings @ GDRS and one of the presenters was showing slides on their work using an artificial skin on the "feet" of legged robots to sense and distinguish terrain types. They had some interesting force graphs demonstrating that they could differentiate between sand, straw, and concrete ground with about an 80% success rate so far. So we're starting to explore applications for artificial skin to increase the situational awareness of robotic appendages to improve mobility. I'm sorry I do not have a link to any published work that I can provide at this time but I'm sure we'll see more papers on this in the next year or so.

Our industry is moving at such a fast pace these days it's hard to keep up with all the developments so I thought you might like to know someone is in fact working on it!

Comment For Awesome color effects (Score 1) 27

He should install a set of small cylinders a few inches above each flame spout, something like a vegetable can with both ends cut off. In the center of each cylinder suspend a wire mesh, onto which you can place various salts. When the flame is forced through each cylinder the salts will burn and color the flame. Been a long time since chem class in which we burned salts/chemicals of various types over a burner but it should be pretty easy to find a list online of which materials produce which colors. It would be pretty awesome if each flame column was the color of the corresponding guitar buttons. :) Good luck, and do try not to blow yourself up.

Comment Re:Won't help: An insider's opinion (Score 1) 408

These points don't jibe:

Viewers don't realize their ears are tricking them. [...] Advertisers just tend to compress their audio range near the peak.

By your own admission if the audio signal is being compressed near the peak for the entire ad then it will appear to be louder than the TV show which uses a larger portion of the full dynamic range of sound. So while the volume level itself may not technically be higher, the effect is the same: the ad is louder, on average, than the TV show.

Comment Re:Maybe blame the haters? (Score 1) 1135

Do you know why people blamed Bush for not connecting the dots on 9/11? Because he HAD A REPORT ON HIS DESK THAT SAID TERRORISTS WERE GOING TO CRASH PLANES INTO BUILDINGS and he IGNORED it. That's why people blamed him and his administration for not connecting the dots. Because they fucking didn't.

Comment Re:Actually I can go back years before Ironman. (Score 1) 324

I never intended to imply the Iron Man scene was the first example of this concept. I was simply pointing out a recent popular reference that many people would have been aware of. Certainly we could spend hours going back through SciFi authors and try to find the genesis of the concept but there's not a lot of point to that. You weren't talking about merely imagining this technology, you were musing about implementing it. My point was that the motion tracking we can already do to a sufficient degree, the projection is where we fall short on the tech currently.

Comment Re:Maybe, just maybe (Score 1) 827

I have been in hardware development long enough that when a software person makes some strange claim like"the circuit changed and I didn't do anything" that often there is something behind it.

And I have been in software development long enough to know that when a SW engineer says "the circuit changed and I didn't do anything" he is lying to you. ;)

Comment Re:Imagine iPads (or PADDs) & "Minority Report (Score 1) 324

"Ultimately, I'd like to see something able to sense our reaching into a hologram which is projecting a synthetic image."

Manipulating the graphics based on sensing and tracking your motion we can do now, it's the whole creating a hologram without spinning mirrors or suspended projection media that poses the problem, not to mention the user blocking the projection.

But I digress, I really just wanted to point out that the interface you describe was shown in the first Iron Man movie when Stark is developing the new version of his suit at his home lab. He displays the mechanical frame design for the suit forearm then reaches into the holographic image and "wears" it, rotating his arm with the hologram matching his movement.

Comment Re:Why is it illegal? (Score 1) 574

If there would have been legitimate tickets left on the day of the event then that would lead me to believe that the scalpers are going to have a hard time selling all their tickets at increased prices.

Exactly, which is why the scalpers will make sure that there are NO TICKETS LEFT so that they become the sole outlet to purchase tickets. This is the artificial demand the previous response was trying to explain. In a scalper's perfect world they would purchase all the event tickets and become the box office themselves and price the tickets to market demand to maximize their profit. Thus they will attempt (in a distributed fashion) to remove all available "legitimate" supply.

Without this external demand force it is possible - but not always true - that the regular demand would be such that tickets would remain available at the box office for face value until the day of the show. This will vary with the actual demand.

The reason why scalpers artificially inflate demand to such a large degree is because of the financial incentive to remove all low-value sellers from the market. Even if an event did not have enough non-scalper demand to sell out, the scalpers would still profit because everyone would have to go through them. Normally this is balanced by the distributed nature of scalpers - they are not organized (for the most part) and act independently but with the same goal. It's like a DDoS on the tickets. With this particular situation described in the article we have a large professional business that actually has the focus and the funds to achieve the individual scalper's ultimate goal: buyout the box office and control all remaining supply.

The answer is not to price the tickets so high as to remove the scalpers - this can't work - the scalpers are making profit on this cycle so they will always have more money available to step in the middle of the transaction. The answer is to remove the scalpers and their artificial demand. Then even if the box office does raise rates to what the market will accept it will still most likely be a lower price than if the scalpers were involved because their artificial demand will be out of the curve.

My suggestion to remove the larger scalping outfits is to simply make it illegal for any single person or business to resell more than 8 tickets to a single event. That would cover just about every regular ticket holder, and if people had a larger group then you have $friend1 sell half and $friend2 sell half. Small time scalpers would still be in the system but full scale operations like in the article would be stonewalled.

And finally, why do I think it's fair to remove the first sale doctrine from scalpers? It comes down to intent - and our society does make a distinction for intent, just look at homicide sentencing with and without proven intent. In this case the intent of scalpers is to profit from legitimate customers and the underlying ticketed event is irrelevant. Whereas legitimate customers are actually trying to attend the event for sale but may need/want to resell their ticket because of external forces. In the latter instance I still believe some price control (like face value plus $5 only) is necessary to keep legitimate customers honest and reduce small-time scalpers. Additionally remove the ability to pair tickets with other items in transactions to stifle the face value ticket + $500 "commemorative program" loophole.

Comment Re:Godwin's Law! (Score 1) 439

Where is the "other use of an apostrophe in your first sentence" that was incorrect?

He said "every other" meaning alternating. The first use you correctly highlighted as possessive and correct. The second use is "Nazi's" the 3rd use is "it's" and the 4th use is again "Nazi's".
The 2nd and 4th uses (i.e. every other) of an apostrophe to pluralize Nazi are incorrect.

It's a simple rule, so simple that it's not actually a grammar rule, but here you go: It is NEVER correct to use an apostrophe to pluralize a word.


Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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