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Comment Re:somewhat agree (Score 0) 387

I think that it depends on your vocation. I'm a science reporter and I still take all of my notes --- interviews, press conferences, scientific meetings --- with pen and steno pad in *cursive*. It's so much faster for me than using a keyboard or *printing*. Plus with a laptop, I can't use any of the shortcuts and organizational symbols that I use. A triangle is change; up and down arrows are increase and decrease; wavelength is lambda; arrows tell me when a note refers back to some previous item. It would take forever to add those symbols using a keyboard --- even with shortcuts.

Submission + - What's the most distinctive cause of death in your state? (cdc.gov)

Maria_Celeste writes: A study in CDC's "Preventing Chronic Disease" reports the most distinctive cause of death in each of the 50 states (with an entertaining map). Some of the more amusing causes: water, air and space, and other and unspecified transport accidents and their sequelae; discharge of firearms — undetermined intent; and the ominous legal intervention.

Submission + - Security Experts Hack Teleoperated Surgical Robot (technologyreview.com)

Maria_Celeste writes: MIT Technology Review reports that researchers were able to hack a telesurgery robot during a "procedure," even controlling the robot's behavior. The robot runs on a single PC running software based on open standards, and communicates via public networks. It's designed to work in extreme conditions and can communicate through a low-quality connection to the internet, or even over wireless. “Due to the open and uncontrollable nature of communication networks, it becomes easy for malicious entities to jam, disrupt, or take over the communication between a robot and a surgeon,” says Tamara Bonaci of the University of Washington in Seattle.

The researchers measured how quickly an operator could complete a task — moving rubber blocks from one part of a peg board to another — during an attack and how difficult various operators rate the task. They tried three types of attacks — changing the commands sent by the operator to the robot, changing things like the distance an arm should move or the degree it should rotate, and highjacking control of the robot. They even managed to mimic a denial of service attack. The researchers also demonstrated that encryption of the communications between the control console and the robot could block these attacks (though not all).

Comment Re:People sell their new phones (Score 0) 148

Too many people sell their old phones for decent money. Others (like my sister) like their two-year-old models with all their data on them and see no real reason to upgrade, so when they're offered an upgrade, they sell the new phone.

Others (like me) just don't want to put that much effort into it. It's a phone. If I can call people, check my gmail, use hangouts, use google maps, look something up, and maybe use the camera, I don't really need anything more. I can mod my Droid 4 when I need to, I think I could run over it with my car without too much wear, and it has a REAL keyboard. You can have it, when one of us dies. I have no time or desire to learn a new OS either. I use a PC; my Droid is kind of intuitive.

Plus, the little Android dude is adorable.

Comment Re:"Talented C students" (Score 0) 389

Straight A student here... high GPA, AP classes, gifted program, etc. I went to Maryland by choice. The school really only matters if you're there for an exceptionally good program (which I was --- UMCP was and is consistently one of the top journalism schools). Otherwise, the level of education that you get is based on the effort that you put into it. Crap in = crap out. Or, as the Math dept's Dr. Gulick put it when I was initiated into phi beta kappa, 'the best students are the best students anywhere.' It doesn't matter whether you went to an ivy league or a state school.

On the topic of creativity, writing is one of the more creative disciplines, in which one can earn a degree. That said, I don't know of a good way to quantify something that by it's nature defies quantification. Aside from sending in clips of my stories from my high school newspaper --- which someone could subjectively evaluate --- I don't know of anything else that I could have done to demonstrate my creativity/writing ability during the general admissions process. I DID have to do that to be accepted to the journalism program though.

Comment The perfect cup of coffee (Score 0) 167

If you're a serious coffee drinker, you're continually exploring and refining the techniques, the equipment, the beans, the water, the temperature (a la the Breaking Bad coffee clip)...all in search of the perfect cup. Those of us with a chemistry background can discuss coffee and its maddening number of compounds, well, ad nauseum. The genome of one species of coffee can provide information that takes us closer to that brewing the perfect cup OR even helps us make the perfect cup by adding another variable over which we can have some control (especially using a more precise and cleaner genetic modification tool like CRISPER). My cup of coffee this morning was better than most people's, but it wasn't perfect...

Comment Thanks, trolls! :) (Score 1, Funny) 1262

Never heard of her or her series. I just checked it out and appreciated/agreed with some of it. The last time someone did me that kind of favor, I read with relish the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. Congrats, trolls. You've made it to the big league...I mean the Catholic League.

Submission + - Glove Takes Place of Years of Piano Lessons

Maria_Celeste writes: Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a glove-device, which after 2 hours of wear, enables the user to play Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” The glove includes a flat vibration motor, and five tiny vibrators, which "buzz" the fingers in a pattern while worn. The researchers "believe that the repeated buzzing from the glove creates a muscle memory that enables a wearer to learn to play a song with far less practice than it would take without haptic stimulation." The technology could also have applications for spinal cord injuries, according to IEEE's Spectrum.

Submission + - Microsoft's 3-D Audio Takes Shape

Maria_Celeste writes: Microsoft researchers are using 3-D motion sensors, cameras, and “head related transfer function” (HRTF) to build a headphone-based personal 3-D audio environments — the aural equivalent of next-gen virtual reality goggles. MIT Tech Review's Tom Simonite writes

In a demonstration of the technology at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley lab, I put on a pair of wireless headphones that made nearby objects suddenly burst into life. A voice appeared to emanate from a cardboard model of a portable radio. Higher quality music seemed to come from a fake hi-fi speaker. And a stuffed bird high off the ground produced realistic chirps. As I walked around, the sounds changed so that the illusion never slipped as their position relative to my ears changed.

Submission + - Land Sinking with California Groundwater Drain (nationalgeographic.com)

Maria_Celeste writes: In the middle of a major drought, Californians' demand for groundwater is causing at least one 2-sq-mile area to subside by 1 foot per year, according to one researcher. Other areas are subsiding as well, but at less dramatic rates. Not only does that kind of subsidence jeopardize infrastructure (roads, pipelines, etc.), it increases flood risk as well. More importantly, it could put future groundwater reserves at risk by compressing the space available for storage — and minimizing California's ability to outlast future droughts.

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