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Comment Lots of hands on activities (Score 4, Insightful) 133

It should be designed in such a way that kids can actually make the exhibits work, not just tell them how it works. All other considerations are secondary. However, dramatic comparisons like an IBM 350 disk unit displayed alongside a modern mSATA drive will also make an impression.

Comment Lifespan? (Score 4, Interesting) 23

I can imagine something like this being effective in the lab and when new, but I wonder how long it takes for its performance to degrade. It presumably relies on very sensitive chemical reactions which assume zero contamination. After a few minutes exposed to street pollution, does it still work? Even if my concerns in this area are well founded, the technology will still be useful, but I am pretty skeptical about it becoming a standard smart phone feature.

Comment Re: Happy Birthday to The United States of America (Score 2) 87

How democratic the US may be in practice is a complex question. The biggest problem (greater than voter apathy) is the way the electorate is misinformed and manipulated.

When people face a hefty fine for not voting, as in Australia, it is not surprising that voter turnout is high,

Comment Re:Happy Birthday to The United States of America (Score 0) 87

I cannot help wondering if your post is a clever troll. Universal suffrage (in my view a condition for true democracy) in the US dates back to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. If you take a more narrow view of a "democracy" as allowing all males meeting certain property requirements to vote, then the US was not the first.

Whether the US is celebrating another well-run year is open to debate. It is possible to argue for or against that proposition.

Comment Re:Yeah, sure (Score 5, Interesting) 104

The argument against most medical advances revolves around improbable failures. Meanwhile, people die, go blind and lose their legs because they are using inferior, outdated treatments.

The device being discussed in this article is clearly preferable to purely manual methods that may need to be applied when the patient's mental faculties are impaired by a severe glucose imbalance (or even when the patient has entered a coma). Might faults in the hardware or programming result in accidents? Yes, but the risk/benefit analysis clearly favors its use.

I would add that there is a crying need for much more research into the impact of the microbiome on autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes. There is tantalizing evidence that type 1 diabetes may be curable for some individuals simply by modifying the gut bacteria.

Comment fecal transplants may be faster and more effective (Score 2) 136

Contrary to what the FA suggests, some experiments with fecal transplants to treat various other conditions have been done. Although most available data is anecdotal, there is evidence that they could be the best treatment for obesity, and a possible cure for type 1 diabetes and other auto immune conditions. See, for instance, some views of Dr. Jeffrey Gordon

Comment Re:Interesting, but.. (Score 1) 381

First, I do not accept that deceleration would necessarily be impossible. If you can accelerate, then pointing the thrust in the opposite direction will allow you to slow down. Granted, your "brake" may take a few months to be effective, but that does not mean it is unfeasible.

More interestingly, I am not convinced faster than light communication is impossible. I appreciate the arguments around causality, but I think it is just one of those things like infinity that we cannot get our heads around. I can imagine quantum entanglement established prior to departure being used to send signals at the time of arrival (in both directions, and possibly with minimal power requirements). I can also imagine this proving to be impossible.

Comment Probably nothing, but ... (Score 1) 168

... if Watson learned the Gangnam Style moves by watching videos, and independently decided when using them is appropriate, that would be extremely significant. I am assuming that is not the case. However, with advances taking place in deep learning, AIs may be doing just that in a few years.

Comment Re:Alternative ways of making money (Score 1) 339

For the benefit of other sarcasm impaired readers:

  • I do not favor criminalizing sexual activity between consenting adults, whether monetary inducements are involved or not.
  • I am not a advocate either of FGM or Saudi Arabia's laws on sexual activity.
  • I was drawing a parallel between blanket criminalization of prostitution and blanket criminalization of all sexual activity outside marriage to try to make the point that an activity not always being consensual is not a sufficient justification for banning that activity in all cases.

Comment Alternative ways of making money (Score 1, Insightful) 339

If unable to have consensual sex for money with a lonely 75-year-old, Zolicoffer can no doubt fall back on more socially acceptable occupations like muggings or pushing drugs outside school. Besides, how is one to know whether a 27-year-old woman is making a voluntary choice to have sex. Sex outside marriage needs to be made illegal (as in Saudi Arabia) to ensure that no woman is ever pressured into sex against her will. The loophole of a woman providing sexual favors without charging money for it needs to be closed.

Comment Re:Don't confuse "old" with "poorly designed" (Score 2) 474

TFA also mentions in passing that it is now handling 439,000 passengers a day against 100,000 a week originally specified. My own view is that being able to accommodate a 20+ fold increase in volume over original specification, without a total system replacement, suggests the design was not terrible. Would using older, established designs for the system have allowed such expansion? It might, indeed, provide some support to the original developers' view that the design would end up widely adopted.

Comment Re:Uniloc v Microsoft settled in less than a decad (Score 1) 45

The Appeals Court entering a simple decision, finding for or against the Plaintiff, would have ended proceedings (actually, not quite: there are additional games that can be played should such a mistake occur). This is not in the best interests of the litigation industry. The Appeals Court is supposed to find any reasonable excuse to draw out the proceedings.

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"No, no, I don't mind being called the smartest man in the world. I just wish it wasn't this one." -- Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, WATCHMEN