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Comment Re:Unusual codecs are nice and all, but... (Score 1) 85

At least as of 2014 in order to get click-to-pause on windows you had to install a special plugin. Unfortunately, the plugin doesn't even work for anything after VLC 2.0, so users are advised to simply not upgrade, which is just sad, honestly.

As for the full-screen hotkey, maybe it's in the options, but why is VLC's default not in line with just about every other mainstream video player? It's as if Google Drive decided to change the shortcut for pasting from CTRL-V to CTRL-P -- it's irritating and unnecessary.

Comment Unusual codecs are nice and all, but... (Score 1) 85

Has it finally implemented some of the standard functionality everyone expects from a video player? Can I finally just click the screen to pause/unpause? Does ALT-ENTER finally work to fullscreen? These don't sound all that important, but they're both constant minor irritants every time I end up using VLC for something.

And yes, I know you can install some third-party plugin to enable click-to-pause, but it's rather strange that it isn't just supported out of the box.

Submission + - White House Pledges Open Access to Publicly-Funded Research (

Alpert8 writes: "Dr. John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, released a response today today to a petition on asking for free public access to journal articles arising from taxpayer-funded research. In it, Dr. Holdren acknowledges the importance of the free exchange of information, and on behalf of the Obama Administration, he has written a memo asking federal agencies that provide over $100M in research funding to submit a plan within six months on how they will implement public access. The goal would be to have these journal articles freely available on the internet within 12 months of the publication data. The National Institutes of Health have done a marvelous job of providing access to NIH-funded research, and this policy is in the same vein."

Submission + - Is there a pro-creator case to be made for a Free Culture CC license? (

geigertube writes: "I'm currently working on crowd sourcing what I believe to be the worlds first Creative Commons world-building art book. (I'm a professional illustrator working for Marvel.) It's currently NC licensed, as I could use the money if a major production house/studio/whatever wanted to do something with it. Individuals or small companies I'd give commercial licensing to for free. I was contacted by a gentleman who wanted me to make the license properly Free Culture, saying that there would be a larger audience for the book, along with a number of good arguments for switching to Free Culture. But, the way that rights are utilized and monetized currently makes retaining the NC aspect into a possible extra revenue stream, whereas I have no proof of any significant gains in sales from going Free Culture. I'm basically wondering if there is actually an audience out there that would buy this book because it became Free Culture, that wouldn't by it otherwise. If I can see some hard evidence of this audience, I'll likely switch to an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license."

Submission + - Copyright Alert System to launch Monday (

An anonymous reader writes: Starting next week, most U.S. Internet users will be subject to a new copyright enforcement system that could force them to complete educational programs, and even slow their Internet speeds to a crawl.

A source with direct knowledge of the Copyright Alert System (CAS), who asked to not to be named, has told the Daily Dot that the five participating Internet service providers (ISPs) will start the controversial program Monday.

The ISPs—industry giants AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon—will launch their versions of the CAS on different days throughout the week. Comcast is expected to be the first, on Monday.


Submission + - Growing Public Unrest Leads China to Admit to "Cancer Villages" ( 1

Comment Why do we need flexible phones? (Score 3, Interesting) 41

I've seen flexible phones given as the justification for dozens of research projects over the last few years, but does anyone actually want them? I have no real need or desire to roll my phone up and put it in my pocket -- it would just fit worse than it does now. I'd much rather have a battery that lasts through an entire day.

Comment Petition to remove the DA (Score 5, Informative) 656

A lot of people are outraged over the prosecutorial overreach in this case (and, by extension, the tradition of prosecutorial overreach in most cases prosecuted by the federal government), and a petition has popped up to remove the DA in charge of this case:

It's a start, though what I'd really like to see is some proper judicial reform, so we can bring some sanity to the judicial system.

Links to the Ars coverage of this story:

Comment High temp but low energy (Score 5, Informative) 76

This story has popped up a few places already, and 90% of the comments are always "800C! But what if it catches fire?"

Yes, the floating gate is heated to 800C, but the volume of the heated area is on the order of a few hundred cubic nanometers. The energy involved in heating a volume that small is, well, incredibly small, and dissipates rapidly into rest of the chip. Your flash memory will not burst into flame. It will not require significantly more energy from your battery, and it will not require special clearance from the TSA to bring it on a plane.

The real challenge here is not coping with high temperatures, but rather balancing the increase in cell lifetime with the increase in die size. If the 100 million cycles number is completely accurate, then there's not much question that this technology will make its way into a lot of flash, but if that upside is only for a few (or even most) of the bits on a die, then things get more complicated

For more info run through the comments from the Ars Technica writeup of the same story:

Comment Re:Possibly useful, but not for logic devices (Score 1) 64

Replying to myself with a few clarifications because previewing my post three times is clearly not enough.

0. I forgot a sentence somehow. After the second paragraph, imagine I said "Conversely, the new method is like the industrial bakery -- there's a constant stream of nanowires being manufactured at high speed, and you don't have to wait for an oven to cool down, remove your wafers full of nanowires, then wait for the oven to heat all the way back up before starting another batch.

1. For some reason I decided that the nanowires reported here were metallic -- they are actually III-V semiconductors. Most of what I wrote above still applies, though to get the same plasmonic properties of metallic nanostructures you'd have to dope the nanowires pretty heavily (and even then you'd just wish you were using a metal). Semiconducting nanowires also have interesting optical properties, so if you're not interested in the details you can get away with just doing s/metallic/semiconducting/ on my post.

In more detail, though both metallic and semiconducting nanowires have abnormal optical properties, the mechanisms are different - semiconducting nanowires have very sharp jumps in their absorption spectra due to quantum mechanical confinement (in short: electrons in the structure can only take on certain energy values, so only photons of a particular energy can be absorbed. That's not entirely true, of course, because the electrons in nanowires aren't actually confined in every direction so the absorption features get spread out), whereas metallic nanorods have weird absorption, reflection, and transmission due to the coupling of the electric fields of incident photons to the electrons on the surface of the metal. You can still get plasmonic effects from semiconductors, but they're generally much weaker as the free electron concentration is just that much lower.

Comment Possibly useful, but not for logic devices (Score 5, Insightful) 64

This article wins today's coveted "Most Hyperbolic Headline" award. First off, here's the actual link, for those of you with access to Nature:

To understand what the big deal is here, compare baking cookies in your house to a fancy industrial setup: In your home oven you can bake around 20 cookies at once, and you have to put them on a tray. Meanwhile, an industrial bakery has one of those fancy conveyor belt ovens -- dough goes in one side, cookies come out the other, and the conveyor belt itself is the tray. The conventional fabrication process for metallic nanostructures is more like the home method -- you need a tray (usually a silicon substrate, because those are pretty cheap and extremely high-quality), and an reactor of some sort (in this case a really fancy oven that costs more than your car, but still an oven), and you won't be getting any nanowidgets until the kitchen timer dings.

What this will NOT be useful for is logic circuitry. This group has managed to come up with a pretty good method of manufacturing metallic nanorods. That's all well and good, but bear in mind that all of these high quality nanorods are not attached to anything, and not particularly useful in and of themselves. Perhaps they can make individual nanorods into diodes, but even if they do they're still left with essentially a disordered heap of unconnected devices -- try throwing ten toothpicks in the air and having them land in a perfect grid. Now do it for a billion tiny transistors. You may notice that this process does not scale well.

This manufacturing method might actually be more useful in the realm of optics. The real breakthrough here is the fact that high quality metallic nanostructures can be grown without a substrate, and can be grown quickly and continuously. Metallic spheres and rods are actually quite interesting at the nanoscale, and behave in very counterintuitive ways (for instance, suspensions of gold spheres take on very different colors when viewed with reflected vs. transmitted light (See for instance the Lycurgus cup: People are working away on using those properties to do something more useful than making a better shot glass (for instance, nanostructured metals show some promise at enhancing the efficiency of solar cells), and maybe this manufacturing method will help them out by bringing the cost of high quality research materials down.

Then again, maybe all we'll get is a few overblown press releases and another three weeks of this article on the front page at Slashdot.

Comment Standard Operating Procedure (Score 4, Insightful) 553

Isn't this basically what they did back with Vista and 7? After the legacy-support nightmare (from Microsoft's perspective) that was XP I expect Microsoft is tired of supporting old software on old systems. I can't say that I blame them -- at some point you just have to draw a line in the sand and say "I'm not supporting 5.25" floppies anymore."

We can argue about exactly when they should stop supporting old OSes, but at some point it makes sense to move resources from your old product to your new product.

Submission + - NASA Prepares for Space Surgery and Zero Gravity Blood

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Draining an infected abscess is a straightforward procedure on Earth but on a spaceship travelling to the moon or Mars, it could kill everyone on board. Now Rebecca Rosen writes that if humans are to one day go to Mars, one logistical hurdle that will need to be overcome is what to do if one of the crew members has a medical emergency and needs surgery. "Based on statistical probability, there is a high likelihood of trauma or a medical emergency on a deep space mission," says Carnegie Mellon professor James Antaki. It's not just a matter of whether you'll have the expertise on board to carry out such a task: Surgery in zero gravity presents its own set of potentially deadly complications because in zero gravity, blood and bodily fluids will not just stay put, in the body where they belong but could contaminate the entire cabin, threatening everybody on board. This week, NASA is testing a device known as the Aqueous Immersion Surgical System (AISS) that could possibly make space surgery possible. Designed by researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Louisville, AISS is a domed box that can fit over a wound. When filled with a sterile saline solution, a water-tight seal is created that prevents fluids from escaping. It can also be used to collect blood for possible reuse. "You won't have a blood bank in space," says James Burgess who came up with the concept for AISS, "so if there is bleeding you want to save as much blood as you can.""

Comment Re:Size, not reliability (Score 1) 262

And even if classical verification was hard, depending on how quickly the quantum algorithm runs and how random the other 50% of solutions are, you should have a pretty good idea which answer is correct before checking classically. E.g. we want to calculate 2x2, and get the following results: 4, 4, -123, 2, 90, 12, 4, 70. Gee, let's check 4 first.

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It is masked but always present. I don't know who built to it. It came before the first kernel.