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Comment Re:"authority of experts" ? (Score 2) 373

The alleged "authority of experts" is questionable marketing bravado. In the last century, a large percentage of their articles were gleaned from popular media sources of the day and the authors were newspaper and magazine contributors.

We have a copy of the 11th edition, from 1915. It's not so great for recent history, but the list of contributors is impressive. A friend at work asked me to bring him the article on capillary action because he'd heard that it was written by J.Willard. Gibbs (if I remember correctly...). I had to tell him that the article wasn't actually by Gibbs -- he only edited it. It was originally written by some guy named James Clerk Maxwell.

Comment Re:BSD would make more sense ... (Score 2) 49

I work for a US government lab (NIST) and the software I write is freely available and not subject to copyright, by law. I would expect the same rule to apply to NASA. The lack of copyright actually causes a problem for us, because the GPL requires that authors copyright their code so that they can apply the GPL to it. That means that we can't apply the GPL and therefore can't use GPL code. I hope this is the sort of issue that this conference is going to iron out.

  -- Steve


Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."

Comment Re:what about non-digital SLRs? (Score 1) 446

Of course, most digitals that I've seen have a reasonably functional autofocus

Every one that I've used has been a real pain if you want to focus on something other than what the camera wants you to focus on. I've got lots of nice clear pictures of rocks when I wanted a picture of the person standing behind them.

Though I imagine it would be really incredibly difficult to make a DSL camera take a shot that was deliberately just slightly out of focus.

My DSLR lens has a very easy manual focus override. It even works when the autofocus is turned on. I've never seen a non SLR digitial with a manual focus that was at all convenient.

Comment Re:what about non-digital SLRs? (Score 1) 446

I'm not entirely sure I understand what the advantage of the reflex mechanism is for a digital camera. (for a film camera, yeah, I completely understand. But those reasons mostly don't translate to digial *at all*.)

It's much easier to focus on exactly what you want with an SLR, even a digital one.

-- Steve


Underwear Invention Protects Privacy At Airport 325

Thanks to Jeff Buske you don't have to be embarrassed while going through the full body scanners at the airport. Buske has invented radiation shielding underwear for the shy traveler. From the article: "Jeff Buske says his invention uses a powdered metal that protects people's privacy when undergoing medical or security screenings. Buske of Las Vegas, Nev.-Rocky Flats Gear says the underwear's inserts are thin and conform to the body's contours, making it difficult to hide anything beneath them. The mix of tungsten and other metals do not set off metal detectors."

Toyota Introduces Electric RAV4, Powered By Tesla Motor 243

thecarchik writes "As they say, everything old is new again. Fourteen years after it launched its very first RAV4 crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota returned to LA to launch an all-electric version of its latest RAV4. And this one is, as the logos in a teaser photo released earlier said, 'powered by Tesla.' The launch of the second version of the RAV4 EV is on a fast timeline, led by a working group made up of Toyota's Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a team from Tesla Motors. The partnership will build 35 'Phase Zero' test versions of the latest RAV4 EV next year, with production launch expected in 2012."

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