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Comment Re:Game changer (Score 1) 309

It's not really that brilliant. That's just how bookies work

They estimate the realistic odds (what 10000000 / 1 ?) then work out what sort of safety margin they can put around that before offering you your odds. The more outlandish and unpredictable the bet, the bigger safety margin they want.

Hence, they give you a massively unfair and marked up bet based on that (100 / 1)...

If you want to bet the other way around (i.e. that we don't make contact with aliens in the next year), they probably wouldn't take that bet anyway, and if they did, then they're never going to give you 1 / 100, it'd be more like 1 / 1000000000000)

Bookies making money has nothing to do with growing their money with interest.


Piezo Crystals Harness Sound To Generate Hydrogen 187

MikeChino writes "Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a mix of zinc oxide crystals, water, and noise pollution can efficiently produce hydrogen without the need for a dirty catalyst like oil. To generate the clean hydrogen, researchers produced a new type of zinc oxide crystals that absorb vibrations when placed in water. The vibrations cause the crystals to develop areas with strong positive and negative charges — a reaction that rips the surrounding water molecules and releases hydrogen and oxygen. The mechanism, dubbed the piezoelectrochemical effect, converts 18% of energy from vibrations into hydrogen gas (compared to 10% from conventional piezoelectric materials), and since any vibration can produce the effect, the system could one day be used to generate power from anything that produces noise — cars whizzing by on the highway, crashing waves in the ocean, or planes landing at an airport."

Comment Re:I'm not convinced the police was wrong here (Score 2, Insightful) 577

Sounds like a bomb threat to me. I didn't see any context indicating that this is merely a joke.

How about the fact that he posted it on twitter? If he was actually making a bomb threat and going to tell the world about it, surely telling the airport or the police themselves would be one of the first ports of call... not simply posting it on a microblogging website with a whole bunch of information that would lead you straight to him.

Comment Re:Why this challenge? (Score 2, Informative) 129

Um... WHAT?!

If the US want to censor twitter or facebook, they can just shut them down...
People got around this in iran by using anonymous proxies to tunnel requests to websites outside of their government's control... US citizens could do the same thing in such circumstances (using studivz or something more obscure if the conspiracy stretches that far)

And I think if we're talking about DARPA attempting to find some algorithm to silently censor certain posts about US unrest, unless they manage to completely disconnect a region from the outside world with nobody noticing, I think there would be a fairly large outcry. Tibet managed to get word out, I'm sure an american state could do the same...


Submission + - Cell phones don't increase chances of brain cancer (smh.com.au)

mclearn writes: A very large, 30-year study of just about everyone in Scandinavia shows no link between mobile phone use and brain tumours, researchers reported on Thursday. Even though mobile telephone use soared in the 1990s and afterward, brain tumours did not become any more common during this time, the researchers reported in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Some activist groups and a few researchers have raised concerns about a link between mobile phones and several kinds of cancer, including brain tumours, although years of research have failed to establish a connection.

"From 1974 to 2003, the incidence rate of glioma (a type of brain tumor) increased by 0.5 per cent per year among men and by 0.2 per cent per year among women," they wrote. Overall, there was no significant pattern.


Submission + - Using Carbon Nanotubes to Capture Carbon Fumes (technologyreview.com)

TechRev_AL writes: A California start-up called Porifera is developing membranes containing carbon nanotubes to capture carbon dioxide from smokestacks more effectively. The membranes used to capture CO2 from smokestacks needbe selective, allowing carbon dioxide to pass through and not the other exhaust gases. This produces a concentrated stream of CO2 for capture. Porifera has found that carbon nanotubes are particular good at this--gases can move through the interior of nanotubes extremely quickly--at rates 100 times as fast as through conventional membrane materials.

Submission + - Google Launches Public DNS Resolver (blogspot.com)

AdmiralXyz writes: Google has announced the launch of their free DNS resolution service, called Google Public DNS. According to their blog post, Google Public DNS uses continuous record prefetching to avoid cache misses- hopefully making the service faster- and implements a variety of techniques to block spoofing attempts. They also say that (unlike an increasing number of ISPs), Google Public DNS behaves exactly according to the DNS standard, and will not redirect you to advertising in the event of a failed lookup. Very cool, but of course there are questions about Google's true motivations behind knowing every site you visit...

Submission + - FCC Preparing Transition to VoIP Telephone Network (fcc.gov)

mantis2009 writes: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a request for public comment on an upcoming transition from the decades-old circuit-based Public Switched Telephone Network to a new system run entirely with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. This is perhaps the most serious indication to date that the legacy telephone system will, in the near future, reach the end of its life. This public commenting phase represents a very early stage in what will undoubtedly be a very complex transition that makes this year's bumpy switch from analog to digital television look relatively easy.

Submission + - Motorola Droid has serious WiFi issues (motorola.com)

GrantRobertson writes: "There is a forum thread on the Motorola web site with 28 pages of complaints from people, many experienced in IT issues, who cannot get their new toys to connect to Wifi properly. Many can get an IP address but no data transfers. Others can get some data to transfer but then it rapidly slows to a crawl.

It appears that Motorola has chosen to ignore the issue, pointing the finger at the WiFi access point manufacturers instead, much to the amusement of the forum members. Yes, I am one of the unlucky ones who can't get a connection. My recommendation is to not purchase a Droid until Motorola gets this issue straightened out."

Comment Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (Score 1) 264

Exactly, I would never have brought a $1000+ laptop travelling with me... but my $400 netbook still seems to be running after 4 months in central america, despite being roughly thrown about inside my travelling backpack strapped to the top of buses, taken to the beach, survived tropical storms, etc...

I think I would have had much more trouble keeping a bigger laptop running under the same conditions. In my experience, the most strenuous journey $1000 laptops make is between the desk at home and the desk at work/university.

Comment Re:T-Mobile Customer (Score 2, Interesting) 65

Are you a TMobile UK (or US or Germany or wherever else TMobile do business) customer?

I'm a TMobile UK customer (because I wanted the G1), and my personally customer support experiences with them have been pretty terrible. They refused to pause my contract when I came traveling (whereas other UK telecommunications companies will do so), they lowered the price of the contract a week after I bought my G1 and wouldn't let me downgrade to the lower tariff and every time I talk to them, they just seem unwilling to help...

I'll be happy when my contract expires in February and I'll be able to move back to Orange or O2...

But maybe that's just me... Maybe they just hate me... :(

Comment 18%!?! (Score 1) 277

Where were they surveying exactly? Right outside an programming convention?

Not that I've ever been to Australia, so maybe u guys are all really tech savvy, but I doubt that 18% of the population of Britain would know what C or Java are (nevermind cobol), or even what an operating system is...

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