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Comment Re:Whythe vaguness about the age? (Score 5, Insightful) 109

Having watched the National Geographic documentary on the expeditions into the caves, the chances of external contamination for the samples looked acceptably low. The samples were taken from an inch or more inside the crystals, from liquid inclusions accessed by drilling with sterilized drill bits and sterile transfer. The sample sites were in deeper areas of the cave to further reduce the risk.

Combine that with the lack of a close genetic match to modern samples, and the level of confidence in the samples been uncontaminated should be satisfactory high. To contaminate the inclusion, you'd have to breach it, contaminate it and the crystal would have to regrow (something it doesn't do when out of water) all deep inside a cave so hot that it can kill in a couple of minutes without protection.

Comment Re:Only the earthworks are visible (Score 5, Informative) 147

These structures resemble henges, which are defined as a circular earthwork with a ditch inside the earthwork. Most defensive earthworks have the raised bit inside the ditch so the defenders have higher ground while the attackers are left to scramble through the ditch and then try to climb the earthwork.

Stonehenge is a henge with standing stones inside the ditch perimeter. It's a bad example to keep using as most people will keep thinking henges are the standing stone circle because of the name of the site.

The Brits think the henges are ceremonial partly because of finds inside the henge and partly because it makes no defensive sense. Some chaps think it might be to keep the dead enclosed, i.e. the inside ditch keeps them from escaping and haunting the living.

<fulldisclosure>I'm a Time Team fan</fulldisclosure>

Comment Re:Well that's a hell of a security hole. (Score 1) 254

Kids are smart, very smart. She's heard daddy telling Alexa to get something, probably many times, so she repeats that process. Once Alexa responds with a list of dollhouses, it's not difficult to say "buy the first one" and have it finish the order process.

And nowhere in the article does it say that the anchor's words ordered dollhouses, only that it tried to order dollhouses. It also probably caused Alexa to respond with the list of dollhouses, but most people would regard that as trying to order something. It doesn't have to actually result in a finalized order to be called trying to order.

And +1000 for using the PIN, very disconcerting to wake up in the morning to find a drunk forum post, how much more so if you find a drunk order for 2000 inflatable Heidi Klum dolls.

Comment Re:What benefit are we missing? (Score 1) 277

Until then, it's a bullshit pipe dream for people who are incapable of doing math or understanding the materials requirements for building actual roads.

So what is Colas then? Chopped liver? One of the largest civil engineering companies that have specialized in road and race track construction for 88 years now, surely they can't have any idea what goes into building a road and how to improve it? </sarcasm>

Comment Re:Why always going for hominoid? (Score 3, Interesting) 47

I got the technical reasoning for the arm design and the stereo cameras, but the head feels unnecessarily restrictive to me. It precludes the added utility of independently steerable cameras or adjusting the distance between cameras to get an exaggerated binocular vision which can be useful for certain retrieval and manipulation operations.

I guess I always tend to think that humanoid robots are trying to do something the more difficult way than one that is built more along the functional requirements. Like using a three axis arm instead of a more flexible segmented snake that could reach into impossibly twisty gaps.

Comment Why always going for hominoid? (Score 1) 47

This is just a dual arm AUV that they built the 3D camera mounts to look like a head.

The same functionality can be done without making it look humanoid, so what is the attraction for manufacturers to do so? It probably adds extra cost to the project for no appreciable gain.

Comment Or Mr Pendantic... (Score 1) 184

Like most of the rest of us, you can choose to understand he made a mistake, correct the mistake in your mental context and continue on with the rest of the post you have acknowledged as insightful rather than denigrate the value of the individual based on an incorrect term which may well have been auto-corrected by his device.

By all means make a post to provide the correct terminology, but why tear into the writer about it? Why does a single word that is obviously close to the correct one make such a difference to the value of his argument?

Comment Re:I wonder if Trump's gonna repeal it (Score 2) 90

Considering the unanimous passing in the Senate, he'd have to do it by executive order as he'd need a majority in the House and the Senate to pass a repeal bill otherwise. Even then there's enough support around for Congress to pass it again and override a veto attempt.

Comment Re:Elon Musk (Score 0) 283

Well-off in South Africa in the 1980s was probably close to $40000 a year gross salary, I doubt he had the million dollars given to him to start off like Trump was.

And he moved to Canada with his mother just after finishing high school in 1989. Back then foreign exchange controls stopped you from taking more than $15000 with you when you left. If you had that.

He certainly weren't no Arjen Rudd or Pieter Vorstedt. I would grant that those were rather accurate representations of our politicians at the time, just not the rest of us.

Comment Re:This is BIG news - If you want to know more.. (Score 4, Informative) 477

Besides your exclusion of relativistic mass increases, you are also assuming that more power isn't required as the drive accelerates. Marketing claims aside, nothing in the static testing so far indicates that, it will only show up when the drive actually continually accelerates something in a test. Acceleration without expelled reaction mass doesn't equal a violation of E=MC^2, it just means the opposite force is coming from something that isn't being expelled by the drive. What it is, is unknown now, but my guess will turn out to be something already predicted by physics.

With F=MA and E=MC^2, no matter what the source of the acceleration force, the accelerated object will start experiencing mass increasing effects and we will have to increase the thrust to maintain the same acceleration, requiring an increase in energy fed into the drive. The EM drive clearly shows a direct correlation between power input and thrust.

If your argument was valid physics, it would apply to all lower power drives including ion thrusters capable of long term acceleration. Hell, the drives on Dawn generate 80 times the thrust force for 10 times the energy of the EM drive. If anything this thing is more inefficient than the NSTAR drives.

Comment Concurrent users vs installations (Score 2) 170

Part of the user discussion on the article is about whether the licenses are for concurrent users or installations.

Now the software uses a central Flexnet licensing server and that supports a license pool and concurrent users. It depends on the terms of the license, but if the Flexnet allows an instance to start, then by my definition, that instance is licensed.

Comment Re:Eliminate the time delay? (Score 3, Insightful) 46

At the moment the spacecraft need data fed to them from Earth about their position and that takes time because of the speed of light.

With this system, the spacecraft itself can calculate its position using the pulsars as if they were GPS satellites. So no delay caused by the comms to and from Earth.

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