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Comment Re:Incorrect Timescale (Score 2) 189

How using facial recognition as a benchmark for computer timescales? It would take billions of cycles for the computer to recognize you (especially out of a database of faces containing a similar number of faces a human would recognize), while a human can do it in fractions of a second. Or how about SLAM/location? Or how about calculation of movement in a changing environment? 1 Sec per CPU cycle seems quite an arbitrarily long time to use to compute any comparisons.

Submission + - The POW Who Blinked 'Torture' In Morse Code

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: The LA Times reports on the passing of Jeremiah Denton, the US Navy pilot held by the Viet Cong, who let the world know in a TV interview that POWs were being tortured by blinking out the word "torture" in Morse code. From 1965 to 1973, Denton was held at the "Hanoi Hilton" and several other infamous Vietnamese prisons and was held in isolation for lengthy periods totaling about four years. At points, he was in a pitch-black cell, a cramped hole crawling with rats and roaches. His beatings opened wounds that festered in pools of sewage. Frustrated that Denton would not confess to alleged American war crimes or reveal even basic details of US military operations, jailers subjected him to horrific abuse. Taking command of fellow POWs he usually could not see, Denton fashioned a secret prison communication system using the sound of coughs, hacks, scratching, spitting and throat-clearing keyed to letters of the alphabet. "When you think you've reached the limit of your endurance, give them harmless and inaccurate information that you can remember, and repeat it if tortured again," he told his men. "We will die before we give them classified military information." Thinking they'd broken him, Denton's captors allowed a Japanese TV reporter to interview him on May 2, 1966. "The blinding floodlights made me blink and suddenly I realized that they were playing right into my hands," he wrote. "I looked directly into the camera and blinked my eyes once, slowly, then three more times, slowly. A dash and three more dashes. A quick blink, slow blink, quick blink ." While his impromptu blinks silently told the world that prisoners were being tortured, he was unabashed in the interview, which was later broadcast around the world, in his denial of American wrongdoing. "Whatever the position of my government is, I believe in it — yes, sir," said Denton. "I'm a member of that government and it is my job to support it, and I will as long as I live."

Comment Re:"Ethical" microtransactions? (Score 1) 177

From the transcript:

As I mentioned earlier, the game is free to play and supported by microtransactions. Those tend to have negative connotations amongst gamers, who don't want to be forced to spend real money to be competitive. Fortunately, Grinding Gear Games has done this in a really ethical way. The majority of things you can buy are customization and vanity-related. Non-combat pets, sparkly item effects, dance animations, etc. The only quality of life purchases you can make are for extra stash tabs and extra guild slots. But you already start out with four huge stash tabs. Nothing you can buy affects gameplay. I don't typically care about the vanity stuff, so after I'd played for a while and wanted to send some money their way, just to support them, I couldn't find a single thing I wanted to buy. It was kind of a strange feeling, and the developers deserve recognition for doing microtransactions right.

Comment Re:I have a better idea... (Score 1) 649

Or, since corporations are "persons", why not tax them in an analogous fashion?

S-corps are already taxed by dividing their income by the number of shares allotted to each owner, and taxing the corporation's income as actual income on the owner's personal income tax statements. Therefore, these corporations ARE people - or at least a legal representation of a group of actual people - the owners.

I assume you're talking (^H^H^H^H^H^H) complaining about public stock C-corps? Of course, the stockholders hold shares in the company and can vote on board members and policy....and bought their shares with money that was already taxed as personal income....


Submission + - Intel settles NY antitrust case (

clustermonkey writes: Intel Corporation and the New York Attorney General have agreed to terminate the lawsuit alleging violation of U.S. and state antitrust laws that was filed by the New York Attorney General in November 2009. Intel did not have to admit any violation of law (if there ever was any) nor did it have to admit or deny that the allegations in the complaint are true. Most importantly, the settlement does not require any changes to how the company does business. The settlement includes a $6.5 million payment that is “intended only to cover some of the costs incurred by the New York Attorney General in the litigation.” Here's the full settlement, and Intel's official press release.
Social Networks

"David After Dentist" Made $150k For Family 234

It turns out recording your drugged child pays pretty well. 7-year-old David DeVore became an overnight sensation when his father posted a video of his ramblings after dental surgery. To date that video has made the DeVore family around $150,000. Most of the money came from YouTube, but the family has made $50k from licensing and merchandise. From the article: "The one seemingly minor decision to make the video available all over the Internet set off a whirlwind of changes for the DeVore family. Within just four days, 'David After Dentist' received 3 million views on YouTube and the younger David quickly became an Internet celebrity. His father quit his job in residential real estate (did we mention they live in Florida?), and the family started selling T-shirts featuring cartoon drawings of their son post-dental surgery."

Submission + - Lightsabers on sale? (

clustermonkey writes: For only $200 you can own a handheld Class IV portable laser device that looks and operates remarkably like a lightsaber, capable of setting skin and clothing on fire and causing instant blindness. Sounds improbable? dangerous? Nah, let the kiddies play, the manufacturer posted this warning so everything will be fine:
WARNING: Extremely dangerous is an understatement to 1W of laser power. At close range, this Class 4 beam will cause immediate and irreversable retinal damage. Use with extreme caution and use only when wearing proper safety goggles with an O.D. of 3+ is required and 4.4+ for longer exposures. Customers will be required to completely read and agree to our Class 4 Laser Hazard Acknowledgment Form.
Ok, I admit I want one despite the danger. While using it in the manner depicted on Star Wars would be insane, I can think of a number of applications where something like this would be fun and useful.


Submission + - PR2 Robot Now Challenges Humans At Pool (

kkleiner writes: The whiz kids at Willow Garage have worked another robotic wonder. This time the Silicon Valley startup taught a PR2 robot to play billiards – in just one week! Using open source operating system ROS the team was able to teach the robot how to identify the pool table, locate a shot, and make it. Watch the PR2 sink shot after shot in the video.

Comment Re:interestingly, themselves sometimes touted (Score 3, Insightful) 341

Yeah, 'cause artificially limiting the use of available energy sources while not providing any viable alternatives won't deepen the energy crisis.

We need innovative people to come up with viable alternatives, not endlessly complain about the impacts of available options. If someone actually comes up with a feasible, scalable alternative to fossil fuels, the switch to using that idea would just take care of itself due to market forces. The ugly truth is - there's currently no real alternative to switch to and complaining without providing viable alternatives won't change that.


Google Street View Shoots the Same Woman 43 Times 106

Geoffrey.landis writes "Terry Southgate discovered that his wife Wendy appears on the Google Street View of his neighborhood not once or twice but a whopping 43 times. From the article: 'It seems as if the Street View car simply followed the same route as Wendy and Trixie. However, Wendy was a little suspicious that the car was doing something on the "tricksie" side. Several of the Street View shots show Wendy looking with some concern towards the car that was, well, to put it politely, crawling along the curb. "I didn't know what it was doing. It was just driving round very, very slowly," Wendy told the Sun.' The next best thing to being a movie star — a Street View star!"

Comment Re:It is bad, wrong way to go about it (Score 1) 2044

In case of 100% private health care, everybody (even insurance companies!) earns money when someone is sick. In the case of government run health care the government loses money if people are sick.

So where exactly do you think the "government" money goes? Er, to the doctors (and possibly insurers) of course - the ones the government pays to treat the sick people. And where does the government get "it's" money? That's right, the government HAS NO MONEY. It's all the taxpayer's money, paid by the taxpayers (not to be confused with the group consisting of all American citizens). So the doctors still make a profit (via the government), and the people still pay that profit (via taxes), and the government sits in the middle taking money out of the system to fund the shuttling of money around. Adding another party as a paid middleman, and disguising the true cost of healthcare through taxes doesn't (can't) make it any cheaper.


Disney Releases 3D Texture Mapper Source Code 83

dsavi writes "Ptex, Walt Disney Animation Studio's cutting-edge 3D texture mapping library which was first used on nearly every surface in the 2008 animated feature Bolt, was released under the BSD license on Friday. Quoting the announcement on 'We expect to follow Ptex with other open source projects that we hope the community will find beneficial. We will soon be launching a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology page under It will include links to our open source projects as will as a library of recent publications.' This looks good for open source 3D graphics."

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