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Submission + - Icom America sponsors ham radio study website (

Taxilian writes: Icom America, one of the largest manufacturers of Amateur Radio equipment in the world, has just announced that it will be sponsoring the relatively new ham radio study website This is interesting given the close ties that Icom has with many other study websites and companies that deal with amateur radio license exam preparation and that the other websites are extremely entrenched and well connected. HamStudy aims to provide free and modern (HTML5) tools to people trying to get involved with Ham Radio.

Comment a bit disingenuous (Score 4, Insightful) 120

I think it's a bit disingenuous to say that this is the second-largest human created structure. While this is an impressive experiment which I think is very clever and great for physics, calling this a structure is a bit of a joke. If you were to call an array of phototubes a structure you could easily compare it to, say, the street lights of Los Angeles -- which I'm sure would be counted as a larger "structure".

Comment Re:Sucks to be you! (Score 2) 516

I just want to point out that this is absolutely 100% different in the Bay Area. In the Bay Area there are essentially zero unemployed qualified programmers. I'm an employer who is actively hiring -- every candidate that I've sent an offer to has received at minimum 3 other offers (usually within their first week of interviewing). The salaries have skyrocketed (thanks google & facebook) -- a qualified developer with 5+ years of experience starts at $100k -- minimum.
Hardware Hacking

Ask Slashdot: How Are You Haunting Your House This Hallowe'en? 249

Hallowe'en is just around the corner. I've spent hours this month poring over masks, fog machines, automated monsters, and sound-activated dancing skeletons (mostly too rich for my blood), and worked with my brother and sister to haunt my mom's house with scary pictures, mounds of spider-webbing, sound effects, strobe lights, stage blood, candles, and rusty knives. Like every year, though, the best laid plans are the ones you come up with after the fact (why do I always plan to build a coffin with Bible-repelling magnetic lid and matching Bible, but never do?), and while our effort was fun and satisfying, it definitely didn't push the envelope. (There's plenty of good inspiration out there, though, for people who do want to go a little crazy.) So I ask: What are you doing to celebrate the spirit of Hallowe'en? In particular, are you using any good stagecraft-style tech to make your dwelling, yard, or neighborhood just a little bit scarier than usual? Any good advice based on previous haunting experiences, either as haunter or hauntee? What effects do you wish you could create, given enough time and money? Do you control any aspect of your display by computer? Think broadly: Links to inspiring commercial haunts, sources of interesting gear, and your favorite house-haunting projects at Instructables are all welcome, as well as relevant advice from the parts of the world where Hallowe'en isn't the major event that it is in the U.S.

Israel To Join CERN As First Non-European Member 351

First time accepted submitter WorldPiece writes "More accurately, first non-European full member. This comes with some opposition from groups pushing to boycott Israel academia in response to the Israeli government's policies. 'It is a vital part of our mission to build bridges between nations. This agreement enriches us scientifically and is an important step in that direction,' CERN's Director General Rolf Heuer, a German physicist, told the signing ceremony."

Comment Re:API? (Score 1) 166

Uhm... an API is much more than a phone number. I think equating those two is ridiculous. An API is a huge set of interfaces with specific names and behaviors. A better analogy would be a phone book -- but one that you created from scratch and wasn't based on any public information.

The real point, in my opinion, is whether Oracle *protected* their copyright to the API. It seems to me that Sun/Oracle treated the API more-or-less like it was public domain. I never accepted an agreement that stated I only had permission to read the API docs for use with an approved JVM. This is sort of like publishing a short story on the internet, it goes viral and is used by tens of thousands of people (reposted on blogs, etc), and then ten years later someone puts it a book and the original author claims that it's copyright infringement. Typically with IP law you have to protect your IP or you loose your rights.

Comment Re:Aw c'mon (Score 1) 237

I agree that it's annoying, but in practice I don't think this causes any compatibility issues. Before did you worry separately about whether you support 3.5, 3.5.1, ..., 3.6,3.6.1, etc? Probably not. Now you should probably just think of FF4-7 as being essentially the same version until you find out otherwise (just as you likely did previously with the minor version numbers).

Comment Re:Scientific Method (Score 2) 155

But what do you mean "under similar conditions"? Over interpreting "under similar conditions" is equivalent to throwing away induction.

And if you're willing to throw away induction then we need to say goodbye to all of science. Past experiments show that apple's fall to the ground, but none of these experiments have been conducted in the year 2012. Therefore saying that apples will continue to fall to the ground in 2012 is an unscientific statement.

I'm sorry, but I prefer all of the knowledge that science has gotten us, and that includes empiricism *and* inductive reasoning.

Comment Re:Scientific Method (Score 3, Informative) 155

I'm so tired of people saying this -- if you can't replicate an experiment with the same starting conditions then it's not science -- that it total and complete bullshit.

Science works like this:
Step 1. Formulate a hypothesis.
Step 2. Test the hypothesis.
Step 3.
If hypothesis checks out, repeat step 2. After sufficient iterations call it a theory.
If hypothesis doesn't check out, throw it out and formulate a new hypothesis.

*no where* in the above does it require you to have the same starting conditions. In the case of global warming the hypotheses are of the form "Higher levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will lead to higher temperatures". There are *many* ways you can test these hypotheses -- you don't need to have a model earth to play with.

Comment Re:Calculations are not direct observations. (Score 5, Insightful) 67

That's not even remotely right.

Here's how science works (as it applies to astronomy):
- You form a hypothesis. In the case of astronomy this would most likely be a concrete mathematical model.
- Your model has predictions which you test.
- If the predictions are valid you look for more ways of testing the model. If not, you scratch it.

Observing the creation and death of one star is *not* necessary to test these models. There are an astronomical(!) number of stars to observe. You have plenty of stars in different stages of development to test the model with.

Certainly the model could be wrong, even if the data are consistent with it, but that does not make it unscientific.

Submission + - Nuclear power cannot scale (

mdsolar writes: " is previewing a new study which looks at the challenges of supplying 15 TW of power using nuclear technology. Land use and location constraints, a major accident a month, fuel abundance and exotic metal abundance (hafnium as a neutron absorber, beryllium as a neutron reflector, zirconium as cladding) needed to run reactors are a few of the critical issues that limit the scalability of nuclear power. Breeders, thorium and fusion reactors also face similar constraints."

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"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982