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Submission + - Does NASA intentionally add artifacts to Hubble photos?

iliketrash writes: Hubble photos, as amazing as they are, invariably include bright points such as stars which include sidelobes, as for example in this beautiful shot Notice the "spurs" that emanate from some of the bright white spots which are coincidentally aligned perfectly with the frame of the picture. Surely these are not flaws of NASA's fine imaging system but are artifacts added to meet the expectations of the unsophisticated viewer to match the imperfect optics that many of us experience in our normal viewing.

Comment It's a design patent, not a utility patent (Score 2, Informative) 127

The OP apparently does not understand the difference between a design patent and a utility patent. He/She should learn this before calling this design patent stupid or whatever other inappropriate language was used. Utility patents describe a function; design patents describe only the appearance.

Comment Julia needs arbitrary array indexing base (Score 4, Informative) 106

Any language that purports to be a good for technical computing needs to get away from a forced base for indexing arrays. No, this is not a 0 or 1 problem. Arrays should be numbered from whatever the programmer specifies. The Pascal-type languages including Ada have this feature and it prevents many many errors. Maybe the $600K can buy this, but somehow I doubt it as this fixed-index-base is usually in the mindsets of the language's designers.

Comment Re:total bullshit? (Score 1) 344

Honestly, if she was using the e-mail address associated with that SMTP server before she become Secretary of State, yes.

Geez, do your homework. Here, I'll do it for you.

whois turns up Creation Date: 13-jan-2009.

On the first screen for Hillary Clinton at Wikipedia: "In office January 21, 2009 – February 1, 2013"

So, yea, [sarcasm] she did use it before becoming Secretary of State.

Comment Re:Kodak Automated Warehouse c. 1975 (Score 1) 108

The Kodak system also did not store stuff in the same location every time, either. (Note that I did not say that it did.) In fact, that is the reason for my comment "the computers remembered where stuff was...." Which implies that similar items could be stored anywhere, not necessarily next to each other. I suppose that they might have simplified the actual picking process by standardizing storage bins to a few common shapes. Dunno for sure. My recollection is that (1) it was a huge warehouse and (2) each aisle contained a large vertically extendable device with some sort of attaching thingy on the end which ran back and forth down the aisle on some kind of track—horizontal extendability. I don't see any problem in principle with scaling of a system like this.

Comment Kodak Automated Warehouse c. 1975 (Score 1) 108

I saw an automated warehouse at Kodak in Rochester, New York, in 1975. What am I missing? Why is it so difficult now when it was done in 1975? The computers remembered where stuff was stored and the pickers just went to the spot and got the item. Some details omitted here, of course, but that was a long time ago when the relevant technology was relatively primitive.

Comment Frequency of Mathematica bug-fix updates (Score 2) 210

About 15 years ago I found a bug that affected all Fourier-like transforms in Mathematica. (It was related to how the constants can be “allocated” between the exponent and an overall scale factor—someone had tried to generalize this concept by being too clever by half, and made a mistake.) I did a sanity check with comp.lang.mathematica or whatever the group is called and then filed a bug report. I understand that the error was not corrected until a later major release of Mathematica.

A few months ago I returned to Mathematica with a medium-sized project which involves some probabability calculations (PDFs, characteristic functions, etc.) I quickly found that Mathematica failed to crack an integral because it did not do a simple, trivial, second-semester substitution. I also found an error in the way a special function (MeijerG) is calculated numerically. In all, after only about three weeks of returning to using Mathematica, I filed five bug reports (one of which was UI-related) and have two or three saved up for when I get more time. I have watched the Mathematica release cycle for some years including the “dot” releases, and I am not encouraged that any of my reported bugs will be addressed before the next major release. (I believe that would be version 11.)

I have finally drank enough Kook-Aide to appreciate Mathematica and indeed have rather quickly (after my recent return) found it indespensible in my work; I am no longer even tussling with whether to use Octave/Matlab or Python/NumPy/SciPy for numerical work.

So: Why does Wolfram respond so slowly to bug reports? There seem to be only one x.1 or x.0.1 release after each major release, if that. Why not release more-frequent bug fixes like most other software houses, rather than let bugs exist for years in some cases?

Erim Radcliff

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