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Comment Re:Millie bloody who? (Score 3, Informative) 280

1,000 millisieverts of radiation per hour

I don't understand. Can someone translate that into old-fashioned units like luminous watches per hockey game?

Various sources[1,2] indicate a range of 1-100 mrem/hr for a radium watch face, with about 20 mrem/hr looking like a plausible average. 1 mrem == .01 mSv[3], so 1000 mSv is about 5000 watch faces/hr. Apparently a standard ice hockey game is 60 minutes[4], so:

1000 mSv/hr == 5000 radium watch faces/hockey game



Comment Re:Good for apple (Score 1) 1078

"The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." I've never quite understood why we allow public smoking but not public drinking. Seems to me it ought to be reversed. Some guy standing next to me drinking a beer causes me no harm or even discomfort, quite the opposite for the smoking.

Comment Re:Good for apple (Score 1) 1078

Bans on smoking in business are generally pitched as protection for the employees rather than the customers. We have all sorts of laws about protecting employees from callous employers. Banning smoking seems right up there with requiring guards on sharp tools and eye protection for welders and all the other sorts of mandated employee protection. If you can own and operate a business with no other employees than I don't have a problem with you and your customers smoking like chimneys.

Comment Re:Good for apple (Score 1) 1078

Reading between the lines a bit it would seem that Wikipedia disagrees with you on the origin of the word marriage. In the Etymology section of the Marriage article they indicate the origin is Latin. Which means it almost certainly predates Christianity. In the European marriages section and the linked Roman marriage article religion is indicated as playing at most a supporting role in the process.

Telling gay couples they have to use a different word seems to me a last attempt to snub them. If we change the term for everyone that's fine, although it seems a bit silly given the history. If religions want a term for their ceremony related to marriage then come up with a new one, like Mormon sealing.

Comment Re:AT&T's Been Doing This (Score 1) 168

Maybe someone who has the service can comment on it's openness.

It's quite trivial, you browse to the captive portal, click the link for alternate logins, plug in your AT&T DSL username and password and you're set. I've used this for several years, it's a nice little bonus for having DSL from the mothership. Still works now that I've switched to U-verse as well.

Comment Re:I for one welcome (Score 1) 131

Well, since you can rent nodes on Amazon EC2 for $70/month or so I think the market value of a home computer on a crappy DSL line with all the attendant flakiness is maybe $10/month max. The model of paying folks for usage of their home computer has been tried a few times, but I think it is doomed to fail. The money isn't significant enough to attract users.

Comment Re:Hype? (Score 1) 102

Indeed. Although the example listed in the article (successfully responding to "go fetch me a stapler") is impressive, I highly doubt that if I plunked the robot down in my office it could perform that task. Nor could it probably handle a request for an arbitrarily different object in their lab (go fetch me light bulb). They've integrated a lot of difficult problems and managed to get it to work in their environment, but unless they're well ahead of anyone else this is still within a narrowly defined problem domain.

So yeah, neat trick, but I figure I'm still decades away from a robot usefully helping out around the home or office with random chores. My personal interest, locomotion and other interaction with the physical world, remains a tricky problem. Wheels won't cut it in most homes, although they could work in an office. A general sense of touch for walking and grasping remains largely unsolved. Speech recognition needs incremental improvement, language processing, reasoning and vision all need major breakthroughs. Seems like we're still solidly in the valley of "disrepute" mentioned in the article.

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