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Comment Re: Topology (Score 3, Informative) 378

There are many smaller cell service providers besides the big 4. They buy time on the major networks in bulk and resell it at discounted prices. A list of the alternatives for A&TT includes Airvoice, Black Wireless, Fuzion Mobile, H20 Wireless, Straight Talk ( list from the Mr. Money Moustache blog). With my phone unlocked I can get the same service from the same towers for $40 from Airvoice that A&TT charges me $87/month. I am at the end of my ATT contract and I am seriously considering buying an unlocked iPhone 5s and switching to Airvoice. The extra $449 will be paid off in 10 months of cheaper payments (just in time for me to waste more money on an unlocked iPhone 6!)

Comment Re:Vulnerable (Score 3, Interesting) 386

A quick GPS history lesson: GPS signals are spread-spectrum in order to make them harder to jam from a distance. The military goal was not to make it un-jammable, merely to force a functioning jammer to be so large that it could be found and (ahem) stopped. So GPS was built upon the assumption of radiation-seeking missiles to protect it. To deter jamming, they spread the main signal SO widely that it was hard for them to even acquire themselves (back in the day). For acquisition they built a less spread "finder" signal. This is spread over only about a MHz and can be easily acquired. It gives some accuracy, but also gives a timing code to find the second code which is spread over more bandwidth around the same frequency. As an afterthought, they released the first stage (the narrow one) to the public. This first stage is what we all use and love.

Comment Re:Get it right, damn it. (Score 1) 895

AGW/anti-AGW debate? I thought we were just exchanging travel photos from our vacations. If dated photos of glaciers is what you want, I have a picture of Everest from Feb 1981 that looks much less snowy than either of these. (taken from the small hill past the glacier in the lower center of Hillary's photo, I kid you not.)

On the other hand, I also have a picture of the remaining sliver of glacier on Kilimanjaro last August (which also stars my beautiful Fiancé).

As my photos clearly show, Everest had less snow 29 years ago, Killamanjaro is almost melted away, and I am a very lucky man to be marrying that woman. I dare you to show that my photos are less scientific than the comparison in TFA.

Comment Re:period of passing through the galaxy ecliptics? (Score 1) 306

isn't this the most simple explaination? [sic]

No, the most simplest explanation is that it's all an imagined phenomenon.

Don't be such a skeptic. If you don't believe that 19 correct guesses proves a pattern, just come ask my favorite octopus. Now that he is retired from world-cup football he's free to predict the next mass-extinction for you.

Comment Re:Remote Construction (Score 1) 84

You don't have to look so far ahead: you can use it to unfold solar panels on satellites. It would make it much easier to deploy (and change the angle of) large solar panels on small simple satellites. they have to be launched in a very compact state and deploy (obviously) without help.

Submission + - Volvo accidentally smashes new car in safety demo (

Lanxon writes: At a demonstration of Volvo's new collision warning system in Sweden this week, Wired got first-hand experience (and video) of what happens when it goes badly wrong. The new Volvo S60, due for release later this year, was fired out of Volvo's testing tunnel at around 30MPH, and the collision detection system should have kicked in, bringing the car automatically to a halt before hitting the truck in its path. It didn't. Instead, the brand new car ploughed into the back of the truck in front of us, and indeed the world's press who had gathered in Sweden to see the collision detection system in action.

Comment Free propellant! (Score 5, Interesting) 135

Life, Shmife! We are not focusing on the most important aspect of this report. The key is that there is sizable amounts water available in (relatively) nearby orbits outside of any significant gravity well. If the water can be used to refuel ships on their way to outer orbits, this could be incredibly useful for deep space exploration. I would personally prefer to see a space station on 24 Themis than on the moon, and it is less work to get there. Ok, more time but less work.

Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

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