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Comment Re:According to Claude Shannon... (Score 2, Insightful) 98

We're far enough away from any likely candidate systems that we would only pick up very high power omni-directional signals - in other words, intentional beacons. Such a beacon is unlikely to be highly encoded (though there might be an associated signal that *is* highly encoded, and to which there is a pointer in the beacon signal). In other words, we don't have to worry too much about the Kolmogorov complexity of extra-terrestrial signals, because we won't be "overhearing" anything.

Another Contender For the Land Speed Record 85

We've been following developments with the British-led Bloodhound SSC, a jet car aiming to hit 1,000 mph in 2011 and shatter the land speed record. Now reader Thea Chard writes in about a rival project from Washington state, one aiming at 800 mph before the end of 2010 — still plenty fast enough to break the record. "For the past 12 years Ed Shadle, 68, Keith Zanghi, 55, and their 44-man team have been racing to break the world land speed record with the North American Eagle, a converted 1957 F-104 Starfighter 'turbojet car.' Although the team is rushing to beat out their biggest contender, Bloodhound SSC from Great Britain, whose team leader holds the previous land speed record and has secured much more financial support for the project, Shadle and Zanghi hope to run the Eagle at around 800 mph later this year, breaking the sound barrier and setting a new world record for fastest land vehicle."

Comment Re:How is this any more secure (Score 2, Informative) 232

There's a book that's 2200 years old. I don't mean the story (or in this case, poem) is 2200 years old, I mean the *piece of paper* (or in this case, papyrus) on which someone copied the (2400 year-old) poem is 2200 years old. In the right conditions, archival quality paper will last a *lot* longer than any electronic medium.

Comment Since when is a year = 2 mod 4 EVER a leap year? (Score 3, Interesting) 342

Guys, it's really not that hard:
GregYear <- (appropriate year for start of Gregorian era in locale)

IF (month = 2 AND year MOD 4 = 0 AND (year < GregYear OR year MOD 100 > 0 OR year MOD 400 = 0))
{MaxDayForMonth <- 29}
ELSE IF (month = 2)
{MaxDayForMonth <- 28}
ELSE IF (month IN (4,6,9,11))
{MaxDayForMonth <- 30}
{MaxDayForMonth <- 31}

(pseudocode style adapted for Slashcode)

Comment Re:Something from Nothing (Score 1) 426

I certainly hope you don't characterize "real estate" as "real property." The owner of real estate owns something just as abstract as the owner of Intellectual Property does - the right to use and occupy land. Ultimately, all property is abstract: if you hand me a five dollar bill to look at, does it become my property because it is in my possession, or does it remain your property?

Comment Re:Did MY Tax Dollars Pay for This? (Score 1) 426

I believe such monuments are usually funded by subscription by private organizations; and I find evidence that such is the case for this Memorial. So, NO, your tax dollars did not pay for this, though it is on public land; I do not know if the Federal government maintains the site or a private organization does so (as is the case with e.g. Monticello).

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Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell