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Comment But how does... (Score 1) 942

But how does my German Shepherd compare to me? I certainly emit more than two Toyota SUVs with my CO2 spewing diesel truck, my heated house, my heated office, my lawn mower, my motorcycle... the list goes on. As big as my German Shepherd is, he breathes less than I do and he only eats dog food which is more CO2 friendly than all of the methane-producing-cow products that I eat. Perhaps I should teach him to hunt, that way he can start killing ducks. Or do like the police do and use him to start putting minorities in environmentally friendly prisons. He'll get carbon neutral damn quick.

Animals, including our pets, have as much right to our environment as we do. Their track record for the environment is far better than ours.

Comment Re:Detection (Score 2, Informative) 259

Is there any point in the modern world to having a radar detector? I've always been under the impression that a lot of law enforcement agencies are now using LIDAR, which is virtually impossible to detect until your car is being painted with it (i.e: it's too late to slow down). Even the ones that use radar generally turn it on and off with a trigger instead of leaving it running all the time -- which further reduces your odds of detecting it before it hits your vehicle.

While there have been a huge number of advances in radar technology, the radar detector technology keeps up with it well. The two are made by the same company, after all. LIDAR is definitely not ideal for so many situations. To use LIDAR, a police officer must be stationary and actually outside of his cruiser. LIDAR is also defeatable because laser jammers are legal in most states. Finally, there are entire states that do not use LIDAR. This is why radar is still much more common. I do know that radar detectors are still very useful because I have and use one myself and it has saved me from a ticket in a number of situations. It would be my guess that the radar in use by the Ford Taurus is very different and distinguishable from that in use by the police.

Comment New Safety Features I Actually Want! (Score 4, Interesting) 259

I think we're finally seeing some of the safety features that consumers actually want, rather than safety features that the government mandates. Radar guided cruise control and braking will save a lot of lives and a lot of money by almost eliminating rear end collisions.

Another feature I can't wait to see in the average car is brake lights that flash during emergency braking. The biggest nuisance for me in my 30 mile urban freeway commute is people who get in front of me and use their brakes simply to control their speed. It means I have to concentrate really hard on to figure out how hard someone is braking. A car with flashing brake lights (you're already seeing this on many Mercedes and European cars) will flash its brake lights rapidly under heavy braking so that the driver in the car behind knows to do the same.

It's good ideas like these that save a lot of lives and earn revenue for the auto companies that implement them, like Ford has here.

Comment Re:Android (Score 3, Interesting) 272

Only if you're an idiot. People should try chucking those cell phones out the window sometime. Being free of such a useless piece of technology would probably make them feel good. No one needs to be "connected" 24/7 in such a superficial manner.

There's nothing idiotic about it. Cell phones make our lives better. My cell phone has replaced the following tasks that I used to use my computer for:

  • Displaying the weather forecast
  • Alarm clock
  • Looking up restaurants, stores, and directions on a map
  • Tracking my car's mileage
  • Displaying stock quotes
  • Occasional emergency SSH sessions (when I'm out and I need to restart a system service immediately)
  • Some communication with friends
  • MP3 player in the car (yes, I used to use a computer for this)

The cell phone consolidates your digital camera, camcorder, GPS, MP3 player, handheld gaming device, compass, bubble level, notepad, rolodex, photo album, and hell there's even an app to use your Android phone as a metal detector now. Better yet your phone will replace your dvd player before the end of this year.

My point is that there is no idiocy behind using your cell phone more and your computer less because your cell phone does many things much more efficiently than your desktop can. So there's nothing stupid about using your phone instead of your computer when it saves you time.

Comment Android (Score 3, Interesting) 272

This is entirely why Android was developed and is so fundamentally important to the future of our communications. Today, without Android, what we're seeing is the case for network neutrality in the form of ringtone racketeering. Carriers are locking down your cell phone and forcing you to buy music from them. With every passing day we're using our computers less and our cell phones more. The difference between the two is that your carrier has total control over your cell phone while your ISP has no control over your computer. Suppose five years down the road you're still buying phones subsidized by a contract with software loaded onto them by Verizon. These phones end up replacing your desktop because they are now just as powerful. Now every time you want to listen to music, you are forced to suffer through a store worse than iTunes.. and let's even say Verizon forces you to use Bing instead of Google. This is bad for you as a consumer, and this is bad for Google as a content provider.

Enter Android, where the operating system is open and available at no cost for any number of phones and presumably on any number of carriers. Now we see a future where everyone can run the same software on their phone regardless of carrier. Any time one carrier decides to lock down their phone people will quit buying it. It's not viable. Since we're talking about wireless data, it's easy enough to simply switch to another carrier. Now we've forced the telco's into companies that treat you fairly and compete for your business because they will become insolvent if they don't. We end up with network neutrality and control over our own hardware, and we did it organically without the use of government.

Android is not the be-all, end-all phone operating system. However, if successful it will force all other cell phone platforms to provide the same level of freedom through market controls.

Comment One big problem, not a zillion. (Score 4, Interesting) 318

I wouldn't say 'about a zillion to go.' I would say one big problem to go. That problem is platinum. We simply have not been able to eliminate the need for platinum in fuel cells to extract the electricity from the reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. Platinum is a huge factor in the cost of the fuel cell and the larger problem is that we simply don't have the amount of it necessary to convert all of the vehicles of the world. I spent a few weeks at Los Alamos with a research group that had been given a hefty grant for finding a solution and all they were doing was shrugging their shoulders at it. It seems nearly hopeless.

The day we find a solution to this problem is, I believe, the day that fuel cells become viable for everyday transportation. I'll be the first in line to swap my motorcycle for a fuel cell powered version because the only problem with fuel cells is their cost per kilowatt. Currently it costs roughly $73 per kilowatt for a fuel cell (source). This is down from $1,000 in 2002. This means that we've come incredibly far, and we only have one problem to overcome.

Comment Re:The article is confused (Score 1) 588

Certainly nobody should regard "an fMRI scan" as any sort of evidence.

Bravo. Now we have a worthy rebuttal to ViennaSt's original reply. Yes it's fairly common knowledge in the medical research community that fMRI's are useless for this, but I wanted to see you cite some evidence unlike the ggggp (who, by the way, should also have noted that the slope of a forehead is in direct correlation with human intelligence, making the Anglo-Saxon race the most intelligent.)

Comment Re:The article is confused (Score 1) 588

Beware, neuroscientist. fMRI is getting to the point where, if you're an optimistic person, you might believe it can indicate general position of activation, given a good study design and competent analysis. Meaningful indications of the size of the activated area, or the amount of activation? No way.

The GP makes two claims. First that women having fewer neurons than men isn't likely true. They suggest an fMRI scan to verify this, which you dispute the accuracy of with zero citation. I'm not doubting your claim, but if we're going to be this scientific about it then you absolutely must cite a source. Second is that even if it were true, it wouldn't matter because that's not what improves one's ability to solve spatial patterns which is evidence by the article that they cited.

Sorry slashdot. This isn't computers, this is science. Any and all claims must be cited.

Comment Re:If a game is good it's worth money to me... (Score 1) 230

Starcraft, Unreal Tournament, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Super Turbo, Virtua Fighter. These games and series I've gotten thousands upon thousands of hours playing single-player or with others either locally or online. The measly $20-$60 I paid for those games has been overly worth it if you consider how many hours I got worth of entertainment out of those. I might spend $15 on a movie (NYC prices) at the theater and never see it again. My copy of Final Fantasy X was $55 new the day it came out and I've played 500 hours beating the game multiple times and writing an extended FAQ for it.

I've gotten thousands upon thousands of hours of enjoyment out of my girlfriend and yet I didn't pay a dime for her. If I had to pay $50 for her that would be a worthwhile trade.

However, just because I can pay $50 for a huge amount of entertainment doesn't mean I should.

Comment Research (Score 4, Informative) 352

During my junior year of my computer science degree, I picked up a job working for some chemistry professors at my university. We've worked on everything from new drug discovery algorithms, force field simulations, and smart statistical analysis methods. This kind of work developed software that can wind up in the hands of every pharmaceutical company on the planet, make huge breakthroughs with hydrogen fuel cells, and math code that can play the stock market. I am the world expert on linear algebra based recursive partitioning algorithms for predicting the tight binding properties of compounds to the 2c9 enzyme. This all was an incredible exercise in everything from software design to calculus to organic chemistry. As the only computer scientist in a group of chemists and mathematicians, I was the expert in my field which gave me a lot of freedom in how I went about my work.

There is a surplus of jobs on your own campus, and it's well worth it to stick around for a few months after graduation to do some amazing work and get some great references. Best of all, if your work is viable and marketable, you may form a start-up company out of it.

Comment Groovy (Score 4, Interesting) 264

I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I had asked a programmer to replace our crummy Jython interface with Groovy. Ten minutes after I had asked him to do it he says he's done. He shows me a clean interface complete with the functionality for saving files, copying and pasting, search and replace, and a handy output section. I had even asked him to integrate it with the rest of our program, but a simple 'import com.ourcompany.ourproduct.package' in the groovy console already had that solved. Now development has sped up slightly as we even do some development in the groovy console so that small tweaks and changes don't mean we have to wait for a re-compile.

I am one boss who welcomes groovy.

Social Networks

Submission + - Ron Paul's use of the Internet in his presidential

tres3 writes: "A recent New York Times article explores some of the success that Ron Paul's presidential campaign has had in using the Internet. The author correctly states that others aren't as successful because their approach led many to micromanage their Web sites. By contrast, [Ms. Teachout] said, the Paul campaign took the opposite lesson that it was about openness and power. He has over 1140 MeetUp Groups in 900 cities (including one in the green zone in Baghdad) that have operated largely independently from the campaign.

For instance the ThisNovember5th site was setup by Trevor Lyman using a video created by James Sugra without even consulting the campaign. That site brought in $4.3M from 37,000 donors in 24 hours. Mr. Paul estimated that the one-day haul had brought $10 million worth of free publicity. Ron said he hadn't even gotten around to thanking them yet. THANKS Guys!! There is a new money bomb web site being prepared now in celebration of the Boston Tea Party

The article goes on to cover the wide variety of supporters that the Paul campaign has attracted. In reality Dr. Paul didn't create these groups; he simply gave them a focal point to rally behind. And he used the Internet to unite them, or more accurately, the users of the Internet found his message and united themselves behind it. I guess that is why the author titled the article 'The Web Finds Ron Paul, and Takes Him for a Ride'."

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