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Comment Project Pelican (Score 1) 210

Sounds like a very expensive donkey/mule replacement. Why not just use real animals?

I completely agree. In WWII, american scientists trained pigeons to steer bombs toward targets. One or more pigeons would actually be placed in a bomb and peck on a clear disc that would actuate the bombs fins. Training was fairly straight forward and their accuracy was better than anything else available at the time, including radar (although radar was still fairly new). The project was ultimately disbanded because the military wasn't interested.

Comment Supply and Demand (Score 1) 660

If the unemployment rate is above historical rates for Tech jobs, that would suggest there are more workers than jobs to fill. Even if demand for tech workers is high (you suggest it's high by calling it 'so important'), wages should be flat if the supply of workers is meeting that demand. It also makes sense given the availability of substitutes (i.e., out sourcing).

Comment Re:Infected? (Score 3, Informative) 285

Actually, she was forcibly quarantined twice. The first time was because she was spreading it without her knowledge. After at least a year, she agreed not to work as a cook and they let her go. A few years later, there was an outbreak of Typhoid in a hospital and when investigators arrived, they found Mary working in the kitchen. This time they forcibly quarantined her because she knowingly put others at risk. At the same time, there were a number of individuals in the New York area who were also showed no outward symptoms but were nonetheless infecting others. These individuals were not similarly incarcerated. Hence, in retrospect, incarcerating Typhoid Mary was more 'security theatre' than anything else. It was a visible but largely ineffective solution to a bigger problem.

Comment Turn the Game Around (Score 1) 314

He probably could have just turned the game around and been fine. So, secret shoppers could tell him when they catch an employee being "good" (defined as not doing any of those things) and he puts their name in a drawing. At the end of the week/month/quarter, employees who have consistently been "good" will have more opportunities to win the drawing equal to the cash prize of $10/week.

Comment Re:Dependent on the conditions of the race (Score 1) 298

If you change the conditions of the race, you can just as well make it say just about anything.

If you give the pigeon a 512 KB message, and an identical 512 KB message to be sent via a rural broadband connection, then the rural broadband connection will win. If you give the pigeon a 64 GB memory card, then you could say that the pigeon has a transfer speed equivalent to 104 mbps, which'll mean it's faster than most broad connections, rural or not. (Assuming an average speed of 60 miles per hour for the bird.)

You're totally on the mark, but you could take the limitation you mention and turn it into a better test. For example, instead of just asking, "what is the latency to transmit a 200MB file across 84 miles?" You could ask, "What is the relationship between message size and latency for pigeons and copper wire (or, whatever they're using) over 84 miles?" This latter test would involve transmitting files of several different sizes.

I'm betting that, at some point, the curve for pigeons will either asymptote or turn over (e.g., when the mass of 32GB microSD cards begins to exceed the flight capacity of the bird).

Comment Re:Keep children under 3 from all tv (Score 1) 417

Numerous studies indicate that is is best to keep children under 3 away from all tv's, including dvd's, normal tv programming, movies, video games,etc... and to limit video exposure only increasing allowed hours per day gradually as the child gets older.

No tv under 2, limit to under 2 hours for 3 year No tv under 2

That's not research, that is extrapolation and interpretation (there's actually an important difference).

Comment Touch Screen (Score 1) 417

A touch screen is probably your best bet -- a good option would be a back-illuminated multi-touch setup so you can use thick acrylic or glass (unlikely to be broken or damaged by your toddler). If you want to go even younger, research with infants often make use to two that can be readily measures by machines: eye-gaze and suckling (on a pacifier with a sensor). Short of putting together some kind of home-brew eye-tracker, I'd suggesting hacking a pressure sensor into a pacifier. Even with that, I bet you could easily train different patterns of suckling (e.g., one pattern produces skips to the next song on the playlist, another pattern skips to the next artist).

Comment Re:Not very accurate measurement IMHO (Score 3, Insightful) 209

The data might reflect something like "public interest." Any gentoo user knows that to find information related to gentoo, they should go to or #gentoo or the gentoo-wiki. Similar parallels can probably be drawn for debian and ubuntu. So, the data probably do not reflect the number of people using those distros but people seeking more information about them who probably not already users.

Comment Where's the line? (Score 1) 820

Honestly, I don't get PITA's position. It's no longer part of an animal because...? Maybe because it doesn't have nerve cells that fire given "painful" stimulation? What if it does? Who's going to care about the poor little piece of meat that has to exercise all day long and experience the burn of its own lactic acid until some fat 'Merican orders it super-sized? Or maybe it's not part of an animal because there's no "brain" for the signals to reach? If that's the case, we should genetically construct brainless cows and have them running off arduinos instead. Does someone have a script for chewing I can download? But, surely someone would protest that. If only those who prefer PIC over ATMEL.

Submission + - 1000mph land speed record attempt finds a home (

fiaskow writes: The BLOODHOUND SSC project found a flat, hard desert to make an attempt to break the 1,000 mph barrier on land. After an extensive search in which space shuttle radar ( surveys were used, Hakskeen pan in the Northen Cape province of South Africa was identified as the site of the 2011 attempt. This pan is 400km north of Verneuk Pan which was the site of Malcolm Campbell's 1929 record attemp.

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