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Submission + - From Pink Diamonds to the World's Smallest Radio?

mjjochen writes: Harvard researchers have developed the world's smallest radio (http://phys.org/news/2016-12-world-smallest-radio-blocks-size.html), built from 5 basic components who's building blocks are the size of two atoms. Said radio can withstand extremely harsh environments/temperatures and could potentially work anywhere from outer space to within our bodies. The radio operates in the 2.8 GHz frequency range and is able to withstand temperatures as high as 250 degrees C. From the article:

The radio uses tiny imperfections in diamonds called nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers. To make NV centers, researchers replace one carbon atom in a diamond crystal with a nitrogen atom and remove a neighboring atom—creating a system that is essentially a nitrogen atom with a hole next to it. NV centers can be used to emit single photons or detect very weak magnetic fields. They have photoluminescent properties, meaning they can convert information into light, making them powerful and promising systems for quantum computing, phontonics and sensing.

Just think of the devices that we could make wirelessly talk/communicate now. And we're still trying to unlock the FM receivers in our cell phones here in the US?

Submission + - Going Bare Down There May Boost The Risk Of STDs (npr.org)

mjjochen writes: NPR reports http://www.npr.org/sections/he... on a study that found a correlation between keeping a fresh, kempt appearance um, “down there” and a rise in STD infection. Of course, they had to consider the possibility that those who “remove the carpet” entirely just may be freaks that have a higher incidence of STDs because of more frequent, unprotected sex, with more people, or maybe it is the removal of a natural protective barrier that traps “bacteria & debris” — a la American Pie Shave scene https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

So, do you go “bare down there? Does it improve your cognitive ability? Perhaps makes for "cleaner" code? Inquiring minds want to know?! Or maybe the bearded look is best. . .

Submission + - The Periodic, Somewhat Obligatory "Earth is Flat" Argument Rears It's Head Again

mjjochen writes: A little something to make you smile (or cry). NPR reports on astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson calling out rapper B.o.B. in a twitter (& rap) argument over the status of the earth (are we round or flat?), article can be found here: http://www.npr.org/sections/th.... Rapper B.o.B. references the usual conspiracy theories to support his case in his throw down. Neil deGrasse Tyson responds, actually his nephew responds, on why B.o.B.'s points are not very well-informed: https://soundcloud.com/drtyson.... As Tyson puts it, "Duude — to be clear: Being five centuries regressed in your reasoning doesn't mean we all can't still like your music." Shall we start leaching the four humors from the body again to achieve balance? Hrm.

Submission + - What Sports Can Teach About the Cautionary Side of Big Data (chronicle.com)

mjjochen writes: From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes this missive on "What Sports Can Teach About the Cautionary Side of Big Data"

So what might sports teach higher education about data mining?In academe the stakes are higher than in baseball, but progress toward making good use of data has been uneven. Nonetheless, colleges are busymining students’ data trailsto build software that does things like suggest what mathematics problems they should work on or even what classes they should take. During a panel on Wednesday about the cautionary side of Big Data, colleges got some insight from Steve Hirdt, a 45-year sports-data veteran who is executive vice president at theElias Sports Bureau,the official statistician to the major North American professional sports leagues. Elias records game statistics—hits in baseball, yards gained in football, points scored in basketball, etc.—and supplies data to teams and news-media clients. When you watch Monday Night Football, Mr. Hirdt is the guy off camera feeding the announcer facts like “Seattle 135 yards: fewest for a winning team in the NFL in the last three years."

First off, what you initially find in a given data set may turn out to be flat-out wrong upon closer scrutiny.

“A wrong conclusion from a cursory look—to me that’s the real cautionary side of Big Data,” Mr. Hirdt said. “If Big Data is going to amplify the possibilities for misapplication, as well as the possibilities for application, we might be in for a little bit of a rocky road.”


Submission + - Making Sense Of Colors And Shapes In The Toilet (npr.org)

mjjochen writes: Just in time for the big American eating festival known as Thanksgiving, comes this NPR story on the shape and color of our bodily waste products. Discussion on the color, shape, smell, & even taste are included. Now we can have just as much fun analyzing things after the meal as we did consuming the meal — for the scatologically inclined, read on!

"Here at Shots, we're all for "breaking the taboo around the toilet" (see our recent posts on squatting and fake feces). And we get the sense that there's more confusion out there about what ends up in the toilet than most people would care to admit. And so for World Toilet Day, we're sharing a couple of infographics we stumbled upon recently."

Data Storage

Submission + - Hard Disk capacity set to increase up to five times (technologyreview.com)

Dupple writes: A technique that enables the nanopatterned layers that store data in hard disk drives to assemble themselves has been improved to better suit mass production, and could enable disks that store five times as much data as the largest available today.

Using self-assembly instead of machines that print or etch out features has long been considered a potential solution to a looming barrier to expanding the capacity of hard-disk designs. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have now worked out a solution to a problem that made self-assembly incompatible with existing factories.

Submission + - Lessons learned from Sandy on power outages? (nationalgeographic.com)

mjjochen writes: National Geographic reports that the U.S. power industry (& government) should be making an investment of about $30 billion a year over the next 20 years to upgrade distribution systems. This in reaction to the vulnerabilities highlighted (yet again) with the latest storm to wreak havoc with electricity distribution systems in the U.S. Should we try to leverage the recent focus on power outages to improve our grid and infrastructure to make our distribution system more robust, more "intelligent", better, stronger than it was before? Or will we just nod our heads approvingly that this needs to be done, then promptly forget about it till the next storm/disaster?

Submission + - WW2 carrier pigeon and undecoded message found in chimney (bbc.co.uk)

BigBadBus writes: "The BBC is reporting that the remains of a World War 2 carrier pigeon were found during renovation of a chimney in England. What is interesting is that the pigeon's remains still had its message attached to the leg ring; even more interesting, this is the first recorded instance of a code being used rather than plain text. The successor to WW2 code-breaking HQ Bletchley Park, the GCHQ, is trying to decipher this unique code. Maybe a slashdot reader can beat them to it?"

Comment Re:Yogurt does the same thing (Score 5, Interesting) 183

I would never ever wish C-Diff on anyone, not even my worst enemy. After the wife was put on broad spectrum antibiotics for an ear infection, then came what we thought was a bit of the flu or stomach virus (a.k.a. the trotts). Never-ending trotts. After exploratory colonoscopy & cultures to verify, & several different rounds of antibiotics, what finally worked for us was one last round of antibiotics combined with an insane intake of yogurt & probiotics (as we were finishing off the antibiotics). I think it was the combination that worked for us. We now start a (paranoid) regimen of yogurt & pro-biotics whenever someone is on antibiotics. Would we have gone for the "shit enema" (as unappealing as that sounds)? Perhaps. Let me put it this way, after weeks of the most debilitating pain (doubled over in pain), not eating for days, and blood literally pouring out your hind end, you are ready to grasp at anything that might work. Wife said that child birth had nothing on the C-Diff pains (& she went through 2 births with not so much as an aspirin -- another story. . .). I'll joke about a lot of things, but not this. So if this works (faster), more power to it. Oh yeah, cases of C-Diff are on the rise -- yay ( http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/June/clostridium-difficile-an-intestinal-infection-on-the-rise & http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/03/06/148072242/deaths-from-dangerous-gut-bacteria-hit-historic-highs ).

Comment Workweek Saving Day (Score 4, Funny) 395

Since many of us are interested in shifting clocks to allow for a more productive work day, and save lighting expenses, I propose a new twist to this system: the Workweek Saving Day. It is a very simple concept, really. Each Saturday night, instead of it becoming Sunday at the stroke of midnight, it becomes Monday. How awesome is that?! This way, we can all provide one more productive day of work to our beloved employers and do busy busy things to make the big cog-wheel turn. Come on li'l gipper, ya with me?!

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 3, Funny) 502

With power comes responsibility. So it's your fault that my wife won't let me replace the living room furniture with that awesome bean bag & lava lamp setup from KMart! Oh, wait. He said "would have all the power. . ." Dammit.

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One good reason why computers can do more work than people is that they never have to stop and answer the phone.