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Comment Find shade or create your own. (Score 1) 135

You do mention driving, but I'm going to assume you're not operating your phone or laptop while you're actually driving. If this is not a valid assumption, then don't do that. I'm assuming at the very least that if you're in a motor vehicle, when you're operating your device the vehicle is stopped and not in gear. You state, "even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle." One other thing there is a lot of in the area north of Seattle is trees. Put one between you and the sun. Problem solved. If that's not enough, throw a towel over both your head and the device. If it was good enough for Douglas Adams, it's good enough for me. If that's not sufficient, you could bring your device down here and try to use it in the less well vegetated parts of the Mojave Desert, at which point I'm betting that the Seattle sun wouldn't seem so bad.

Comment Re:Fighting over horsewhip handle designs (Score 2) 186

There is something to this. Nonetheless, I continue to be surprised that on rare occasion the FCC actually, you know, makes decisions that benefit the end-user and not the huge corporations that produce the majority of the commissioners and give them high priced jobs once they leave government service. Back in *my* day, this never happened. I'll take a small victory.

Comment Re:Think horses, not zebras (Score 1) 339

If you read the articles, this is the approach both the original research authors and Phil Plait have taken. It's most likely something mundane that we haven't seen before, but unlike most of what we observe, it's unusual enough that we can't yet rule out something more exotic. While no doubt silly people will misinterpret this, to me, the actual scientists who have commented on this have done so responsibly.

Comment Re:Oh dear god..... (Score 1) 339

... and if the star had one significantly sized periodic dip in it's luminosity, that would be a plausible explanation. However, that's not what we see. We see a lot of different sized dips with no apparent periodicity so far. It's not one brown dwarf. Do you honestly think that professional astronomers wouldn't have considered this possibility before publishing their findings?

Comment Re: Journalists doing all of the speculating (Score 1) 339

Cepheids (and other variables) have well known and well studied light curves (luminosity as a function of time). This star's light curve shows no resemblance to any type of pulsating variable star. It's not a Cepeid. It's also not an RR Lyrae, RV Tauri, or Mira type variable star. So, it's not surprising that nobody has suggested this is a Cepheid.

Comment Re:Lots of other possibilities (Score 1) 339

True, but for there to be frequent occultations, there would then need to be a lot of these chunks, much larger and denser than we see in our own asteroid belt, Kuiper belt, or Oort cloud. While this is certainly theoretically possible, it's hard to imagine how so much mass could form in such a configuration.

Comment Password updating (Score 5, Insightful) 150

Okay, the bit about how many folks wouldn't report a security breach is disturbing, but what's the fixation with updating passwords? I've been working in computer security for decades, and I almost never update passwords unless I'm required to or there is an incident. I'd much rather have my users pick strong passwords and not change them often than pick weak passwords because I insist they change them often. Sure, it's not just an either/or, but on the list of my concerns about system security, how frequently users update their passwords ranks WAAAAY down on the list.

Submission + - Seed from ancient extinct plant planted and brought back to life

schwit1 writes: Israeli scientists have successfully gotten a 2000-year-old seed of an extinct date plant to grow and now reproduce.

Methuselah sprouted back in 2005, when agriculture expert Solowey germinated his antique seed. It had been pulled from the remains of Masada, an ancient fortification perched on a rock plateau in southern Israel, and at the time, no one could be sure that the plant would thrive. But he has, and his recent reproductive feat helps prove just how well he’s doing.

For a while, the Judean date palm was the sole representative of his kind: Methuselah’s variety was reportedly wiped out around 500 A.D. But Solowey has continued to grow date palms from ancient seeds discovered in the region, and she tells National Geographic that she is “trying to figure out how to plant an ancient date grove.” Doing so would allow researchers to better understand exactly what earlier peoples of the region were eating and how it tasted.

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