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Comment Re:Awesome (Score 5, Insightful) 154

Alzheimer's is a terrible disease, not just for the person who has it, but especially so for those who are close to the afflicted. The slow, degenerative, wasting of the mind is horrifying to watch, as the person that was once bright and lively gets turned into a shell of their former self. Not able to grasp what's going on around them, or who they're talking to, the person can easily become terrified, lost, and confused, made all the more painful by the fact that they don't know who their children are or why they're here.

I know that identifying the underlying cause and developing a treatment are often worlds apart, but I'm glad nonetheless to see this advancement, if merely for the fact that one day others won't have to experience the pain I did as I watched people I love succumb to Alzheimer's.

Comment Dreaming is a Private Thing (Score 2) 114

This reminds me of the Isaac Asimov story Dreaming is a Private Thing where dreams are manufactured and sold as one of the ultimate forms of entertainment. Instead of looking at some of the obvious implications that might spring to mind, Asimov (as he often did) looks instead at the lives of the people who produce the dreams that are then recorded for others to view, and what life might be like for such a person.

What the article talks about is, of course, very different then the story, but with advances in brain imaging and research it may one day be a possibility.

Comment What about Silent Video? (Score 1) 662

As the legal definition of a wiretap seems to hinge on covertly recording communications, I wonder how a silent video would fare. As the law seems to permit taking pictures in public places, and taking video without sound is essentially just taking a bunch of pictures very rapidly, it would be reasonable to assume that such a device doesn't fall under the definition of a wiretap.

This would, of course, side step the real issue, but it could be an interesting case nonetheless for bringing about a ruling one way or another.
The Internet

Submission + - 40GB of data that costs the same as a house ( 1

Barence writes: "PC Pro has an infographic that reveals the extortionate cost of roaming data. They compared the cost of data typically bundled with a fixed-line broadband package (40GB) costing £15, with the cost of buying that data on various mobile tariffs. Buying 40GB of data on a domestic mobile internet tariff from Orange would cost the same as an iMac; buying the same quantity of data on O2's non-Europe roaming tariff would cost £240,000 — or the same as a three-bedroom house."

Comment Why Spanish? (Score 1) 151

I can understand the desire to have metaphors for Iranian Farsi and Russian, to help keep a better watch on the governments in those two countries, but why Mexican Spanish? The only thing that comes to mind is the massive amount of drug trafficking in that country. It seems like Chinese would be a better language to focus on, given the worries that many people have about that country.

Submission + - The Case for Oracle (

An anonymous reader writes: In a lucid writeup, InfoWorld's Neil McAllister takes a different angle on the Oracle-Google lawsuit, giving an explanation why Oracle was right to sue Google. McAllister argues that Google is splintering the Java platform, just like Microsoft was doing back in the 90s, and should be held up to the same standards. He further cites Google's Josh Bloch calling for Oracle to take a lead role in steering Java, concluding that Bloch maybe "should have been more careful what he wished for."

Comment There Is No Optimal Solution (Score 1) 880

This is one of those problems, that while it sounds deceptively simple to solve, and is, given a perfect world, becomes horribly unmanageable to solve once you factor in real life. Having done a significant amount of research on this problem for the Mathematical Contest in Modeling last year, there are many more things that need to be considered then would first appear.

Some of the things that need to be considered with this problem:

To board in any sort of weird order, you have to spend time beforehand ordering people into the groups that you want them to be in. I'll let you think about this for a second. You're trying to get about 100-300 people, who are tired, irritated, with scawling babies, and rather disinterested to organize into some sort of coherent and well planned out structure... WITHOUT using a loudspeaker. Those of you that have been in marching band can contest to how difficult this is.

Most airplanes only have a single aisle, and generally, it is narrow enough that only one person can stand in it at a time. If you try to board one row at a time, maybe, if you're lucky, two people will be taking their seat at a time, while everyone else in the plane queues up behind them. Add in the fact that if the window seat arrives after the aisle and middle seats, they both generally have to get out of their seats to let the window sit down, creating even more delays.

Luggage. If you've ever flown, you've probably seen people trying to cram all of their bags into the overhead bins. If your bin is full, the most natural thing to do is to go and look for one that isn't. Once again though, due to the narrowness of the aisles, this means that you will be holding up many more people while you stuff your things above everyone's heads.

Families, especially those with multiple small children, really don't want to be broken into individual members just to be seated. They all have seats together, generally, so they want to get to those seats together, the boarding order of the airline be damned. And really, can you blame them? What 7 year old wants to have to wait in line, alone, with a bunch of really tall adults, and then have to find a chair in an unfamiliar environment?

First class can generally be ignored in the problem. Because the number of first class fliers compared to the number of coach fliers is very small, they have minimal issues boarding and the time it takes to board them is likewise minimal.

The end results that we came up with is that on average, letting people board randomly, in whatever order they please, beat out every other model that we simulated. On average. Although we didn't have the time and/or resources to come up and run a model, it would be very interesting to model the way Southwest boards their flights, where they have no preassigned seating. But because that factors in the decision making capabilities of people, it would be a far more difficult task to model then simply what order they line up in. That being said though, Southwest does generally have boarding times that are better then other major airlines.

Anyways, stuff to think about.
The Internet

VoIP and Home Security Systems Don't Get Along 187

coondoggie writes "Here is a story about consumer VoIP services that can cause your home security alarm system to malfunction or not work at all. There have been problems with customer phone systems in Canada who were using Primus but Vonage customers in the U.S have complained too. A number of sites have popped up offering suggestions to help deal with the problem."

Submission + - Vista Strongly Recommended Against by BECTA

Dracul writes: BECTA — the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency — have just released a report which analyses whether Vista should be adopted by UK schools

The recommendations of the report basically say it all:

The enhancements in Vista add value but do not justify its early deployment in the educational environment Early deployment [of Vista] is considered high risk and strongly recommended against
I expect higher education world wide is going to try to adopt a similar position. It will be interesting to see how hard Micro$oft fights back. The report estimates that upgrading would cost the UK schools £167 million — universities are going to be spending billions on this...

Submission + - Master Boot Record Guided Tour

IdaAshley writes: This article explores the Linux boot process from the initial bootstrap to the start of the first user-space application. Along the way, learn about other boot-related topics such as the boot loaders, kernel decompression, and the initial RAM disk. Also take a look at a scheduled chat about the Linux desktop and how it is evolving, including improvements in application interoperability, and desktop graphics.
User Journal

Journal Journal: 'Gateway' gene discovered for brain cancer

Researchers have discovered that the same genetic regulator that triggers growth of stem cells during brain development also plays a central role in the development of the lethal brain cancer malignant glioma. In experiments on mice with such gliomas, they showed that knocking out the function of a particular regulatory protein, Olig2, almost completely eliminated tumor formation.

New Accelerator Technique Doubles Particle Energy 124

ZonkerWilliam writes "Plasma wake particle accelerators are making surprisingly quick advances. It was a just a little while ago we had GeV acceleration in 3cm. Now they are capable of doubling the energy of electrons. 'Imagine a car that accelerates from zero to sixty in 250 feet, and then rockets to 120 miles per hour in just one more inch. That's essentially what a collaboration of accelerator physicists has accomplished, using electrons for their race cars and plasma for the afterburners. Because electrons already travel at near light's speed in an accelerator, the physicists actually doubled the energy of the electrons, not their speed.'"

Database Bigwigs Lead Stealthy Open Source Startup 187

BobB writes "Michael Stonebraker, who cooked up the Ingres and Postgres database management systems, is back with a stealthy startup called Vertica. And not just him, he has recruited former Oracle bigwigs Ray Lane and Jerry Held to give the company a boost before its software leaves beta testing. The promise — a Linux-based system that handles queries 100 times faster than traditional relational database management systems."

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