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Comment Terrestrial origin? (Score 2) 103

I really don't see any reference in the article to consideration of the possibility that these meteors might be terrestrial in origin - blasted into space from Earth's crust by a large impactor, and eventually re-entering, to be discovered and found bearing remnants of terrestrial bacteria.

Nothing in the paper is inconsistent with that hypothesis. All of the attention in the article devoted to possible sources in comets, asteroids, Jovian moons, and the Kuiper Belt, but no consideration given to the closest source of organic materials - the earth itself.

Sounds like a severe case of confirmation bias...

Comment Re:Study too small... (Score 1) 185

That was only the first part. This was the second, involving 222 High School students:

"The second experiment took the lab findings to the field to test. Two hundred and twenty-two high school students in Chesterland, Ohio were assigned material in easy and difficult fonts across subjects and grades on a randomized basis. The classes included history, English, physics, and chemistry, and ran the gamut of difficulty from normal to honors to AP courses. The measure was normal classroom tests. The findings were similar to the Princeton study: kids reading material in hard to read fonts did better on regular classroom assessment tests than did their randomly selected counterparts reading the same material in easy to read fonts."

A summary of the study is here:

Comment Re:Paper? (Score 1) 185

Yet, the human eye has limits its own limits. Beyond a certain display pixel density, the additional detail is not perceivable by the human and therefore cannot result in a performance improvement.

And legibility is not the same as retention. If you're designing a display for an aircraft, for example, that must convey a limited amount of information clearly and quickly, a highly legible display is essential.

If you are presenting information for storage and later recall, it makes sense that the more your brain is engaged in the processing of the information, the more retention you will exhibit.

Here is a link to the summary of the research:

Comment Great Moments in Journalism (Score 1) 253

Yet the news report linked in the post is largely a continuous video loop of a Predator UAV in flight, while, as you note correctly, the Miami-Dade PD has acquired a Honeywell T-Hawk, a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) with a 14 lb dry weight. Completely different vehicles from what is suggested by the news story.

These MAVs have been proven to be helpful for small-unit tactics in Iraq and Afghanistan, and may prove effective in SWAT operations. This is not a pervasive surveillance technology, it is a tactical aid.

The Miami-Dade PD already operates helicopters with surveillance capability, as do most large police departments.

The main news here is the use of a MAV by a Police Department. It's my belief that the FAA will take a hands off approach, as this is much more akin to a hobbyist's Radio-Controlled helicopter than a Predator UAV. This MAV will not mix with air traffic. It may be "capable" of flights to 10,000 feet, but I am sure its 1-lb camera system is pretty useless at that altitude above ground level. That spec is probably in there to allow it to be used in high-density altitude locations such as mountainous or high desert areas. This is meant to provide an aerial view of rooftops, walled compounds and areas not easily accessible from the ground.

In some ways I blame the Miami-Dade PD for not being very clear in their public relations, to speak to the press and not make clear that this tech cannot be mistaken for a Predator-type UAV.


Programmable Quantum Computer Created 132

An anonymous reader writes "A team at NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology) used berylium ions, lasers and electrodes to develop a quantum system that performed 160 randomly chosen routines. Other quantum systems to date have only been able to perform single, prescribed tasks. Other researchers say the system could be scaled up. 'The researchers ran each program 900 times. On average, the quantum computer operated accurately 79 percent of the time, the team reported in their paper.'"

Comment Re:Kansas is unsafe but Long Island isn't? (Score 1) 275

Currently this sort of research is done on Plum Island ( which is conveniently separated from everything else by a nice long bridge.

Although Long Island is separated from the continental US by a bridge, Plum Island has no bridge at all, and is served by a ferry from Long Island.,+ny&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hl=en&ll=41.178719,-72.188673&spn=0.033657,0.06978&t=h&z=14&iwloc=A

There's also an argument to be made that a facility on an island is easier to secure.


Comcast Intercepts and Redirects Port 53 Traffic 527

An anonymous reader writes "An interesting (and profane) writeup of one frustrated user's discovery that Comcast is actually intercepting DNS requests bound for non-Comcast DNS servers and redirecting them to their own servers. I had obviously heard of the DNS hijacking for nonexistent domains, but I had no idea they'd actually prevent people from directly contacting their own DNS servers." If true, this is a pretty serious escalation in the Net Neutrality wars. Someone using Comcast, please replicate the simple experiment spelled out in the article and confirm or deny the truth of it. Also, it would be useful if someone using Comcast ran the ICSI Netalyzr and posted the resulting permalink in the comments.
Portables (Apple)

Submission + - Apple covers-up laptop display defect (

An anonymous reader writes: The ZDNet Apple blog has an entry about Apple refusing to address a potential display manufacturing defect with some of it's older laptops, not even acknowledging that they've even heard of any complaints on the issue. Their forum users are censored from open communication so they cannot determine for themselves how widespread the defect is. This has also led to speculation about how any current product manufacturing concerns would be handled.

Many PowerBook G4 have failed with the "Bridget Riley vertical lines" defect, some within their 1 or 3 year warranty, but many just after their 1 or 3 year warranty. The failed PowerBooks appear to have come from a particular factory during a particular time period.

Since AppleCare in various countries have no central database with which to share data, Apple is unable to even track when a defect is occurring around the world.

Various websites have documented some of the censorship, and you can read posts about the censorship in Apple's own forums. Other sites are attempting to gather together affected users, and have even started their own uncensored discussion group devoted exclusively to the "vertical lines" defect.

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