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Comment Re:Ten Hour Days (Score 1) 990

Nice idea, but there's a big problem with that: The second is an SI unit. Changing it to a different value would require either an ugly fudge factor, or require changing the entire metric system. Either way metric depends on the second being the duration it is!

Thank you for that information. I did not know that. From our trustworthy wikipedia ( "Because the SI is not static, units are created and definitions are modified through international agreement among many nations as the technology of measurement progresses, and as the precision of measurements improves."

I'm sure they knew what they were doing when they agreed in 1967 to define a second as the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium 133 atom.( Though IMHO, it sure would be nice to be able to define a second as 1/100,000th of a day, something everyday people can grok. But of course, the "day" tends to change ever-so slightly in length each year. I can imagine people who need high degrees of scientific precision asking each other, "Are you talking about seconds in terms of today, or a year ago?"

But creating a calendar system has *always* been a big hassle with always a little bit of fudge factor. For everyday people, 1/100000th of a mean solar day would be fine, and it wouldn't make a significant difference to anything people regularly measure, even a 100m dash run this year versus 20 years from now. The Earth's rotation slows only about 0.002 every 100 years.

Comment Re:Ten Hour Days (Score 1) 990

What's my birthday? As of now, it is November 30, -0035. Tomorrow it will be December 1, -0035. A month from now it will be Jan 1, -0036. Super easy!

I'm wondering if you're being intentionally dense here to construct a strawman, or misunderstanding my proposal. My hope is the latter. Your birthday will always be the same in absolute terms (November 30,1970 CE, or whatever). Your personal calendar could show your birthday either in absolute time just like it does now, or in countdown/up terms relating the moment of its passing with the present moment.

Comment Re:Ten Hour Days (Score 1) 990

Further, I see that if we can survive the coming economic breakdown/malaise, we could put forward technology that could keep us always in the now. We can communicate a time to meet with other people in absolute terms (e.g. next Tuesday, August 30 at 8:00) and our personal time-piece can do the translation so the time is always "now" and anything coming up can be alternately shown to us as "t - 2 days, 3 hours, 7 minutes."

In other words, every person with a timepiece can be the center of their own world, and synched up in temporal verbiage with everybody else. E.g.- The US Civil War was "t + 150 years," World Peace Day begins in "t + 14 days" alternately Sept 11, 2011 CE.

Almost all of our time-measurement system is in arbitrary agreed-upon units (months, weeks, hours, minutes, seconds). The things that are not flexible are days (earth rotations), moon-cycles, years (fixed at 365.x days; earth revolutions around the sun), and the frequency of a cesium atom, etc. We could choose to have 12 months a year, each with three weeks, and have a 5.x day remainder week if we wanted.... The difficult part is to gather the political will to collectively agree upon a change. The catalyst for breaking free from this long-held system has to be a strong argument, and buy-in from a sufficient power-base.

Comment Ten Hour Days (Score 1) 990

Actually, while we're at it, we would do well to change to ten hour days. Each hour would be 144 of our present minutes. Each of the ten hours would have 100 minutes, and each of the minutes would have 100 seconds.

Each hour would be 144 of our present minutes.
Each minute would be 1.44x the length of a present minute.
Each second would be slightly shorter (0.86 of our present seconds).

The timepiece industry would have a hay-day.

And while we're at it, let's change the timing system to NCE(New Common Era) 0, following J.R.R. Tolkien's system for adopting new eras. That would put us more in the now, instead of the "good ol' days" circa 0 A.D. people are so strangely fond of. (We can still remember Jesus without having to continue this overdue count-up to 3000 or higher.)

All this would shake up people's reality enough that maybe our civilization could grow into something different/better and make us feel less removed from people in distant countries, with whom we're as close communication-wise as a person two miles away.

And yes, eliminating the present location-relativistic time-system now that a significant portion of the world population is globally connected is a Good Thing(tm). Someday, people will look back and say, "Really, you had to communicate with each other in that hackey and limited way???" Imagine if every time you wanted to physically meet with a friend, and instead of just giving them an absolute time and place to meet, you had to know their location in order to tell them the place. "Let's see, you're at 21st and Broadway? Is that my 21st and Broadway, or yours? Oh, we'll need to translate your location by 4 blocks..."

Comment Furthermore (Score 1) 446

Furthermore, this infinitessimally short buying-selling period is starting to remind me more and more of calculus, and integrating under the curve. Those who buy and sell once/day are missing out on a lot of detailed motion in every stock. As the trading times get shorter and shorter, the investor/gambler/choke-holders are nearing the actual curve and siphoning off any advantage that a less frequent trader may have. Mark my words, if this continues unabated, Wall Street will be on its knees soon because the only "people" who trade with any success will be software programs that operate like a vice-grip as the time-domain and the frequency-domain both get optimized out of all creativity, and an honest prognosticating human who uses reason and a newspaper will have better odds at any casino in Vegas.

Comment Re:and it never holds a stock for longer (Score 1) 446

I'm surprised I haven't seen the phrase "latency arbitrage" yet. You all are talking about buying and selling stocks "quickly" in terms of several seconds. But in this latest model, stocks are bought and sold faster than you can type a single word. It's automated, and the people who have a 100 millisecond advantage: the richest, who get their servers hooked up as near as possible to the source of the buy/sell info feeds. Imagine the difference between playing Quake or another first-person shooter 1000 miles away from a server where some other players are directly connected to the LAN, and one player is actually playing on the same machine that's serving. Who gets the fastest updates and the best real-time view? The host! Read more here:

Comment Re:Focus (Score 2, Informative) 284

The part that's most frustrating is "What's the size of the NASA budget?" And how does that compare to the size of our military budget? We could have a colony in space or on the moon by now, if we weren't spending close to $1 trillion/year making war. Here's a little look at more of what Japan's planning:
User Journal

Journal Journal: Bad Karma? 1

I noticed I have bad karma on slashdot.

Buh? How can that be? I've never trolled, and generally my comments just get a 1 or 2 mod, but once I got modded up to +5.

Am I just not active enough?


Leak Shows US Lead Opponent of ACTA Transparency 164

An anonymous reader writes "Throughout the debate over ACTA transparency, the secret copyright treaty, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. A new leak from the Netherlands fingers who the chief opponents of transparency are: the United States, South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark lead the way, with Belgium, Germany, and Portugal not far behind as problem countries."

Space Exploration Needs Extraterrestrial Ethics 162

An anonymous reader writes "Professor Andy Miah notes there's already international government policies taking hold on outer space — and a need for new ethical guidelines. 'For instance, what obligations do we owe to the various life forms we send there, or those we might discover? Can we develop a more considerate approach to colonizing outer space than we were able to achieve for various sectors of Earth?' And what rights do astronauts have? 'Could our inevitable public surveillance of their behavior become too much of an infringement on their personal privacy?' But more importantly, professor Miah notes that 'the goods of space exploration far exceed the symbolic value,' pointing out that 'A vast amount of research and development derives from space exploration ... For example, the United Kingdom's 2007 Space Policy inquiry indicated that the creation of space products contributes two to three times their value in GDP.'"

Comment Microsoft does business in the US, doesn't it? (Score 1, Insightful) 162

It's whether it should do business with a government that will use your products in a repressive manner. A wagonmaker could probably sell his wagons to someone who does not kill its own citizens for their ethnicity and still remain in business. But here is the crux. It won't quite make as much money. And the pure lust for profit is what is objectionable here.

This is a slippery slope. China has human rights violations, but then again so does the US. There are over a million people of color in America in PRISON because of the so-called "War on Drugs" which is executed with a discriminatory bias, where white people (and people of the upper class) get off scot-free, or never even get harassed in the first place. Should MS and other companies pull out of doing business in the US until it gives up the war on drugs?

Augmented Reality To Help Mechanics Fix Vehicles 81

kkleiner writes "ARMAR, or Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair, is a head mounted display unit that provides graphic overlays to assist you in making repairs. An Android phone provides an interface to control the graphics you view during the process. Published in IEEE, and recently tested with the United States Marine Corps on an armored turret, ARMAR can cut maintenance times in half by guiding users to the damaged area and displaying 3D animations to demonstrate the appropriate tools and techniques."

Comment Why not incorporate full-body game controllers? (Score 0, Interesting) 553

Seriously, Nintendo is going in the right direction with their Wii controllers. Why not have wearable controllers, to make the gameplay more immersive? Then, when you're battling the dragon, or having a shoot-out, you're using your whole body. Want to do more damage to the dragon/goblin? Swing your arm around faster. Want to avoid getting shot? Lay down on the ground. Instead of sitting on the couch, eating chips, and getting a nasty case of repetitive stress disorder on your thumbs and wrists, we could actually be exercising. You could spot the addicts because they'd be fit as all hell.

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