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Comment Re:What does this have to do with Linux? (Score 1) 239

By ruined day I was more talking about spurious signals in your electronics (leading to unpredictable behavior) and ionization of your chemical explosive detonators (both of which may lead to premature detonation). I don't know if these issues have been solved and I can't cite a source other than that I've overheard several other physics types disucussing it and that it fits reasonably well with what I know (although checking the decay products/energies, it's not as bad as I recalled...maybe the issue had to do with protactinium and thorium impurities?).
The result was that it was not something you'd want to make a bomb you would keep out of.
If, on the other hand, there were some person/group with the technical ability to build said bomb and the ability to steal the uranium who wanted to detonate it immediately, then I would think there would be plenty of other things to worry about (such as said person sabotaging one of the archaic positive feedback reactors still in service).

Comment Re:What does this have to do with Linux? (Score 3, Informative) 239

I'd classify myself as much a science nerd as computer nerd (if not more). And I know plenty of physicists who you could at a stretch call nuclear (mostly more along the lines of quantum) who read it frequently.
Also I was under the impression getting 233 from a thorium reactor was rather old news, and the gamma emissions would ruin your day if you actually tried to build a bomb with it.

Submission + - Statistical comparison of newspapers (

An anonymous reader writes: A funny research analysed millions of news articles and compared major US and UK newspapers on several factors like how easy it is to read and how many words with sentiment they use. For example, they found that the British tabloid "The Sun" is as easy to read as the children’s program of CBBC, it covers the most stories about women, and at the same time it uses the most linguistically subjective language. The same research found that people love to read about disasters and crimes while they don't really care about finance markets stories. You can read the research and find out where your news sources stand compared to the rest.

Submission + - What Will NASA Do with Its Gifted Spy 'Scopes? (

astroengine writes: "NASA has begun surveying scientists on what they would like to do with two Hubble-class space telescopes donated to the civilian space agency by its secretive sibling, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) — which operates the nation's spy satellites. But the gifts have some formidable strings attached, including costs to develop instruments and launch the observatories. The telescopes, though declassified, also are subject to export regulations.

"We need to retain possession and control," NASA's astrophysics division director Paul Hertz told Discovery News. "That doesn't preclude us from partnering (with other countries). It just sets boundaries on the nature of the partnership." NASA also isn't allowed to use the telescopes for any Earth-observing missions. Topping the list of possible missions for the donor hardware is a remake of NASA's planned Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope, known as WFIRST. The mission, estimated to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, is intended to answer questions about dark energy, a relatively recently discovered phenomenon that is believed to be speeding up the universe's rate of expansion."

Comment Re:It's math (Score 1) 171

I suppose my post was somewhat poorly worded.
To expand/try again somewhat, uhm

First a few things that aren't maths, or that maths is not.
For one, it does not generate entirely new axioms/rules. The results often seem novel, but they are directly implied by the axioms -- a small set of things simply taken to be obvious New mathematics comes from greater insight into previous assumptions, elimination of redundant assumptions, or examination of assumptions that noone previously bothered with taking as true/false .
Another thing that maths isn't when done correctly is ambiguous. It should mean only one thing to anyone with the correct context. Two sufficiently capable mathematicians given equivalent axioms should come up with equivalent answers given the same question.

There is mathematics for dealing with vagueness and uncertainty; do not confuse this with ambiguity. Errors due to approximations can be quantified, and all sets of lower/upper bounds on answers should overlap even if different people are making different approximations. Some equations also cannot be solved (or approximated with known error) given our current knowledge.
There is also the whole field of applied mathematics (scientists, most statisticians, mathematicians who actually interact with real data etc do this) ambiguity is sometimes/often found here for various reasons (practicality, ambiguity of knowledge of what is being modelled etc) -- like anything dealing with the real world.
In short, properties of something that's maths:
The important/defining properties aren't altered by representation. Ie. it could be expressed in C++, Finnish, traditional Mathematics notation, some beads on a string, by sufficiently well defined interpretive dance, specially shaped toy blocks, or in a brain and still serve the same function.
It is not inductive (scientific/philosophical definition of inductive, not mathematical) in nature.
It is unambiguous, or is the direct application of something unambiguous.

Submission + - Microsoft collects $10 royalty per device from Android vendors (

Taco Cowboy writes: Back in 2011 it had already rumored that Microsoft was aiming to collect $10 per device from vendors who sell Android-based handsets — see

Now the rumor turns out to be true.

Approximately 70% of branded hardware vendors with Android products, including HTC, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, Acer, Wistron, Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics, and ViewSonic, are making royalty payments to Microsoft, with each vendor paying up to US$5-10 per device sold, the sources revealed.

Comment Re:It's math (Score 1) 171

I agree with your comment; although I don't see how what you said is relevant to what I said. GP was claiming that Maths was a product of logic (product of a way of reasoning), in response I claimed that logic was a subset of maths (ie. maths is a way of reasoning, one that encompasses the way of reasoing GP claimed maths was a product of).

Continuing with your line of discussion. There is some discussion of alternate logic in quantum physics. Usually largely in the realm of science philosophy/interpretation, but the notion of 'the particle is here (or the cat is alive if you prefer)' can be thought of as neither completely true nor completely false in some interpretations -- ie. that the superposition represents neither your confidence in your measure or reality, nor the probable end result of some unknown event(s), but that the truth of the particle being at point a is at 2/3 of the way from false to true, and the truth of the particle being at point b is 1/3 of the way from being false to true.

There are other non-traditional logics (a simple one is a three valued true, false, unknown) which see application as well as less used (in science/engineering at least) paraconsistent logics which are often studied in philosophy.


Submission + - Researcher Finds Nearly Two Dozen SCADA Bugs in a Few Hours' Time (

Trailrunner7 writes: It is open season on SCADA software right now. Last week, researchers at ReVuln, an Italian security firm, released a video showing off a number of zero-day vulnerabilities in SCADA applications from manufacturers such as Siemens, GE and Schneider Electric. And now a researcher at Exodus Intelligence says he has discovered more than 20 flaws in SCADA packages from some of the same vendors and other manufacturers, all after just a few hours' work.

Aaron Portnoy, the vice president of research at Exodus, said that finding the flaws wasn't even remotely difficult.

"The most interesting thing about these bugs was how trivial they were to find. The first exploitable 0day took a mere 7 minutes to discover from the time the software was installed. For someone who has spent a lot of time auditing software used in the enterprise and consumer space, SCADA was absurdly simple in comparison. The most difficult part of finding SCADA vulnerabilities seems to be locating the software itself," Portnoy said in a blog post.

Portnoy said that he plans to suggest to ICS-CERT that the group consider developing a repository of SCADA software to make it easier for security researchers to do their work.

Comment Re:It's math (Score 1) 171

Recognising, identifying and using patterns is mathematics. By collecting things which demonstrate the fibbonaci sequence together your Kenyan kid is doing mathematics even if he is not very good at formally structuring his thoughts using the conventions form academia.
Ambiguous communication (ie. communcation can mean more than one of the available things that aren't degenerate in the current circumstances) is merely bad communication.
Approximations, qualitative analysis and context dependant communication (one of the reasons you can't input into a CAS using traditional notation or just using the same LaTeX as you would for presentation) are common in mathematics. If you don't believe me, go study chaos for a few years. There are plenty of other examples (such as statistics given in the rather hard to follow anon post above).
You don't often see the exact words you mentioned, or communication that depends that heavily on intuition and state of the recipient because it is (usually) too ambiguous to be useful.
Again, if you ask anyone that practices the art, they will be more inclined to say that mathematics is the process of organising, identifying, structuring etc. patterns than the current set of conventions and results we have. Communicating a precise thought unambiguously is important for this; this is why we use the languages/notations/etc that we do.

Comment Re:It's math (Score 2) 171

Then what do you refer to the study of, and manipulation of logical systems including non-tradition (ie. meta-consistent logic). It is sometimes done by those who identify as philosophers, but I think you'll find that the majority of such work is done by people who identify as mathematicians and call it mathematics.
Math (according to anyone I know who has studied it deeply at least) is the thought process. The models and tools which are then applied to the real world are more often referred to as results

Comment Re:It's math (Score 2) 171

To my mind this belies a misunderstanding of what mathematics is.
It does not depend on any one representation, or encoding. It encompasses any (non-ambiguous) expression of rules and relationships between things (be they real, ideals based on reality, or entirely fictional mental entities), or non-ambiguous measurements, and more importantly, the process of generating, manipulating, and understanding said relationships.
I agree wholeheartedly that our current encoding/names/expressions/forms/system of categorizing such things is completely human and largely incidental, but you could probably grab any decent mathematician and put her in an environment with completely different conventions without her having much trouble.

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