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Comment Batteries (Score 1) 590

Any solar powered device that can't rely on constant direct sunlight needs batteries. In the case of planes they may not be able to generate enough power from solar panels in real time even under ideal conditions. So you need batteries that are charged pre-flight. Batteries are heavy and expensive. And they have limited storage capacity and power output. However there's a lot of research being done to overcome these limitations. Soon your idea may be technically feasible, but right now I think we're not quite there yet.

Comment Kids and No Heaven (Score 1) 1142

Recently a relative of mine passed away and I posted a pic of him of facebook as a remembrance. My 12 year old cousin posted that she thinks he's in heaven. Normally I would let that slide but since he was also an atheist I responded that he didn't believe in heaven and it would be best to think of him as living on in our memories. Needless to say I have taken a lot of flack for this. But she is of the age where she is expected to participate in Confirmation (Catholic) so I thought if she's old enough to swear she believes in Christ til death she's old enough to know that someone she loved and respected was an atheist. How would you have handled this situation? My thanks and respect to you Prof Dawkins, Swade

Comment Payback for Awful Marathon? (Score 1) 122

Back in December there was a Zappo's Rock n' Roll marathon in Las Vegas that drew a lot of ire for its many short comings including running out of food and water, replacing said water with non-potable fire hydrant water making many people sick, overcrowding, disorganized medical response teams, etc. It would not surprise me to learn that some one decided to inflict this attack as retribution. However, that's just speculation. There are plenty of other feasible motives.
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Journal Journal: First Entry

Nothing special to say. I just wanted to try out the journal briefly.

The Almighty Buck

Submission + - FL Woman Amasses $200K Phone Bill (

nandemoari writes: Celina Aarons, a resident of southern Florida, was recently charged $201,000 for a single month of charges to a cellphone registered in her name. Aarons was stunned to find that charge because she hadn't made any phone calls over seas, and immediately contacted her cellphone provider.

It was then that she pieced together the shocking truth: the phone, which was being used by her legally deaf brother Shamir, had been left on during Shamir's recent trip to Canada. Because the Great White North is far outside her plan's service region, the charges just kept coming and coming. It didn't help that Shamir also texted and used Internet-streaming services while in Canada.

Submission + - The best but still not human ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last year Bruce Wilcox's chatbot Suzette won the Loebner's Turing Test competition by fooling a judge into thinking she was human. On October 19th his new chatbot Rosette won again (voted number one by all four judges) but not one of the computer-savvy judges out-for-blood was fooled. "Would it hurt if I stabbed you with a towel?"
So despite slowing down her 'typing speed' to a human pace, putting in some typos and using common spelling mistakes she still stood out as a computer.
The prize this year is $4,000 and a bronze medal – getting to the next level requires fooling two judges. That will take substantial progress. Try out Rosette at:

Comment Kids' Stuff (Score 1) 188

I'm an uncle to three girls (5, 2 and 1 years old) and have been making sure they get a solid dose of learnin' and TMBG. "No!" is good. "Here Comes the ABC's" and "Here Comes the 123's" are big hits but not nearly as beloved as "Here Comes Science". Last time I saw them we joined hands and danced in a circle singing "Science is real!" at the top of our lungs (which is especially refreshing since they're getting a rather religious upbringing). So what's next for the wee ones?

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