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Comment Re:highly trained morons (Score 1) 215

I'm not into the medical field, but while in university doing engineering one of my group members put our model against a big sanding machine thereby pretty much evaporating it within 2 seconds. The only think I thought was oh shit those people get medical degrees, too. If I ever get sick I'm screwed.

Comment Re:Is it a 'computer' ? (Score 1) 141

IF a certain marker is aligned with another distinct point, THEN a certain result is produced. IF that marker is aligned with a different point, it produces a different result(ELSIF). If it doesn't align with a marker at all you get your ELSE. The only limitation is that the inputs are restricted to those available on the mechanism.

There's no value added. It's like saying it's true because it's true and it's true because it's not false.

The computer should be able to change its program based on a previous result. That's what "if then else" is all about. The antikythera can not do that.

Comment Re:Is it a 'computer' ? (Score 2, Informative) 141

I agree. It's an orrery. It's not something we would call a computer today, however amazing it is. Babbage's Difference Engine wasn't a computer in that sense too. The Difference Engine is more like an ALU. Today, two Difference Engines are in existance, one is in the science museum in London, the other one will be shipped to some MicroSoft billionaire anytime soon. The machine is about GBP 1 million. Babbage's Analytical Engine, however, that's what we would call a computer today. A real nice box of tricks. The Analytical Engine was somewhat bigger and somewhat more complex. For example, the difference engine is an adding machine. This in itself is enough to make a computer out of, but the AE also had dedicated mechanisms to multiply and divide 50 digit decimal numbers in about 3 minutes upon request of a punched card. Babbage also got rid of the ripple carry we all learn about in elementary school and created something that could add the same 50 digit numbers in 2 steps (adding all numbers, then adding all carries at once by linking 9's next to each other mechanically). I've no idea what it would cost to make it today. It was also never finished, but part of the ALU has been built by Babbage (and later his son did some work too). Babbage called the ALU the mill and the memory the store, concepts that were taken from the weaving industry. He also used somthing similar to the Jacquard loom to read the punched cards.

Comment Re:Gray died in obscurity (Score 3, Insightful) 196

Edison created something that could actually be used. That is including the electrical grid, switches, powermeters, bulb fitting and so on that was all needed to make the bulb glow. All this stuff didn't really exist back then. And a lot of new inventions that came out of that were indeed patented.

I think the patent system is put to good use in this case. If it were for Swan or some other introvert nerd, we would still be reading by candlelight.

Comment Re:Lojban (Score 1) 369

21 Bridge Street
Dunwich DU3 4WE

March 9, 2009

Wolfram Alpha
c/o Wolfram Research, Inc.
100 Trade Center Drive
Champaign, IL 61820-7237, USA

Dear Wolfram Alpha:

I have a question and I am writing to you for help. My question is about bones. More specifically, about human bones. My question is what is the number of bones in the human body?

I look forward to your reply.

Yours Faithfully,


Enclosure: Question

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