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Comment Re:Memory Palace (Score 1) 190

I am the same way. As a teen, trying to get to sleep, I would sometimes try to imagine a swinging pendulum, but the visualization would fall apart after just a few swings. I have a terrible visualization ability, and actually do much better when I describe things in words than in pictures. As a mechanical engineer, this makes me very much an odd duck compared to my peers who, by and large, see and manipulate 3D objects in their brains all the time. You are not alone!

Comment Re:Rockets are too expensive (Score 1) 355

Nanotubes are not yet an engineering material in the sense needed for space elevators. They only allow space elevator tethers if you can have very long tubes, with aspect ratios like a million or billion to one. Right now, nanotubes used in experiments and a few limited production materials are microns or possibly millimeters long. Space elevators need meters or kilometers-long nanotubes to capture the exceptional strength of the molecule. As the length gets shorter, you're relying more on the matrix (material surrounding and binding the nanotubes) for strength, and there's no matrix material that gets close to the nanotube performance.

Comment Re:Liberals Can't Win Elections (Score 1) 858

I know it's unpopular, but the Electoral College is an important FEATURE of our representative democracy, and should not be thrown aside just because it looks like it may be used to make Trump the next POTUS. The Electoral College is a safety valve against popularity, foreign interests, and other manipulations of the electorate.

It may come to pass that, in this election, Trump wins the EC vote. If that's the case, and some people are upset about it, it may allow for state-by-state actions that could help tune that safety valve by revising how Electors are chosen, and what actions they can and cannot legally take.

Please don't apply your unhappiness with a particular candidate to a vital feature of the US system of government. The risks of getting such a safety system removed from the process are far outweighed (IMHO) by the potential 4 or 8 years of Trump.

Comment Re:Neutrino wind (Score 1) 164

But, if you assume it's a "wind", then the projected area that the flow sees on its way to the target, the more interaction you would have. Particles have discrete positions and are affected by dimensions. You can't have a massive, small cross-section object "shielding" your other object the same as a similarly massed, large cross-section object if the thing it's shielding from is particles.

Submission + - SPAM: UK judge calls for an "online court" without lawyers

mi writes: A senior judge has called for the establishment of an online court that does not have lawyers and can deal with claims of up to £25,000.

The proposal is the centrepiece of a package of reforms to the civil justice system, drawn up by Lord Justice Briggs, a Court of Appeal judge.

Just how exactly will this court ensure no one is, in fact, a trained professional on the Internet, where no one knows, who you really are, is not explained.

We discussed the idea last year. Apparently, it is still alive.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Getty Sued For $1 Billion For Selling Publicly Donated Photos

An anonymous reader writes: Online stock media library Getty Images is facing a $1 billion lawsuit from an American photographer for illegally selling copyright for thousands of photos. The Seattle-based company has been sued by documentary photographer Carol Highsmith for ‘gross misuse’, after it sold more than 18,000 of her photos despite having already donated them for public use. Highsmith’s photos which were sold via Getty Images had been available for free via the Library of Congress. Getty has now been accused of selling unauthorised licenses of the images, not crediting the author, and for also sending threatening warnings and fines to those who had used the pictures without paying for the falsely imposed copyright.

Submission + - US Government to Pay $2 Million for Automatic Hacking System (

An anonymous reader writes: At this year's DEF CON security conference, DARPA has organized a CTF match of AI systems that will attempt to hack opposing systems and automatically patch and protect their own network. The competition follows classic infosec CTF (Capture The Flag) game rules, but because we're talking about AI, it requires half the time and ten times more security vulnerabilities to fix/protect.

Three DARPA-funded teams qualified for the final round, and four self-funded teams. Each team that reached the final will receive $750,000, and the winner will receive $2 million. DEF CON organizers have invited the winning team to participate in the official DEF CON CTF the following day, marking the first ever CTF match that pits human hackers against AI systems.

Submission + - The Mojave Desert: Home of the New Machine Movement ( 1

pacopico writes: Most people think of the Mojave Desert as a wasteland located somewhere between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. For decades, though, Mojave has served as something of an engineering playground for people in the automotive and aerospace industries. Bloomberg has produced a documentary that looks at what's taking place with these engineers in 2016. There's a dude trying to make a flying car, Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, a group called Hackrod using AI software to make a car chassis and the hacker George Hotz taking his self-driving car along the Las Vegas strip for the first time. One of the cooler parts of the show has a team of students from UCSD sending up a rocket with a 3D printed engine — the first time any university team had pulled something like this off. Overall, it's a cool look at the strange desert rat tinkerers.

Submission + - ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Funding Leads To New Genetic Findings (

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers are crediting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraiser for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that went viral in 2014, for funding a new study that has possibly identified a common gene that contributes to the nervous system disease. Yahoo reports via Good Morning America: "In a study published in The Nature Genetics Journal, researchers from various institutions, including the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University Medical Center Utrecht, identified the gene NEK1 as a common gene that could have an impact on who develops the disease. Variants of the gene appear to lead to increased risk of developing ALS, according to preliminary findings. Researchers in 11 countries studied 1,000 families in which a family member developed ALS and conducted a genome-wide search for any signs that a gene could be leading to increased ALS risk. After identifying the NEK1 gene, they also analyzed 13,000 individuals who had developed ALS despite no family history and found they had variants in that same gene, again linking that gene with increased ALS risk. Starting in the summer of 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge led to 17 million videos made and $220 million raised, according to the ALS Association — $115 million of which went to the association."

Submission + - Microsoft gives Office 365 a major upgrade (

Miche67 writes: As part of the July 2016 update to Office 365, Microsoft is adding several features across the board — Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Word, however, is getting the biggest new features — Researcher and Editor — to improve your writing.

As its name implies, Researcher is designed to help the user find reliable sources of information by using the Bing Knowledge Graph to search for sources, and it will properly cite them in the Word document.

[Editor] builds on the already-existing spellchecker and thesaurus to offer suggestions on how to improve your overall writing. In addition to the wavy red line under a misspelled word and the wavy blue line under bad grammar, there will be a gold line for writing style.

The new features are expected to be available later this year.

Submission + - SPAM: Class of Large but Very Dim Galaxies Discovered

schwit1 writes: Astronomers have now detected and measured a new class of large but very dim galaxy that previously was not expected to exist.

‘Ultradiffuse’ galaxies came to attention only last year, after Pieter van Dokkum of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto in Canada built an array of sensitive telephoto lenses named Dragonfly. The astronomers and their colleagues observed the Coma galaxy cluster 101 megaparsecs (330 million light years) away and detected 47 faint smudges.

“They can’t be real,” van Dokkum recalls thinking when he first saw the galaxies on his laptop computer. But their distribution in space matched that of the cluster’s other galaxies, indicating that they were true members. Since then, hundreds more of these galaxies have turned up in the Coma cluster and elsewhere.

Ultradiffuse galaxies are large like the Milky Way — which is much bigger than most — but they glow as dimly as mere dwarf galaxies. It’s as though a city as big as London emitted as little light as Kalamazoo, Michigan.

More significantly, they have now found that these dim galaxies can be as big and as massive as the biggest bright galaxies, suggesting that there are a lot more stars and mass hidden out there and unseen than anyone had previously predicted.

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