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Comment Isaac Asimov wrote stories about this (Score 1) 75

I believe that in some of his stories, the lack of human contact went to extreme lengths. The wealthy and powerful outer systems had 20,000 robots per person. One story I recall had a woman, removing her gloves and, for the first time in her life, touching another human. I forgot how they managed to reproduce! However maybe they utilized technology for that (see below comment).

To echo a previous poster who says people are a pain, wasn't it Satre who said "Hell is other people"?

Although it seems obvious that there will be an evolutionary disadvantage to avoid socialization, it need not be that way if we can decouple reproduction from human contact completely. With IVF and soon artificial wombs, the government could harvest eggs and sperm (willingly?) to counter low birth rates.

Not that I'm promoting this, I like my partner very much thank you :)

Comment Wrong comparison? (Score 1) 175

You seem to know a lot more about aero-dynamics and flight than me (not saying much).

But aren't you comparing this vehicle to a plane when perhaps it should be compared to a helicopter? In that case, would the lift from the airframe moving forward would be much more than an equivalent helicopter and thus the range would be much better?

True, if the engines die you can't "glide" it back to a landing. However the massive redundancy (36 fans) would prevent that from being the point of failure (but the battery, power electronics might be). That's where the parachutes come in I guess.

Since I'd rather have a (safe, easy to fly) helicopter than a plane, I think I'd buy this to go (short) island hopping in the South Pacific. :) (If you plastered it with solar cells, how long would do you think it take to charge?)

Submission + - The Growing case for Geo-engineering (

wisebabo writes: From the I'm-sad-that-it's-coming-to-this department

Well, if you've been following the climate story for the last twenty years, estimates as to how bad it's gonna get keep getting worse not better. If that isn't enough to convince climate change denialists, then perhaps the second consecutive coral bleaching event in the Great Barrier reef should make them reconsider their position. While it may eventually recover (when the temperatures someday return to normal and the seas someday recede) it won't be within the lifetime of humanity. So for all intents and purposes it's gone for good.

Only fools fight in a burning house. (Klingon proverb.) Humanity is just showing why we're fools

Submission + - Teachers can use this to see who's learning (

wisebabo writes: Until now, researchers had not had a good way to study how people actually experienced what is called "epiphany learning."

In new research, scientists at The Ohio State University used eye-tracking and pupil dilation technology to see what happens as people figured out how to win a strategy game on a computer.

"We could see our study participants figuring out the solution through their eye movements as they considered their options," said Ian Krajbich, co-author of the study and assistant professor of psychology and economics at Ohio State.

"We could predict they were about to have an epiphany before they even knew it was coming."

This might be useful to determine when you are trying to teach a difficult subject to someone who you're afraid might be inclined to just nod their head. Or maybe this is how the Voight-Kampff test works. (Are you a replicant?)

Submission + - Don't eat those chips! ( 1

wisebabo writes: Salty diet makes you hungry, not thirsty

In a study carried out during a simulated mission to Mars, an international group of scientists has found exactly the opposite to be true. 'Cosmonauts' who ate more salt retained more water, weren't as thirsty, and needed more energy.

So if you don't want to gain weight on your trip to mars don't eat salty chips. If you don't want to gain weight at home, maybe you should stay away from them as well.

Submission + - Physicists create negative mass (

wisebabo writes: So, what's to keep me from getting a lot of this stuff (I know, the quantities that they have now are nanoscopic), putting it into a (very cold and well insulated) box and having it float upwards? (Antigravity). I mean gravity is a force and if this accelerates in the opposite direction then couldn't I harness it to do that?

Of course that means you could use it to make a machine that could generate energy from nothing so there must be a flaw in my reasoning somewhere. Also possibly useful for weight loss (if you could eat it).

Comment Way overhyped by the media (Score 4, Insightful) 104

So I did a very quick search on the internet looking for Light induced RAM and Light induced magnetoresistance and only found one article that predates the slashdot article and the one it links to. (Ok, I'm procrastinating from doing other stuff).

This university published article is just as short on details and has no links to any published research. It's also a bit laughable: "new material allows computer chips to exist at a molecular level" which means what exactly? Computer chips currently don't exist at the molecular level? Anyway, don't mean to give their communications department a hard time, I just want more solid info.

It's clear that some of the claims from the hyped article that slashdot cites are ridiculous (at least the university release doesn't make those claims). The journalists, lacking any background in science probably called up some "experts" and said (out of context) "if you had a material that could do such and such" what would be the advantages. So, these experts, whether or not they actually know anything, just started making things up like it'll cut down on energy consumption (true but not a huge amount) and that it would prevent fires like the Samsung smart phone (probably not because the modest power savings from this RAM would not allow the battery to be designed differently which was the cause of the fires).

Unfortunately, the heat (and power) problems are not in the RAM but in the processor (amongst other things) which this technology does not address. In the university article they say that it is part of an effort to reduce the power and heat of processors but does not say this technology does this. Apparently, from the article, it is only suitable for RAM; hence the name LI-RAM. So while it may be faster (good) and not give off much heat (also good) it doesn't live up to the hype in the distorted media interpretations of the university article (which the slashdot submitter then chopped up and republished). This all assumes that they can get this to work at the fantastic performance and density levels of modern RAM all while not introducing new sources of heat and power to make it work (it requires "green light' presumably from a laser).

Anyway, if you want to waste some time, take a look at the Slashdot link and then look at the university article and you'll see how information can be mangled and hyped up by people who don't have a background in the subject. Of course, since we all like "free" (or ad supported) news, we aren't exactly encouraging accurate journalism :(

Comment Sorry not that impressive (Score 4, Interesting) 141

In the video it was just shown holding some pistols and shooting them at some targets. Very little body movement, didn't walk anywhere. Looked like a locked down animatronic (hydraulic powered robot) from a theme park (I should know, I used to design them - theme parks).

While the reality of it might be much more impressive, I didn't see it on (this) video. However, there was a link on the page which led me to some official footage (after there was a leak) of Boston Dynamics' fantastic (and scary!) wheeled/legged robot. You've really got to see it:

Since Boston Dynamic's robot can apparently easily handle a 100lb. object, it wouldn't be too hard for it to wield a really serious gun. When A.I. becomes sentient we'd better hope that they're friendly. Anyway, if they could adapt this robot for zero-gee (replace the wheels with grappling hands? A tail? Like Doc Oc?) I would imagine it would be much more useful (and terrifying) on the ISS.

Comment Re:Time to learn Korean? (Score 1) 38

Uh, I think Korea's history with Japan precludes any possibility that Japanese would be the first (or second or even third) language available. After Korean, English and then probably Chinese they might work on Japanese but that would only be if it was a major market for their phones. I'm not sure but the same history might make Samsung products relatively unpopular in Japan.

Comment So what's the range of the full size prototype? (Score 1, Offtopic) 86

So while TFA says the full size version will go 300 knots (345mph) and be able to carry 40% of its 12,000 lb. weight as payload, it doesn't mention the range.

If it's at all decent, the implications of these VTOL aircraft (with better batteries) should be obvious to all. Coupled with a always on autopilot (with the only user control being redirection or emergency landing) it could transform commuting (assuming a really good air traffic control system).

The world is really looking like a blade runner future complete with constant precipitation from climate change, genetically modified humanimals from CRISPR-cas9, off world colonies from Space X and now VTOLs. We're even (especially) headed for the tremendous inequalities in wealth (also in Elysium and Avatar).

Let's just hope this isn't a prelude towards a Terminator or even a Matrix future because I doubt there will be any reason for the machines to keep us around (no bio-catalyzed cold fusion I'm afraid).

Comment A little surprised about "clear weather" (Score 2, Interesting) 103

So, why do RADIO telescopes need to be concerned about the weather? I mean they look in the radio part of the spectrum and I would assume at the frequencies that aren't that affected by water vapor (or atmospheric gasses). So turbulence in the atmosphere wouldn't affect their performance (other than perhaps shaking the dish).

Is it because they are referring to electrical storms (lightning)? Or perhaps they are referring to "space" weather like solar flares and the ionosphere? (But I've never heard of those being an impediment to radio astronomy).

Anyway, just asking

Comment Will the chip be available to non-Googlers? (Score 1) 91

(Disclaimer, not an AI or machine learning expert but interested in learning!)

So will this chip (or board) be available outside of google? I've heard they've released (some of) their AI/Machine learning code, would be good if once you made a working application you could buy one of these things and speed it up. Would be especially useful for applications where access to the cloud was unavailable or intermittent at best (think self driving cars, drones, spacecraft).

I guess a PCI card that would go in a server would be best but maybe a dedicated peripheral could work

Any other companies working on similar hardware? Are there any standards, like Open GL for AI?

Comment Un oh. Explosives disguised as batteries? (Score 2) 109

Based on the fact that they allow certain (small) electronics, as another posted noted it may be some sort of physical attack.

Maybe someone has figured out to (expertly) disguise small explosives as batteries? I don't know how current X-ray technologies (in the airport) work but maybe they can't easily distinguish between a lithium ion battery and an explosive? So if you were able to package them in the same volume and then wire them so that they "look" on the scanner like batteries then they would pass that review.

While it might be possible to detect this alteration by asking the passenger to prove that they are, indeed, unaltered electronic devices by turning them on, I can image a decent electronics guy could leave in one small battery so it could be powered on briefly (it would probably have to be wired differently to provide the necessary voltage). In addition this would cause the (already long?) delays to become longer as passengers would have to open them and boot up the devices (and afterwards shut them down and repack them). I think there may be neutron(?) based scanners that can detect the nitrogen compounds in explosives but I believe they are large and very expensive and would again add delays.

What's interesting is that (so far) this is not a worldwide prohibition but thankfully (at least for people not planning on traveling to and from the middle east/africa) restricted to just that area. So the ability to do this possible physical "hack" is only for now in the middle east and they only think people heading to the U.S. (and not say Europe) will use it. It must by some pretty specific intel to generate this kind of warning. Maybe the security measures/machines in that part of the world are not capable of reliably discriminating these attacks. Then again some restrictions, as other posters have mentioned, only apply to travel to the U.S., for example at Taipei's airport you must go through an additional screening step when on flights bound to the U.S. so perhaps it's just due to more heightened security awareness/paranoia on the American end.

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