* Posts by MTT

23 publicly visible posts • joined 18 May 2007

Blu-ray Xbox 360 to be sold at a loss?


@ Allan Rutland

"Personally though I don't see the point of Blu-Ray (or HD-DVD while it lasted). DVD is pretty much the last of the physical media...the only reason to fall for the HD movie fluff is if you like buying the same old stuff again..."

That's not entirely true. I've seen the difference between dvd, upconvert DVD, and Blu-Ray player performance on my own home television and it is stark. I mention that it's on *my* home player, since I imagine that most of us don't have the enormous $50K t.v sets that are on display in the stores.

For older movies... well unless someone goes back to Lucas the original film prints, DVD is the best you're ever going to get. BD doesn't magically make the print quality better, it needs to be there first and somehow been lost in the transfer process.

So, yeah. I won't be buying a ton of older movies on BD, unless I have rented/Netflix'd the disc first and know that it's a remaster. However, to say that there is BD tech is all fluff... you should really check out the BBC Planet Earth on Blu-Ray before you say that... it's absolutely stunning.

Dungeons and Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax dies


you open the door and see, just beyond... two small lizard-like folk weeping

I -I'm ... wait .... yes, I'm readying my wand ... and...

[stop it, George, or we'll all be killed!!]

Wha..? Well, why should I..err.. RagNar the mystical ... stop what he's doing?

[ Scott's right, George. The last time you pulled that thing out, we nearly all burned to death in a bugbear den. Put it away, huh? ]

Hey now, I don't see any of you doing anything positive! Scott's just flicking cheetos across the room at you...

[DM: HEY! watch the couch... damn screen I can't see a damned thing!]

...while you try to stare at his Mom's gobblers while she's hangin' the laundry. We're going to be eaten by those lizard folk, I know it. I ready my wand.

[DM: Larry! quit having a look at my mom, pervert. George, you're dead. Wand misfires and you go up in flames. Your horrible screams alert the kobold sentries. Larry and Scott, roll for initiative.]

Wha-what just happened! I readied my wand this time!!

[DM: Yeeeah... but, see, I just don't like you. Sorry. Go roll another character, though. After all, the party needs another level one wizard. And grab me a drink while your up, if you want to make level 2 this time.]

*** ahhh ... I still miss those days... RIP Gary Gygax. Or don't , and go on some kick-ass hell raids against Slaads and tiefling wizard overlords! Just don't forget your dice, brother! ***

IBM to shove ads onto DVDs


They want to kill DVD

Have any of you considered that this is a win-win for the industry?

I mean, DVD tech is already "broken" from an industry perspective: it is virtually impossible to stop ppl from ripping and sharing movies; DVD burners are ubiquitous; companies like Netflix can not only mail movies but stream non Hi-def movies easily, making DVD purchases less attractive; OnDemand cable services provide a similar service; and on and on and on.

I think they don't mind if DVD gets killed because they still have some control over next-gen discs (for now.)

So consider this:

(1) If they get the patent, they cram ads on DVD discs.

(2a) Ppl either watch the ads or don't, though I bet a good portion of the population will still buy DVDs and just tolerate this shit the way they do everything else.

So they get a little extra bang for their buck (or cents, if you count production costs.)



(2b) Ppl decide *not* to buy ad stuffed DVDs because the "industry" offers you a compromise...

buy hi-def BluRay or HD-DVD with no ads! You get netter video quality, no obnoxious ads, etc. etc.

-Win Again-

Probably not the case, as I doubt IBM and MPAA execs are that scheme-worthy (though they are certainly evil enough.) Still, allowing for a momentary spark of brain activity, I wouldn't put it past any of these guys to chalk it out like that.

US man sets himself on fire and cuts off his own arm


@ Bruce and the Coward

Bruce: I'm not hunched in a corner brooding and I'm not wrong. Wow, i guess it really is as easy as you make it seem to make assertions without argument. Who knew?

Anonymous coward (who probably would have burned to death) wrote :

"please explain how the machine's rollers could have caught his hand"

Hmm... let's see.

Maybe, and this is just speculation, but just maybe corn stalks are longer than a man's arm that guy's state. Doubtless, in the UK the stalks are short and the cob kernels are all crooked, so I'll ive you the benefit of the doubt. And maybe, juuuuust maybe, the thresher, which spins its blades fast enough to generate a significant amount of pull, got *unjammed* as Mr. Farmer tugged on the stalk outside of the threshers' mechanism. It's not a stretch of the imagination to think that an arm could get pulled close enough to the blades to get caught, either by itself or with some help from the sleeve workman's shirt . Again, this is not uncommon for those who work with machines.

But... I'm sorry ...I invoked a concept that might be unfamiliar to anonymous coward: "imagination". It's much easier to call someone an idiot for having been in an accident, than to *imagine* how they might have gotten themselves in such a situation and, oh I don't know, EMPATHIZE.

I'm not saying it happened that way. It probably didn't. Maybe the guy *is*, in fact, an idiot who got off Final Destination style. I have no clue,

but I do know this:

it takes some balls to cut your own damn arm off, while it's on fire and the skin is dripping off, and then have the composure to walk through your farmland and down the road to get help.

That's not a darwin award.


@ Andy S and Symrstar ...can you read?

Exactly how is the man supposed to "just turn the machine off" when his arm is caught in the damn thresher? Are you really that ignorant about machines, or just stupid? If your sleeve got caught in the engine block of your car whilst under repair, would we mock you for not "simply" engaging OnStar from the dashboard to summon help? Of course not... you wouldn't be able to reach it. Dumbass... but I guess in a country of grass farmers, I shouldn't expect much in the way of gene knowledge about mechanized agriculture.

Furthermore, the article didn't say "he stuck his hand in moving " machinery. It said,

"The machine's rollers caught his hand"

which is a far cry from just jamming his hand into a thresher. This type of mangling accident is common among machine workers of all trades, and this one is only extraordinary because he sawed his damn arm off with a pen knife while he was on fucking fire.

I'm sure that given a "do-over", he'd play it differently, but jesus give the man some respect for having HUGE balls and being a total badass. Honestly...

sawed. his. FLAMING arm. off.

Tesco punts Xbox 360 bundle for £33.24


how do you join?

how do ppl in the States sign up for the club?

Oz nanoboffins punt paper-thin flak jacket plan


@ Jamie Peterson, anonymous cowards,.. aww hell, the lot of you

There is no such thing as a perfectly elastic collision in modern ballistics. Look it up again, but both bodies need to be non-deformed upon collision. And what's up with all the impulse non-sense. Bullet wounds are about energy transfer, aka work...so you care about force x distance, not force x time.

When a bullet hits you, some energy goes into deforming the bullet; some goes into deforming you; and the rest is disspated as heat. My guess is that the kinetic energy that is otherwise dissipated as heat remains unchanged with respect to the suit. A component of the energy related to deformation of the bullet also remains unchanged with respect to the load imparted to you, because you have not changed mechanically. BUT, there is a new component to the deformation of the bullet that is proportional to the difference between the storage modulus of the carbon nanotube vest and you. You can think of this like comparing the elastic load on two springs of with differing spring constants. If this difference is small, than the imparted energetic component will be small, resulting in essentially the same ballistic injury as without the vest..in other words, you're hosed.

However, if the difference is large, the nanotubes act like frictionless springs under compression. The energy required to compress the spring rebounds normal to the direction of compression..i.e. back into the bullet. Whatever is not loaded into the nanotube is transferred as a load to your body, and hopefully is small enough that your own viscoelastic tissue can disspiate it without injury.

i've been a bit sloppy here, so please forgive some rather carefree verbiage. But in general, it is plausible as an idea that you could "deflect" bullets with the proper material. However, i would place bets on ricochet kill vests anytime soon :)

Met's de Menezes photo 'manipulated', says prosecution


@ Robert Long

How can you be so ignorant and so confident at the same time? Is it some special pill they give you in wingnut school?

I think a few hundred years of French and British colonialism have more to do with the current "militant islam" situation than 50 years of US foreign policy. Or are you forgetting the fact that the British were among those who colonized and divided the middle eastern nations into the warring sectarian regions that exist today?

How about that convenient little point of history where the British invaded one of the only remaining non-colonized middle eastern sovereign nations, Iran, and set off this whole cluster-F--k operation we have going today?

Your analysis of U.S. oil demands is juvenile enough rate about 3rd grade level, and would be laughable if I thought you were the only buffoon spouting that crap. ANY modernized society would collapse without a steady input of fossil fuels, if only because there isn't an alternative that is sustainable, renewable, and cost-effective enough to supplant the current system. This is not limited to oil: it includes natural gas and coal sources, and you better damn well believe that any government that doesn't fiercely protect their fossil fuel interests is directly harming it's citizenry.

Get your head out of the drum circle, little hippie, and take a look at the practical world with it's real problems. Leave the propaganda at the door, with your Birk's.

Yangtze river dolphin is an ex-cetacean


is technology natural?

@ Lloyd (and El Regular, just a bit)

quote: "If an alien race were to start dumping all of their waste on our little blue/green planet and it obliterated the human race, it would be natural selection would it?"

Yes, Lloyd. When hominids first learned to use tools, it separated them from other species that did not learn similar skills. We consider that a clear example of adaptation to selective pressure. It then follows that technology, no matter how crude its form may be, is part of the evolutionary equation. Along with technology comes waste/refuse... and supposing that your hypothetical aliens used out planet as a dumping ground, t hen our respective monkey asses better get up and learn some new skills.

However, I suspect you are appealing to the "golden rule" notion of morality. We wouldn't want a superior species to pollute us out of existence, to be sure. My objection is that, while I agree with the sentiment (I have no desire to be crapped on by space worms until my lineage is forever blotted from existence), I must object to the idea that our motivation to action should be defined by my (our?) "morality" ... to do so is selfish in a non-darwinian sense. Darwinian selfishness aids all of humanity, with the possible extension to species closely related to ours. Moral selfishness (i,e. don't do this because *I* wouldn't like it done to *me*), is sometimes selective *within* the species, and as such, serves to thin the herd not based on fitness but on debatable and arbitrary lines of choice.


re: Human arrogance

@ Dave,

quote: "Human influenced selection is *Not* natural selection. Natural selection is a procees that by definition is a result of random, unplanned events, not the result of one species stupidity."

You are mistaking random mutation with natural selection. Nice try, but I'm afraid that you are guilty of exactly the type of arrogance that the "anonymous coward" was pointing out.

We are not special. We are not above natural law. Evolution does not occur around us while we sit idly by in the high watchtower. Everything we do influences the course of natural selection, and is not separate from other selection pressures that all species must survive. The minute you start ascribing evolutionary validity based on capability (i.e. humans are sooo much more capable than animals), that's the moment that you ascribe mystical significance to humanity.

If you go that route, how can you not divide other selection events by animate versus inanimate participation... say, comets killing dinosaurs rather than competition and/or inadequate speciation?

Think on it for a while, before you go slinging about the "moron" tag so freely.


@Spadge Fromley

@ Spadge Fromley,

quote:"As to human-influenced selection not being natural selection, I'm not so sure; we are animals, and a part of nature, surely? Discuss. If leopards (beware them!) eat all the, erm, whatever leopards eat, stoats or something, do we say that's not natural because it's leopard-influenced? Or do we consider ourselves to be above nature, and isn't that rather the problem, really?"

Exactly the point; spot on. That is the problem, and we would all do better to act as if everything we do influences the course of evolution at all levels. The consequences of our actions are not something that PC things like carbon banking, arbor day, and "save the Whales" fund raisers can easily undo. It would be nice wunna'it?


re: Human Arrogance

@ davcefai

"The remainder of the arrogant post is hardly worth commenting on."

Arrogant post? He/she was spot on in calling out hypocritical posters here. Moreover, the bit about how humans tend to remove our actions from natural selection is also completely accurate, and a major mistake that even some scientists make at times. Personally, I believe this stems from the a pseudo-religious view of the human place in the cosmos, one that assumes humanity's primacy in nature and therefore requires externalities to nature for all human actions.

MIT in Matrix 'Crowd Farm' plan


I'm from MIT

first off, these guys probably were in it simply for the money. I hate to say it, but architecture students do get the shaft on stipends, so I wouldn't be surprised to find that they did this to pay their rent.

second: Energy reclamation is a field with huge promise, but this particular approach has pretty much been abandoned across the board. You just can't harvest enough energy to make it worth the effort, there is no great storage paradigm, and people are definitely able to sense the mechanistic aspect in the form of "drag" as they walk/move (think walking on a very sandy beach.)


BILL FRESHER you are a f-king moron. I've been at several institutes/universities in my time, and I can say without reservation that the scientists and engineers that work and graduate from MIT are on average the best in the world. You may be confusing "fanaticism" with a persistence when one *actually knows* what the hell they are talking about. Which most engineers from more relaxed environments are never forced to do ... actually learn first principles.

Mum given young nympho's phone number



they're also used to extract various special cell types for scientific studies. Blood vessel cells are particularly useful (e.g. those from microvascular or "capillary" blood vessels.)

Ex-Broadcom CEO broadsided by cocaine and orgy torture charges


ex broadcom engineer: current dill-hole

wow... insider information for the "Broadcom Ex"... but maybe it's not widely known outside of the little SoCal circle you have going on in Los Orang-O-Linas county or where ever the crap Broadcom is located (who cares if it's LA or a little further south in OC? Honestly, that's not the point of the story.)

it would be nice to read a comment section one time without the ubiquitous "Well, I already knew that, so why didn't *you* ?" posting.

eBayer mails UK lad £44k


Thinking about it.....

I agree with Paul above. I would inform the police and go through all the proper channels to secure the funds, in the most public way possible. After all, there is nothing illegal about receiving that money, though perhaps there was some illegality involved in the sending of the money (e.g. money laundering.)

Unless the bills are marked or tracked by serial number, it will be difficult to establish an illegal connection.

Oklahoma woman takes sue happy RIAA to the bank


a few questions

In the U.S., is there a civil law construct similar to the equal protection clause governing criminal prosecutions?

I don't see how the RIAA can pick and choose who it prosecutes for copyright infringement, when the only criteria for avoiding prosecution seems to be whoever pays them some fraction of their products' value. That really does seem like extortion, or damn near close to it.

Moreover, I thought monetary damages in cases of copyright protection were based somewhat on the value of the product in question and how that value relates to the distribution of the product. For example, if I determine the value of broadcasting an original episode of "Seinfeld" to be $1 million per showing during network prime-time, then I can sue for damages at-or-around that much if the local TV station shows that episode a later date without securing rights.

However, since the RIAA is all over the map with how much it's collecting from individual file sharers, and each "illegal" file has the capacity to reach an unlimited number of people, doesn't that inherently de-value the worth of the copyright to the lowest settlement value?

I'm not up to speed on all the copyright "gotcha" provisions, so maybe I'm totally off base here. It just seems that the RIAA has devalued their own product by pursuing relief according to the traditional model of distribution and property rights.

eBay chokes on iPhones


re MTT perspective

' "I have friends who made upwards of $2500 on Playstation 3's last November"... NO U havent. PS3 has been a sales disaster. '

Brian, I'm sorry but you're just plain wrong on that first part.

The PS3 *did* sell out on release, at least in major US cities, so, people who put up their consoles in mid-Nov. or did pre-sale auctions on eBay made a nice sum of money. Here in Boston, we had lines of 300 or more people stretching around and through the Prudential center, Fenway, the Cambridgeside Galleria, etc. just to get one unit out of something like 40-60 per store. Down the way in Philly people were getting shot and trampled for them.

Once the hype died down and it became clear that Sony wasn't really having "shipping delays" (aka pumping and dumping) so that there was plenty of product, and once people tried the Wii... then the PS3 tanked. But those first few weeks were unbelievable in terms of shopper hysteria.

Like i said before, I *did* wait for both the Wii and the PS3 but not for resaIe, and I have to say as an aside, that the difference in crowds was also unbelievable. The Wii folk were a great bunch of people, some dressed as Mario and Link and all very friendly. My kids and I went very early on launch day to wait in line (about 3 AM for myself and 6 AM for the kiddies), and I had the pleasure of treating my 'line mates' to a box-o-joe from Dunkin donuts, laughing with fellow gamers about geeky stuff, and playing DS Mario Kart tourneys.

The PS3 crowd was a mix of nice people and very twitchy, very quirky people. No one was shooting up the joint :) but definitely a different vibe, and less buy-the-world-a-coke attitude.


re Anyone...

ha :)

thanks, but i didn't wait in line for one, and I'm not really into the i-phenom that is Apple. I personally prefer PC's, Creative's Zen line of media players, and Samsung's Blade phone. That covers most of what Apple has to offer by way of hardware.

I'm not that into paying extra money for smugness ("oooh, my computer looks like an art-deco lamp! That's so progressive.")

sorry apple lovers ;)


re Get some perspective assholes

"so instead of working for 30 hours and getting 240$ for sure they take the chance of losing money instead ?"

$8/hour? try minimum wage for most fast food employees (currently less than $6/hr.) But, for argument sake let's grant an $8/hr rate.

30 hours of shift work at McD's = 3.5 days of actual time assuming standard 8 shifts and no back-to-back double shifts. This nets $240 US *pre-tax* income... subtract ~ $30-50 in income tax and FICA tax depending on your filing status and you're left with $190-210. We'll split the difference and call it an even $200 for 3 days of work. Greasy, smelly, rude-customers-who-you-have-to-smile-at type of work.

Compare that to a waiting for 30 *consecutive* hours in a line for a chance to make 10 times the money in 1/3rd the the amount of time? Tell me what you'd do in that situation?

For items like the Xbox 360, PS3, the PSP, Nintendo Wii, and the Nintendo DS this tactic paid off. I have friends who made upwards of $2500 on Playstation 3's last November.

Look, there's always risk in speculation, people lose money in real estate, and stock markets crash. yada-yada-yada...right? Companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Sony generate huge hype and publicity for product launches, scare up the media about product shortage, and in this case led a bunch of people down along knowing full well that there was no scarcity of product. It's a finely tuned and practiced form of pump and dump, and I don't think it's something to laugh about or criticize consumers for.

I just get pissed that some people characterize these consumers who are scrapping for a living as greedy, yet themselves probably greatly sympathize with the S&L and/or Enron victims who fell for similar insta-rich style tactics (albeit at much higher stakes.)

phew...rant over :)


Get some perspective assholes

The people who camped out aren't all "greedy, stupid fools." Some people are just trying to turn a quick profit so they can get a leg up for once in their lives. If that means blowing $600 on the lottery-style chance you can triple that money by selling to some rich f--k who has the cash to blow $2k on an iPhone, or PS3, or Xbox360, or whatever... what do you think they're going to do? One iPhone or PS3 at $2k means a nice Christmas for the kids, a security deposit on a better place, or the downs on a "new" used car.

people who speculate on low/mid-level goods aren't the greedy ones (try currency speculators for that crowd). Often, they're the working poor who are trying to hit up as many times as they can before they hit down. They're students (I know a few), single moms, blue collars who take a day off on that off chance, etc.

I'll grant you that there are jerks in the mix, people who are making ends and just want more of it. But the situation is a little more complex than what I'm seeing here in the posts, and you all should think about that before you gleefully banter on about how the campers got bit this time.

(btw, I *did* camp for a PS3 and a wii, but both for personal use. I don't camp for other things, as I really don't have the time or need for the money.. but I have plenty of friends who do and I cast no aspersions on what they do.)

Loopy quantums reveal successive universes


To all the armchair geniuses...

Tom "this day and age" Hillman... grab a dictionary and look up the word pedantic.

"Not new news" David...you come off as a moron claiming that you were taught "established" facts about the origin of the universe. And in 1981 no less! Last time I checked, there were no such "established" facts, even among the most respected theoretical physicists, and the state of physics in '81 was still trying to wrap it's collective brains around String theory, and not running the kind of computation heavy modeling of the early universe this work requires. Puh-lease.

Respect yourselves enough to keep your overblown "theories" and "been-there-done-that's" to yourselves, please. I'm sorry, but I don't believe for second that most people who have weighed in thus far have much more physics insight than a 12-year old kid who just read Mom or Dad's science club pick of the month, let alone some intimate knowledge of loop quantum gravity.

I'll give exception to Steffen Schubert above, who actually bothers to engage his audience with a counter example of demonstrating similar ideas but slightly misses the point of the article IMO (the news, Steffan, is that there is a working model that can be verified by looking for footprints in the cosmological landscape that are not accounted for by GTR but are accounted for by LQG or another, more complete model.)

Illinois baby issued with firearms permit


Hey Australia boy...

You can spew context-free statistics all you want, but you only make yourself look like a complete moron. Take your point [5], for example:

US population = 301,869,748


Aus population= 20,826,190 <http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs%40.nsf/94713ad445ff1425ca25682000192af2/1647509ef7e25faaca2568a900154b63?OpenDocument>

simple math --> 301869748 / 20826190 = 14.4947178529

and there's your "1/15th" gun violence rate. They are the same per capita rate.

Of course this rate could be skewed by some small population of insane gun massacre-prone population that slipped through the cracks of Aus.' s wondrous legal protections... but, wait... you said there haven't been any of those? hmm.

A true test of the efficacy of Australia's gun laws would involve comparing the per capita *gun owner* violence rate. This would probably make the gun violence rate for Australia *tower* over the US rate, in a proportional sense. This does not mean, however, that Australia is a more "gun-violent" society.

Rather, this makes sense when you consider that many "gun deaths" are actually suicides not Virgina Tech massacres, and gun ownership is correlative but not causative in cases of suicide (i.e. gun owners are not more likely to kill themselves, but those who kill themselves are more likely to use a gun if they own one.)