* Posts by Raggs

49 posts • joined 10 Nov 2010

Boffins: Dolphins call each other NAMES. Not RUDE ones!


Re: Or Not

Not sure that article actually discredits it that well actually...

Just because humans don't yell back their own name in the street doesn't mean there are no similar situations, when calling we often ask "Is that Robert speaking." "This is Robert". On letters we usually open Dear Harry, and give our own names to sign off.

It's not quite the same as playing a dog back it's own bark, they aren't playing back the noise that a dolphin made, but a whistle unique to them, that is used by others! And no one else responds. It's very much like getting a lot of dogs together and yelling Fido, and only Fido running up to you.

A lot of animals can understand the concept of a name referring to them. That dolphins appear to have developed the skill amongst themselves really wouldn't be that surprising to me, especially considering how much they communicate, and the degree of organisation they often have when hunting.

They may not use it to refer to absent parties, but if they use it to gain the attention of a very particular animal (which seems to be it's exact purpose) then that's a name in my mind.

Better Place electric car outfit goes titsup


Biggest issue in my mind isn't even the infrastructure (pretty easy to setup in established gas stations I suspect, especially as it's battery replacement, and not charging, so not taking up much forecourt space.

The issue is that people don't get new cars all that often, and certainly not at the same time. Israel was the companies best hope, and I think they really should have concentrated all efforts there, since it has the highest rate of leased cars for employees, and this is an area you could hit, lease them the cars as well as the batteries. Turnover for these vehicles is far higher, and it's much easier to grab a larger slice of the pie, especially with some incentives.

After Sandy Hook, Senator calls for violent video game probe


Re: "68 mass shottings since 1982" or "I don't like Mondays" revisited.

Once out of the army conscription (21 for males), they don't keep their rifle.


Re: "68 mass shottings since 1982" or "I don't like Mondays" revisited.

Don't know where you got that figure for Israels gun ownership...

Soldiers (18-21) will indeed generally have a rifle, stored in a suitable cabinet at home (whilst at home, during the week they are on base). But not every house owns an 18-21 year old. And not all of them have rifles, most the girls do not, and a lot of soldiers are not combat soldiers, and thus carry no weapon.

Outside of the forces, gun regulation is very very strict in Israel, and without a valid reason (generally employment, needs to be security) you cannot get one.

Switzerland is perhaps where you were thinking, and their rules have changed in the last 5 years, they did have a very large gun death rate prior to these changes (keeping ammo for a town in one/two locations, instead of at home).


Re: Prevention rather than cure...

That was my point, though poorly made I'll admit. Because he only had a knife it seems no one died, a vast improvement.

You cannot hope to get rid of all the crazies, or even the normal folk who just flip when life deals them one too many bad hands.

In a way though, I fear the USA may be beyond gun control to the degree of the UK, and would be better off removing automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and then trying to arm as many people as possible that are left. If you can't get rid of all the guns, then unfortunately the 2nd best option is that everyone gets one, so at least such nutjobs get shot before they've racked up the kill count so high. I don't think you'd get any more mass murderers (they all seem to be able to get hold of a pistol or too from a neighbour at worst), but at least they'd not get as far.


Prevention rather than cure...

There was actually an attack in a school in China around the same time as this latest shooting. 20 injured last time I read about it, the guy only had a knife.

Guns aren't the problem, the people using them are. But, unless we're going to turn an entire population into a well balanced nation, let's just take the guns away and whilst it's not curing the problem, it'll certainly help prevent it.

Speaking in Tech: Like Kinect - only a THOUSAND times better


The kinect was massively downgraded from what the technology(ies? they bought a few) were originally capable of. It wasn't a case of limited technology, but limited cost. Now that microsoft has had time to build up larger and larger libraries, and optimize the software to match the hardware, I think other 3d tracking devices are going to struggle to catch up, unless they take a very different approach.

Google promises autonomous cars for all within five years


Probably better than people, it knows exactly where it's wheels are, the oncoming traffic, it will be calculating the depth of the pothole, and doing all these things simultaneously. As for emergency services, I'm sure a simple enough signal (or even siren recognition) would sort it out fairly easily.

People don't seem to understand the advances these things have made in the last 5 years.


Re: Scary stories from the Chocolate Factory

The Reg has been reporting these exact stories, even to the point that the cars have already been licensed for some time now in Nevada (lots of empty space admittedly, but still).

Deadly pussies kill more often than owners think


If the RSPB don't worry, why should we?


If these guys aren't panicing about cat predation, I don't figure they're that bad. The USA is so sparsely populated in comparison it's unlikely to be a worser situation I'd have thought.

My cat doesn't bring back too many gifts, but I know she eats fairly well, mostly takes the larger local lizards that I've seen. My dads cat brings home rabbits (generally bigger than her).

China turns on the sprinklers with ambitious rain-making plans


Israel has been doing it for some time, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were quite good at it.

Peter Molyneux parts with Microsoft and Lionhead


Black and White

Was an awesome game. Problems? Certainly, single player story pretty useless? Yep. Training a creature was an amazing experience, and amazingly well programmed. You could train your creature to respond to your personal villages needs first, then if that's fine go off to the neutrals and impress them with the best impressing spells, all done? Wander into enemy lands to burn down the enemy buildings.

The best bit though? The peculiarities that developed in their characters. You thought you were teaching your creature to burn enemy villages, he thought you were teaching him to burn pig, and subsequently hunted every porcine on the map down and burnt them to a cinder. Or use the weakest attacking spell on the town centre, then spot a single villager fleeing? Time to use the massive beam spell which demolished everything it touches.

People played the game an d disliked it, they never came to appreciate the creature.

Spanish boffins unwrap anti-magnetic cloak


Don't shoot me all at once, but perpetual motion?

If you can shield one side of the magnet, and make a large loop of magnets running on the outside of piping, each leaning on the next with one pole angled towards the tube, the other away, then place a magnet inside the tube, with NS the other way round, only one set of the opposite poles will do any pushing?

I guess blocking one of the poles of the magnet in the tube would have the same effect?

It's early, I'm tired, and I'm more excited about faster than light travel, but what's wrong with these thoughts? I'm sure there's something.

Boffinry image not for my post, but in hope for the following ones.

Sony to launch PlayStation 4 in 2012, say moles


Glad you got your title apt to your content.

Eyetoy is a webcam. Kinect uses a laser and detection system, plus a large amount of software to accurately detect a bodys position in 3D space, added with an amazing microphone array also cabaple of accurate detection including it's own voice recognition software, along with a webcam. The most major part of Kinect (3d detection) is nothing like the eyetoy, the next most major part (audio) also has nothing to do with the eyetoy, the last part yes, it also has a webcam.

As to the topic, it could be sony wants to get a jump in at the same time as the Wii, but I don't see it happening mysel.f

Firing back at LulzSec


Gone already

Hmm, maybe what was on there was true, seeing as it's already gone down... So who was exposed?

Israeli couple dub sprog 'Like'


Sure there are...

Sure there are. Lila (night), is exactly the right sound to start, just stick a kuf on the end. Lamed, yud, kaf (or is it kuf? my hebrew is awful considering i live here).

Scientists reveal eight-legged Jurassic beast



When I was walking through the webs of orb spiders I had the most disturbing spider I'd ever seen drop on me. It was dark, so I could really see it clearly, so I wrapped it in a tissue and took it home.

Only small, but it had spikes coming out of it's abdomen , that were hard (at first I thought it was a seed of some sort). It was also a deep devilish red. Horrible looking thing. Good thing I love them :D


Bugger to walk through

I can tell you from personal experience that there is nothing fun walking through one of their giant webs at night, especially when bearded. The modern day ones that I've seen are probably about 10cm in length. 15cm is quite big for a spider (I haven't personally seen anything larger than the modern day orb spiders), tarantualas get bigger, but then they aren't spiders.

WTF is... 3D printing


May be repeating myself

Can't see my first comment, and I'm not sure if I actually posted it. So just a short one.

The kinect camera is being used by everyone and his dog as a cheap 3d model producer.

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3D printing inconjunction with Kinect

Utilising this with the equally cheap and accessible 3d scanner that is Kinect, I'd guess replication of a lot of different, simple, household objects could be achieved. Or of course, scan your own foot, and use that as a digital mould for your own printed shoes. Etc etc.

Fun and games :D.

Human heart could power an iPod


In the referenced article

It states in the article that it produces only 1 micro ampere, (that's 5 stacked on each other). But they're only stamped sized, so you should be able to ramp that up.

Still a tiny amount though.

Are you sure about your Ipod requirements though? Since the battery is only around 1200mah (http://www.mdsbattery.co.uk/shop/productprofile.asp?ProductGroupID=1952), so your figure would surely suggest they only run for less than 2 hours before dying, as opposed to the 40 hours that websites seem to suggest (for music, 7 hours for videos)...

So for music I guess were looking at 30mah, which is about 84micro amps, so 420 of these little fellows (84 stacks of 5).

Which isn't too terrible, but isn't good enough to fit on the soles of your feet alone just yet.

Obviously rate at which they are being flexed will have an affect. Lots of unanswered questions, but they aren't completely unfeasible. A lot of places we would use them would have lots of mass (tire flexing as discussed) and so more than just stacks of 5 could be used)

Online world maps rub jubs against todgers


Mines only a couple of inches too....

Couple of inches off the ground that is...


Certainly wrong for Israel

Having lived here for a while, I can assure you that an average of an a-cup is well out. In fact I'm struggling to think of even seeing an a-cup for the last few years...

From viewings, I'd say on average larger than the UK, which I'd guess putting around C-D cup average.

But considering how many women don't know how to measure correctly for bras, and the fact that UK and european sizes vary when you get to the larger sizes (europeans don't have double measurements, DD = E, E = F etc etc), I'm guess lots of errors can come in.

Brian May stands up for Welsh badgers


Science suggests a cull doesn't work, vaccination (funnily enough) does.

Worked for a Doctor of behaviour who took part in the last big research into bovine tb. Culls made no difference to number of cases, vaccination programs did. Heard the same thing from a lot of other scientists who'd worked on the project (or similar).

Farmers know about farming, that I can't disagree with. But they don't know about epidemiology, the folks that do, keep saying that killing badgers doesn't make a difference, vaccinations do.

On a slight aside, if badgers are anything like foxes (possible), small culls would make things worse. If you kill one fox, all the surrounding females breed faster since there's a lowered population, and so you end up with even more foxes (and more competition for food, and thus more going into the henhouse to try and get enough).

Iran to attend Olympics, despite 'racist' logo

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It also says Ziv...

Reading across the bottom bit it says Ziv in Hebrew, which translates into Brilliance (of the light variety) basically. Only 1 hebrew character out from Zion there...

I prefered the swastika claims from a while ago.

Microsoft Kinect faster seller than iPad, says Guinness


Not many good games right now, but...

Most developers were probably waiting on seeing how many folks bought this before commiting serious resources. Those that took the leap, didn't have the years most developers use to create a decent title.

Overall, I'd say it's encouraging, and with such large numbers (10 million shipped probably equals 8+ million sold), developers have now got a decent install base to work with, especially if they produce a "must have" game, also, there's a lot of folks waiting for just that game(s) to come out before also purchasing a kinect. I think we'll be getting a lot of announcements of kinect games coming soon. Lets hope there's some good titles amongst the inevitable shovelware.

Microsoft hit the jackpot in my eyes.

Anti-religious campaigners smack down census Jedis


The reason it matters is...

If there's lots of religious folk (regardless of jedi or not) then high ranking religious folks will be invited, and leave a large bill for the taxi payer. They just lump together all the religious folk.

Thankfully, things seem to be going in a good direction, the last large poll ran suggests less than 60% of the country is religious. 54% christian, of those christians, 36% said religion wasn't important to them :D.


Kinect blesses rescue robot with 3D sight


Xbox Kinect

I'm still enjoying my Kinect. Downloaded a few demos I intend to try out, and Child of Eden and Gunstringer both look pretty fantastic.

On a more positive note (getting away from xbox bashing), the kinect has truly made a lot of positive changes to this world. From using it for robotic surgery, 3d navigation, 3d modelling etc etc. Must be doing Microsofts rep some good.

I suspect that this particular robot will not only be using kinect for navigation, but also for the recognition abilities, so it'll be capable of recognising bodies whilst it navigates it's way through structures.

Watson? Commercial – not super – computer

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Able is 2 syllables. May I suggest: There is a long list of ways in which we can say one thing.

Techies floored by 'virus' after Playboy mansion party


Definitely deserve what they get.

Are you aware of Jenny McCarthys views on autism and how it is caught? She believes it's all down to those evil corporations and their vaccines.

That money will likely go towards convincing people that it's far safer for your child to catch all sorts of interesting, almost eradicated illnesses, and potentially reignite epidemics of diseases, than towards any sort of care for autistic sufferers.

Israel's data protection laws given EU approval


Local population?

I can tell you the local population are doing just fine. If you mean the people in Gaza, then I'll agree they aren't doing quite so well at the moment, but when you're leaders place you in a constant state of war with the country next door, whilst they control almost every aspect of your life, well you'll likely suffer.

If Wales started shooting rockets daily at England, and made it their manifesto to wipe England off the map, do you suspect perhaps that England would do something about it?

The damn place was almost empty until the Ottomans turned up and then was just considered part of Syria, and even then it was just scattered populations (a large number of whom were Jewish). It was a malaria infested swampland, surrounded by desert and highlands. The whole Middle east was artificially created by the English and the French, why do you think half their borders are straight lines?

The whole area is mucked up, but the "locals" were mostly shipped in by whichever empire happened to be in control at the time, as opposed to people who had lived there for any time. The only people that had lived there for a good period of time were the Jews and the Bedouins (and them more because they wander around as they wish).

Republican reps push for mandatory gun ownership


So what's the difference?

How come police, fire services, welfare (the amount you have), border services are all constitutional? Everyone is made to have them, everyone (who works) pays for them, and get no say in it. How is nationalised healthcare any different to police and fire services? There's probably hundreds of nationalised services (damn socialists!!!!!) around, that everyone is just used to.

The US government already pays far more per head on healthcare than most (if not all) nationalised healthcare countries.

Sony sues PlayStation 3 'hackers'


It has the opposite effect if anything

Bad DRM can drive people to getting illegal versions (I think Spore was a fantastic example, friend of mine bought the real thing, struggled so much with the security that he just put the dvd on the shelf and cracked it).

Most games these days have the security broken before release anyway, those lucky few that don't are usually done within a few days of release, it stops nothing, but makes honest people wonder why they are getting punished.

Keira Knightley, Jessica Biel eye Batman

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2 (or 3) brits please.

Seeing as Bale is British, and the batmobile was built in britain, I think they should continue the trend.

As for Keira in a more dirty fighting affair, have you seen Domino? After seeing that film she could quite nicely fit in for Al Ghouls daughter.

Disconsolate Spanish smokers driven out into blizzard


Really? Wanna check those numbers?

Using 2008/2009 stats.




So alcohol related deaths are 9000, drink driving are around 800

Smoking... 81,400 estimated. Now I accept, estimates can be a bit high, but 9x higher than alcohol is pushing it.

This next source will of course be debatable due to the harder nature to confirm, but passive smoking alone seems to beat all alcohol (self induced and drunk driving) deaths. http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Smoking-and-Others-(Passive-Smoking).htm at over 10,000

Boffins build medical control centre with Kinect

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S*** for gaming?

Have to say I'm having a great time with mine, bought it 4 days ago. My aunties have just had a great game of bowling (embarrassingly beating my best scores :(). And my other half has a great time with it too.

Great for coming home from the office to do something active in the comfort of my own home. Fine, at the moment theres no "hardcore" games, but there's a lot of fun ones :D.

'London black cabs to go electric in 2 weeks' – Boris Guardian


Battery tech in 10 years

Considering the variety of new, promising battery technologies, surely it's possible that some of these will have come through by 2020.

We have the st. andrews air battery, which they reckon could get upto 10x more storage than current batteries, even 5x would mean ranges of 500+ miles for a lot of vehicles. We have others working on nanotube batteries, which whilst haven't massively increased storage, have recorded much larger power output abilities. So a combo of both could help with frequent start stopping of taxis and the overall distances.

Charging of course is still potentially an issue, but with official charging stations chucking out power, it should be a far better charging time than we now see.

Not even touching on the potential for more efficient electric motors (this probably won't get as much improvement as batteries admittedly).

My Droid EXPLODED mid phone call, says Texan


US healthcare costs

Just to point out that universal healthcare in the US could help lower overall government spending on health. The US already spends over 50% more on average per head on healthcare than the countries with universal healthcare.

The reason for this, at least in my mind, is the amount that the US does pay for (old people), is massively inflated due to the fact that everyone else has to pay insurance companies. So the US ends up spending far more, whilst providing far less. It's a very similar situation as that in the UK with rent and housing costs. Housing benefit has allowed for rents to become artificially inflated. Where government and private companies/individuals end up in competition as such, prices go up needlessly.

Microsoft waves arms, signals 2.5m Kinect sales


Joyride race

Yeah I know about that video, and as Microsoft said, that's pretty damn accessible to anyone :D.

However, that's microsofts first load of software, it's going to be deliberately dumbed down and light hearted. It's a software issue, not a hardware one.

Onto hand/fingers, I have to agree, to have this degree of accuracy would have been wonderful, but I could also see it causing a lot of issues (when jumping around do you know if you are making a fist or not? How exactly your fingers are moving?), but still, you're correct. I do wonder if it is capable of detecting a fist from open palm though, I would guess (from the night vision vid) it probably should be able to, maybe not so easily for small children, but certainly for adults.

But then, what exactly do you need fingers and precise hand movements for? Interacting with objects is often done with a single button now, so that's easily enough replicated by placing your hand over the object and pushing/pressing forward. Any shooting could easily be done with a light gun (I really really really hope they do this). Movement has a number of possible methods, as to which will end up being used will probably depend on reviews and comments as developers try them out, anything from one hand being a joystick, to the movement method used in the super mario hack.

Racing games in general are perhaps not going to be the best genre, and it may, or may not work well with RTS's it depends on how accurate the positioning can be (though voice commands could easily be used to select units, and give orders, though directions would be better with a more direct interface). Basically using voice to replace the key holds to tell the unit to patrol/guard/hide etc.

Obviously it depends on developers, but I would hope with this big user base, developers will go for some more mainstream games for your typical gamer.


Why certainly

Simple line of childrens toys (plastic swords etc, light gun) opens up all sorts of rpg/action/adventure games.

Simply check out what the hacks are coming out with, after less than a month. The super mario one looks like a lot of fun, and with a dedicated game, could leads to something hilarious (mario 3d would be equally doable).

Certainly there are some games that would struggle to be amazing with this interface, but a Black and White game could truly be fantastic.

Care to point out your typical Xbox gamer? Since i'm pretty sure the average game is late 20s to mid 30s these days, so likely to have at least a girlfriend, and quite possibly children. And now with an interface to really enjoy games with them. And I'm sure that even typical xbox gamers (sounds almost as bad as "hardcore"), occasionally play sillier games for fun. Even if not, Kinect is creating a bridge between truly casual play and more "typical". Obviously it's going to take a while for those core games to come about combining the two, but there coming.

There's also the future view here. Next generation is definitely going to include this sort of technology in one form or another, and microsoft & co. will have already developed a solid framework of software to take advantage of this, along with solidifying which techniques work, and which don't. The next few steps take us into headsets and virtual reality, whilst running around in a giant hamster ball.

If you cannot see the possibilities that's fine. But that doesn't mean there aren't any, a lot of game developers seem to be jumping on the wagon (and these big sales numbers are certainly going to help keep that trend going).


Doesn't understand gaming by my reckoning

They looked at this tech in 2002, 3 years before current gen systems, and found it had too many issues then.

The guy clearly doesn't understand gaming. He understands teenagers in bedrooms playing FPS's. Gaming is meant to be fun. And kinect sure as hell looks like fun. Accuracy and lag are software, not hardware issues. And the sheer enormity of possibilities with it are enticing, it's just down to developers to use it well.

He also doesn't seem to understand what the market wants at large. But then the playstation 3 has never been aimed at mass market, so there's no reason to try and aim the move that way, the ps3 is just too expensive to get into that niche.

Kinect has marketed itself perfectly. It's obviously fantastic for families, wives, etc etc, fitness and dancing games with great accuracy and feedback. And at the end of the day, you still have a HD console with a glut of "hardcore" (ridiculous phrase) games.


Shipped vs sold

Sony was claiming 1.5 million sales in Europe for the first month, and 1 million *shipped* in the US. M$ confirmed it's figures were sold to consumers, not shipped.

So I'd guess slightly lower numbers for move in the 1st month comparisons (especially since M$ is doing a 25 day report, the first month could be anything upto 400-500k more).

Would be nice if Sony gave us some straight out sales figures.

'Phantom Ray' robot warjet to ride atop NASA shuttle-carrier 747


Am I being a complete numpty?

Or is there not already a wealth of AI piloting programs contained within just about every flight/space combat sim, that already doesn't crash into the ground, flies evasively, follows bombing routes etc etc?

I realise you can't just take Tie Fighter and put it onto "Phantom Ray" but these games must be a good place to start? I mean the various militaries already use these games for pilot training, what's wrong with taking the next step?

Panasonic pitches monster 3D plasma TV at monster price

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Pointless surely?

Surely I could buy a 3d ready projector, capable of 1080 hd, screen, adaptors and glasses for about 1/10th of the price. And not have a 300kg monster tv sat immovable in my living room. (The american one I'm looking at achieves all that at under $1000 apparently, and has a picture size of upto 118 inches...).

There again, I agree, at these sizes, 1080 isn't enough (unless you sit a long way back, and lose the immersive feeling)

Missing piece completes Stuxnet jigsaw



I read an article a while ago positing the theory that it was the centrifuges that were targeted, and it brought up the issue that on the last check, more than 2/3rds of the centrifuges were out of action, and no explanation was given.

Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect


Different interface options.

From what I've read, EA sports has exactly that, you move over, then "press" your selection. Since all the reviewers seem to enjoy it more, it'l probably become a staple method.

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New stuff for sure.

When has anyone in this industry truly delivered what it promised? And most of what it promised is still actually doable with software updates (i.e. the tech, which is being reviewed, is not the limiter).

Nothing new to gamers... remind me just what other 3d cameras, with skeletal tracking ability is out there (ignoring the impressive acoustic abilities entirely!). Of course it's new!

I can see a hell of a lot of benefit to casual gamers, I consider myself one (I only play games casually, and for fun) and now I'm being offered something that looks seriously fun.

Overpriced is, of course, debatable. Whilst I'd have obviously liked it to be cheaper, I'm not balking too much at the price. It's brand new tech, lots of money has been spent on it, I have no problem with M$ making a profit on it (people seem to think they shouldn't...).

How is it broken? Surely that requires it to have been working differently (and better) at some point (which I don't believe it was). Of course, certain limitations (sitting down) were present, but then the *software* was upgraded, and removed the problem.

The current games are 1st generation, been developed in god knows how short a time, with a brand new hardware and input mechanism, and one that itself wasn't finished whilst they were making the games. They still look like a good laugh though.

The tech is impressive, and got the 90% rating. OK, there are limitations, outside of the tech (living space etc) that people may have issues with, but that can be said to be true of almost anything.


Because a controller gives all that...

Come on, your telling me that controller in your hand gives you the feedback required from sports games at the moment?

If you want full feedback, go outside and play the sport. If you're accepting the fact that you're playing a videogame, then you accept that you aren't actually playing the sport, and won't get 100% realistic feedback.


Downgraded and calibration

Considering the prototype (I understand prototypes are costly regardless) cost $30,000, I don't mind paying a bit less for lower quality/off the shelf internals.

Next up, one of the most positive reviews I've read about the kinect (especially in terms of lag, playing conditions, and general screw ups) had the tester calibrate the camera many times, in various lighting (night, day, lights on, lights off) etc etc, and found that this constantly improved his experience, and removed the issues that a lot of reviewers are claiming that kinect has with lighting conditions.


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