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Ancient Virus DNA Discovery Could Be a Breakthrough In How Diseases Are Treated

Alan Kennington Doesn't sound right to me (53 comments)

There's too much that sounds wrong to me in this story.

1,000 copies of one particular class of retroviruses, known as the human endogenous retrovirus HERV-H, is still in our genome, and while the HERV-H retrovirus DNA is dead and cannot replicate itself, it continues to send out messages telling the embryonic stem cell how to become other cells in the body, and this is what makes the cells pluripotent.

Maybe the 1000 copies could be correct, but that sounds a bit too high. But the last phrase and this is what makes the cells pluripotent sounds quite wrong. Does this mean that pluripotency didn't happen before this virus got into the genome? This would have to be at least 600 million years ago then. I note that the date in Australia is now 1 April 2014 already.

about 5 months ago
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Australian Teen Reports SQL Injection Vulnerability, Company Calls Police

Alan Kennington Re:Probably not a troll (287 comments)

Josh,

This is the real name behind the Swordfish.
Alan Kennington is user 33546.
Swordfish is user 86310.

I made up the name Swordfish for my second slashdot account in the late 1990s (approximately) because of the Marx Brothers movie Animal Feathers or something, where the password for the speak-easy was "SwordFish". One of the best Marx brothers sketches ever! A couple of years later, someone made a nerd movie called Swordfish, which really really annoyed me. They stole my name!!!!
AUK.

about 7 months ago
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Were Neanderthals Devoured By Humans?

Alan Kennington Re:The beginning of human language (502 comments)

Ah, yes. I've just recently rediscovered my old lost slashdot account from April 1999, and I've been alternating between this and my September 1999 slashdot account. Sorry about that.

more than 5 years ago
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Were Neanderthals Devoured By Humans?

Alan Kennington Re:Cave art was a method of teaching hunting (502 comments)

Whoops, I accidentally posted the parent item as "Anonymous Coward". Silly mistake!

I should also perhaps have mentioned that while H. sapiens was evolving in Africa, with rapidly changing environment between scarcity and plenty, it would have made sense during the droughts and famines for the strongest groups to annihilate the weaker groups. Otherwise overpopulation meant that everyone died. It was better to reduce population rapildly so that the survivors would have enough to eat.

Well, how would you know who to kill during a drought or famine? Here's where language becomes really invaluable. Language developed in Africa about 250,000 years ago probably. And language clearly distinguishes one group from another. Language is extremely useful for group hunting. But it's also makes foreign language speakers seem like animals, who are therefore "fair game" to kill and maybe eat. This process of breaking a species up into tribes according to languages was only possible in humans. The reason we only see tribalism and wars and genocide in humans is because only humans have language. Language is the prerequisite for tribalism, and tribalism is the prerequisite for genocide.

Therefore it was inevitable that the sophisticated language users from Africa with tribal programming would wipe out the Neanderthals.

more than 5 years ago
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Commercial Open-Source Software

Alan Kennington Software usage meters are the solution!? (187 comments)

The problem with the software economy is the lack of a software usage meter (SUM) process. This could keep account of the usage of each "piece" of software, and charge accordingly. Then this software transmits the info to a central place every day, week, or month. The user is charged, and the writers get royalties. There are electricity meters and phone meters. Why not for software? For more details, see software usage meters.

more than 15 years ago

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