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Does Journal Peer Review Miss Best and Brightest?

BarbaraHudson Re:Statistical studies (59 comments)

If you're going to complain about it being paywalled (and it is a valid complaint!)

How hard is it to reject any story that links to a paywalled site? It's literally one click away.

Hey, maybe we can suggest it to the editors by submitting a story titled "The One Click Trick to Better Stories"

1 hour ago

Uber Pushing For Patent On Surge Pricing

BarbaraHudson Re: not original (82 comments)

One of the cola companies wanted to implement a vending machine that would charge more when it was hot. The hotter it gets, the more you pay.

3 hours ago

Study: Red Light Cameras Don't Improve Safety

BarbaraHudson Re:Study financed by (265 comments)

To the author, re your tag-line. Are you boasting, or complaining, or justifying? My private life is mine

Others have also either been open about their transsexuality or outed. I was encouraged by their stories, so this is one way for me to pay it forward :-)

3 hours ago

What do successful blog posts look like?

BarbaraHudson Proper title should be ... (1 comments)

The proper title should be "Ever wonder what a spammer's blog post looks like?"

-1 binspam.

9 hours ago

Hot Springs At Yellowstone Changed Their Color Due To Tourist Activity

BarbaraHudson Lost in translation ... (40 comments)

tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus.

Translation: "quit peeing in the pools!"

11 hours ago

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

BarbaraHudson Re:Overpopulation and Length of Sentencing (212 comments)

Whoa, cowboy. You did not "forfeit every asset." Those assets weren't yours to begin with, since they were got with stolen money. If you had stolen a car, you couldn't say "well, I got caught and I forfeited my car." If you had fenced that car, and bought a big-screen TV, it's still not something that you rightfully own - it's the proceeds of crime.

Also, "The misconception that my criminality did not lead to immense knowledge is wrong." Sure, you had to be knowledgeable to defraud people out of millions. Too bad you couldn't do it legally - guess you didn't have enough knowledge or smarts on how to do it right. You set out from the beginning to defraud people, So, why should anyone trust your "immense knowledge", when others in all walks of life make it without resorting to multi-million-dollar frauds?

Thinking you can just sit on your arse and write a couple of books and that will solve the problem is like the frequent posters here who ask slashdot "I just got laid off and I hear there's big money in programming." You have less credibility in finance than an Ouija board.

I'm not trying to be mean or anything - but you, and people who thought like you - that they could "take lots of money out and we'll cover it with huge profits" - were part of the reason for the financial crisis. Time to turn to "sweat of the brow" work, even if it will never give you the lifestyle you used to have. Certainly your victims are in the same position because they trusted you.

11 hours ago

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

BarbaraHudson Re:Overpopulation and Length of Sentencing (212 comments)

The same accounting that brought us the banking crisis?

My guess is that he was given credit for time in custody, and he's now on parole after serving 1/2 of his sentence, so he hasn't "served a 5 year prison sentence."

And for those who wish to argue this is slightly off-topic, white collar crime has ruined his victims' lives. Surveillance of known white-collar criminals should be fairly easy, since many of them depend on the internet for at least a portion of their scams, and you know who you need to keep an eye on.

"Oh, but he needs to make a living."

Sure, but not in anything that can allow him to commit more white-collar crimes while out on parole. Let him pick up garbage, learn how to lay bricks, whatever.

12 hours ago

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals

BarbaraHudson Re:Overpopulation and Length of Sentencing (212 comments)


Despite Mr. Klatch’s success, his young age led to some reckless decisions. Mr. Klatch was indicted in 2011 by the federal government, and he subsequently accepted a guilty plea to four felony counts: Conspiracy to Defraud the United States, Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering. Mr. Klatch acknowledges that he engaged in deceptive marketing tactics, which led to some investor losses during the 2008-2010 financial crisis. However, he accepted responsibility for his actions, and successfully served a five-year federal prison sentence. Today, he is actively pursuing various avenues in order to make full restitution to his victims.


Kenyen Brown, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, is pleased to announce that Anthony J. Klatch, II, of Tampa, Florida and Sugarloaf Township, Pennsylvania, has pled guilty to one count each of conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. These convictions all stem from his involvement in a fraudulent investment scheme involving the TASK Capital Partners hedge fund. All the TASK fund investors were located in either the Mobile area or in Florida. Combined, they lost a total of $2.3 million. In addition to spending time in prison, Klatch will be required to forfeit assets associated with his fraudulent activities. As part of his plea agreement, Klatch also agreed to the following facts about his involvement:

In January 2009, Anthony J. Klatch, II and Timothy Sullivan created the TASK Capital Partners, LP hedge fund, with Klatch serving as the fund’s Senior Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer.

After creating TASK, Klatch, Sullivan, and others solicited individuals to invest in the fund. This was done through a variety of means, including, but not limited to, providing potential investors with investment prospectuses, which contained material misrepresentations and material misleading omissions. At least one potential investor received this prospectus via e-mail.

From April through October 2009, seven investors invested approximately $2.3 million in the TASK hedge fund. Along with the seven investors, Klatch and Sullivan each invested $1 in TASK. Once investors agreed to invest money in the TASK fund, the investors used interstate wires to transfer, or to authorize a transfer of, money from their accounts into accounts managed by TASK. Wire transfers, or the authorizations to transfer money, for three of the TASK investors originated in the Southern District of Alabama.

Between April 2009 and December 2009, Klatch and Sullivan managed the $2.3 million of investment capital in TASK. However, only about 60 percent of this amount was ever actually invested. This 60 percent was lost over the course of eight months through a series of investments. In December 2009 and January 2010, all TASK investors were told by Klatch, Sullivan, and others that their entire investment had been lost in a single bad trade.

The remaining 40 percent of money in TASK was used for non-investment related expenditures. This includes $180,592.45 which ended up in Klatch’s personal bank account. Before ending up in his personal account, this money was moved through different bank accounts, via a series of transactions, which Klatch knew were designed in whole or in part, conceal or disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, or control of the proceeds.

In addition to his involvement in the TASK scheme, Klatch admits that he was also involved in similar fraudulent investment schemes involving American Private Equities, LLC, ARM Capital Management, LLC, and Vigilant Capital Management, LLC. Furthermore, Klatch agrees that the total fraud amount associated with these other funds will be included as relevant conduct for sentencing purposes. The parties agree that the exact amount of the total fraud associated with the TASK, American Private Equities, ARM, and Vigilant funds will be determined at sentencing.

Hardly a youthful indiscretion, not when you're 28.

Klatch acknowledged that while his clients were losing their life savings, he was enjoying a lifestyle that included a house in his home state, a condominium in Tampa, Florida, an airplane, a $350,000 boat, a $280,000 Ferrari, a Land Rover, a pair of Aston Martin automobiles, a Rolex watch and other luxuries.

And now this: Why would ANYONE in their right mind buy books on finance written by you?

13 hours ago

The Magic of Pallets

BarbaraHudson Re:could still use improvement (233 comments)

Jesus Christ, the word is P A L L E T. It's the FOURTH FUCKING WORD IN THE HEADLINE. Are you not aware of copy + paste? It's been around for forty years!

I'm in Quebec, you insensitive clod :-)

Seriously though, I am, and the french word is palette. We kind of mix-n-match, which results in mistakes like this one.


Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

BarbaraHudson Re:Why bother? (396 comments)

Question #1: Is .NET up to the job?

The headline reads " Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?" And the answer is no.


Librarians: The Google Before Google

BarbaraHudson No answer for this? (91 comments)

"How do I hide a dead body?"


"Infrared Curtain" Brings Touchscreen Technology To Cheap Cars

BarbaraHudson Re:This is So old... (119 comments)

The '80s called - this sucked then, it still sucks now.


The Magic of Pallets

BarbaraHudson Re:could still use improvement (233 comments)

A "collapsible shipping container like palette" would be harder to load and unload than a palette. And how do you accommodate over-high items? Or stuff that is over-wide?


The Magic of Pallets

BarbaraHudson Re:4 Days? (233 comments)

I have hand loaded many of those standard sized shipping containers myself, with un-palleted materials, it takes two guys like 3-4 hours. And there is no reason that loading would be any faster than unloading.

You can unload 13,000 cases of unpalletized canned goods in four hours, the same amount of time it takes anyone else with pallets? That's pretty fucking amazing, I must say.

A boxcars-worth (86' - 13,000 cases) of anything won't fit into a standard shipping container (20') or even a double-length container (40').


The Magic of Pallets

BarbaraHudson Like many inventions ... (233 comments)

Like many inventions, it's obvious with hind-sight. But palettes also required improvements elsewhere, such as factory floors that were reasonably level and solid, capable of supporting stacked palettes, and eventually racking.


Ask Slashdot: Is an Open Source .NET Up To the Job?

BarbaraHudson Re:Why bother? (396 comments)

But why would you bother? It would be the same question if your code base were written in .NET. Why would you bother writing a client layer in Java if you could do it in .NET?

Why bother maintaining multiple languages when you don't have to?


What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

BarbaraHudson Re:Good news, bad news (596 comments)

But since this won't happen in one fell stroke, it won't work. At some point, those who own the robots call the shots. What can YOU offer them (the owners) in return when they don't need your particular labor, and it's no longer marketable because huge swaths are all scrambling for a few crumbs? You can't have an economy where everyone is doing the equivalent of "taking in everyone else's laundry".


Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic

BarbaraHudson And in retaliation .. (111 comments)

In retaliation, sharks have implemented an anti-aircraft campaign.




Researchers accidentally discover how to turn off skin aging gene

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a week ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "While exploring the effects of the protein-degrading enzyme Granzyme B on blood vessels during heart attacks, professor David Granville and other researchers at the University of British Columbia couldn’t help noticing that mice engineered to lack the enzyme had beautiful skin at the end of the experiment, while normal mice showed signs of age. The discovery pushed Granville’s research in an unexpected new direction.

The researchers built a mechanized rodent tanning salon and exposed mice engineered to lack the enzyme and normal mice to UV light three times a week for 20 weeks, enough to cause redness, but not to burn. At the end of the experiment, the engineered mice still had smooth, unblemished skin, while the normal mice were deeply wrinkled.

Granville is also continuing to examine the effects of Granzyme B on aneurysms, especially of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the human body. "When we inhibit Granzyme B in that model we can affect the collagen organization and strength of collagen in the aorta and prevent rupturing"."

Russia wants its own space station, threatens future of ISS

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a week ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The Globe and Mail reports that Russian space agency Roscosmos is considering building its own space station.

"I confirm we are considering such an option. This is a possible direction of development," RIA quoted Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko. He said such a space station could become a key part of Russian missions to the moon.

Moscow has cast doubt on the ISS’s long-term future as ties with Washington plummet over Ukraine. Washington wants to keep the $100-billion ISS in use until at least 2024, four years beyond the previous target. But a Russian government official said in May that Moscow would reject Washington’s request to prolong its operations."

Blade Runner 2 script done, Harrison Ford says "the best ever"

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "It's been more than 30 years, but finally the script for Blade Runner 2 is done. Original interview with Ridley Scott on MTV. Links for those who don't want to watch the interview.

If you're worried that the upcoming "Blade Runner" sequel won't measure up to the 1982 sci-fi cult classic, rest assured. Harrison Ford apparently thinks the script is "the best thing (he's) ever read."

Although Scott is debating whether or not he'll direct the sequel, it looks like Ford will most certainly be reprising his role as Rick Deckard.


Newcastle University study: Men are bigger idiots

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The study, which first appeared in the British Medical Journal, has attracted media attention .

For their analysis, the researchers reviewed all Darwin Award nominations from 1995 to 2014. They relied on confirmed accounts only. Overall, males made up 88.7% of Darwin Award winners over the study period, a “highly statistically significant” sex difference in idiotic risk-taking behaviour.

Of 332 nominations, men and women, typically "over-adventurous couples in compromising positions," shared 14. Of the 318 valid cases remaining, 282 awards were awarded to men, and just 36 to women. The finding, they conclude, supports their working hypothesis "that men are idiots and idiots do stupid things.""

Canadian Supreme Court OK's Police Searching Cell Phones

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about two weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Several news outlets are reporting that Canada's Supreme Court is okay with police searching suspects' cell phones.

Police searches of the cellphones in possession of suspects are constitutional as long as they relate directly to the arrests and police keep detailed notes, Canada's top court said today.

The Supreme Court of Canada split 4-3, with the minority arguing cellphones and personal computers are "an intensely personal and uniquely pervasive sphere" that needs clear protection.

The majority also found that passwords protecting phones don't carry much weight in assessing that person's expectation of privacy.

At least there are some limits — but even if the police overstep the boundaries, the evidence may still be admissible:

The court warned that allowing some narrow searches doesn't given police free rein to go through the phones of everyone they arrest.

"Police officers will not be justified in searching a cellphone or similar device incidental to every arrest," Cromwell wrote.

Further, allowing a narrow search "does not give the police a licence to rummage around in the device at will," he wrote.

Fearon was convicted of armed robbery in a 2009 Toronto jewelry heist. Despite finding the search of his phone wasn't reasonable and breached his rights, the Supreme Court said the search was done in good faith.

The court kept the evidence found in the phone — a photo of a gun and a draft text message referring to jewelry that said "We did it."

Excluding the evidence, the court found, would undermine the truth-seeking function of the justice system. The minority disagreed and would have excluded the evidence because it was unconstitutionally obtained.


Ubisoft apologises for Assassin's Creed

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "As reported here:

As an acknowledgement of the botched launch of Assassin's Creed Unity, Ubisoft has offered free additional content to everyone who purchased the title, cancelled the game's season pass and offered a free game to users who purchased the pass.

The anticipation for Assassin's Creed Unity was such that the myriad of bugs and technical issues experienced at launch felt like an even greater slap in the face for gamers.


Sexual fantasies? You're probably not as kinky as you think.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month and a half ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "A new study of over 1,500 adults (also reported here and here) between 18 and 77 has exposed some interesting stats:

The issue the researchers wanted to solve was this: Though there are numerous theories about deviant sexual fantasies, science had never described what was a typical fantasy versus what was "unusual."

Not surprisingly, the study confirms that men have more fantasies and describe them more vividly than women. The study also tells us that a significant proportion of women (30% to 60%) evoke themes associated with submission (e.g., being tied up, spanked, forced to have sex).

Importantly, unlike men, women in general clearly distinguish between fantasy and desire. Thus, many women who express more extreme fantasies of submission (e.g. domination by a stranger) specify that they never want these fantasies to come true. The majority of men, however, would love their fantasies to come true (e.g. threesomes).

As expected, the presence of one's significant other is considerably stronger in female fantasies than in male fantasies. In general, men in couples fantasize much more about extramarital relationships compared to women.

One of the most intriguing findings has to do with the significant number of unique male fantasies, for example, regarding shemales, anal sex among heterosexuals, and the idea of watching their partner have sex with another man. Evolutionary biological theories cannot explain these fantasies, which, among males, are typically desires.


Stem cells grown from patients' arm used to replace retina.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The Globe and Mail is reporting the success of a procedure to implant a replacement retina grown from cells from the patient's skin:

Transplant doctors are stepping gingerly into a new world, one month after a Japanese woman received the first-ever tissue transplant using stem cells that came from her own skin, not an embryo.

On Sept. 12, doctors in a Kobe hospital replaced the retina of a 70-year-old woman suffering from macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the developed world. The otherwise routine surgery was radical because scientists had grown the replacement retina in a petri dish, using skin scraped from the patient’s arm.

The Japanese woman is fine and her retinal implant remains in place. Researchers around the world are now hoping to test other stem-cell-derived tissues in therapy. Dr. Jeanne Loring from the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., expects to get approval within a few years to see whether neurons derived from stem cells can be used to treat Parkinson’s disease.


Blackberry reported to be in talks with Lenovo

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The CBC, the Financial Post, and The Toronto Sun are all reporting a possible sale of Blackberry to Lenovo. From the Sun:

BlackBerry shares rose more than 3% on Monday after a news website said Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group might offer to buy the Canadian technology company.

Rumours of a Lenovo bid for BlackBerry have swirled many times over the last two years. Senior Lenovo executives at different times have indicated an interest in BlackBerry as a means to strengthen their own handset business.

The speculation reached a crescendo in the fall of 2013, when BlackBerry was exploring strategic alternatives.

Sources familiar with the situation however, told Reuters last year that the Canadian government had strongly hinted to BlackBerry that any sale to Lenovo would not win the necessary regulatory approvals due to security concerns.

Analysts also have said any sale to Lenovo would face regulatory obstacles, but they have suggested that a sale of just BlackBerry's handset business and not its core network infrastructure might just pass muster with regulators.


Soda pop damages your cells' telomeres

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Those free soft drinks at your last start-up may come with a huge hidden price tag. The Toronto Sun reports that researchers at the University of California — San Francisco found study participants who drank pop daily had shorter telomeres — the protective units of DNA that cap the ends of chromosomes in cells — in white blood cells. Short telomeres have been associated with chronic aging diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

The researchers calculated daily consumption of a 20-ounce pop is associated with 4.6 years of additional biological aging. The effect on telomere length is comparable to that of smoking, they said.

"This finding held regardless of age, race, income and education level," researcher Elissa Epel said in a press release."

Birth control pills threaten fish stocks

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Experimental research has shown that small amounts of estrogen in waste water can lead to rapid large-scale changes in fish populations.

The lead researcher of a new study is calling for improvements to some of Canada's waste water treatment facilities after finding that introducing the birth control pill in waterways created a chain reaction in a lake ecosystem that nearly wiped out a freshwater fish.

"Right away, the male fish started to respond to the estrogen exposure by producing egg yolk proteins and shortly after that they started to develop eggs," she said in an interview from Saint John, N.B. "They were being feminized."

Kidd said shortly after introducing the estrogen, the number of fathead minnow crashed, reducing numbers to just one per cent of the population.

"It was really unexpected that they would react so quickly and so dramatically," she said. "The crash in the population was very evident and very dramatic and very rapid and related directly to the estrogen addition."

Kidd said that created a domino effect, causing the population of lake trout, the fathead minnow's main predator, to decline. She said the number of insects, the fathead minnow's main source of food, also started to increase.

The good news is that after removing the estrogen, the fathead minnow population recovered back to what it was before the research began.


Texas Ebola patient dies.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Thomas Duncan, the ebola patient being treated in Texas, has died.

Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the deadly virus on U.S. soil, was given the experimental medication brincidofovir. A hospital in Nebraska said it is using the same drug to treat an American journalist who was airlifted from Liberia and arrived Monday.

If he had survived, he could have faced criminal charges in both the US and Liberia,

“We are looking at whether he intentionally and knowingly exposed the public to the virus,” said Debbie Denmon, a spokesperson for the Dallas County prosecutor’s office.

“It’s the issue of holding someone accountable, that you can’t just get on an airplane and lie on a travel document and get to the United States and lie on a hospital document,” she said.

Neighbors in Liberia said that Duncan had been in direct contact with a woman, who later died of Ebola. Duncan reportedly helped carry the 19-year-old woman, who was convulsing, to a nearby hospital. They said it was not clear whether Duncan knew the woman had Ebola before he left Liberia.

According to officials, Duncan reported on an airport screening questionnaire that he had had no contact with an Ebola patient. Before he left Liberia, officials checked his temperature at the airport. He had no fever. Authorities in Liberia said last week that they plan to prosecute Duncan for lying on the questionnaire.

The question has been mooted in his case, but with people willing to try to do anything to get to a country where they have a better chance of getting treatment, we're going to see a lot more of this."


NASA asks Boeing, SpaceX to stop work on next-gen space taxi

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 3 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Due to a challenge by Sierra Nevada, NASA has asked the winners for the next earth-to-orbit launch vehicles to halt work, at least temporarily.

After rewarding Boeing and SpaceX with the contracts to build the spacecrafts NASA is now asking the companies to stop their work on the project.

The move comes after aerospace company Sierra Nevada filed a protest of the decision after losing out on the bid.

Sierra Nevada was competing against Boeing and SpaceX for a share of the $6.8 billion CCP contracts. The contracts will cover all phases of development as well as testing and operational flights. Each contract will cover a minimum of two flights and a maximum of four, with each agency required to have one test flight with a NASA representative on board.

On Sept. 16, NASA announced who the winners were of the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCAP) contracts. Sierra Nevada then filed a protest with the GAO on Sept. 26, and issued a statement saying the protest was asking for: “a further detailed review and evaluation of the submitted proposals and capabilities.”

According to NASA’s Public Affairs Office, this legal protest stops all work currently being done under these contracts. However, officials have not commented on whether-or-not the companies can continue working if they are using private funds.

Sierra Nevada's orbiter resembles a mini space shuttle. That alone (remember the problems with the tiles) should have been enough to disqualify them."


Gaining weight? Blame it on the fat person in the room.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 3 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Several sites are reporting on a University of Illinois study that shows that people eat more in the presence of a fat person.

The test involved a sample of 82 college coeds who were observed helping themselves to a simple pasta and salad meal. Each of the coeds were themselves of normal weight. The students first required to watch what they believed was a fat woman serving herself some of the food. The fat woman was actually an actress wearing a fat suit.

After observing the "corpulent" woman serve herself, the students were allowed to come forward and serve themselves pasta and salad. On average, the coeds each served themselves more pasta than the "fat" woman had selected while taking less salad than she did. When the same study was performed with the actress appearing sans the fat suit, researchers observed that students ended up eating more salad than pasta. The conclusion was simple: people may consume more unhealthy food and eat less healthy food when in the presence of an overweight person.

As anyone on a diet will tell you, a waste is a terrible thing to mind. And weight control is a lot more complex than the article makes it seem, though some will welcome the opportunity to blame someone else. BTW, since when is pasta unhealthy? We're omnivores, not rabbits."


First birth from human womb transplant

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 3 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The headline sounds like something from the tabloids — "Woman becomes first to give birth from transplanted womb — using one donated from her own mother". But it's from The National Post quoting The Lancet:

The breakthrough was reported by The Lancet medical journal on its website last night. It is thought the birth occurred within the last month after doctors transplanted wombs into several women who had a rare genetic condition that meant they were born without their own womb.

In January, one of the patients underwent in-vitro fertilization treatment that resulted in an embryo being transferred to her new womb. The donated womb came from the woman’s own mother, so the baby is also the first born to a woman using the same womb from which she emerged herself.

In wake of the Lancet article, the Swedish team refused to confirm a baby had been born saying: "As soon as there is a scientific peer-reviewed paper, we will comment on this. I will provide you with information as soon as we have some."

Eight of Dr. Brannstrom’s patients received their wombs from close relatives, reducing the risk of their bodies rejecting them.

There's nothing at The Lancet online yet."
Link to Original Source


Blackberry abandonning phone market.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 4 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "Now that Crackberries are more likely to be referred to as dingleberries, the CBC is reporting that Blackberry has made preparations to abandon the phone market. Blackberry has created Blackberry Technology Solutions

The unit ... includes QNX, the company that BlackBerry acquired and used to develop the operating system that became the platform for its new smartphones, and Certicom, a former independent Toronto-area company with advanced security software.

BTS will also include BlackBerry's Project Ion, which is an application platform focused on machine-to-machine Internet technology, Paratek antenna tuning technology and about 44,000 patents.

When you have less market share than Windows Phone, it's time to throw in the towel ... or as they say in the new "lets not admit we screwed up" venacular, "pivot to take advantage of new opportunities." Yet another tech company brought down by CEOs who rested to long on their laurels."


Remote "kill switch" coming for Android

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 4 months ago

BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "All you iOS users can start howling about how Android is now copying yet another feature — the ability to brick a stolen phone remotely. Remember, though, this is something the feds are looking to make mandatory for all phones, so while it's about time, it's not an attempt to match the iPhone feature-for-feature."
Link to Original Source



Another reason not to trust H.R. consultants

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  2 days ago

Another reason not to trust H.R. consultants - as if anyone needs one.

The lawyer representing an Orleans human resources consultant charged with attempted murder in an attack on a 101-year-old veteran says she will consider asking the court for a referral to a psychiatrist.

Police would not confirm the name of the man charged but in a news release said they had arrested a 59-year-old man on Friday and charged him with attempted murder, robbery with violence, forcible confinement, break and enter and two counts of using a credit card obtained by crime.

The arrest drew a commendation from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Police say a man broke into the New Edinburgh apartment of Ernest CÃté, retired colonel and Second World War veteran, on Thursday morning after pretending to be a City of Ottawa employee. The man tied up CÃté, placed a plastic bag over his head and robbed him. CÃté was able to free himself and call 911.

Is this a targeted hate crime?

On Remembrance Day, Bushâ(TM)s account tweeted an angry response to a Globe and Mail reporter who noted that people had shouted "thank-you" as a group of veterans marched by.

"Thank-you? For what???" the tweet said. When someone else responded that thanks were deserved for protecting the countryâ(TM)s freedoms, Bushâ(TM)s account replied, "What nonsense you spew. What freedoms? Spell them out! You believe the propaganda like a little Nazi."


What should I do with this catfisher?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  2 days ago

A catfisher must have come upon one of my email addresses, and wants to get friendly. Obviously, I don't!

The options are (a) ignore or (b) do some "Social Justice Trolling".

Anyone have any experience with a catfisher?


Looks like we're getting closer to the truth

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  4 days ago

Two interesting submissions from the firehose:

Woman game developer may have never "fled her home"

Previously unknown indie game developer Brianna Wu made international news, including on the green [slashdot.org], after claiming on October 11 that threats from the Gamergate movement had forced her to flee her home. As one report briefly mentioned, at that time Wu was on a planned trip to New York where she was scheduled to speak at Comic-Con. Later news interviews placed Wu at her home as they reported that she had fled from it, raising the question of whether she had ever been forced to flee her home at all.

As has come to be usual for any news on this subject, Medium administrators deleted an article that had provided additional evidence that Wu's secret media interview location was in fact her own home from which she had never fled."


FBI confirms open investigation into Gamergate

v3rgEz (125380) writes

"In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism â" even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics"

Analysis of photos on reddit (scroll partway down) call her claim to be in hiding as extremely doubtful.

The interesting stuff [reddit.com]

Here's something important I just found out.

DougieFFC in the comments below you noted how she was in the New York Comic Con the very weekend she was supposedly driven home. So I just looked it up, and I may have found more proof.

So she attended NYCC on October 12, the same weekend the claimed to have been driven from her home:


Now here's the interesting bit: she was scheduled to attend that NYCC panel since September 16:


In other words, she was "driven from her home" in the exact same weekend she already had scheduled to be out of town for months beforehand. And as the pictures show, she was back home on October 13, the very next day after the NYCC panel she attended.

Trust but verify and all, but we may have stumbled on a smoking gun, thanks to DougieFFC's comment.

I had always maintained that Wu was misleading people into believing that she was "forced from her home", that the "internet death threats" were not to be taken seriously, and that the police did NOT tell her to go into hiding. There's also the pics that show she was back home when she did the interview claiming to be on the run and not knowing when she'd be returning. So obviously she didn't take the threats seriously either - it was all hype. It will be interesting to see just what the FBI turns up about the source of those threats. Whether she didn't take them seriously because she was the source of them is now a fair question.

Why? My guess is she wanted to get into the public speaking gig scene, since she wasn't exactly making a hit as a game developer. Of course, after the HuffPost interview where she claimed to have both studied law and to have a background as a journalist, but got so many things wrong, it became painfully obvious that wasn't going to happen.


2014 - The year in review.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a week ago

Normally, people do this just before New Years, but I'm avoiding the Christmas rush.

It was not the best of times, it was not the worst of times ...

The good

Help with PTSD.The problems with my eyes, the battle with the developers, and everything else became too much a year ago. I saw that I was going down the same emotional rat-hole I had a couple of years before, and after one particularly bad nightmare of being assaulted in bed at knife-point, I was scared me enough to try one more time to get help dealing with my PTSD. I got lucky. Got a good psychiatrist who helped with medications, a psychological evaluation, and a therapist to help deal with the murder and the sexual assault.

Improvements in my eyes. The surgeons did a vitrectomy and retinal peel to restore vision in my left eye, which had gone completely blind from proliferative diabetic retinopathy. I can see out of it, but not read with it (too much distortion). The right eye no longer bleeds. This summer, I was able to start using a computer again once I learned how to ignore my left eye. Not enough to program but enough to surf on slashdot :-)

Standing up for trans rights

The building developers (see below) had publicly outed me as a transsexual at a public meeting hosted by the city, attended by many of my neighbors as well as others - between 100 and 200 people. Juicy gossip travels fast. Rather than give in to their attempt to get me to stop opposing them, I forced the guy in charge to publish this display ad in the main news section of the two largest newspapers with a combined daily circulation of something like 3/4 of a million.

I, Daniel Lefebre,
sincerely apologize to
Madame Barbara Hudson
if I have offended her
in any form of speech,
making reference to her
transsexuality during the
information assembly for the
residents of Anthony Street,
October 31st, 2013. I would
like to add that these words
were not approved by the
Cooperative. Thank you.

I believe very strongly in "pay it forward." This ad is part of that.

The bad

My battle to help my former neighbors fight the developer. I must have spent about 1,000 hours encouraging them, instructing them on their legal rights, monthly public and private meetings with the city council and mayor. Interviews on TV and the radio. Stories in the newspapers.

I went to court three times and used the courts to get the necessary documents. Anyone could successfully challenge the illegal evictions by just sitting on their butts and waiting for the new owner to try to give them the boot, then say "Show me da MONEY!"

This spring one tenant who took my advice got 6x times the money they had offered him and a delay, which kept him from ending up in the street in the middle of winter. Another won 5x the offered funds, plus the right to return to court if it's not sufficient. I did okay. I walked away with just under 7x the amount offered, after delaying work on my building by more than half a year.

So, with these initial successes, the 50 families facing the same situation this fall were almost unanimous in their declarations about how they would stand and fight. And then folded almost immediately, taking the lowball offers that didn't even meet the legal minimum. That was a tremendous disappointment.

Sickness in the family. This spring, while all this was going on, one of my sisters ended up in the hospital with a stroke, was released a month later, and half a week later was back in with another stroke and two fractured hips, and paralysis on one side.

I spent a lot of time at the hospital, doing a lot for her. Transferring her from the bed to the wheelchair and back because they way they were doing it with a porta-lift or two orderlies was time-consuming and hurt like hell, whereas I could do the transfer in less than 15 seconds with minimal pain. Encouraging her not to give up. Washing her down. Telling her the truth when everyone else was lying because they didn't want to hurt her. And getting hell from everyone in the family for telling her the truth. Escorting her to and from hospital appointments because, to put it simply, nobody else was available. Being there when she'd get the latest bad news from the doctors.

This continued into rehab for several months. She had worked in a "home", and knew how bad it could be. She feared it, and I told her I would do everything possible to help her avoid it. I left the development. Rented a larger place with enough room for her and her wheelchair. Of course, everyone else in the family opposed it, but nobody else could take her. In the end, without any help it was just not possible, so another failure.

The ugly

I had been warned that the depressions I had suffered would quite possibly come back, and it did. These back-to-back failures hit me harder than I thought they would. I described what it's like to be mentally ill here. And at the end of November, after almost 8 months without a panic attack, I had the worst one ever.

Last month I told my psychiatrist that I was determined to beat this, but I now realize that beating it is impossible - I'll have to learn to live with it, same as diabetes. Remind myself of my promise not to do anything stupid or take major decisions when I'm down in the dumps, and to reach out for help at the first signs. But at least I'm still around, and I expect to be so to write the 2015 review.

So, how was your year?


Logged-in user defends bestiality.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago

In the discussion thread under Doom 3DO Source Released, slashdot user ArmoredDragon attacks the submitter by referring to her as an "it" here

I was about to say #gamergate activists would love it too because of it being a female developer, but then I found out that it wasn't technically female.

Well, I (among others) couldn't let that pass ...

because of it being a female developer, but then I found out that it wasn't technically female.

Are you proud of yourself, referring to someone as an "it?"

He tries to weasel out of it here

"It" in this context is just referring to the this particular case, and not to a person, hence it's gender neutral, as English permits. I don't know whether or not English is your first language, but unlike many languages there's no requirement to specify gender in English, especially in gender neutral objects.

but another user calls him out on his excuse

No, you're wrong. You can use "it" to refer to an object, but not a person. It's just rude.

The first "it" is different as it was used like "it is raining". The repetition of "it" was clearly deliberate, to enable a dig at a trans-gendered person.

There's no point trying to weasel out of it, we get that you don't like the idea of trans-gender.

There's a lot more of that, but it gets stranger ...

I'm not going to go through the whole war, in 3 separate sub-threads ... just provide quotes from the sub-thread that gets into him defending bestiality

We don't really know that though. There could be a lot more like him but won't go through with it because *most* medical professionals will refuse to do these kinds of things, not only that but few of them will have familial support. Also (and I'm not equating this) there are probably a sizable number of people that are into bestiality as well, but don't say anything about it. If you do a google search for them, you'll find forums and such dedicated to it, but try asking any of them if they're out to anybody or open about it. Probably 99.99% of them will answer in the negative.

Similar to you however (and again, I need to stress that I'm not equating) they also seem to believe that what they're doing is good, natural, and indeed their "partners" enjoy it too so there's nothing wrong with it. (And I honestly don't know whether or not they enjoy it. If they do, and nobody is getting hurt, then I guess there's nothing wrong with it, and it wouldn't bother me if I knew anybody who did.) Gays and transexuals denounce them however just how they themselves have been denounced in the past.

My reply:

It's not just the LGBTt who denounce bestiality. Where's the informed consent of the animal? Your comparison is ludicrous.

He defends it because of he saw a BBC documentary

There was a BBC documentary about it a while back. I believe the consent (to them) came from the animals showing signs of enjoyment that they normally showed during sex with their own species. That and I think if the larger animals didn't want to participate, they certainly have the power to refuse.

My reply:

So if a muscular 12-year-old girl is lured into having sex with her teacher (someone in a position of authority, same as a human wrt an animal) and she actually enjoys it (in part because she's thinking that by following her teacher she's doing the right thing) that's okay because she "showed signs of enjoyment"? And that she should have run away instead because "she was certainly capable"?

These excuses have been used by paedophiles in court. They don't work because there was effectively no consent. That you don't see a problem with this is disturbing.


What is it like to be mentally ill?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about three weeks ago

I had already been thinking about writing this for the last couple of weeks when The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built An OS To Talk To God made the front page. There appears to be a sizable contingent who still believe that mental illness == crazy. 4% of the population will have a serious mental illness in the next 12 months. So let me share what it's like to be mentally ill.

Am I mentally ill? Sure. I'm being treated for both PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and MDD (Major Depressive Disorder).

Am I "crazy"? No. No "voices in my head", no "visions", no "loss of contact with reality"; in short, no psychosis.

About 3 years ago I went into a deeper and longer depression than ever before. I had reason to be depressed - my retinas were deteriorating, using a computer for 8 hours a day was out so I figured (rightly) that my career as a programmer was probably over, and I didn't have a clue as to what to do next. I wasn't able to stay awake more than a few hours at a time, and when I wasn't sleeping I found my thoughts turning more and more to suicide.

I dropped out. From slashdot. From the net. From friends. From family. My life boiled down to trying to think of any excuse, any reason, to have hope, and walking my dogs in the winter snow.

As the weeks turned into months, I had failed to convince myself that the pros of life outweighed the cons, so I picked a date - the month of May. And yes, I had a plan.

Spring came, and I think it was in April that my mood started to reverse itself. By May, my depression had mostly passed, and I resigned myself to slogging on and hoping for better times.

I was an idiot - I freely admit it. It never even occurred to me to go to an E.R. and ask to see a psychiatrist. I had managed to make it through all these years without professional help, that when I needed it most, it was off my radar.

Last December things started to fall apart again. My eyesight had temporarily deteriorated to the point that I was letting my dog mostly lead me around outdoors. I was having nightmares, anxiety and panic attacks, and I dared not show it because a couple of hundred people were depending on me to lead the fight against a property developer who had taken over our apartment buildings. They were trying to illegally kick half of us out by February 1st, do some renovations, jack up the rent, then repeat with the other buildings. So I'd go and encourage yet another family that I wouldn't let them down, then go home and cry.

One particular nightmare convinced me that it was imperative that I get to an E.R. sooner rather than later, or I'd end up down the same rabbit hole I had fallen into 2 years prior.

I got lucky. At first, I befuddled the psychiatrist with my story. I explained that yes, I was a transsexual, but that had nothing to do with the problem at hand, which was PTSD, which had been diagnosed at another hospital after a sexual assault, but it had started when I was in high school when another classmate killed his father.

I was talking so fast, and my story was so incredible, that (he later confided) he thought I was having a manic episode. Or on drugs. Or both. I gave him permission to check the other hospital's records to confirm the assault, and to call one of my sisters to confirm the murder. My urine sample came back negative, so we talked about what was happening in my life, and what I wanted from him.

That last bit was simple - "I don't want what happened before to happen again. I don't want to go into that black hole with no way out."

I left with a prescription for an antidepressant, and a follow-up two months hence - but if things got bad, "don't wait - call me."

We had to change antidepressants twice - the first one ... well, I've never done drugs, but waking up and being able to control my dvd player / tuner with my mind was a bit too much. The second one removed by ability to sense that I was going hypoglycemic - I went to rise from my kitchen chair and immediately passed out. Woke up just over an hour later on the tile floor with a solid concussion and bruises on both sides of my body.

The third time was a charm. The new prescription ended the anxiety, didn't interfere with me realizing that I had screwed up my insulin dosage, and the only side effect was that I often had to take a nap around lunch. I was now in a good place again.

It was about this time that I started therapy to help me how to deal with PTSD. Here too I was lucky. My therapist had previous experience dealing with transsexuals, as well as people with PTSD and rape victims, so when she had a chance to work with someone who combined all three she immediately volunteered.

By this point I was symptom-free, so I was able to focus on applying what she was teaching me - distorted thinking aka cognitive distortion, as well as helping me to finally understand that not only was there nothing I could have done to prevent the murder and that most people would have been killed, that crazy events don't have rational explanations and trying to find one will just drive you crazy, that trying to help someone else but failing doesn't make me a failure, and that those in my family who won't accept me by now, there's not much to do except accept them the way they are.

I also underwent a few sessions with a psychologist, giving him background info, answering his questions, taking different tests. The Rorschach was the most interesting. I told him how strange it was - I remembered the answers I had given as a kid, but I didn't see the same things at all (my previous answers were "dark").

So, everything was now under control, and I felt better than I had in ages. I was moving to a larger apartment in a better neighborhood, having fixed things up so that none of my former neighbors had to do ANYTHING except (1) refuse every offer, (2) wait for a summons, (3) go to court, and (4) PROFIT. We had the judgments, we had the law on our side, and I had delayed work on my side of the building by 6 months by the simple expedient of refusing to move out. Any further delay and the project was dead.

My therapist had warned me that because I have a history of depression, it would likely happen again. She was right. Late August and early September were denoted by three back-to-back negative events. The worst was that despite my best efforts, and moving into a larger place that had enough room for someone confined to a wheelchair, there was no way that I would be able to keep a close relative from having to go into palliative care instead.

I then set up the two laptops (one Windows 8.1, the other Fedora 19) and two 26" screens, and set about trying to get back into coding, since I have one eye that I can still read with. I was hoping against hope, but it turns out there's no way I can get "back into the zone" again. At least not while taking anti-depressants, and that's just too risky.

And in the end, almost every person who had agreed not to accept any offer from the developers folded without a fight. Sheeple really are sheeple. I feel sorry for them.

Three failures, back-to-back-to-back. I took the first one particularly hard. I started to get "down in the dumps". When it didn't clear up in a couple of weeks, I promised myself that if there was no change I would call my psychiatrist. Things started to improve, but it was like the calm before a storm. Within another week I was not able to stay awake more than 2-3 hours at a time, despite 10 or more hours of sleep. My mood darkened, thoughts of suicide came to seem more and more "reasonable". "Why should I continue if I'm always going to end up back here?" "There's no future." "The only person who benefited from all my hard volunteer work this past year was me. Couldn't even do that right." "My life sucks." "Being me sucks. What a waste."

A month in, I was counting the days to my next appointment with my psychiatrist, which was still a month away ... It was draining. My days had devolved into sleep, get up, walk the dogs, have breakfast, surf slashdot for a while, take a 3-4-hour "nap", walk the dogs, surf slashdot for a while, take another "nap", have supper, walk the dogs, go to bed, all while thoughts of killing myself were chasing me.

The last week of October things started getting better. I was still unable to stay awake for more than a few hours at a time, but by the first week of November, I was in a better place emotionally. No more thoughts of pulling the plug, and that's all that counted. I described it to my psychiatrist when I went for my appointment and he told me that I should have called when I first noticed things going downhill. I told him that I hadn't wanted to intrude, seeing as we had a scheduled visit coming up, but he assured me it wouldn't be an intrusion - he's there to help me, it's his job. I understand that, but I still feel a bit like I'm imposing on him.

The upshot is that my evening antidepressant dose is now doubled, and I now have a different one for the morning, which will hopefully get rid of the need to sleep during the day. So far, it's not working, but it's only been a week, and I see him in another 4 weeks to re-evaluate.

So, as promised, a look into what being mentally ill is like. It must seem strange, alien, to most of you, but probably not so much to the "walking wounded" out there who are suffering in silence because of all the stigma and prejudice. Not to mention sheer ignorance - I don't know how many times people (especially family members) have told me that I should "just pull myself out of it". Now THAT'S depressing :-)


Canada considering its own Bitcoin?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month ago CTV is reporting

The Bank of Canada says it's weighing the possible benefits of issuing electronic money.

Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins says the central bank is evaluating the merits of digital currencies like Bitcoin -- even as it monitors e-money's potential pitfalls.

In prepared remarks for her speech Thursday in Waterloo, Ont., Wilkins says people who use e-money need to be aware of the risks of putting their trust in a lightly regulated currency with limited or no user protection.

So who would you trust - Bitcoin or eCoins from the country with the soundest banking system in the world


Part of the first chapter ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Now that I've got 10 or 15 chapters written (sorry, can't be bothered counting) I'm going to follow up on Tuesday's JE, "50 words or less?"

AS you may recall, my premise is as follows:

  • 1. Get the reader's attention in 50 words or less (your opening paragraph) with one of your main points. It should pose enough questions that the reader wants to read the rest of the page;
  • 2. Make sure there's enough meat on the rest of the page to get them to want to finish off the first chapter;
  • 3. If they finish the first chapter, you've got a chance to get them to read the rest.

So here's the first couple of pages of the first chapter. Rather than setting up the scene, I throw the reader into it and only introduce the background facts where they need them. This means that the reader doesn't have to wade through (potentially) tons of stuff that has no immediate relevance before getting to the story proper.

[redacted] and I were standing in the kitchen; he behind his father, who was seated at the table eating a sandwich, and me in front of the table. [redacted] had a dish towel in his hands, and was making motions for me to âoedo itâ â" to kill his father.

I returned to the basement. [redacted] followed, we argued in hushed tones. He told me over and over that I had to hit his father on the back of the head with the pipe, and I kept refusing. I already knew what was in store for me if we went through with his plans â" that he would then kill me, claiming that his father had been the one to attack me, that he had intervened, and that his father and I had both been killed in the ensuing struggle.

I had seen [redacted]s' fantasies becoming more detailed for several months, but didn't have anyone I could turn to. Instead, when I returned from high school on December 6th, 6 weeks previous, I had typed up a description of how the double murder would take place, asking the police not to treat it as an accident. I put this letter in an envelope and hid it in my bedroom, figuring that if I were wrong, no harm done, but that if I were right and [redacted] really was evolving into a killer, he'd at least be caught in the end.

I stood in the kitchen not knowing what to do. I couldn't fight [redacted] â" he was a foot taller and 100 pounds heavier. The pipe I held behind my back would be useless against him. I couldn't run because I had nowhere to run to. The seconds were ticking away, his father sitting there oblivious to the fact that these were probably the last minutes of his life.

Why hadn't I approached my parents with any of this? I was already hiding a huge secret from them â" that I was a transsexual. It's why I stayed on the fringes in high school â" I had learned early in life that any leakage of my true nature was bait for bullies. My father? âoeWhy can't you act like other boys?â My mother? She had enough on her plate between work and taking care of my 5 younger sisters.

Christmas had come and gone and I was still alive. Not having any contact with [redacted] over the holidays, maybe his crisis had passed and I could return to just being a kid with a shameful secret.

So that's how I came to be standing in a dark basement in the middle of January, rapidly losing a face-to-face argument with a killer, struggling to change events that had already been cast in stone. And I was going to die.

We went back upstairs, where the scene repeated itself. [redacted] returned to his place at the kitchen sink behind his father, who was now reading the newspaper, a cup of tea nearby. I stood mute in what had become my place, watching [redacted] making motions behind his father's head for me to get on with it.

I don't know where I found the courage to turn around and go back downstairs again, but I did. I can still see the absolute rage in [redacted]s' face; any second he was going to take the dish towel, which was stretched between his two clenched fists, and throttle me. And still I resisted. But this had been going on for what seemed like hours, even though it had to be less, and when he ordered me back upstairs again I obeyed.

The tableau repeated itself for a third time. [redacted] was again behind his father, motioning at me, his face turning more red with every passing second. His father continued to be oblivious both to the drama taking place around him and his role in it; he sipped from his teacup.

It was time.

NOTES: The reader now knows, without having to first wade through any boring chapters about high school or family, the approximate age of the characters, as well as some of their issues and some of the dynamics between them. The reader also knows, or at least strongly suspects, that someone's going to be killed any second.

Sure, I could have taken 50 pages to set it up, but why bother when there's so much more to tell (this is, after all, only the beginning).

Criticism, as always, welcome. I have my asbestos undies on :-) And no, I'm not saying this is the only way to tell a story - just that it's the way that I think this story can best be told.


50 words or less?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about a month and a half ago

When you give a speech, you tell your audience what you're gonna tell them (intro), tell them (body), and then tell them what you told them (summary). Story-telling (and here I include both fiction and non-fiction) used to also take the same long process to set the reader up. Using one or more chapters to do a mis-en-scene is unforgivable today.

  • 1. Get the reader's attention in 50 words or less (your opening paragraph) with one of your main points. It should pose enough questions that the reader wants to read the rest of the page;
  • 2. Make sure there's enough meat on the rest of the page to get them to want to finish off the first chapter;
  • 3. If they finish the first chapter, you've got a chance to get them to read the rest.

Example first para (49 words):

[Redacted] and I were standing in the kitchen; he behind his father, who was seated at the table eating a sandwich, and me in front of the table. [Redacted] had a dish towel in his hands, and was making motions for me to "do it" - to kill his father.


The use of the first person makes the text more immediate. People more closely identify with first-person stories.
There's no time wasted in fleshing out the characters or setting up the scene. That can come later, as needed.
The reader is told within the first 50 words that something important / bad / serious is going on - and what that something is.
The dish towel? It plays a part.

So, what happens / happened next?


America's two-tiered justice as seen from north of the border

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago From the CBC - Americans are taught that everyone is equal before the law. Is that still the case?

The answer is a resounding No.

Americans all stand equal before the law, children are taught in this country, regardless of wealth or race or social status. Because this is a classless society.

Of course, children here are also told that a nocturnal fairy will exchange old teeth for cash.

The bitter truth, more obvious by the year, is that law enforcement in the U.S. is actually the enforcement of the class system itself.

If you are poor, you understand that. If you are wealthy, you probably understand it, too, but in another way altogether.

For a member of the American underclass, a minor brush with authorities can turn into the kind of Kafkaesque despair that most Americans associate with places like Egypt or Russia or Iran.

Violent class warfare backed by the state in what is supposed to be a classless society. And it's probably going to get worse as the middle class, after 40 years of not reaping the benefits of their increased productivity, become more disenfranchised and less invested in the future.


One of the good things about using a computer again ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago I get to notice the deterioration in my good eye sooner than I would otherwise. So I know what to mention at my next visit in December, since the distortion is similar to how the distortion started in my "bad" eye. Hopefully killing off some more blood vessels with a laser will be all that's needed, since there's no bleeding (though there is a new blind spot that is noticeable on occasion).

If it continues to degenerate noticeably, I'll bump up my appointment.


How We Celebrate Turkey Day in Kanuckistan

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving several weeks before the US. This is because historically our growing season is shorter, though this may change due to a combination of improved plant breeds and global warming.

While most people do the Sunday dinner thing, we end up doing it Monday. Why? Because of the annual "It's Thanksgiving weekend so I'm gonna renovate something in the house" that my brother-in-law does. So I spent Saturday and Sunday helping with a wall and laying new flooring in the basement. And am I sore! But that's okay, this evening's Thanksgiving supper will make up for it.

One of my nephews is bringing his new girlfriend, and since everyone who will be in attendance insists on continuing to misgender me and call my by my old name even after all these years, it'll be amusing. I'll just explain the situation, how they can't seem to accept it but that they're family, so what the heck, and watch what happens.

And I'm sure that they'll be delighted* to find out I'm publishing my bio later this year, where I'll write frankly about growing up hiding what I was, the first murder and the resulting ptsd, the sexual assault which made it worse, what it was like transitioning and all the other fun stuff.

And I'll probably hear "why can't you just be gay" AGAIN! Family - gotta love 'em.

(to the tune "This Old Man")
I'm stuck with them,
they're stuck with me,
we're a dysfunctional fa-mi-ly ...
but that's okay 'cuz life is never dull,
so I'm gonna go and eat until I'm full.

Normal is SO over-rated nowadays.

(.*for values of "delighted" equivalent to "If you do that I'm going to change my name so nobody knows we're related")


Revisiting old works ...

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

I was looking back at my old "Gender Education" series. Can't believe it will be NINE YEARS in December. Wow.

It was good for its' time, but it's dated, and isn't the approach I would take today. The world has changed, I have changed, yadda yadda yadda. So, I'm going to revisit the topic, inserting it into my workflow before my other stuff. Should make a good free ebook.


Saw this in the firehose

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

Just in case this doesn't make it to the front page, I'm throwing my two cents in here.

Should Twitter Suspend LGBT Engineer Accused Of Raping Her Wife?

Getting rape prosecuted has long provided its own set of deeply frustrating difficulties, from belligerent questioning of accusers to blatant refusal to investigate claims.

It is also not particularly surprisingâ"but still extremely upsettingâ"that the alleged rapist in this case has insinuated the accuser made her claim for monetary gains. Nor is it surprising that the employer of the accused has neither fired the alleged perpetrator nor denounced the trial.

What is surprising is that the alleged rapist is a well-regarded feminist and LGBT advocate, Dana McCallum, a transgender woman who was named by Business Insider as the fifth-most important LGBT person in the tech world. She is a senior engineer for Twitter, which stated "We don't comment on employeesâ(TM) personal mattersâ when McCallum was charged with five felonies earlier this years: three counts of spousal rape, one count of false imprisonment and one count of domestic violence.

McCallum ultimately pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two misdemeanors: one count of domestic violence with corporal injury to the spouse and one count of false imprisonment. The District Attorney's office insisted on a guilty plea when she attempted to enter no contest. From a legal standpoint, the case is resolved, but the aftershocks in the way we think about rape and assault will reverberate for a long time.

Or at least they should. Unfortunately, the relative silence around McCallumâ(TM)s trial, let alone the issue of woman-on-woman rape and sexual assault, is deafening and disturbing.

Dana McCallum, having pled guilty, should be demoted, not just suspended. This is someone who has demonstrated a serious lack of the people skills necessary to be a senior anything - as someone who needs a period of reflection, and then supervision. As Reuters reports, this is a senior engineer who now needs to take a year's worth of domestic violence classes.

Oct 7 (Reuters) - A senior Twitter engineer hailed as one of the most important gay or transgender people in the tech industry was sentenced on Tuesday to three years probation after pleading guilty to false imprisonment and domestic violence charges, San Francisco prosecutors said.

Dana Contreras, known professionally as Dana McCallum, was also ordered to attend 52 weeks of domestic violence classes and stay away from her wife, the victim in the case, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.

Under that agreement prosecutors agreed to drop more serious rape charges against Contreras, 33, who was arrested in January after the attack, said Max Szabo, a spokesman for the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

In addition to her job as an engineer for Twitter, Contreras, who is transgendered, has advocated for gay, women's and transgender rights.

In December of 2013, the tech website Business Insider ranked Contreras No. 5 on its list of the 31 most important LGBT people in tech, calling her "one of the geniuses behind Twitter."

[sarcasm] Way to go, genius. [/sarcasm]

The rule is simple - if you're prominent, you will be held to a higher standard, if only because your screw-ups will cause more damage. And that's fair. After all, you're reaping the benefits of prominence, so you should also expect the responsibilities that go with it. We don't see that happen often enough (just look at Toronto mayor Rob Ford), but we're starting to see it in, of all places, the world of sports, where domestic violence (players) and bigotry (owners) have consequences far beyond the courtroom.


It's official

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

I am now officially registered with the government as a publisher, with my own ISBN publishers pefix. That's pretty fast (1-day) service. Gotta love Kanuckistan :-)


How many career changes will you make in a lifetime?

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago Overview

The idea of "one career for a lifetime" is getting more and more outdated. It's not just that change is now the only constant when it comes to jobs, but also because people are living longer.

When 80% of the population worked on farms, and people died at an average age of 47, the idea of a "lifelong career" was taken for granted. Then again, so was "lifelong marriage", and "following in your folks footsteps."

That last option is impossible for many, because the jobs their parents had just don't exist any more - and this means that the "work culture" they were exposed to second-hand at home also is no longer a useful reference.

Think of how many jobs the post-WW2 technological revolution has created and now is killing off. TV repairmen? Not too many left. VCR and DVD repairs? Forget it. When's the last time your car needed an "electronic tune-up?" Or, thanks to long-life, self-lubricating materials, to have a "chassis lube?" Points changed? Physical newspapers and books? Even Saturday morning cartoons can't compete with "teh innert00bs."

My situation - at a crossroads

After a couple of years away from the keyboard because of damage to my retinas, I was really relieved to find that I could program again. But something has changed. Me. I found myself asking "Do I really want to get back into *that* rat-race again? The crappy hours, impossible demands, sleazy management, and over-the-top hype, the much ado about nothing that seems to accompany everything in the software industry today?"

After I transitioned, I got to see how women are not treated equally first-hand. We'd be sitting in meetings and end up just rolling our eyes as the men went off on yet another pissing contest, totally ignoring our input, even though in many cases I was the programmer who had to fix the problems their virtual circle jerks caused. And people wonder why women drop out of tech after an average of 10 years in the field???

I loved creating software, so it became my career. Do what you enjoy doing, right? But more and more, I cringe at the thought of the poison that accompanies today's "development culture" - the bogus deadlines, the "ship it then (never) fix it" mentality, the juvenile "pissing contests". I have my development environment all set up, and I find myself doing anything but ...

I've been toying with an idea ...

Every few years, someone comes along and tells me I should write a book. Sure, I can write, and I've got lots I've always wanted to write, but "life gets in the way." I was thinking of going back into programming to pay the bills, and do the writing on the side, but that's not the entrepreneurial spirit that got me into starting my first business, or into programming. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I can either devote all my energies to one or another - or do a crappy job at both by trying to do both. It's true, just as you can only serve one master, you can only follow your own muse.

And I really should follow my muse.

So, I did my research, did some more thinking, and at this time, for me, changing careers is the right thing to do. I've registered with the government as a publisher, and will be receiving my first batch of ISBNs in the next little while. As you can see from a previous post, I'm not going to engage in the more and more lame "I have an idea for a book/game/software - everybody give me money and I'll create it" crowdsourcing model. It's time to let the internet work for me for a bit, and not vice versa.


Publishing idea for slashdotters

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 2 months ago

Part of the problem with sites like Google Books is that there's no "it's free, unless you want to pay for it" option.

And putting two copies of the same book, one free and one with a price, will look like you're spamming the store.

However, after a bit of investigation, IF the publications have different ISBN numbers, and you add some extra content (I'm thinking cover art, photos, diagrams, etc., that don't result in the free edition being the book version of "crippleware"), it should meet Google's guidelines, because each ISBN number is treated as a separate entity, as opposed to books that don't have an ISBN.



Ben Bernanke tries to refinance for 3rd time in 5 years, turned down.

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 3 months ago

So Ben Bernanke tried to refinance his home for a 3rd time in 5 years, and got turned down. Guess what, Ben? You shouldn't be treating your home as an ATM.

Bernanke reportedly bought his home in 2004, slightly before he was named as America's top central banker and the man with more control over lending rates than anyone else on Earth.

He refinanced the home in 2009, then again in 2011. And based on his comments this week, it appears he was rejected by a bank when he tried to do so again recently.

"Just between the two of us," Bloomberg quoted him as telling the audience. âoeI recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so."

When the comment drew laughs, he added "Iâ(TM)m not making that up."

"I think itâ(TM)s entirely possible" that lenders "may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions," he said.

I guess the 1%ers still think that absolutely none of the rules don't apply to them, and that banks should continue to make risky loans to them, just because of who they are.


Coupon sites dealfind, teambuy bankrupt, bought by Ncrowd

BarbaraHudson BarbaraHudson writes  |  about 3 months ago Less than 2 weeks ago, the company that owns discount coupon sites dealfind.com and teambuy.ca filed for bankruptcy. People who had bought discount coupons aren't getting refunds from either teambuy or the individual merchants (who are also refusing to honor the coupons).

Deal-lovers who bought everything from tooth whitening treatments to digital cameras on DealFind.com and TeamBuy.ca are angry about getting burned along with some merchants after the cut-rate online coupon sitesâ(TM) insolvency filing in Canada.

One of Canadaâ(TM)s largest coupon websites has filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving customers stranded. Couch Commerce Inc., the parent company of Teambuy.ca and Dealfind.com, went into financial restructuring in Canada under the Companiesâ(TM) Creditors Arrangement Act on Aug. 29.

This month, it sent form-letter emails to customers, saying they could not get refunds related to any purchases made on or before that date. Nor could they use any credits issued on or before that date.

The new acquirer, ncrowd, currently has an empty FAQ page, so former dealfind and teambuy customers need to rely on blogs and the press for information.

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