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OH Senate Passes Bill Banning Human-Animal Hybrids

El Gigante de Justic Re:Laws against science-fiction are stupid. (197 comments)

The actual bill can be found here:

From the looks of it, they bill is pretty specific in discussing hybrid embryos, and it specifically allows "(1) Research involving the use of transgenic animal models containing human genes;" and "(2) Xenotransplantation of human organs, tissues, or cells into recipient animals, including animals at any stage of development prior to birth, so long as the xenotransplantation does not violate a prohibition in division (B) of this section;"
Any violation of the law is only a misdemeanor, so its meant more to be symbolic then to prevent any ongoing activity.

While grafting and transgenics are fairly common now, I don't think there have been any official reports yet of anyone trying to create a true human/animal hybrid. The biggest hurdle to true hybrids might be the number of chromosomes - while humans have 46, most other species do not. even gorillas and chimpanzees have 48. Source:

more than 4 years ago

How To Behave At a Software Company?

El Gigante de Justic Re:Don't forget to get along with QA (842 comments)

I didn't say anything about the developer writing tests in English, I'm just saying that you need to be clear in what was changed. If the change could be effectively covered with 100 testcases, but your description of the fix is so vague that QA ends up testing 1000 variations, that's a lot of time that could have been better spent on other projects. At my company, the changes in every development log need to be clearly documented for 3 reasons: 1) Future reference, so if that code isn't touched again for years, people can figure out how its supposed to work without reading the code. 2) So QA knows what to test (if there are no instructions, QA will mark it DOA) and 3) So the documentation team can properly document the changes.

  The QA at your company may simply be grunts, but at some companies (like mine) they are just as much of functionality experts as the developers, often more so. Our testing is done manually (no automated tool we've tried has come close to doing it as well without taking 10 times longer to do). Also, I'm working in HIT, so in some areas bugs really aren't acceptable at any level, even if obscure, if it could result in someone being physically harmed. Our developers do testing as part of their process, and all new development is also receives at least two passes of code review, but plenty of bugs still get through to QA because there are potentially thousands of variations.

  Now the OP didn't state what sort of company he's working at, but depending on the type of software it is, and their internal processes, being on QAs good side can be important.

more than 4 years ago

How To Behave At a Software Company?

El Gigante de Justic Don't forget to get along with QA (842 comments)

As a Quality Assurance employee at a software company I can tell you that at least in my experience, they will go to QA to ask which developers are doing good development projects. This isn't based so much on the number of bugs in projects that go to QA (although anything that's DOA or has obvious major issues does reflect negatively), but more importantly, make sure to have good documentation for what to test with, necessary setup steps, and any special variations you know of or spotted in development. If QA comes to you with questions about what they're testing, reply to them within a reasonable amount of time.

      The worst projects that get to me in QA usually have one of the following problems:
1) Come into QA before they're actually ready to go due to an "In QA" deadline. This does depend on company policy but I'd rather have it just stay under development for an extra day or two so it doesn't prevent testing in other related areas if its totally broken.
2) Poor documentation (or sometimes none), or worse, documentation that's completely wrong (ex: it has instructions to test workflow X, but it should actually be workflow Y)
3) Instructions that are too general or vague, like "Test everything in {functional area A}". If it was a general change like a library function change, tell QA the various code paths that will hit that function so they don't waste time on related areas that will never touch your code change.

more than 4 years ago

Will Game Cartridges Make a Comeback?

El Gigante de Justic Re:Depends (277 comments)

I'd be surprised if Microsoft would be willing to drop any Blu-ray or DVD playback support from the next gen X-Box. Even if games were in a proprietary format, someone would find a workaround.

Dreamcast used a proprietary 1.2 GB Disc format, but piracy was still pretty rampant because the system also read CDs (for music playback). Many games didn't fill the full 1.2 GB so they were easily ported to CD-ROM. Other games were made to fit on CD-Rom by dedicated pirates who would compress video or audio files to fit them on the disc.

more than 4 years ago

Son Sues Mother Over Facebook Posts

El Gigante de Justic Re:Alternatives (428 comments)

The article is lacking detail on the exact actions taken, but he is accusing her of logging into his account and posting as him and changing his password, not just posting things to his wall or comments to his status. If she did use his log-in, then he actually has a case.

more than 4 years ago

9 MA Cyberbullies Indicted For Causing Suicide

El Gigante de Justic Re:Cyberbullies? (709 comments)

I believe she was a Freshman; that's generally not 16 year old territory.

more than 4 years ago

Medical Professionals Aren't Leaping For E-Medicine

El Gigante de Justic Google Health = PHR NOT EMR (98 comments)

It should be pointed out that Google Health is not an Electronic Medical Record, it is an online Personal Health Record, with patient entered data. It may be handy in some cases, such as if you travel a lot and want a common place to keep your allergies and medications, and some basic information may be able to interface with existing EMR systems on a read only basis, but it is in no way equivalent to an Electronic Medical Record.

more than 4 years ago

Passage of Time Solves PS3 Glitch

El Gigante de Justic Re:Sony Timer (147 comments)

So it sounds like they're running on epoch time where Jan 1, 2000 = 1, and the bug forced the time/date value to 0 or null. Ultimately it still sounds like that version of the hardware is trying to treat all even years as leap years and the bug handling code is not very graceful about it.

more than 4 years ago

Passage of Time Solves PS3 Glitch

El Gigante de Justic Re:Sony Timer (147 comments)

The problems seemed to specifically affect the PSN system along with the older PS3s (I don't have one so I haven't followed the issue that much). I'm going to guess that the date and time is sent from PSN as a single integer in seconds from an epoch time, likely Unix/POSIX time counting from Jan 1, 1970, which is then used by the hardware to figure out the actual date/time for talking to the network, and not your system entered "local" time.
    The system must have been translating the epoch time it to February 29th, which was probably causing an error in some other date checking code.

What I'd be curious to know is if the affected systems now think its March 1 and not March 2.

more than 4 years ago

Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly

El Gigante de Justic Re:Not news (819 comments)

I agree and don't appreciate being treated as a potential criminal by every company selling software or other media either. My main point was that the blog writer (from the summary at least) seemed completely shocked by this idea when it's nothing new.

Personally, in most cases, I think that DRM actually increases the amount of piracy, or at least the use of DRM cracking tools, because even the consumers who pay for the product don't want to be tied down under the DRM restrictions, especially ones like SecurRom.

    Ultimately it will be impossible to tell the impact of this until its implemented. If a lot of false positives start getting reported, then the question will be how effectively Microsoft resolved those issues and validates those copies as legit.

more than 4 years ago

Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly

El Gigante de Justic Not news (819 comments)

I don't see how this is in any way news or shocking. WAT = rebranded WGA.

The only major question I would have, is if it's only calling back every 90 days, how many false positives will it get from people doing major hardware upgrades over that three month span. (I'm assuming it compares the system specs with the license key as WGA did to determine if it was actually the same computer or not)

And at least they just downgrade you - they could instead just shut your system down for a suspected license violation and prevent any log-ins.

more than 4 years ago

Routine DNA Tests For Newborns Mean Looming Privacy Problems

El Gigante de Justic Re:Uninsurable (268 comments)

With no interest I would have $35,000 right now minus 7 routine check ups @ a couple hundred dollars each cash. If I invested that $5000 a year in a savings account that earns 2% interest starting now, when I am 50 I will have $172,009. I am basically gambling that I will require over $172,000 worth of medical care by the time I am 50. Even though the chances of that being the case are very small.

1)Good luck finding a savings account that actually pays out 2% interest (yes I know there are a few, but they keep dropping rates as long as the fed stays at 0-0.25%. Mine has dropped from 3% to 1.2% in the last 18 months). CDs aren't much better unless you're willing to lock it up for a long time. 401k is the best, but the money is not then available if you do need it for medical expenses.

2)You'd be amazed at how quickly you can rack up $172,000 in medical expenses and the chances are probably higher than you think. Cost per day in a hospital is anywhere from $1000-$3500, depending on level of care. If you get in an auto-accident or have some other condition requiring emergency surgery, that's very expensive. Plus, if you're uninsured, you get charged more or you may be denied non-emergent care unless you can prove the ability to self-pay. Chemo treatments can easily be $5000 per treatment or more, and a typical course would be 6 weeks of treatment 3 times a week.
      Also take into account any lost wages due to a serious injury or medical condition leading to hospitalization and possibly long recovery.

3)You also need to take into account costs of what would happen if you had a large medical expense now, not covered by insurance. The interest rate on any debts accrued because of it would most certainly be greater than the 2% you would gain in a savings account.

more than 4 years ago

Routine DNA Tests For Newborns Mean Looming Privacy Problems

El Gigante de Justic Re:TFA is wrong (268 comments)

I don't understand how this woman, who is a registered nurse, can claim that she didn't know that babies were tested at birth for several genetic diseases, so that they can be treated before it's too late and their lives saved. Didn't she learn that in nursing school?

  I thought exactly the same thing when I read this. Plus, as I recall from my daughter's birth a couple of years ago, they tell you that blood tests and genetic tests will be done - it's included in the literature they give you while you're pregnant, it might be mentioned in your birthing class, and they mention it to you when they come to take the blood samples, if you're there. What might happen is that there is so much material given to you before the birth and you're so exhausted when they come to take the sample, most people probably never read it or remember being told.

    The only part I can think of that most people including a nurse wouldn't realize is what happens to the samples after the fact.

more than 4 years ago

The Upside of the NASA Budget

El Gigante de Justic Re:A breath of fresh air (283 comments)

Actually, if we should blame anyone or anything its the Russians (indirectly) and the end of the Cold War. Once we got to the moon and the race was over, the Russians didn't see any point in trying for it, and without a need to "beat the communists", Congress just wasn't going to fund it anymore.

    I think we will ultimately have to go back to the moon as a practice area for building colonies elsewhere in space, but as profit takes a higher priority over knowledge and adventure, it will probably be many decades before we do so; unless we find a gold mine or something up there.

more than 4 years ago

Heat Engines Shrunk By Seven Orders of Magnitude

El Gigante de Justic Re:Reeedeeeculous (168 comments)

To be fair, its a poorly written summary that can easily cause anyone who doesn't have a background in this area of engineering to assume it's only talking about internal combustion engines because of the first two to three sentence:

"The vast majority of motors that power our planes, trains, and automobiles are heat engines. They rely on the rapid expansion of gas as it heats up to generate movement. But attempts to shrink them by any significant amount have mostly ended in failure."

This could be interpreted by many as "Heat engines, like those we use to power vehicles, rely on the rapid expansion of gas as it heats to generate movement, and engineers have been unable to shrink them by any significant amount". The summary could have been much clearer by defining a heat engine has any device that converts heat to mechanical work, and stated that internal combustion engines are one type of heat engine, but there are other types as well.
    Even when I first read it, I was thinking "How'd they even get an internal combustion engine down to 10^7 cubic micrometers?". It would have been helpful if it described that heat engine as well, since it's obviously not internal combustion.

more than 4 years ago

OSU President Cans Anthrax Vaccine Research On Primates

El Gigante de Justic It's apparently not what you think it is (230 comments)

There already is a vaccine for at least some strains of anthrax, first developed by Pasteur in 1881, which is why it's rare in domestic animals in modern times. Soldiers being deployed to areas where bioweapons attacks are possible are also vaccinated against it.

It sounds like in this particular case they were trying to develop a vaccine that would be especially for use in humans (hence primary research subjects), and they were probably targeting some of the particularly virulent strains that were developed in bioweapons programs from World War II through Vietnam.

more than 4 years ago

EPIC Files FTC Complaint Over Facebook's New Privacy Policy

El Gigante de Justic Re:Decisions, decisions. (103 comments)

The point is that you CAN'T change your privacy settings back to how they were.
For example, you can no longer have your Profile Pic show up for friends only, and you can't hide your friends list from non-friends anymore either, along with a few other items on the profile page.

Adding new privacy settings is good - eliminating existing privacy features is not.

more than 4 years ago

No More Fair-Price Refund For Declining XP EULA

El Gigante de Justic Re:Old OS (339 comments)

Just to play the Devil's advocate here, two counter points:

1) Anyone who has purchased or installed any software, including freeware, in the last 15 or so years would know that almost every piece of software sold today has an EULA, so you can't really cry foul anymore when you get an EULA at install or initialization. Most EULAs are available online prior to purchase so there's no excuse for not reading it in advance if you're concerned the terms of the EULA would cause you to stop installation after purchase.

2) 99.5% of people wouldn't bother to ask about or read the EULA in store, just like most consumers don't bother to read them now. They just scroll through, if required, maybe spend 5 second skimming through the legalese, and click Accept. I'd guess that even most slashdotters don't throughly read every EULA, they probably skim for one or two particular points and accept.
      In general, the only time an EULA is actually read thoroughly is when it goes through a corporate legal department for approval.

more than 4 years ago

Easing the Job of Family Tech Support?

El Gigante de Justic Re:Buy them a Mac - with a caveat (932 comments)

One caveat I would add to this, although it might not be an issue as you're still in the same house. If you're not a Mac user yourself, it can be difficult to help users find settings to make changes when you aren't there.

  My wife has a Mac notebook, and while we eventually got it working, I had problems helping her setup her wireless to a non-broadcasting router with encryption because Mac network settings are labelled differently and configured differently from Windows network settings. I know I could have figured it out myself in person much more quickly, but it was much harder remotely than helping with Windows configuration would have been.

more than 4 years ago

Review: Dragon Age: Origins

El Gigante de Justic Re:No coop or multiplayer? (452 comments)

In hack-and-slash dungeon crawlers like the Diablo series or Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance multiplayer can work because those games area really action games with an RPG shell put around them, and the story related elements are minimal. In Neverwinter Nights it worked because people could create custom servers with persistent worlds and it wasn't a party based game. Multiplayer was designed into the game from the beginning because they designed it around the creation of custom mods.

      For story driven RPGs like this, multiplayer just doesn't really work, especially if its something with over 100+ hours of gameplay and hours of spoken dialogue. Does each player have to talk to every NPC separately, or do both have to wait for all of the others to say its ok to skip the dialogue? What about areas that require the party be kept together to exit? What if one of your party member players is unavailable for a while - then you can't do anything.

  Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale had multi-player, if you can call it that, and it was pretty lame. Basically it let you create more than one custom character (in the case of BG), and then each player in the session could be assigned exclusive control of certain PCs and NPCs - I don't recall if it still let you pause or not in combat. The only real advantage of it in BG, is that you could use "multi-player" to make a completely custom party for a single player game instead of using the NPCs.

more than 4 years ago


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