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The Dutch Repair Cafe Versus the Throwaway Society

Gaffod Re:Doesn't even need to have anything wrong at all (368 comments)

>I have an old laptop sitting around that I have run some clean up tools on and I'm still not quite ready to put it up on Freecycle.

I don't understand this. Just run DBAN or some other safe-erase program. Are you afraid of magic forensics which can recover overwritten data?

more than 2 years ago
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Star Wars Landspeeders Are Here

Gaffod More like cosplay for your car (112 comments)

So he put a funny looking chassis on a car, basically. Why do we care? Is Slashdot gonna cover every boring cosplay forum post as well now?

about 3 years ago
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Scientists Put an End To Smelly Socks

Gaffod Better living through cell phones (238 comments)

Am I the only one who has grown cautious of putting electronics on my ear, in close contact, for many hours of the day? We'll either end up with a super AI or WiFi headaches...

about 3 years ago
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Geocaching Shuts Down British Town

Gaffod Re:It's all about goals (282 comments)

No. That tired old "remark" is not clever either. The aim of terrorism is to intimidate the government of a country into giving concessions, not to give nosy, bored coffee shop employees an excuse to make a fuss.

about 3 years ago
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Intel Wants To Charge $50 To Unlock Your CPU's Full Capabilities

Gaffod Re:I hope this doesn't fly ... (832 comments)

This is a case of you buying a Core i5 and Intel saying "here is exactly what you paid for, and by the way, if you ever decide you should have bought a Core i7 instead, we can magically teleport one into your computer for just $50".

Well if they can afford selling me an i7 for the price of an i5, even though I might never unlock, why don't they just go ahead and do so? I don't understand, is there a reason why processor must cost a certain amount of money, even if all the expenses going into making them are less?

If indeed the company runs out of low end processors, and starts selling crippled high end ones, why bother crippling them? Just sell the high end unit for the low end units price, hell call it a sale or limited time offer or whatever. Won't more people buy an i7 than an i5 if they were the same price? It's not like they're stuck with it later either, I don't think Intel is seriously unable to say, "sorry guys, our stocks are properly balanced now, back to the usual prices".

more than 3 years ago
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Researchers Say Happiness Costs $75K

Gaffod Re:This is painfully obvious. (772 comments)

I am talking about the security of your assets, not your person. Managing a large sum of money takes effort (and usually money). You can't just stuff a bunch of millions under a mattress. You could buy gold, and even then it is not a perfectly safe investment, but that won't maximize your income. Then there's also figuring out where to keep that gold.

more than 3 years ago
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Researchers Say Happiness Costs $75K

Gaffod Re:This is painfully obvious. (772 comments)

You are assuming income and/or funds are linearly related to security under some definition of it. This is not necessarily true. It is correct that having more money gives you more ability to deal with potential threats to your security. In this way increasing money leads to increasing security. However, greater funds tend to attract greater threats and take more substantial effort to protect and maintain. This is why rich people do not lead completely stress free lives. There are more stressful and less stressful ways to make money, but I would suspect that if risk is proportional to income then it is impossible to eliminate some degree of stress from the act of increasing income.

It is possible that the particulars of the relations are such that up to a point, security benefits from extra money outweigh the cost incurred by having to manage those additional assets, after which increasing your money does not increase your happiness (limit of the difference is +0) or decreases it (e.g. happiness goes up with x^2 and stress cost with x^3). If so, it is possible that this point is $75k.

That suggests the question of boundless economical growth is at all possible, for example with corporations. Although huge, profitable corporations do exist, I think it is true that ultimately any market is finite- same as and because of the people on the planet, and the resources on it are finite, hence there is a diminishing returns acting on the agent. But is it possible that the diminishing returns become comprised largely of the security expenditures? Or, what about countries? Is there a fundamental limit to how large a state can becomes before it fails to maintain its own integrity, leading to eventual collapse?

more than 3 years ago
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Ancient Nubians Drank Antibiotic-Laced Beer

Gaffod Re:Not really, no (249 comments)

You drop a pathogen into a solution that's 2%-8% alcohol with a PH around 4-5 that's had most of its sugars and oxygen consumed and tell me how it does.

First off, many bacteria produce the ethanol themselves. For ethanol to be sterilizing, it must be 60-80%, at which point it chemically degrades cellular envelopes of cells.

Second, oxygen is a non-issue. Anaerobic respiration is the default, not exception with prokaryotes.

As for how the "pathogen" will fare, it will see the low pH and lack of abundant energy sources, and form an endospore. Once it is drank, the pathogens will happily resume their life cycle and multiply inside your body.

more than 3 years ago
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Court Rules Against Stem Cell Policy

Gaffod Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (388 comments)

It's as capable of developing into an independent organization as a liver cell is without the proper environment.

And there is no environment which allows a liver cell to develop into an organism. That is why the bill does not cover liver cells. Getting it yet?

more than 3 years ago
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Court Rules Against Stem Cell Policy

Gaffod Re:Federal funds used to destroy embryos... (388 comments)

A hESC is capable of developing into an independent organism, and in its natural environment does so. A liver cell does not.

more than 3 years ago
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NIH Orders Halt To Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Gaffod Re:Sickening (593 comments)

fertilization seems to me like the most obvious point to declare a human life as started without getting into judgement calls and gray areas.

Except then abortion really does become murder, and smoking near a pregnant woman (and chances are you can't even tell, if the "human life" literally has few enough cells to count on a hand) becomes attempted homicide. Of course, you are probably so far gone that you are absolutely fine with that.

more than 3 years ago
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It's Official — AMD Will Retire the ATI Brand

Gaffod Re:Business vs. gaming PCs (324 comments)

Oh sure! Now Office workers will pay too much for power they don't use, and gamers will have to pay even more absurd prices if they want anything more than crippled PCs.

On the plus side, though, this might improve laptops.

more than 3 years ago
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What 'IT' Stuff Should We Teach Ninth-Graders?

Gaffod Re:Teach 'em the basics (462 comments)

You could expand this to include concepts and the more obscure (but important) terms regarding computers. There is no point teaching what a CPU does and the rough differences between single and multi-core: That is trivial for a motivated, observant person to learn on their own; they have access to the thing and can play around with it all they want. What they don't have access is the inner workings of large networks (both corporate and the Internet itself) as well as the history of computing.

Again, it is irrelevant whether they have a good grasp of history at the end of it, and there is probably little reason to go for that. Just 9th grade is a short time and students have other classes to worry about. What matters is giving them exposure to the history, so that they hear about things they probably wouldn't have heard of reading on their own. The key is to have students recognize that there is a long history of the field which is, for lack of a better term, "history" which can tell us much about why things in computing today are the way they are.

With regard to the programming language, I'd suggest the same strategy. Explain the basics, don't go in details. Really teaching a language is a 2-3 year long dedicated course for undergrads, you would underwhelm ninth-graders if you tried to teach everything.

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint Rant Costs Colonel His Job

Gaffod Re:see power point can cost you your job (194 comments)

A relation map does not simply duplicate a checklist's functionality. I do not think you have been able to follow the discussion.

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint Rant Costs Colonel His Job

Gaffod Re:see power point can cost you your job (194 comments)

Some nodes are too abstract for practical mission planning use, as I have said splitting abstract and practical elements into separate graphs for theorizing and planning would be better.

I do not think its best use is to illustrate the simple point. I would expect that colonels are able to believe their general when he says "the situation is complicated", rather than demanding evidence like wisecracking schoolchildren.

Note how a different kind of arrow is used to show delayed effect. That kind of detail is pointless for a 10-second snapshot.

more than 3 years ago
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PowerPoint Rant Costs Colonel His Job

Gaffod Re:see power point can cost you your job (194 comments)

I do not understand this whole thing. The slide touted in your link as the epitome of what is wrong with PowerPoint slides (what does a complicated diagram have to do with presentations?) looks very useful. It illustrates many relationships between the many elements involved, and illustrates how ANSF, for example, has no effect on the economy or infrastructure or vice versa.

Admittedly there is too much information in it, it should be split in 2 for showing institution interactions and concepts, and strength of relation should be shown by line thickness.

I routinely deal with very similar charts for biochemistry and intracellular signaling. They are a godsend for those times when you get lost and forget which element does what, and with complicated systems I get lost every 5 minutes.

more than 3 years ago
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Wired Youths In China & Japan Forget Character Forms

Gaffod Re:"Grandparent..."? (508 comments)

Yes, that's what I meant. I realized it only after I posted, sorry.

more than 3 years ago
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PR Firm Settles With FTC On Fake Game Reviews

Gaffod Re:So tell me ... (105 comments)

There's a difference between being paid to express your opinion, and being paid to adopt an opinion and then express it. It's called a conflict of interest.

It would be pretty nice if reviewers had to disclose those, now that I think of it. Having a note saying "CoI: I was paid by the developer to write a positive review." under a pile of baloney (and knowing that there is legislation ensuring that you can trust that note) would change things quite a bit. It would probably make review magazines/sites more expensive as well, but I'd gladly pay more for at least slightly more honest journalism.

more than 3 years ago
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Wired Youths In China & Japan Forget Character Forms

Gaffod Re:Please explain more about the harm. (508 comments)

If you measure everything with money, you are correct.

Turkish scientific and cultural output went up almost immeasurably from the 19th century to the 20th, as well as the quality of life for everyone except maybe the royal family. Your little truism is absolutely orthogonal to the matter; the fallacy you warn against has not occurred.

more than 3 years ago

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