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Ask Slashdot: What Would You Do With Half a Rack of Server Space?

Giant Electronic Bra Depends on what data center (206 comments)

If its in say LD4 in London, or NY7 in New Jersey then I'd make a crapton of money leasing it out or selling VMs to brokerages. If its in ho-hum Dallas Rackspace somewhere or whatever then its not that interesting. Still, its a lot of iron to be idle in a big DS for that long. You could run a pretty serious web site on that sort of infrastructure. Maybe find some startup and leverage it, give them a leg up in return for some cheap equity. If it goes bust its no worse than leaving the rack idle and if it takes off you make some bucks.

3 days ago
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Laser Eye Surgery, Revisited 10 Years Later

Giant Electronic Bra As someone with a large uncorrectable divergence (541 comments)

AND a large difference in acuity between my right and left eyes I find your idea puzzling at best. The near total lack of good depth-perception is profoundly disturbing. While I can certainly carry out all normal everyday activities I regularly encounter difficulties, especially in low-light and low-contrast situations. I'm ENTIRELY disbarred from any attempt to participate in any sport which requires any sort of hand-eye coordination as well, though I long ago resigned myself to that.

I'd be very glad if my divergence could be corrected. I'd be very glad if the difference in visual acuity between my two eyes could be decreased as well, as it is both confusing and stressful. I've also found that even the best opthalmologists have trouble properly prescribing for me, so I go through cycles of getting new glasses, making them redo one lens, then the other lens, etc. Its a real PITA to say the least.

I don't know if modern laser surgery is something I should consider, but it does sound tempting just to get the right eye up to similar to the left one.

5 days ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Giant Electronic Bra Re:How foes this compare (146 comments)

This is true of all liquid-fueled rocket stages, the SSMEs fired up about 4 seconds before liftoff too. It takes them a couple seconds just to 'spin up' to 100% thrust. This a nice enough feature of liquid-fueled rockets, but its only necessitated by the fact that they are so complex they might NOT spin up. An SRM will never fail to start like that. Overall they are quite reliable, easy to design, and simple to operate, though per-launch they have costs similar to other types of motor.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Giant Electronic Bra Re:How foes this compare (146 comments)

Considering that there isn't ANY reusable rocket in existence today (IE no single liquid-fueled rocket stage has ever been launched, recovered, and reused to my knowledge) I fail to see how this is relevant. SRMs are very simple, there are NO moving parts, etc, so they really just don't fail these days. Its exceedingly rare, and the very few failures are attributable to things other than the construction of the SRM which couldn't be discovered by test firing it (IE the Challenger SRM failure, which wasn't a failure of the SRM per-se, it was simply fired outside its known operational envelope). I actually worked on avionics for these things. They really aren't unreliable and don't need to be individually tested, nor are liquid fueled stages normally test-fired either before launch.

As for re-usability, the STS SRMs WERE REUSED. Go look it up, almost every segment in every stack had multiple launches. In fact in the last several years of the program I believe they were running COMPLETELY on re-used segments. Now, maybe you have a point that hypothetically it MIGHT be cheaper to reuse a liquid-fueled rocket, but until we DO (soon presumably) we really won't know. Its also quite a bit less clear-cut than that because you have to launch a LOT larger and thus more expensive liquid-fueled rocket to equal a similar payload rocket that includes SRMs. SRMs are also USUALLY strapped onto existing designs to give them new capabilities, which would otherwise have to be achieved by a very expensive completely new program. So I am not even by half convinced that this 'SRMs make things more expensive' notion has any validity at all.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Giant Electronic Bra Re:Liberal Math Again... (146 comments)

Why does he have to do NASA from 1958? How about from 2003? That's about $35 billion for NASA and around 2,000 billion for Iraq. You can call it 'liberal math' if you want, but the literal actual costs of Iraq, including replacement of drawn down military capabilities, paying off all the disabled vets, and the TO NOW economic costs of 1000's of dead and disabled people. Its Frigging Expensive. We won't pay down the cost of Georgie's War until somewhere around the year 2100. By then the Chinese will own near-Earth space...

about three weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Giant Electronic Bra Amen man (146 comments)

We could be living in space colonies for the cost of Iraq.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Approves Production of Most Powerful Rocket Ever

Giant Electronic Bra Re:How foes this compare (146 comments)

SRMs are very powerful for their size. They are quite effective as boosters, a stage that will provide a lot of power for a shorter time at the start of a launch. This is one reason they are used on ICBMs, which were designed for 'fast boost' (IE burn for a very short time) to avoid any chance of intercept during launch, which would in theory be the most vulnerable phase of flight.

So SRMs are good, and likely to be used in pretty much every first stage from now to the day we invent a beanstalk or something and get rid of rockets. They have their downsides, they give a bumpy ride and you can't throttle them, but they're cheap, easy to handle (relatively), and powerful.

about three weeks ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

Giant Electronic Bra Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (148 comments)

The greater danger in my mind is you will get a huge flood of cash into the process from the usual suspects and you'll just end up with some sort of Fascist constitution that enshrines the power of the current elite and its corporate stooges. That's all Congress is rapidly becoming anyway, with hacks like Roberts and Alito to rubber-stamp it. In a convention they'd be utterly free of any of the few constraints that still apply. If Congresspeople can't even pass patent reform or the President resist appointing a tool of the status quo to the USPTO then why would we in any way shape or form believe that the members of some Convention will be any more independent? They won't. Its not that they'll be too radical, its that they won't be radical at all, they'll be sheep, serving the richest masters.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

Giant Electronic Bra Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (148 comments)

Exactly, and ChrisMaple's logic is flawed. Just because he thinks the 16th and 17th amendemnts are 'horrible' is logically unrelated to the possible character of a convention. Congress has a very limited power to propose individual amendments. A convention would be much more far-ranging since it would be much more capable of proposing sweeping changes.

Honestly, I don't think such a convention would NECESSARILY be problematic, but there's no reason to assume it would be any more beholden to the will of the people than the existing ludicrous clown-filled House of Representatives. Presumably its finite lifetime and the ad-hoc nature of its constitution would make it quite amenable to corruption.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

Giant Electronic Bra Ah yes (148 comments)

I stand corrected. You're right of course, 3/4 are still required to actually pass the amendment.

about a month ago
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Lawrence Lessig Answers Your Questions About His Mayday PAC (Video)

Giant Electronic Bra Re:Bribery represents the will of the people? (148 comments)

Actually 3/4 of the states can call for a Convention. Congress has no option to oppose that. Its not entirely clear what their 'calling' function entails, but if there were a clear unequivocal 3/4 of the States passing a single uniformly worded call for a Convention within a stated expiry period then LONG before it got to all 37 required states Congress would pass the desired amendment to avoid the spectre of an open Convention running the country virtually as a de-facto parliament. Honestly a Convention is sort of a 'nuclear option' anyway because NOBODY knows how corrupt (or not) such a body would be as we don't even have rules for its constituence. IMHO it would just be a repeat of the House without a constitution to reign it in. The threat is still potent however and its worked at least twice before.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

Giant Electronic Bra Re:Straight Talk GSM or Ting CDMA (146 comments)

You can buy a SIM and a month of service online from Straight Talk as well. They also support CDMA phones (but you get to use the Sprint network in that case). Straight Talk is actually a brand owned by TracPhone. In any case spare yourself the trip to Wallyworld, its not really worth seeing unless you're actually here and needing something NOW.

about a month ago
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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

Giant Electronic Bra Can influence be stopped? (308 comments)

Isn't the influence of money and other forms of power simply infinitely plastic? If you block one path to influence it will simply take another path, there are infinitely many ways to get what you want, and if you have lots of money its always much easier to exercise them. So isn't the real question one of values, not of money?

about a month ago
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Behind the Great Firewall: What It's Really Like To Log On From China

Giant Electronic Bra Re:meanwhile, the west buys the same mechanisms... (90 comments)

Well, the women are awesome. The rest of it? Sure, the government is pro-business and pro-capitalism, except its THEIR business and capitalism. In China the govt officials are the ones with the money, and LOTS of it. Corruption is astronomical. Unless you're in cahoots with some guys with a lot of 'face' you aren't going anywhere, and you can bet they get the fillet mignon cut of whatever you build. It makes the tax rates in the US quite equitable. There's LOTS of red tape too, though of course again how much that matters depends on whom you are connected to. The middle class in China is microscopic. If you were in downtown of a tier 1 city then you might get the impression, surrounded in your nice westerner bubble, that there were lots of well-off people around, but if you actually went out and met the regular Chinese people and talked to the people serving you food and selling you things and made friends with them you'd find out that life for the average chinese is pretty rough. Now go out to the countryside, or even tier 3 cities (prefect level towns for instance) of which there are 1000's and you find there's only a very small veneer of 'middle class' people.

As for the economy being 'robust', the banks all collapsed in the late 90's, ALL of them are insolvent. Most of the major businesses, same thing (the state owned ones). There's a whole zombie financial and economic sector that is just propped up with tax money or patronage in some form or other. There are a lot of businesses, yes, and a huge export sector, lots of growth, etc. There is also 300 million underemployed people, etc. The realestate bubble in China is 10x the size of the US one, and its teetering right now. Frankly I'm out, and I'm getting my g/f out too before something busts loose and it goes down like the US did in '07. Even the big financial analysts are looking pretty scared now. Housing is slowing and China is going to have a big bump.

about a month and a half ago
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Behind the Great Firewall: What It's Really Like To Log On From China

Giant Electronic Bra Re:How to beat censorship in china. (90 comments)

Yeah, good luck, your lifespan is measured in days. If you are careful and lucky you can complain about SOME things, and people do let their opinions be known about GENERAL things "its very polluted here, this should be fixed!" or "food is too expensive!" etc. The government is pretty sensitive about public opinion up to a certain point. It is just always hard to tell if they will react to your complaints by fixing the problem, or killing you.

about a month and a half ago
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Behind the Great Firewall: What It's Really Like To Log On From China

Giant Electronic Bra Noscript helped a lot (90 comments)

A LOT! I don't want your average bozo website running any script on my machine anyway...

about a month and a half ago
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Which desktop environment do you like the best?

Giant Electronic Bra Re:MacOS 9 != OS9 (611 comments)

That's correct, but it was called OS-9 (note the dash). It was then ported to the Motorola 68000 and called 0S-9/68k, where it was a quite successful RTOS. It was then rewritten in C (the original 6809/68k versions were all hand coded assembly) and rechristened OS-9000. Sadly the company bet the farm on building the stack for Phillips ill-fated CD Interactive. OS-9000 also wasn't that popular in the 68000 world since it was just a fatter slower OS. They've since dropped the OS-9000 brand name, but the company still sort of exists and the OS is quite commonly used in small embedded systems. It is very easy to ROM, quite reliable, can run on anything from an 8-bit 64k machine all the way up to 64 bit 4+ gigabyte systems, though it generally lacks support for virtual memory. Its a good OS, is POSIX compliant and most modern GNU tools work on it and compile for it (though the OS is peculiar in the way it lays out address space, which means you can't just compile with gcc, you need to use a Microware supplied compiler as far as I know). OS-9 never quite beat out VxWorks in the mission-critical embedded space, but it was (and probably still is) an equally good RTOS. AFAIK there was never a port of any GUI to OS-9(000).

about 2 months ago
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Which desktop environment do you like the best?

Giant Electronic Bra Re:OS X (611 comments)

It was originally SASI, so 'sexy' was kinda a natural follow on.

about 2 months ago
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Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

Giant Electronic Bra Re:What he's really saying is (422 comments)

Well, I agree that spread sheets can be pretty obscure and there's a point where they aren't the best solution, perhaps. Of course if you do it right you can migrate a lot of the logic to a backend database or into code modules that still provide inputs to the spread sheet. Sheets are great for presentation and organization of certain types of numerical data, and with the built-in charting features they can be pretty good general data visualization tools. You just have to understand at what point to offload onto some other tool at least part of the work.

about 2 months ago
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Why You Shouldn't Use Spreadsheets For Important Work

Giant Electronic Bra Re:What he's really saying is (422 comments)

LOOKING AT the code is not testing it, 90% of all issues won't show up when you look at a piece of code, unless you're so thorough that you might as well have written tests (which is always a better way). Spread sheets are IDEALLY testable, each cell has defined inputs and outputs and you have a built-in way to enter data into it. You can also build another spreadsheet of expected outputs (heck, maybe that's just a cut and paste of the values you got the first time you used the thing, but at least that lets you test regression). Once you have expected outputs you can check them AUTOMATICALLY with a third sheet (IE difference the actual vs the expected, you should get all zeros). This kind of thing is trivial.

Sheesh, the problem here is people are LAZY. They want things to just be correct magically without any work. I got news for you, it ain't ever so. My first job was validating that a critical part of the flight control system of the 747-400 actually worked as advertised under all circumstances. You think we LOOKED AT THE CODE???!!! lol. Likewise, if you're going to make very expensive business and economic decisions then you FRIGGING SPEND THE TIME TO TEST, and once you decide you're going to do that, spread sheets are eminently testable.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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Colchicine targets tumor blood supply

Giant Electronic Bra Giant Electronic Bra writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Giant Electronic Bra (1229876) writes "The drug, known as a "vascular disrupting agent" (VDA), is based on colchicine — a highly toxic substance in the flowers, leaves and seeds of the autumn crocus. Previous attempts to employ it to fight cancer have failed because of the compound's extreme toxicity, but Prof Patterson's team found a way of rendering the drug harmless until it was exposed to a protein enzyme called MMP1 only found in tumours.

"Our novel delivery method uses the presence of this active MMP to activate the drug, which attacks and breaks down cancer blood vessels, destroying the tumour's lifeline", said Prof Patterson, who will outline the research at the British Science Festival taking place at the University of Bradford this week.

Tumor angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels in solid cancers, has long been seen as a key process in tumor development and growth. Could this new form of colchicine finally provide a way to disrupt tumor blood supply and provide a magic bullet against many forms of cancer? Human trials may begin in as little as 18 to 24 months."

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