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Comments

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Study Shows Cocaine And Other Drugs In Spanish Air

Harmonious Botch Molecular weight (164 comments)

As I recall from my...err, never mind when that was...LSD is a relatively heavy molecule to be floating around. To have even a picogram detectable would imply a lot being manufactured.

more than 5 years ago
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Closing Time At Microsoft's Campus Pub

Harmonious Botch Last Post (393 comments)

"The goal was always to create a cool gathering place for employees..." Where? The state unemployment office?

Some of these people "...left other jobs to work in the pub" That was a really sleazy move by MS.

more than 5 years ago
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Should Job Seekers Tell Employers To Quit Snooping?

Harmonious Botch Protected classes (681 comments)

But how will you know if a firm passed you over because of something you said online? It'd be impossible to enforce.

Unfortunately, that's not true. It seems to make sense that there is no way that one could know why an employer did something. But certain legislators don't think that way.
For a number of classes of people ( genders, ethnic groups, etc ) the mere act of not having the right number of people of a certain class can be construed as proof that there was discrimination.
So, someday, after you have posted a picture of yourself butt-naked sharing a twelve-pack with your buddies outside the local convent, and you remain unemployed, you will be able to sue. All you will have to show is that X percent of the population does such things, and if a particular employer has significantly less than X percent of such people among their employees, they are therefore guilty of discrimination.

more than 5 years ago
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Crocodiles With Frickin' Magnets Attached to Their Heads

Harmonious Botch Natural selection (304 comments)

Not trying to troll here, but why not just shoot them? Some crocs appear to love to be around humans, some not. Kill the ones who do, and let the ones who prefer to stay away from people have the chance to breed. In a few decades, we'll have a race of human-adverse crocs.

more than 5 years ago
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ESPN's Play To Make ISPs Pay

Harmonious Botch Re:Commuters and travelers (355 comments)

Nobody's content is that valuable.

Allow me to introduce my new site: googleeverywhere.com. The main server is in Russia someplace. It runs a botnet. The bots, of course, are running on the systems of clueless windows users.
You want google from anywhere in the world? Go to googleeverywhere, it passes the request on to a bot, which queries google, then passes the answer back.
Google can try to shut it down by sending a request to googleeverywhere and seeing where the request comes in, and then cutting of that IP address. But in doing that, google thereby shuts down access for users who have paid for the service through their IP.

more than 5 years ago
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ESPN's Play To Make ISPs Pay

Harmonious Botch Commuters and travelers (355 comments)

My business requires that I travel. On a slow week I use two different ISPs. In a busy week, a dozen. And we're not even talking about vacations yet.
If your site isn't available everywhere, I'll find something else. Nobody's content is that valuable.

Although, if I'm wrong and this business model does take off, the back side is even uglier: there will be ISPs that offer their services based on what you can't get. It will cater to employers, libraries, schools and other places that don't want people accessing certain sites.

more than 5 years ago
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Terry Pratchett Knighted

Harmonious Botch Re: French (366 comments)

So? Lots of people post on this forum without knowing English...

more than 5 years ago
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German Doctor Cures an HIV Patient With a Bone Marrow Transplant

Harmonious Botch Survival rates (639 comments)

The bad news: about 30% of people who get bone marrow transplants don't survive the procedure,

But the people who currently get bone marrow transplants are already in very bad shape to survive surgery - far worse than a person who has aids. Most bone marrow transplants are done to cure leukemia or some similar disease that damages blood cells. These blood cells includes platelets which are necessary for coagulating blood. If your blood does not coagulate well, you don't have a good chance of surviving surgery.

So the very disease that makes bone marrow transplants necessary often prevents the patient from surviving the surgery to cure it. With AIDS patients, this would not be a problem, so one could expect a better survival rate.

more than 5 years ago
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New York Times Says Thin Clients Are Making a Comeback

Harmonious Botch First Post! (206 comments)

...or, well, it would have been first if I wasn't on a thin client waiting 15 ^%*^&# seconds for a keystroke echo.

more than 5 years ago
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Man Uses Remote Logon To Help Find Laptop Thief

Harmonious Botch Re:Makes sense (251 comments)

What else would someone use a laptop for, period?

Laptops get in the way...

more than 5 years ago
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Do We Live In a Giant Cosmic Bubble?

Harmonious Botch Being special (344 comments)

Ok, I'll believe that there are regions of space that are more dense than others. I'll even believe that we are in one of them. ( This is no harder than believing in dark matter and dark energy, and it's before breakfast )
But what I find hard to believe is that we are in the exact center of such a region. So therefore, the universe should appear to have different properties in different directions. Has anybody seen that?

more than 5 years ago
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LHC Offline Until April 2009 (Or Longer)

Harmonious Botch Party time (298 comments)

I believe with all the problems they're having, the actual date when the high-energy collisions begin will be December 2012.

That actually is appropriate, though probably not in the sense that P means. The Mesoamerican calandar that 'ends' in 2012 is just the end of a chunk of a calendar, to be followed by another chunk, and another, etc. It is like New Year's Eve for us; the end of a cycle and an excuse to party. 2012 is just an excuse to party, Mayan style, ripping the hearts out of human sacrifices or however they celebrate it.
When the first collisions happen, that will be grounds for partying also.

more than 5 years ago
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National Car Tracking System Proposed For US

Harmonious Botch One layer of indirection (563 comments)

When my wife and I were in another state, we were using her car, I was driving, and I got photographed running a red light. They sent a citation to my wife, complete with a copy of the photo clearly showing me driving. They demanded that she either pay or give the name and address of the person who was driving. My wife - who is a lawyer - told them that that her husband was driving, and then refused to give name or address. She informed them that is is a protected relationship, that is, you cannot be compelled to testify against your spouse. They gave up on it.

So register your car under your wife's name, and hers under your name. Don't have a wife? Pay your attourney to register it for you. Attourney/client relationship is privleged also.

more than 5 years ago
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City Sues To Prevent Linking To Its Website

Harmonious Botch Damages (429 comments)

Perhaps we should note the difference between compensatory and punative damages. Compensatory damages are to compensate the plantif for damage done to her. In this case, GP is probably correct in assuming that she did not suffer 250K in damages.

But in the question of the government stepping on a citizen's 1st amendment rights, as P mentions, 250K is not excessive, as it is not big enough to make most municipalities pay attention. In this case, it should be a huge ammount, and it should be under punitive damages.

more than 5 years ago
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What To Do With All of My Gadget Chargers?

Harmonious Botch Insomnia (696 comments)

I organize mine alphabetically by manufacturer. It gives me something to do on the nights that I can't sleep.

But no matter how sleep-deprived I am, I would never submit such drivel to slashdot, nor, were I an editor, would I post it.

about 6 years ago
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Disgruntled Engineer Hijacks San Francisco's Computer System

Harmonious Botch Re:Backups? (1082 comments)

Productivity? By a government agency?

This is not about productivity, it is about control.

more than 6 years ago
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An App to Boil Down Online User Reviews

Harmonious Botch First Post (82 comments)

I for one welcome our hot grits pouring overlords.

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of Al Gores in Soviet Russia releasing Duke Nukem Forever, you insensitive clod!

In Korea, only old Natalie Portman must be new here.

All your Linux are belong to us Sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to our heads.

1)Stephen King is dead

2)BSD is dying

3)Profit!

There. Fixed that for you.

more than 6 years ago
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What Examples of Security Theater Have You Encountered?

Harmonious Botch The Iraq theater (1114 comments)

No trolling intended, but the war in Iraq now is the biggest piece of security theater on the planet. It does not make the US safer ( indeed it probably does the reverse ) but it does give certain people benefits. Chaney and friends make millions on no-bid contracts, and neocons get to implement policies that in more normal conditions would not be tolerated by the public.

more than 6 years ago

Submissions

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BBQ smoker turned into robocop

Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Harmonious Botch (921977) writes "It's midnight on the streets of Atlanta, and bar owner Rufus Terrill patrols his neighborhood with a rolling crime fighter of his own creation. Meet "Bum-bot," as Terrill describes it; others in his neighborhood call it simply, "Robocop." CNN story is here

It's a barbecue smoker mounted on a three-wheeled scooter, and armed with an infrared camera, spotlight, loudspeaker and aluminum water cannon that shoots a stream of icy water about 20 feet."
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Monster armored frog

Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Harmonious Botch (921977) writes "A frog the size of a bowling ball, with heavy armor and teeth, lived among dinosaurs millions of years ago — intimidating enough that scientists who unearthed its fossils dubbed the beast Beelzebufo, or Devil Toad. The CNN article is here. But its size — 10 pounds and 16 inches long — isn't the only curiosity. Researchers discovered the creature's bones in Madagascar. Yet it seems to be a close relative of normal-sized frogs who today live half a world away in South America, challenging assumptions about ancient geography."
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Choosing a primary care physician

Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Harmonious Botch (921977) writes "I'm switching medical plans, and need to choose a primary care physician. I figure that slashdotters switch jobs — and thus medical plans — more often than the average person, and I also assume that they understand the science behind the medicine better than the average person. So, I'm asking slashdot how to do it.

First, of course, I checked google for questions to ask the candidate, and got obvious ones like "how long in practice", and an amazingly large number of lame ones like "what hours is your office open" and "do you have parking". WTF?? There seems to be many copies of one industry standard set of questions out there, and that set of questions is nearly worthless — almost as if it were designed to conceal incompetence.

I need questions to ask a physician so I can determine if he really knows his stuff. I'm inclined to start with "do you believe in astrology" to weed out the scientifically illiterate, but even that allows a dishonest one to see through my intentions and lie.

( BTW, if anybody has personal experience with Blue Cross of California in northern LA, any particular pro or con recomendations would be appreciated. )

Thanks to all contributors."
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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Harmonious Botch (921977) writes "( CNN seems to have trouble distinquishing between a quasar and a blck hole, but otherwise it is interesting. -HB )

The discovery of three distant supermassive black holes in proximity to one another is giving astronomers a glimpse into the chaotic early years of the universe.

Known as quasars, these incredibly bright objects are thought to be powered by gas falling into enormous black holes situated in the centers of galaxies. Although smaller than our solar system, a single quasar can outshine an entire galaxy of a hundred billion stars.

Roughly 100,000 quasars have been observed in recent years, some of them double quasars. But this is the first time that three quasars have been found so near one another. The three quasars are separated by about 100,000 to 150,000 light years — about the width of our Milky Way.

"Quasars are extremely rare objects. To find two of them so close together is very unlikely if they were randomly distributed in space," said study leader George Djorgovski, an astronomer at Caltech. "To find three is unprecedented."

More at http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/11/three.bla ck.holes/index.html"
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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Harmonious Botch (921977) writes "A spent Russian booster rocket re-entered the atmosphere Thursday over Colorado and Wyoming, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said. NORAD spokesman Sean Kelly said the agency was trying to confirm a report that a piece of the rocket may have hit the ground near Riverton, Wyoming, at about 6 a.m. Kelly said military personnel had not yet reached the scene. No damage was reported and the debris was not believed to be hazardous, NORAD said. Eyewitnesses reported seeing flaming objects in the sky at the time the rocket was re-entering...

more at http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/space/01/04/russia.ro cket.ap/index.html"
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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  about 8 years ago

Harmonious Botch writes "A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the U.S. government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered it ended immediately. Details are at http://www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/08/17/domesticspy ing.lawsuit/index.html From CNN: The defendants "are permanently enjoined from directly or indirectly utilizing the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and Internet communications, in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and Title III," she wrote. She further declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III." She went on to say that "The president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders.""

Journals

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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 6 years ago I've worked in an urban area of a major US city for years, and I've seen a lot.

We like to think that the panhandlers are a representative cross-section of the poor. They are not.

Panhandlers have their own heirarchy. It is often enforced with violence. I personally have seen one panhandler pull a butcher knife from his pack and chase another panhandler away who dared to beg on 'his' block.
I regularly see another group, two men and a woman, who troll the streets. She walks ahead alone, asking for money, looking helpless. They follow 20-30 feet behind. Every half hour or so they catch up with her and direct her into a side alley and collect the money. I saw these three for years before I by chance happened to see the transfer. It took me a while to recognize a what I was seeing. She is a virtual slave; she has no income, no home, and lives in fear of what will happen to her if she should displease them.
If you watch closely, and watch long enough, you will see that almost every female panhandler has one or more male companions who protect her and/or control her. It is much like the prostitution business: there are very few free-lancers, and almost everyone has a 'pimp' or protector. Some guys have 'stables' of women who collect for them, they go about making the rounds, collecting the money, so that the women have very little money at one time.

We seldom see the dark side of the hierarchy. But when we go back to our homes at night, and they go back to their encampments under bridges, scores are settled and order is maintained. Prime panhandling spots are valuable, as are women who look frail and vulnerable. So most of them are controlled by somebody. And that conrol is usually maintained by violence.

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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 6 years ago First Get!

I always use the method called 'get'
When using HTTP on the net;
Regardless of host
I've never used 'post',
And I haven't had problems...yet.

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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  about 7 years ago Cameras have a significant impact on criminals, but they take effect slowly. I speak from experience.

I own a business across the street from an unused building. For years it had been a site for heroin dealing, vandalism, aggresive panhandling, multiple assults and batteries, and at least one mugging in broad daylight. This, of course, was not good for business.
The cops wouldn't do much. They frequently had higher priorities. ( When a crime was being committed and we called, they would often ask if a weapon was present. This, I learned after awhile, was dispatcher-speak for: "We're too busy with more important things.")

So I got a high quality netcam, put the camera feed live on a web site, and informed anybody who cared to listen ( this included neighbors, cops, drug sellers and buyers, etc ). It took several months for the problem to go away.
First to disappear were the most obviously affluent buyers. Then, over several months, there was a gradual decrease in traffic, and the last to leave were the most desperate looking ones of the entire crowd - the stone junkies with half their teeth rotted away.
That was about two years ago. Every month or so, someone shows up, still thinking that it is active. They sit there for an hour or so, then give up and go away.

What initially surprised me was how long it took to have an effect. I've thought about it a bit since then, and below are my conclusions.

First, a camera, even at its best, is merely an influential tool. It puts a drag on the crime business only if someone follows up on what they see, or if the criminals think that someone might do so. It doesn't actually stop crime immediately
The combination of a person and a camera is very effective.
This last one I have tested up close and in person. After seeing the success of the netcam on one storefront, I started carrying a camera around the neighborhood and taking pictures of drunks, junkies, etc. They hate it. The most common response is to protest innocence and leave. The second most common is to threaten me with bodily harm and then leave. Oddly enough, nobody asks why I am doing it. ( This really surprised me. Do they understand why, or are they completely incurious? I have no idea. ) But nobody stays except those too drunk to move.
>
Second, I expect the attendance of criminals at high-crime-rate sites to sort of follow a bell-curve distribution, much like any group of attendees at any informal gathering place with no posted hours; a few are there every day, the majority show up something like weekly or monthly, and there are a few who make it every year or two. That is roughly what we saw before the camera was installed.
So there will be people who don't know about the camera for a long time.

Third, there is not a very wide variation in the response to a camera.
PS: Please note that any pro-camera comments above are about a privately owned camera. I share the concern, expressed by many, that cameras will be misused by governments. The solution is to make them all public netcams with no password, available to anyone with a browser. The cops can use information, but it is less likely for them to misuse it, because anybody could have copies.

PPS: The astute reader will note that there is an implied 'broken windows' theme embedded in the above text. Yes, I think that Keller's broken windows theory is correct, and that numerous municipalities - particularly NY - have implemented it badly. In my experience, if you engage the sub-criminal or semi-criminal behavior like panhandling or littering, you discourage many of the people who would otherwise commit serious crimes.

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Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 7 years ago The best robots will stay specialized. The capable-of-doing-everything-that-a-human-can robots are science fiction and should stay that way. Why would we want something with lots of ability but poor judgement? I mean, we already have teenagers.

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How patents should work

Harmonious Botch Harmonious Botch writes  |  more than 7 years ago The following is an attempt to improve the patent process by adding competition to it. It is essentially a public test of non-obviousness.

A patent application should be composed of two documents. The first document should say what the invention does. The second document should say how it does it ( or in some cases how the manufacturer made it ). Both documents would be submitted privately to the patent office at the same time.

The patent office would then do a brief examination to sort out the dumb stuff ( like perpetual motion ) and the duplicates and infringements of existing patents in much the same way that it currently does. This might involve several rejections and resubmissions. When the application passes, then the patent office releases the first part to the public.

There would be a standard period of time between the release of the first part and the issuance of the patent. During that period, if someone else can show how it is done, then the application is denied and all documents become public domain - both of the applicant's documents, and the second person's explanation.
If nobody else can show how the patent idea could be done within that time, the idea is judged to be really non-obvious and the patent is issued, and the second part is thereby made public.

The exact period of time would vary depending on the field of research. For a software patent, a month should suffice. For medicines, a year or two might be better.

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