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Comments

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California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Okian Warrior Isn't that enough? (288 comments)

I know everyone is all over Uber and and the other one because the cars are "nicer" and the service "better" than cabs. But [...]

Um... isn't that enough?

Firstly, you're wrong about the liability.

Secondly, you are confusing the possibility of injury with its probability.

If the probability of injury is small and the cost of injury is also appreciably small, the expected cost of using Lyft or Uber may be much less than the expected cost of using a cab.

For an example, if a ride-share is $6 less than a cab fare, and if there is an average of 1 injury every 100,000 rides, then if the average injury costs less than $600,000 then it's a better deal for everyone to use the ride share.

Using this reference, cabs crash about once every 300,000 miles.

Also note, the number of crashes in regular driving has decreased dramatically over the last few years, probably due to increased safety measures in vehicles and modern roadway improvements (Denver Barriers around bridge supports, for example).

And in any event, most people have health insurance. At the very least, a significant portion of riders would have health insurance - enough to reduce the risk by a further factor of four or more.

SHELL GAME is where you can't win. CASINO GAME is where the odds are against you. Uber and Lyft seem to be decidedly in the passenger's favor.

Cue the irrational fearmongering reply: "unless you are the one injured, then how would you feel!".

about two weeks ago
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California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Okian Warrior Have we lost judicial oversight? (288 comments)

Apropos of nothing, when did we allow unelected regulators complete authority over the law?

It seems that every regulator now has the authority to declare something illegal, judge that an infraction has occurred, assess fines, and force collection.

If someone is in violation of a regulation, shouldn't the regulator present their evidence before a judge? Don't we want an unbiased 3rd party to chime in on whether the law is clear, whether the evidence merits a violation, and whether there are extenuating circumstances?

The policy of default judgement by fiat, with a "go to court to reverse it if you think you've been wronged" is a recipe for injustice and corruption.

When did we lose judicial oversight of our regulations? Did it happen slowly, or was it a sudden change?

about two weeks ago
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Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

Okian Warrior Science at its best (291 comments)

The debate on this issue is far from over, and it'll take years to sort out all the contradictory evidence.

Once again, science is reduced to debate and belief. Medicine is rife with these sorts of "schools of thought"(*), it's almost as bad as economics. This is not the "more refined theory supplants approximate theory" that one finds in, for example, physics. It's "yeah, this looks good and makes sense, so we're 'gonna go with it" science.

This is what allows vested interests to decry science in favor of their own agenda. Who is the average person supposed to trust when scientists keep making and overturning bad conclusions, in the face of authority figures pushing their own agenda?

All I see here, in this forum, is appeal to the difficulty of experimentation. If the original single experiment is so hard or expensive to reproduce, should we be basing our conclusions on the single experiment?

Scientists need to kick it up a notch.

(*) As a typical example (dozens more are easy to find), Helicobacter pylori was identified as the source of gastric ulcers, yet the medical community didn't believe the results for many years. The amount of suffering and loss that occurred while this "school of thought" was slowly overturned is incalculable.

about two weeks ago
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When Scientists Give Up

Okian Warrior Re:No Leaders anywhere today... (348 comments)

So the question isn't really one of giving up... the question is one of choice and priority. If you have no vision and no real sense of purpose beyond enriching yourself when you occupy a position of influence, then the rot will spread and not just Scientists but many others will wither away as well.

I'm starting a new movement "The Boot Party": everyone promises to vote *against* the incumbent regardless of political party.

Government not acting in the interests of the people? Give 'em the boot!

Won't you join me?

about two weeks ago
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When Scientists Give Up

Okian Warrior The obvious solution (348 comments)

The obvious solution is to return to traditional methods: establish an independent income, then take up scientific research as a hobby.

Historically, our most notable scientists were working at day jobs or otherwise independently wealthy, and did amazing research on their own as a hobby. Some devoted entire wings of their house towards scientific research, amassing a collection of equipment (or specimens) over decades.

Henry Cavendish, of the Cavendish experiment, is one such example. The experiment was so delicate that air currents would affect the measurements, so Cavendish set up the experiment in a shed on his property and measured the results from a distance, using a telescope.

There used to be a term "Gentleman Scientist" for this, but it might more accurately be called "self-funded research".

Consider Paul Stamets as a modern example. With only an honorary doctorate, he is co-author on many papers and has proposed several medications, including treatments for cancer.

I could also nominate Robert Murray Smith to the position. His YouTube Videos are as good as many published Chemistry papers.

The benefits are obvious: You get to work on whatever you think is interesting (or fruitful), you can set your own pace, and you can draw your own line between supporting your dreams and your lifestyle: If you have a family emergency, you can pause your research and spend more money on personal welfare. It also forces you to come up with more efficient (read: less expensive) ways to work.

There's a wealth of useful equipment on eBay and other places, big expensive equipment is not out of the reach of the dedicated researcher. Ben Krasnow has three (I think) electron microscopes. I personally own a UV/VIS spectrophotometer. a microgram scale, and a Weston cell.

The idea that "research can only be done at the behest of government" or "is only associated with university" is a modern fiction. Government would *like* you to believe that everything depends on their whim and largesse, but it's not the only, nor even the best way.

Build a lab and start tinkering, or join a hackerspace. Lots of people do it. Lots of good science is done this way.

about two weeks ago
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Is Remote Instruction the Future of College?

Okian Warrior It's the interaction, stupid! (81 comments)

People sign up and never finish because the courses are downright awful. And there's no mind nor incentive for them to get better. Instructors think that just recording a lecture and putting it online is good education, but it isn't.

Watch Daphne Koller droning on about graphical models as the video shows her standing at a lectern talking, or showing a powerpoint-style frame while she reads the text on the frame to us.

Watch Anant Agarwal go through a *hugely* dense and boring derivation, only to stop before the end and say "but this derivation is too hard, there's an easier way". Twice. For the same result.

Try to figure out how many degrees of freedom a soccer ball has, then argue with Sebastian Thrun because the answer he thought you should have entered is not the mathematically correct one. (Also, see if you can figure out what this has to do with AI.)

For a breath of fresh air, watch Donald Sadoway take you through a delightful and satisfying explanation of chemistry. (Ignore the 1st lecture which is about class scheduling.) It's wonderful.

I could cite two dozen *major* problems with selected online courses - things that go counter to the fundamental goal of learning that would be obvious to someone familiar with human learning mechanisms or a testing group or even a member of Toastmasters. When I point these out to the chief scientist at edX, he responds with "we can't change the way we do things because of X".

Let me repeat that: the *chief scientist* at edX has no control over teaching techniques or video methods or course quality.

Some people (ie - Dr. Sadoway in the link above) have figured out how to do it right, but the vast majority aren't interested in quality. It's unfortunate that edX got all those millions in seed money, because we'll have to wait until they burn through it before they get hungry enough to worry about quality and effectiveness.

It's insane.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Tech Help Monitor or Mitigate a Mine-Flooded Ecosystem?

Okian Warrior And another suggestion (123 comments)

Third suggestion:

Fungi can be used to remove heavy metal contaminants in flowing water. Place a bunch of fungi mycelium in sandbags in the water stream and the fungi will filter out the contaminants as the water flows through. Come back later, remove the bags and replace with a fresh batch.

Contact Paul Stamets' group over at Fingi Perfecti and see what their experts have to say. They might even have a product you could buy for the purpose.

Here's a paper and some contact info to get you started:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/s...

http://www.fungi.com/about-pau...

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Can Tech Help Monitor or Mitigate a Mine-Flooded Ecosystem?

Okian Warrior Here's Two suggestions (123 comments)

First suggestion:

There's been a lot of interest in using Zeolites to absorb heavy metal contamination in water. One specific experiment involved dragging a bag of zeolites through ocean water, the zeolites absorbed enough Thorium to be industrially useful as an ore (if there were a demand for Thorium, which there isn't).

I've found papers that indicate that Zeolites will absorb copper and lead, two of the contaminants listed for the Mount Polley disaster; chances are likely that zeolites would absorb the other contaminants as well.

Here's two papers to get you started:

http://www.yourncdinfo.com/cli...

http://cnu.edu/arc/documents/p...

Second suggestion:

There's been some success in removing non-volatile organic pollutants from soil using steam injection. Essentially, sink a pipe into the soil, inject steam, cover the area with a tarp, and collect the steam/water as it percolates up through the soil. This method can be used to extract non-volatile organic components including tetra-ethyl-lead. (I found that last bit surprising, but this was directly confirmed to me by one of the scientists involved.)

Depending on the chemical nature of the contaminants (ie - solubility, polar/non-polar character &c) this might prove useful in decontaminating some of the mud slurry.

Here's a paper to get you started:

http://nepis.epa.gov/Adobe/PDF...

about a month and a half ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

Okian Warrior Actual entropy explanation (117 comments)

Before I get slammed by a P-Chem major, here's what's really going on with the entropy.

The reaction is exothermic, and this release of heat increases the entropy of the universe. At the same time, 4 atoms of source become 1 atom of product, so this aspect of the reaction *decreases* the entropy of the universe. (There's more ways that 4 atoms can be arranged in a box than there is to arrange 1 atom.)

At room temperature, the entropy increase from the release of heat is greater than the entropy decrease from the reduction in states, so the reaction is favored.

The entropy from the release of heat is inversely proportional to temperature. Double the [absolute] temperature and you halve the increase in entropy from the release of heat. With higher temperatures, the entropy increase from "release of heat" is smaller than the entropy decrease from "change of states", the total change of entropy is negative, and the reaction is no longer favored.

I wrote a simpler/shorter explanation to avoid losing sight of the main point.

about a month and a half ago
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New Process Promises Ammonia From Air, Water, and Sunlight

Okian Warrior Some background (117 comments)

Here's some background on the Bosch Haber process.

Whether a reaction will occur is based on whether energy is required and whether the reaction increases entropy. In the case of nitrogen+hydrogen => ammonia, the reaction is both exothermic and increases entropy at room temperature and pressure. If one could somehow ignite the process it would be self-sustaining.

The problem is, to ignite the reaction you first need to break N2 molecules into individual N atoms, and this requires a great deal of initial energy which is regained in subsequent steps. Something like 7eV per molecule to break them apart. The molecules in normal air have a bell-curve spread of energies, but very few of them reach energies this high: the reaction happens at room temperature, but very *very* slowly. A handful of molecules per second will react.

To get around this you can raise the temperature, increasing the probability that molecules will have enough energy to break apart. The entropy produced is inversely proportional to temperature, so when you start to have N2 molecules with enough energy to break apart, the reaction is no longer favored because it would result in an entropy decrease.

Since 4 moles of reactants result in 1 mole of product, increasing the pressure of the reactants will tend to favor the products, so you can use this to offset the deficit in entropy.

The Bosch-Haber process tries to find a "sweet spot" by increasing the temperature to get a reasonable number of N2 molecules to break apart, and high pressure to make the process favor the products.

At 200 ATM and 400 degrees, the yield is 15% (!).

Reaction vessels for this pressure and temperature are expensive, and the process requires multiple cycles of compression, decompression, removal of ammonia, and recompression. This takes a *lot* of energy and uses *very* expensive compressors which wear out over time and have to be replaced.

I haven't read the paywalled article yet, but if I'm understanding the abstract, they are breaking apart the nitrogen electrochemically. Just as running a current through molten NaCl will break it into atomic sodium and chlorine, running a current through nitrogen dissolved in KOH and NaOH breaks it apart and the reaction then proceeds at normal conditions. The reaction also supplies its own hydrogen by breaking apart water.

Much of the "green revolution" is due to the use of nitrate fertilizers, and the source material is finite: guano from Peru, for example.

If this process is as efficient as the abstract suggests and can be industrialized, it would be *huge*. It would give us an essentially infinite source of nitrogen-based fertilizer and reduce the worldwide consumption of energy by a couple of percent.

Coupled with a source of renewable energy, it would mean that the world could sustain its food production at current levels indefinitely.

This could be really, *really* big news.

about a month and a half ago
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New Treatment Stops Type II Diabetes

Okian Warrior Old wives tale (253 comments)

Remember the movie wall-e? All those fat people on the ship, we're going to end up like them if we don't tackle the root problem. A cure for type II diabetes is great and all, but it does nothing to solve the root problem(s).

This is an echo-chamber response: someone on the internet heard something, and keeps repeating it. It's rooted in emotional superiority, and comes from someone with no background in scientific research or statistics.

All attempts to pin obesity on the "that sounds about right" reasons have failed, including exercise and food intake - for both amounts and types of food.

In particular, lab animals grown today are fatter than the ones grown decades ago, despite having the same (and well-documented) diets and exercise. (Source.) Same with pets.

Current opinion holds that there is something in the environment that causes obesity - some agent that wasn't pervasive a couple of decades ago. Over 700 possible causes have been suggested, including your favorite bugaboo (whatever that is). We're slowly going through the options looking for the cause.

No diet will work, even that great "miracle cure" you heard about on Oprah. Lack of exercise doesn't cause it. Diets and exercise regimes work for *some* people because in changing their behaviour they eliminate the causal factor inadvertently - without knowing what it is. It wasn't the diet and it wasn't the exercise.

Try to keep current with scientific theory, otherwise we'll be repeating these old wives tales forever.

about 2 months ago
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Interviews: Ask Dr. Andy Chun About Artificial Intelligence

Okian Warrior Definition of AI? (71 comments)

Can you explain to us exactly what AI is?

As a definition, the Turing test has problems - it assumes communication, it conflates intelligence with human intelligence, and humans aren't terribly good at distinguishing chatbots from other humans.

Also, using a test for a definition works well in mathematics, but not so much in the real world. Imagine defining a car as "anything 5 humans say is a car" and then trying to develop one. Without feedback or guidance, the developers have to trot every object in the universe in front of a jury, only to receive a yes/no answer to the question: "is this a car?"

Many AI texts have a 'kind of fuzzy, feel-good definition of AI that's useless for construction or distinguishing an AI program from a clockwork one. Definitions like "the study of programs that can think", or "programs that simulate intelligent behaviour" shift the burden of definition (of intelligence) onto the reader, or become circular.

One could define a car as "a body, frame, 4 wheels, seats, and an engine in this configuration", and note that each of these can be further defined: a wheel is a rim and a tire, a tire is a ring of steel-belted rubber with a stem valve, a stem valve is a rubber tube with a schrader valve, a schrader valve is a spring and some gaskets...

With a constructive definition, one could distinguish between a car and, say: a tractor, a snowmobile, a child's wagon, a semi, and so on. Furthermore, it would be conceptually straightforward to build one: you know where to start, and how to get further information if you are unsure.

Compare with a group from mathematics: a closed set plus an operator with certain features (associativity, identity, inverses), and each feature can be further defined (an identity element is...). Much of mathematics is this way: concepts constructed from simpler concepts with a list of requirements.

The study of AI seems to be founded in mathematics. At least, all the AI papers I've read are heavy with mathematical notation - usually obscure and very dense mathematical notation. It should be possible to determine with some rigor what the papers are talking about.

Can you tell us what that is? What *exactly* is AI?

about 2 months ago
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White House Punts On Petition To Allow Tesla Direct Sales

Okian Warrior Online petitions with consequences? (382 comments)

The problem with the petition is that it has no consequences.

Would it help if petitioners agreed to vote *against* the incumbent president's party at the next election if the issue isn't addressed?

Some of the petitions net upwards of a quarter-million signatures. Is that enough votes to get Washington to take notice?

about 2 months ago
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"Internet's Own Boy" Briefly Knocked Off YouTube With Bogus DMCA Claim

Okian Warrior Re:Will we ever stop celebrating Jesus? (157 comments)

There is an argument to make that he was intentionally trying to make a martyr out of himself [...] he wasn't exactly rational himself.

There is an argument to be made that Jesus was intentionally trying to make a martyr out of himself. He failed to put up a defense when asked.

Your statement fairly reeks of the innuendo "this isn't something to get angry over, because he wasn't normal".

It dulls the impact of an important event, it's unfalsifiable (you cite no evidence, just "there's an argument to make"), and it serves to quell any discontent over the current political situation.

I like it. Can the technique be reversed in future incidents? Can a properly crafted response be used to whip up political discontent and restlessness?

I wonder...

about 2 months ago
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New Slashdot Beta Sucks

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (3 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Go to AltSlashdot.org if interested

about 8 months ago
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Dice runs scared.

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (6 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

about 8 months ago
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slashdot drives away people with beta

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (2 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

about 8 months ago
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Your beta ruined the site. Congrats.

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (3 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

about 8 months ago
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Dice Holding Slashdot Beta Yields Withering Reviews

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (1 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

about 8 months ago
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Things that suck less than the Slashdot BETA

Okian Warrior AltSlashdot is coming (2 comments)

I've registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be - better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site.

If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can:

  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org

about 8 months ago

Submissions

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AltSlashdot is coming

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 8 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "I've registered "AltSlashdot.org". I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be — better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm reviewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now. I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site. If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance! I'm particularly in need of people who can:
  • Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c)
  • Edit story submissions
  • HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org"
Link to Original Source

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AltSlashdot is coming

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 8 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "I've just now registered "AltSlashdot.org".

I intend to run a site much like Slashdot used to be — better articles, less decoration and less "in your face" functionality. I'm revewing and getting comfortable with slashcode right now.

I'm looking for volunteers to help with setup and running the site. If the site becomes profitable, I intend to hire from the pool of volunteers. If you've ever wanted to participate in a site like Slashdot, here's your chance!

I'm particularly in need of people who can: .) Set up and manage a high-traffic site (servers, load-balancers, data sites, &c) .) Edit story submissions .) HTML, CSS, and script creation/bugfix/repair

Contact me if interested

John (at) AltSlashdot (dot) org"

Link to Original Source
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Judge orders professor removed from no-fly list

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 8 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "In a followup to Slashdot's previous article, a federal judge has ordered Rahinah Ibrahim removed from the U.S. government's no-fly list.

Rahinah Ibrahim eventually won the no-fly list ruling after her daughter, a US citizen, was prevented from returning to the country to testify at the trial.

Here's hoping this is the first of many successful challenges to the no-fly list."

Link to Original Source
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James Bond Likely To Die An Early Death Of Alcoholism, Study Finds

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 8 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Forbes magazine reports that three British scientists studying drinking habits have concluded that James Bond was indeed a raging alcoholic.

The study further notes: "Bond’s drinking would have led some serious long-term ramifications since it puts him into the level-3 category, “the highest risk group for malignancies, depression, hypertension, and cirrhosis. He is also at high risk of suffering from sexual dysfunction, which would considerably affect his womanising.” They give him a life expectancy of just 56 years.""

Link to Original Source
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Facebook mocks 'infection' study, predicts Princeton's demise

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 8 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "In a followup to our earlier story about Princeton researchers predicting the end of Facebook by 2017, Facebook has struck back with a post using similar statistical techniques to predict that Princeton itself may be facing irreversible decline.

By using similar methods ("likes," mentions in scholarly papers, Google searches) Facebook creates convincing-looking graphs that indicate Princeton is losing ground compared with its rivals and may have no students at all by 2021."

Link to Original Source
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Can an App Improve Vision?

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 9 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "A 12-week, scientifically tested training program, newly available as an iPhone app, uses a technique called perceptual learning to reduce—or even eliminate—the need for reading glasses.

A 30-person study published in February 2012 in the journal Scientific Reports found that after trying [an iPhone app called GlassesOff] participants on average could read letters 1.6 times smaller than they could previously. The program is much more likely to show improvement in adults 40 to 60 years old, scientists say."

Link to Original Source
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ScareMail Tries to Disrupt NSA Email Surveillance

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes ""Are you on the NSA’s email watchlist? Do you want to be? The ScareMail project is designed to mess with the NSA’s email surveillance programs.

Benjamin Grosser has written a plugin for many popular web browsers that uses an algorithm to generate a clever but ultimately useless narrative in the signature of your email using as many probable NSA search terms as possible. The idea behind this is if enough people use it, it will overload the NSA’s search results, ultimately making their email keyword tracking useless.

Ben has a video describing the project.""

Link to Original Source
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Elsevier retracts study on roundup toxcicity

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes ""Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize," by Gilles Eric Séralini et al. has been retracted by the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.

Very shortly after the publication of this article, the journal received Letters to the Editor expressing concerns about the validity of the findings it described, the proper use of animals, and even allegations of fraud. Many of these letters called upon the editors of the journal to retract the paper.

Unequivocally, the Editor-in-Chief found no evidence of fraud or intentional misrepresentation of the data. However, there is a legitimate cause for concern regarding both the number of animals in each study group and the particular strain selected.

"Ultimately, the results presented (while not incorrect) are inconclusive, and therefore do not reach the threshold of publication for Food and Chemical Toxicology. The peer-review process is not perfect, but it does work.""

Link to Original Source
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ScareMail Tries to Disrupt NSA Email Surveillance

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about 10 months ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Are you on the NSA’s email watchlist? Do you want to be? The ScareMail project is designed to mess with the NSA’s email surveillance programs.

Benjamin Grosser has written a plugin for many popular web browsers that uses an algorithm to generate a clever but ultimately useless narrative in the signature of your email using as many probable NSA search terms as possible. The idea behind this is if enough people use it, it will overload the NSA’s search results, ultimately making their email keyword tracking useless.

Ben has a video describing the project."

Link to Original Source
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What will the future bring? (Ask Slashdot)

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Slashdot's recent article about Andrew Marshall (the pentagon's predictor of future events) got me wondering about about the future in general.

What major changes do you think will happen within the next 5 years or so? What problems do we face today that will become non-issues, what little-known problems will become big, and which problems of today are non issues?"

Link to Original Source
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5 Year Mission Continues After 45 Year Hiatus

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Hackaday brings us news about a continuation of the original Star Trek series. The Kickstarter-funded project is attempting to complete the original 5 year mission, which ended after only three seasons on the air. The fan based and fan supported reincarnation is cleverly titled “Star Trek Continues” and has CBS’s consent.

Check out the first episode "Pilgrim of Eternity". For being fan-made, it's actually pretty good."

Link to Original Source
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Linux RNG may be insecure after all

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "As a followup to Linus's opinion of people skeptical of the linux random number generator, a new paper analyzes the robustness of /dev/urandom and /dev/urandom.

From the paper: "From a practical side, we also give a precise assessment of the security of the two Linux PRNGs, /dev/random and /dev/urandom. In particular, we show several attacks proving that these PRNGs are not robust according to our definition, and do not accumulate entropy properly. These attacks are due to the vulnerabilities of the entropy estimator and the internal mixing function of the Linux PRNGs. These attacks against the Linux PRNG show that it does not satisfy the "robustness" notion of security, but it remains unclear if these attacks lead to actual exploitable vulnerabilities in practice.""

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Stuffed Animals Riding to Their Slaughter

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "A disturbing delivery truck is currently roaming the streets of New York City, showing cuddly farmyard animals being sent to the slaughterhouse. Banksy's super adorable but horribly sad "Sirens of the Lambs" also – in pure Banksy form – makes a social commentary about the horrors of the livestock industry. All types of animals (cows, pics, chickens, ducks, lambs and even a panda) can be seen protruding from the “Farm Fresh Meats” truck, presumably on the way to the slaughterhouse. Some of the creatures move their heads and “cry out” for help, attracting the attention of people on the street."
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NY Comic Con Takes Over Attendees' Twitter Accounts to Praise Itself

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Attendees to this year’s New York Comic Con convention were allowed to pre-register their RFID-enabled badges online and connect their social media profiles to their badges — something, the NYCC registration site explained, that would make the “NYCC experience 100x cooler! For realz.”

Most attendees didn’t expect “100x cooler” to translate into “we’ll post spam in your feed as soon as the RFID badge senses that you’ve entered the show", but that seems to be what happened."

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Gibson Research proposes new secure login system

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "Gibson Research is proposing a new secure login system. The SQRL system uses QR codes with a separate authentication system to provide cryptographically-secure authentication and communication. Although meant to be activated from a smartphone camera, the system could also be used from a browser applet or screen-capture program.

The convenience of not needing to enter account names or passwords is quite tempting, and cryptographically safe communications would be a bonus for many applications.

What do other slashdot readers think?"

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Video of Range Rover running over bikers in NYC

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  about a year ago

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "The annual New York City "Hollywood Block Party" motorcycle ride turned violent Sunday after a motorcyclist had a minor fender bender with a black Range Rover. Both the initial accident, and the high-speed chase that followed, were caught on tape via the mounted helmet camera of another biker.

Motorcyclists, after catching up with the car, assaulted the driver."

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Which incumbents to vote out in the upcoming election?

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  1 year,11 days

Okian Warrior (537106) writes "A few congressional seats will be on the ballot for this year's upcoming federal elections.

Based on past performance, who would you vote against? Ignoring party affiliations and looking only at history, which of them has made decisions that are bad for the people? Which professional politicians should be opposed, in favor of untried alternatives?"

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Journals

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Non-popularity of Open Source

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Apropos my recent post outlining why open source is not very popular.

I've spent some time researching useability, both in computer software and other areas.

The post was necessarily brief - it only outlined 5 general trends and was light on context, explanation, and supporting examples.

A better treatment would explain all the trends that I see (perhaps a dozen) with more explicit explanations for each. Unfortunately that's not appropriate for a blog post [Slashdot] comment.

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Egad! I've got fans!

Okian Warrior Okian Warrior writes  |  more than 4 years ago

I've just now discovered that I've got fans.

Contact info:

niroz (dot) 9 (dot) okianwarrior (at) spamgourmet.com

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