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Winged Robots Hint At the Origins of Flight

PatrickThomson Re:Zergling Speed upgrade (59 comments)

There are two kinds of incremental change - small changes in gene expression/abundance/variation that give small outward changes, and small mutations that have big outward effects, e.g. six fingers on one hand, downs syndrome, sickle cell anemia. All those originally came from a single genetic misfire during replication. Who's to say wings didn't start from a physical step change that was a single base pair?

about 3 years ago
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Gamers Piece Together Retrovirus Enzyme Structure

PatrickThomson Re:When they fix something they should tell people (149 comments)

Quit your whining. They have X number of people, and I'd rather they develop software for protein folding than email back individual people who complained about things probably already on a to-do list. For most software projects I'd consider my response a little harsh, but you're advocating an approach where resources used to CURE AIDS are being diverted to "not offending trovingslosh". The least you can do is forgive them, discard your own pettiness, and re-harness your natural ability to spend your gaming time productively. It's a rare skill you have and that project needs people like you.

more than 3 years ago
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The Uncanny Valley Explained

PatrickThomson Re:Asperger's syndrome can cause the uncanny valle (172 comments)

Hey, nice to see someone open about ASD who isn't a whiny internet shutin - Those guys have negatively stereotyped us to the point where I never talk about it any more. You raise an important point, which is that we are essentially learning how to win friends and influence people, not subconsciously as part of our character, but as a learned discipline. It scares me sometimes. Is this what sociopaths do also? I learn to smile and laugh with someone as they talk because I want to express the inner feelings that normal people can do with laughing and smiling - it doesn't matter if the impression I'm trying to force is an accurate picture of my own mental state, but it's still manipulation. Is this something we're worthy and responsible enough to wield?

more than 3 years ago
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Google's Bangalore Streetview Project Stalled

PatrickThomson Re:Google: Let's pretend we don't understand it. (108 comments)

Not that it undermines the main thrust of your argument, but I feel that sloppy investigating on your part makes you look weak - Specifically:

Google's the world leader in face recognition technology. It uses this technology to identify faces in streetview and blur them out. The best you can rant about is that Google themselves may have a private database of times when people who've been tagged elsewhere in Google have wandered past a streetview car at a particular time. For the rest of us, there's always "that's blatantly your shirt in streetview!"

more than 3 years ago
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Sony: 10 Million Credit Cards May Have Been Exposed

PatrickThomson Re:Not news (251 comments)

The best thing that comes out of all these breaches is the consequences of assuming the worst - Gary McKinnon, looks for UFOs, causes 6-figure damages because any machine he was within 1000 miles of pinging got tossed into a shredder. Likewise, with this, you know there's some hacker out there who's all like "shit, I missed that database, I was only in there for info on the PS4"

more than 3 years ago
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Firefox On Linux Gets Faster Builds — To Be Fast As Windows

PatrickThomson Re:Profile guided? (306 comments)

I was always under the impression that -Os made sense in a lot of contexts because of the smaller binary size fitting into the CPU cache more easily and speeding up some kind of switching process that apparently happens a lot during execution and not just when you launch the program - but I'm obviously far from an expert on these matters.

more than 3 years ago
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Blue Gene/P Reaches Sixty-Trillionth of Pi Squared

PatrickThomson Re:Error in, error out (212 comments)

It sounds like you think that's a statement about the pi they've calculated here, where the words immediately preceeding your quote, found at the top of this page, are "pi to 40 digits". Any of us could comfortably calculate that on paper in a day, or half an hour with a 10-digit solar powered calculator. I fear you may be guilty of slashdot-itis - an impulse to try and prove yourself smart by demolishing a strawman built from the headline, or the summary if we're lucky. Sometimes, the fail is too epic not to rebuke.

more than 3 years ago
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Wal-Mart Tests Online Grocery Delivery

PatrickThomson Re:Long standard in the UK (229 comments)

I had a food load for 10 people delivered to the middle of the yorkshire dales on New Years Eve, so I have a new respect for tesco's universal delivery policy. I think some of the scottish isles you'd be out of luck but it's a lifeline for remote people too!

more than 3 years ago
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Anonymous Launches Attack On Sony

PatrickThomson Re:Why DDOS? (347 comments)

So where do you stand on the idea of set-top boxes and cable modems? Would you respect the right of loanership there?

more than 3 years ago
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US House Subcommittee Votes To Kill Net Neutrality

PatrickThomson Re:Enjoy. (607 comments)

The problem with earth-arians in politics is the same with openly-religious parties. There's always an unpleasant undertone of connection/endorsement of extremist views. If the party ignores the extremists, everyone continues to whisper. If they openly distance themselves from the extremists, they're adrift and directionless. Lose/lose.

Specifically, enviromentalism/animal rights/veganism all point to the extreme viewpoint that human lives are *not* the pinnacle of importance, and that killing 80% of all humans would do a lot of good for the ecosystem. With that pallor hanging over the Greens, the mere suggestion that a family goes from 3 cars to 2 is seen as a slippery slope to death camps.

more than 3 years ago
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The Biggest Hoaxes In Wikipedia's First Decade

PatrickThomson Re:Ethanol is odorless ... (219 comments)

Seconded. Methanol, ethanol and IPA all have very distinct smells. I haven't worked with n-pr, but t-butanol and n-butanol are also immediately distinguishable. I can also probably take a stab at ethylene glycol and the c5/6 analogues.

Here's the real test: does methanol-d4 smell different from methanol?

more than 3 years ago
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T-Mobile Slashes Fair Use Policy, Says Download At Home

PatrickThomson Re:I'm bracing myself (364 comments)

Actually, that brings it in line with the data allowance from most other plans. I do watch the occasional clip on the phone but I've never even gone over half of that. The solution is probably to spend some portion of life not using the internet as fully as possible.

more than 3 years ago
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Congresswoman and Staff Gunned Down

PatrickThomson Re:Ban guns (2166 comments)

Here in scotland, gun deaths make national news and there are between 0 and 4 fatal shootings a year in a country with 6 million people. Every other week, I read about a school shooting on this site, followed by thousands of people spouting rubbish like you.

Just man up and admit that guns are cool and dangerous. I know

more than 3 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

PatrickThomson Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (696 comments)

Yeah, but in this specific example, there's more blood because of Assange. The best you can possibly do - and I actually think this myself - is that it teaches future politicians that secrecy is no longer a tool that the corrupt can use to consolidate power. But still. In this specific case, sux2bu.

more than 3 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

PatrickThomson Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (696 comments)

Hah! The citizens have nothing to do with it. The best we can hope for is that Mugabe mis-exploits this so badly that the UN has an excuse to finally get rid of him - but that's going to take more innocent blood.

more than 3 years ago
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Why WikiLeaks Is Unlike the Pentagon Papers

PatrickThomson Re:One example of WikiLeaks damage (696 comments)

Get back to us on that one after Mugabe has the opposition leader executed for treason.

more than 3 years ago

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