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Comments

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It's Time To Bring Pseudoscience Into the Science Classroom

Quince alPillan Re:Only works if the teacher isn't the one in thre (470 comments)

Well, he was partially right. Some of voodoo magic is chemical or potion based. See for example zombie powder which is actually a combination of drugs (one to induce a coma in a death-like state and another to make the person pliable and open to suggestion in a trance-like state).

Now if he was talking about voodoo dolls and curses? No, that's bunk. They only work on people that fully believe in it, giving a huge placebo effect that has been scientifically researched and documented. In fact, one scientist when confronted with someone "cursed" and suffering from a life threatening placebo effect had to "uncurse" the man, "curing" him by convincing him he wasn't cursed any more. It wasn't the curse itself that was killing him, but his belief in the curse was so strong that his brain was shutting down his own body.

about two weeks ago
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ShapeShifter: Beatable, But We'll Hear More About It

Quince alPillan Re:Box with blinking lights... (102 comments)

Funny you should mention this. I used to work for a company that actually made one of these boxes (blinking lights and all) out of painted plywood and put important sounding labels on it like "Main AC", "Generator", "Battery Backup", "Firewall", and "Rack A/B/C" with a simplistic diagram of how the power management system actually worked. They installed it into the server room and hooked a bunch of thick cables to it but didn't actually do anything (the lights were powered by AA batteries).

Occasionally marketing would bring customers (read: CEO/CFO, etc) into the server room to show them the blinking lights to prove that the system was "top notch" and monitored 24/7.

It was later replaced by a wall of monitors showing Nagios graphs that didn't actually measure anything important.

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

Quince alPillan Re:9.1 (1009 comments)

Which was completely true. I was also running Win2k as well, but something to keep in mind was that DirectX / Direct3D wasn't ported to WindowsNT and there were a lot of drivers for video cards and sound cards that wouldn't work with the NT kernel. Win2k was the first NT kernel OS (quickly followed by XP) that had 3D driver support and that was pretty sketchy until XP came out as the new consumer flagship OS and drivers would actually start to work. Win2k was an awesome OS, but it was meant for businesses and corporations, not home users. Home users were intended to use Windows 98 SE (released the year before Win2k) and Windows ME (which was released after Win2k).

about 3 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

Quince alPillan Re:9.1 (1009 comments)

Both business-class OSes and not meant for the home consumer.

about 3 months ago
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BlackBerry Posts $4.4 Billion Loss, Will Outsource To Foxconn

Quince alPillan Re:Strategic investment? (141 comments)

"We think that by giving you money, you're either going to be a legitimate competitor again and give us a great return on our investment or else we're going to get our money back when we chop you up into pieces because we own you. You're on limited time to do either."

In other words, someone gave them a loan. How badly BB got shafted by that loan is determined by how desperate they were when they took it. BB either paid them in stock, which means voting power over the company's assets when / if it folds, or else they owe them money and their patent portfolio will be sold to them when BB goes bankrupt to pay the debts.

about 4 months ago
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China Rejects 545,000 Tons of US Genetically Modified Corn

Quince alPillan Re:And if we did this to China, would it be news? (215 comments)

Yes, it probably would be news. The "Chinese Drywall" scare in 2007/2008 made the news for a few weeks as well.

The only reason this made Slashdot was because its related to GMO. GMO tends to be a hot button for nerds because a fair number of misinformed people will malignly knee-jerk in response to GMO, while people who are more likely to understand GMO tend to be okay with minimal variations or even approve wholeheartedly.

After all, if you disapprove of all GMO, you shouldn't eat orange carrots or else you'll be hypocritical.

about 4 months ago
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NSA Has No Clue As To Scope of Snowden's Data Trove

Quince alPillan Re:say what? (383 comments)

The issue isn't that they don't have logs. The issue is that they have no idea who he was when he got the documents. He used his sysadmin privileges and social engineering (read: Give me your password and I'll fix your problem) to get access to a bunch of accounts and passwords that didn't belong to him over a long period of time. They have no way of differentiating between him and legitimate users.

about 4 months ago
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FDA Tells Google-Backed 23andMe To Halt DNA Test Service

Quince alPillan Re:Upsetting the Apple Cart (371 comments)

The FDA has a point, though. If the test isn't accurate and gives false negatives or isn't clear about what the results really mean, it can lure people into overconfidence and that can be dangerous if they really are at risk for one of the diseases.

Granted, they probably wouldn't have known about these conditions in the first place, but if, as an example, the rest of their family is known for heart disease due to a genetic defect and they get a false negative, they might be overconfident in their chances for heart disease, leading to possible death because they didn't go to a doctor to get checked out.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: MMORPG Recommendations?

Quince alPillan Re:I left them all behind for Minecraft (555 comments)

I'll agree with the AC. Minecraft with friends has been a lot more fun than the stress of end-game raid night and there are enough creepers, endermen, and lava to keep that thrill of danger going. You can even add mods to make the game more to your flavor of game.

If you're looking only to MMOs, though, my suggestion is to wait a bit. The Elder Scrolls Online is coming out in 2014, as well as Everquest Next and Everquest Next Landmark.

Both games seem promising, with ESO bringing back PVP themes from Dark Age of Camelot in addition to a promised solo focus and EQN/EQNL promising more of a sandbox game with raiding rather than a themepark game like WoW.

about 5 months ago
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Wikimedia Sends Cease and Desist Letter To Firm Providing Paid Editing Services

Quince alPillan Re:First world problems (186 comments)

....and erased because you commented on the story.

about 5 months ago
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EA Takes Over Scrabble App, Wipes Player Histories and Switches Dictionary

Quince alPillan Re:so glad to see EA is back in the game again. (197 comments)

I'm sure the new Madden 2015 or the new Need for Speed for the XBOX One will be the trifecta of poor customer service.

about 10 months ago
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HR Departments Tell Equifax Your Entire Salary History

Quince alPillan Re:Horribly Unfair (472 comments)

Not exactly. Some workplaces mandate that you're not allowed to discuss your salary on penalty of being fired. Typically because some people at the same level are being paid vastly different sums and if they were told what they were being paid, they'd reasonably be upset.

about a year ago
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Why It's So Hard To Predict How Caffeine Will Affect Your Body

Quince alPillan Re:US coffee or real coffee? (212 comments)

It completely depends upon location and brew. Cuban and Turkish coffee are closer to rocket fuel than traditional medium roast coffee, and have differing amounts of caffeine in them.

...and you can't say "the rest of the world" without giving a country. Almost every country has its own method of preparation. Even differing parts of the US have different preparation methods (New Orleans vs. Miami, for example).

about a year ago
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Man Fired For His Online Customer Service Game

Quince alPillan Re:Did he do it at work or at home? (210 comments)

I'd have to agree. The sales people generally have a motto of "Anything is possible. Never say no." and set unreasonable expectations.

Coming from that type of environment, though, I've found that generally anything IS possible, as long as you throw enough resources at it and get creative with how you implement it. The first round may not be pretty, but it'll probably get the job done.

Its the salesperson's job to then go back to the customer and explain why what they want costs an arm and a leg and will take a year and a day, but if implemented correctly and to the satisfaction of the customer, they're usually willing to pay for it.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Can I Explain To a Coworker That He Writes Bad Code?

Quince alPillan Dude, your code sucks! (683 comments)

Just tell him straight out that his code is impossible to read. Follow it by explaining why its hard to understand and ask him to make it human readable and understandable. Give examples, preferably from an authoritative source such as a textbook, of ways that he can change his code.

If he can't (I don't know how to write it any other way!) or won't (I can read it just fine!) then fire him, with justification that his code is impossible to maintain and he's causing the company to lose money in the time it takes to maintain his code.

Either way, your company is going to be in the lurch when the guy leaves and the only documentation left is his shitty legacy code. Better to cut him loose now and replace his bad code with good code.

about a year ago
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School Shooting Prompts Legislation To Study Violent Video Games

Quince alPillan Re:Classic literature and Saturday morning cartoon (1168 comments)

You may be thinking of Saturday morning cartoons of a few years ago. I got up early this Saturday and decided to go look to see what cartoons were on. Sadly, Doc McStuffins, Rescue Heroes, and Thomas and Friends was the closest thing I could find. Other channels where as a kid I would watch cartoons had paid programming or news.

Sadly, Cartoon Network seems to be one of the only channels that has real cartoons (i.e. ones with a plot that don't bother teaching lessons to preschoolers)

about a year ago
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Australian Prime Minister's Spoof "Apocalypse" Speech Goes Viral In China

Quince alPillan Re:Shit (225 comments)

So now we know where Skynet started.

about a year ago
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Google Loses Santa To Bing

Quince alPillan Re:WTF? (153 comments)

I'm sure they do have the imagery. On someone's hard drive. In a vault.1

Google / Bing have the technology that makes it far easier to implement over the web. Why reinvent the wheel when you can have the professionals do it?

about a year ago
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Voyager 1, So Close To Interstellar Space That We Can Taste It!

Quince alPillan Re:It's sad.... (271 comments)

The way Minecraft and the assorted mods are going, in 30 years we'll be building a space ship in Minecraft and then sending it to the fabrication plant to be built.

about a year ago
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Stratfor Hacker Could Be Sentenced to Life, Says Judge

Quince alPillan Re:not surprised (388 comments)

Well, upper management may have gotten off with a slap on the wrist and a fine, but a couple middle management guys were charged with manslaughter.

about a year ago

Submissions

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Occupy Wall Street's Rolling Jubilee to Bail Out the People

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "Occupy Wall Street has a new plan for helping the 99%. They've set up an old-fashioned telethon they're calling the Rolling Jubilee to buy up bad debt with donations and then forgiving the debt outright. As a test run, they set themselves up as a debt collector and they were able to use $500 to buy $14,000 worth of bad debt, which they then forgave. The telethon will be held at the Le Poisson Rouge on Thursday, November 15. It will also stream online."
Link to Original Source
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Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "The Oatmeal's Matthew Inman is once again collecting money for a good cause. This time, he's collecting money for the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe to purchase the original location of the Wardenclyffe Tower in Shoreham, New York so that it can be rebuilt into a Tesla Museum. The fundraiser, titled Let's Build a Goddamn Tesla Museum has already started."
Link to Original Source
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Chaos Monkey Released Into the Wild

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "The Netflix Tech Blog revealed today that they've released Chaos Monkey, an open source Amazon Web Service testing tool that will randomly turn off instances in Auto Scaling Groups.

We have found that the best defense against major unexpected failures is to fail often. By frequently causing failures, we force our services to be built in a way that is more resilient. We are excited to make a long-awaited announcement today that will help others who embrace this approach.

We have written about our Simian Army in the past and we are now proud to announce that the source code for the founding member of the Simian Army, Chaos Monkey, is available to the community.

Do you think your applications can handle a troop of mischievous monkeys loose in your infrastructure? Now you can find out.

"

Link to Original Source
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'Oldest' Wooly Rhino Discovered

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "A woolly rhino fossil dug up on the Tibetan Plateau is believed to be the oldest specimen of its kind yet found.

The creature lived some 3.6 million years ago — long before similar beasts roamed northern Asia and Europe in the ice ages that gripped those regions.

The discovery team says the existence of this ancient rhino supports the idea that the frosty Tibetan foothills of the Himalayas were the evolutionary cradle for these later animals."

Link to Original Source
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Scientists Sequence Black Death Bacteria

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "The bacteria behind the Black Death has a very unusual history. Its ancestor is an unassuming soil bacterium and the current strains of Yersinia pestis still infects thousands of people annually, but no longer causes the suite of horrifying symptoms associated with the medieval plagues. The radical differences, in fact, had led some to suggest that we had been blaming the wrong bacteria. Now, researchers have obtained DNA from some of London's plague victims, and confirmed that Y. pestis appears to be to blame. But the sequences also suggest that the strains of bacteria we see today may be different from the ones that rampaged through Europe."
Link to Original Source
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Gencon Charity Donation in Honor of Gygax Refused

Quince alPillan Quince alPillan writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Quince alPillan (677281) writes "Giant in the Playground Games reports that:

...the Charity Auction at this year's GenCon Indianapolis was held to benefit Gary Gygax's favorite charity, which I will not name here for reasons that will soon become obvious. The fine folks at GenCon raised over $17,000 for this charity, which helps starving children in impovershed areas of the world--only to have that money actually turned down by the charity. The charity refused due to the fact that the money was raised partly by the sales of Dungeons and Dragons materials, which as we all know, puts an irrevocable taint of evil on the filthy lucre that us demon-worshipping gamers might want to use to, say, donate to starving children. Not only is this a slap in the face to every gamer, but it is especially insulting to Mr. Gygax himself, who I understand donated to their cause many times over the years. Plus, I'm sure the children who would have gotten food or clean drinking water with that money would be sort of upset, too.

"

Link to Original Source

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