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Comments

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We Need Distributed Social Networks More Than Ello

RockDoctor Only a dollar? (255 comments)

$1 per year might be enough. Maybe they'd just have to watch one of those ads once a year that Youtube puts in front of a Beyoncé music video, and that would cover it.

It would take a lot more than a dollar to make me watch a Beyoncé video.

about an hour ago
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Tech Firm Fined For Paying Imported Workers $1.21 Per Hour

RockDoctor Re:What 3500$? (280 comments)

He comes to the USA to do some installation work of the product that was developed by his team in his country. How is this at all a sane idea that he now needs to be paid something entirely different based on the country where he is doing installation rather than what his actual salary is back in the country where he was hired and where he has his actual job?

Speaking as someone who moves around the world to operate software, train users and install and maintain equipment which my company develops here in the UK, no, I don't expect my pay rate to vary much from one country to another. There are local variations (dislocation pay rates if I'm more than 2 time zones away from home, which makes contacting the wife harder ; hardship rates for when working in disease-ridden hell holes with a good chance of being killed on the way to work ; overtime rates for more than 40 days a quarter away from home) which add up to about a 30% variation in pay rate from one job to the next.

There are, however plenty of employers in this business who do deliberately hire from the cheapest countries they can, and pay discriminatorily low pay rates as they move those staff around the world. We do try to harm them, our competitors, by hiring their best staff on UK contracts. If that means that we pay them like local maharajahs, we don't care. We still hire them out at UK rates, and shipping them around the world is a negligible cost (compared to finding the right people. Why should we care which continent they live on? That would be as discriminatory as hiring a Brit and paying him on a Thai rate just because he live there with his Thai family, even if he's working in Angola.

IF the company in question is based in India and this is what they're doing, then there's no problem with that. If the company is HQ'd elsewhere, then that's the rates they should be paying their staff on.

(Incidentally, our typical working day is 16 hours for seniors, 12 hours for juniors ; that's 112 and 84 hours per week respectively ; obviously in a crisis, you do what's necessary to not die, but generally that's not more than a few days of overtime.)

5 hours ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

RockDoctor Re:The obvious question is (164 comments)

Disclaimer - I'm talking about Scottish law ; I am not sure of the state of English law. I'm sure that Asda's Scottish advocates do know and can inform their English barrister associates which bits of Asda HQ's English laws are not going to work in Scotland.

6 hours ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

RockDoctor Re:The obvious question is (164 comments)

If you can handle the civil disorder charges afterwards, you know since it is in a public place...

No, it's not in a public place. It's on private property (a supermarket) to which the public are *granted* access but do not have a *right* to access. Which is why they have to employ security guards who do not have the powers of the police (they can't touch you, except in self defence, nor detain you except under the normal conditions of a citizen's arrest). You do not have the right to go there - the store can refuse you access and demand that you leave (and you're then committing a public order offence if you don't then leave the private property).

If the store management object to you stripping your clothes off, then they can request that you leave. But they've invited you onto their property and if they don't like you stripping off and dancing naked down the aisles, it's for them to deal with, not the Police.

The boundaries are subtle, but they are there.

6 hours ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

RockDoctor Re:The obvious question is (164 comments)

if you take off your cloths inside the booth when the scan is taken.

What, if anything, is to stop you from taking your clothes off outside the booth? It doesn't have to be on the street, you know.

6 hours ago
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U.K. Supermarkets Beta Test Full-Body 3D Scanners For Selfie Figurines

RockDoctor Re:UK article, US units (164 comments)

And who would want a 9" pianist figurine anyway?

In a world where the Baby Jesus Butt Plug is a real artefact, and given the frequent public redneck masturbation on Slashdot over the buttocks of Obama, I can guess that slightly modified 9in Obama-dildoes are going to sell well.

6 hours ago
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Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

RockDoctor Re:Yeah but ... (127 comments)

The same tests on DNA from another man from the same era and locale but from a different Y-haplogroup

Where's the sample?

In archaeology (and palaeontology in general), you play the hand you're dealt. (Though you can try to stack the deck a little by choosing where to dig.)

6 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:Colour me Suspicious (121 comments)

maybe I have played/watched too much resident evil

Maybe you have. (What's "resident evil"?) Unfortunately, this is not a game, and people are at risk. I've a colleague working in the area at the moment, and I'm due to be going back there in about April ; my neighbour's husband is worried about relatives who live in Ghana and his colleagues in Senegal.

I really think your concern about your conspiracy theories are a bit over-blown.

6 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:Money, money, money... (121 comments)

Note that the NewLink vaccine donated by Canada has demonstrated Ebola-like symptoms in many of the people who've been inoculated in Phase I trials, so it's entirely possible Canada Health has been giving those people

Hmmm, I wonder if, after vaccination with this (or one of the other in-development vaccines and treatments), the patient will then always return positive on the piss-in-a-pot type tests for Ebola which are also under development?

Of course, if they do return positive because of the vaccination, then they'll not be prevented from travelling on that basis - they show positive because of the vaccination, and the vaccination is reported in their vaccination passport (do you carry your vaccination passport along with your identification passport? I do, in the same wallet.). So they'll just get waved through any security check for perfectly good reasons.

Will this vaccine against this strain of Ebola protect against the 6 or 7 other strains of Ebola? Oh, now that's a question whose answer would be really quite important to know.

But Slashdot demands immediate action now, regardless of unimportant questions like that. Oh Noes!

6 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:clinical trials. (121 comments)

It definitely muddies the study up somewhat,

I'll translate that into statistician speak : more patients die than absolutely necessary.

I'm not trying to make you feel bad - it's just a nasty situation.

Try one of the standard psychological tests : there is a run-away train on a line running towards a car with a family of five children in a car stuck on the tracks ; there is a set of points (errr, EN_US : switch??) which you can use to divert the runaway train into a siding where it will impact a wheelchair-bound man stuck in the crossing there. This is your situation. What do you do?

Nature doesn't care about how uncomfortable it makes you feel.

7 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:clinical trials. (121 comments)

As I understood it - vacine - post infection is a moderately effective treatment

We don't know that for this disease. It is the case for some diseases, but ... I'll spell it out :
W_E
D_O
N_O_T
K_N_O_W
T_H_A_T ...
And that is one of the things that we need to find out.

7 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:clinical trials. (121 comments)

I still emotionally struggle with the clinical trial approach of giving half the participants a placebo to see how many of them die vs. the ones who were given the drug under study

You don't, generally, give the patients a placebo ; you give them the standard treatment. Generally, you're not interested in comparing whether your new treatment is better than nothing ; you're interested in finding out if your new treatment is better than the standard treatment.

And as your results (deaths, or whatever other end state you've defined, for example a 20% reduction in tumour size) come in, you assess the likelihood of the test treatment being better than the standard. If you reach a pre-defined level of confidence one way or the other then you switch people to the better treatment, but not until you reach that level of confidence.

Unfortunately, for Ebola, the best treatment at the moment is supportive care (fluids, essentially), with about a 30-40% survival rate.

Struggle with it emotionally. It's hard. That's why I gave that career path a body swerve when offered it (plus I hate working in offices).

7 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:Summary (121 comments)

Let me shed some light on this - a lot of people died of heart disease whilst heart medication was tested simply because the studies needed to be "double-blind" to ensure statistics' accuracy - thus medication that otherwise would've saved their lives was withheld

Properly designed and conducted double-blinded trials result in fewer deaths overall than badly conducted trials, if the drugs are any good. If the drugs are not any good (which is something you do not know until after you're at least part way into the trials), then people still die. But since you don't have an effective treatment, people are still going to die.

I did a reasonable chunk of medical statistics in my first year of university, and the department thought I was good enough that they wanted me to change to doing stats full time ; I didn't go into statistics because I couldn't stand the idea of my day job being to decided (in a cold-hearted, randomised, impersonal way) on people's life and death. Even when I knew - through having worked through the mathematics and having done the experimental design myself - that this was the way to minimise the number of deaths.

7 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:Summary (121 comments)

Simple. Use a portion of the 24,000 doses (a few thousand?) to spot vaccinate anyone who's had close contact with someone with Ebola, say all immediate family members.

OK, that's the first 100,000 doses of your 24,000 used. What are you going to do with the next -76,000 doses?

Most (not all) people in this area live in fairly extended families - mum, dad, several kids, one or several grandparents, maybe a cousin from the country. 6 to 8 per household might be a reasonable average.

Infections are running at about 1,000 cases per week, accelerating by about 40% per week. So this week, you'll need about 7,000 doses. Next week, you'll need another 9,800 (16,800 used so far), the week after another 13,720 (you're 6000 doses short already), the week after another 19,000 doses which you don't have. And now you're getting into the infections that may or may not result from your initial round of vaccinations, so maybe you'll stop having quite so many cases. But 3 weeks further down the line you're seeing cases from the 6,000 people you couldn't vaccinate.

All of which assumes that the vaccine is 100% effective. If it's 90% effective (which is pretty good, for a first generation vaccine), then you've still got a long way to go.

Simple?

7 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:Summary (121 comments)

So many people are executed every year in various countries (even the US). Why not allocate them for research purposes?

I'll put my statistician's hat on to answer your fucking stupid scenario.

Are the immune systems of overweight drug-addicted white guys living on a high fat diet directly comparable to the immune systems of subsistence farmers who work a 12-14 hour day and are significantly malnourished, and also have several types of intestinal worms and other chronic infections? (And malaria too, active or passive.)

This is why you test your vaccine (or any other treatment) on a population as closely comparable as possible to your target population.

That leads to another problem with such a testing regime : a significant number of your target population are going to be pregnant or menstruating women, so how are you going to recruit pregnant death-row inmates to your trial? (This is actually a general problem with drug design and testing - there is an understandable reluctance to test drugs for safety and efficacy on pregnant women and unborn foetuses. Breast-feeding women and babies too ; same problem.)

Do people on Slashdot actually try to think through problems before spouting politically-motivated bullshit? Oh, sorry, I just noticed that you're an anonymous coward (with the emphasis on the "coward" part of that).

8 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:The Cult Leader will solve the problem! (121 comments)

There's about a half-dozen such piss-in-a-pot tests in development - which is good! - but that means that each of the drug testing agencies in their distinct countries of origin need to confirm their effectiveness (false positive rates versus false negative rates), and that is going to take cases and time.

The design purpose of these is not to test people arriving in western countries, but to test people suspected of infection in the outbreak countries, which is a far more effective way of keeping the disease from getting out of those countries. Secondarily, the test kits might be used to screen people going into airport departure lounges (typically, they take 10-15 minutes, which is not disastrous in a security/ departure setting ; in an arrivals hall, there would be riots. And you've already had the exposure on board.)

I heard Ron Paul's name mentioned. Who is he, and what relevance does he have to the issue (IANA-American)?

8 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:So 1 x F35 = 60 million x vaccinations? (121 comments)

much like visitors to some countries get vaccines for yellow fever

Every West African country I've been to, they won't let you in unless you've got an in-date vaccination certificate for Yellow Fever. That's every such country.

(They actually changed the required vaccine booklet for new issues to have a yellow cover, as a flag of the main disease they look for in it. My older one is grandfathered in though.)

8 hours ago
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Leaked Documents Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Ebola Vaccine Issues

RockDoctor Re:So 1 x F35 = 60 million x vaccinations? (121 comments)

And how is that going to get additional BSL-2 sterile bottling capacity built in under a year just how?

Oh, sorry, I disturbed your political posturing with a relevant question. I'll let you get back to grandstanding without reading the fucking article. Meanwhile, I've got friends in the area, trying to do their jobs. But don't let the real world disturb your political ranting.

8 hours ago
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Facebook To DEA: Stop Using Phony Profiles To Nab Criminals

RockDoctor Re:Old saying... (239 comments)

"Facebook. Where men are men, women are men, and 14-year-old girls are FBI agents."

are small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

it doesn't have the same ring to it..

Still doesn't.

2 days ago
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Cell Transplant Allows Paralyzed Man To Walk

RockDoctor Re:I'm still waiting... (161 comments)

Considering it's essentially* illegal to study,

That may be the case in your country, because you let the religious idiots be in charge of the politicians. That's not the case in the rest of the world.

(Also this wasn't stem cells at all).

Ah, following the traditions of Slashdot by not RTFA, or WTFP (Watching TF Programme), or knowing WTFYWOA (WTF You're Wittering On About). Yes, the study did use stem cells. Specifically, the stem cells that continually regenerate nerve cells in the nose, to re-connect olefactory nerves to the central nervous system, after the CNS nerves get broken by environmental damage. Didn't you understand the point that the olefactory nerve is the only bit of the CNS that is actually directly exposed to the environment?

2 days ago

Submissions

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Micro$loth to sack 18,000 workers

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 3 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The Grauniad is reporting that Micro$loth are planning to sack 18,000 people in the near future. I'm sure that'll make them feel better. The sacked people, of course ; it'll be devastating to the managers who hand out the redundancy notices."
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International game tournaments segregated by sex/ gender.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 4 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The Grauniad is reporting that a finnish heat of an international gaming competition is being segregated into male and female branches in accordance to international rules.

The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) want "eSports" to be recognised as equivalent to physical sports. And that, it seems, requires that competitors be segregated on grounds of sex. Which may be appropriate for pole vaulters, but not necessarily appropriate for ePole vaulters. This leaves the organisers of national heats of eSports in a rather invidious position of having (in this case) a tournament only open to "Finnish male players."

So, support gender equality, or support the recognition of electronic sports as having the same status as kicking balls around? Pick one."
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French Railways order the wrong size of train.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 5 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The BBC are reporting that SNCF, the French national railway system, has ordered several thousand new complete trains, but then discovered that they are

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-27497727

to fit into many railway stations.

For reasons that are not explained, the railway owning company (RFF) had to measure the sizes of it's platforms to find out what size they were (which begs the question of, why didn't they know the sizes of their stations already?), then tell the train operating company (SNCF) what size trains to buy. But RFF only measured the sizes of stations built in the last 30 years, and since discovered that stations built previously were noticeably different, and the new trains wouldn't fit into older stations.

At least they were both using metres, not cubits versus roods.

[The French] Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier blamed an "absurd rail system" for the problems.
"When you separate the rail operator from the train company," he said, "this is what happens."

The last quote is ominous for the Britons who pay for the BBC, as our railway system is similarly divided up between track-owning companies (many) and train-operating companies (also many), thanks to the the Maggon and her cronies."
Link to Original Source

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Pentagon : scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden 'staggering'

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 5 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The Grauniad are reporting that a Freedom of Information Act request has revealed a report (or 12 pages of a 37-page report, the remainder censored) that

“the scope of the compromised knowledge related to US intelligence capabilities is staggering”

Well isn't that just terribly sad for them. My heart bleeds. Ed Snowden, if we ever meet, the first beer is my shout."
Link to Original Source

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A new class of plastics : recyclable thermosetting polymers.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 5 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Plastics which form by chemical reactions in the presence of heat are very useful. They can be very strong, and if you incorporate appropriate "filler" materials (chalk, glass fibre, carbon fibre), they can have very attractive engineering properties. But .. that chemical reaction makes them very difficult to recycle, because the new chemical formed during the reaction will often char before it melts. We're not talking about thermo-plastic polymers here (e.g. nylon, polypropylene, PET), but thermo-setting ones including epoxies, phenol-formaldehyde resins, etc.

But no more : an international team have discovered a new class of polymer-forming reactions that produce a thermo-setting polymer, but they can recover the initial components by digesting the polymer with moderately strong acid (pH 2 ; I'd wear gloves. And glasses.), so after a component is used and obsolete, or broken, it can be separated reasonably easily into it's original components (including valuable reinforcing materials, such as carbon fibre) and these then re-used. That is a pretty big step forward."

Link to Original Source
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First diver dies in S.Korea ferry recovery efforts.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 6 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The BBC are reporting that the Korean ferry disaster has claimed it's latest victim, a civilian diver engaged in body-recovery efforts.

Five minutes after commencing a dive to about 25m, diver Lee lost communication with other divers. His body was later recovered to the surface.

This is unlikely to be the final death. Last week another diver lost consciousness underwater, which is an extraordinarily bad situation. He had dived four times previously that morning. Several others have been treated with at a hyperbaric oxygen recompression facility after decompression events.

The initial search of the vessel is nearly completed, but the entire ship is to be re-searched. 40 bodies are still missing."
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Data security on the Internet of things - digestible version

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 8 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "While it has been discussed on Slashdot before, the questions around data security on the "Internet of Things" may seem a little dry to many people.

The excellent webcomic 'Freefall' (by Mark Stanley) addresses some of these concerns in typical "Ha ha. But serious." manner. While the original Internet-controlled coffee machine might not seem so threatening, when it becomes a voice-controlled coffee pot, linked to your grocery account ... all of a sudden it doesn't seem so innocuous."
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Bitcoin plummets after Chinese block 3rd-party payment processors

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 10 months ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In order to use Bitcoin in the real world, you need to convert it into a convertible currency (Kroner, or Rupees, or Yuan, or even USD), a task that is undertaken by "third-party payment provider[s]."

Earlier this month, China's central bank warned that Bitcoin was "not legally protected," had no "real meaning", and barred financial institutions from using the currency. That ban was extended to 3rd-party providers on Tuesday (though with a deadline of Jan 31st / Chinese New Year), and last night 3rd-party provider YeePay complied with the ban. In consequence the Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTC China announced that they could not accept deposits in yuan ; overnight, the exchange's value for Bitcoin has fallen to half it's earlier values.

All the theorising about the value of Bitcoin in opening up a new economy is moot if users can't either put money into the currency, or exchange the currency for one that they can use in the Real World."

Link to Original Source
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The Empire of Evil develop technology ... without (obvious) evil intent.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In a move designed by a PR genius, a conspiracy team of crack Iranian hardware hackers are developing a ground-steered drone for marine Search and Rescue work. Development plans include fully automating the flying and search-and-track capabilities. This will no doubt be followed up by a beefed-up version capable of dropping a "dirty nuke" in Central Park New York.

In deference to the expressed stereotypes of Slashdot, it is also impossible that these persons of the "brown" and "Muslim" persuasions to have developed this technology on their own, and must have stolen it from someone in the rest of the world."
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Falling GOCE satellite seen from Falkland islands.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The GOCE satellite was expected to fall out of the sky at the weekend, and orbital calculations before it last disappeared from the view of ground stations suggested that it came down in the South Atlantic.

The BBC post pictures from a Falkland Islands resident (Las Islas Malvinas if you're in Latin America) who saw a large, fragmenting fireball travelling in the right direction at the right time. Video is available. You'll need to travel to their home near Volunteer Point to view it. If you happen to have a satellite base station in your back pocket, they might be interested in borrowing it to be able to upload the video recordings. Don't bother to take a mobile phone.

Oh, nice tombolos along that waterfront."
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"Light Caber" to be replaced.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In news not coming to you from the Star Trek universe, the so-called "light caber" is to be replaced. How this will impact future aspirant Jedi Knights is unclear, as they will have to manufacture new designs. Members of the Jedi Knight community who are experienced tossers may be little affected."
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Google 'Glass' to be banned while driving

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes ""Stuff" magazine, a "gadget" oriented mag, is reporting that the UK's Department for Transport is planning to ban drivers from using Google "Glass", using the same law (1988 Road Traffic Act) that is used to ban drivers from using hand-held mobile phones.

While there are obvious parallels between the distraction potential of the mobile phone and of "Glass", there are arguments in the other direction that the speech-control aspects of "Glass" could make it less distracting than, say, a touch-screen SatNav. So, to ban "Glass" driving or not?

Typical fines for using a mobile phone while driving are £60 cash plus three penalty points on the driving license ; the points expire 3 years after the offence and if you accumulate 12 points then you've lost your license. Repeat offenders may experience higher fines and/ or more points. Around a million people have received the penalty since the mobile phone ban was introduced in 2003."

Link to Original Source
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Cyclist pleads guilty to manslaughter of pedestrian.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The Grauniad is reporting that a San Francisco cyclist has pleaded guilty to a charge of "vehicular manslaughter" over a collision which killed a 71-year-old pedestrian.

Seemingly, the cyclist had run three successive red lights before finding himself "unable to stop" and ploughing into multiple pedestrians at a junction. "Unable to stop" plainly translates to "driving too fast" in this case.

Running multiple red lights, as the cyclist seems to have accepted by the plea bargain, is a mark of reckless irresponsibility on behalf of the cyclist, as is his admittedly excessive speed. Cyclists have obligations towards pedestrian safety in the same way that motor vehicle drivers have too."

Link to Original Source
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Wood-powered USB re-charger

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Out camping, and your smart phone has a flat battery, so you can't turn it on to discover that you haven't got a signal to call up a weather report to find out if it's raining or not? Well now you don't just have the option of opening your eyes and looking at the skies (hint :the big, round wet things are "raindrops" — Wikipedia may have a better description) ; now you can also feed some random bits of plants — twigs, cones — into a little camping stove, and while you're making a cup of $BEVERAGE$ the stove will produce enough electricity to recharge your power-hungry technology.

OK, I'm being a touch sarcastic about using it for a mobile phone. But as someone who likes week-long trips into the mountains, with camera batteries to re-charge, and GPS loggers to re-charge, and tablet computers which I use to record my geological notes also needing re-charge ... this is a technology that I may well be experimenting with. It's not without criticisms, valid ones, but it does have interesting potential. I'm sure the compounded wilderness experience of the techno-nerds of Slashdot can work out some criticisms of the idea.

In a sideline, it comments on the (in-)efficiency of thermoelectric electricity generation : for a stove peak power of 5.5kW, it can produce up to 4W of electrical power, for an efficiency of 0.072% (tech specs here). Hmmm, maybe photovoltaics on the lid of my rucksac would be better?"
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BBC gives up on 3-D programming.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "After spending several years on supporting the uptake of 3-D TV, the BBC has accepted that people don't want it, and are turning off their 3-D channels following an uptake of under 5% of households with 3-D equipment.

I can just feel the joy at not having wasted my money on this technology."

Link to Original Source
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Will Alibaba have a bigger IPO than Facebook?

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "The BBC are speculating that the impending IPO of Chinese mega-B2B company Alibaba may have an IPO value larger than that of Facebook. Since Alibaba primarily put the manufacturers of physical goods into contact with the customers of physical goods, does this remind you that the world does exist outside of the Interwebz?"
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Retail 3-d Printers becoming available in the UK

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Well-known retail electronics/ gadgetry company Maplin are advertising the availability soon of retail build-it-yourself 3-d printer kits from German (I think) supplier Velleman. While this is quite expensive (£700), it's specs also include a fairly large build volume (20x20x20 cm).

While Maplin have never been cheap, they are one of the few places in the UK these days where you can get electronics parts on the "High Street" (more or less — dozens if not a hundred stores ; for electronics what Jessops used to be for cameras) without having a business credit card and a £1000/month minimum account spend.

So, if they're dipping a toe onto the 3-d printing bandwagon, then it's a good chance that widespread adoption is not far behind."
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XCom : Enemy Unknown (iOS) edition to be premium-priced

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "BBC News are reporting that 2K Games will be marketing the iOS (iPhone and/ or iPad? I'm not an Apple-core.) at the relatively high price of £13.99 (20€ / $US17.99) compared to a more typical game price of £5.99 (etc. etc.). They discuss how effective this "premium-price" model will be, compared to the alternative "pile'em high and sell 'em cheap" model or the "give away the game and charge for buying a BFG9000" model.

Seems to me about the same price that I paid for the original game in ~1994, and I still enjoy playing that. Guess that makes me an economic dead end to the company though."
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US College students raise money for sex-change

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about a year and a half ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "In a small and unusual outbreak of peculiarity, Yahoo is carrying news of an American college "fraternity" (approximately, a single-gender house owned by a student group, providing communal accommodation at universities that don't have student accommodation) which has raised thousands of dollars to pay for the gender re-assignment surgery of one of their first-year members.

According to the story, "Donnie Collins, 20, a sophomore at Emerson College in Boston, was born female but has been living as a male since he was 17..." and had joined a male fraternity (females go to a "sorority" ; it's Latin, live with it), but his health insurance (American for "citizen's medical service", approximately) wouldn't pay for the surgery to remove his breasts. So, the men in his accommodation grouped together to raise the money for the surgery.

Yahoo's editors (or Reuters, the source of the story) are obviously puzzled about the motivation of the fraternity men. But it seems obvious to me : the severed breasts are going to be mummified and nailed to the wall of the living room. Once the "girl" has gone."

Link to Original Source
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Road tunnel "cheesed off"

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 2 years ago

RockDoctor (15477) writes "Life can be hard for roads and road tunnels : mountains press down on your shoulders, snow and ice dust your feet, and deisel and petrol fumes choke your lungs. But occasionally you can get really cheesed off. "the Brattli Tunnel at Tysfjord, northern Norway" has been closed and badly damaged by a fire on a lorry load of cheese. Which is moderately scarey and not terribly funny when you remember that a few years ago one of the trans-Alpine tunnels was closed by a similar lorry fire with several deaths and the tunnel closed for repairs for months.

On the other hand — the Mythbusters have tried building salami-powered rockets in the past, and may have a new material to evaluate."

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So, new toys. "Acheivements" and encouragement to contribute

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Well, pouring a little (more) petrol onto the fire of burning the religious seems to have garnered me another fan, one "thats1fuzzybug99" has increased my "Friend" count by almost 6%.
That would be wonderful. If I knew what it meant.
I wonder who some of the other 94-odd% are. Hopefully some are very odd!

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Politics and moderation.

RockDoctor RockDoctor writes  |  about 10 years ago

Doing some moderation and getting extremely pissed off by the endless maundering of (presumed) Americans about some internal political matters. Someone called Kerry Dubyah is contesting with someone called John Bush for the leadership of some body called POTUS (sometimes a related position called FLATUS is also brought into the "debate" to confuse matters. this post seems to be related to the gigolos/ babotchkas that the contestants use/ are used by. I think.)
I'm wishing for a moderating flag like "Parochial Politics" that would come at a level like "-99", so that such comments could be killed off at source, leaving the interesting (to nerds - this is "News for Nerds, stuff that matters" after all) stuff like the trolling, the flamebaits and the actual technical stuff where people can find it without wading through the dross. Might be able to get rid of the Iraq dross through the same method.

But how to put this forward to the "system" as a proposal? Still can't find a place to post such suggestions/ requests.

The idea is not /quite/ comparable to moderation though - things can move up and down a scale in the moderating system, but I envisage this as being more like a permanent flag. Sort of like the "green beard" method described by W.D.Hamilton.

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