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Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

codeButcher Re:There is just one side effect to treatment (165 comments)

There is 40 percent chance that once you die after this product gives you cancer, you will turn into a zombie. So please weigh the risks.

A zombie with beautiful skin... what's not to like?


Study Explains Why Women Miscarry More Males During Tough Times

codeButcher Re:It's the production line (113 comments)

The fun question is how the mechanisms that've evolved to make this happen actually work. Figuring that out's going to keep researchers occupied for the next century or two.

This is just me speculating, but you may have answered the question already:

... the least resilient male offspring ...

Obviously is offspring is less resilient, no special mechanism is necessarily needed. Just the mother being under stress herself (nutrition) may cause the less resilient to "not pull through" in the womb. It is my opinion that the male is the less resilient of the two sexes in any case, illustrated by their lower life expectancy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy#Gender_differences).

5 days ago

Study Explains Why Women Miscarry More Males During Tough Times

codeButcher Re:Selfish gene: highly misunderstood term (113 comments)

Some of the genes we have in our bodies have copies living in other species, other genera. Some of them are 100 million years old. The genes as a whole are the selfish ones vis a vis the organisms as a whole. They survive. We don't.

Getting back to chickens and eggs, part of the chicken I ate last night is now living on inside me, where I am a different species. So I'd say it was the chicken's animal body that was the selfish one, I bet the genes are digested by now.

5 days ago

A Paper By Maggie Simpson and Edna Krabappel Was Accepted By Two Journals

codeButcher Looking at the Heading of TFS (100 comments)

I noticed that the title of the summary only had two of the three names. What, Kim Jong Fun not sounding female enough for the New Improved Slashdot?

about a week ago

French Publishers Prepare Lawsuit Against Adblock Plus

codeButcher Re:The anti-French jokes are on you (681 comments)

France did not give the US the Statue of Liberty just because they thought the US was a bunch of really nice guys.

As observed by someone else, hollowness of said statue says a lot about the French sense of irony.

about a week ago

You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

codeButcher Insensitive clods..... (327 comments)

For us southern hemispherians, facing panels south won't do us much good....

On a more serious note: It looks like motorized sun-tracking mounts for panels can be quite expensive, while a fixed mount can be sub-optimal.

So how about a hybrid mount? I'm thinking of a fixed mount with a number of predetermined positions that need to be adjusted manually (e.g. fixed with a bolt/split pin/similar). Coupled with this is an algorithm that calculates the optimal position for the day (or more realistically, for the week) and sends the homeowner to the roof to make the adjustment if necessary. Factors that such an algorithm would need to take into account would differ from home to home and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it should be customizable to each individual case - e.g.:

  • usage pattern over the day and week
  • cost pattern (if electricity prices vary over time)
  • storage cost patter (if electricity buy-back prices vary over time)
  • cost of storage/storage losses (for local storage e.g. batteries, as not all jurisdictions allow supply back to the network)
  • season/sun position, obviously
  • temperature, wind, general climate
  • history
  • etc

about two weeks ago

Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

codeButcher English language (289 comments)

I think this thread is a good demonstration why I do not like the English language's deviation from how other Germanic languages write a single word for a single idea. Hint: the "science" part in "science fiction" is simply an adjective that describes the noun "fiction". It is the noun that is the important part.

OK, I won't make the mistake again of asking which part of "science fiction" don't you understand....

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Practices For Starting and Running a Software Shop?

codeButcher Standards and methodologies (176 comments)

Many others have already mentioned that for a 1-(+-)4 person "company" admin, payrol, HR, legal etc. can take up a lot of those resources' time (or money, if you get in an employee to do those), which could rather be spent on doing your core (technical) work. I have seen it time and again.

I want to chip in about the general topic of standards and methodologies. Please remember that one isn't (necessarily) better than the other - they are all simply tools working towards a goal and you use whatever tool works best in your circumstances. Now, your GOAL is the important thing: communicating between different members of the company (communication over space) and remembering (communication over time) - which sometimes is important even if you are one person. Using a formal standard to do this should accomplish several things:

  • All members speaking the same "language" or format (know what to expect);
  • Things should be stored in a physical or electronic medium (well-indexed), not in brains, so that interrogating that source takes only one person out of his task and not two (or more);
  • Should enable the organisation to function as an organism distinct from the people that make it up - so that people joining, leaving, or just turnover influences as little as possible;
  • Should be adaptable, because the organisation (from the previous point) should be a learning and developing organism.

about three weeks ago

How "Big Ideas" Are Actually Hurting International Development

codeButcher Re:Why giving ? (92 comments)

Personally, I do favour a more hands-off approach. Let people figure out their own future, as (IMHO) it seems that western aid often brings with it a perpetual dependence on that aid.

On the other hand, from some of your previous posts I gather that you personally are an emigrant from China to a large western state. A lot of emigration from "poor countries" to western countries happens because people are not happy with the way those countries (the people in it) survive, they want to "survive" somewhat "better". "Better" being in part defined by the standard of living such aid seems to suggest. (Because there are also some "worse" aspects to western culture in comparison to what is left behind.) I guess your opinion would carry more weight if you were still living and working in China. Just saying.

about three weeks ago

Department of Justice Harvests Cell Phone Data Using Planes

codeButcher Re:BB strikes again (202 comments)

Were the government a force for good, I'd be pacified, but since they have proven to be in the service of big syndicate, I'm worried.

That's the problem of this post-modernist world. Your definition of "good" does not coincide with the next guy's definition of "good".

about a month ago

Comet Probe Philae To Deploy Drill As Battery Life Wanes

codeButcher Re:I know it! (223 comments)

A man has to get there and do all the hardwork himself.

Pity they didn't send Bruce Willis with. What with all his previous experience. Would have been a win-win.

about a month ago

HBO Developing Asimov's Foundation Series As TV Show

codeButcher Re:Time Jumps (242 comments)

Or they could give it the Edmond Blackadder treatment....

about a month ago

Big Data Knows When You Are About To Quit Your Job

codeButcher Re:Does it know if I've been bad or good? (185 comments)

Big data knows who you voted for. Big data knows what kind of hamburger you get from McDonalds. Big data knows what fragrance your girlfriend/wife wears.


Big data takes shit loads of seemingly unrelated bits of information that people foolishly air in public, cross-references it, then uses it to make correlation based predictions.

I haven't voted in quite a number of years.
I don't eat fast food.
I don't have a girlfriend/wife.

The best that Big Data (Facebook) was able to do with that last bit of information (which I explicitly filled in) was to serve up ads for 2 or 3 recurring online dating sites. I don't do online dating (any more), because big data seems to be quite inept at matching me up with someone with the same views on politics and health as me. Let's not even get started on religion, education, sense of humour.....

I want ads that I actually want to click on!
I want that perfect match as promised!
And where's my flying car?

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

codeButcher Electricity, wood (250 comments)

An acquaintance who lives in Germany once showed me an experimental setup he had: replaced his house's heating with a small generator (sealed unit) that generated electricity as well as heating the house from the waste heat. Apparently it was still allowed to run on the "heating oil" (diesel fuel), while natural "heating" gas-burning versions were available too. So you still get the heat for which the fuel originally was intended, but some electricity as a bonus. You'd still be dependent on a stockpile of fuel though...

This may not be practical in a densely populated first-world city (with more regulations than sane) but I still like wood as a renewable fuel source for space heating (and emergency cooking). While there are a lot of wood (and coal and even gas) burning stoves being manufactured in various North-European countries (and South American, South Africa, China etc.) Rocket Stove Mass Heaters (which may be googled) seem to be cheaper to construct and cleaner burning - IF you can get the building plans approved.... Retrofitting an existing building can however be a pain.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Minimizing Oil and Gas Dependency In a Central European City?

codeButcher Re:citation, please? (250 comments)

Good on you for having a larger.... errrr.... more severe winter than Europe. But getting back on topic: do you cycle in those -25C for 20 or 30 km?

about a month ago

New Particle Collider Is One Foot Long

codeButcher Re:Not exactly (161 comments)

It's still a death ray, just a 2km + 1 foot long death ray

Oh the mix of imperial + metric - now my head hurts :-)

about a month and a half ago

New Particle Collider Is One Foot Long

codeButcher Re:so size DOESN'T matter? (161 comments)

See, you don't even need 12 inches to accelerate the particles of a whoosh to near light speed.

Unfortunately the mechanism (*) wasn't invented by Obama, but he sure as hell is using it to his advantage.

(* = and by this I mean the mechanism allowing for whooshes, not the 12 inch particle accelerator.)

about a month and a half ago

Shift Work Dulls Brain Performance

codeButcher My "me too" anecdote (131 comments)

Due to some medical problems involving endocrinology, I imagine my body being somewhat more sensitive to hormonal/nutrient changes than the norm. Nothing insurmountable - apart from my chronic medication, the normal rules of eating healthily, exercising, and getting enough sleep seem to do the trick well enough to see me through the normal day-to-day.

A year or two ago I started in a job that required (tele or physical) presence for releases every second week (a lot of people where involved each time, it mostly involved waiting for everyone to do what they do, doing some checks in your own area of responsibility when the time came around). This normally was scheduled to start at 22:00 or 00:00, often it only finished around 06:00 or 07:00. (This was after working a normal 8-5 workday...)

Of course, everyone was given time off for the time spent on releases. But getting home at (say) 7, trying to sleep was nearly impossible for me. In my case I'd sleep maybe an hour or two, then wake up tired and grumpy, and because there was nothing else to do, eventually go back to work to put in a handful of (sluggish) hours. I did feel that I only got back into a fairly normal routine, waking up refreshed and ready, after about a week. Rinse and repeat. Apart from an inability to concentrate sufficiently at work, it also left me listless and tired. My social life suffered, as well as "reading up" I would normally do on subject matter in the evenings to keep up with developments in my field. Not good for work performance, or career in general....

Yeah, imagine a multi-million company thinking that such practices are good w.r.t. their mission critical systems.... (You can imagine what other "innovations" such an organisation can dream up.) I'm glad I'm out of there, money or not.

(I don't envy parents of small babies in this regard, but that is another matter for now.)

While sleep researchers seem to be clear that they still know very little about their subject, the basics of the light/dark cycle (including "blue" and "yellow" light) and its influence on hormones (melatonin, serotonin, ...) seem to be in place. These hormones can have a profound effect on brain function and other health issues. It's a no-brainer, really.

I'm currently trying to uphold a routine (including weekends and holidays) of bedtime around 21:00 or 22:00 at the latest, which allows me to wake up naturally (no alarms) around sunrise. Routine does not go together well with exceptions, which is a bit sucky when you are doing a little evening coding and get into the "flow" and just want to finish one last thing... Might also interfere with some socialising. But on the whole, a healthy sleep routine is benefiting me at least as much as all the healthy eating and exercising combined.

about a month and a half ago


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