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Comments

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A DNA Sequencer Cheap Enough For (Some) Doctors' Offices

cperciva Re:Hospitals (136 comments)

The only reason they do instant strep tests at MD offices is that they want to know the results before you walk out the door. The same goes for rapid STD tests: If you walk out the door and have to come back to get the results later, there's a chance you won't return.

A DNA test is the ultimate in non-urgent tests, and is going to remain something you head off to the phlebotomist to get done... right up until the day where they are done routinely at birth and you leave the hospital jugging a baby, birth certificate, and a flash drive containing its DNA sequence.

more than 2 years ago
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Dropbox Can't See Your Dat– Er, Never Mind

cperciva Re:It is not impossible (333 comments)

Tarsnap's snapshotting model is a bit more sophisticated than how duplicity works, and its separate keys for writing/reading/deleting archives makes it possible to do some things you can't do with rsync.net (e.g., you can have a server which does daily backups with Tarsnap while still making it impossible for someone who roots the server to tamper with said backups).

But yes, tarsnap and duplicity+rsync.net are certainly more similar than, say, tarsnap and dropbox.

more than 3 years ago
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Distinguishing Encrypted Data From Random Data?

cperciva Re:It's all about entropy (467 comments)

If all you ever want to compress is files which contain the same byte repeated many times, then yes, that's how you would compress them.

But most compression formats are tuned to produce good results for the sorts of files which people are more likely to need to compress; so even when run-length encoding is used, it will typically have a low limit -- say, 255 -- on the run length.

more than 4 years ago
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Skipping Traditional Recruitment, Going Straight To the Source

cperciva Re:Go work for RethinkDB! (207 comments)

If you don't want to live in the bay area, then don't work for RethinkDB, I guess? I don't think they're hiring anyone remote (but I might be wrong).

And what's wrong with rsync for backups?

  1. rsync isn't backups, it's synchronization. It will happily synchronize corrupted files and (if you use the relevant option) file deletions.
  2. rsync requires you to trust the location you're syncing your data to.
  3. Because rsync is designed for synchronization, it doesn't store your data compressed.
  4. Because rsync works file-by-file, it can't take advantage of duplication between files.

Probably other things too, but those are the first ones which come to mind.

more than 4 years ago
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Icons on my (computer) desktop:

cperciva What kind of wimp? (384 comments)

All WIMPs use icons. If they didn't have icons, they would be WMPs instead.

more than 4 years ago
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Skipping Traditional Recruitment, Going Straight To the Source

cperciva Go work for RethinkDB! (207 comments)

I've talked to Slava a lot, and he's a really smart guy. Unlike most startups, RethinkDB is actually doing innovative things. If you're looking for work in the bay area and you're good at algorithms, GO WORK FOR RETHINKDB!

(If I didn't have my own startup, I'd be working there right now -- instead I'm cheering them on from afar.)

more than 4 years ago
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Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

cperciva Re:unintentionally? (414 comments)

Somehow, though, I'm guessing Monsanto will prove most unwilling to go around hand weeding "their" IP when it becomes a pest.

They haven't done that personally, no. But they have paid to have it done when farmers have complained about contamination.

more than 4 years ago
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Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

cperciva Re: unintentionally? (414 comments)

When your own saved seeds include them, even if you would not select at all?

That's a good question, but it's purely hypothetical. This guy did actively select the Monsanto seeds to plant them. The court specifically said that they didn't believe it was accidental that 95% of his field ended up having Monsanto genes.

more than 4 years ago
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Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

cperciva Re:unintentionally? (414 comments)

But if his fields had been naturally pollinated, why should he be responsible for Monsanto's inability to contain their pollen?

Because he specifically decided to replant the Monsanto seed. It's one thing to have your crops polluted; it's quite another to say "hey, I like this pollution and I'm going to spread it further".

In fact, if he was in the business of selling non-GMO, the contamination of his fields could cost him value, customers, or even entire markets.

Which is why Monsanto agreed to pay him for the costs of eliminating the Monsanto seed which had been accidentally blown into his field.

more than 4 years ago
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Genetically Modified Canola Spreads To Wild Plants

cperciva unintentionally? (414 comments)

Reader n4djs notes that Monsanto has been known to sue farmers for patent infringement when their crops unintentionally contain genetically modified plants.

This might have happened, but the Percy Schmeiser case is not such a case. The Supreme Court of Canada found that Schmeiser deliberately harvested and planted his field with seed which he knew had Monsanto's genetic modifications.

It rather scares me that one of the leading anti-GMO spokesmen is someone who deliberately planted his field with genetically modified seed and then lied about it when he got caught.

more than 4 years ago
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Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System

cperciva Re:Binary System? (135 comments)

And then you've got to assume that the incoming star hits this dark brown dwarf

Or rather, hope that they don't collide. The energy released by a stellar collision that close to Earth would probably destroy not only the human race, but also all other life on Earth.

more than 4 years ago
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Nearby Star Forecast To Skirt Solar System

cperciva This is an opportunity, not a threat! (135 comments)

Providing that humanity still exists in the year 1.5M but hasn't yet spread to other solar systems, this is a huge opportunity: Rather than needing to travel 3-4 light years in order to reach another star, we'll need to travel less than one light year -- thus making the trip both faster and much cheaper.

Who knows, it might even be possible to slowly spread across the entire galaxy without ever venturing into interstellar space.

more than 4 years ago
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PayPal Freezes Cryptome's Account

cperciva This sucks, but is it wrong? (253 comments)

This definitely sucks for cryptome. But has PayPal actually done anything wrong?

It seems to me that PayPal isn't trying to be evil here; rather, they made a business decision that cryptome wasn't an organization they wanted to do business with. Businesses make such decisions every day -- car rental companies in Canada, for example, often refuse to rent cars to anyone under age 25 -- so why is it different when PayPal does the same thing?

(For the record, my company only takes payments via PayPal, but I'm eagerly looking forward to the day when Amazon Payments or Google Checkout start accepting Canadian merchants. I don't like PayPal either; I just think they're not being evil in this case.)

more than 4 years ago
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In a structure of N stories, I'd prefer my office be ...

cperciva Re:Office (467 comments)

At room temperature, CO is lighter than air.

more than 4 years ago
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Factorization of a 768-Bit RSA Modulus

cperciva Re:Bad math... (192 comments)

It is more like O(a^(n/b))

No, factorization is more like O(a^(n^b)). For GNFS on RSA-sized inputs, 1000^(n^(1/3) - 2.5) is a good estimate of the number of operations required.

more than 4 years ago
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Ireland's Blasphemy Law Goes Into Effect

cperciva Re:Atheists Unite... as a religion (845 comments)

In my dictionary, atheism is defined as "Disbelief in, or denial of, the existence of a God". This is quite distinct from the position of agnosticism, which states that we do not know if there is a God.

more than 4 years ago
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Ireland's Blasphemy Law Goes Into Effect

cperciva Re:Atheists Unite... as a religion (845 comments)

The fact that Atheism has a very limited set of beliefs -- namely one, "There is no God" -- doesn't make it any less of a religion.

more than 4 years ago
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Until I remember to write

cperciva Hmm... (35 comments)

Apparently the partial question didn't stop people from voting on

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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FreeBSD Project Falls Short of Year End Funding Target By Over 50%

cperciva cperciva writes  |  about a year ago

cperciva (102828) writes "Perhaps a sign of our troubled times or a sign that FreeBSD is becoming less relevant to modern computing needs: the FreeBSD Foundation has sought $1,000,000 by year end to allow it to continue to offer to fund and manage projects, provide hardware used by the FreeBSD project, hire developers and system administrators, sponsor FreeBSD events and Developer Summits, and provide travel grants to FreeBSD developers. But with the end of this year fast approaching, it has raised just over $472,000, far short of its target."
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A Call for Schwag

cperciva cperciva writes  |  more than 5 years ago

cperciva writes "Some people write open source software to "scratch an itch" or for altruistic reasons; but most often what attracts people is the idea of being recognized for their work. People are quite good at recognizing other people, but many companies aren't; consequently, I'm putting out A Call for Schwag: If your company uses open source software and has promotional t-shirts (or hats or bags or coffee mugs or usb disks etc.), please pick an open source developer whose work you're using, and send him one."
Link to Original Source
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FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE Now Available

cperciva cperciva writes  |  more than 6 years ago

cperciva writes "FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE, the first release from the new 7-STABLE branch of FreeBSD development, has been released. FreeBSD 7.0 brings with it many new features including support for ZFS, journaled filesystems, and SCTP, as well as dramatic improvements in performance and SMP scalability. In addition to being available from many FTP sites, ISO images can be downloaded via the BitTorrent tracker, or for users of earlier FreeBSD releases, FreeBSD Update can be used to perform a binary upgrade."
Link to Original Source

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