Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

danaris Re:One Sure Way (275 comments)

because for example a good pair of shoes will last much longer than a bad pair that you'll have to replace much sooner.

Thing is there is no correlation between quality and cost.

There is a correlation, it's just not a perfect one.

Dan Aris

5 days ago
top

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

danaris Re:One Sure Way (275 comments)

Yeah, if you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

Think I've heard that before...

Ummm...what?

That's generally brought up in the context of surveillance. Do you view reviews, by customers, of the products and/or services they've received from companies serving the public as being in the same category as overly broad and privacy-invading surveillance?

'Cause to me, that sounds like the kind of transparency a free market is built upon.

Dan Aris

5 days ago
top

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

danaris Re:One Sure Way (275 comments)

Or maybe they are a competitor's shill?

I'm sure that happens too! ^_~

Dan Aris

5 days ago
top

California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

danaris One Sure Way (275 comments)

There is one sure way to reduce negative reviews: Make sure your product and/or service is good quality.

Nothing can entirely eliminate negative reviews, because sometimes people just get a lemon product, or the person giving them service was having a bad day, or they're just ornery people who can't be satisfied. But if you do your job right, monitor your employees to make sure they're not slacking off or mistreating your customers—and, of course, the best way to do this is to make sure they're satisfied with their jobs in the first place—and don't skimp monetarily on the quality of your product, service, or employees, then you're likely to get more good reviews than bad.

Dan Aris

5 days ago
top

Protesters Blockade Microsoft's Seattle Headquarters Over Tax Breaks

danaris Another source (246 comments)

What the heck, I can jump in on this too.

If big corporations decide to pay as many taxes as they can, they'll have to get the money somewhere, so they will raise their prices, and it'll be you and me footing the bill.

Except that that's not always true.

If they're in a monopoly position, sure; they can theoretically raise prices whenever and however much they want. If they're not, however, then they might just have to reduce the execs' bonuses this quarter, instead. (After all, if they could have raised prices before, why didn't they?) If you look at the statistics on where the profits of corporations have been going more and more over the past 40 years or so, you'll see that there's plenty of room for compensation at the top to be reduced to pay for all this sort of thing.

Dan Aris

about a week ago
top

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Says Switching ISPs Is Too Hard

danaris Switching == Moving (145 comments)

Yes, seriously.

For a great many people, "switching ISPs" basically means moving. Because if you're lucky, you've got an option of DSL or cable, with DSL being effectively useless for anything but simple web browsing and email.

This is why we need true net neutrality—which means separating the medium from the message. Force the people who own the lines to at least lease them to anyone who asks, basically at cost...or, even better, break up the companies that own the lines so that that's all they do, and all the other services are part of a separate company.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Apple Denies Systems Breach In Photo Leak

danaris Re:This is also how Sarah Palin's email got "hacke (311 comments)

If that were true there would be no religions or climate change deniers, they'd all be forgotten.

You're (apparently willfully obtusely) mixing up objective truth with what one believes to be true. It's always easier to remember facts that one has already learned (particularly from one's own past) than lies one has made up on the spot.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

because an enormous part of the problem is the percentage of our food today that is processed, and the percentage that contains vast amounts of sugar (and particularly high fructose corn syrup).

I realize this is a common tenet of anti-farm conglomerate arguments, and I am all against farm conglomerates. But this tidbit simply isn't true. HFCS is not mostly fructose as the name implies. The most common forms used in soft drinks and processed foods are 55% fructose, 42% glucose. Or 42% fructose, 53% glucose. Your body breaks down sucrose (e.g. natural cane sugar) into 50% fructose, 50% glucose. So for all intents and purposes they're the same thing once your body gets a hold of them.

I'm aware of this. However, I've seen some articles which explain that even this small difference is enough to cause problems—either that, or that it's something to do with how the fructose and glucose are connected. Or something; I'm afraid this type of chemistry isn't my strong suit.

And while we're on the topic, carbs are just lots of sugars linked together into a longer molecule. Heck, wood/cellulose is just lots of sugars linked together (in a form which is extremely difficult for animals to break down; ruminants do it by chewing it twice and digesting it 4 times, termites do it with the assistance of a special kind of bacteria in their gut). It is extremely difficult to avoid sugars in your diet even if you eat no simple or processed sugars. Bread is sugar. Rice is sugar. Noodles are sugar. Potatoes are sugar. So it's quite misleading to blame things on the "vast amounts of sugar" in processed foods. (Unless you're talking at the caloric level, and taking into account all forms of sugar like starches and carbohydrates.)

Now you're just oversimplifying beyond the point of reason. That's like saying because they're all made up of the same elements, we might as well just drink gasoline.

Our bodies treat sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) quite differently. Pretending otherwise because they're both examples of carbohydrates will get you laughed out of any biology class anywhere.

I suspect that's why the low-carb diet trumped the low-fat diet. Those on the low-carb diet were restricting their intake of sugar (in the form of carbs), while in the back of their minds they were conscious about avoiding too much fat. Those on the low-fat diet figured since they were avoiding fat, everything was ok so they piled on the carbs.

Or...maybe there's actually something different about a low-fat, high-carb diet and a low-carb, high-fat diet that convinces our bodies to store less energy as fat, and your attempts to rationalize away something that challenges your worldview are just that.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

I'm not denying there are knock-on effects from eating certain foods. Satiety and insulin and all that stuff plays a part, certainly. But if you're having trouble measuring the number of calories in your food and it seems like there are more calories than there should be, it's because your measurements are off, not because the value of a calorie has changed from food to food. Stop underestimating your intake and overestimating your output.

You are also being overly simplistic about it.

Yes, obviously, one calorie of energy gained from an apple is equivalent to one calorie of energy gained from a chocolate bar.

But the point is, we don't eat food purely for the energy they give us, and health in general and weight gain in particular are governed by much more than the pure thermodynamics of the intake vs usage.

For one thing, maybe I can extract more calories from that apple than you can. And it's also known that eating certain types of food makes the body more likely to store energy as fat if they're eaten around the same time, regardless of how much energy is being expended. (More or less.)

So if you and I took identical meals, and ate them, and then performed identical exercise, there's a good chance that one of us would end up putting on more weight (or losing more weight) than the other. Because our body makeups and chemistries are different, our metabolisms are different, and our gut flora are different.

So yeah, if you want to be as stupidly pedantic as possible, one calorie is identical to every other calorie. But if you want to actually talk about something meaningful like health, different foods can be very different in the effects they will have on us, even if they have the exact same calorie count.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

Also, what the hell is a "hipster" diet? I think this is a big sign that people need to stop talking about "hipsters". Since when were "hipsters" known for being fat?

I've really come to believe that the word "hipster" doesn't mean anything anymore. It's just an adjective that you attach to things you don't like.

Don't look at me, it was his term ;-)

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

As to humans as a machine, I'm trying to separate what is healthy from what is psychologically going on in people's heads. They're different arguments that I'm not going to let you lump together.

You say that you can't sustain certain diets because psychologically you are compelled to break the diets when on them. Fine... that is a different argument then whether either diet is healthy.

You're welcome to argue that over there in your world of spherical cows in a vacuum; however, I live in the real world, where real humans have a very important psychological aspect that simply can't be ignored. Thus, a diet that might be, in theory, absolutely ideal, but which leaves anyone attempting to eat it feeling hungry and lousy all the time really isn't going to be useful.

I personally am able to eat carbs all the time and not over eat. This is largely because I have a different threshold for hunger. I eat when I get actually hungry.

Good for you. You're lucky. That doesn't mean that everyone is that lucky, or that people who aren't as lucky as you are lazy, or have no willpower, or are otherwise just not as good a person as you. It means that they didn't get as good a number in the genetic/metabolic lottery.

The main reason we do the 3 meal thing is because it structures our meals and syncs our social activities. If we lived together all the time and gathered food all the time then every minute we are awake would be a meal time. And at that point, it was. Over time we developed social patterns that have us eat in organized social meals. But our bodies don't need that. They just need a certain amount of calories per day.

No. That is exactly the fallacy that I have been trying to refute this whole time, and you seem to be simply ignoring it.

Our bodies don't "just need a certain amount of calories per day" (or week, or whatever time period). They need a certain amount of nutrients of the right types. Calories are important, yes, but they're not the be-all and end-all. We need proteins, and vitamins and minerals, or we'll develop all kinds of interesting diseases from malnutrition. We need a balanced diet.

It's not about how often one eats, or even how much one eats, though obviously those are important at a higher level. It's about what one eats when one does eat. And different people's bodies are different, in various ways and for various reasons, so there isn't one hard-and-fast rule "this is what you must eat, in these amounts, this frequently"—which is why you can cheerfully eat loads of carbs and I can't. (Well, I'd be cheerful temporarily, but it would catch up with me in the end ;-) )

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

It should be obvious that a calorie is not a calorie. When it's not even true for car engines (try pumping diesel into a gasoline car) we shouldn't be assuming it's true for human metabolism. Secondly the last I checked most people don't measure the excreted calories in excrement.

Hah! An excellent point, and one I hadn't even considered.

In any case, while I definitely agree with you, every time there's a story about nutrition, weight, or health in general, there's a large number of comments that express exactly that fallacy.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Re:Diet is very important. (587 comments)

This "feeling more full" idea is only relevant if people eat more calories if they don't feel full. If you eat a pre packaged processed meal and regardless of feeling full or not just stop there... then that aspect doesn't matter.

If we talk about calories in... the feeling full aspect only matters if you increase the calories in.

In other words, if we treat humans as a machine, in which you can simply flick a switch marked "stop eating when you have actually eaten what you need," everything's hunky-dory.

Unfortunately, humans are very much unlike that sort of machine. Even a human with a great deal of what we generally term willpower is, by and large, dependent upon his body's signals to indicate when he has eaten enough. When those signals are interfered with, it's not just a matter of being a good enough person to stop eating, it's a matter of how do you actually know when to stop?

As to a calorie not just being a calorie... if you were interested in surviving... as in not starving to death... a calorie would actually be a calorie.

Even then it gets a little dodgy, but sure, we'll grant this for the sake of argument.

But that's not what we're talking about, are we? We're talking about being healthy. In particular, we're talking about what causes people to gain or lose weight. And while yes, eating twelve thousand calories of pizza and not exercising will cause you to gain weight, and eating a small bowl of brussels sprouts and running a marathon will cause you to lose weight (and probably die ;-) ), there's a lot of middle ground where the details of the food you're eating (percentages of carbs, fat, proteins, etc, and what kinds of each of those) matter more for what you can get out of the food than the straight-up calorie count.

Do different calories get processed differently? Yes. High density food... food that has a lot of energy in it per unit volume tends to not be processed well by the body if you're sedentary. If however you are active, then you can eat high density food and not feel like a slug afterwards.

Try it. Spend a day being active all day... swimming or something. And then go home for a big meal. Then try again about a week later spending the entire time being very inactive... only this time do not be active on that day and eat the same meal. You will not feel as good about it. The food will sit in your stomach.

If people were more active they could eat pretty much what they want within reason.

Sure. I don't think any of that is in dispute. But that's not what you said. (And as I understand it, there are also more nuances than simply energy density, but that is starting to get into details where I'm fuzzier on how it all works.)

Furthermore, it's also not feasible for a great many people in this day and age to "spend a day being active all day" more than once in a while. I know I work at a desk all day, and a lot of other people do the same. That makes it highly impractical to get the kind of exercise you're talking about. And just increasing exercise a little bit doesn't even always help. Indeed, I moved 3 years ago to be closer to my job, and started walking a mile and a quarter to and from work most days...and my weight didn't even budge.

However, last fall I cut nearly all carbohydrates (simple and complex—that is, sugars and starches) out of my diet, and lost 50 pounds in 4 months. Yes, I was eating a little bit less, but not nearly enough to account for the amount of weight I lost. And I was having bacon and eggs for breakfast many mornings, and plenty of other very rich foods—just not sugary foods or starchy foods. (And it was hard to do. But suffice it to say that I had some strong motivation specifically to cut out carbs for that period of time—the weight loss, in my case, was a nice bonus.)

Now, that's just an anecdote. On its own, it would mean very little. But given that the article we're both commenting on is about a scientific study that shows that I'm not the only one that can be true for, I think it's quite relevant.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study

danaris Diet is very important. (587 comments)

Then why were people from 50 years ago not hugely fat? Because they were not eating all your little hipster diets and they were not fat.

The lack of understanding betrayed by this is almost ludicrous.

They didn't need to eat a "hipster diet" 50 years ago to avoid getting hugely fat, because an enormous part of the problem is the percentage of our food today that is processed, and the percentage that contains vast amounts of sugar (and particularly high fructose corn syrup). Which is exactly what (many of) the "hipster diets" strive to emulate.

I realize that on Slashdot, where people tend to be highly math-oriented, it's a popular fallacy to believe that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. However, studies like this one have been coming out for years now showing that that's simply not true.

Some kinds of energy are easier for our bodies to extract from food than others. Some kinds of food make our bodies feel more full than others. And our bodies need more in terms of nutrition than just calories—so, contrary to one of your other posts, no, a 12 thousand calorie diet of pizza cannot be healthy, unless the toppings on that pizza are very carefully selected to provide the nutrients that our bodies actually need.

It would be nice if nutrition were a simple formula, where you could just calculate calories in minus calories expended and come out with a nice, pleasing mathematical formula. But the human body isn't a spherical body in a vacuum, and "calorie" isn't a unit of nutrition, no matter how much you try to make it so.

Dan Aris

about two weeks ago
top

Xiaomi Arrives As Top Smartphone Seller In China

danaris Of course, this means DOOOOM (82 comments)

I can't wait to hear from all the pundits why this means Apple—and only Apple—is doomed.

After all, it's not as if they're taking significantly more marketshare and profitshare from Samsung than from Apple or anything...oh, no; every single event that can be broadly construed to be in the cellphone or consumer technology space, no matter how loosely related to Apple, can only ever mean that Apple is in trouble, and all its competitors are poised to take over in everything.

:-P

Dan Aris

about a month ago
top

A Brain Implant For Synthetic Memory

danaris Re:Prior Art (87 comments)

Hope they've reduced the incidence of iatrogenic schizophrenia...

Dan Aris

about 2 months ago
top

Amazon Launches Subscription-Based Billing And Payments Service

danaris No longer true (76 comments)

If you're a small shop, you will not be able to deal with credit cards except through intermediate handlers, such as PayPal. And most of them have massive up-front fees that you cannot afford.

Well, technically, I suppose that statement may still be true, but there is at least one very prominent "intermediate handler" that does not charge any up-front fees; in fact, they give away the hardware for free: I'm talking about Square.

They are, however, mainly helpful offline, because I believe their fees for non-in-person transactions are considerably higher than the 2.7% or whatever they charge when you actually swipe a card. Though they do have an online marketplace.

Either way, it's definitely good to see a serious (potential) competitor to PayPal.

Dan Aris

about 3 months ago
top

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

danaris Re:wrong assumptions (343 comments)

Is that different for normal people or is the Comcast CEO living under a rock?

When all too many "normal people" notice that something is slow on the Internet, they are as likely to blame the printer they just plugged in, the new game their teenage son installed, or even the new swimming pool their neighbour just put in, as anything that could actually have affected it.

Dan Aris

about 3 months ago
top

Who controls the HVAC at work?

danaris Immutable, inscrutable, and sometimes incompetent (216 comments)

Ostensibly, the temperature in my (University staff, large, single-person) office is controlled by the thermostat in the classroom next door. (Problem #1, obviously.) This means that there have been a number of times where someone in that room (no idea whether it was a student or professor; don't really care) has cranked the temperature one way or the other. Usually down.

However, the aforementioned thermostat is also a bit wonky. I frequently go in there, feeling a little cold, to turn it up, and find that while it's set to about 70, it's reading a temperature of 65 and blowing cold air. Turning it up to 72 will cause it to cheerfully start blowing hot air for a while. (I have also gone in to lower it, and found that while it's set to 72, it's reading 76 or so. Go figure.)

None of this can hold a candle to what I experienced when a teenager teaching myself programming one summer on a computer in my father's lab at the college he teaches at. One of the several heater units in that room was on, and I asked if we could turn it off. Apparently, not only could we not turn it off, but the HVAC for that building was, at that time, managed by a company in a city an hour's drive away. OK, so, call the company, let them know that the heater is on in 80 degree weather.

Nope. "Our computer system shows that heater as off." "Well, I'm right next to it, and I can tell you it's on. It's blowing hot air. The one next to it isn't." "No, sir; our system shows it as off, therefore, it is off."

And that was pretty much the end of it.

(Fortunately, that section of the building was demolished a decade later, and replaced with one that wasn't a) designed in the '70s, and b) intended to be temporary.)

Dan Aris.

about 4 months ago
top

Lessig Launches a Super PAC To End All Super PACs

danaris You're in luck! (465 comments)

What would be cool is if this super PAC returned everyone's money if they don't raise the critical mass of dollars to make a difference. Ultimately that's my main worry. I'd rather donate $1000 to a cause that would give me my money back if it failed to raise enough money to make a real difference, than donate $10 that was gone forever regardless of whether it is used effectively.

Wasting my already-spent mod points by posting, but I think it's worth it:

That's exactly what they're doing. If you look at their FAQ, the second section explains that they will set certain funding targets, people will "pledge" their contributions, and only if they meet their total pledge target will any money actually change hands. Just like Kickstarter.

I've already pledged $20, and I wish I could give more, but our financial situation isn't super-stable at present :-/ I think what Lessig is doing is probably about the most important political action of our time.

Dan Aris

about 4 months ago

Submissions

top

Legend: Tabletop Gaming for a Good Cause

danaris danaris writes  |  more than 2 years ago

danaris writes "On Friday, Rule of Cool gaming released Legend, a d20-derived tabletop roleplaying game system designed to be easy to learn, easy to play, and just really fun. As the names suggest, they recognize that people in an RPG frequently want to be playing epic characters with cool abilities, so they provide that—while making sure that all such characters are reasonably well balanced against characters and monsters of the same level. For a nice overview of the system, there's a review up on RPG.net by one of the playtesters, and another review by a moderator from Reddit's RPG section. The game is initially being distributed as a pay-what-you-want benefit to the Child's Play charity, with all proceeds (not just all profits) going to the charity."
Link to Original Source
top

Apple's Response to Lodsys

danaris danaris writes  |  more than 3 years ago

danaris writes "Apple has released their long-awaited reply to Lodsys's spate of patent infringement notices, and it was worth the wait. Choice excerpts:

Apple is undisputedly licensed to these patent and the Apple App Makers are protected by that license. There is no basis for Lodsys’ infringement allegations against Apple’s App Makers. Apple intends to share this letter and the information set out herein with its App Makers and is fully prepared to defend Apple’s license rights.

Therefore, Apple requests that Lodsys immediately withdraw all notice letters sent to Apple App Makers and cease its false assertions that the App Makers’ use of licensed Apple products and services in any way constitute infringement of any Lodsys patent.

"

Link to Original Source
top

Opera Mini Not Really Rejected from iPhone (Yet)

danaris danaris writes  |  more than 5 years ago

danaris writes "John Gruber has done some digging on the reported rejection from the App Store of Opera Mini, and has written up his findings in an informative article of his own. Some choice excerpts:

My understanding, based on information from informed sources who do not wish to be identified because they were not authorized by their employers, is that Opera has developed an iPhone version of Opera Mini — but they haven't even submitted it to Apple, let alone had it be rejected. [...] If what they've done for the iPhone is along the same lines — that they've gotten a Java ME runtime running on the iPhone — it's clearly outside the bounds of the iPhone SDK Agreement. [...] What Opera would need to do to have a version of Opera Mini they could submit to the App Store would be to port the entire client software to the C and Objective-C APIs officially supported on the iPhone. It could well be that even then, Apple would reject it from the App Store on anti-competitive grounds — but contrary to this week's speculation, that has not happened.

So it looks like all may not be exactly as it seems..."

Journals

danaris has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>