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Consciousness On-Off Switch Discovered Deep In Brain

digitalhermit Can be stimulated via sternocleidomastoid (284 comments)

I have been experimenting with this technique since the early 80s. It is possible to stimulate the claustrum via pressure along the sternocleidomastoid. By pinching this area it causes sympathetic nerve activity that can effective render someone unconscious. My colleague has perfected the technique to the point that he uses it at parties. Quite eerie, actually.

Peace. Stay healthy and have a long life..

about 5 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Switching From SAS To Python Or R For Data Analysis and Modeling?

digitalhermit Use both (143 comments)

Python seems to be gaining favor but IMHO the downside is that it's a general purpose language and not built with statistics in mind.

R is quite easy to use both from installation to language standpoint. It's trivial to install and there are many, many packages (of differing quality) on cran. You can easily take advantage of multiple processors, GPUs, even Hadoop (to an extent). The main downside is that it's mostly constrained by the memory of the host system. So even though it's easy to load a 20G dataset into my 32G laptop, it's not quite so easy to work on a 2TB dataset without some customization. At that point other tools may be easier, such as Python.

Now... I have never needed to crunch a 2TB dataset. My scripts fit comfortably into an 8G VM. What R gets me is that, as a non-statistician, I can easily generate charts, run analyses, and use the libraries that smarter people have built :>. The syntax is trivial and I can do 99% of what I need with a library or some minor customization.

about 6 months ago

Should We Eat Invasive Species?

digitalhermit Of course we should (290 comments)

I live in South Florida. Lionfish is available with just a short drive down to the keys. It has a good taste and even better, no guilt whatsoever. I think it's just natural that we should eat them. BTW, Florida lobster down this way (they call them crawfish up in the Northeast :/ ) were once so plentiful that it was given to prisoners. If it's edible, someone will find a way to eat them.

about 7 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Beginner To Intermediate Programming Projects?

digitalhermit Camera tracking (172 comments)

I'm trying to do a similar thing. I'm pretty decent with Perl (or at least used to be) and know enough C and Java to get myself in trouble. I'm trying to learn Python now.

So... my other hobby is video production. One of the things that's expensive to do is to track a camera so that that it can be replayed to CGI software. This allows almost seamless effects. For example, film an object against a green screen as the camera pans. In normal chromakey, it's quite obvious because the background doesn't track the same way as the camera. You can minimize this by choosing distant backgrounds but this limits you quite a bit. Anyhoo, I'm trying to use the positional sensors in a smartphone to track the movement and later replay it to software such as Blender. It hasn't been easy. In the process I am learning a lot about a lot of things.

What I'm trying to say is that you may learn a lot from complex projects even if you don't succeed in your goal.

about 7 months ago

The Feds Accidentally Mailed Part of A $350K Drone To Some College Kid

digitalhermit Re:Stupid headline (157 comments)

"$100 (current book rate), paying a fee to cover the loss beyond the initial $100 should the package become lost, stolen, or damaged. That sounds a lot like the lay definition for insurance to me."

The devil's in the details...

Just because the lay definition of declared value sounds like insurance, it isn't. With insurance, if you are at fault the insured item may still be covered. E.g., if you crash your car it will often be covered even if you are at fault. With declared value, if you improperly pack your item and it is damaged then UPS is not liable.

People watch too many Seinfeld episodes.

about 7 months ago

The Feds Accidentally Mailed Part of A $350K Drone To Some College Kid

digitalhermit Re:Stupid headline (157 comments)

Yes, that is true. Except for the insurance part. UPS doesn't really provide "insurance", per se.

Don't be fooled by the optional 'high value' stamp, which allows you to declare a higher value. Rightfully so, it's not "insurance" but just allows you to claim the proper value if it is lost or damaged.

If it's really important, ship it via a UPS customer counter or Mailboxes facility.

I used to work there a couple decades ago. One of my roles was to process computer claims. Considering that many items can fall from belts and "Fragile" means "Throw me hard, please!" in UPS-ese, I'd make sure to ship any critical items through their desk with a proper declared value.

Not that FedEx is much better. I think at one point they were but if you've seen what goes on behind the scenes it's a wonder that anything gets to its destination in one piece.

Might as well talk about the USPS too. (BTW, UPS is not USPS; some are not aware.) I shipped a display stand once. It was a fairly sturdy unit, cube shaped, of some expensive teak wood with brass corners. It could easily bear my weight (and I am not a slender dude). When the first piece arrived, my aunt asked what it was. "It's a stand," I said.

    "How do you put it together?" she said.


Apparently they'd shipped a piece of my broken stand with a piece of someone else's broken furniture. The label from my box cut out and taped to this other box. I still don't know what happened to the rest of my display stand, but presumably someone is wondering what the heck happened to the rest of their chair.

about 7 months ago

David Auerbach Explains the Inside Baseball of MSN Messenger vs. AIM

digitalhermit Re:Imagine all this brainpower (86 comments)

Hell, sounds like the best way to get cool software is to piss of Linus.. :D

I'm seeing subsurface show up in the weirdest, non-techy places now.. Apparently it's quite an improvement over other products.

about 8 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

digitalhermit Get creative (390 comments)

I subsisted on Ramen and chicken pot pies because they were cheap (4/1$ for Ramen, 2/1$ for chicken pot pies). Even the cheapest dollar meal at the local fast food didn't have as many calories. But, no, I didn't worry about food all that much.

First thing is to learn to cook. It's generally cheaper to buy family portions and make your own than to buy individual meals. For example, a bag of rice is $10, but can act as bulk in many meals such as fried rice, chicken & rice, steamed rice with butter & onions.. Yeah, doesn't sound too appetizing, but it can be. Fried rice, for example, is easy to make. For about 20$ worth of ingredients, you can have 10 meals. Just need rice, an egg or two, onions, salami/pepperoni, etc.. You can buy a pack of miso for around $4. Add firm tofu ($3) or chicken chunks ($4) and dried seaweed ($3) and you can make soup for 10 people. Buying a bulk pack of 50 tacos will set you back around $10; add a couple pounds of beef (10$), lettuce (2$), cheese ($5), etc., and you can feed 10 people for $50 or so.

Next, use coupons and shop of two-for-one days. You can easily save 50% of your bill just by using coupons and shopping on the right days. Avoid individual meal items such as can soda and even White Castle burgers.

You can also show up at friends/relatives around dinner time but use that only as a last resort unless you're really tight with them. Make friends with someone who works at a pizza shop. I knew a guy in college who would take leftovers from the restaurant. At a Denny's, for example, he'd order a coffee. When people were about to leave he'd run up and ask if he could have their leftovers. Bizarre, but he saved a few bucks. He's also gotten pretty wealthy since those days so I guess it paid off. I figure that one day he'll find a way to end up in jail just so he could get a free meal and bunk. :/

Oh, and forget about corned beef. Back in my day it was cheap, around $1.50 a can. Now it's close to $6 a can. I remember many days eating corned beef and cabbage, corned beef and scrambled eggs, steamed corned beef, corned beef sandwiches. No more.

about 7 months ago

Time Dilation Drug Could Let Heinous Criminals Serve 1,000 Year Sentences

digitalhermit Missing the point? (914 comments)

This is about future societies. There was a time when we speculated about what our current policies meant for a far future society. These far futures have a way of creeping up on us, as did 1984 and the new millennium.

We take many of our current policies for granted and assume they are on an ideological high ground.

There was a time when killing the offspring of your enemy was once the moral thing to do. Arranged marriages were more common. Eight year old children once worked in factories. People still are thrown in jail for years for minor offences.

If we look at our current penal system, and what it moving towards, it's not that ethical. For one, private companies run most jails and they are motivated by profit, not rehabilitation. There are arguments on both sides of the capital punishment debate and each side holds apparently contrary thoughts on related subjects such as euthanasia and abortion. Now I'm not stating agreement with any particular side on the issue of punishment, but I think we should speculate. Speculations such as these, though they are otherwise useless, at least open the debate about our current system.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Will Older Programmers Always Have a Harder Time Getting a Job?

digitalhermit Thank $DEITY for experienced programmers (379 comments)

We have one guy that understands build processes. I have done any serious code in years, but some of the crappy code I've seen is pretty horrid.

Here's an example:
Just over a year ago we had some Java developers doing some web code. This was on a Linux/pSeries hardware. I.e., it's a Power chip, not Intel/AMD. I was asked to install the JVM software by the developers. They gave me an Intel binary. OK, no prob. I asked them to send me the Power installation package. They responded that it was Java and the underlying hardware didn't matter. Oh really? One of the developers actually got pissy and started trying to explain that he ran it on his Windows machine and another guy ran it on his Mac. Tried again to explain the difference between the jvm executable and the jar but then I realized that if he didn't understand that, it wouldn't be much point.

The guy we brought in knows that. Lots of other things too.

about 8 months ago

The Next Keurig Will Make Your Coffee With a Dash of "DRM"

digitalhermit Re:Why? (769 comments)

Screw Keurig. I got one of their machines for Christmas. Damned thing has already stopped working.

Going back to that 10 year old Mr. Coffee brewer.

It was convenient, but the aggravation of maintaining that piece of junk is not worth it.

about 9 months ago

Amazon To Put Android In Set-top Box To Compete With Apple, Roku

digitalhermit No Chromecast? (104 comments)

If they would make a Chromecast app I'd be more than willing to buy movies through their service. I already have about 30 Google Play Movies titles but there are some titles in Amazon streaming that are not available. Until they make it viewable on my screen, I won't buy any more from them.

about 10 months ago

Stack Overflow Could Explain Toyota Vehicles' Unintended Acceleration

digitalhermit Re:Go Amish? (664 comments)

Web developers have a different level of acceptability than in aerospace. I remember a code review for a tiny bit of code that did almost nothing but flash an LED on a failure condition. Three engineers, from three different areas had to approve the change. There was a code review board. There was paperwork and signoffs. Documentation had to include test results, cert results, someone's firstborn and a blood sacrifice to Moloch. The unfortunate engineer that submitted the code had to *defend* it in front of a room full of people whose chief entertainment was watching software guys squirm ("They ain't real engineers" "Here's a quarter kid. Go buy a real degree.").


In the last company where I worked, they changed web code on the fly. The developer edited code directly on the web server. An refresh from the client browser during the update could mean that the look of the page changed one moment to the next. Hell, there was one time when the whole webroot directory was renamed on the live server so the new site could be installed. Too bad for anyone browsing the old page...

Pshaw... You aerospace guys think you live on the edge? Change review? Bwahahaaha. Regression testing? You kid. Dev/Test/Stage/Prod migration? What are you, five?

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

digitalhermit What's old is new (116 comments)

Back in the day, writers earned their keep from underwriters (subscribers). I believe that with tools like Blender, relatively inexpensive broadcast and DVD quality cameras, the ability to collaborate across the world, cheap/cloud storage, and a plethora of amazing stories, we could back to that model. I for one would welcome alternatives to big studio garbage that assumes that because it has a spaceship or an alien race (aliens that look exactly like humans, especially) we'll just buy tickets.

And we often do, because the other "choices" are "Bad Grandma" and "Teen Love Story".

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Is Crowd Funding the Future of Sci-Fi?

digitalhermit Re:Most main-stream sci-fi isn't science-friendly (116 comments)

Some would argue that there are no genres. Everything is fluff around a few basic stories. Whether it was gods and warriors, kings, princesses or magical forests, the settings were just trappings around a quest or a boy meets girl or journey. I've heard folks argue that sci-fi requires some element of science to be truly sci-fi, but I think that precludes a lot of good fiction. There's a story about a machine that (placed railroads/mined/logged). It would be considered a folk tale today (or even a faux tale) but in its day might have the definition of sci-fi.

Anyhoo, one of my favorites new series is/was the BSG respin. I got lots and lots of flack for enjoying it. I consider excellent sci-fi, yet because it had religion and aspects of magic, many don't agree.

"Deep Impact" could be a variation of the Cyclops myths. Like the people on earth, they knew their death. How does a person deal with the knowledge of their future extinction? There are also many mythologies that foretell the end of the world. Whether by a Beast or a meteor, it explores similar ideas.

All said, I agree that much of what is called sci-fi today is drivel. Gorram Fox.

about 10 months ago

Your 60-Hour Work Week Is Not a Badge of Honor

digitalhermit I'm in IT, you insensitive clod. (717 comments)

We average about 50 hours a week, but there are weeks when it goes up to 60 or more. These aren't too often, however. Plus you know that scene in "Office Space" where we hear that there's a good amount of staring into space? There's some of that too. Take that out of my day and it's a more normal 40 hours of actual work.

The problem is in finding people. I interviewed over twenty candidates last year but no matter that the resumes read "Linux expert", many couldn't change a password expiration or expand an LV.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You To Tell Your Client That His "Expert" Is an Idiot?

digitalhermit Oh Hell (384 comments)

This happened to me. The boss man had "taken the initiative" and brought in a new consultant. The guy was an idiot. He opened tickets with the software vendor asking things like how to set the date on a Linux system. He told one of my co-workers that if the root password was lost, he'd need to boot with a rescue disk and do some trickery with /etc/shadow. Tasked with building a cluster, he failed miserably blaming it on poor documentation and other nonsense. I tried many times to tell the boss man that his consultant was an idiot but was told I was being "combative" despite the guy's obvious failings.

It all worked out though. As this guy's contract was being renewed, we asked him to show what he'd done. All the lies he'd told the boss man evaporated when it was revealed that his cluster was just a cluster fuck, his vaunted "remote management" system was really just a "yum install webmin" (left unconfigured), and he'd informed another co-worker not to reveal where he was sitting.

Even years after, the boss man still insisted that the contractor "had fooled everyone."

So no, if the boss is an idiot, you may as well just distance yourself from the idiot. Let him dig his own grave.

about 10 months ago

Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

digitalhermit Re:If there's one role model I want for my daughte (545 comments)

She seems to know her stuff. I show some of her videos to my daughter.

If someone cannot separate their libido from their technical and work related duties, then the problem is not Nixie Pixel's.

Does she lose credibility because she's attractive? I dunno. If anything, I'm more critical of the bubble-headed, "I played ResEvil so I'm a geek grrl!! lol" type. And actually, those types irritate the crap out of me. But looking at her vids, she has technical knowledge that's no worse than many others that I respect.

about 10 months ago



Law school retroactively boosts grades

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  more than 4 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "A law school is retroactively boosting grades for current and former students in order to assist them in this tough job market (and to fend off some lawsuits from students). I wonder if I can get my former schools to bump up my GPA too?"
Link to Original Source

UMX 1.3.4b released

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  more than 4 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "By design, CodeForce has just released version 1.3.4b of the Universal Management CrossConnect (UMX) protocol.

UMX allows any administrator, on any platform, to perform complex system administrator functions using native front-end tools. Though quite obviously a boon to highly technical system administrators, UMX has also gained quite a following with the PHB types as it has proven itself to drastically reduce resource management costs. For the first time, an MCSE, RHCE or a MacOSX administrator can administer *any* UMX-compatible system using tools they are already familiar with."

Link to Original Source

digitalhermit digitalhermit writes  |  about 8 years ago

digitalhermit (113459) writes "Just a dose of interesting science for the day: SCIENTISTS have discovered species of shrimp, mussel and clam living at temperatures near boiling point three kilometres down in the equatorial Atlantic. I was particularly impressed by this line: "Scientists who have eaten them say the shrimp are foul-tasting because of the amount of hydrogen sulphide in their bodies." Link is here."


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