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Disney Turned Down George Lucas's Star Wars Scripts

gnunick Re: Hitchhiker's (420 comments)

Oh c'mon. HHGTTG was originally a radio series, and worked well in that form. It worked far better, IMHO, as books.

But how could anyone *ever* turn the books, with their nuanced and nerdy humor, into a single feature film (or even a series of films)? Of course, movies are rarely as good as the books they're made from--and if they are, they're still *always* very different stories.

Movie-fying HHGTTG just wasn't possible.

When I went to see the movie I had low, low expectations, and wasn't disappointed. I wish no one had attempted such an impossible feat, but what they produced was just as good as I expected. It was, incidentally, pretty crappy. Or at least, I'm sure Marvin would have thought so.

4 days ago

What Africa Really Needs To Fight Ebola

gnunick For some reason, when I first saw the headline... (83 comments)

...I expected to see a blather... um, blog post by Bennett Haselton.

(I didn't RTFA, but it sounds as if this article *might* have been written by someone who did some actual research.)

about two weeks ago

In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

gnunick Re:Not to sound too paranoid (207 comments)

Yes, a slightly different execution, but sounds like the same basic tech.

Opt-out is good to have if it works (like you'd ever know...). But I don't think most people know that Google is even doing this. I had no idea until I got a job working with traffic information systems. Before that, I always assumed Google Traffic was getting data from local governments (e.g. from loop sensors embedded in the pavement, etc.).

about a month and a half ago

In Iowa, a Phone App Could Serve As Driver's License

gnunick Re:Not to sound too paranoid (207 comments)

According to a local news story I heard reported a few weeks ago, there are systems in place used for traffic monitoring that already grabbing wireless data from people's cell phones. Apparently the technique is being used simply to model traffic patterns and for planning purposes.

Yes, there certainly are such systems, and they're not all that new. The most prominent one is probably Google Traffic.

about a month and a half ago

Adobe: Click-to-Play Would Have Avoided Flood of Java Zero-days

gnunick Re:also applies to flash and acrobat (111 comments)

Preferences > Show advanced settings > content settings > Plugins > click to play.

When it's hidden so deeply (in Chromium) that I had to keep referring back to your instructions to find exactly where it was, I'd say that installing Flashblock is about 10x easier. In any case, thanks for the tip.

Aside from compatibility testing, about the only reason I ever use Chromium is for viewing sites which break with Firefox+Flashblock. So I guess I'll find out before long if Chromium's "click to play" feature is any better on such obnoxious sites.

Click-to-play should the default for all video and/or sound-producing content, with the ability to easily whitelist sites you trust.

about 3 months ago

Designer Creates a Water Bottle That You Can Eat

gnunick Re:Pointless? (171 comments)

Yes, in salt water you DO have free sodium and chlorine ions floating around. That's exactly what you have. Sodium (Na+) and Chlorine (Cl-) ions, that is. They are not molecules at this point. Boil off the water and the ionic bonds reform, recreating crystalline salt (NaCl).

Yes, at least one person around here definitely needs to review their chemistry notes. :)

about 9 months ago

'Accidental' Siberian Mummies Part of Mysterious Ancient Arctic Civilization

gnunick How about some better links, with more pictures? (34 comments)

As soon as I see an "ibtimes" domain, I know better than to RTFA. I don't understand why /. ever posts links to their crappy sites unless they're getting kickbacks on click-throughs.

So how about looking for some alternate sources? Googling "Zeleniy Yar mummies" suggests that this isn't some ibtimes hoax after all.

This Siberian Times article seems to have the most information with lots of great pictures, the fewest ads, and other sites credit it as their source:

about 9 months ago

Engine Data Reveals That Flight 370 Flew On For Hours After It "Disappeared"

gnunick Correction: Signal NOT from the engine monitors (382 comments)

(From TFA):

Corrections & Amplifications

U.S. investigators suspect Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 flew for hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, based on an analysis of signals sent through the plane's satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of onboard systems, according to people familiar with the matter. An earlier version of this article and an accompanying graphic incorrectly said investigators based their suspicions on signals from monitoring systems embedded in the plane's Rolls-Royce PLC engines and described that process.

about 10 months ago

What Are the Weirdest Places You've Spotted Linux?

gnunick Re:Likewise (322 comments)

Which, due to Linux's efforts to guard every user account against every other user account, is an absolute nightmare.

With a comment like that, it's quite apparent you don't know much about Linux system administration. You should read up on the appropriate uses of 'sudo' before you go messing things up.

about a year ago

Microsoft Reads Your Skype Chat Messages

gnunick Re:This is news? (275 comments)

This is exclusively scanning for a URL and matching against a database

Did you RTFSummary? The web servers hosting the content are getting requests from Microsoft! The only thing exclusive about it is Skype's monopoly.

about a year and a half ago

Zuckerberg Lobbies For More Liberal Immigration Policies

gnunick FUD with a double-U? (484 comments)

Double the U, double the FUD?

about 2 years ago

Petition For Metric In US Halfway To Requiring Response From the White House

gnunick Re:That's a lot! (1387 comments)

We should bend over backwards to satisfy 1/25000 of the population.

RFTFY Original AC's comment was asinine but at least got the math right.

about 2 years ago

The bicycle I most often ride is ...

gnunick Re:Mountain bike in the city, for my safety's sake (356 comments)

I encourage everyone to ride a mountain bike if you plan on bike on a road with a lot of traffic and potholes!

I read the thread of replies about where you live. Anywhere with that many potholes--and/or if you like to take off-road excursions on a whim--it sounds like a mountain bike is just great for you! On the other hand, for anyone who rides on roads with a lot of traffic (or not) with relatively good road surfaces, I would strongly discourage them from riding a mountain bike. Get a bike that's designed for what you're doing. Mountain bikes are designed for rough- and off-road conditions. They have fat, knobby tires and low gearing, and

  • 1. Fat, low-pressure tires make for a much harder (more difficult) ride--if you're in it purely for the workout, that's great. Otherwise, you're liable to get discouraged and think biking's not for you because it just takes too much effort to get to work and back. (on the other hand, it may result in a more comfortable ride if you don't care about effort).
  • 2. As mentioned elsewhere, knobby tires provide less traction (and probably more rolling friction) on normal road surfaces--more dangerous when you need to brake in a hurry, as you often do in [sub]urban environments.
  • 3. Low gearing means your legs have to spin around a lot faster to go the same speed as a comparable road bike.

I'm not saying the average rider needs a race bike. Au contraire... if you're riding as a commuter or just "around town", getting a (generally expensive) road bike is just as naïve as getting a mountain bike that you'll never take off-road. For the average commuter in relatively flat [sub]urban environment, I recommend a 3- to 8-speed bike (gearing in the rear hub; eliminates all the complication and maintenance of a derailleur setup) with relatively narrow tires... and a comfortable seat. Myself, my normal commuter bike is an old (~1980) Viscount, single-speed (not a fixie, thanks!) with high-gearing (52/16) because I like to go relatively fast. When I'm riding with my family, I ride an old Schwinn 10-speed.

more than 2 years ago

Two Sunken Japanese Submarines Found Off Hawaii

gnunick Article is wrong: Japanese DID attack US mainland (239 comments)

Although they may be talking specifically about this class of submarine and sub-launched aircraft, the Japanese did attack the US mainland, both with sub-mounted artillery, and sub-launched aircraft.

And yes the aircraft were recoverable by the sub crew: they were seaplanes, and would be picked up by a crane aboard the sub.

You can read a summary of US-mainland attacks here:

more than 5 years ago

Trick or Treatment

gnunick Re:Herbal medicine has limited value (713 comments)

Luckily we have the FDA looking out for our health and best interests (joke!).

You do realize that the FDA employees and their families use this medicine, right? They've got a bit of a vested interest in actually looking out for us.

Yes, I always trust my government to look out for me too. Anyway, never mind the rank and file employees. They don't make the important decisions. How about the decision-makers of the FDA? Are they trustworthy? They're often pharmaceutical industry insiders (and when they're done working at the FDA, they often go right [back] into the industry). Fox, hen house, anyone? I won't waste anyone's time posting lots of links to stuff you can easily research yourself, but here's one good example of a no-good FDA commissioner who actually got canned.

In the words of another writer: However, the profits up for grabs have become so enormous that critics say the goal of industry-controlled research is no longer focused on finding a cure for cancer to save lives. Instead, the focus is on thwarting the development and approval of new therapies in order to protect the profits of the treatments already on the market. (source; emphasis mine)

I mean, come on, READ the article you just linked: "The results in The Lancet Infectious Diseases conflict with other studies that show no beneficial effect."

I have. The conclusions of the cited study were based on the results of 14 previous studies! As stated, some previous studies haven't shown any preventative or ameliorative effect of Echinacea. Those might have been commissioned by people with a vested interest in "proving" Echinacea ineffective. Or maybe they were done by incompetent researchers. Maybe they were using some adulterated form of the herb that wasn't effective, or based on the wrong variety (before you call 'bullshit', consider the difference in "effectiveness" of smoking industrial hemp vs. smoking recreational marijuana; all varieties of the same plant).

I'm sure I could design with a study that would pass the average peer review AND fail to show any positive effect of Echinacea (especially if those "peers" were biased towards, or at least expecting, the stated results). Perhaps I could design one to show positive results. The question is, what is my vested interest in proving something one way or another? Even if there's no personal benefit involved, do I have a preconceived notion of what the results will be? Let's say I carefully design a double-blind study, and the results, to my chagrin, prove something that is extremely financially detrimental to me and/or my employer. Will I lose my funding grants? Will my employer even allow it to be published? Will my conscience demand that I publish it, or will I leave it to the dust heap of history because I must feed my family? It's incredibly naive to assume that all "scientific" studies are accurate. Especially when you see similar ones appearing to contradict one another.

In my first post, perhaps I shouldn't have been so bold as to say Echinacea *does* have value. I don't know that. Some studies have shown it to be so. Some have shown otherwise. My personal experience is generally positive, but obviously that could be the placebo effect at work. Good thing it's cheap; if I'm wasting my money, at least I'm not wasting much.

Speaking of money--although alternative medicine is a multi-billion dollar industry in the US, it is still dwarfed by the pharmaceutical industry. The more money you've got to prove your point (which will help you get more money), the more skeptical I'm going to be about your "scientific evidence". The Dairy Council advocates eating lots of dairy products (and they cheerfully supply free "nutritional" information to schools; do you think they're going to warn about the dangers of excessive dairy consumption?). The Cattlemen's Beef Association (for one) advocates eating lots of beef.

Just a couple decades ago, this sort of diet was accepted by most people as healthful. Only in the face of the inescapable evidence to the contrary has American society finally started to realize that, generally, the less of those things you eat, the better (and you certainly don't need them to be healthy). Similarly, the pharmaceutical industries advocate taking their drugs, make enough campaign contributions to get their cronies appointed to the FDA, and pay for studies to "prove" their points. Of course, they also pay for doctors to go on holidays, golf retreats, and provides lots of other incentives to get them to sell you drugs you might not need. I'm not trying to imply that everything they say is wrong and every drug is harmful. But I'm sorry, they're hardly very trustworthy.

As an analogy to bring things back to a more traditionally slashdotty perspective, how about all the studies commissioned (directly or indirectly) by Microsoft to show the alleged superiority of Windows? Whether or not you agree with their conclusions, do you not see the need to be skeptical, given their sources? But wait, their families trust that same software, so it must be OK! =)

Here's one such study. Here's another. Here's a much more damning one, which found that "popular herbal medicines, including ginkgo, ginseng and garlic, can cause serious complications during surgery". Cherry-picking a positive study isn't doing research.

The first article you cite is nearly two years older than the one I cited. The second one is over three years older! This is what you call "more recent"? Perhaps those are some of the ones you read about (you read it, right?) in the BBC article I previously linked to. Cherry-picking, you say? Well I don't know about that, but it might have supported your argument if you'd picked studies done since the one I cited, from 2007. I don't doubt some exist.

And mmmhmm, OK... what's so damning about that last one? I haven't read the whole thing, but I have heard of that study before, and the quote you chose doesn't say anything that contradicts anything in my original post. That article does say Echinacea "can cause immune suppression" but that contradicts your other studies, which purport to show no statistically significant effect of Echinacea! If you're going to cite studies to support your argument, they probably shouldn't contradict each other. =)

Argument from ignorance and unstated major premise. You're implying that there HASN'T been much research done, either because you don't know or you don't accept the negative findings.

I'm implying no such thing. That's a conclusion you chose to make. And forgive me if my hastily written original post led you to believe me ignorant. Sure, billions have been spent on so-called "alternative medicine" research--still a fraction of that spent on synthetic medicines. But in any case, money spent doesn't equal good research. And if your research is funded by someone with a financial interest in the results, those results are suspect (yes, I do consider all research to be suspect).

Problem is, if you can pick it from a forest or a field, there's no money in it for the shareholders... unless you can purify/extract/synthesize and patent it (after all, aspirin was originally derived from willow bark).

You claim that a company would not develop a medicine if it can't turn them a profit. Then you provide a direct contradiction of your claim. If no company had further developed aspirin, we'd still only get it from willow bark.

Ahem. No, I didn't. If Bayer's once-patented formulation of acetylsalicylic acid wasn't more effective than chewing on willow bark, they surely... wait, WHAT? Are you implying no one has made money on aspirin?! Please re-read what I wrote, especially the bit starting with "unless".

I doubt either of us has read the book which is the subject of this review, and I'm really not sure what we're arguing about. My general points were: some herbal remedies are efficaceous; many drugs are not; don't trust big corporations or their affiliated political appointees to look out for my best interest (so keep an eye on them and take what they say with a grain of salt); and if you can pick it in the wild or easily formulate it yourself, it's unlikely you'll find major pharmaceutical companies looking into it.

more than 6 years ago

Trick or Treatment

gnunick Re:Herbal medicine has limited value (713 comments)

...and many pharmaceuticals (read: synthetic or chemically purified and processed medicines) have limited value as well. Plus, they can often kill you.

Luckily we have the FDA looking out for our health and best interests (joke!).

Meanwhile, as far as herbal medicine that *does* have value: Even to my surprise, a study from a couple years ago showed that Echinacea has been found to more than halve the risk of catching the common cold:

I'm sure if more research was done into natural and traditional remedies, many others would also be found to also have value. Problem is, if you can pick it from a forest or a field, there's no money in it for the shareholders... unless you can purify/extract/synthesize and patent it (after all, aspirin was originally derived from willow bark).

more than 6 years ago

Third Undersea Cable Cut

gnunick Re:Third cut? do i smell Conspiracy BS? (655 comments)

USA - maybe
Rebels - maybe
Russia or China - 100%

So, you're saying that there's a more than 100% chance that someone did it. Right.

Anyway, the way I see it, some governmental organization was probably practicing, proving that they could do it and observing the consequences. The chances that the world would learn from this and suddenly make all undersea cables less vulnerable to this sort of attack (how?) seems slim.

If it hadn't happened under the sea, I'd term it a 'dry run'.

Jokes aside--The real questions are who did it, and what is the target they were practicing for?

Of course, many countries have better internet service than the US, but none have bigger economies, more dependent on high tech (never mind the outsourced workforce, which has already been hard-hit by these problems in the Middle East & South Asia), than the US. A sudden loss of most of the internet connectivity for North America would be catastrophic to the US. I say that makes them the richest target, and conversely the least likely to have made this practice run.

Such an attack would be cheap to undertake, so any number of America's enemies could be responsible. I can think of some prime suspects, but have no reason to pick one over another.

more than 6 years ago



Oregon county uses home-grown seatbelt photo trap

gnunick gnunick writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gnunick (701343) writes "Sgt. John Naccarato of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office recently had what he calls "an epiphany" at 4 a.m. Get a camera with a long lens. Hook it up to Bluetooth. Create a mobile WiFi network. Transmit photos of truckers not wearing seat belts to the camera phones of pursuit deputies. Hand out $97 tickets.

Only four steps to... profit!"


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