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Comments

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Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

gringer Re:Has it been working so far? (387 comments)

Can you please save your systemd frustrations for posting on soylentnews? We don't quite have enough of those yet.

I don't think you can put much blame about systemd on Linus. At least the first search I made on "linus torvalds systemd" was an article reporting a somewhat annoyed comment by Linus regarding the inability of systemd developers to fix their own bugs.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: VPN Setup To Improve Latency Over Multiple Connections?

gringer Insightful jokes (174 comments)

Hi, I'd like to hear a TCP joke
Hello, would you like to hear a TCP joke?
Yes, I'd like to hear a TCP joke
Okay, I'll tell you a TCP joke
Okay, I'm ready to hear a TCP joke
Okay, I'm about to send a TCP joke, that'll last for 10 seconds. It has two characters, it does not have a setting, it'll end with a punchline.
Okay, I'll get your TCP joke, that'll last for 10 seconds. It has two characters, it does not have a setting, it'll end with a punchline.
I'm sorry, your connection has timed out

On the other hand, I could successfully tell you an entire UDP joke, but you might not get it.

about two weeks ago
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The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

gringer Exponential progression (478 comments)

This is an important and worrying epidemic not because of how many infections or deaths there are now, but because of how many there will be by christmas, or in a year's time. Even with strict border controls, I expect that this is going to be all over the place in less than 3 years time, and very likely less if the virus mutates enough to have a greater contagious time for pre-symptomatic individuals. Containment for this virus is incredibly expensive, and spreading the virus around is incredibly cheap.

People just don't get non-linear progression and expansion. Ebola will hit the world hard before it is ready.

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

gringer Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (547 comments)

Come on, python's got its problems, but forcing you to lay out your program in a naturally readable way to compile isn't one of them.

I wouldn't mind python's indentation quirk so much if it didn't give me bugs when rewriting and transferring code, or if I could use braces (or something else) to indicate program flow. In short, changes in the control structure of the code can require indentation changes that cannot necessarily be determined by the editor:

A copy-paste of code from one place to another will only be easy to do in the case where the surrounding indentation is the same in both places.

When a particular bit of code needs to be surrounded in an IF statement (or a loop), it is necessary to manually re-do the indentation to indicate where the statement starts and stops.

If my editor decides that the default indentation is 2, while the code has a default indentation of 4, there's a chance I could inadvertently alter the program flow by re-indenting a line.

With other languages where structure is specified by non-whitespace, I can tell the editor to re-indent refactored code to accomodate new changes, taking a second or so instead of a minute or so (plus any time taken fixing bugs).

about two weeks ago
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US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

gringer Re:+-2000 deaths? (119 comments)

According to the given formula e^(0.022x+4.591) it is actually log(2)/0.022 = 31.5

Hmm... sorry, I got the wrong base. But I also got my millions and billions muddled up, so it's still about 2 years....

about a month and a half ago
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US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

gringer Re:+-2000 deaths? (119 comments)

Doubling time is closer to 50 days than 30 days:

http://i.imgur.com/trBhsa2.png

But the point still stands, you don't want to mess around when there's exponential growth at play. With 50 days doubling time, you get to the population of the world in about 2 years.

about a month and a half ago
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Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

gringer Kazaa (174 comments)

Hmm, interesting. It might be worth pointing out that Skype was originally based on a decentralized service pushed through the Kazaa network:

http://arxiv.org/abs/cs/041201...

Like its file sharing predecessor KaZaa, Skype is an overlay peer-to-peer network. There are two types of nodes in this overlay network, ordinary hosts and super nodes (SN). An ordinary host is a Skype application that can be used to place voice calls and send text messages. A super node is an ordinary host’s end-point on the Skype network

Of course, the problem with the Skype system (as it was when that paper was written) is that the decentralised nature of the network means that your video call could be routed through any number of Skype network nodes (i.e. computers) before it arrives at its destination. I think now Microsoft has replaced most of the supernodes with microsoft servers, so replace "any number of Skype network nodes" with "any number of Microsoft servers".

Presumably Tox is doing something similar to going back to the roots of Skype, with maybe a bit more encryption thrown in.

about 2 months ago
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Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

gringer Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (113 comments)

Then I thought, well perhaps designer spends years designing a game with all sorts of clever ideas then copiers use them all a few days after release. I have to ask, though, is this what happens? Surely a game must spend some time before becoming popular enough to copy, during which it builds a following and has first mover advantage.

Flappy bird is certainly not a good example of the ideas being the expensive part. Here's just one example of an earlier game that is similar in nature:

http://www2.sunflat.net/en/gam...

about 2 months ago
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UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

gringer Re:Link to abstract (63 comments)

Right. I finally got around to writing an R function to do this, because this problem has cropped up a few times in the past year:

getPV <- function(prevalence, sensitivity, specificity){
        popnTrue <- prevalence;
        popnFalse <- (1-prevalence);
        popnTruePos <- popnTrue * sensitivity;
        popnFalsePos <- popnFalse * (1 - specificity);
        popnTrueNeg <- popnTrue * (1 - sensitivity);
        popnFalseNeg <- popnFalse * specificity;
        ppv <- popnTruePos / (popnTruePos + popnFalsePos);
        npv <- popnFalseNeg / (popnTrueNeg + popnFalseNeg);
        return(data.frame(prev = prevalence, sens = sensitivity,
                                            spec = specificity, ppv = ppv, npv = npv));
}

NCI tells me that 4% of the US population are cancer survivors, so I'll use that value for the population prevalence:


> prev <- 4 * 0.01;
> sensSpec <- rbind(c(94.8,54.7),c(81,78.7),c(62.1,94)) * 0.01;

> out.df <- NULL;
> for(i in seq_len(dim(sensSpec)[1])){
    out.df <- rbind(out.df,getPV(prev, sensSpec[i,1], sensSpec[i,2]));
  }
> out.df;
    prev sens spec ppv npv
1 0.04 0.948 0.547 0.08020305 0.9960546
2 0.04 0.810 0.787 0.13677812 0.9900409
3 0.04 0.621 0.940 0.30131004 0.9834779

So the best they can do for this test, according to the paper, is a 30% positive predictive value -- if this test comes up positive, there's a 30% chance that you actually have cancer (and that's allowing for 2% of "negative" results actually being cancer).

about 3 months ago
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UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

gringer Re:Link to abstract (63 comments)

The actual paper is behind a paywall.

Yay for institute access. Their idea of "approach[ing] 100%" is a little bit loose:

Based on these calculations, the cutoffs for low (0.10), medium (0.25), and high (0.50) thresholds are 1.47 at a sensitivity of 94.8% and a specificity of 54.7%, 1.73 at a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 78.7%, and 1.99 at a sensitivity of 62.1% and a specificity of 94%, respectively

I have yet to do the calculations using population prevalence, but I'm going to guess that the positive predictive value of these tests are not particularly high.

about 3 months ago
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Popular Android Apps Full of Bugs: Researchers Blame Recycling of Code

gringer Re:All software is full of bugs (150 comments)

For that matter, all of everything constructed by human beings

You might not be terribly surprised to know that our genes (and the genomes of pretty much everything) are also full of bugs. We have a whole raft of deleterious genetic variants in our DNA that are just waiting for the perfect time to activate and say "hey, you know that life thing? I can make it worse." On top of that, we have a few viral genomes in our DNA (possibly some that are still active), and rely on bacteria and mitochondria to provide us with energy required to live.

In other words, defective objects are the rule, not the exception.

p.s. hmm... I've only just realised how much I miss that handy login form that SoylentNews has to deal with accidental AC posts.

about 3 months ago
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The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

gringer Tesla's response (443 comments)

We apologise for the inadequacies of our car at high speeds, and are investigating ways to make it even safer. We have designed a flexible partitioning system to take some of the energy from a "car split" incident, and will be implementing it in all new Tesla cars, and retrofitting it to all drivers who want it. Additionally, the car will require that the driver and all passengers are wearing seatbelts when the car is driving at speeds exceeding 70 mph.

about 3 months ago
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Microsoft Opens 'Transparency Center' For Governments To Review Source Code

gringer Standards are meant to be broken (178 comments)

Microsoft notes that it worked with multiple international companies to secure its version of the standard.

Ah, yes. Once again, Microsoft has their own special idea about how to extend a standard. Said like a true Microsoft employee (or paraphrased by someone with a strong reporting bias -- it doesn't seem to be phrased in this way in the original Microsoft post about encryption and transparency).

about 4 months ago
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The New 501(c)(3) and the Future of Open Source In the US

gringer SoylentNews (228 comments)

SoylentNews has decided to avoid non-profit status due to the demands it puts on the organisation, so they're now trying to set up as a slightly more normal "we don't actually want to make money" benefit corporation.

about 4 months ago
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Nathan Myhrvold's Recipe For a Better Oven

gringer Re:How about just a good thermostat instead? (228 comments)

An induction cooktop with precise digital temperature control (SI) and a magnetic stirrer would also be great.

A magnetic stirrer on a magnetic induction cooktop would be... interesting.

We have an induction coooktop with digital temperature control (in increments of 10 degrees). It seems to measure the temperature at the induction coil, rather than the temperature of the pot, so things can boil when it's set to 60C. Also, the PWM cycle of the cooktop (as with pretty much every other one I've seen) is far too long at about 0.5Hz (where I'd prefer a cycle of at least 10Hz, and ideally over 100Hz). Further, the power level can't be adjusted as much as I'd like -- I set it to 800W (or 130C, because that seems to be similar) and it's too cold for frying, but 900W (or 140C) is a little bit too hot.

Sure, I wouldn't change away from induction now that I have it, but I expect it'll be a while before we get a replacement cooktop, because I've become a whole lot more aware of the limitations (and possibilities) in the current technology.

about 4 months ago
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Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

gringer Tesla superchargers (345 comments)

And now that Tesla has freed up the patents for their superchargers, you'll be able to plug an electric bike into something that uses that connection and current (not necessarily the Tesla ones). Given that the motorcycle battery packs are much smaller than the car packs, I don't expect that a 2-minute charge to full would be out of the question.

That might almost be quicker than walking up to a cashier and paying money, and certainly would be quicker if you're not the first person in line.

about 4 months ago
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Google and Facebook Can Be Legally Intercepted, Says UK Spy Boss

gringer American citizens (104 comments)

And, of course, they can snoop on American citizens on google and facebook, as well as for all other communications in Great Britain because the Americans are foreigners.

When you have five eyes, and each eye is in a different country, it's quite easy to work around those pesky "no watching yourself" laws.

about 4 months ago
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545-Person Programming War Declares a Winner

gringer Re:Interdisciplinary crossover (57 comments)

It's extremely confusing to put it nicely.

I feel compelled to tell the world about a more confusing part of NCBI that I'm trying to navigate myself around at the moment: The Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly Sequence Database. Submitting sequences is... a little tricky. Here's a simplification of the process:

  1. Create a BioSample record for the organism that you're submitting data for
  2. Download a sample template tab-delimited file, and fill in arbitrary descriptions about your organism
  3. Upload the template file (using your web browser), and finish the remainder of the BioSample submission process
  4. wait for email confirmation of your BioSample record, after which it will have an "official" ID
  5. Create a BioProject record for your transcriptome assembly project, and link in the BioSample record (I don't think you need to wait for email confirmation to get an ID for that)
  6. Create a Sequence Read Archive (SRA) record for your transcriptome assembly project
  7. Create an experiment record (in the SRA record) for your transcriptome assembly project, one for each different method of sequencing that was used
  8. Get md5 sums of all the raw data files that will be uploaded to NCBI
  9. Create a run record (in the experiment record), and add in the file names and md5 sums of the raw data files
  10. Upload your files to the NCBI servers using an FTP client
  11. Wait for files to be transferred from the NCBI FTP server to the SRA server, after which the run record will get an official run ID
  12. Create a Transcriptome Shotgun Assembly (TSA) record for your transcriptome assembly project, and link in the BioProject and BioSample records, as well as the run IDs from the SRA record
  13. Use a web form to create a metadata file to download to your computer
  14. Use a custom NCBI program to merge the metadata file with your transcriptome assembly
  15. Upload the [large] merged file to NCBI using your web browser
  16. Wait for email confirmation, after which the TSA record will get an official ID

Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a Transcriptome assembly ID, which you can insert into a single sentence in your research paper: "The transcriptome that was created for use in this study has been uploaded to NCBI (reference ID: GAAA00000000)."

about 4 months ago
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545-Person Programming War Declares a Winner

gringer Re:$5.74 == Wow hardware resources have become che (57 comments)

$10,000 barely gets you ONE modern well-equipped 20 core server system

I get 4x16 core AMD Opteron 6366HE on a Dell PowerEdge m915 for $5,578.70:

http://configure.us.dell.com/d...

So that's a bit less than $10,000 for 100 cores on a standard issue Dell machine. It's not completely crazy to expect you could increase that to 600 cores without too much extra cash laid down.

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Dotcom MegaUpload case Gets More Complex

gringer gringer writes  |  more than 2 years ago

gringer (252588) writes "The MegaUpload case against Kim Dotcom is proving to be a bit of a nightmare for the New Zealand government. Some information that was used as evidence against Dotcom was gathered illegally, and may not be able to be given to Kim or his lawyers for their defence in his extradition hearing. This is a continuation of an earlier hearing, where it was found that search and seizure operations carried out during the raid on Kim's residence were illegal."
Link to Original Source
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DNS flaw: it hits more than just the web

gringer gringer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gringer (252588) writes "Dan Kaminsky presented at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and said that the DNS vulnerability he discovered is much more dangerous than most have appreciated. Besides hijacking web browsers, hackers might attack email services and spam filters, FTP, Rsync, BitTorrent, Telnet, SSH, as well as SSL services. Ultimately it's not a question of which systems can be attacked by exploiting the flaw, but rather which ones cannot. Then again, it could just be hype. For more information, see Kaminsky's power point presentation."
Link to Original Source
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"Silent" Mutations Heard by the Cancer Cel

gringer gringer writes  |  more than 6 years ago

gringer writes "Digging through a washington post article (found via digg), I came across this little surprising statement:

Earlier this year, however, a study in Science showed that these synonymous spellings can make a difference. That's because it can be harder to make a protein from the instruction with the unusual, but synonymous, spelling. The construction process takes longer, and the final protein folds up differently. It has a slightly different shape — and a different function.
Synonymous mutations are those that produce exactly the same string of amino acids for a gene, and so have been though to only be used as an "error robust" system, so that important proteins still function as usual in the presence of errors. This finding is a contradiction to that, where a "redundant" change in the DNA still affects the behaviour of the final product. In this case, the mutations are happening in a gene that contributes to the multi-drug resistant behaviour of cancer cells.

The abstract for the paper they seem to be referring to can be found here."

Link to Original Source

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