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The 'Radio Network of Things' Can Cut Electric Bills (Video)

gringer Some town already did this (172 comments)

I recall an article a month or so ago about a town that had already done this, using high-bandwidth internet to determine energy use across the town. Unfortunately I can't remember the town or the company....

about two weeks ago

Hands On With MakerBot's 3D-Printed Wood

gringer Laywood (72 comments)

3D printing with wood? Oh, a bit like Laywood then.

The other composites are something I'm less familiar with, but I know that shapeways already has alumide as a printable medium.

about three weeks ago

GNOME Project Seeks Donations For Trademark Battle With Groupon

gringer Re:Why feed the lawyers? (268 comments)

You're confusing patent law with trademark law. Prior art is not particularly important for trademarks.

about 2 months ago

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 3 months ago

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 3 months ago

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 4 months ago

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 4 months ago

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 4 months ago

US Scientists Predict Long Battle Against Ebola

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

Doubling time is closer to 50 days than 30 days:


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 4 months ago

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:


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 5 months ago

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:


about 5 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 6 months ago

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 7 months ago

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 7 months ago

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 7 months ago



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

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

"Silent" Mutations Heard by the Cancer Cel

gringer gringer writes  |  more than 7 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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