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Hints of Life's Start Found In a Giant Virus

jpvlsmv Re:Well (158 comments)

I, for one, welcome our new virii overl...oh forget it, this meme is no longer funny.

Virii? Nitpicking, I know, but that particular abuse of the language makes me cringe, it really does, because it is so bizarrely and emphatically wrong on far too many levels.

[...]

just like 'one bus, several buses' ('bus' from 'omnibus', but let's not go there). Apart from that, you would use a a nominative singular here: '... our virus overlords ...'

Buses? Nitpicking, I know, but that particular abuse of the language makes me cringe, it really does, because it is so bizarrely and emphatically wrong on far too many levels.

The correct plural of bus is bi. (Unless you're talking about the London double-decker variety, in which case it's bii.)

about two weeks ago
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Tor Project Sued Over a Revenge Porn Business That Used Its Service

jpvlsmv Re:"Don't be ridiculous." --Balki (311 comments)

Was "revenge porn" non-existant before Tor?

It was mostly limited to scratching "For a Good Time Call Jenny 867-5309" on the bathroom stall of every local truck stop/gas station.

And no more defamatory then, either.

about two weeks ago
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How Japan Lost Track of 640kg of Plutonium

jpvlsmv Re:Come now. (104 comments)

Hint: a cleric sitting in his office somewhere filing lots of reports

Thank goodness we have the separation of church and state in the US. It's only our Patriotic Paladins who get to fill out reports over here.

about two weeks ago
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Site of 1976 "Atomic Man" Accident To Be Cleaned

jpvlsmv Re:Faith in God (299 comments)

The reasons for the quotation marks would make for a very long rant about ionizing vs. non-ionizing radiation and their complete ignorance of what is actually going on.

If you really want to get the far right riled up about radiation, you could call something different than non-ionizing. Can you imagine if the public were exposed to unionizing radiation?

about three weeks ago
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Mutant Registration vs. Vaccine Registration

jpvlsmv Registry checklist: (493 comments)

I'm trying to keep track of what kind of registries are acceptable for each (US) political party

No Fly Registry: It's Our Patriotic Duty (D&R)
Gun Owner Registry: Acceptable for (D), Unacceptable for (R)
Legal-to-work-in-US Registry: Acceptable for (R), Unacceptable for (D)
National ID card: Acceptable for (D), Unacceptable for (R)
Vaccination Registry: Acceptable for (D), Unacceptable for (R)
Superhero Registry: It's Our Patriotic Duty
Mutant Registry: Ditto
Windows Registry: Can't run Windows without it, and what else would you run?

about 2 months ago
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Botched Executions Put Lethal Injections Under New Scrutiny

jpvlsmv Use confiscated drugs (483 comments)

I still don't understand why the lethal injection isn't just a bunch of heroin that's been confiscated in the latest raid. People OD on heroin without being horribly uncomfortable.

about 2 months ago
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"Smart" Gun Seller Gets the Wrong Kind of Online Attention

jpvlsmv Re:Gun nuts (1374 comments)

The 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees that each citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. There are only a very few obvious prohibitions, namely against convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent or ill.

I have yet to see any constitutional argument that supports these "obvious prohibitions". Either the 2nd amendment allows each citizen to keep and bear arms (including convicted felons and the insane) or there are obvious limits on the scope of the rights enumerated there.

And once you accept that there are obvious limits on the scope of gun rights, then you can't just say "the 2nd amendment allows me to carry whatever firearm I want wherever I want to"

about 3 months ago
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Seven Habits of Highly Effective Unix Admins

jpvlsmv Delegate and Automate. (136 comments)

Find the people on your team who can be trusted to do the job well. Encourage them to do it. Work with them to build their skills as well as yours.

Find the people on your team who can not be trusted to do the job well, and replace them with shell scripts.

about 3 months ago
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Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware

jpvlsmv Re:The Post-PC era (294 comments)

Yep, "Feature PCs" (like the Smartphone/Featurephone distinction)

about 4 months ago
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For the First Time, Organ Regenerated Inside a Living Animal

jpvlsmv It was so easy (94 comments)

Let me see if I understand the process they've found:

1. Genetically engineer a mouse to respond to a drug
2. Administer the drug
3. ???
4. Profit!^W Publish how you have discovered a cure for aging. (Non-GMO humans need not apply. Side effects may include premature death.)

about 4 months ago
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How Many People Does It Take To Colonize Another Star System?

jpvlsmv How about this one? (392 comments)

How many people does it take to colonize this star system? Apparently more than the 6 Billion we have on Earth, since we haven't even bothered to get off this damn rock.

Send people to Mars first, then worry about Alpha Centauri (which is a terrible place to send people to anyway. The only thing there is a backwaters galactic planning council office)

--Joe

about 4 months ago
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Data Mining the Web Reveals What Makes Puzzles Hard For Humans

jpvlsmv Re:Nurikabe (44 comments)

Don't worry, there's 2048 other games to consume your time.

about 4 months ago
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Used IT Equipment Can Be Worth a Fortune (Video)

jpvlsmv Re:The problem with eBay to sell electronics (79 comments)

That, plus the fact that you need to find a buyer willing to pay for your item during the 7-day window that you've run your auction, and who's willing to wait until next Tuesday to get it.

eBay is terrible for low-volume items for this reason. (I personally flooded the eBay market for SGI Indigo workstations a while ago -- the first two sold, the rest of them never did)

about 4 months ago
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AWS Urges Devs To Scrub Secret Keys From GitHub

jpvlsmv Re:In related news... (109 comments)

In related news...

Google suggests you don't post your username & password to GitHub.
The locksmith's union suggests you don't tape your key to your front door.
The TSA suggests you DO write your combination on your luggage.

FTFY. Or at least that you use the same key that everybody else does.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use?

jpvlsmv Enforce it socially (130 comments)

Feel free to continue open access, but place a social stigma on using the equipment without recording your use.

For example, imagine that when you sit down at the desk, a light goes on that says "Thanks for logging in" (if you have). Now, tomorrow, you find three other people in the lab who don't have the sign lit. You say "Hey, I can see that you didn't sign in to indicate that you're using the system-- here, let me help you"

Another way to encourage self-policing from the users is to tie maintenance or upgrades to the logged use of the system. Say "Sorry, we're not going to upgrade that oscilloscope because nobody logs that they use it. We're going to spend grant money on the bench power supply in room 6B that has lots of log entries."

Put these two things together, and the people who care about using the equipment will help you keep the other users under control.

--Joe

about 5 months ago
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Water Filtration With a Tree Branch

jpvlsmv Re:Most common pathogens (205 comments)

Water-borne pathogens in the kingdom Animalia are usually called "predators" rather than "pathogens". But yes, pathogens such as A. Mississippiensis can be filtered from the water with an appropriately-sized tree branch.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Do You Manage Your Passwords?

jpvlsmv Re:Keepass (445 comments)

The one feature I wish it had was a USB-HID (I'd even settle for a BT/HID) emulator so that it could act as a USB keyboard to type when I have my phone plugged in. Unfortunately, none of the phone platforms will allow you to do that (easily)

about 5 months ago
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First Liquid Machines Presage Soft Robots

jpvlsmv Re:Really? (42 comments)

"The technology behind the T-1000 assassin in the Terminator movies might as well be science fiction"

Might it? Might it really?

Or it might be pop-media drivel written to draw money from moviegoers without any actual science or fiction (much less both)

about 5 months ago

Submissions

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Journals

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My New Word of the day

jpvlsmv jpvlsmv writes  |  more than 6 years ago

I've created a new word for today:

Home Cussprovement. It's when you take a simple home repair, start it and end up cussing the previous "handyman" for doing such a half-assed job at it the first time that it takes you 5x longer to unfix his crap and do it right.

For example:

Everything's perfect with the lightswitches in the room, except for the one that turns "up for off" (everything else is down for off) A simple turn of the switch body should fix that: a couple of screws, a twist, and everything's happy, right? Except that the previous bright spark of an electrician used six wire nut junctions feeding just-too-short bits of cable (in such an entertaining variety of colors) so that loosening any of the switches causes at least two wire ends to pop out of their former homes with such an amusing brownout* that ensues. That's a Home Cussprovement.

Or today's discovery that the bathroom vent fan is not exactly installed correctly. it was making noise when the fan was on, so i think "motor bearing or vibration in the shaft". These are fairly simple systems: hole in ceiling, wired to switch, vent to outside... I should be able to knock this problem out quickly. Guess which of the three components our previous handyman had gotten wrong? I'll give you a hint: All of them. The hole in the ceiling is 2" too long in one direction and 3/4" too short in the other. The wire from the light is not marked as switched (blue rather than black, but I can forgive that one) and is made of the wrong metal for the fixtures at both ends (both are Cu-only, the cable isn't). And the "outside" to which this great installation is vented simply means "above the ceiling drywall". Of course, none of these features were visible without removing the vent cover, which is what was really causing the noise in the first place (the motor shaft was hitting one of the cover fins), but now that I know about them, I have to do something about them.

--Joe

* Since this is such an "easy" job, I don't mind doing it live, but when half the house goes dark after the first screw comes out, I get worried and pull the main breaker. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. NEVER WORK ON MAINS VOLTAGE LIVE. KEEP ONE HAND IN YOUR POCKET. TAKE YOUR PHONE/PAGER OFF VIBRATE! THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS, IF NOT DEADLY. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. EVER. NEVER WORK ON MAINS VOLTAGE LIVE. Seriously.

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