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New Research Suggests Cancer May Be an Intrinsic Property of Cells

presidenteloco It's combinatorics (168 comments)

Human (and similar) bodies work by the continuing controlled boil of of n-billion chain-reactions among n-billion complex molecules. These reactions, though unbelievably complex, have been channelled into very narrow auto-catalytic reaction pathways by evolution. As well as the reactions that do happen in successful organism continuance, there are a vast combinatoric possible range of alternate, and ultimately counter-productive reaction chains that could take place with the same molecule combinations that are present. Luckily, almost all of these destructive alternative reaction chains are energetically infeasible, again, because evolution produces more and more precisely regulated catalyzed reaction chains, equivalent to fine-grained control of living structure formation and process, including metabolism, cell reproduction, and programmed cell death.

However, the combinatoric possibilities for alternate reactions, and alternate metastable structure and process formations, are huge, due to both the number of redundant instances of each type of structure and each type of (chemical) process, and the complexity of the number of different interacting structures and (chemical) processes.

Again luckily, most alternative structure and process that arises is self-lethal. Self-continuing reaction chains (in any given chemical/structural/thermodynamic context) are exceedingly rare, relative to the number of alternatives that might start out.

More fortunately, the viable chains of structure and process have become so sophisticated due to evolution that they actively work to destroy many altered forms. (The immune system.)

However, again, given the vast combinatoric opportunities for even just slightly alternative structure and process to begin as a slight error in a routine living structure and process, not every alternative is non-viable, and not every alternative can be overcome by the immune system.

Some alternative auto-catalyzing structures/processes, starting as minor variants of normal structures/processes, can be viable in their own right, and form a simpler-than-their-host-organism replicating system within the host organism's body, and using its material and energy, and, it must be said, using many of the host body's still perfectly functional structures/structure types/ and processes (e.g. blood vessel recruitment by tumours.)

In summary, viable life as any single type of organism is a matter of a self-reinforcing chain/cycle of viable structure formation and chemical process/reaction continuation within and with that structure. There are virtually unlimited kinds of minor variations in structure or process that could accidentally occur in such a complex physical/chemical/thermodynamic context.Most of those alternatives are self-lethal (not programmed chemically and structurally to continue to reproduce and grow their alternative form). Many other alternatives that might be successful at alternate-form growth and reproduction are killed off by a healthy immune system.
But some forms get through.
The biggest predictor of cancer formation is lifespan. As an organism ages, a) There have simply been more opportunities for structure/process accidental variation experiment within the body, and b) Probably the regulation of process by the body itself becomes weaker as subsystems reduce from their early-life capability levels, due no doubt to a whole range of entropic breakdown of the uniformity of structure and process.

Organism bodies (and their vast self-supporting network of constraining structures and autocatalytic reactions) have a design-life (by evolution, not a designer), and that design life is "enough to reproduce, and care for the offspring if applicable to the species".

A tough story to hear, but that's the story of life and cancer. It is not a hopeless story. Both immune function improvement and novel artificial interventions stand good chances of beating back these alternative lifeforms within us in particular cases. In general though, it is just part of our life process.



Companies That Don't Understand Engineers Don't Respect Engineers

presidenteloco Re:Database? (371 comments)

Most, but not all, actual engineers were trained in general engineering, and in a specialty that was not software or computer science.

Most specialists tend to have a blind spot to the complexities, subtleties, lay of the landscape in other areas than their specialty (thinking that the problems over there are trivial and not worth much effort or expertise.) Come to think about it, this is very similar to bad managers' perceptions of software people or engineers and their work.

I recently worked on a multi-disciplinary project, and without fail, the power engineers thought the controls engineers' work (and need for testing) was trivial, and vice versa, and the mechanicals didn't understand any of the fuss over there at all, and all of them just furrowed their eyebrows quizzically at any mention of software development, testing, or communications networking protocol or security issues.

Get the properly trained people to work on each aspect of your system, and only get the ones that are wise enough to recognize that the other specialty's work is probably as deep, complex, important, and fraught as theirs is.


2 days ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Re: politicizing (409 comments)

The worst thing that has happened is that the republicans put partisan political games ahead of working to solve verified global crises.

A politician trying to show leadership and drive the necessary change is a great thing to happen.

I'm waiting for the criminal charges to be drawn up for obstruction of (climate) justice.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Natural gas plants do not reduce GHGs (409 comments)

Or not appreciably so, even compared to coal. That they do so is a myth being promoted for short-term economic gain.

A major problem with natural gas infrastructure is the leakage of methane (unburned) in the extraction and transport process. If that leakage rate reaches 3%, natural gas energy is about equivalent to coal on greenhouse gas effects on the atmosphere.

So increased natural gas energy is not an effective solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing the global warming process.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Full costs are unlikely accounted for (409 comments)

Decommissioning a nuclear plant site (not counting proper long-term fuel-waste disposal) has estimated costs of $7 Billion per nuclear plant.

My experience with engineering projects tells me that "double it and add 30 (%)" ;=) is a good heuristic for determining how much it will really cost, since everything is usually low-balled to win contracts. So we could guess $15 billion per plant.

No one has really implemented a proper long-term high-grade nuclear waste storage facility yet, so capital and ongoing costs for that are unknown.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco Re:And other costs (409 comments)

If you are seriously comparing the environmental impacts of producing wind turbines and solar panels to the environmental impact of our current scale of fossil fuel extraction and consumption, you need to learn how to think quantitatively, not to mention qualitatively.

about two weeks ago

Brookings Study Calls Solar, Wind Power the Most Expensive Fossil Alternatives

presidenteloco This probably ignores cost of decommissioning (409 comments)

I mean, as far as I know, no one has properly, fully decommissioned a nuclear power plant and effectively long-term-stored its waste yet, have they? Why shouldn't the cost of doing that, completely and adequately, be built into the cost assumptions for nuclear?

Why shouldn't there have to be an extremely large security bond put up when building one of these things that covers:
a) Full cost of full decommissioning and million-year safe storage
b) Fukushima/Chernobyl scale disaster insurance coverage, covering full remediation costs and damage payments for all surrounding economic losses and health costs caused by a major nuclear plant disaster.

about two weeks ago

Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia

presidenteloco WTF ? (254 comments)

my grammar can beat up your grammar

about two weeks ago

Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia

presidenteloco In Canada (254 comments)

where we still have some freedom, Putin is a hacked up, soggy, cheese-curd potato.

about two weeks ago

Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

presidenteloco Java was fantastic in 1995 (371 comments)

But the JEE framework went against some of the Java founders' quest for simplicity, and byzantine configuration-based frameworks were not brought out at dawn and shot soon enough, so they took over. And the language has some annoying verbosity and stuttering.

20 years later we need to move on. Less is more.

about two weeks ago

Google Will Give a Search Edge To Websites That Use Encryption

presidenteloco What about hybrid sites? (148 comments)

My site uses regular http for the "brochure" like main page and info pages (e.g. FAQs, how-tos), and uses https for the login pages and software-as-a-service web-app pages.

Is there something wrong, conceptually, with doing it that way?

Is that hybrid approach going to lower my ranking?

Not sure why one would go to https (and more intensive server-side processing) on the brochure and FAQ type pages.

about two weeks ago

US Intelligence Wants Tools To Tell: Who's the Smartest of Them All?

presidenteloco Why would the smartest be nationalistic? (162 comments)

Wouldn't they realize that humanity would do better if we could "all just get along", that is, govern certain aspects of our global-impacting activity at the global level, based on rationally arrived-at policies, and also define and enforce human and ecosystem rights at the global human level.

That kind of enlightened, future-projecting realization and viewpoint would not be consistent with working for a US intelligence agency.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

presidenteloco Oh forgot one (637 comments)

Object? What's an object?

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

presidenteloco Re:focus on engineering (637 comments)

Hmmm. As a CS who often works with engineers (and scientists) from various disciplines (or managers who come from those backgrounds), I can say that many of them have a blind spot regarding software. Some see the surface and not the ocean. Their questions amount to "how long will it take to implement a user interface that is like this, using software", and that reflects their lack of grasp of the depth of issues that may be dealt with in software specification, design, and construction.

Symptoms of this are:
- "Let's build this critical system (which should be network-centric and reliable-server-based) using a Windows PC glommed onto my techie hardware (because windows PCs, that's what computers are, aren't they?)"

- "The demo/prototype worked, what more work could there be to do? Aren't we done?"

- "Let's use circa 1970/80s serial communications protocols for this distributed monitoring and control system, because they're fast!" (What do you mean that security, and future-proof, scalable, standard TCPIP-based architecture is more important than latency and bandwidth in this supervisory control application?)

- "What's an interface and design by contract? Here's the signal list. There couldn't possibly be any disagreement about it."

- "You asked for an interface with 3 monitored value communications one on/off control, and one setpoint setting method. We gave you this 100 signal signal list. Why would you be complaining when we gave you so much more features and flexibility. You can toggle them in any sequence. Of course turning it on is a 20-step flow chart of signals list monitoring and toggling. See how flexible that is?"

- "I haven't seen a software problem for which visual basic, matlab, Fortran, or C was not the answer."


about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: "Real" Computer Scientists vs. Modern Curriculum?

presidenteloco Is your CS degree program really that narrow? (637 comments)

I remember learning a couple of assembly languages, 3 procedural languages, sql, lisp, and prolog during my undergrad CS degree, while learning three more languages including Forth, Basic, and SmallTalk in summer jobs around that time.

But in my recollection, particular programming language (details of) was not the main point of the majority of my CS (or EE elective) courses, especially not after first year. Quickly learning any programming language was just the price of admission to learning and practicing other CS knowledge. Computing general concepts, algorithm and database general concepts, intro to and practice with different styles of programming such as functional, declarative, procedural, particular types of applications as examples, cool AI'ish stuff, and a few things about software engineering practice, were much of the point.

So if your degree program is "about Java" and "experience with Java and an N-tier JEE stack", then RUN and take some MIT or Stanford online courses in more interesting and useful stuff!

about two weeks ago

If You're Always Working, You're Never Working Well

presidenteloco Re:partly as a result, work culture is also haphaz (135 comments)

Some people use this to advantage to deliberately re-fight the same debate that they lost last time.
That's one reason minutes, with clearly marked decisions and actions are so important.

about three weeks ago

Law Repressing Social Media, Bloggers Now In Effect In Russia

presidenteloco In new-Soviet Russia (167 comments)

blog is writing on wall for YOU!

about three weeks ago

Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

presidenteloco Re:Why is information movement a paradox? (227 comments)

My understanding of time in physics and thermodynamics is that time-forward is the direction in which information spreads out in space (at least on average). That is the meaning of increasing entropy. Time is not symmetrical backwards forwards, once you take into account the spatial location of information.

What this would mean is that as time passes forwards, information about other things becomes less and less accessible/available to an observer at any particular point/trajectory, because the (same amount of i.e. universally conserved) information is being diluted and mixed into more spatial locations.

"Information radiates" (at max C^2, notably!!) is pretty much the same thing as "thermodynamic entropy increases".

Couldn't the information falling into black holes just be a part of that "information becoming less and less accessible to any particular observer" trend of universal entropy increase.

Interestingly, black holes (any mass, actually) would seem to be local concentrators of information, acting in opposition to the normal tendency of information to radiate/spread with forward passage of time. Note the close relationship also of density of mass and density of local mutual information. Very interesting.


about a month ago

Black Holes Not Black After All, Theorize Physicists

presidenteloco Why is information movement a paradox? (227 comments)

Just because the information might have gone somewhere (inside a black hole) where we can't determine the information any more doesn't mean the information was lost to the universe.

It just means it was lost to us (and others on the outside of the event horizon.) It takes a pretty enormous ego (as an observer) to think that it matters to information's existence whether some particular external observer (like us) can detect the information.

So I don't get the paradox at all. The information is just inside the event horizon, isn't it? Inaccessible to us, but accessible to something else that was also inside the event horizon.

Anyone see where I'm going wrong here?

about a month ago

Western US States Using Up Ground Water At an Alarming Rate

presidenteloco Well let them drink Coca-cola (377 comments)

Where is that person that wanted to buy the world a coke when you need them?

But seriously, if polar bears are happy drinking coca-cola to cool off in the global warming, it should be good enough for the rest of us.

about a month ago



software for home energy conservation

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 3 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "We have some development resources to prototype smart energy grid innovations. What would you like to see? How could people interact over the Internet to help conserve energy? What about a smartphone app tied to your smart home. Any ideas?"

Looking for smartgrid software design ideas

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 3 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I work for a polytechnic university applied research group working on a smartgrid testbed project. That is, we are implementing R&D versions of electrical power grid technologies. My team does the software side of the work. One thing we are building is energy management system web applications for residential energy consumers to look at their consumption and set profiles for their consumption depending on energy price. What features should that have? What pricing models would you like to see? Can you think of any social energy management apps? We have some resources to implement prototypes, and are looking for ideas. This is for research purposes and innovation of the grid for environmental and economic and security reasons. Someone might try to commercialize some of it. Do you have any smartgrid software ideas you are willing to share?"

presidenteloco presidenteloco writes  |  more than 7 years ago

presidenteloco (659168) writes "I have developed a web application that I plan to offer on a subscription or service-fee basis.
Should I make the source code behind it free and open source?

What are the factors I should consider? If I FOSS it, I'll receive possibly some assistance
with refining and extending the software, and some good Karma, but on the other hand,
It will be trivial for anyone else to replicate my business model, or to set up their own in-house
version of my service, with no remuneration for me. Also, the value of the "asset" from an
investment or acquisition perspective would likely fall. Ideally, I'd like to earn a humble living or a
portion thereof from operating web applications that I develop. What would Slashdotters do?"


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