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Gamers Beat Algorithms At Finding Protein Structures

pzs Re:Gamers? no Nerds? yes (80 comments)

That sounds like a result in itself. By packaging the problem as a game, he's managed to enlist free help from random people on the internet - crowd-sourcing, if I can use that awful buzz-phrase. Perhaps its a victory for scientific marketing more than science, but a better algorithm is a real result that speaks for itself.

We also shouldn't be surprised that an extra few thousand people looking at the problem can come up with a better algorithm than "the professionals". Maybe the researchers were too close to the problem, maybe the other guys had a different perspective, maybe they were lucky... it doesn't really matter.

more than 4 years ago
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Regulator Blocks BBC DRM Plans

pzs Re:BBC Bias (177 comments)

Here is another example, where a presenter of newsnight mercilessly grills a man who is effectively her own boss.

more than 4 years ago
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DHS Ponders "Improving" Terrorism Alert System

pzs Re:*sigh* (320 comments)

The problem with doing that is that such a sudden change will make their motives clear. They have to use this frog-boiling approach - essentially a very gradual declaration of martial law - so that nobody will notice a sudden change and complain.

Pedants: Yes, I know the frog boiling thing is a myth.

more than 5 years ago
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Facebook Releases Open Source Web Server

pzs Re:that's pretty stupid (113 comments)

I use CPython for performance dependent stuff and have found the loops themselves, even not doing anything, are surprisingly slow. Do you have a reference for your "200x slower than C" claim? I'd be interested to see if it tallied with my experiences.

more than 5 years ago
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Dell Says High Linux Netbook Returns a "Non-Issue"

pzs Re:IdeaStorm's Top Ideas (324 comments)

You say that, but did you look at the numbers on that page? The OpenOffice recommendation has more than 100,000 upvotes. Why would 100,000 people who don't care show up on Dell's webpage to click on that arrow?

I work in a University where Dell is the main approved supplied for PC kit. I had to buy a work machine with XP even though the first thing I did was to install Linux. I wonder how many other forced-to-buy-Dell or don't-know-anything-but-Dell people there are out there who might buy FOSS if they could and it was cheaper?

Sure, a majority of people may not be interested in Linux or OpenOffice. But a significant minority might take the opportunity to go for an alternative to MS if one was made available.

more than 5 years ago
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AOL Picking Up Journalists Shed By Conventional Media

pzs Re:Somebody needs to pay these guys (94 comments)

My dad tried to make Christmas decorations out of the CDs. They looked hideous and cutting them out made really jagged edges that were pretty dangerous.

I guess I could have used them like ninja throwing stars to slay the call-centre staff. "Yes, I want to cancel my fucking account!"

more than 5 years ago
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AOL Picking Up Journalists Shed By Conventional Media

pzs Somebody needs to pay these guys (94 comments)

There have been several stories on Slashdot recently about the demise of newspapers. Commentary from blogs and elsewhere is fine, but somebody needs to be gathering the primary data. If AOL are willing to pick up the slack on this, I might just start to forgive them for all those damn floppy disks in the late 90s.

They talk about paying for it with syndication and distribution; I wonder if this model can be used to pay for proper long-term investigative journalism, the kind of stuff that is vital to democracy.

more than 5 years ago
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

pzs Re:NoScript and Adblock (207 comments)

Thanks for the tip. I'm using it now. We'll see how it goes.

more than 5 years ago
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

pzs Re:NoScript and Adblock (207 comments)

Man, there must be something seriously broken with my (vanilla Ubuntu) install. I regularly have to kill Firefox because it's causing my 8GB machine to hit the swap.

more than 5 years ago
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

pzs Re:NoScript and Adblock (207 comments)

I only use AdBlock and NoScript and there are no issues listed.

I do run a lot of windows, rather than tabs - usually half a dozen, some with sub-tabs, spread across many virtual desktops. Still, I've been running Firefox for about 4 or 5 hours today and it looks like this:

  3206 pzs 20 0 1132m 639m 28m R 1 8.1 92:38.58 firefox

which seems very high.

more than 5 years ago
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New Chrome Beta Adds Themes, Speed, & HTML 5 Video

pzs NoScript and Adblock (207 comments)

I'm a not-very-happy Firefox user, since I find it has horrendous memory leaks. I can get it up to 2GB virtual memory in a morning's average browsing. Yes, I have tried the tips on the Mozilla site.

However, I have become addicted to a controlled web experience with NoScript and Adblock. I won't be switching to Chrome until I can get similar tools.

more than 5 years ago
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Making a Game of Hardware Design

pzs Re:Satisfiability, Sudoku, and NP-completeness (60 comments)

I guess you could convert a SAT problem into a Sudoku. However, I think a crucial pre-condition for Sudoku people is that the puzzle is solvable with the given information. Nobody is going to spend hours plugging away at a Sudoko in order to try to return an "it can't be solved" answer.

more than 5 years ago
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The Amazing World of Software Version Numbers

pzs Re:Irrational numbers (321 comments)

Somebody mod parent overrated - version numbers in TeX is mentioned in the TFA.

more than 5 years ago
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The Amazing World of Software Version Numbers

pzs Irrational numbers (321 comments)

The proper way to use version numbers is to continually improve the precision of an irrational number, as in Tex.

more than 5 years ago
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WikiLeaks' Daniel Schmitt Speaks

pzs Re:The problem with Wikileaks is... (154 comments)

The problem is one of trust. These days, I don't trust my government (UK) enough to let them make decisions about what I don't get to see. If they wanted to keep this trust, all they had to do was not oppose the release of their expenses quite so vigorously.

more than 5 years ago
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WikiLeaks' Daniel Schmitt Speaks

pzs Put your money where your mouth is! (154 comments)

I don't think the Slashdot crowd should need convincing that Wikileaks is a force for good. However, passive support won't be enough for such a contentious organisation, so do what I did and show them some love.

(Hmm, I just noticed that PayPal donation is currently down, which is rather awkward...)

more than 5 years ago
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Squeezing a Wikipedia Snapshot Onto an 8GB iPhone

pzs Re:What a total geek.... (169 comments)

You're right that this guy has flown the geek flag pretty high here; however, at least it's to some useful purpose. There are all kinds of facts about a country that are quite hard to discover just wandering about in it, and Wikipedia would be the ideal candidate to answer them.

Last time I went on holiday (to Australia) I came back with a dozen questions I wanted answering, just because I didn't have internet access while I was out there; Wikipedia access would answer many of these questions. Examples:

  • I heard that Beds Are Burning was about the Australian aborigines - I never knew this before and wanted to look up more details on it.
  • As a result of that, I wanted to know far more information about how well aborigines were integrated in Australia at the moment. Answer: badly, but again hard to find out just by wandering around in Australia and difficult to raise with a random Aussie.
  • Australia is experiencing a lot of drought at the moment, but while we in Sydney, it rained quite a few times. I wanted to know more about the drought and what parts of the country it was affecting.
  • ...

I could answer these questions by going into an internet cafe, but this isn't always possible. A portable Wikipedia sounds like a great idea.

more than 5 years ago
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Verified Identity Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations

pzs Re:Security Theater (171 comments)

Dude, there are no water fountains at UK airports. Yes, I know that sucks. Why do you think I'm bitching about it?

more than 5 years ago
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Verified Identity Pass Shuts Down "Clear" Operations

pzs Heathrow T5 (171 comments)

They still have something similar at the new BA Heathrow terminal. If you're a business or 1st class passenger you get your own special lane in the security checks where (presumably - I'm just an economy pleb) the line moves faster (fewer unwashed masses) and maybe the staff are less rude to you. I guess it's just another part of the "aspirational" nature of flying, where you wish you could afford to fly business because it might be a slightly less depressing and dehumanising experience.

The cynic in me says that this is a natural and welcome part of security theatre. Like forcing everybody to rebuy their bottled water every time they fly, this practice seems to have a lot more to do with making companies associated with flight security a pile of money than it does making anybody safe.

more than 5 years ago

Submissions

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Do gold TV cables make any difference?

pzs pzs writes  |  more than 5 years ago

pzs (857406) writes "Slashdot has already poured scorn on overpriced speaker cables. I wondered whether, with the increasing quantity of data involved in HD-TV broadcasts, this logic carries over.

I have a friend who works for a large TV manufacturer and gets to see some quite high-end kit. He says that with a £4,500 TV there is a very noticeable difference between a gold scart cable and the proverbial lamp cord, since there is less corruption of the signal. Is he right?"
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Making the UK carbon neutral: some real numbers

pzs pzs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

pzs writes "The Register has a detailed analysis of a new report, "Sustainable Energy — Without the hot air", by a Cambridge Physics professor, breaking down the various options for making the UK carbon neutral. He considers a variety of pressure groups' ideas, including mostly nuclear, using vast North African solar arrays and mostly wind/tidal (nicknamed the "G" plan, since it's favoured by Greenpeace.) What's interesting is the analysis of what would be required to implement each plan — the G plan requires every major Scottish loch to be used, pumping water uphill to store for demand fluctuations.

Fascinating and in-depth — well worth a read."

Link to Original Source
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Dog play machine

pzs pzs writes  |  more than 6 years ago

pzs writes "Somebody got bored with throwing a ball for his dog so built a machine to do it for him. The dog clearly doesn't realise that the point of play is to interact with your "pack" — or maybe he thinks the robot is his pack. Cool kit anyway :)"

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