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Ask Slashdot: SIM-Card Solutions In North America?

quixote9 prepaidphonenews.com has info on MVNOs (146 comments)

To be cheap and cheerful in the US you need an MVNO that works on the GSM networks here: ATT or T-Mo. dslreports.com is another good resource for user feedback in the forums about the services. I have lycamobile, which would be expensive if you're a heavy data user. It uses T-Mo, which is fine where I am (Los Angeles), but coverage can be spotty. Don't know anything about Canada.

about a month ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

quixote9 Re:New but inferior sync. MOD PARENT UP! (688 comments)

MOD PARENT UP! Up, up, up. I haven't seen that noted anywhere else yet. And that strikes me as pretty damn critical in the current environment.

about 3 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

quixote9 Re:tabs on the side (688 comments)

Yup. 29 breaks tree style tabs. It breaks the UI more than any other UI breakage they've done, which is saying a lot. Calling that "very customizable" is sort of like Wheeler saying that breaking the internet into toll roads is net neutrality.

Stay the hell away from it.

My personal solution has been to go to Iceweasel and put a hold on that, just in case they decide to follow FF to perdition.

Alternatively, hold the FF you've got (listed earlier in comments): sudo apt-mark hold firefox firefox-locale-en.

If you're on windows, people are recommending Palemoon.

about 3 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

quixote9 Re:tabs on bottom have been removed (688 comments)

It might be a bit cumbersome to have that process for all changes. But I couldn't agree more about the principle of the thing. FOSS is supposed to give control to the user.

Not to the marketing department. Not to ad space. Not funneling users toward trackers. Not even puffing up some dev's ego.

about 3 months ago
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Firefox 29: Redesign

quixote9 Been with FF since the logo was a phoenix (688 comments)

And as their UX crumbled, I'd take as much time as it took to get it working right for me again. I loved Firefox, loved the openness, user control, the community. I converted everybody I could to it who wasn't already on it.

Well, not any more. "Precariously one step away" from more Mozilla idiocy about sums it up and I've had enough. This time I'm not spending hours fixing everything the UX'tards broke. I've moved to Iceweasel and locked the version. You may want to try that too.

Maybe that solution will work for enough years (generations?) for open source browser devs to remember that open source was supposed to be about user control and choice.

about 3 months ago
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Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

quixote9 Re:forward reverse forward reverse (304 comments)

That would be "B." Any hardware will become unable, at the software/DRM level, to render the previous content.

about 6 months ago
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Americans To FCC Chair: No Cell Calls On Planes, Please

quixote9 Re:Imagine (340 comments)

Exactly. So much for it not being a safety issue. Homicides are a safety issue.

about 6 months ago
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Microsoft's Ticking Time Bomb Is Windows XP

quixote9 Forget that XP is software. Pretend it's a table (829 comments)

Or something. For people with zero brains about software, security doesn't register. There's this object they need, and so long as they don't kick the legs out from under it, it should work.

Then along comes the seller (the whole "licensing" concept doesn't register either) and says "I'm gonna let people into your office to smash up your table. And all the crazy stuff you put on top of it."

That's just Not Done in the world of tables, and likewise for software in a lot of people's minds.

Add something about, "Pay up. I wouldn't want anything to happen to that nice little business you got there." and to plenty of people it's going to look like extortion, not the obvious result of the fact that software is not actually like a table.

(Personally, I'd want to say, "Move to open source. You can do what you want there." But I know that's even stupider than Microsoft. What are the chances someone who doesn't want to move from Windows to Windows is going to move all the way to some extrasolar weirdness?)

about 7 months ago
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NSA Uses Google Cookies To Pinpoint Targets For Hacking

quixote9 Re:Oh I love how they pander... (174 comments)

[Google] doesn't somehow fucking get that their company exists only because they are in the business of data gathering.
Exactly. Now that it's all out there, now -- gee whiz! -- they want it to stop. (Note: then turn off the tracking on your own damn servers. See? Simple.)
The time to stop it was years ago, when some man of wealth and taste first suggested it in a meeting.

about 8 months ago
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Climatologist James Hansen Defends Nuclear Energy

quixote9 Nuclear: only interim solution, permanent waste (345 comments)

It takes about five years, lots of concrete = lots of CO2 emissions, to build a 1GW reactor. You'd need to complete about one per week for the next 35 years to replace ONE-SEVENTH of the energy we now get from fossil fuels. (Pascala and Socolow, Science pdf 2004) (Stanford pdf on implementing sustainable energy.) Finish one reactor per week. Good luck with that.

And if you managed that, you'd run out of fuel for those reactors within a couple of decades. (Don't start with the but-but thorium!, or fusion, or god-knows-what-all. The testing and permitting on new tech would take us way past peak oil.)

You'd have to take care of the expected waste, plus the unexpected waste from accidents, for ever.

Meanwhile, Germany is implementing soloar and energy efficiency and is AHEAD of its targets.

The more time, effort, and money we waste chasing nukes, the less we have for a real solution.

about 8 months ago
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Europol, Microsoft Target 2-Million Strong ZeroAccess Click Fraud Botnet

quixote9 I would like to live on your planet (44 comments)

There are no snake oil salesmen. Fast food companies promise fat and pimples, not skateboarding youth and beauty. And when there's a 4-wheel drive SUV on a mountain peak, they're always careful to show you the helicopter putting it there.

about 8 months ago
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U.S. Measles Cases Triple In 2013

quixote9 Re: Duh (462 comments)

And just to be explicit about what some of those sequelae can be: retardation and/or blindness. Measles is NOT an "Oh, tough it out" disease.

about 8 months ago
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After FDA Objections, 23andMe Won't Offer Health Information

quixote9 23andMe is just plain bogus (146 comments)

They can't do analysis, a secondary market can't do it, nobody can. The science just isn't there yet to draw useful conclusions for an individual on the basis of DNA in isolation.

Note that: in isolation. That's what 23and Me was peddling. Hospitals and genetic counselors and doctors are doing something else. They have the whole medical history. They have, or should have, enough training to understand population genetics, statistics, and where somebody's DNA data fits in to all that. (Although a comment lower down this thread talks about a blank-brained counselor. They happen. Run, do not walk, out of their offices.)

So, no, it would not be "great to see a secondary market in this kind of analysis emerge." It would be just as bogus as 23andMe, given our current state of knowledge.

about 8 months ago
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The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu

quixote9 Re:So we should ditch Ubuntu and then (346 comments)

I'm sure my story is not unique. Parent is right.

Yup. Me too. Way back when, mid 1990s, I started using Redhat, but I had too many issues with it to use it full time. (CUPS? Remember CUPS before it got the finally-it-works! makeover?) Then Ubuntu came along and -- boom! -- I could switch everything over to it. That was a version or so before Dapper Duck or whatever it was called. 2004? I loved it, loved the community, spent hours helping other noobs on the forums.

After a while, they kept changing default packages to something stupid instead of seeing what you had and respecting that. It took more and more time to fix upgrades. Then they moved the buttons around AND were snooty about it. That's when I started ditching them. Unity was the final straw, with its nasty tracking by default and with its "Customizable? Whaddya mean, customizable? You'll eat your gruel and like it, jerk."

I've been on LinuxMint Debian going on three years now because LM smooths out some of the tough spots in Debian for noobs. But if LM loses its mind too at some point, then straight Debian, here I come. Together with the five or six people for whom I'm tech support.

about 8 months ago
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Google Patenting Less Noble Use of Project Loon Tech

quixote9 Re:Google is a business...pretending to altruism (87 comments)

What's offensive is not making a (reasonable) profit. It's acting all trippy and cool about helping the poors, and then being all about the profit. If they'd launched the balloon idea saying "We'll make a mint off rock concerts," people would have probably said only, "Interesting" and moved on.

Also, about that reasonable profit: GOOG has a bigger profit than the GDP of lots of countries. They're making that off tracking you and feeding generally off other people's data and the (publicly funded) internet. So where's my check for 10% of what they're making off me? Capitalism is not actually supposed to be synonymous with "rip off." (I know. I know. Ridiculous to even mention it at this point.)

about 8 months ago
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How PR Subverts Wikipedia

quixote9 Re:Barefaced corruption of Wikipedia (219 comments)

"The most outrageous part of this is that Wiki-PR claims to have Wikipedia admins on their staff, not just normal editors. There is one, and only one response to this - find out who they are and remove their admin status immediately."

Yes. Christ on a bike. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Why hasn't Wikimedia already done this? Anybody specific I can badger to tell them to hurry up?

about 9 months ago
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Carbon-Negative Energy Machines Catching On

quixote9 Charcoal is a soil conditioner. Not fertilizer. (228 comments)

If the writer of the article doesn't even know that, what else if he ignorant of? (Any potassium, phorphorus, and trace elements will act directly as fertilizer.) Furthermore, as soil conditioners go, you'd be much better off including it in a compost and then spreading the compost. Straight charcoal will make soil alkaline and plenty of crops wouldn't like that.

So this process is definitely not producing loads of free fertilizer. Energy? Sure. Gasification has been around for decades. And it sounds more carbon neutral than trying to convert bio-waste into methanol or ethanol. Plus the small fact that we're pretty bad at using waste to make ethanol. This sounds like a much more practical process to enable the use of agricultural wastes for fuel.

But spare us the ill-informed blather about fertilizer.

about 9 months ago
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Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

quixote9 Astronomy Picture of the Day (1144 comments)

It's my home page. Now the universe is gone. Just a blank white space.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Experian Sold Consumer Data to ID Theft Service

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  about 9 months ago

quixote9 (999874) writes "From Krebs on Security Oct 13th. (Did I miss this earlier on Slashdot?)

An identity theft service that sold Social Security and drivers license numbers — as well as bank account and credit card data on millions of Americans — purchased much of its data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, according to a lengthy investigation by KrebsOnSecurity. ... [A]ccording to Martin there were other signs that should have alerted Experian to potential fraud associated with the account. For example, Martin said the Secret Service told him that the alleged proprietor of Superget.info had paid Experian for his monthly data access charges using wire transfers sent from Singapore. “The issue in my mind was the fact that this went on for almost a year after Experian did their due diligence and purchased” Court Ventures, Martin said. “Why didn’t they question cash wires coming in every month? Experian portrays themselves as the databreach experts, and they sell identity theft protection services. How this could go on without them detecting it I don’t know.

With everybody from the NSA to Splunk getting into our business to "help" us and "protect" us, you'd think, since they're so worried about us, they'd be real concerned about keeping our data out of the hands of (obvious) criminals."

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"Black body" solar collector in the works

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  about a year ago

quixote9 (999874) writes "Ronald Ace won't say yet how he's doing it. Part of me sympathizes, given the track record of big corporations ripping off inventors. Part of me says "vaporware." But very exciting vaporware.

“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive background in thermodynamics. ...

A major stumbling block for solar thermal energy devices invented to date has been that, as temperatures rise, increasing amounts of energy escapes, or radiates away, from their receivers. At 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, currently designed receivers would radiate as much energy as they collect, sinking their efficiency to zero, solar experts say.

In his patent application, Ace wrote that his invention amounts to “a high-temperature blackbody absorber”. ...

The key, he said, is his trap’s ability to absorb nearly 100 percent of the sunshine that hits it, while allowing only a tiny percentage of energy to escape, even at ultra-high temperatures.

Such a feat would astound many solar experts, who have had little success combating radiation losses in pilot solar plants, which use fields of mirrors to redirect and concentrate sunlight on common receivers.

"

Link to Original Source
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Danish scientists on brink of HIV cure

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  about a year ago

quixote9 (999874) writes "HIV is hard to cure because it hides inside the patient's DNA. The Danish research follows a strategy to unpack the DNA, expose the viral bits, and then use immune stimulation to get rid of it.

The technique uses drugs called HDAC Inhibitors, which are more commonly used in treating cancer, to drive out the HIV from a patient’s DNA. ... The scientists are currently conducting human trials on their treatment, in the hope of proving that it is effective. It has already been found to work in laboratory tests. ... In vitro studies — those that use human cells in a laboratory — of the new technique proved so successful that in January, the Danish Research Council awarded the team 12 million Danish kroner (£1.5 million) to pursue their findings in clinical trials with human subjects. ... “The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”

But the really interesting bit is this:

The Danish team’s research is among the most advanced and fast moving in the world, as that they have streamlined the process of putting the latest basic science discoveries into clinical testing.

Cutting edge molecular biology and bureaucratic breakthroughs. How cool is that?"
Link to Original Source

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Kill all animated logos

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  about 2 years ago

quixote9 (999874) writes "How many people will abandon Slashdot if they choose one of those animated logos that show up every couple of days during the tryout period?

Would I really abandon /. over it? Of course not. I'd use Stylish and block it, like everyone else. But why should that even be necessary when sometime back in the Stone Age we already discovered that jumping hamsters, blinking lights, twirling whirligigs, and all content-irrelevant animations are simply stupid? Don't even try that stuff, Slashdot. You're better than that. Or, at least, you were."

Link to Original Source
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Empathy is baked in

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quixote9 writes "From the article:

As charges of greed and self-interest fly in these hyper-partisan political times, humans might do well to look to rats for lessons in kindness and caring. A University of Chicago experiment to determine how much empathy rats have for each other had some surprising results, which are being published Friday in the research journal Science.

Not only did the rats help each other, but:

"We wanted to ask how much the free rat valued being able to liberate the caged rat," Mason said. "They like their chocolate chips, but the free rat would open both cages in no particular order. The free (rat) could have done all manner of things to monopolize the chocolate chips, but on average it always left one and a half chocolate chips for the liberated rat."

It left chocolate chips for the other rat!? :shock: The Science article is here."
Link to Original Source

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Personal log-ons leak to advertisers

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

quixote9 writes "An LA Times story talks about Mayer's work documenting the trail of information leakage through URLs shared with advertisers. It's of interest, but not very new, to Slashdotters. But that's in the mass media, as is his suggestion for how to mitigate the problem:

"The best thing they can do is to block advertising, because the moment content is loaded on the browser there is a risk of tracking."

Whan does Wladimir Palant get his Nobel Prize?"
Link to Original Source

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What some light on Washington can do

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  about 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "A bit of publicity such as Slashdot threw on this earlier story, and today I hear that the Bureau of Land Management has suddenly discovered that they can study the impact of solar installations and handle applications concurrently. Will wonders never cease. From CNN-Money:

The federal government is again accepting applications to build new solar power plants on public land, reversing a previous moratorium on new projects, a key agency said Wednesday. The Bureau of Land Management said it will keep its doors open for new proposals while it studies how large solar plants might affect the environment of undeveloped areas of California and the Southwest.

"

Link to Original Source
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Mars had a Moon-making impact like Earth

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "The BBC reports on a set of Nature articles showing that Mars had an impact about four billion years ago by a huge asteroid.

This was about the same time that a much bigger object slammed into the Earth, throwing material into orbit around our infant planet. This material is thought to have coalesced to form the Moon. ... "It happened probably right at the end of the formation of the four terrestrial planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars," said Craig Agnor, a co-author on the Francis Nimmo study. ... "In terms of the process of the planets sweeping up the last bits of debris, this could have been one of the last big bits of debris."
There's a theory that having a big moon is important to the development of life, because the much bigger tides create a bigger intertidal zone, but people used to think having a huge Moon like ours was a once-in-a-universe event. If huge impacts that could generate big moons are common, then, maybe . . . ."

Link to Original Source
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cancer cure from immune system cells

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "We're getting closer to real cures for cancer. Via the BBC, research reported in the New England Journal of Medicine:

The 52-year-old man had advanced melanoma which had spread to the lungs and lymph nodes. Scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle concentrated on a type of white blood cell called a CD4+ T cell. From a sample of the man's white blood cells, they were able to select CD4+ T cells which had been specifically primed to attack a chemical found on the surface of melanoma cells. These were then multiplied in the laboratory, and put back in their billions to see if they could mount an effective attack on the tumours. Two months later, scans showed the tumours had disappeared, and after two years, the man remained disease-free.
The BBC makes sure to say that this is a very narrowly targeted cure that wouldn't work for most cancers. But cancers generally appear to be very idiosyncratic, and real cures are likely going to have to be quite individual, just as this one is. This doesn't go with the drug industry's one-size-fits-all profit model, but it does seem to be the right direction for curing the disease."
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What IS a good way to stop child porn?

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "Censorship is bad. Agreed. And when we have stories like the recent one about three ISPs blocking child porn, lots of us tech types also point out how much of that is useless theatre. But there are some things, like child porn, which are so nasty I can see the public saying, "Not on my airwaves or on my fiber." Let's assume for the moment that we've solved the thorny issue of how to decide what needs to be banned. My question is: what is a technically feasible way to keep it off the net without interfering with other functions and without compromising privacy? Is it possible?"
Link to Original Source
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cancer resistant super-mouse and cell death

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "The BBC enthusiastically reports:

Mice carrying a gene which appears to make them invulnerable to cancer may hold the key to safer and more effective treatments for humans. The new breed, created with a more active "Par-4" gene, did not develop tumours, and even lived longer, said the journal Cancer Research.
The original abstract is more restrained. But this really is exciting work. Programmed cell death is the body's way of getting rid of cells beyond repair. Problems with that process are a large part of the reason why cancer can develop in the first place. Exciting times."

Link to Original Source
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Reversing Casimir force for levitation

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "We live in interesting times. From the (UK) Telegraph:

Professor Ulf Leonhardt and Dr Thomas Philbin, from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, have worked out a way of reversing this pheneomenon, known as the Casimir force, so that it repels instead of attracts. Their discovery could ultimately lead to frictionless micro-machines with moving parts that levitate. But they say that, in principle at least, the same effect could be used to levitate bigger objects too, even a person.
More at Dr. Ulf Leonhardt's page on this research."

Link to Original Source
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Space "pile-up" condemned dinosaurs

quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

quixote9 writes "From the BBC report:

A colossal collision in space 160 million years ago set the dinosaurs on the path to extinction, a study claims. An asteroid pile-up sent debris swirling around the Solar System, including a chunk that later smashed into Earth wiping out the great beasts. Other fragments crashed into the Moon, Venus and Mars, gouging out some of their most dominant impact craters, a US-Czech research team believes. Its study, based on computer modelling, is reported in the journal Nature. ... unless a rogue comet came from the outer edge of the Solar System ("a rather unlikely event"), the Baptistina asteroid family remains a likely source for the Chicxulub impactor. "It is a poignant thought that the Baptistina collision some 160 million years ago sealed the fate of the late-Cretaceous dinosaurs well before most of them had evolved,"
"

Link to Original Source
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "We've heard conflicting estimates of how widely adopted Vista has been. Now comes some hard data. DRAM makers ramped up to meet the huge expected demand for more memory needed by Vista. Except the demand hasn't materialized. Now they're suffering. Alternatively, maybe everyone's cleverly hacked their Ultimate Aero Glass Vista to fit on their old PCs. You think?"
Link to Original Source
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "(Similar to my last submitted story, but this time via the BBC.) More and more, badware doesn't need any action on the user's part, as it did in the days of email attachments. Recently, even ISP servers are infected, then infect all hosted pages, and spread to anyone who visits those pages. Via the BBC:

The rise of web 2.0 and user-generated content gave criminals other channels, or vectors, of attack, it found. For example, postings in blogs and forums that contain links to images or other content could unwittingly infect a user. The study also found that gangs were able to hijack web servers, effectively taking over and infecting all of the web pages hosted on the computer. In a test, the researchers' computer was infected with 50 different pieces of malware by visiting a web page hosted on a hijacked server. The firm [i. e. Google] is now in the process of mapping the malware threat."
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "This come from Ethan Zuckerman's blog, My Heart's in Accra:

Stop Badware announced that there are 10,834 sites hosted by IPowerWeb in the Stop Badware index — this index is composed of sites that Google and other partners have identified as hosting code that could damage a visitor's machine. More than one in five of the sites Stop Badware analyzed was hosted by IPowerWeb. That statistic strongly suggests that IPowerWeb has been systematically compromised, allowing hackers to inject this hostile code, possibly through a bug in cpanel (which IPowerWeb runs on at least some of their servers.) ...

A major webhosting provider is vulnerable to attacks on hosted pages. Over 10,000 pages have been affected, and some now contain a Javascript designed to load a Windows trojan horse onto visitors' machines. That trojan horse may be sending data (including passwords entered into your browser!) to a cabal of Russian hackers.
As he says, it seems like the sort of story that should be getting more coverage from the tech community."
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "Calorie restriction while maintaining nutrient levels has long been known to dramatically increase life spans. Very different lab animals, from worms to mice, live up to 50% longer (or even more) on the restricted diets. However, so far, nobody has been able to figure out how this works. Scientists at the Salk Institute have found a specific gene in worms (there's a very similar one in people) that is directly involved in the longevity effect. That opens up the interesting possibility that doctors may someday be able to activate that gene directly and we can live long and prosper . . . without giving up chocolate."
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "(I'm sure you've received a thousand suggestions on this topic, but just in case you haven't, here it is anyway.)

The BBC has a story about Kathy Sierra who's been freaked into silence by threats in her blog comments. Another thing that struck me was Robert Scoble's comment: ""It's this culture of attacking women that has especially got to stop. ... whenever I post a video of a female technologist there invariably are snide remarks about body parts and other things that simply wouldn't happen if the interviewee were a man."

Free speech is only possible if we let each other speak. What do you think, Slashdtters?"
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "Unfortunately, Nature isn't even posting the abstract on this one, "Scriptural violence can foster aggression" by Heidi Ledford and probably others. (Title listed here. ) The article is behind a paywall ($30, I believe).

The title is so intriguing, that I thought maybe Slashdot has a budget for this kind of thing ...? ;-} Bests, quixote9."
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quixote9 quixote9 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

quixote9 writes "I'm looking for an online way that a group of people can comment on each others' manuscripts. Ideally, the software would be a php script that runs in any browser. I'd like it to show the original ms in one pane, say on the left, and the comments, if any, in a right side pane. Comment position in the right pane would be fixed relative to the paragraph it relates to in the original ms. Multiple comments about the same original point would appear on separate lines, as close to the correct position as feasible. Comments could be collapsed completely, show just the first line, or be expanded to full length temporarily. The original could be saved with all the added comments, if desired.

For my purposes, this would be a system for collaborative review, not for a top-down, boss-worker, teacher-student type of situation. There's no need for grading, for someone's comments to have priority, for some people to be unable to comment, and the like. Although if these things are there, it doesn't matter so long as they're optional.

Is there anything like this out there anywhere? Moodle courseware has a "workshop" module, but it's top-down, and the original and the comments aren't visible together. I see complicated php scripts on sourceforge, freshmeat & some php sites for "enterprise level workflow coordination" and simple ones to coordinate calendars. I don't even know how to search for what I'd like. No matter what terms I use, I wind up back in enterprise whiteboard chatspace.

If the reason I can't find it is because it doesn't exist, any suggestins for how a complete n00b should go about cobbling together a php script to do this?"

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