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Comments

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Ask Slashdot: Taking a New Tack On Net Neutrality?

realxmp You're a director? Take the accountants route (185 comments)

Given that your job is to protect the company from making loss as much as help it make profit, you can quite safely say no. For starters it's a legal quagmire because it's tied into rent, this gets a multiplier if you are a multi state operation, I imagine getting a legal opinion in every state you operate is going to cost you. Plus the time to maintain it, and that added service desk calls. Add to that how much it would cost to successfully defend at least one class action lawsuit by an ambitious college legal clinic and subtract the profit from the (small scale) contracts. You will most likely get a negative number. There's also likely to be a hit to your tenants goodwill, that's hard to put a price on but also financially important, unhappy tenants leave apartments in worse states when they leave.

about 2 months ago
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Elderly Mice Perk Up With Transfused Blood

realxmp Eh? Stem cells do make Telomerase (178 comments)

We do all make Telomerase in some of our stem cells, just not in somatic cells and certain semi-differentiated stem cells. In fact someone knocked out Telomerase in mice and showed they hyperaged and lived only 6 months (rather than 3 years) without it (interestingly they also found you could rescue them by reintroducing telomarase). In short Telomarase seems to be part of the cellular ageing mechanism, rather than the organism level one. Whatever is causing organism level ageing relates to more than just telomeres.

about 3 months ago
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European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs

realxmp Re:Good, I guess (148 comments)

Depends what kind of monopoly you mean, because of regulation, maybe not in a Network Neutrality kind of way but it's still a monopoly. All but one of those options above are going over BT's local loop and a lot of the smaller operators also buy their exchange hub backhaul from BT (Also Plusnet is BT). BT Openreach (the bare wires bit) is pretty much a local monopoly in most of the country and thus why they're so heavily regulated. It's pretty hard to say how they'd behave if they weren't, but you can bet if they had a choice they'd not be sharing that loop. Outside of the cities it is BT Wholesale that is most definitely a monopoly, the rural broadband project was pretty much a flop and all of the contracts went to BT. This means that the way BT Wholesale's price list is set up in turn sets the business model for anyone who buys bandwidth and lines from them.

about 4 months ago
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Up To 1000 NIH Investigators Dropped Out Last Year

realxmp Meaningless without context (111 comments)

Without something to anchor your 500-1000 number, who will know how outraged they need to be?

And without knowing what those investigators were doing neither number is particularly useful. That's 1000 investigators and their entire lab staff most of them being scientists doing useful research not administrators etc. Unfortunately this doesn't just affect the current generation of scientists, it affects the next generation too. Not all of these labs will close, but there will certainly be a lot less capacity to take students and post docs. How this will impact research is pretty hard to predict, unfortunately it looks a bit more like the blunderbuss approach than the precision cull of the herd with a rifle and scope.

about 5 months ago
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BP Finds Way To Bypass US Crude Export Ban

realxmp Was a British company not anymore (247 comments)

BP hasn't been very British in quite a while, a better name might be "Standard Oil" given how many of the component companies it is made up of came from that particular operation. It gets called British whenever it's politically expedient.

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

realxmp Legality of wiretapping in two party states? (572 comments)

Even if you could argue you have the Employee's compelled consent for this, you most definitely do not have the website's consent. If the website in question is based in a two-party consent wiretap state, I'm wondering if employers might in fact be committing a felony by tapping the website's communications back to the client?

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Does Your Employer Perform HTTPS MITM Attacks On Employees?

realxmp Re:Yes (572 comments)

I'm surprised Chrome users don't get errors as a result of Google's hardcoded certificate pinning?

about 5 months ago
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MEPs Vote To Suspend Data Sharing With US

realxmp Re:Oh no! (180 comments)

"had" being the past participle. You had a way to get data from SWIFT without consent but it's likely that particular doorway is now firmly closed. It's possible that the NSA could attempt to penetrate SWIFT again, but the heightened security measures likely to be in place and the political risks of getting caught again so soon after being caught once mean that's a long term op which is unlikely to be approved in the near future. Realistically though it is unlikely SWIFT data access will actually be cut, and even if it were, they'd still be able to access it through friendly agencies such as SIS and DGSE. The point is it's embarrassing and it slows things down.

about 9 months ago
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

realxmp Your definition of reason is an unusual one (1233 comments)

We deal with the result of a explosives test by searching for explosives, and if the person has no explosives on them it is not reasonable that the person has explosives on them. Every test has the potential for a false positive and a rational person recognises that and adjusts their beliefs accordingly. If you continue to believe someone you've searched has explosives after you'd searched them then you're more irrational than they are. You're denying the evidence of your own eyes because of a pre-existing belief. What are they going to do? Pray the explosives into existence?

Irrational thought is not just confined to the religious.

about a year ago
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Don't Fly During Ramadan

realxmp TSA and Jet Blue misused the test (1233 comments)

Assuming that any explosives test is 100% specific is the kind of error I'd expect an untrained fool to make, not a supposed expert. There are lot of substances which are chemically similar enough to explosives and are also household chemical which many people come into contact with and thus trigger a false positive. A test like that is supposed to be to help you decide which people need further scrutiny, not as a definitive stop this person from flying tool. Even then if you assume that someone has come into contact with explosives if they don't have any on them then they are not going to explode through magic pixie dust. Hell if I walk through one of my wet labs on the wrong day or perform a magic trick I'm likely to end up with nitrocellulose dust all over my clothing and hair. Once they had determined he had no explosives on him he should have been free to go (whilst filing a report with Homeland Security to follow up); further detention served absolutely no justifiable purpose. If he were a terrorist for example doing a dummy run, as long as he had no explosives it would be more useful to observe him than spend hours questioning people.

As for Jet Blue they have absolutely no excuse, if someone allegedly has explosive residue on them today but no explosives then there is no rational reason to prevent them from flying today or tomorrow or any other day. If he doesn't have any explosives on him, the results of the test are irrelevant because it's far more likely that the test gave a false positive than not.

about a year ago
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Device Can Extract DNA With Full Genetic Data In Minutes

realxmp Sequencing is a lot faster than it used to be (95 comments)

Some people are missing the point here, so for emphasis: this product only prepares DNA for sequencing, it doesn't do the sequencing itself. Half an hour of preparation is reduced to minutes, but the actual work still takes days.

It used to take days, and still does if funding is short but an Illumina HiSeq 2500 can produce 150-180 Gbases in 40 hours in rapid run mode [1]. Most labs still run it in high output mode because of the reagent cost but the option is there. This means that if I was prepared to pay the extra and I sent a sample into "core sequencing" where I work, they could potentially return mapped DNA in a week. After that there's still some improvement tools we'd need to run to clean up artefacts, followed by calling and filtering variants, those bits can take weeks. Whilst it is true that the bottleneck is currently the physical sequencing process of things but pretty soon that is going to shift to the informatics.side.

[1] http://www.illumina.com/systems/hiseq_2500_1500/performance_specifications.ilmn

about a year ago
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Protesting Animal Testing, Intruders Vandalize Italian Lab

realxmp Re:Probably not the best idea... (285 comments)

I've no idea whether this particular set of experiments will be continued and animals replaced or not.

If not at Milan then elsewhere, the research will be done as long as there are still diseases to be cured. There's pretty much no other way to model the complex system that is life, except with more life, computers can't cut it.

And now the question is always asked, is vivisection the only way this can be done?

Using this word to describe animal experimentation as a whole is a deliberate deception. Actual vivisection is actually pretty bloody rare because it doesn't often tell us much, instead an animal is usually euthanised and then dissected instead. A lot of the time the research involves simple phenotyping, aka mutating a gene and then testing animals to see the effect. E.g. whether it makes them faster or slower; live longer or shorter; stronger or weaker; etc. There isn't much cutting a live animal open, that cutting a dead animal open doesn't tell you (which is far far easier). There are exceptions, but vivisection is a rarity not the norm.

about a year ago
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Australian PM Targets Imported IT Workers

realxmp How do you stop offshoring? (224 comments)

Will she be similarly defensive against the wholesale offshoring of IT jobs FROM Australia to China/India?

How do you propose she or any other PM does this? A lot of outsourcing outfits are independent Indian companies which are paid by overseas companies to fulfil a contract. You'd have to stop or make more expensive the Australian companies doing business this way, and aside from the issues this would cause with free trade agreements it would be damn ticklish to define.

about a year ago
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Australian PM Targets Imported IT Workers

realxmp International Competition Vs Cost of Living (224 comments)

I disagree, I think software companies would love to pay a competitive salary, as long as ALL of their competitors are paying it too. Your problem is that your competition is now international, and Australia has a very high cost of living. In the late 1990's the internet hadn't properly taken hold in CEO's brains so your competition for software was still mostly domestic (international companies like Microsoft, IBM, etc were the exception).

Politicians don't seem to get is whilst high tech jobs are the future, they're not subject to the same geographical constraints that low tech jobs like farming are. Why would a company want to pay an Australian developer a high rate of pay when he can pay an Indian developer a lower wage and the Indian guy gets to live in the lap of luxury? Why would a company or consumer want to buy software developed in Australia, when Indian, American or European software can be bought cheaper over the net? (Region locks have plusses and minuses in this case)

The causes of the high cost of living needs to be tackled, but this is probably going to involve low-skilled immigration and they've sealed that exit off.

about a year ago
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UC Davis Study Concludes H-1B Workers Neither Best Nor Brightest

realxmp Result of competition solely on Cost not Quality (353 comments)

If you have an industry who is trying to compete solely on cost then the work is going to be done by the lowest bidder via H1B or outsourcing, take your pick. The tiny advantage of H1B being slightly more jobs and dollars manage to stay in the US. Unfortunately software companies have demonstrated that if they can't bring the workers to them then they have already demonstrated they are willing to send the whole kit and caboodle overseas. The US software industry can only compete with this by competing on quality and the ability to understand a client's needs and write software for it rapidly, on time and to budget. You've got a cultural advantage in that a US based employee is more likely to understand how a US business process works than someone used to a different business environment but it seems few companies are setup to take advantage of that. The other problem being that management culture needs to be encouraged to reward look at long term balance sheet rather than saving a few bucks on buying rubbish software and paying hundreds of bucks to make it work for you.

about a year ago
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Earth-buzzing Asteroid Would Be Worth $195B If We Could Catch It

realxmp All EVE players know how this goes (265 comments)

You go to all the trouble of catching the asteroid, mining it and it turns out to be Veldspar... Either that or some Goons turn up and steal it from your hauler when you try and take it home.

about a year and a half ago
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UK Students Protest Biometric Scanner Move

realxmp Re:Why do they need finger print scanning? (196 comments)

Because in the UK, a lot of the bill isn't funded by the student, it's funded by the taxpayers.

Not for overseas students they pay the whole whack.

about a year and a half ago
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Google Threatens French Media Ban

realxmp This makes a monopoly more likely (419 comments)

The problem with this is that it creates a new barrier to entry that wasn't there before. If prior to this I wanted to set up a French language news aggregator site, it wouldn't cost me much more than the hosting, the spidering and the other regular overheads of running a website all of which I could recoup by selling ads. However with this law in place I'd have to spend a lot of time and money making sure the news sites got paid. It means you can't set up a French news aggregator without some serious startup capital.

about 2 years ago
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Man Finds Roman Gold Coin Hoard Worth £100,000 With Metal Detector

realxmp Re:Illegal in Ireland (249 comments)

So basically, not finding items of historical value is better than finding them and destroying a bit of historically valuable surroundings?

Yes. They will still be there for a proper archaeologist to discover at some future time. Given how many artifacts were damaged or ruined by bungling explorers in the 1800's and early 1900's, I'd say it is prudent to leave the task to experts.

Amusingly many of those bungling explorers were the "experts" of the time. Also in order for archeologists to know there's anything worth digging up, someone has to make a chance discovery. Proper archeology takes a lot of time and resources, and thus sites are only excavated if there's reason to suspect there's something to look for in the first place.

about 2 years ago
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Linux Forcibly Installed On Congressman's Computer In Act of Terrorism

realxmp Re:There's more to this story. (343 comments)

Elsewhere it was revealed that it was a young kid who threw the rocks, and a staffer "accidentally" wiped the computers with a Linux disk.

I say accidentally because he was being investigated for illegal use of campaign funds, and some of the data that may have been of interest to the investigation was lost. And it's not exactly trivial to accidentally wipe your disks with a Linux disk. I can see someone doing it, but you do have to go through enough steps that you have to have been trying to do *something* with that disk even if it wasn't wiping the system.

Yep, New York Daily New has the story here. Apparently like the data wasn't deleted and whoever they had to do their IT didn't know enough about Linux and partitions to realise.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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Elite looks set to make a comeback

realxmp realxmp writes  |  about a year and a half ago

realxmp (518717) writes "After many years in the wilderness, the BBC is reporting that the next sequel to Elite is in the works. After a long kick-starter which squeaked through to its target in the last 2 days the project was funded and soon many old gamers will be able to relive the joys of exploring the galaxy in what was one of the earliest space trading games."
Link to Original Source
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When is a laptop a laptop?

realxmp realxmp writes  |  more than 2 years ago

realxmp (518717) writes "It's become a fact of life that when passing through security you remove your laptop from its back for separate screening. Recently however it has been noted that certain tablets are except from these rules. With the line between the two blurring a lot recently, you have to ask ask when is a laptop a laptop?"
Link to Original Source

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