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Help ESR Stamp Out CVS and SVN In Our Lifetime

steveha Summary of what ESR is doing (118 comments)

ESR has already helped several free software projects convert from CVS to Git using his existing computer. The bigger the project, the longer it takes. (Each attempt to convert the Emacs repos takes 8 hours with his current computer.) He has studied the C code for doing the conversion, and determined that the best sort of computer for doing these conversions would be as fast as possible (doesn't matter how many cores; this is a single-thread process) and would have as much RAM as possible. Graphics card? Whatever, who cares. Keyboard, mouse? Not going to buy those, he already has those. Oh, and he would prefer it not sound like a leaf blower so he is looking for quiet power supply and a case with large quiet fans.

He says that several people spontaneously donated money to help him buy a better computer. So he opened up a discussion for how to best spend the money.

Several people urged him to only use ECC RAM, which means either an AMD chip or a Xeon. Someone just donated $1000 (!!!) so he has pretty much settled on the Xeon.

Once he has this, he will go around to free software projects and offer to do the conversion for them. His plan is to grab a copy of the CVS repo, run the conversion to make sure there are no surprises, then ask the project maintainers to stop modifying the CVS repo while he runs the final conversion.

This seems like a reasonable service for him to be offering. Instead of each project figuring out the conversion process, he will become an expert on CVS to Git conversions (with more experience than anyone else) and he will have the purpose-built computer to do the conversions as quickly as possible. So he really will be saving time and hassle for the various projects.

P.S. He converted the NetHack repos, and stirred up a hornets' nest. Read about it here: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=6389&cpage=1#comment-1207141

2 hours ago
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Lead Mir Developer: 'Mir More Relevant Than Wayland In Two Years'

steveha Re:I still don't see what's wrong with X (219 comments)

Seriously, what's so broken about X? Is it just a pain in the ass for developers to work with?

You might seek out some of the tech talks given by Wayland developers. They lay it out pretty clearly.

Here's a good one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIctzAQOe44

From memory, X11 is full of cruft that no longer makes sense. Everyone wants beautifully rendered, anti-aliased fonts, but X11 not only doesn't give you that, if you comply with X11 you can't do that.

Wayland took a look at how X11 is actually used, today, and throws away the cruft that nobody uses anymore. Also Wayland adds a sane API versioning system.

Wayland is exactly as network-transparent as X11 is in actual use these days: not very but you can make it work. Everyone is pretty much asking X11 for a drawing canvas, drawing on it, then giving it to a compositor to display. See above comments about beautifully anti-aliased fonts.

My favorite comment: "Everybody says the UNIX way is small programs that do one thing well. What is the 'one thing' that X11 does well?" He pointed out that at one point X11 had a print server embedded in it (it wasn't a good idea).

TL;DR Several of the top X11 developers think Wayland is a very good idea.

3 days ago
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Microsoft Partners With Docker

steveha What is Docker and why should you care? (104 comments)

Docker is sort of an extremely lightweight virtual machines system.

Docker organizes software into "containers". Each container has a complete set of libraries and files, and each container is isolated from the rest of the system. Thus if you need a specific and touchy set of libraries to run Software X, and you need a different specific and touchy set of libraries to run Software Y, you can simply make two containers and run them side by side.

As I understand it, Docker container images use a "snapshots" system to store changes; so the two containers for Software X and Software Y will together be much smaller than two VM images would be.

Using Docker, if developers make a server-side application, they can then hand a container over to production for deployment, and everyone can be confident that the application will run the same in production as it ran in development. (Of course it would still be possible to break things, for example by having different data in the production database compared to the dev test database.) Or, developers could run containers on their laptops and expect them to run the same as on the servers in the office.

Unlike VMs, the Docker containers don't run their own kernels. So you can't run a Linux server with Docker that in turn runs OpenBSD in a container.

As I understand it, many people use Docker to run a single process per container. The web server in one container, the email server in another, the SSH server in another, etc. One use case: if you have a web site hosted in the cloud, and the Slashdot effect starts slamming on the web site, the cloud hosting service could spin up another 500 instances of the web site (500 fresh instances of the Docker container, each container running a single process, the web server).

I talked to an expert sysadmin, and he told me "This is the future." I'm going to set up a Docker server at home and learn my way around it.

https://www.docker.com/whatisdocker/

My reading of the press release is that Microsoft is going to (a) implement the Docker APIs for Windows, so that Windows server applications can be container-ized; and (b) add the ability to run Linux containers. The latter is not implausible; Windows NT has always had so-called "personalities" and Posix has been available as a personality for decades.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hybrid_kernel#NT_kernel

5 days ago
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Wind Power Is Cheaper Than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

steveha Article ignores variability (608 comments)

The article discusses wind power vs. coal and other types of power purely on the basis of cost, with absolutely no discussion of reliability.

If wind power is as cheap as he claims, then with a reliable storage technology wind would be a total no-brainer. But as it is, wind can only be part of a strategy. You can't count on wind for base load, and when wind varies you need to have other types of power (such as natural gas) ready to pick up the slack.

I'm hoping that the Ambri liquid metal batteries will do everything that Professor Sadoway claims. If so, they will change everything, and I will be cheering for more wind and solar. Until then, wind power only can serve as a niche producer.

about a week ago
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Wind Power is Cheaper than Coal, Leaked Report Shows

steveha Article ignores variability (4 comments)

The article discusses wind power vs. coal and other types of power purely on the basis of cost, with absolutely no discussion of reliability.

If wind power is as cheap as he claims, then with a reliable storage technology wind would be a total no-brainer. But as it is, wind can only be part of a strategy. You can't count on wind for base load, and when wind varies you need to have other types of power (such as natural gas) ready to pick up the slack.

I'm hoping that the Ambri liquid metal batteries will do everything that Professor Sadoway claims. If so, they will change everything, and I will be cheering for more wind and solar. Until then, wind power only can serve as a niche producer.

about a week ago
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A Critical Look At Walter "Scorpion" O'Brien

steveha Recycling of old brands (193 comments)

Hollywood has an idea shortage.

True, but there is another point you might want to consider: media fragmentation.

It used to be that there were only three TV networks, and most people could only see a movie by going to the theatre (which didn't have 12 different screens in those days either). For music, there were a limited number of radio stations.

Now, there are many different cable channels, plus YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Rhapsody, and DVD rentals or purchases. For consumers this is great, because you can watch what you like, when you like it.

But Hollywood is unhappy because it's much harder now to build a new franchise. As a result, Hollywood is recycling old franchises, even if the end product has very little to do with the original.

For a bonus, many people who have purchasing power now have fond memories of things they watched as kids.

Thus, you have crazy stuff like the Battleship movie; I'm pretty sure they literally started with the brand name, and ginned up a movie project to put on it. I submit to you that Battleship isn't an example of scraping the barrel for ideas, but rather an example of jump-starting the marketing for a movie by building off a well-known pre-existing brand. It's gotta be the same thing with Tetris: we have this brand, how can we leverage it to sell movies?

Many of the reboots and sequels have little to do with the original source material; and I think in many cases Hollywood just took some script and said "we can shoehorn this into a pre-existing franchise" and did it.

Also, in my opinion the reason Guardians of the Galaxy was so successful was that it was made with love, and well-made at that; the third-tier Marvel characters are so obscure that they didn't really bring much to the marketing. I, for one, saw it because the previews made it look fun and because I read some really favorable reviews.

about two weeks ago
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What's Been the Best Linux Distro of 2014?

steveha Re:Desktop use and DVD playback (302 comments)

This is a little bit tricky because it is, in theory, a violation of the DMCA to play DVDs without a properly licensed DVD player program. (Specifically, a program that has licensed the dread secret of CSS.)

Both Ubuntu and Mint have packages you can install to play DVDs.

If you don't mind paying some money, you can get a properly licensed DVD player from Fluendo. I bought this, and it Just Works.

http://www.fluendo.com/shop/product/oneplay-dvd-player/

I wish Fluendo would also offer a Blu-Ray player, but as far as I know the only legal-in-the-USA way to play Blu-Ray on Linux would be to install Windows in VirtualBox or some other VM, and then install a Windows Blu-Ray player.

about two weeks ago
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Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

steveha Re:Scripting language du jour (546 comments)

...I don't waste my time with Python. There will always be a latest and greatest scripting language to come along and replace the previous one.

Maybe so, but Python is getting more popular and widely-used rather than dying out.

IMHO Python hits the sweet spot: it's powerful and expressive, yet the code is readable and maintainable. The worst thing about Python is that it's pretty slow, but it has a vast library of extensions (written in C or even FORTRAN) and the extensions aren't slow. (Like, if you wrote your own FFT in Python it would be glacially slow, but you don't need to write your own FFT because fast ones are available... and if your program is mostly doing FFTs it will be nearly as fast as a C program, because the slow Python glue code isn't where the program spends most of its time.)

In the world of science, everyone is converging on Python because of SciPy (which rocks). As people get fed up with legacy systems, they adopt Python as the replacement. I attended a keynote lecture at the SciPy conference a few years back, and a senior guy from the Hubble Space Telescope project talked about how they were leaving a language called IDL and switching to Python, and how much happier they were with Python.

I have heard that the Ruby guys had a project to make a "SciRuby" but (a) progress was slow and (b) the science guys are already using SciPy and won't switch unless some really compelling advantage appears.

Python is a clean, well-designed language that can have anything you need put in as an extension. So you can replace Matlab with Python and it's mostly a win. You can replace R with Python (and I think it's probably mostly a win, but I'm biased toward Python and have never seriously used R so feel free to ignore my opinion).

Python can be used by sysadmins, web site developers, cloud app developers, scientific researchers... really almost everyone can do their work in Python, and they can talk to each other about it if they are all using the same language. That's not a trivial benefit.

So, IMHO you would not be "wasting your time" to try actually using Python.

about two weeks ago
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Samsung Paid Microsoft $1 Billion Last Year In Android Royalties

steveha Re:Nevertheless, Microsoft is doomed (93 comments)

Google/Motorola trying to extract four billion dollars out of Microsoft for some .mp3 patents?

Nope. You are thinking of Alcatel/Lucent. And technically Alcatel/Lucent couldn't ask for a specific amount of money; the award was 1.5 billion dollars but could have been 4.5 billion dollars had the jury decided it was willful infringement.

Microsoft isn't an angel, but they do pay license fees on patents, and they were paid up on MP3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcatel-Lucent_v._Microsoft_Corp.

Samsung being told by the EU that they could face a fine up to $17 billion unless they stop trying to use their patents in anti-competitive ways?

Yep. Actually up to $18.3 billion per this article:

http://bgr.com/2013/12/09/samsungs-patent-settlement-concessions-eu/

about two weeks ago
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Marriott Fined $600,000 For Jamming Guest Hotspots

steveha Re:Inverse Wi-fi law (278 comments)

Has anyone else noticed this- that overall the cheaper and sleazier the motel, the better the wi-fi?

I wouldn't go that far.

I once stayed in a really bargain hotel, which advertised free WiFi. I think they had a single consumer wireless router in the office, and my room was not close to the office... I couldn't get a usable signal. So no, definitely not "the cheaper... the better the WiFi".

But middle-of-the-road hotels generally have perfectly usable WiFi. I wouldn't try to stream Netflix on it but it's fine for reading Slashdot or whatever. (I would rate Motel 6 as middle-of-the-road for motels.)

As others have noted on this thread, expensive hotels also try to hit you with extra charges for phone use and anything else they can get away with. And, I have seen them charging by MAC address... your daily Internet fee is intended to allow you to run just one device.

about two weeks ago
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IBM Solar Concentrator Can Produce12kW/day, Clean Water, and AC

steveha Desalinisation (268 comments)

The article is pretty terrible on the details. It seems that this CPV device is intended to be built near the ocean, and use salt water for cooling; the water can then be run through a desalinization system.

The hot water can then be used in an attached desalination system that creates drinkable water by passing itwater[sic] through a Gortex-like membrane.

According to Wikipedia there are several desalinization processes available that use heated water and a membrane. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination#Desalination_powered_by_waste_heat

The article is vague on how the CPV system provides cooling, but the CPV system produces heat as a byproduct, and it is possible to use extra heat for cooling. There are refrigerators that run on propane, with no motors. (There is a sort of pumping of coolant that relies on gravity.

There are a lot of places in the world that get lots of sunlight, are near salt water, and could use more fresh water. So this sounds like a good idea, but it isn't going to be installed everywhere.

about a month ago
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Rosetta Code Study Weighs In On the Programming Language Debate

steveha Re:Who cares about succinctness .... (165 comments)

I was surprised at how many instructions that developers previously spread out over multiple lines are now packed into highly idiomatic one-liners.

As with many things, Python one-liners can be good or bad. When done correctly they are awesome.

Consider this code:

bad = any(is_bad_word(word) for word in words_in(message))

If words_in() is a generator that yields up one word at a time from the message, and is_bad_word() is a function that detects profanity or other banned words, then this one-liner checks to see if any word in a message is a bad word.

I love the any() and all() built-in functions in Python.

You can take this too far. Instead of defining a function is_bad_word() you could put the code inline as part of the on-liner. And instead of defining a generator that yields up one word at a time, you could add the splitting code to the one-liner. Then you would get:

bad = any(word in bad_words_list for line in message for word in line.split())

Or let's say the definition of a bad word is that any substring in the word is from the bad list (thus "frakking" is a bad word if "frak" is in the bad list), with it inline you get:

bad = any(any(bad_word in word for bad word in bad_words_list) for line in message for word in line.split())

I think we can all agree that the above is horrible, but I hope you will agree that the first one was pretty nice.

about a month ago
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Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

steveha HP MicroServer (287 comments)

I have an HP MicroServer running Debian Stable, with several VMs running under Xen.

I love the MicroServer. Quiet, easy to work on, and inexpensive enough that I'm going to just buy a second one as a hot spare.

It doesn't support hot swapping of hard drives, but for my home use I don't need four nines reliability; powering down to swap drives is just fine for me.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16859107921

I run an email server with a small number of users (family and a few friends). This makes me appreciate sysadmins more.

I am planning to switch from using Xen VMs to using Docker containers.

about a month ago
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Outlining Thin Linux

steveha This seems like a very veiled attack on systemd (221 comments)

He points out, correctly, that many servers don't need much. Particularly with cloud services, servers might spin up a whole bunch of very lightweight virtual machines doing one thing (running a web server like nginx for example).

So his big idea is a "server-only" distribution that doesn't have any support at all for GUI operation. But he doesn't really explain the benefit. As far as I can understand, he names one single benefit: such a distro would be "not beholden to architectural changes made due to desktop package requirements."

The only "architectural changes" I can think of recently are related to systemd, so I guess this was his very roundabout way of wishing for a Linux distribution with no systemd support.

Am I wrong here? Did you manage to find any other advantage listed in his article to explain why it would be great if you were unable to set up a machine running your server OS with a GUI?

about a month ago
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U2 and Apple Collaborate On 'Non-Piratable, Interactive Format For Music'

steveha I do want digital albums (358 comments)

I really do want digital albums, complete with very high resolution art, full lyrics, liner notes, and extras.

I'd actually like to have the ability to buy the "full album" that would include video files of each music video from the album, "B" sides from old 45 releases of songs from the album, backstage videos, interviews with the artist, whatever.

The old album covers from the 70's, the ones that were supposed to be on large vinyl record jackets... I want to be able to put those up on a large flatscreen TV while the album is playing. Preferably not just a scan from a CD printing, but the original image scanned in high resolution. I'd like to be able to see all the details in Hipgnosis images like the jacket art to The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway or Wish You Were Here. (Hmm, someone made an animated GIF for that last one... heck, I'd like it both ways in the digital album, original and new animated version.)

Of course, I want this all using open file formats (FLAC, JPEG, HTML). But since nobody else got around to doing this, Apple is doing it first, and of course with Apple it will be proprietary, opaque, and likely patented somehow for maximum lockin.

I don't think this will revolutionize music, but it really is something I want.

about a month ago
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Ask Slashdot: Remote Support For Disconnected, Computer-Illiterate Relatives

steveha Re:You want a ChromeBook (334 comments)

Agreed on the ChromeBook.

I'm not sure about making a ChromeBook use dial-up, so the solution is to somehow get a WiFi router on dialup.

I think there used to be WiFi routers that could manage a modem directly, but there isn't much call for them these days so I doubt you can find one.

You could set up a computer with Linux just to manage the dialup, and plug that into the router's WAN port. But maybe you can just customize a router to do what you need:

Buy a router that is well supported by open firmware and has USB ports. Install the open firmware, login as root, then customize the router to do the dialup with a USB modem.

In the past, I have used TomatoUSB with an Asus RT-N16 router (costs about $80 new). It was a pleasure to work with. The router gives you about 24 MB of usable storage using onboard flash memory, but you can trivially plug in a USB flash drive and have gigabytes of storage if you need it. But you can probably set up the needed scripts to manage the modem in the 24 MB space.

There are newer routers with bigger onboard flash if you prefer. I only mention the Asus RT-N16 because I have actually worked with one, and it's very inexpensive. And it has plenty of CPU speed and RAM for this application.

The above solution is cheaper than using a computer to manage the dialup, and should be bulletproof. Also your relatives are unlikely to mess with it.

P.S. Hmm, I did a quick Google search and there are still routers with dialup support. Here's one for about $150... I've never used one so I don't know how well it works.
http://www.greatarbor.com/products.html#GAC-252

about a month ago
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Artificial Spleen Removes Ebola, HIV Viruses and Toxins From Blood Using Magnets

steveha Much better article in _Nature_ (106 comments)

http://www.nature.com/news/artificial-spleen-cleans-up-blood-1.15917

Key points:

* The coating on the nanobeads binds to many different things, so it's useful even if you don't know in advance what is making the patient sick.

The device uses a modified version of mannose-binding lectin (MBL), a protein found in humans that binds to sugar molecules on the surfaces of more than 90 different bacteria, viruses and fungi, as well as to the toxins released by dead bacteria that trigger the immune overreaction in sepsis.

* The device can process about 1 litre of blood per hour; compare with about 5 litre blood volume for a typical human, thus this should be able to completely process a person's blood about once every 5 hours. If a faster rate is needed, multiple devices could be used in parallel.

* This has been successfully tested on rats. They infected rats with bacteria and 89% of the rats treated with the "artificial spleen" survived, while only 14% of the control group survived.

* This could move to human clinical trials relatively soon.

Nigel Klein, an infection and immunity expert at University College London, says that the biospleen could also allow diagnosticians to collect samples of a pathogen from the blood and then culture it to identify it and determine what drugs will best treat it. As blood transfusion and filtration are already common practices, he expects that the biospleen could move into human clinical trials within a couple of years.

Read the whole article. It's not long and all of it is interesting.

about a month ago
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Should Cyborgs Have the Same Privacy Rights As Humans?

steveha Legal precedents (206 comments)

To decide this, we need to look at the history of the 5th Amendment and how the courts have interpreted it. I'm not a lawyer, but I think it's pretty clear that cyborgs' personal data will be covered.

According to Wikipedia's article on the 5th Amendment, courts have been pretty expansive. You can't even be required to turn over the password to an encrypted hard drive if it would incriminate you.

If I understand the history, the 5th Amendment was partly a backlash over the horribly unfair "Star Chamber" legal proceedings, and also against the use of torture to extract a confession. As a minarchist libertarian, I think it is wise to hold government on a short leash, and I am in favor of keeping the government from taking shortcuts that lead to convictions. But on the other hand, I'm in favor of the truth winning in trials. If you are driving a car and there is a collision, I want experts to be able to examine the "black box" from your car (assuming your car has one); I don't think you can reasonably claim that turning over your "black box" would constitute self-incrimination. So if we imagine a sort of "black box" inside the body of a cyborg, it's hard for me to think that should be private while I think the black box from a car shouldn't be.

Of course, I don't want to see someone have their cyborg body's black box hacked to plant fake evidence against them, but that seems awfully hypothetical at this point.

Hmmm. I wonder if anyone is going to be required to produce the data from their FitBit or other exercise tracker during a criminal investigation anytime soon. I'm guessing that the courts might hold that the 5th Amendment would protect that data. But it would be pretty amazing if you had a guy accused of stabbing someone, and his wrist device had a log showing his hand making stabbing motions at the time the murder occurred!

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

steveha Board games (382 comments)

For group get-togethers, here are some great board games to have on hand.

Can't Stop -- 2 to 4 players. An elegantly simple "push your luck" game. You only need to make one decision: keep going, or stop?
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/41/cant-stop

Incan Gold -- 3 to 8 players. This is a reworked version of a classic called Diamonte. It's another "push your luck" game, but it's very different from Can't Stop in that it's group game. The whole group plays in parallel: they all decide whether to keep going, or stop, and all reveal their choice simultaneously. This means that the 8-player game doesn't really take longer than the 3-player game!
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/37759/incan-gold

I'll second the vote for Pandemic. But if you want something a little simpler than Pandemic, with a less depressing theme, you can play Forbidden Island (2-4 players). Forbidden Island was designed by the same guy who designed Pandemic, and uses many of the same game mechanics. I love the art, which reminds me of Myst; and it is inexpensive and doesn't take up much space in your closet. Very suitable for kids.
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/65244/forbidden-island

All of these suggestions are good for convincing non-gamers to try playing a board game.

P.S. When I was a teenager, some friends and I used to play Wiz-War, and had a blast. It's a simple game: either steal two treasures from other players, or be the last player standing. There is a deck of cards, which includes all kinds of crazy spells you can cast.

Once when I was playing, another player hit me with Slow Death, which makes you lose one hit point for each card you draw; I countered with Reversal, which reverses the effects of a spell, and started drawing two cards each turn (the max). I thought this was a good thing, but the other players were now very worried about me, and they all ganged up on me and just killed me. So the Slow Death worked after all, in a fashion. :-)

The game is now available in a deluxe edition (which I haven't played yet).
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/104710/wiz-war-eighth-edition

about 2 months ago
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The Evolution of Diet

steveha There's something to it (281 comments)

I think there is something to the "Paleolithic Diet" idea, but many people are Doing It Wrong.

The prehistoric people exercised all the time, every day. They ate meat when they could get it, which wasn't 100% of the time, and the meat they got was lean. They ate fruit when they could get it, which was almost never (e.g. berries in late summer, a few dried berries other parts of the year). They ate a variety of high-fiber roots, leaves, and other gatherable food. They didn't eat any processed carbs (white flour, white sugar, etc.).

If we lived more like that, we really would be healthier.

But some people take the idea to places I don't think are good. For example, making a "paleo cake" with no processed sugar sounds good, but if it has large amounts of ground nuts and cooked fruit, and is sweetened with maple syrup... it's really not something that the prehistoric people would have eaten and I'm dubious about the benefit.

Also, it is possible for people to adapt to changing conditions in a few generations; it's not necessarily true that evolution works so slowly that the diet from 10,000 years ago is still perfect for us. TFA talked about lactose tolerance in adults. In the cave-man days there was no evolutionary advantage to being able to consume dairy as an adult, but once people started keeping livestock and harvesting dairy, that changed. Now many people can digest lactose as adults.

TL;DR Eat lean protein, complex carbs rather than simple carbs, and get lots of exercise, and you will be healthy.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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How Apple Makes the New Mac Pro

steveha steveha writes  |  about a year ago

steveha (103154) writes "Yesterday Apple released a new YouTube video giving a peek at how the new Mac Pro is manufactured. The Atomic Delights blog explains more about what you can see in the video.

Deep drawing is a process that very efficiently produces a "net shape" part. Apple could have just chucked a giant hunk of aluminum in a lathe and created the same part, but that amount of metal removal is extremely inefficient. Deep drawing efficiently creates a hunk of metal that is very close to the final shape of a Mac Pro in just a couple of operations.

"
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E-voting machine votes 100% wrong

steveha steveha writes  |  more than 3 years ago

steveha (103154) writes "The New Bern, NC Sun Journal newspaper reports that some local voters have seen the e-voting machine record the exact opposite of the voter's request. There is a button to vote a straight Republican ticket, and when pushed, it voted a straight Democrat ticket. A local voter observed this behavior four times in a row; the fifth time, the button worked correctly. If ATMs were this unreliable, no bank would use them. Why is this level of failure acceptable in voting machines?"
Link to Original Source
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Self-Cleaning Solar Panel Tech: 40% better yields

steveha steveha writes  |  more than 4 years ago

steveha (103154) writes "From the article: "The technology involves first using a transparent, electrically sensitive material deposited on glass or a transparent plastic sheet covering the panels. Sensors monitor the levels of deposited dust on the panel. When the dust levels get too high, a charge is applied to the coating and the dust is physically move across the panel via the charge and dumped off the edges.

The procedure uses a minimal amount of energy, making it a viable cleaning solution. It removes 90 percent of dust, greatly improving power output. And best of all, the technology has already been stress tested by NASA space probes and rovers under the harsh Martian climate.""

Link to Original Source
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Best Buy offers 3 computers for price of iMac

steveha steveha writes  |  more than 4 years ago

steveha (103154) writes "Microsoft announced a deal offered by Best Buy: a bundle with a desktop computer, a laptop, and a netbook, all with Windows 7 pre-installed, for $1199... the same price as Apple's least-expensive iMac. It was surprisingly hard to find the actual deal on the Best Buy web site, but with some digging I found: http://www.bestbuy.com/windows7pc and click on "PC Home Makeover"."
Link to Original Source
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Craig's List used for evil

steveha steveha writes  |  more than 6 years ago

steveha (103154) writes "We've seen stories about bogus Craig's List postings. It happened again and this time, it was an attempt by burglars to cover their tracks. A police officer said "Other Craigslist hoaxes we've seen were malicious..." which begs the question: how often does this sort of thing happen? Is this new, or has anyone ever pulled this sort of stunt with, say, a classified ad in a newspaper? Are people more inclined to believe one of these hoaxes if they read it on the Intarweb?"
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steveha steveha writes  |  more than 7 years ago

steveha (103154) writes "Scott Adams lost his ability to speak normally, and then got it back again. A few weeks later, he caught a cold, and regressed. His blog tells the story of how he tried an unconventional treatment and how well the treament worked for him, with lots more details on Spasmodic Dysphonia and how to treat it. Extremely interesting reading."

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