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Soda Pop Damages Your Cells' Telomeres

whitroth Re:Overly broad? (363 comments)

I'll give you one: preservatives.

Many years ago, at one job, I was drinking several cans of soda a day. One day, while eating lunch, I started thinking about the label: 1/10 of 1% preservative. So, 1% from drinking 10 cans... and a hundred cans, which might be one month, is a pound of preservative.....

No need for embalming when you go, you're already well-preserved.

                    mark

1 hour ago
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White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

whitroth How to start? (348 comments)

Easy: first build several *real* space stations, not "outposts in space", that serve the same way airports do, and use orbit-to-orbit ships - true spacegoing vessels. Once those are up, interplanetary travel is *much* cheaper.

Then we build the magelev launchers on the Moon....

                mark

3 days ago
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As Prison Population Sinks, Jails Are a Steal

whitroth finally... (405 comments)

Yeah, under Bush the W, the US prison population surpassed that of the Soviet Union's prisons at their worst under Stalin.

But now that populations are falling, I'd say the first things to go are the UNCONSTITUTIONAL PRIVATIZED PRISONS (aka slave labor shops).

          mark

3 days ago
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Pentagon Unveils Plan For Military's Response To Climate Change

whitroth Re:For everything there is a season (228 comments)

Child,

        Your odds of getting ebola are significantly less than mine of winning the lottery and buying a flight on a Soyuz to the ISS. The odds that someone who should have stopped driving years ago, or a drunk, or someone texting, will run you down with their car is hundreds of thousands of time higher.

      Lessee: ~300M Americans, > 40K killed in auto accidents; 2 dead from ebola.

                    mark

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

whitroth I believe it (191 comments)

A techie mailing list I'm on has multiple people ranting about the absolutely bs that happens - not the way aircraft comm works, not the way this, that and the other work, and the plot...um, what plot?

                mark

about two weeks ago
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Why the Trolls Will Always Win

whitroth No, they don't (716 comments)

First, let's skip over the whole idiotic concept of twitter as a serious medium of communication (quick, here's 140 chars, tell me everything you know), and go to places that you can actually write coherent sentences - that'd be anywhere from email, to usenet, to websites that allow long comments (or your own website).

Back in the day, we used to get trolls on a usenet group I was a regular in. Some where drive-by shooting, never seen again; frequently, we made sarcastic comments about their post. Then there were the longer posts, from someone who might even come back.

Y'know, I understand that about 1,000 years ago and more, if a bard, or someone, made a satire of you, you might as well kill yourself, because no one would ever forget it (admitedly, they didn't travel a lot back then, and the supply of humor was a lot smaller).

Our answer was to MST3k that person. Doing so, of course, requires intellegence, a good familiarity with language, and frequently, some basic logic. I don't think *anyone* everr came back after being misted....

It's a much more elegant solution, and more enjoyable to everyone else, than to simply JUMP DOWN THE ASSHOLE'S THROUGHT WITH COMBAT BOOTS ON.

                        mark "come on, meet me at x, and show me that you meant that crap"*

* Now, my sword, my walking stick, or just 911?

about two weeks ago
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Co-Founder of PayPal Peter Thiel: Society Is Hostile To Science and Technology

whitroth The US certainly is. (238 comments)

Lessee, my chances of catching ebola are significantly below those of my winning the lottery and buying a trip the the Station... but the media, esp. Faux, is screaming about ebola. (And I happen to work no more than a few hundred yards from a facility that had one of those possibly exposed.)

We won't mention allegedly science programming channels with supernatural crap.

And then there's the textbooks in Texas and other southern states, where they'd trying to take out evolution. And the budget cuts for scentific research.

And we also won't mention the climate change deniers.

They mostly managed to avoid science in school, it's all magic to most users, and they think that the LATEST IPHONE IS THE MOST IMPRTANT ADVANCE IN TECHNOLOGY THIS CENTURY!!!!!

                  mark "beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent life here"

about two weeks ago
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Former Infosys Recruiter Says He Was Told Not To Hire US Workers

whitroth Re:Well duh. (292 comments)

Um, more likely price. Or didn't you see the lawsuit, months ago, from the former Oracle exec, who was alleging that Oracle management underpaid him, becuase $10k or $20k less per year was "good enough for an Indian".

              mark

about two weeks ago
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The flying car I'd like in my garage first:

whitroth Centauri's car (151 comments)

From Last Starfighter

              mark

about two weeks ago
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How President Nixon Saved/Wrecked the American Space Program

whitroth On topic: it's the GOP's fault (125 comments)

From the article, which none of you seem to have read,
Excerpt:
Logsdon points to three key decisions Nixon made regarding the U.S. space program, which had long-term consequences for NASA. The three decisions were:

        To treat the space program as one area of domestic policy competing with other concerns, not as a privileged activity
        To lower U.S. ambitions in space by ending human spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit for the foreseeable future and not embark on another space goal requiring a massive investment similar to Apollo
        To build NASA’s post-Apollo program around the space shuttle without establishing a specific goal or long-term strategy the shuttle would support

Professor Logsdon says that Nixon’s lasting imprint on the space program was an end to human exploration of space beyond low Earth orbit in the twentieth century, and he sees the Nixon Space Doctrine and more ambitious human space exploration as incompatible. Under Nixon, NASA became just another domestic program, and the agency’s budget decreased even as it retained ambitious goals. During this time, however, NASA’s efforts did include increased international participation in U.S. human spaceflight programs.
--- end excerpt ---

As I've been saying for decades, the Republicans hate civilian space programs becase a) they've *always* seen it as a Democratic initiative, and because they're too dumb to see how the money is spent here on earth... and how it drives new technology.

For the 90% of you who are kids, here's one of the real-life, it-was-in-the-media-in-the-sixties, motivatoin for the space program: a moral equivalent of war.

But you turkeys would rather have wars (and y'all have, as traitor Dick Cheney put it, about the draft, "other agendas" than fighting) none of you put yourselves in danger. It's all a fucking video game with other peoples' lives.

                    mark "this is *not* the Real 21st Century; I want the REAL one back RIGHT NOW, thankyouveddymuch"

about two weeks ago
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Senators Threaten To Rescind NFL Antitrust Exemption

whitroth Take it away! (242 comments)

The NFL, "non-profit"? Then so is Walmart.

              mark, whose interest in sports approaches 0 as a limit, with the exception of two "sports", one of the American football,
                                      where it's in negative numbers

--
Shame about that kid who died playing the so-called sport

about two weeks ago
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Drones Reveal Widespread Tax Evasion In Argentina

whitroth Re:Someone's going to complain (208 comments)

"Lazy local governments"? Odd choice of phraseology. Should that be "local governemts leveraging freely-available technological solutions to save tax dollars"?

                  mark

about three weeks ago
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How the NSA Profits Off of Its Surveillance Technology

whitroth Does NASA get paid this way? (83 comments)

I know that NASA has had a technology transfer program for decades. Funny, I've never heard of *them* getting paid for this stuff: as far as I know, since it was done by and for the people of the US, on tax dollars, it was supposed to be free.

If that's the case... how does the NSA get away with getting paid?

                  mark

about three weeks ago
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Microsoft On US Immigration: It's Our Way Or the Canadian Highway

whitroth Re:Fine! (365 comments)

Gates also funds a lot of education and health endeavors around the world.

However, you explicitly mantion liberals... is this as opposed to, say, the Koch Bros (second wealthiest family in the US), who are doing their best to tell us how to obey orders?

                mark

about three weeks ago
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Washington DC To Return To Automatic Metro Trains

whitroth I need to call Metro.... (179 comments)

I relocated her in '09. This is the least friendly subway system I know of... and I lived in Philly, and Chicago, and am familiar somewhat with NYC, and a little with Boston's, and have even done the BART a couple of times.

For no known reason, they'll wait anywhere from 5 to 40 seconds *after* they come to a complete halt to open the doors. I presume this is some pseudo-Saftty thing (also, presumably dreamed up by someone who's never ridden a subway). Then they don't seem to be looking - it's close the doors.

And they're sealed cars, so if the HVAC isn't working, it's sweltering... unless they just block off the car.

And I have NEVER, EVER seen so many trains taken out of service, and forcing everyone onto the platform. *Maybe* I can remember it once or twice in 30 or 40 years of riding subways; then I got here, and I can't count the number of times I've had to gett off the train, and squeeze into a massivly overcrowded one.

Automated is fine at an airport, with small, small crowds or groups. In a real city, with hundreds of thousands of people riding every day? You need human decision making. AI ain't there yet, not for this.

                  mark "we won't talk about the broken elevators, and stops with *no* stairs"

about a month ago
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Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

whitroth If you want someone who *did* compromise security. (183 comments)

How 'bout Dick Cheney? There *were* news stories (rapidly not followed up) when he leaked to the reporter that Valerie Plame was CIA, that a number of covert intellegence agents she personally was running disappeared, presumed dead.

Oh, that's right, no one was ever convicted of leakiing that, just one for "obstruction of justice".

                        mark

about a month ago
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College Students: Want To Earn More? Take a COBOL Class

whitroth ROTFLMAO! (270 comments)

A COBOL programmer, in 1998, is utterly beyond fed up with dealing with code for the upcoming y2k, and has himself put into cold sleep until after the year 2000. Something gets screwed up in the records, and he's left to sleep away millenia. Finally, they wake him up. He's appalled to learn it's the year 9998, and everything and everyone he knows is gone. On the other hand, he's *really* in The Future, and is looking forward to all the amazing things we've done.

"Just one question", he asks the team that woke him up, "why now?"
The leader answers, "Well, we're about to roll over the year 10,000, and your records say you're a COBOL programmer...."

                  mark

about a month ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

whitroth Some of that sounds awfully familiar (981 comments)

From a lot closer to home in the US... no teaching evolution, or claiming "creationism" is as good or better a theory, limited study of history, cut budgets for scientific research....

They'll get along with the GOP really well.

                    mark

about a month ago
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Funding Tech For Government, Instead of Tech For Industry

whitroth Re:Tricky proposition (64 comments)

Yes, and unfuck you, too.

Oh, and your infantile "union-y" - your damn GOP have outsourced a *lot* of the government, so they can claim to have "cut the size of government" (and prevent people from joining unions). It's saved *so* much money... NOT. For example,
I, personally, am a sysadmin for a federal contractor, and therefore "an engineer working for the US government". Your tax dollars not only pay me (and I get paid *exactly* comparable to GS salaries, and my benefits are similar. Oh, and you're paying for the contract administrator's time (a fed), and you're paying for my "on-site managemenet support" person's time (contractor), and our project manager's time (contractor), and *their* management, and, oh, yes, my company's profits.

SO much money saved... and many of the poisonous envrironment is due to GOP rules intended solely as anti-union (you don't beleve in freedom of association, either).

So, thanks *so* much for the ad hominem attack on *me*, and on the people I work with. You're an asshole.

                      mark

about a month ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

whitroth Re:If it happened in China or North Korea or Iran (223 comments)

Give me a break. This happend under *your* guys, W and Cheney, who brought you monstrous deficits via an illegal and immoral war of conquest (see the papers the US and the UK signed around, what, 05?), and tax breaks. Of course, you didn't get the real payback, but you imagine that Any Day Now, you'll be rich, and so they won't spy on you, or tax you....

                mark

about a month ago

Submissions

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About the teacher busted for self-published novels

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about a month and a half ago

whitroth (9367) writes "I was waiting for an actual news story, not just tweets. Here's the real story:
Excerpt:
In fact, McLaw has not been arrested. No warrant for his arrest has been issued.

Concerns about McLaw were raised after he sent a four-page letter to officials in Dorchester County. Those concerns brought together authorities from multiple jurisdictions, including health authorities.

McLaw's attorney, David Moore, tells The Times that his client was taken in for a mental health evaluation. "He is receiving treatment," Moore said.

Because of federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulations mandating privacy around healthcare issues, he was unable to say whether McLaw has been released.

McLaw's letter was of primary concern to healthcare officials, Maciarello says. It, combined with complaints of alleged harassment and an alleged possible crime from various jurisdictions led to his suspension. Maciarello cautions that these allegations are still being investigated; authorities, he says, "proceeded with great restraint."
— end excerpt —

In other words, the guy has real issues, and they're not related to the books, which one assumes he gave those themes to, so as to gain popularity due to current shootings — a PR decision.

And a side note: the president of a local sf club has read at least one of the books, and reports that it's material that wouldn't get past a slushpile reader....
mark"

Link to Original Source
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Bacteria that eat electricity

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about 3 months ago

whitroth (9367) writes "There's a story in New Scientist about them: STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein's monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these "electric bacteria" are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

My first thought is to wonder if mammals generate enough electricity for them to be able to infect us... and if so, what problems they might cause, such as cardiac arrythmia?

                      mark"

Link to Original Source
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De-Liberator, the plastic gun

whitroth whitroth writes  |  about a year and a half ago

whitroth (9367) writes "Lewis Page, of The Register, writes, "When the nail hits the cap in the cartridge base in a Liberator, the expanding gas likewise pushes the lead bullet off the end of the cartridge and down the "barrel" pipe. Much of the gas leaks past due to the loose fit and soft material of the "barrel". The lump of plastic with the nail (probably) stops the cartridge case spitting out of the back, which is pretty easy as the bullet pops out of the extremely short, basically smooth* "barrel" almost immediately with very little push from the gas required. Most of the cartridge's hot gas spills out of the muzzle without getting a chance to do any work on the bullet, which is the main reason the cruddy "barrel" doesn't (always) come to bits on the first shot and the cartridge case (probably) doesn't just spit backward into the user's face.

The Liberator's bullet emerges going very slowly and wobbling or tumbling due to lack of spin. It might go almost anywhere, though not very far, and is unlikely to do much damage to anything it manages to hit."

Back to making zip guns with *real* steel pipes, kiddies, until you have a 3D printer that can print with steel, or something that strong.

                  mark"

Link to Original Source
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Bad software runs the world

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "Excerpt:
What do most people think of when they think of software? A decade ago, probably Microsoft Word and Excel. Today, it's more likely to be Gmail, Twitter, or Angry Birds. But the software that does the heavy lifting for the global economy isn't the apps on your smartphone. It's the huge, creaky applications that run Walmart's supply chain or United's reservation system or a Toyota production line.

And perhaps the most mission-critical of all mission-critical applications are the ones that underpin the securities markets a large share of the world's wealth is locked up. Those systems have been in the news a lot recently, and not for good reasons. In March, BATS, an electronic exchange, pulled its IPO because of problems with its own trading systems. During the Facebook IPO in May, NASDAQ was unable to confirm orders for hours. The giant Swiss bank UBS lost more than $350 million that day when its systems kept re-sending buy orders, eventually adding up to 40 million shares that it would later sell at a loss. Then last week Knight Capital — which handled 11 percent of all U. S. stock trading this year — lost $440 million when its systems accidentally bought too much stock that it had to unload at a loss.* (Earlier this year, a bad risk management model was also fingered in JP Morgan's $N billion trading loss, where N = an ever-escalating digit.)

The underlying problem here is that most software is not very good. Writing good software is hard.
--- end excerpt ---"

Link to Original Source
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What's wrong with slashdot recently?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "I've been reading slashdot since the late nineties. We always had the libertarian idiots, but you got *some* rational comments out of them sometimes.

In the last few months, it seems, I'm suddenly seeing blatant racists rants, and the kind of idiot cascades that contributed to usenet's downward trend. Just look, for example, at the comments following the huge Indian power failure: one thread of nieve wind power comments, a racists rant, and no real discussion of what happened or why, or what realistically needs to be done (cut corruption? have outside inspectors? power consideration?).

So here's an ask slashdot: how can we go back to actual nerdy conversations about how to actually do things in the real world?

                  mark"
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Why There Are Too Many Patents in America

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "The judge who just dismissed the lawsuit between Apple and Motorola writes a column explaining what he considers to be a resonable use of patents, and unreasonable ones. One of his thoughts would be to require a patent holder to produce the patented item within a certain time, to cut out patent trolls."
Link to Original Source
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Time for a new movement: Ugly Email

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 2 years ago

whitroth writes "I just finished my annual (idiotic) security refresher, with its usual explanation of phishing, etc., and I think it's time for a new movement, one that might actually gain traction in companies if enough of us push it: the Ugly Email movement.

Simply enough: plain text, only. All pics, spreadsheets, etc *not* inline, but attachments. How complicated is that, Barbie?

It would shove in everyone's face that "Click here to contact your company/security/bank/offshore account" is going to gotyourinfonow.com

Opinions? Alternate names? Locations for demonstrations?

                    mark"
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How to get providers to drop dnsbl.manitu.net?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 3 years ago

whitroth writes "I'm fed up, and I'm sure tens of thousands you slashdotters are, too. dnsbl.manitu.net has been offering their "service" to block spammers for a long time... and using an "algorithm" that would have worked 15 years ago, but these days is hostile to non-spammers, and useless.

He appears to target mailhosts of spammers. In these days, however, where hosting providers support tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of domains (many running Windows, and so infected), and all the mail goes through one mailhost, this means many of us get unfairly blocked. And it's not like the hosting providers don't try to stop spam going out.

This has been going on for a long time, Years ago, Cogeco in Canada used him, and I was blocked, on and off, for months from emailing a friend. Right now, I'm being blocked from a CentOS mailing list, even though I did a remove.

So, suggestions as to how we can get this hostile force dropped by most providers?

                    mark"
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What's with slashdot's javascript?

whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 5 years ago

whitroth writes "Folks,

      What's with slashdot's javascripting? As of a few weeks ago, I pull up slashdot, and I'm watching my browser peg my CPU. Just today, I went to a story, and fired up top before I did so (openSuSE 10.3), firefox 2.0.0.11), and watched top report about 30 seconds or more with firefox running over 93% CPU usage.

      This never used to happen. slashdot *used* to load fast....

              mark"
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whitroth whitroth writes  |  more than 8 years ago

whitroth writes "Ten years ago, Received Wisdom said that virtual memory should be, on the average, two to two-and-a-half times real memory. In these days, where 2G RAM is not unusual, and many times that not that uncommon, is this unreasonable? What's the sense of the community as to what is a reasonable size for swap these days? mark"

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