Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Turing's Theory of Chemical Morphogenesis Validated 60 Years After His Death

wombatmobile Chemistry vs Molecular Biology (74 comments)

Turing's theory was formulated in an era when physics and chemistry were the foundation components of biology. The problem he was trying to solve is: How is biological complexity achieved in terms of fundamental chemistry and physics? At the time, chemistry could explain how two poisonous chemicals, sodium and chlorine, could combine to produce a substance as benign as common table sale (NaCl). But nothing could explain how a single cell could develop into something as complex as a fish, or a mouse, or a human being.

In 1953, Crick and Watson published a paper in Nature that revealed the chemical structure of DNA. The discovery was a revolution in science because it changed biology from an amalgam of physics and chemistry into an information science. In DNA and RNA, a whole vocabulary of computing was encoded. Suddenly, the complexity of biological processes such as embryogenesis, heredity, and cancer could be understood in programmatic terms through the molecular language of DNA.

Turing's theory of chemical morphogenesis doesn't mention DNA. As such, it is too simple to explain morphogenesis per se. Rather, his concept of intercellular reaction-diffusion may be applied to cell biology inter alia, but it isn't the big picture. Crick and Watson worked that out, thanks in no small part to Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.

about a month ago

Ask Slashdot: Package Redirection Service For Shipping to Australia?

wombatmobile Pitfalls of Shipito (206 comments)

I've used a Shipito consolidation account for 5 months to send stuff to Brisbane. This is what I learned:

0. I pay $50/year for an account, which gives me an address in California (Suite 123456, 123 Something St., Sometown CA, 90250). When a package arrives for me, they list it on my web based UI with a photo of the package and shipping label.

1. The cheapest freight out to Australia available through Shipito is TNT, but the cost varies from $15/lb for 8lbs, down to $4/lb for 30 lbs.

2. The optimal weight package to consolidate and send off to Australia is 29.5 lbs. Shipito adds a $10 surcharge for heaviness if the package exceeds 30 lbs.

3. It is cheapest to minimise the number of small packages you send in to your Shipito account because they charge $4.50 per piece to consolidate each incoming package into the big box that they send to Australia. Their literature makes it seem like only $2.50, but really it is $4.50 because there is a handling fee and a consolidation fee for each item. So, if you want to order 10 books from Amazon, get them sent to your Shipito box in Caliornia as on shipment of 10 books and you will only have to pay $4.50 handling and consolidation fees. If, however, you let Amazon send you 10 individual packages of 1 book each, Shipito will charge you a total of $45.00 handling and consolidation to put the same 10 books in your big box that goes to Australia.

4. Watch your Shipito account like a hawk. If a package goes missing and you don't tell them within 10 days, too bad. You have no recourse.

5. A package can be delivered to Shipito by Amazon's courier, but Shipito might not ever credit it to your account, in which case you better read #4 again. Until the package is assigned to your account, it hasn't arrived.

6. Their customer service is not aleays good. However, once you have received a reply from a service agent, if you continue to send further enquiries directly to that agent's email address you may get better customer service than if you just use the forum or the general address.

7. Fill out the online customs declerations each time a package arrives. It makes it easier for you to calculate when to close off a consolidation because you can see when the value of all packages is getting close to $1000 or the weight close to 29.5 lbs. You need to send the consolidation before it is worth over $1000 to avoid being charged GST in Australia.

8. They do some annoying things like if you let the package overstay the maximum of 90 days in storage, they just remove it from your a/c without warning and say too bad. So be vigilant about their rules, and don't expect them to be as understanding as some other more mature businesses.

9. If you follow all the above guidelines, Shipito is a good service that will save you considerable amounts on freight, and enable you to buy stuff from US vendors who will only ship to a US address.

about 6 months ago

How Amateurs Destroyed the Professional Music Business

wombatmobile Quality of what? (617 comments)

The quality of the recording is only a technical aspect of the recorded work. The musicality (how good or enjoyable the music is) has a far bigger bearing on the quality of the listener's experience. We all want good music first, and clear sound second. Without the former, the latter doesn't please, but the converse is not true.

about 7 months ago

New York Paper Uses Public Records To Publish Gun-Owner Map

wombatmobile Consider this map of Gun Deaths By State (1232 comments)

Does gun ownership make for a safer, better, society, or something else? Statistical correlation is not the same thing as causality, but what do these facts tell us?

about a year ago

Researchers Engineer Light-Activated Skeletal Muscle

wombatmobile Re:Weaknesses (20 comments)

What is the point? Why do we need a copy of a human

They aren't trying to duplicate humans. They are trying to distill and reproduce essential aspects of biomotion e.g. skeletal muscle contraction. TFA is about a way to control the twitching of skeletal muscles without requiring a biological nervous system.

about a year and a half ago

If Extinct Species Can Be Brought Back... Should We?

wombatmobile New technique makes it all possible now (299 comments)

Ancient DNA has proven difficult to sequence or clone, because it is fragmentary, and most of it breaks down into single strands after it is extracted from bone.

However, a new technique developed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequences single stranded DNA. Scientists just announced they used the technique to fully sequence Denisovan DNA from a bone fragment found in a cave in Siberia. They're going to go back to sequence their library of hundreds of Neandertal DNA specimens.

How long before they make Dolly Denisovan?

about a year and a half ago

New Evidence Indicates Amelia Earhart Survived For a Time on Pacific Atoll

wombatmobile Not definitive evidence so far (365 comments)

We'll know more if they find the aeroplane. They are going to have a good look soon.

about 2 years ago

New Evidence Indicates Amelia Earhart Survived For a Time on Pacific Atoll

wombatmobile Cartography (365 comments)

Those are good questions, antdude. I would like to learn more about the cartographic practices that resulted in the map they carried.

I wonder what Earhart and Noonan knew or presumed about the chart's accuracy with respect to islands when they were leaving New Guinea?

I wonder what they made of what happened when they were talking about it afterwards on Gardner island?

about 2 years ago

Software Engineers Remain Top US Job

wombatmobile Define terms please (140 comments)

"Software Engineer" can mean so many different things. It could be heaven. It could be hell.

about 2 years ago

IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years

wombatmobile Junk Mail is intrusive (219 comments)

Duh... the reason Junk Mail is not valued by the recipient is because it is INTRUSIVE. Intrusiveness cannot be overcome by personalisation. More like enhanced. The more personalized the junk, the creepier the intrusion.

I wonder why that person from IBM predicts such a creepy future?

Why does IBM pay someone to publish creepy stuff like that?

more than 2 years ago

Will Firefox Lose Google Funding?

wombatmobile Open Web Standards (644 comments)

I thought FireFox was such a positive force for open standards, in the days when IE was a monopoly.

But something happened. FireFox got to 20% market share, and they got a bunch of money (from Google) and fame. Then, Mozilla ceased to become an organization that was dedicated to an open web. It became, instead, an organization that knew better than the open web. It wasn't about implementing standards any more. It was about God's chosen web engineers determining what was best for the web.

The problem with Mozilla refusing to implement open standards that other browsers implement, is the same problem we had back when IE had disproportionate market share.

Chrome and Opera and Webkit don't suffer from this narcissism. They just get on with it and implement open standards.

Hooray for open standards!

more than 2 years ago

Syria Bans iPhone, Protest App

wombatmobile Jobs vs Assad (69 comments)

Steve Jobs' biological father, Abdulfattah John Jandali, is a native of Syria. He recently expressed his support for the pro-democracy protesters

more than 2 years ago

Will Adobe's HTML5 Strategy Help Developers?

wombatmobile Adobe's Revenue Model (129 comments)

Adobe earns most of its income selling authoring tools.

Sure, Adobe would rather the internet was Flash and PDF. But if it isn't, which it isn't, Adobe makes money by selling authoring tools. HTML5 authoring tools, as it turns out.

Standards win in the browser. Adobe sells authoring tools. Punters get good content. Win - Win - Win.

more than 2 years ago

How Android Phone Makers Are Missing the Marketing Boat

wombatmobile Android is not one man's vision. It is more/less. (373 comments)



  1. Android, unlike iOS, has marketing funded by many different organizations and managers separately, working competitively against other Android manufacturers. They are each trying to differentiate from the other.
  2. And don't forget:

  3. Android devices don't have a standardized dock/interface connector so dock accessories don't exist for Android.
  4. Android devices just show up as dumb disk drives when you plug them into my computer.

more than 2 years ago

Google Improves Android Translator To Battle Siri

wombatmobile Re:Siri and translation (185 comments)

Siri doesn't do translations, it's more of an advanced voice recognition tool.

Siri is a user shell. It provides an interface to the operating system. Voice recognition is one part of the technology; a vital part. The other part is the logic Siri uses to process the words it hears as commands. It translates spoken natural language statements into operating system calls.

more than 2 years ago

Scientists Discover Mechanism That Gives Shape to Life

wombatmobile Hox genes are the basic sequence of embryogenesis (138 comments)

TFA is saying that organisms are built in slices, from the tip of the head down to the tip of the tail. These slices are activated in order, from first to last. It is the same in fruit flies, worms, whales, dogs, monkeys, deer and humans. The HOX genes control the basic sequence, like a player piano roll or a series of punch cards.

The reason we get so many different organisms, like whales, fruit flies and elephants, is evolution.

more than 2 years ago

IBM Chief: All CEOs Reluctant To Invest In R&D

wombatmobile Refactoring (321 comments)

Refactoring is fraught because to do it, you have to know what you are refactoring for. To make that judgement requires and engineer to think above his/her pay grade, and predict the future. Now, good engineers can do that, but there's no guarantee that their judgement will be supported by the manager that pays the salary. The disincentives are high.

more than 2 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Dealing With the Business Software Alliance?

wombatmobile Step by step (519 comments)

We've just gotten a letter from an attorney representing the Business Software Alliance stating someone (we're certain it's a disgruntled former employee) submitted information we are using illegally copied software.

Reply to the letter like this:

We are in receipt of your correspondence reference ____ dated _____. Could you please advise details of the claim. What software is claimed to be in breach?

Send the reply by registered mail and then do nothing more until you receive a reply.

Engage a lawyer who is experienced with the BSA.

more than 2 years ago



New technique sequences ancient DNA 99.9%

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  about a year and a half ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "Ancient DNA has proven difficult to sequence or clone, because it is fragmentary, and most of it breaks down into single strands after it is extracted from bone.

However, a new technique developed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequences single stranded DNA. Scientists just announced they used the technique to fully sequence Denisovan DNA from a bone fragment found in a cave in Siberia. They're going to go back to sequence their library of hundreds of Neanderthal DNA specimens.

How long before they make Dolly Denisovan?"

What happened inside Google Wave

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "Dhanji R. Prasanna was the 25th employee of the Google Wave group in Sydney. He tells how 'even the smartest, most motivated and talented people in the world--with a track record of delivering success--are alone not sufficient to overcome complexity that creeps up on you.'"
Link to Original Source

Are web standards indexed fully and correctly?

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "The world's most popular search engine company is a leading supporter of open standards. It pours money and people into initiatives that promote, assist, support and implement web standards. As a core foundation of is mission statement, all web assetts should ideally be of a kind that it can work with.

Strange then, that the world's most popular search engine doesn't index all of the current important web standards formats.

Doug Schepers of W3C blogs about how Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) content is recognised and not recognised by search engines, currently and historically."

Link to Original Source

News Helicopters Crash

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "Where I live, the law prohibits the use of a hand held mobile phone while driving a car.

In Phoenix, AZ, apparently some people are allowed to fly a helicopter, broadcast news competitively, and control their own airspace simultaneously whilst presenting a story to an audience in real time.

Which got me wondering, what are the neurophysiological limits of multitasking?

Might these limits ever be measured and quantified?"

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  more than 6 years ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "Britain's Telegraph newspaper reports that a team led by Prof James Levine, a British scientist at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, has invented an apparatus that cures obesity in office workers. The apparatus, a treadmill with a computer stand attached, enables office workers to maintain walking pace while working. The resultant slow steady burn consumes over 100 calories per hour, making it possible for obese office workers to lose 66 lbs per year."

wombatmobile wombatmobile writes  |  more than 7 years ago

wombatmobile (623057) writes "Windows Vista doesn't allow existing programs to display their help files.

Microsoft said they would provide a download fix "in time for the consumer release of Windows Vista", but they haven't!


How can consumers use existing programs on the new Vista if their help files don't work?

How can software publishers help their customers if Microsoft prohibits them from distributing the old help system and provides no alternative?"


wombatmobile has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account