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Comment: Humans will evolve too (Score 1) 340

by C0L0PH0N (#45346003) Attached to: Global Biological Experiment Generates Exciting New Results
Just as bacteria and viruses, exposed to high levels of antibiotics, have evolved antibiotic resistance and immunity, so will humans evolve resistance or immunity to the new versions of bacteria and viruses. Of course, the way evolution works, the few humans with superior resistance or immunity to the new superbugs will be the fittest survivors, and the rest of us will become extinct. Evolution has worked that way for 3 and a half billion years, no reason for it to stop now :).

Comment: Workplace?' (Score 1) 786

by C0L0PH0N (#43643277) Attached to: Microsoft's "New Coke" Moment?
I see Windows PC's in so many workplaces, offices, doctor's offices, etc. Most (not all) have upgraded from XP to Windows 7. These are offices where often multiple programs run at once, where productivity is king. I cannot envision Windows 8 working at all well in an office environment. Maybe, if the clerk has one application ONLY that they run, but a lot of office workers are actually pretty good power users of Windows. All this goes out the window (so to speak) with Windows 8. I have helped many new users with Windows 8, and it has been uniformly bad. I myself had a windows 8 computer for ONE DAY, and went all over the place to find a Windows 7 machine (wonderful HP Envy :)), display model, but I didn't care. I now enjoy productivity, the enjoyable Aero interface (which is actually beautiful compared to the blocky 90's looking Win 8), and easy navigation of multiple windows. With a 3 year warranty with my new Windows 7 laptop, I am set until at least Blue. Then I will decide if it is finally time to jump ship. The next move is yours, Microsoft. I will be watching.

Comment: High Resolution Security Cameras (Score 1) 416

by C0L0PH0N (#43489901) Attached to: FBI Releases Boston Bombing Suspect Images/Videos
Low resolution cameras are so yesterday. We use 10Mpixel high definition security cameras at our security gates that can easily identify a person with high accuracy, and they are inexpensive. All existing security cameras across the country, and especially in cities with highly popular mass activities, need to be upgraded from NEARLY USELESS to highly discerning high definition. I feel so sad at all the ancient-technology video security footage you see after every crime, when current cameras at often lower cost, are AMAZING. Please, everyone with a security camera, for the sake of innocent victims, please upgrade your security cameras to high definition. Ok, so you may need to upgrade your security camera servers too. Again, for the sake of the victims, please put it in your budget now !!

+ - What is Holding Up Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)?->

Submitted by
C0L0PH0N writes ""So in one respect I can agree with the AGI-is-imminent camp: it is plausible that just a single idea stands between us and the breakthrough. But it will have to be one of the best ideas ever." This is the final statement of one of the most interesting articles I have read in a long time. ( The spectacular David Deutsch (, a pioneer in quantum computation, has authored a fascinating article about what is required for true AGI, and has introduced me to the writings of the legendary Karl Popper (, in whose reasoning may lay the true foundation for AGI. Further, it turns out that almost every idea I have about the philosophy of science (such as to be truly scientific, a theory must be falsifiable, etc) comes from Karl Popper. I believe I was a Popperian and didn't even know it. I will now be adding Popper to my library. Whew!, all this has made my brain warm! Enjoy!"
Link to Original Source

+ - Microsoft Apps Store reached a goal of 50,000 Apps->

Submitted by
C0L0PH0N writes ""50,000 apps in 4 months is an impressive milestone, and as more people adapt to Windows 8 and Windows tablets, we should see some great advancements for the OS in the future." ( Of course, there is still a lot of space between the highly popular iPad app store and Microsoft's new store. My question is, did Microsoft make the correct decision "betting the farm" on the tablet-oriented Windows 8, or was it still a rash decision that will remain offensive to desktop users who are vulnerable to "gorilla-arm"? I'm guessing that Windows 9 will backtrack a bit, to recapture some of the desktop market. My evidence for this is that commercial businesses are still leery of Windows 8, with most purchases still going to Windows 7. Dell for example, sells almost exclusively the Windows 7 OS on all of its business machines."
Link to Original Source

+ - SpaceX: Lessons Learned Developing Software for Space Vehicles->

Submitted by
jrepin writes "On day two of the 2013 Embedded Linux Conference, Robert Rose of SpaceX spoke about the "Lessons Learned Developing Software for Space Vehicles". In his talk, he discussed how SpaceX develops its Linux-based software for a wide variety of tasks needed to put spacecraft into orbit—and eventually beyond. Linux runs everywhere at SpaceX, he said, on everything from desktops to spacecraft."
Link to Original Source

+ - 'Energy Beet' Power is Coming to America

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Gosia Wonzniacka reports that farmers in Fresno County, California, supported by university experts and a $5 million state grant, are set to start construction of the nation's first commercial-scale bio-refinery to turn beets into biofuel with farmers saying the so-called 'energy beets' can deliver ethanol yields more than twice those of corn per acre because beets have a higher sugar content per ton than corn. "We're trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to shift our transportation fuels to a lower carbon content," says Robert Weisenmiller. "The beets have the potential to provide that." Europe already has more than a dozen such plants, so the bio-refinery would resurrect a crop that has nearly vanished. The birthplace of the sugar beet industry, California once grew over 330,000 acres of the gnarly root vegetable (PDF), with 11 sugar mills processing the beets but as sugar prices collapsed, the mills shut down. So what’s the difference between sugar beets and energy beets? To produce table sugar, producers are looking for sucrose, sucrose and more sucrose. Energy beets, on the other hand, contain multiple sugars, meaning sucrose as well as glucose, fructose and other minor sugars, called invert sugars. To create energy beet hybrids, plant breeders select for traits such as high sugar yield, not just sucrose production. America's first commercial energy beet bio-refinery will be capable of producing 40 million gallons of ethanol annually but the bio-refinery will also bring jobs and investment putting about 80 beet growers and 35,000 acres back into production. "This project is about rural development. It's about bringing a better tax base to this area and bringing jobs for the people," says farmer John Diener,"

Comment: "Purpose" distinguishes hobby RC Aircraft from UAV (Score 1) 158

by C0L0PH0N (#43224255) Attached to: FAA Grants Arlington Texas Police Department Permission To Fly UAVs
Radio controlled aircraft used to be just hobby aircraft. But in the past few decades, military versions of UAV's have proven that they can be used for lethal purposes. With terrorism on the rise, and as the number and type of UAV's growing hugely (I mean, they will have unmanned full sized fighter planes soon, for real!), the US government has correctly decided to regulate UAV's. The hobby lobby (couldn't resist that), has done a stellar job working with the FAA in protecting the venue of the RC hobbyists. One of the ways to distinguish a "UAV" from an RC hobby aircraft is "purpose". Am I enjoying my hobby, or am I taking pictures of houses for a Real Estate company. Moving away from strict hobby use to Commercial or Military use redefines the RC aircraft from "hobby use" to "UAV", under a different set of laws, even if it is the same plane. Hobbyists are limited to 400', line of sight, weight restrictions, no-flyover-people, and must contact the airport if flown within 3 miles of an airport. By following these rules, we hobbyists protect our hobby even in the face of more strict UAV laws. And even we hobbyists get "NOTAM" alerts, shutting us down for a few hours when the POTUS comes to town.

Comment: University as Sanctuary (Score 1, Insightful) 175

by C0L0PH0N (#42716047) Attached to: Aaron Swartz Case: Deja Vu All Over Again For MIT
The University system should provide Sanctuary for its students. It takes the most brilliant and promising children of each generation, and takes the best of them to the frontiers of human knowledge, and encourages and teaches them to push and develop these frontiers. This is one of the highest callings of the University system. This also gives the Universities a great responsibility -- to protect those young bright minds who are going boldly where none has gone before. They need to provide Sanctuary for these students, to have their back when they push the boundaries of our society. This does not cover murder or other violent sociopathic acts. But it should protect students from most of the reckless overreaching laws, and especially in all gray areas of our society. Rather than give students up for minor unlawful activities, the University system should give them Sanctuary. When they do give them up, they break this Sanctuary promise to their students. They teach them and encourage them to the frontiers of our society, and then betray them when they give them up to local (or federal) gendarmes.

I call on ALL University administrators to develop proactive policies of Sanctuary, which should include refusing EVER to give up students for minor or gray area "crimes". They should at the very least, refuse all cooperation with police agents, and at the best, provide a defense for students. But NEVER break your moral contract with the students you teach, by turning them over to outside law. This policy can include ejecting students who break University laws. But it should never extend further than sanctions or expulsions. The University systems should develop a non-cooperation understanding with all police forces. Exceptions only would include violent sociopathic crimes such as rape, murder, violent assault, bombings, etc. But the University should be a Sanctuary for non-violent crimes where the student (or faculty for that matter) is pushing the boundaries of society.

This awesome article at New York University, The University as Sanctuary, says it more powerfully and elegantly than I ever could.

Comment: Paradox for DOS and Commodore 64 Logo (Score 2) 704

by C0L0PH0N (#42710723) Attached to: What Early Software Was Influential Enough To Deserve Acclaim?
Paradox for DOS was a breakthrough program for its time, permitting fairly serious multi user networked business applications to be built in DOS with a relational database. The PAL (Paradox Application Language) was very powerful. I built a rock solid and fast multiuser system for a mental health clinic with it. And Commodore 64's Logo was actually HP's graphics language in disguise, a great program for what it was and for its time.

Comment: Windows7 Still Available on Dell Business Machines (Score 1) 151

by C0L0PH0N (#42664171) Attached to: Microsoft May Invest $1B-$3B In Dell Buyout
Are you ok with a Dell business machine? If you go to the Dell website and look at ANY business machine (Optiplex, Vostro, Dimension, Latitude), either desktop or laptop, they are listed across the board with Windows 7. Windows 8 is not in sight. I think it will be a long time before businesses are ready for the Windows 8 nonsense.

Comment: Re:Sounds improbable (Score 3, Informative) 513

by C0L0PH0N (#42027785) Attached to: Dutch Cold Case Murder Solved After 8000 People Gave Their DNA
As pointed out in other posts, your statement, "not DNA from the rape itself", is completely incorrect. As the article says, "The decision to launch the DNA appeal came after De Vries in May broadcast information about a Playboy cigarette lighter found in Vaatstra's bag which contains DNA traces that match the traces found on the schoolgirl's body. " The DNA WAS found on the girl's raped body. Because it was ALSO found on a cigarette lighter sold locally, that is why they suspected a local person. So his DNA matches exactly that on the raped girl's body! At least, their approach was logical. Just to be clear.

Comment: Pale Moon? (Score 4, Interesting) 247

by C0L0PH0N (#41576265) Attached to: Mozilla To Bug Firefox Users With Old Adobe Reader, Flash, Silverlight
Pale Moon ( ) is a long-standing fork of Firefox produced by Moonchild Productions, which is distinguished by being optimized for efficiency and speed in 64 bit Vista and Windows 7. There are 32 bit versions as well. Firefox does not provide a 64 bit version at this time. If you've never heard of Pale Moon, check it out. It is now my main browser of choice. Here is a review:

Perhaps this browser will give you your "Firefox" experience without the upgrade "bugging" that Mozilla is introducing.

Comment: Trade Secrecy and Competency (Score 1) 315

by C0L0PH0N (#41506181) Attached to: Another Call For Abolishing Patents, This One From the St. Louis Fed
There are two ways companies can take advantage of their inventiveness if patents were abolished. First is to ramp up company security and keep the inner workings of the patent a complete secret. This method is even available today, if a company were to elect to keep a patentable item secret instead of patenting it. This method will certainly work in the short run.

The second way to take advantage of their inventiveness is to be recognized as the most competent implementer of the patent. Say an inventor creates a "wave engine". It is a difficult engineering feat, and if the inventor works hard to stay ahead of the competition, then they will do well enough by being recognized as the world experts on the "wave engine". If they don't work hard enough, then competitors will take business away from them.

By keeping trade secrets and by becoming highly competent, all inventors will do well. They might not do quite as well as they would have if they had a "monopoly" on the idea for 17 years, but nevertheless, they would do well enough!

Society is the winner here. If there were no patents, then all competitors could jump on the idea, and innovation would be vastly accelerated, and costs would plummet. It would be harder for companies to make a dollar, but the industries as a whole would accelerate rapidly. There are numerous serious studies that support the abolition of patents. They examine cases where patents were granted and cases where patents weren't available. In all cases, in the long run, having a patent system slowed innovation, enriched some rent-seekers unjustly, and society always suffered. This is an idea whose time has come.

Comment: China compiles massive dossier on every citizen (Score 5, Insightful) 246

by C0L0PH0N (#40829167) Attached to: ACLU Questions Privacy of License Plate Scanners
The real threat, that the ACLU knows very clearly, is that the clearest path to government oppression of its citizens is to follow the path of China and other totalitarian regimes, and put together a massive dossier on every citizen. Then, anytime the government wants to crack down on a citizen, it has all the information it needs to put the citizen away. As any police officer will tell you, with over 5,000 federal laws, and countless local state and municipal laws, every citizen breaks laws without even knowing it, and if they follow you in a cruiser, then eventually can legally pull you over. What protects us is that most miniscule violations are not on the books. But if the government can collect 100% of all the information technology increasingly permits, they will begin to get 100% information. This will not harm you until the government decides to focus its laser power on YOU. There is little in this world as powerful as government, which can bring down the powerful, the wealthy, even the lawmakers. The ACLU has this one right - our government needs to be limited in the information it gathers on us.

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.