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Comment: Re:A Priority (Score 1) 55

by Sir_Sri (#47842369) Attached to: Survivors' Blood Holds Promise, But Draws Critics, As Ebola Treatment

There's a serious ethical problem with allocating scarce healthcare resources, particularly those in theatre to ideas that have no evidence of being worth trying. There's also significant risk from blood infusions being done improperly, including infecting more healthcare workers who then may end up in close proximity to ebola patients even longer.

If this were being done in a 3rd party country - e.g. the UK or the US or spain, where a blood transfusion or two, even under the most stringent of containment procedures is a very marginal cost I'd say sure, you may as well try. But when you're talking about potentially thousands of infusions on thousands of patients in poor countries, in facilities that are suffering shortages of staff because staff keep dying, and suffering in sanitation, and well... it may not be a great idea.

If you save one patient with a blood transfusion but kill 2 others who accidentally get infected you're not really doing a good thing.

Comment: Boring...oddly (Score 2) 181

by Sir_Sri (#47787745) Attached to: Intel's Haswell-E Desktop CPU Debuts With Eight Cores, DDR4 Memory

Interesting essentially how little benefit they get.

The X99 mobo and platform is nice, I like a lot of what they're doing there, and all of the system components matter a lot to user experience. But unless you have a very specific requirement any user would be just as well served with a quad core or a octa core, if not better served with the devil's canyon quad core given the single threaded performance. That's probably a bad place for intel to be positioning these, as the target audience for these processors is looking for blazing fast and lots of cores. And it only delivers one of the two.

I think if I was buying a system this week or next (which... I am) I'd be a bit disappointed that I can't put a devil's canyon quad core on an X99 mobo, and then upgrade the CPU later if they manage to refresh the E series into something more attractive.

Comment: Re:No, she doesn't. (Score 1) 962

by Sir_Sri (#47520717) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Ya, that's *stalking* but well, stalking already has a prescription in law.

Naturally the international nature of the internet somewhat limits what you can do, and discovering that people making threats are basically children wouldn't do you any favours either.

Nina had people track down her website and post hate mail on it.

Don't have a website if you don't want racist, biggoted or threatening comments. I'm a game developer and a university professor, and well, students who don't like their grades seem to turn off the filter when e-mailing to a private account.

Elise writes about being physically restrained at a gaming event

That's what security is for. There's nothing here about 'women in __________' that's 'if you threaten someone for any reason the police will be called' territory.

The post is essentially cherry picking extreme cases. Ask any woman who has had a stalker if it's a good experience and the answer will be a definitive no. But you're not going to prevent stalking completely through education, no more than you can completely eliminate murder either. 4 hand picked examples of extreme cases is hardly the basis of serious policy discussion on a broad issue.

Comment: Re:No, she doesn't. (Score 4, Insightful) 962

by Sir_Sri (#47511623) Attached to: The Daily Harassment of Women In the Game Industry

Ya I think the problem is that forums bring out people who say some truly terrible things, and there isn't really much you can do about it. They say stuff to men too - but it's more death threats than sexist, and they say racist things to (or about) blacks and jews, muslims, latinos, and the chinese too.

The perils of anonymity I suppose.

It's not like it isn't a valid concern that people are out saying these things, but jews and blacks essentially face the same problem: if you go and look at a few hundred or a few thousand internet comments on any post there will be a couple of things that are basically just crazy people rambling. Unfortunately you don't know when random crazy people rambling on forums are actually a threat (if ever), and that they exist and want to say those things at all is a bit of an existential threat to your general day to day existence.

There isn't really an obvious prescription. You can educate people all you want about not saying offensive things, but a small handful of people will continue to say offensive things because they're trying to be offensive. And the anonymity of the internet lets you say both unpopular things which are valid, and unpopular things which are just nonsense.

Comment: Re:What is BSD good for? (Score 1) 77

by epine (#47479327) Attached to: FreeBSD 9.3 Released

So I am honestly asking, what is BSD good for.

When exactly did "honestly" become a synonym for living under a rock? This question comes up on almost every thread where FreeBSD is mentioned, though granted this is barely more often than its major releases.

The first answer in every such thread for years now is always ZFS, but actually this just disguises how many people have been using it for years or decades and just plain like the way FreeBSD does things even if nine out of ten, or ninety nine out of a hundred, or nine hundred and ninety nine out of a thousand have different tastes.

I get intensely piqued over the implication that there's a nuisance hurdle that needs to be cleared just for existing. When "honestly" becomes a cover story for living under a rock (or an equivalent not-be-bothered-hood) this ultimately seems to resonate as the main implication.

It's especially irritating when FreeBSD predates all the Johnny-come-latelies. It would have needed to be clairvoyant to have correctly decided to not exist, so as not to strain the reputational resources of open source groupthink.

I used to use an axe, but I stopped using it when I had to cut down a tree ten-feet wide at the base. I am presently using a Husqvarna and I am perfectly happy with it but for some reason the axe retains a magical "hard core" allure. So I am honestly asking, what is an axe good for?

Comment: Re:more leisure time for humans! (Score 1) 530

by Sir_Sri (#47404997) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

And yet in 150 years he's been essentially proven wrong on that point - he certainly understood the battle between capital and labour, but he underestimated the ability of people to adapt. We needed Karl marx to help grasp the consequences of too much wealth perpetually flowing to capitalists (as compared to aristocrats who were essentially capped at owning 100% of the land). But we can also have people add a lot more educated value and decision making to manufacturing. When he looked at the world he saw a collection of illiterate masses being replaced by machines with no where to go.

When robots make everything and they don't all need to be nearly exactly copies we'll need specialists to help us individually understand what meets our requirements, send off and order for a custom design of everything and off you go. Oh, you're 197 cm tall sir, but want to drive a car with a sun roof? No problem. We'll design one for you, and have it built and delivered by the end of the week. Oh madam, you're 150 cm tall, and married to the 197 cm tall guy - and you want to be able to see over the dashboard in his car, and for him to have headroom in yours? No problem we can make one like that for you. What about you sir? 180 cm tall and 170Kg, well no problem sir, we can custom design the seat for a man of your size, rebalance the car for when you're driving to get optimal performance and safety.

Individualization and customization is the future of manufacturing. That will change the requirements for people certainly - but it won't cut people out of the process. It will just make them into specialists making more sophisticated choices about more complex things.

Comment: Re:That's Less Than $1 per Device (Score 5, Insightful) 530

by Sir_Sri (#47404961) Attached to: Foxconn Replacing Workers With Robots

China has a massive manufacturing hub in the hong kong - shenhzen - guangzhou region because a huge collection of components are available there, with a large collection of factories and workers who can flexibly shift between factories to meet rapidly variable demand (particularly for somewhere like foxconn who work for many related businesses - oh, dell you can wait 48 hours while we throw together 100k phone screens for apple who need them right now, and in 48 hours we'll have enough staff brought on board to do both).

If you're important enough and need enough made they'll shut down schools for you to get more workers. And the areas are small (relatively) stand in the centre draw a 100Km circle around yourself and you've got 120+ million in a giant megacity making stuff for the world. It's amazing and terrifying and a lot of other things all at once. Imagine what the industrial revolution London did to the world - only 100x bigger. And that's thing - while some of the advanced semiconductor components are made elsewhere still so much of the supply chain, glass, displays, the motherboards, the plastic etc. etc. etc. all in a tiny little radius all shipped out around the world in 3 days.

Comment: Re:True in theory (Score 1) 186

by Sir_Sri (#47334657) Attached to: Larry Page: Healthcare Data Mining Could Save 100,000 Lives a Year

Well it *might* be true that healthcare data mining could save many lives. That's an educated guess - that large enough sample sets would let researchers discover correlation and causation effects that we have never noticed, and they can do this using machine learning algorithms, or just the nature of enough data to actually show trends.

But yes, for travellers and for the US you need to worry about what insurance companies are going to do with that data, and if they're going to improperly use that data to deny you care you paid for, or if it makes it impossible to get healthcare coverage based on data.

Unfortunately there's no easy way to make medical data privacy irrelevant. Even in places where you cannot be denied coverage regardless of your medical history (say the NHS, where even if you break into NHS hospitals and steal stuff all the time they still cannot deny you entry for care) you still don't necessarily want your neighbour to be able to discover that you where hospitalized for having a dildo stuck up your ass.

Comment: we'll see if this cures my ten-year Slashdot habit (Score 1) 454

by epine (#47333441) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

@namespace url(;
@-moz-document domain("") {
div, p, h1, span, table, footer, header {
      display: none !important;
body:after {
    content: 'CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking';
    color: #FF0000;
    display: block;
    text-align: center;
    font-size: 1.5vmax;

Comment: article headline sucks ass (Score 5, Insightful) 454

by epine (#47333011) Attached to: CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

CDC: 1 In 10 Adult Deaths In US Caused By Excessive Drinking

This does not deserve to live on Oprah, much less Slashdot. Not on Fox News, not on Rush Limbaugh, not on Howard Stern, not on Jerry Springer. On its own, exactly as it stands, it would set a new standard for outright stupidity in any legal jurisdiction that has yet to legislate pi = 3.

Oh, but wait, there's a footnote: preventable deaths among working-aged adult Americans. THAT'S NOT FUCKING FINE PRINT. My credibility circuit assigned six zeros (0.00000% chance of being true) before I managed to read the next line.

In all the many long years I've been here, I can not recall a single story headline that revolts me to this degree. I was reading recently Fire and Ashes: Success and Failure in Politics by Michael Ignatieff. At some point during his election campaign he said something stupid about the Middle East. His campaign manager pulled him aside and explained to him: "Politicians have nine lives. You just burned eight."

I have a finite amount of all-caps to expend on Slashdot outrage. I just burned 80% of my lifetime supply. Next time I resort to all-caps, I'll never post here again.

Comment: jumping off FTW (Score 3) 268

by epine (#47314145) Attached to: Wikipedia Editors Hit With $10 Million Defamation Suit

It's only good for a jumping off place.

So totally true. But once you allow that 99% of modern life is jumping off, I'm not sure what you're griping about.

Just as one comparison, take every organization prominent enough to have it's own article in en.Wikipedia, go to their own websites (the vast majority will have one) and scrape all of the "about us" web pages these organizations authored about themselves, and imagine these as a collective "About Us"-apedia.

This "About Us"-apedia would make MySpace's worst year look like an exercise in design consistency. I for one can live without the metric fuckton of Flash-based incoherence as my standard point of departure on the agencies of the world.

It seems to me that all the people who hated Wikipedia on first sight share an underlying belief in knowledge as an authority network. The reason Wikipedia succeeded is that knowledge isn't what we thought it was. For the vast majority of purposes, authority is a boundary condition, not the thing itself.

The first step in assimilating a new body of knowledge is to survey the field's lexicon: What words are used and roughly how are they linked together? This cognitive process takes place long before factual assertions amount to a hill of beans. When the facts do begin to matter, most smart people are well aware that in this world we're all fed baloney 24 hours a day. Wikipedia is one of the places where it becomes especially clear how the baloney is made. That doesn't make it worse baloney than Superbowl Sunday—America's national slick-baloney celebration day. Is iOS somehow less Orwellian than the IBM PC? So we were told through a non-linguistic medium.

On Wikipedia, when I spot baloney, I click the magic button called "History" where I scan for edit wars and substantial discards. For the vast majority of articles, it's all there in plain view. The mythical, Orwellian-smashing parentage of iOS is harder to trace.

In the upcoming era of Deep Watson, those Wikipedia crumb trails of sturm und churn will suddenly become interesting resources to expose to automated data mining. Perhaps then the present surface form of the articles will begin to fade in importance. There's nothing stopping this, except for the will to go there, which is depressingly thin in the general public for the 99% of the time they're merely jumping off.

Comment: Re:Is there a 'less nerdy version'? (Score 1) 347

by epine (#47313417) Attached to: Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light

Apparently over a 168000 light year stretch this adds up to a 0.0005 light year detour

After scanning TFA, the first thing I looked up was the distance to SN 1987a, which the author somehow regarded as beneath notice. Perhaps he was preoccupied with the correct keyboarding of "orthopositronium".

Call me old fashioned, but I think that a person bleating away about an esoteric footnote of astrophysical revelation ought to first muster basic magnitude mastery.

Comment: Re:More expensive for whom? (Score 0) 183

by epine (#47305033) Attached to: How Vacuum Tubes, New Technology Might Save Moore's Law

There is reason to believe that Intel has done CPUs for quite a time at a loss in order to ruin AMD. The effects of AMD being reduced are also blatantly obvious with massively retarded innovations.

That's the danger in posting so soon after being woken up from a long sleep by a handsome prince. You need to shake your head and check out the competitive landscape in 2014.

4 Cores @ 2.5GHz Qualcomm Krait 400

Intel might wish to rethink sitting on their innovative thumbs.

Comment: Perl's heyday in hell (Score 2) 283

by epine (#47303355) Attached to: Perl Is Undead

At least it is steadily loosing ground to Python and for reason.

None of those dynamics have ever occurred in a Python shop?

The second half of the nineties was a bad scene for code readability all around, or did you somehow not notice the Herman Miller office furniture bubble?

There was a lot of Perl written during this era. Perl was the only language that could keep up with the Vogon rapture of all things brick and mortar. The ferryman threw in the towel, auction off his ferry on eBay, bought two cords of dynamite (mail order), and simply diverted the river. Pretty much everything was still where it had been, but traditional commerce was all on the other side now.

My development platform circa 1996 was NT 4, on a P6 200 with 32 MB of EDO system memory, a 640 MB disk drive, and a good quality 17" Dell CRT. It was tolerable, but hardly coding nirvana. The world was shifting under my feet almost daily: Linux, BSD, 2000, LBA, AMD64, SATA, DDR, broadband, Mozilla, Google, DVI, PHP, Python, Ruby, C++, STL, and not an open source version control system worth a crock of shit for love nor money.

I wonder why my coding standards at the time did not optimally favour my future self in the mid 2000s with my CoreDuo workstation, 4 GB of ram, 200 GB of disk space, and twin 19" monitors.

Do recall the little puzzle with the sliding digits 1-15 in a 4x4 grid? Trying to get any significant piece of glue code to run on NT and Linux and able to survive unscathed a major upgrade of each was a lot like that. Or have you blacked it out? Many ugly lines of code were written because the tiles were sticky. In the stupidest possible ways. And it was all going to be Ruby next year anyway. Whatever language you were working in was next up against the wall after the demise of B&M (if any wall could still be found). Soon the Wall was up against the wall, but I digress.

Programmers were in such short supply that vast numbers of people were coding in languages they only pretended to know. Have you forgotten that, too? If Visual Basic had been a better scripting language, Perl would have come out the other side better loved.

The great thing for the smart young programmers about becoming trendoids is that it helps to insulate them from the ugly job of cleaning up yesterday's bubble's giant mess.

Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems. -- D. Winker and F. Prosser