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Comment: Re:They ran with a hypothesis (Score 1) 288

by jafac (#47884179) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

I'll tell you what.

I was warned by my doctor about borderline hypertension. She recommended exercise and weight loss. I lost 40 lbs, and started exercising regularly. Guess what? With daily BP monitoring, my BP did not go down. Then she put me on an alpha blocker called terazosin, and there was no change in BP. I read about the DASH diet, and while I didn't formally adopt a strict regimen, I made myself aware of the salt-content of things I generally ate, and eliminated added salt, and tried to keep my amount under 1500 mg per day. Guess what? My BP went down to a normal range. (otherwise unmedicated).

I'm not sure how relevant that is in the face of statistical evidence from groups of people, but the results were pretty clear in my individual case.

The problem I have with this, is that I never got tested before/after or on an ongoing basis, to report what my sodium levels actually were. That would probably have been more convincing.

Comment: Re:Stress? (Score 1) 288

by jafac (#47884095) Attached to: Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

The problem with this whole "stress" hypothesis, is that I've heard many medical professionals pronounce that I, or some other person's underlying medical condition was caused by "stress". Unfortunately, exactly ZERO of these pronouncements were driven by hard data: (blood test reporting levels of "stress" hormones, or whatever other indicator you'd like to use).

"Getting stress under control" is such an abstract pronouncement for MOST people, it is not only useless, but probably does more harm than good, because then the Doctor gets to charge you his exorbitant fee for doing doctorly-things, while pretty much invoking this "stress" voodoo, with absolutely no scientific basis. Absolutely NOBODY, can control the quantity of cortisol and adrenaline squirting from their glands. Are there things that a person can do, which have a good chance of reducing these hormones in their body? Sure. Does that work as a cure for stress? Who knows? Lets see data and cause-and-effect, and for that matter, let's see actual test-results that can tell me whether I'm really under stress, or if my doctor just thinks so.

I don't doubt that stress plays a role in some of these illnesses and conditions. I am just not prepared to accept it at some doctor's word, that their irrational belief in the "stress fairy" is enough to be valid medical advice in all cases.

Comment: Samsun Galaxy Gear 2 review (Score 1) 470

by jafac (#47874035) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

I received my GG2 as a gift, and otherwise would not have spent more than say, $100 on such a device.

It worked well for about 4 months, then my IP67 certified device got wet, and water got inside. After taking it apart and drying it out, the only thing that doesn't work now, is the touch-screen. So yeah: IP67 is bullshit. The degree of immersion was; momentary immersion under maybe 6" of water.

As for the other uses:
Battery life was good, about 3 days.
Charging was awkward, with a little clip-on connector that goes to USB. (Qi charging seems like a no-brainer for a device like this!)
Integration with my Samsung Galaxy S5 was JUST OKAY.

I liked having the time on my wrist (duh).
It was convenient to get my notifications, but I STILL had to dig my phone out of my pocket to send a reply text.
The bluetooth/phone conversation feature, I thought was kind of neat. I never could get used to conversing on a bluetooth earpiece, but being able to have the watch in front of me with a visual indicator that I was in an active phone conversation, really helped. It was kind of geeky, kind of neat, and worked pretty well in most situations, unless it was a private conversation you didn't want on-speaker, or there was too much ambient noise.

Samsung's TIZEN OS is very limiting, with regard to apps.

Contrary to the documentation, I was able to use Google Hangouts as my default messenger app on the phone, and still get notifications. (documentation really wanted me to use the Samsung messenger app - which sucks ass, by the way).

Of all the watch-face selections available, there was one that had the time AND weather on it - which I found very handy, but it was MADDENING that there was not a watch face that could devote a couple dozen square mm to "notifications".
The audio notification, and vibration, were weak enough that they were OFTEN missed in outdoors/noisy situations - (like driving with the windows down, or at outdoor events, etc). This is why you need to at least have some kind of on-screen notification indicator.

The thing has a camera, and video camera. Just plain unnecessary. Why no LED for handy flashlight? The camera was difficult to use due to it's positioning, and not really good enough to take worthwhile shots. Also, it had a very loud "shutter-click" sound, that could not be disabled. I found it annoying. But I guess that someone trying to take "creeper-shots" would probably not be able to get away with it because of that sound.

In my opinion it was stylish enough. Not oversized. So I wasn't embarrassed wearing it at all. (these companies designing "round" smartwatches, are just barking up the wrong tree, I think).

Fitness: Has all the nice GPS/Pedometer/heartrate sensors. They integrate okay with Samsung's SHealth. Not great, and not without problems. Unfortunately, heartrate data does not show up on the graph. You can get max rate, and avg rate; and there's even a line for it on the graph. But the data field is "--". Boggles my mind why Samsung won't integrate this on their own fucking device.

The use-case for this seems like a great idea, but not well-executed. I really look forward to the time where these wearable sensors can not only get your heart rate, but also detect arrythmias, and blood-oxygen levels. (theoretically - this sensor can do that. But Samsung's firmware isn't smart enough yet).

I thought it was also pretty stupid that the watch couldn't track a walk or hike unless the phone was in bluetooth range. So I had to carry the phone with me anyway. The ONLY advantage the watch gave, was continuous heartrate monitoring; and as I said: the continuous data gets discarded and you only get the avg and max. STUPID STUPID STUPID.

Sometimes, on runs or hikes, the watch would just freeze, and I'd lose all the data from that hike.

If I went in and "started" a run or hike on the watch, I would go into the phone and "start" that too. So I would have a backup of the data if the watch froze. SHealth would then record that I took TWO separate hikes at the same time. Yes; sometimes the numbers didn't agree (distance, speed, steps, etc) - but they were always reasonably close to each other.

I think that most of these kinds of problems just trace back to Samsung's Tizen idiocy. I *do* like the fact that it had a 3-day battery life. But if running Android instead, meant that it had a 1-day life, but that the fitness app functionality actually worked, then I would much rather have that option.

Now that it's dead - I *do* miss it. It is still in-warranty, but the warranty explicitly "does not cover water damage" - (yes: even though it is IP67 certified!). I decided to send it back to Korea, see what they do - will they repair it? (they need to replace the digitizer, and that's not trivial, because it's pretty much glued-in to the top half of the case). If they charge me for the repair, it's going to be less than $100, or I'll just tell them to shove it up their asses.

OH - but this article was about Apple's new device!
Okay -so, I am generally a big fan of Mac computers. Not really a fan of iPad, or iPhones. (tried both).
Given a comparison of the GG2 to this Apple device, I can say: whole lotta "meh". I think it's nice that they didn't try to cram a camera into the Apple watch - but it's still $350, innit? Too damn much. The only redeeming feature is the Qi charging. And I suppose it's attractive enough. But 1 day battery life? And requires an iPhone? Forget it.

Comment: Re:Eurasia vs. oceania (Score 1) 215

by jafac (#47849589) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

Whatever Sunni state emerges there, I think that the descendents of that state don't want to have their entire ideological history tainted by ISIS and ISIS's barbarity. It will be a difficult legacy to live-down, and it will be hard for such a state to grow into a modern nation and world-citizen.

Comment: Re:US policy: first arm them then bomb (Score 1) 215

by jafac (#47849565) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

The Iraqi government lost control over those arms, because they were never a legitimate government in the first place. The US propped up the best puppet they could find (Maliki); and in fact, they originally tried to install Chalabi - who was so obviously corrupt that it failed; but they could at least get enough support for Maliki to get him elected - but the fact is, the entire government, and army apparatus that was erected to support it, was simply a way to channel bribes to the most-connected people.

When you have a government and administration that's composed of incompetent, but well-connected people, it falls over as soon as it is tested. They were only interested in their cushy positions, and covering their own asses. They didn't give a flying fuck about "Iraq".

Comment: Re:Get used to it (Score 1) 215

by jafac (#47849543) Attached to: New US Airstrikes In Iraq Intended to Protect Important Dam

A power vacuum can only be filled by anything, when there is power left sitting around. In the case of these "latent extremists" - the question is: who armed and empowered them in the first place? It's not a case of latent extremists filling a power vacuum. It is a proxy-war, and war-profiteering.

Comment: Re:Already commented on this elsewhere (Score 1) 197

by jafac (#47822943) Attached to: Hitachi Developing Reactor That Burns Nuclear Waste

soil and bedrock composition is probably different in California, but their Diablo Canyon plant is safe from Tsunamis, set up on a 30 meter bluff. It also has a gravity-fed emergency cooling pond, and is internally reinforced against earthquakes. The bean counters didn't win that one.

No skis take rocks like rental skis!