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Comment: Farmers != Farm Workers (Score 0, Troll) 122

The headline says farmers. The text says farm workers. Very much not the same thing. A farmer is the owner of the farm. A farm worker is generally a hired hand, often (though not always) a migrant, and if so typically from Mexico or farther south.

The story suggests that the multi-drug-resistant bacteria are the result of antibiotic treatment of the animals at the farm. This misses another possibility:

In Mexico, most antibiotics are over-the-counter, much like asprin here in the US. People who feel ill or have some infection often buy and take them. Typically they use them until they no longer show symptoms - then stop, rather than taking a full regimin and killing off all the bacteria. (Why take more of the non-free drug once the symptoms are gone? Waste of money, right?) This is a recipe for creating drug-resistant bacteria.

Of course if an infection is resistant to one antibiotic, a paitent is likely to try another, and another, and so on until they find one that works. THAT's a recipe for maintaining and improving the bug's resistance to the front line antibiotics while breeding resistance to others.

As a result, a substantial fraction of the workers arriving from south of the Mexican border are carriers of multi-drug-resistant baceria.

Meanwhile, a farming operation is likely to give a limited number of antibiotics continuously, so non-resistant infections are wiped out before they can develop resistance, and if they do develop resistance it will be to the particular drugs used, rather than the universe of antibiotics.

Of course, infected workers can infect livestock, just as livestock can infect workers. And infected workers can trade infections around, just as livestock can. (More so, since the livestock tends to be kept separated, to reduce both disease spread and breeding by unintended pairings, limitations that farmers can't impose on their workers - and would be unlikely to try even if they could.)

So it seems to me that responsible researchers would go a bit farther before reporting: Like by doing genetic testing on the strains of bug in the various workers and the livestock, and running models on the results to try to identfy whether the bugs are from the herd or the workers.

I don't see any such work alluded to in this popularized reporting. It seems to just assume that the bugs were developed on the farm and spread to the workers. I hope this is a disconnect between the actual research and the report, rather than an accurate characterization of the research.

Comment: Re:I've been on data roaming since last Monday... (Score 1) 609

Well, Apple did think of that - large downloads do not download over your data connection, you have to connect to wifi.

Also, auto-download is off by default.

Also this album simply appears in iTunes in the Cloud and doesn't download automatically.

Comment: Re:The most important features... (Score 0) 207

by jo_ham (#47897633) Attached to: Early iPhone 6 Benchmark Results Show Only Modest Gains For A8

There is no PIN code weakness. You can set it to wipe the phone after 10 failed attempts, or set it to not do that, allowing infinite attempts, but if it is set this way then it will lock out after a few failed attempts and force you to wait to try again.

The level of security you choose is up to each user.

You can also set a PIN that is longer than 4 digits, and if you do so then you can use letters as well as numbers.

Comment: Especially: The paint. (Score 1) 113

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47895641) Attached to: Liquid Sponges Extract Hydrogen From Water

The gas bag itself was flammable; it wouldn't have mattered what gas was in it, when it disintegrated

In particular: The paint. It contained a mix of powdered aluminum and iron oxide pigments, in sufficient concentration to maintain a redox reaction.

You and I know this mixture as "thermite". It's really hard to get the reaction started - but an electric discharge can do it. (They tried to tether it with an electrical storm approaching. That would make one hell of a spark when the charged envelope comes near to connecting to the grounded mast - which is about when the fire started.) Once it's started, the reaction is essentially impossible to extinguish. The aluminum steals the oxygen from the iron oxide. The heats of formation of the two oxides differ so much that the energy released leaves the resulting elemental iron as an orange-glowing liquid and the aluminum oxide incandescent white-hot.

Comment: That is a misreading of the Supremacy Clause: (Score 4, Informative) 213

You are bound by the treaties your country signed.

Yes: You, and the states, and their courts, are bound by them (to the extent they are clear or were implemented by federal enabling legislation).

In fact, they have more legal weight in the US than laws passed by your own Congress.

NO! They have EXACTLY the same weight as federal law. Both treaties and federal law are trumped by the Constitution, and both are also creatures of Congress, They can be modulated, and destroyed (at least in how they are effective within the country) by congressional action.

The idea that they're any stronger or more permanent than federal legislation comes from a (very common) misreading of the Supremacy Clause:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.

This says that the Constitution, Federal Law, and Treaties trump state law in state and federal courts. It says nothing about the relative power among the three.

The misreading is to interpret "all treaties made ... shall be the supreme law of the land ..." to mean that treaties effectively amend the constitution. This is wrong. You can see it by noticing the same kind of misreading also makes federal law equivalent to a constitutional amendment - which it clearly is not.

In fact the Supreme Court has spoken on the relation between the Constitution and treaties: In Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957), the Supreme Court held stated that the U.S. Constitution supersedes international treaties ratified by the U.S. Senate.

Treaties are abrogated, at the federal level, all the time, and there are a number of mechanisms for doing so.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 59

by jo_ham (#47895247) Attached to: Ozone Layer Recovering But Remains Threatened

I have no doubt that CFCs are damaging to Ozone. You can easily test this out in a lab.

What I have not seen an explanation for is how CFCs, which are much heavier than air molecules travel from the developed areas and end up in the upper atmosphere above the south pole.

You've never seen an explanation for that? Really? How hard did you look?

Diffusion, convection, mixing. All basic processes that are well understood for fluids.

If you put a sugar cube in water and stir it, why do the heavy sugar molecules end up at the top of the mug, far from the bottom where the cube started?

Also, you seem to be doubting the fact that CFCs are in the stratosphere. You think it's a guess? They can be detected so we know they are there, and unfortunately for those who want to be science deniers, there are no natural sources of CFCs, so whatever is up there was as a result of human factors.

Comment: The had them at least as far back as the '50s (Score 1) 275

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47881071) Attached to: California Tells Businesses: Stop Trying To Ban Consumer Reviews

Now they have the guide printed on the box but I can remember when i was a kid they didn't.

Some off them had maps at least as far back as the '50s, and probably much further.

A classic was the "Whitman Sampler" - an assortment of their products with a handy map. In addition to being a tasty and relatively low-priced collection of their products, it let a family divide them up according to their individual preferences, and gave you the names of each, so you could (at least hypotheically) buy boxes of just the ones you like.

(I say hypothetically because I never saw boxes of the individual candies being carried in the stores that sold the samplers.)

Comment: Re:What I think would be most useful (Score 2) 471

by jo_ham (#47873585) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Smartwatch Apps Could You See Yourself Using?

It does not have a integral GPS unit. It requires your iPhone to provide location information.

It does have internal storage for music, apps, and so on, and other sensors that the phone does;t have (like pulse) and some that replicate function (gyro, accelerometers).

Comment: Re:containment (Score 1) 296

by Ungrounded Lightning (#47872185) Attached to: WD Announces 8TB, 10TB Helium Hard Drives

But regardless of the pressure, when the helium leaks out, it will not be displaced by air. It will leave behind a vacuum. The helium will leak out, but nothing will leak in to replace it.

(Except maybe hydrogen, but there's not much of that in your local air.)

So your metal parts vacuum-weld and tear themselves apart starting at the contacting surfaces, and adding lots of hydrogen to the air around the drives just makes the parts become brittle on their way to failure.

Comment: Re:Lots of reactionary comments here (Score 1) 730

by jo_ham (#47865325) Attached to: Apple Announces Smartwatch, Bigger iPhones, Mobile Payments

Your card details are not stored. A hash of your card number is stored. This hash is sent to the bank via the merchant along with a transaction ID and the device ID. The merchant never knows what the card number is, and it's not kept on the phone. Only the bank knows what the number is.

For this to work you have to verify the phone with the bank first (and share the hash with them). From then on, no one else needs to know your card number - including Apple.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler