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Comment Contentious (Score 4, Informative) 14 14

Having only just skimmed the article, I may have missed some imprtant points, but it seems they are basing this discovery on DNA analysis, which all well and good as far as it goes. What is no doubt valid is that this method yields a classification, but what is less certain - or perhaps highly uncertain - is whether this classification reflects the evolutionary phylogeny of the organisms in the study.

The big problem here is that DNA similarities probably only really match descendancy (or evolutionary relationship) well, when we talk about eukaryotes; this is because eukaryotes have sex: they go through cycles of meiosis/mitosis and all that, in which they recombine their genes in very rigorous way which ensures that DNA is inherited from predecessors. Prokaryotes don't have sex - instead they have different forms of lateral gene transfer, in which genes are acquired from many, seemingly unrelated organisms. The result of this is that the gene pool WITHIN what we perceive as 'a single species' of bacteria, like Eschericia coli, can be wildly different. Presumably there are genes within a single strain, that are fairly constant, and might be used to trace progeny, but I don't think anybody knows which they are yet.

Comment Advertising (Score 2) 287 287

First off, let me clarify: I can actually see the value of good advertising, and there are adverts that I have enjoyed in the past, mostly the ones that manage to be humorous. A good example in UK is the a chain of opticians called Specsavers; they are not actually particularly good, in my view, but the adverts are fabulous. Another one is for a roadside assistance provider (RAC? Blue Flag?) where a guy fills up with the wrong fuel and has a nightmare fantasy about his girlfriend writing a song called 'Piggy Eyes'. Heady stuff.

But the industry should pull their socks up and police their own ranks, because 90% or more is utter, vile crap, that only serves to drive people away from the products they advertise. Or failing that, governments should do it for them, harshly and draconically. It isn't just about protecting consumers, it is about protecting legitimate businesses and their legitimate advertising as well.

Comment Re:Here's a thought... (Score 2) 211 211

Well, good advice, to be sure, but really, just grow up, everybody. When you are teenager, you do embarrassing things - that is what the teens are for. When we grow up, one of the things need to learn is to forgive ourselves and learn to live with having left a trail of evidence. With the right kind of attitude, it can be a great source of experience and humour; it really isn't a big deal - and it ought to be asset.

The problem isn't that we are stupid when we are teenagers - at that age, you need to experiment in order to find out about things, and you have a right to make errors and be forgiven. The real problem is when these things are blown out of all proportion, by employers, political enemies or by the shallow end of the press - I mean, look back at the continuous smear campaigns against one president after another. Does it really matter that Dubya once yelled 'Fuck you' after his mother? Does it matter that Clinton once smoked a joint and maybe even enjoyed it? Of course not - what matters is what they do when they are in office.

Comment Blame the users: here's why (Score 2) 120 120

As usual, I prefer to blame the victims (us).

On a desktop personal computer, it would never occur to you to think "Oh, I just assume I'll get software maintenance from my ISP," and if anyone ever actually said that then you would point your finger at them and laugh and their over-the-top stupidity.

But change the form factor of the personal computer to handheld and suddenly we don't do the pointing and laughing. On the very face of it, it's JUST AS STUPID. So WTF?

Users are not exercising their common sense. They simply aren't. You can make excuses for not using common sense and explain why we did this very obviously stupid thing, but don't pretend it's not happening. Every morning you're getting up and putting a "kick me" sign on your back. You know that you're doing it and you know what consequences will invariably flow from it.

"I don't have any other signs to put on my back! All the signs on the market say 'kick me!'"

"Just because I wear a 'kick me' sign that doesn't mean anyone really has license to kick me! They shouldn't be doing that to me!"

Ok, go on and say those things. You even have some valid points, and the things you're saying might even be technically correct. But that doesn't mean you don't sound stupid, because you don't have not getting kicked in your requirements! WTF, people?!

Stop thinking of handhelds as some weird special case where ALL your experiences with software maintenance magically don't apply! THAT'S STUPID! So yeah, I'm a victim-blamer. You know when you buy your PC from your ISP or from a manufacturer who has a history of preventing maintenance, what's going to happen. And when people pretend they don't know the invariable consequences of buying PCs from ISPs, the stupidity takes on a flavor of dishonesty. Mmmm, yum!

Comment Re:ran debian on sparc for over 10 years (Score 3, Interesting) 147 147

Used it in comcast to make close to $1,000,000 a day gathering data from the old ad insertion boxes.

Solaris was a major PITA to deal with so I installed debian and simply rewrote the data harvester in C and it ran that way for 11 years. 4 of which were without any maintenance at all as I had left the company. and 4 years later I started getting notifications of script failures to a private email address I had that interfaced with my MSN watch. (Yes that long ago)

The funny part is someone recently fired that box back up as last month I had an email that it successfully rebooted and started the cron job but could not find the servers it was trying to harvest data from.

Comment She can give me 30 of them (Score 2) 560 560

I'll even do the install on my home myself.
  give me 30 monocrystalline current tech 300 watt panels. 9000 Watt Hour will reduce my carbon footprint dramatically, in fact I will use a syncing inverter that will push my excess power back to the grid so that my neighbors can benefit from it.

I'll even put a sign in my yard for her if she does this.

Note to the uneducated that will pipe in, This is how most solar installations work, grid intertied syncing inverters without battery storage are incredibly common for solar installs. No it doesn't cost the power company anything.

Comment Free speech does not exist. (Score 4, Insightful) 294 294

In a world where we have "free speech zones" miles from events, and jack booted thugs called police that are too much of pussies to deal with crime instead of being assholes you dont get free speech.

Unless you are rich enough to cause the police problems. Then you can have some.

Comment And this is why I dont have a 500 abarth. (Score 2) 82 82

I was going to buy one, but after looking at owner forums and discovering the problems and horrible service that most people are getting I ran away.

I really like the idea of a small sporty car, and I really wanted one, but not if Fiat cant figure out that you have to bend over backwards for customers and make sure they are happy. Apologize while you fix your screwups and do not try and push back fixing them.

I do give honda plusses there. Recalls are done fast and mostly right. Except the pain recalls. Honda has the crappiest paint in the entire automotive industry, and the recalls are repainting with the same low grade crap that will fail in another 5 years.

"There is such a fine line between genius and stupidity." - David St. Hubbins, "Spinal Tap"