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Comment: Re:Things happen - multiple things (Score 2) 55

by hey! (#48642965) Attached to: Massive Volcanic Eruptions Accompanied Dinosaur Extinction

Back in the early 90s I had the opportunity of participating on a paleontological expedition to the badlands of Montana. The soil was built up over hundreds of millions of years and flooding cut through the soft soil leaving a stratigraphy that is dramatic and easy to read. You can even see the Chicxulub ejecta, a chocolate brown horizontal line about the width of your hand.

Now whole dinosaur skeletons are a rare find. You can spend a whole season tramping through the badlands and never find two bones that go together. But individual bones are more common, and bone fragments are more common still, and experts can often identify the group of dinosaurs or even the species of dinosaur a bone fragment came from, often a surprisingly small fragment of bone.

What we were doing was assembling a database of species found by layer, which in turn maps to era. What the PI was finding was a shift towards species with anatomical adaptations to deal with heat. His opinion was that there was already a climate driven adaptive stress on the dinosaur population, which turned the aftermath of the Chicxulub impact into a knock-out blow.

So the idea that there was more going on than an asteroid impact is hardly new. People were thinking that way twenty years ago.

Comment: Re:False Falg? (Score 3, Insightful) 157

by hey! (#48642825) Attached to: North Korea Denies Responsibility for Sony Attack, Warns Against Retaliation

One thing every thoughtful fan of the mystery story knows is that in real life, motivation tells you very little about who done what. That's because *most* people, when faced with a problem, don't even consider murder. Murderers are not typical people.

The same goes for hackers. When companies first started putting Internet connections back in the 90s in I would explain that they need to start taking steps to secure their networks, and almost without exception the response was "Why? Why would anyone be interested in hacking *us*?" And I had to explain that the Internet was accessible to *everyone*, including people whose motivations and ways of thinking would make no sense to them.

Motivation may have limited use in perhaps identifying some possible suspects, but it's not probative of anything. You can't rule anyone out or in based on what you think their motivations are or should be. The only way to know that somebody has done something is by following the chain of evidence that leads to some concrete action they've taken.

Comment: Re:While great for the dog (Score 3, Insightful) 23

by hey! (#48641815) Attached to: How a 3D Printer Let a Dog Run For the First Time

Well, there's two reasons why 3D printing makes sense. One is prototyping. You might need to make a half dozen different prototypes that are pretty similar to each other before you find one that really works. The second is replacement. You may need to replace these things on a regular basis. Replacing them is just a matter of sending a file to a printer -- no craft skill needed at all.

Hand crafting something like this falls within the scope of my tinkering abilities. I've worked with fiberglass and epoxy and wood. But it's not for everyone and if someone had to *pay* me to make something like this it would probably cost a thousand dollars a pair.

Something like this would seem to fall into the sweet spot for 3D printing: something you need more than one of, but not *thousands* of identical copies.

Comment: Re:did you see that piece (Score 1) 536

by Znork (#48640517) Attached to: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

It's beyond hypocrisy to make this moment the stand against the lack of integrity in games journalism when there has never been any to begin with. Games journalism was born at a time when journalism in general had already become grossly commercial, and it set out to emulate it as closely as possible. The games magazines followed the format of the sports magazines, which were already about selling you shit. It would be shocking if it had not come out to be horribly corrupt.

I would agree, and frankly I don't think it's the pay-per-review that's driving the gamergaters, as that issue is hardly new. I think they're getting triggered by these largely corrupt journalists attacking games, content and gamers, and the well known corruption is simply an easy and legitimate target in a two-sided shit flinging contest.

The fact that sex was the tipping point proves just how pathetic the gamergaters are.

I don't think the allegations of sex really were that important, the only extent to which they seem to have mattered at all was through the Streisand effect. Getting a private matter like that shut down is probably entirely possible if there aren't a host of high-profile and relevant tangential matters that will quickly start surfacing, and once you try shutting those down there's not going to be any tacit 'private matter, take it elsewhere' support from 99% of somewhat decent people.

Oh, and careful with the hustling suggestions, that's gonna get the SJW's on your ass for being a redpiller.

Comment: Re:$32 million of greed. (Score 1) 166

by hey! (#48639471) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

I have a friend who was a medical entomologist and journal editor before he retired. I ran into him while I was browsing a book table at a conference, and mentioned that I'd like to buy one of the medical entomology textbooks but the $250 price tag was a bit steep.

"Just wait," he said. "I'm about to change that. I'm writing a new textbook that will be a lot cheaper. I want students and public health departments to be able to afford a solid medical entomology reference."

When his book came out the publisher set the priced at $500. It was twice as expensive any of its competitors. Now something like this is never going to sell like a basic calculus book, but it has a considerably larger market than you'd think. His idea was that it would find its way into the syllabus in medical, veterinary and public health schools; and that hospitals and public health agencies would buy copies for their libraries. But his strategy to make that happen by making the book affordable and sell in (relatively) high numbers; the publisher had other plans.

So don't blame authors for high textbook prices. It's publishers who set the price.

Comment: How about an armband phone case? (Score 1) 219

by Chelloveck (#48638037) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch?

Have you considered an armband-style case for your phone? It straps the phone to your body pretty much as if it were a watch. You'd have to remember to take your phone out of your pocket and put it in the case when you suit up, but I assume you'd have the same problem remembering to remove a watch and put it back on over your suit.

Comment: Re:News at 11.. (Score 0) 619

by jfengel (#48637745) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

Thanks for that. I find myself increasingly bugged by this kind of argument by misleading analogy. "X is like Y. You agree with me about Y. Therefore you must agree with me about X." It basically frames the entire argument around the differences between X and Y, rather than taking X on its own terms.

It's kind of galling, since it basically assumes that I'll agree that X is identical to Y. Therefore, either I'm stupid for not realizing that X and Y are identical, or you're stupid for not recognizing that there are meaningful differences. I'm betting it's the latter, but even without that assumption, it's hard to see how we proceed from the demonstration that at least one of the parties to the conversation is stupid.

Comment: Re: Best of 2009? May be, but we live in 2014. Rig (Score 3, Insightful) 127

by Dixie_Flatline (#48633845) Attached to: Review: The BlackBerry Classic Is One of the Best Phones of 2009

I haven't found this to be true. I've tried swiftkey and swype for weeks at a time, and I've found that they're generally slower than me tapping words out. The problem is that the worst case--that the system gets the word wrong and you need to replace the whole thing because none of the suggestions are correct--comes up surprisingly often for me. I also find the flow of tapping to be a lot more comfortable. I never stop tapping until I'm finished, while with the swiping methods, I have to pause in between words before I start swiping again.

Mileage varies, but I'm considerably faster with the built-in Apple keyboard unless I'm walking and typing with one hand. In that case, the swiping method has an obvious payoff because I can be less accurate with my movements.

Old programmers never die, they just branch to a new address.

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