Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:terminal? (Score 1) 698

by RDW (#49130843) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter?

Though I imagine that the original poster has exhausted all his standard treatment options, it might also be worth mentioning the sort of 'precision medicine' that major cancer centres like Sloan-Kettering are now starting to do. The idea is to take a sample of the tumour and sequence all the genes in which mutations might make the cancer responsive to some specific treatment (perhaps a drug that would not normally be considered for that type of tumour). This can now be done very rapidly. If one of the genes comes up as positive for an 'actionable' mutation, then in some circumstances the patient may be offered a treatment that is intended to exploit the damaged gene to target the tumour (e.g., as part of a new type of clinical trial that runs across cancers of different types where individual cases happen to have mutations in the same gene). Further details, including contact information, are here:

My best wishes to the poster and his family at this very difficult time.

Comment: Re:Now needs a better phone app (Score 3, Informative) 77

by RDW (#49073551) Attached to: Gets Routing

Google's mapping products have been getting steadily worse for the last couple of years. On a phone, Maps 6 was the last great version, with My Maps and Latitude nicely integrated, half-decent offline caching, and sane road colouring (especially for, e.g., UK users). Now we have a dumbed-down app that's superficially prettier with the currently fashionable low-contrast look that's harder to read, poorer road colouring in various countries, Latitude swallowed by Google+, and My Maps pointlessly spun off into a separate app. The desktop version also has a trendier but largely poorer interface, and although the 'Classic' version remains for the moment, 'migrated' My Maps tracks and locations no longer work properly. Purely for offline use, the Nokia Here maps app is so much better it's embarrassing - on a phone, you can cache an entire country or US state in a form that's fully searchable and routable with turn by turn navigation, and doesn't expire.

Comment: Re:Java-Free Like NeoOffice? (Score 4, Informative) 148

by RDW (#48938843) Attached to: LibreOffice Gets a Streamlined Makeover With 4.4 Release

If you remove the plugin manually it will be reinstalled with every update, and if the plugin is on your system browsers will find it an use it.

Windows versions of Java now come with a control panel applet that lets you turn off the browser plugin, and I think this setting persists when Java is updated.

Comment: Re:For real fun! (Score 1) 351

by RDW (#48898077) Attached to: Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

Ask if they would consider eating radioactive food!

A scientifically inclined artist, Zoe Papadopoulou, had some fun with this idea in an exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in London a couple of years ago. Visitors were invited to eat 'yellow cake' which, while sharing a name with processed uranium ore, was actually a real cake made from edible but naturally slightly radioactive ingredients (enough to pick up on a Geiger counter):

I don't know exactly what she used - Carbon-14 is ubiquitous, of course, though hard to detect in small quantities, but the ingredients seem to include brazil nuts (which tend to concentrate environmental radium) and she might have added some 'Lo Salt' for the potassium-40.

Comment: Re:And they found... (Score 4, Interesting) 66

by RDW (#48861823) Attached to: Interior of Burnt Herculaneum Scroll Read For First Time

... the oldest goatse in history.

They already found that:

"A statue of the Roman half-goat, half-man god Pan - who was the Greeks' god of the wild - getting wild with a female goat (see above) has proven so NSFW (or, in this case, NSFM) that the British Museum has placed a parental advisory in the gallery where it will be on view as part of the upcoming exhibition 'Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum.' The statue was excavated from beneath some 100 feet of Volcanic ash that enveloped the Villa of the Papyri, the residence of Julius Caesar's father-in-law Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus, on the slope Mount Vesuvius."

Comment: Re:Except that now (Score 4, Informative) 840

by RDW (#48733171) Attached to: Professor: Young People Are "Lost Generation" Who Can No Longer Fix Gadgets

when you open the latest gadget, it's black boxes, nothing that you can see working, or replace without just desoldering a chip.

Prof George knows this of course:

"All of these things in our home do seem to work most of the time and because they don't break we just get used to them. They have almost become like Black Boxes which never die. And when they do we throw them away and buy something new."

The Daily Telegraph, knowing its readership (traditionally rather conservative and not exactly in the first flush of their youth) has chosen to emphasise the 'young people are lost generation' angle, which is reflected in the summary. But the message she's putting across in the Christmas Lectures is much more positive - the talks are intended for a general audience, especially kids, and she wants to get them excited about using everyday technology in creative ways, in the spirit of the Maker community.

Nice article here:

If you have a UK IP address or VPN, the Lectures are available here:

They're part of a series goes back to the time of Faraday, and has featured many eminent scientists (including several Nobel laureates). They've just been broadcast on national TV, as they have been since the 60s (I suspect quite a few of us who ended up being scientists in the UK got early inspiration from one or more of these lectures).

Comment: Re:old news (Score 1) 112

by RDW (#48711595) Attached to: Ebola Patient Zero Identified, Probably Infected By Bats

I can't help imagining a correlation was made from the large bat population (and guano) at Kitum Cave on Mt Elgin.

Yes, the EMBOMM article mentions this:

"This [the hollow tree] may have resulted in massive exposure to bats and have created a situation similar to the one described for Marburg virus for which transmission from bats to humans has occurred in caves occupied by large bat colonies."

(Kitum is one of the caves where Marburg, a virus from the same family as Ebola, has been transmitted).

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust.