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Comment: Worse things "cause" autism than vaccines (Score 1) 1051

by Theovon (#48585407) Attached to: Time To Remove 'Philosophical' Exemption From Vaccine Requirements?

Vaccines don't cause autism.

There are two legal causes I know of where autism was linked with vaccines. In one case, the girl had mitochondrial disorder and was given too many shots at once. In general, doctors don't recommend getting too many shots at once, because it's a burden on the immune system, so if your immune system is compromised, you have to take it easy and spread out the shots.

As for things that MIGHT "cause" autism (or more precisely, some autism-like symptoms that may or may not really put you in the autism spectrum), I think we should reflect on all the other crap we put in our bodies. Pollution in the air and water, pesticides, the really shitty diet Americans eat, and so forth. A highschool in the southeastern US changed its lunch program to include primarly healthy foods: Behaviorial problems and absenteeism were reduced substantially. Eat better, and you'll think more clearly. This works on anyone, and helps alleviate some of the symtoms experienced by people with ASD.

Recently, autism was linked with some neocortical malformations. I'm not sure what is the cause of the malformations. But in some cases of mild autism, dietary changes anecodotally appear to help. Lowered immune system load and toxin load may be associated with some reduction in some autism symptoms. In my case, dietary changes have helped substantially with fatigue, brain fog, and OCD. I haven't narrowed down exactly which changes have helped the most, but I avoid wheat, soy, and dairy, and I take vitamin supplements only in their biologically active forms. My wife has Hashimoto's disease, so she got on the auto-immune SCD diet (similar to paleo), and following that to a degree has helped me too, and I also lost weight. Also, it's good to maintain a good array of intestinal flora, so eat your cultured vegetables, and drink kombucha and kefir. These things don't treat autism, per se; they just mazimize your baseline health, which can help with all sorts of disorders that might otherwise cause you more trouble.

Comment: Compression: Reduced RF energy (Score 1) 238

by Theovon (#48523381) Attached to: The Cost of the "S" In HTTPS

Now, I'm not sure how HTTPS works, but when you use something like PGP, it first compresses the data in order to increase the entropy, making it harder to crack. So while we're spending more CPU cycles on compression and encryption, doesn't the reduced transmission payload more than offset the cost of the computation? In general, communication is WAY more expensive (in terms of energy) than computation.

Damnit, I'm going to have to read the article to find out if they did this right. :)

Comment: It's a JOKE, people! (Score 1) 164

by Theovon (#48521551) Attached to: Gangnam Style Surpasses YouTube's 32-bit View Counter

Do you really think that the database that Youtube uses to store view counts is limiting that field to 32 bits? Ever? Or that it can't handle overflow in a graceful way that automatically upgrades the value? Or that Google didn't notice this YEARS ago and do a system-wide type change on that table column?

This is FUNNY, but not a technical problem. Of course, many of you may be making jokes in response, pretending to believe it's limited to 32 bits, when you realize it's not. But for those of you whose realities are limited to 32-bit chunks, I just though I'd clarify at the risk of possibly just destroying all the humor value.

As an aside, it amazes me when students first learning circuit design feel compelled to make registers and buses that are all in multiples of 8 bits. There's nothing preventing you from making a circuit component that is 47 bits wide.

Comment: Assistant professor -- can't contribute (Score 1) 488

by Theovon (#48505811) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source?

I'm an assistant professor. In my job, it's publish or perish. If I don't get enough funding and publications before the ene of my 5th year, I'm FIRED. And this doesn't just affect me. My family and I would be SOL, and we live in Binghamton, so it's not exactly easy to find other tech jobs. So I really don't have time to contribute to FOSS projects.

Except that I do: (founder, but it's dormant) (some minor contributions)

Comment: Upstate NY too, please (Score 1) 525

by Theovon (#48497485) Attached to: Montana Lawmakers Propose 85 Mph Speed Limit On Interstates

Even for states as relatively small as New York, a higher speed limit would be great. Putting aside downstate, we have long stretches of nothing between a handful of major cities. We also have deer, fog, and bad weather, which would require that raised speed limits be restricted to high-visibility daytime conditions.

Comment: Forking is good, whiny bitches (Score -1, Flamebait) 647

by Theovon (#48481309) Attached to: Debian Forked Over Systemd

On the one hand, forking is what drives Free Software. It allows us to innovate, adapt software to new needs, etc. Without it, the FOSS community would not be as strong as it is.

On the other hand, Debian's board took a vote, and the anti-systemd people lost. Democracy happened. Democracy is good. Those people who created this fork are a bunch of malcontents that are whining because they didn't get their way. This isn't a "downstream branch" like Ubuntu, which strengthens the community by sending patches upstream. This is breaking up of a strong community, and it's now going to be inherently weaker.

Comment: Maximizing profit (Score 1) 516

by Theovon (#48466007) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

Although they are regulated to death, power companies want to maximize profit, and there are no rules that say they have to invest in improving infrastructure "as long as everything is working fine." They have no motivation at all to seek out aging sections of their power grid and replace them during normal operation. Rather, they are entirely reactive. When power goes out, they fix it on demand. Nothing more. Moreover, whenever there are major storms that take out massive swaths of their network, they cry for help from the government to pay for the repairs becuase they "can't afford it." The only reason they do anything at all when power does go out is because they'd be slapped by regulators if they didn't. Otherwise they'd be perfectly happy to leave paying customers without power the way Comcast leaves paying customers without internet service.

Just imagine if power delivery were government-run. It would be even worse, because there would be no profit incentive.

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake