Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
User Journal

Journal: Merry Christmas! 1

Journal by mcgrew

For the first time in nine years I got to see my youngest daughter on Christmas; this is the first Christmas in nine years she didn't have to work. Great Christmas present!

And the second to last pre-publication copies came Christmas eve eve. I finished going through it this morning, and the book itself is ready. What wasn't was the cover; I fixed it and ordered another copy, so Mars, Ho! should be online in a couple of weeks.

Comment: Re: Lazy farmer (Score 3, Interesting) 102

by Rei (#48671173) Attached to: Scientists Say the Future Looks Bleak For Our Bones

But it does raise a serious issue - they're studying changes that don't necessarily reflect the selective pressures of present-day life.

Think about it: what are the leading causes of death for people in the prime breeding age (15-34)? Car accidents - by a good margin. So isn't this significant selective pressure to beef up the neck against whiplash, the skull against forehead impact, survival during significant blood loss, etc?

#2 is suicide. I don't know how this rate has changed over time or whether the methods modern humans choose for attempts are more effective than would have been chosen in the past. For example, while men commonly turn to firearms, which are a very effective way to commit suicide, women more often turn to prescription medication overdoses as a method, which overwhelmingly fails.

#3 is poisoning. While humans have always been around poisons, the sheer number that we keep in our houses, most of types that we didn't evolve to, suggests that this may be a stronger selective factor now than it was during our agrarian days, perhaps comparable to that when we were hunter-gatherers or worse.

#4 is homicide. We've definitely gotten a lot better at that, a person is far more likely to die from an intentional gunshot wound than a beating or stabbing. Selective pressures: surviving blood loss, mainly. Stronger, thicker bones may help in against low velocity penetrations.

#5 is other injuries. Again, we're not as likely to suffer from, say "crushed by a mastodon" as an injury, but we've developed plenty of new ways to get killed or maimed in our modern lives.

Then it gets more complicated on the basis that the issue isn't just about survival of the individual, but their social group as a whole, so even nonbreeding members can have a major impact...

Comment: Re:I was suspicious from the moment they denied it (Score 1) 263

by Rei (#48670095) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

To make a political statement? Since when was this "a political statement"? It was an attempt to stop a movie that made fun of the Great Leader. An attempt that mostly succeeded. Which was done after previously threatening Sony about the issue.

What, exactly, is to gain by admitting culpability? Is that usually what criminals do? "Why, yes, officer! I threw the brick through my ex's window to get back at her and scare her. I'm telling you now so that you can go ahead and punish me!"

Comment: Right. (Score 2) 263

by Rei (#48670077) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

Because the world is just full of people who would hack a company to blackmail them not to release a movie about Kim Jong Un. Because everyone loves the Great Leader! His family's personality cult^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^HVoluntary Praise Actions only take up about 1/3rd of the North Korean budget. And I mean, they totally deserve it. I mean, did you know that his father was the world's greatest golf player who never had to defecate and whose birth was fortold by a swallow and heralded by a new star in the sky?

No, of course it wasn't North Korea. Clearly it was the work of America! Because America wants nothing more than a conflict with North Korea right now. Because clearly Russia and Syria and ISIS aren't enough, no, the US obviously has nothing better to do than to try to stir up things out of the blue with the Hollywood obsessed leader of a cult state whose family has gone so far as to kidnap filmmakers and force them to make movies for him. It all just makes so damn much sense!

Cue the conspiracy theorists in three, two, one...

Comment: Re:Many DDR3 modules? (Score 5, Informative) 128

by Rei (#48666531) Attached to: Many DDR3 Modules Vulnerable To Bit Rot By a Simple Program

If you're wanting to narrow it down, you won't like this line from the paper:

In particular, all modules manufactured in the past two years (2012 and 2013) were vulnerable,

It's pretty clever, and something I always wondered whether would be possible. They're exploiting the fact that DRAM rows need to be read every so often to refresh them because they leak charge, and eventually would fall below the noise threshold and be unreadable. Their exploit works by running code that - by heavily, cyclicly reading rows - makes adjacent rows leak faster than expected, leading to them falling below the noise threshold before they get refreshed.

Comment: Re:The Drive used to have "Deep Tracks" (Score 1) 7

by mcgrew (#48666529) Attached to: A mild rant

FM is now an analog/digital mix. They broadcast the analog channel with two digital channels piggybacked on the signal. They don't call it digital, they call it "High Def".

And if they're too broke to pay the fees, they must have trouble selling ads. KSHE has no problem, but they're probably the most popular station in St Louis.

Comment: Re:Other art forms that contain music (Score 1) 621

by mcgrew (#48666499) Attached to: What Happens To Society When Robots Replace Workers?

I certainly agree that copyright lengths are way too long, and that the extreme lengths hinder creative expression. I ran across it with Random Scribblings; I had to change Dork Side of the Moon, reducing the lyrics of the two songs to "fair use" snippets, since I can find no way to contact Roger Waters for usage permission. That album is four decades old and should not be under copyright.

You are right, copyright is supposed to encourage creators so their work will belong to everyone after the copyright lapses. How is anyone supposed to get Hendrix or Cocker to perform again?

It does add challenges to creativity.

Comment: Re:Sovereign default (Score 1) 260

by Rei (#48666131) Attached to: Serious Economic Crisis Looms In Russia, China May Help

Russia imports processed foods *and* staples. Just because there's some products that they're net positive on doesn't change that picture, their food imports are about 6x larger than their exports. And even some of your examples are off. For example, Russia exports a couple hundred million dollars of milk every year but imports 1 1/2 *billion* worth.

Russia's top ag imports are beef, beverges, pork, milk, tobacco, sugar and honey, poultry, and cheese. Beverages is mainly alcohol. So take beverages and tobacco out of the picture, you've still got mostly staples. And the funny thing is, see the milk and all that meat on the list? Russia's biggest subsidies to its ag industry are *already* on its meat and dairy production, and it still vastly underproduces.

It should also be noted that the very thing that keeps Russia's ag industry competitive at all has been its steady shift from lousy Soviet-era farm equipment to modern equipment. The vast majority of which (and spare parts to keep current systems operational) are imported.

Comment: Re:and that's how we got the world of FIREFLY (Score 1) 260

by Rei (#48663367) Attached to: Serious Economic Crisis Looms In Russia, China May Help

GDP comparisons:

Major pro-sanctions players:
US: 16,8T
EU: 17,5T
Japan: 4,9T

Major anti-sanctions players:
Russia: 2,1T
China: 9,5T

Just ignoring the whole fiat currency issue and controlling the global banking system which act as large multipliers, China is simply not comparable to the economic pressure being levied against Russia.

Comment: Re:Morons should read some economic history (Score 4, Interesting) 260

by Rei (#48663327) Attached to: Serious Economic Crisis Looms In Russia, China May Help

China's in this thing with Russia for precisely one thing: China. They're taking advantage of a weakened Russia to strike deals that they never would have gotten before. A good example is the "Power of Siberia" gas pipeline deal that they signed for a few years back. China's been trying for years to get Russia to bite at bargain-basement prices that leave almost no profit for Gazprom (perhaps even a slight negative that would have to be somewhat subsidized by the government's gas royalties), and Russia had been refusing. Then they sign the exact same deal they'd been refusing a few months ago and herald it as a great victory.

China has Russia in an excellent position and is going to squeeze every drop of potential profit out of their bad situation that they can. And Russia will herald it as a glorious blow to the west all the way down.

That said - even China's GDP doesn't compare to the sanction imposers (US + Europe + Japan + misc), all the leverage multipliers of global banking and fiat currency that the sanction imposers have aside. Even if China's goal was to break sanctions - which it's not - it's just not big enough, it's a third their size. And Russia a trivial fraction of that. And the multipliers of controlling the banking system and a fiat currency are very real. Throw trade into the picture, forget it - Moscow is closer to Newfoundland and Liberia than it is to Beijing. There's a giant barren wasteland between the two. They have a border but it's more of a barrier than a facilitator for trade.

As the very article linked by Slashdot put it:

"In the current conditions, any help is very welcome," Vladimir Miklashevsky, a strategist at Danske Bank A/S, said by e-mail. "Yet, it can't substitute the losses of the Russian banking system and economy from western sanctions."

He who has but four and spends five has no need for a wallet.

Working...