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Comment: Re:cancer (Score 1) 42

by phantomfive (#48954487) Attached to: Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years In Human Cells
No, cancer doesn't seem to be likely as a result of this. From the article:

Although application of this RNA initially causes telomeres to lengthen, within 48 hours they once again begin to shorten as cells divide. This is a good thing, however, as cells that divide endlessly could pose a increased cancer risk if used in humans.

Comment: Re:cancer (Score 2) 42

by phantomfive (#48954357) Attached to: Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years In Human Cells
You might be thinking of something different, reverting the cells to stem cells. These are the telomeres, which are the tail end of the DNA strand that gets chopped a little every time the cell splits. After many splits, there's none left and the cell dies.

There are already ways to extend the telomeres, that is something telomerase accomplishes, but this is a new procedure.

+ - Book Review: If Hemingway Wrote Javascript-> 1

Submitted by phantomfive
phantomfive (622387) writes "email: phone: 209-663-1641 Please don't show my email. If you're going to post a link with my name, please use this one:

If Hemingway did write Javascript, it would be straightforward, unadorned and precise; because that's how he wrote English. You wouldn't see any fancy meta-programming from him!

If Hemingway wrote Javascript is a book to remind you of the good parts of programming. A book for a cold evening with hot chocolate and the warm glow of a monitor. An alternate title might have been, Programming: the Fun Parts.

The author was frustrated with his day job and the culture of Silicon Valley, so he turned to writing as an escape. It didn't take long for him to remember that programming is actually fun. On Slashdot we've known that for a while, that's why there's open-source programming. This book is priced at less than $20, and considering the high-quality printing, it seems more an attempt to share ideas than make money.

Each chapter contains Javascript 'written' by a different famous author. Twenty-five authors make an appearance, including Chaucer, Arthur Conan Doyle, J.K. Rowling, and Franz Kafka. Kafka's Javascript doesn't quite work, the execution metamorphoses into a bug. That's the kind of humor you'll find in this book. To give you an idea of what the code looks like, here is a function written by Douglas Adams. This function calculates prime numbers and displays them to the user (but somehow always returns the number 42).

// Here I am, brain the size of a planet, and they ask me to write JavaScript...
function kevinTheNumberMentioner(_){
/* mostly harmless --> */ with(l) {

// sorry about all this, my babel fish has a headache today...
for(ll=!+[]+!![];ll<_+(+!![]);ll++) {
// I've got this terrible pain in all the semicolons down my right hand side

// you're really not going to like this...
return [!+[]+!+[]+!+[]+!+[]]+[!+[]+!+[]];

This sample takes advantage of Javascript's weird type conversion. !+[] is an empty array added to a not-false, which gets coerced into a boolean, then into an integer value of one. The clause !+[]+!![] gets resolved into an integer value of two.

Some of the authors are a little obscure. If you don't pay attention to the Man-Booker Prize recipients, you may never have heard of Arundhati Roy. If you've even heard of Andre Breton, you might be surprised to find he was a writer, not just a painter.

To help you through these sections, the book includes an explanation of each author's style. If you've ever wondered why anyone would want to read a book by Hemingway, consider this explanation: "In his fiction, he describes only tangible truths: dialog, action, superficial traits. He does not attempt to explain emotion; he leaves it alone....His intent is to create a vacuum so that it might be filled by the reader's own experience. Emotion is more easily felt than described with words."

The book is not above mocking the authors. Of Dan Brown, it says, "He'll often use the same adverb multiple times in a paragraph. In the prologue to The Da Vinci Code almost every action happens "slowly;" in Inferno we're told no less than four times that Langdon's doctor has "bushy eyebrows." Yet Dan Brown has a unique and recognizable style, and that qualifies him for inclusion in the book.

At various interludes, we find original poetry, related to programming, in the style of other famous authors; who apparently couldn't write Javascript but still wanted to contribute. From Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, it degenerates to this doggerel: "Once upon a midnight dreary, while I struggled with JQuery/ Sighing softly, weak and weary, troubled by my daunting chore...." Notice how accurately the rhythm is replicated, though. Rhythm is something missing when a lot of people try to write poetry, but not here.

The artwork is fun to look at, even aside from the text. Jane Austen is drawn with an impish little smile to denote her subtle sarcasm, Jack Kerouac shows up in a mug-shot that indicate his wild writing, and Lewis Carrol has a kindly look that suggests he is looking at some poor confused person who is reading what he wrote.

Each author also is quoted, explaining what they think of Javascript. Charles Dickens says, "It was the best of languages, it was the worst of languages." J K Rowling says, "There's more to Javascript than waving your wand and saying a few funny words." Bolano says, "We dreamed of Javascript and woke up screaming."

This book is most certainly a good read. The primary criticisms I have are that the Angus Croll (who wrote the book) is both better at writing Javascript than the authors he chose, and worse at writing English than the authors. He would have done better, in trying to describe the style of the authors, to include more examples of their writing and less of his own. Sometimes his descriptions get too wordy. The editor should have removed some redundancy: whole sentences could be redacted and would only improve readability. He likes playing dress-up with his nouns, giving them adjective after adjective; sometimes making it hard to figure out what is a noun and what is an adjective. Surprisingly, considering how well he matched the rhythm of The Raven, he seems unaware of the cadence of his prose.

Despite these faults, the book is a worthy read. If you've forgotten that programming is fun, not just a profession, maybe this will remind you."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:In other words, you're doing it wrong. (Score 3, Insightful) 41

by drinkypoo (#48952451) Attached to: Test Shows Big Data Text Analysis Inconsistent, Inaccurate

This is what scares most people, or at least me, about ideas of using big data to predict criminals or otherwise mess up people's lives.

It's not a problem to use big data to try to figure out where to focus. But you have to subject the results to some sanity checking, and before you actually impact someone's life, perhaps even some common sense. Shocking idea, I know, and the reason why it's still a problem.

Comment: Re: Problems with the staff (Score 2) 148

by drinkypoo (#48952279) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Is Back Online, Properly

problem with Noscript et al, is the same problem with softwalls like Zonealarm - the content is already downloaded to your computer for the parser to analyse before it's passed to the rendering engine. It's already in your system.

Well, yes and no. The script embedded in the html or whatever is already in your system, but any linked script files hosted on a dodgy domain don't actually get downloaded at all, at least on Firefox. In the past this was impossible on chrome by design, but I'm told it works properly now. The flash and most of the script is never in fact downloaded to your PC at all.

Comment: Re: Japan: and the $0.02 market analysis. (Score 1) 421

by drinkypoo (#48951849) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Thanks for the info. I went with the premise that they were the only Android phones guaranteed to get software updates. Now I am just confused as how to know a good Android phone that will be in the front running for getting system updates, without having to jailbreak.

What you do get with Nexus devices is unlockability. But you also get that with Motorola and even Sony devices. You void your warranty in the process, which probably isn't strictly legal for them to do to you. You can relock your phone so that it can get OTAs again, though... at least in the case of Motorola. Dunno about others. What you just can't assume you get is quality.

Comment: Re:They always [conveniently] miss facts... (Score 1) 421

by drinkypoo (#48951827) Attached to: How, and Why, Apple Overtook Microsoft

Because "a while" might be like 10 15 minutes. When all you want to do is unplug, go out and start jamming, that sucks as UX.

So if you care, then you use a tool. But being forced to use a tool is still bullshit, and you are still a useful idiot apologist.

plus no worrying about what happens if the device writes garbage to the config, or what happens if power is lost mid write, etc.

Actually, all that stuff can still happen to iPods.

Comment: Re:And the game continues (Score 1) 148

by phantomfive (#48950283) Attached to: The Pirate Bay Is Back Online, Properly

Economically in fact, piracy is a good thing just like any form of spoilage. Imagine if you bought 10,000 apples and they never, ever, spoiled? You'd still be eating those apples when you were 80 years old. You'd never have bought another apple in your life. You'd have expensive storage costs over 80 years.

Are you seriously trying to argue that it's a good thing apples go rotten? And that's why piracy is good?

Comment: Re:I am not sure what the hoopla is about (Score 1) 284

by phantomfive (#48949825) Attached to: The NSA Is Viewed Favorably By Most Young People
I don't care. At this point I don't want my government going around killing people without giving justifications, because it will be abused. The risk could be worth it in times of extreme danger, America isn't under a huge threat right now, the risk of dying from terrorists is lower than the threat from our government.

Furthermore, whatever efforts the covert operations are doing have been horribly outweighed by Obama's poor policy, with terrorists controlling entire countries in Yemen, Syria and Iraq. If he's going to fight a war, he should fight the public war, not pretend that it ended while fighting a covert war on the side.

Programmers used to batch environments may find it hard to live without giant listings; we would find it hard to use them. -- D.M. Ritchie