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Comment: Samsung Galaxy S5 works fine (Score 1) 145

by moondo (#49552963) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Are the Most Stable Smartphones These Days?

I've been using a Samsung Galaxy S5 for about a year now and it never gave me any trouble. Battery lasts me through the whole day without any problems (of course you have to turn off non-essentials: GPS, Bluetooth, NFC, etc. when you're not using them) and it charges relatively fast. Never experienced programs crashing. Very happy with it.

Only thing I wish is that the camera program would open faster.

Comment: Re:One of many potential causes (Score 1) 85

by Rei (#49550329) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

Yep. It's wierd because the symptoms can correspond with many different causes. For example, the climate change thing makes sense because bees can be tricked into thinking it's spring and start foraging or even swarming in the middle of winter when they really should stay in the winter cluster. The occasional warm day is good for them to be able to get out and void themselves, but longer periods of significantly fluctuating weather can be bad.

But it also matches other problems. Diseased or dying hives often lead to "desperate" swarming where bees start abandoning the hive to try to establish a new, safe place. Most of these swarms, however, will die. The behavior could be seen as a general "exteme stress" behavior. It could also be seen as a neurological disorder from pesticide exposure.

In short, it could match almost any possible cause. And probably is a result of many of them.

Comment: Re:The study was flawed (Score 3, Informative) 85

by Rei (#49550295) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

I think it's important to ask questions because there's been literally "dozens" of different things "definitively linked" with CCD. The public likes to seize on neonicotinoids, but they're probably one of the least supported of these many different "definitively linked" reasons. Whole countries have gone so far as to outright ban neonicotinoids, with no effect on CCD. France, for example, banned them. The next year they largely switched to blaming the condition on Asian Hornets when the decline rates didn't decrease.

The problem is that when you ban a certain pesticide, people start using others. And going from neonicotinoids to organophosphates is a massive step backwards in terms of general safety, not just to pollinators, but especially to more complex animals as well. But the biggest problem with the neonicotinoid theory is that neonicotinoids are only used in a small fraction of the areas where CCD exists. Bees can only fly several kilometers from the hive, they're not going cross-country and picking up every pesticide in every farmer's arsenal. It even exists among people who are in places where no pesticides at all are used.

It's easy for the general public to latch onto a particular cause. But once you learn more about beekeeping you realize how incredibly much out there is that can utterly f* up a hive. And which have in history regularly collapsed bee populations, far worse than the collapses we have today. Trachael mites once nearly obliterated beekeeping in Europe, saved mainly by the development of the Buckfast bee. Check out this very inexhaustive list of bee pests and diseases. There's even some really counterintuitive effects in that small levels of some pesticides can actually increase hive survival rates, in that they're deadlier to bee pests like mites than to the bees themselves.

The public also tends to totally understand colony collapse disorder in the first place. Normal winter colony death levels are about 15% in most locations (though where I am it's higher). CCD raised the US average to about 30% at its peak. This is painful and expensive to beekeepers, but it has literally no impact on the ability to sustain bee populations. A new beehive can be started with just a queen and a handful of workers. Hives can be made to produce queens en masse through proper management. Hence people can mail order starter hives, and there's never going to be a threat to the ability to produce these starter hives - a single hive can make many dozens per year. Even normal hives not managed for breeding starter hives will naturally produce several swarms every year; beekeepers try to discourage and/or catch these swarms.

In all likelihood, neonicotinoids are one among many different stressors to bees in the modern era that causes CCD. Modern bees are much more "stressed" than bees in the past. We've created an environment where new bee pests and diseases have spread far and wide to bees that never would have encountered them in the wild. We raise them on corn syrup and sugar water in the winter (good for reducing dysintery and increasing honey yields, but robbing them of certain vitamins and minerals). We transport them on flatbed trucks hundreds or thousands of kilometers (these are animals that get confused if you move their hive a couple meters; their ability to navigate by sight is poor, they're best navigating by the sun and dead reckoning). And countless varieties of poisons, even unintentional ones, affect them every day of their lives. There's so many factors now that weaken hives that any "new" factor to an area can push them over the edge.

Comment: Re:The study was flawed (Score 1) 85

by Rei (#49550221) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

I'd really like to read the paper but unfortunately it's down. But for example, do the neonicotinoids add a UV signature to the liquid not present in the sugar water? That would have little to no influence in the case of flowers in nature (where they're not looking at the nectar, and there's all sorts of other chemicals in the nectar). What other chemicals are in the neonicotinoid solution (they're rarely pure, they usually have all sorts of other chemicals to increase their effect)? What's their cleaning and handling procedure for preparing and filling the sample containers? I want to know how they controlled these experiments against factors that humans can't detect but bees absolutely can.

Just the very act of hooking electrodes up to bee neurons I'd have concerns about. Is there any induced electric field involved, or even rubbing against the bee hairs? Bees transfer information to one another via dances, such as the waggle dance. Bees build up an electrostatic charge on their body, and a waggling bee imposes an electrostatic force on the antennae and hairs of all adjacent bees, causing them to feel dance over a short distance. Their stereoscopic sense of the dance lets them know the direction, and that combined with the time allows them to work out a direction to a food source relative to the (moving) direction of the sun. It functions like transferring a memory from one be to another. There's also "negation" behaviors, by other bees who don't like the information giving out; they have a different frequency buzz to say "don't go there", and sometimes different bees may even fight with each other over what's good and what's bad information.

Also note that the linked articles refer to a second study published simultaneously which showed no effect on honeybees next to rapeseed fields sprayed with neonicotinoids versus an altogether unsprayed field. Which is pretty remarkable, because you expect almost *any* pesticide next to your hive to have a profoundly negative effect on it.

Comment: Re:The study was flawed (Score 1) 85

by Rei (#49550205) Attached to: Bees Prefer Nectar Laced With Neonicotinoids

I'm sorry, but calling flagging a "troll" because they misread an article is beyond the pale. None of their behavior was "trollish". Saying that a study is flawed is in no way shape or form engaging in "fraudulent research", aka, deliberately falsifying data to push an agenda.

The Nature article appears to be down. But I have to caution, studying bee behavior is very difficult. Many of our senses, bees lack or have only at low resolution. But they have a number of senses that we don't. They see UV. They see polarized light. They sense electric fields. They're sensitive to a lot of chemicals that we cannot detect. And so forth. It's very, very easy to accidentally give bees signals, which will alter their behavior, that you didn't realize you were giving. I'd like how they attempted to control for all of this, but unfortunately that's not possible now.

Comment: Re:Many small solutions through a day (Score 4, Insightful) 162

by Dixie_Flatline (#49548053) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

Separate money from wallets? Bring smiles to Apple fanbois faces? Usher in a new wave of corporate privacy invasion?

Christ, this is so obnoxious. Look, just because you don't have a use for this watch, it doesn't mean NOBODY does. Your implication is that this watch is literally useless except for making people that buy Apple products feel good.

First of all, it actually has functions that people theoretically feel useful. There are certainly Android Wear and Pebble owners that have similar functionality that feel that those devices fill this need. So as long as the Apple Watch does at least as much as those watches do, there's utility to some people. Even if all it does for someone is tell the time, $300 is not even close to the high end of what watches cost.

But it's also jewellery. People wear that stuff for lots of reasons. Do you understand how insanely dumb it is to buy a mechanical watch except as jewellery? They're not terribly accurate timekeeping devices. But they look good, and there's a aesthetic value to knowing that what you're wearing is mechanical and hand crafted. It's over $5000 for a Rolex STEEL wrist band. But you're not here criticising the idea of all luxury watches in general, or even all Smartwatches, just the Apple Watch.

You finish by saying that it's about the lock-in, but that's a ridiculous complaint. You think someone buying the first-gen Apple watch is the kind of person that is normally so capricious about their tech decisions?

What you don't like is that Apple made it and that other people like it. Just say that out loud and move on. Or don't comment at all. I think we can all safely assume by now that when Apple makes something there are a bunch of people that don't like it, so let's all pretend that you've said your piece and not use up the space from now on, hmm?

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 1) 162

by Dixie_Flatline (#49547957) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

To me, every 'smartwatch' has to pass this test: would I wear it if all it did was display the time? Does it look and feel good enough? After that, the $300 is either easy or impossible to justify. I'd wear the Apple Watch. I'd wear one of the Withings Activite watches.

I will probably get one once I feel like the first-gen problems are worked out.

Comment: Re:Solution looking for a problem? (Score 3, Insightful) 162

by Dixie_Flatline (#49547759) Attached to: Apple Watch Launches

I don't think it can solve any problems for you--if you're overwhelmed by notifications, your watch will just be a new point of contact for your frustrations.

You need to consider what's actually worth being notified about. I have a personal email account and one that I use to sign up for forums and get shipping notifications sent to. Only my personal account displays notifications, and I have a few people on my email VIP list. I switched my other mail account to sound notifications only. That way I know something happened and I can check it when I care.

At first it really feels like I'm missing things, but it actually worked out really well. Start with the assumption that nothing is worth as much as your time, and turn off every notification. Then add them back in one by one if you think it saves you more time to know that information immediately rather than once every hour or so.

Comment: Re:Pioneers get arrows in back (Score 1) 138

Joanna Stern of the Washington Post did a full EKG test with a bunch of fitness bands and a Polar heart rate strap. The fitness bands were all terrible, and the Polar Strap was pretty much spot on. Her testing of the Apple Watch seemed to indicate that it was within about 5 beats or so of her Polar-measured HR. It's by far the most accurate wrist-mounted HR monitor that she tested.

Comment: Who gets fired? (Score 1) 331

by Dixie_Flatline (#49539351) Attached to: Drone Killed Hostages From U.S. and Italy, Drawing Obama Apology

The highest level person that explicitly signed off on the strike should be fired. That's not the president--he authorises programs like this with the intention that they're carried out properly. (Whether or not this is an action the USA should be taking is a matter for elections.) If something goes wrong, someone should be punished for their incompetence. It can't be the lowest level person, because they're not the one calling the shots--it has to be someone high in the chain of command. Only explicit accountability can keep this sort of thing from happening again, assuming that this program must continue at all.

(I'm all for banning this sort of thing, but let's be real. Of course, if we're being real, we probably won't hear about this ever again.)

Comment: Unsurprisingly, no one bothered to read (Score 1) 355

by wiredog (#49519689) Attached to: 'Mobilegeddon': Google To Punish Mobile-Hostile Sites Starting Today

The original google post about this, which makes it clear that mobile friendly sites get a higher ranking when you search on mobile devices . This change will affect mobile searches. Mobile. Not desktop. So if you're searching from a mobile device then results that are more mobile friendly will be ranked higher, on the assumption that people searching from mobile devices would prefer mobile content.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

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