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User Journal

Journal: A Prediction 4

Journal by orthogonal

If my prior comments on wikipedia are any guide, after the post drops off the front page, a wikipedia editor with mod points will mod-bomb all my (currently 5,5,5,4) comments in the Wikipedia story.

The wikipedia administration, for whatever reason, is extraordinarily defensive and hates to see criticism remain un-suppressed. If this is reminiscent of a cult, well, if the show fits....

Toys

Journal: Innate Gender Preferences in Toys 25 Million Years Old? 2

Journal by orthogonal

Some 25 million years ago, humans and vervet monkeys diverged from a common ancestor. In very rough terms, perhaps one and a quarter million human generations, or five million vervet generations, have been brought forth upon the Earth since that common ancestor lived. Of course, many differences have evolved between humans and vervets in those 25 million years: among other things, human parents choose toys for their children; vervet parents do not.

But after all that time and genetic change, and despite studies attributing human children's toy preferences to adult stereotypes, a new study by Dr. Gerianne Alexander finds that vervet males, like human boys, prefer toy trucks and balls, while vervet females and human girls prefer dolls and toy cooking pots. What's more, the vervets play with the toys much as human children do: males roll trucks on the ground, females inspect dolls (apparently) for genitalia. Previously on Slashdot: Harvard president Larry Summers and his daughter's "baby truck", Gender and gaming.

[Submitted and, of course, rejected.]

User Journal

Journal: Slashdot fans! Help me! 9

Journal by orthogonal

I've got a number of fans, and I've never asked for anything other than that you appreciate my comments here.

But now I need your help.

A spark jumped from my finger and now my Touchstream LP keyboard is dead. Like the parrot in the Python skit. Dead.

Windows plug-and-play doesn't recognize it at all.

So I need your help.

Can anyone either

  • suggest possible repairs
  • or, tell me where I can get a replacement?

Neither of these are easy: the keyboard uses capacitance to track fingers, so the spark may have burnt those out, or -- since it doesn't respond at all -- the main circuit board may be fried.

And the manufacturer of the Touchstream has been bought up, and Touchstream keyboards are no longer manufactured.

Please, Obi-Wan, ^HHHH er, Slashdot fans, you're my only hope.

Portables

Journal: Laptop functionality in handheld form factor? 5

Journal by orthogonal

I'm playing around with the idea of getting a laptop and (geek warning) some sort of VR glasses instead of a screen.

Optimally, I'd like something with the form factor of a Sharp Zaurus, but with a hard drive and standard ports.

Basically, I want a "real computer" that I can put in my pocket. To use the VR glasses, I'd need standard USB ports and the ability to use a standard video card.

Is this too bleeding edge? What are my options for a really small laptop, possibly without a screen?

This is slashdot, so I know you guys have some good ideas, and a good sense of what's possible.

Data Storage

Journal: Your secret stash of ancestral DNA to the rescue?

Journal by orthogonal
(A)bort, (I)gnore, (R)evert to Grandma's DNA A jaw-dropping revision to Mendelian inheritance: bad genes can be replaced from a secret ancestral stash. (Is the stash in RNA? DNA? A gzip file? We don't know.)

The same researchers have previously mentioned other ways to get around Mendel. See abstract #34.

Almost as interestingly, this discovery could undercut the deleterious mutation hypothesis theory of why sexual reproduction is useful, useful despite what John Maynard Smith termed its "two-fold cost", and explain the eighty-million years of asexual reproduction without extinction in bdelloid rotifers.

Also, brought to you by the letter... 3FB? DNA gets a fake fifth letter.

(This was submitted to Slashdot and rejected, so you get to see it exclusively in my journal, or over on MetaFilter.)

User Journal

Journal: The Dangling Conversation (apologies to Simon & Garfunkel)

Journal by orthogonal

"When you wanted me, I figured I had, or would have down the road, better prospects than you. Um, things didn't work out as bright and shiny as I hoped. Now I'd, you know, be willing to settle.

"Ok, actually, I really don't even think of you anymore, and your name doesn't still make me pause and wonder 'what if', if it ever really did, (it doesn't, even though the mere thought of me is still like a fresh punch in the gut for you after all these long withered years).

"But if it consoles you to think that you cross my mind on lonely white nights at three a.m. and I feel some sort of vague formless regret -- honestly, any regret I feel is more for my lost youth than for you per se, at this point you just kinda symbolize that lost youth for me, like an old 'Letter' sweater from highschool or a copy of the program for that play we were in together, or those pictures of guys with long sideburns that you know instantly are from the time of the Nixon Administration --, well, you always were the sentimental sort who wrote poetry and believed bathetic crap like 'true love', so keep on with what's essentially your form of mental masturbation if it makes you feel better."

"Ok, stop crying, it always annoyed me when you cried because it made me feel like I was supposed to do something and what did you want me to do, I mean, you were nice and fun and all that --- yes the sex was good, why do you always ask about that --but, come on, we never -- hell, you especially never really expected it to last, I mean we travelled in different circles and you weren't Jewish, not that that's a big deal to me, but Jesus, your family -- please stop crying, ok, so sometimes on occasion I miss you, is that what you wanted to hear?

"Ok, so sure, sometimes I think of you, but really, if I'm the 'one who got away' for you, don't you sometimes stop to think there's one who got away for me too, and it's only natural that rather than think of you when I'm lonely -- yes, yes, yes, sometimes I do think of you, and you were really nice. Yes! Yes I mean it! Why would I lie now?? Really. I do mean it.

"Yes, you were really nice. Ok?

"And it was great talking to you. Sure, sure, same time, next year, give me a call like always. No, I do like hearing from you. I do.

"Ok, you have a nice night too."

United States

Journal: Visitors to US to be tagged with RFID by Homeland Security 4

Journal by orthogonal

silicon.com reports that 'the US Department of Homeland Security has decided to trial RFID tags' .... 'to track both pedestrians and vehicles entering the US to automatically record when the visitors arrive and leave in the country.'

Welcome to the Land of the Free!, number 4c62c570-70c5-11d9-9669-0800200c9a66! You'll be reflecting at 2450 MHz, enjoy your stay!

The article goes on to explain that

The testing phase will continue until the spring of next year. The exact way RFID will be used with the travellers is not yet known.

. . . .

US Under Secretary for Border & Transportation Security, Asa Hutchinson, said in a statement: "Through the use of radio frequency technology, we see the potential to not only improve the security of our country, but also to make the most important infrastructure enhancements to the US land borders in more than 50 years."

What is your frequency, Kenneth?

Remind me again why the most talented foreign scientists are no longer doing research in America?

And how soon will the "success" of this program lead to tagging government employees and contractors as a prelude to tagging all citizens?

User Journal

Journal: www.alexvalentine.org/blog 2

Journal by asv108
After setting up my own blog, my original intention was to cross post on Slashdot. Unfortunately, intentions and results are not always on target, so this will probably be my last /. journal entry. I will still be reading /. and /. journals but I'm going to stick with my blog for now. Its a shame /. didn't put more effort in to the journal feature, there was so much promise when it was first introduced.
The Almighty Buck

Journal: "senior level web programmer" and SQL DBA, $10 per hour? 8

Journal by orthogonal

On craigslist.org I see under "Computer Gigs", an ad for a "senior level web programmer" with, additionally, "exceptional Microsoft SQL 2000 administration... skill".

By "senior", the ad explains, they mean "someone with at least 5 to 6 years working experience in Microsoft Platforms. Microsoft certification is a plus."

The offer requires a minimum three month contract, with set hours of 10:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Thursdays (with Fridays off). That's 20 hours a week (but without apparently the ability to time-shift or moonlight so as to accomodate another 9-5 job).

The compensation offered is $800 per month -- in other words, a "senior level web programmer" is apparently worth only ten dollars per hour.

And yes, I emailed them to confirm this, and they really do mean ten dollars per hous, twenty hours per week, minimum three month contract. And this is in the San Francisco area.

So my question is, is this what's becoming the norm, or is the job poster smoking something?

----
Addendum: As artifex2004 (766107) notes below, the job posting has been removed from craigslist.

However, another craigslist reader was er, kind enough to respond to the original listing; but I'm not sure how he calculated $12.50 an hour. (And no, I didn't make the response.)

Also, for those wondering about my email with the job poster, this is his reply to my query confirming his ad, with addresses elided:

Hi

Yea exactly we are a small start up. And that is our offer

Thanks

----- Original Message -----
From: orthogonal's address elided
To: job poster's address elided, too
Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 2:42 PM
Subject: Wanted: SQL 2000 Admin With ASP, HTML skills

>>
>> From your ad at: http://www.craigslist.org/sby/cpg/54284856.html
>>
>> You're offering $10.00 per hour for a senior level web programmer?
>>
>> Quoted:
>> This is a senior level web programmer position. You will program and
>> manage our existing database driven community portal.
>>
>> We are looking for someone with at least 5 to 6 years working
>> experience in Microsoft Platforms. Microsoft certification is a plus.
>>
>> Working hours will be 10.30am to 3.30pm with Fridays Off. Salary is
>> $800/month. Minimum 3 months contract required.

With your bare hands?!?

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