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Comment: Re:Not exactly a hack (Score 5, Informative) 73

by arth1 (#49604473) Attached to: Hacking the US Prescription System

This is just plain irresponsible behaviour by PillPack, nothing to do with hacking.

No, this is just plain irresponsible behavior by those who share infomation to PillPack and others.

Recently, I noticed that when I picked up a prescription for a (for me new) medication that's mostly used for one purpose, I suddenly got dozens of spam e-mails wanting to "help" me with a particular diagnosis I don't have. And that's the few that went through the double layer spam filter. It was way too pervasive to be a coincidence.

It's clear that the US prescription system leaks like a sieve, and that even spammers have access to people's prescription history.
Can we go back to paper prescriptions that don't enter a database, please?

Comment: Re:You want a startup? (Score 1) 208

by arth1 (#49580125) Attached to: IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

Yes, Agile (if done correctly)

That's like saying "buggery (if done correctly)".

The ones who might take pleasure from it will rarely be on the receiving end.
Even the performers may feel dirty afterwards.

No one does Agile "correctly". The customer doesn't have the time to invest in micro-managing decisions.
The developer side does not have enough time left over to investigate the big picture and have detailed specs before producing code.
And management never gives the dev side enough time to revisit the code. It's always going to be "move on" instead of "move on when ready and move back when required". Things will get handed over the wall just as much as before.

In theory, Agile is fine. But it never survives first impact with customers and management, who invariably wants the benefits of Agile without paying the costs.

In practice, it's running lemming sprints.

Comment: Re:Skype? What happened to Sametime? (Score 1) 208

by arth1 (#49579691) Attached to: IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

I could be wrong, but I think that high level management are more used to settings where face-to-face communication is the driving force, and that paperwork is something secretaries and lawyers do.
I don't think they really appreciate the need for precision, lack of ambiguity and a verifiable record that exists within engineering and development, and think that face time can replace precise types of communication.

I'm sure the phone companies are happy, though.

Comment: Managability (Score 5, Insightful) 487

by arth1 (#49546499) Attached to: Ubuntu 15.04 Released, First Version To Feature systemd

Services are easily manageable.

A bunch of us who actually manage systems tend to disagree.
Hundreds of DOS ini files, having to compile things instead of just modding a script, and not being able to step through a startup or shutdown process is not what we all consider easily manageable.

If it really were easily manageable, it would not have caught so much flak.

Sometimes you're the octopus, sometimes you're the girl.

Comment: Re:Somewhere in the middle... (Score 1) 341

by arth1 (#49534211) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

I'm sorry, but there are quite a few diseases out there that will kill the strongest, yet the already sickly might survive.

Measles, mumps and rubella do not fit that description. They have a very low mortality rate, and it's the weakest that tend to succumb.

Smallpox has a higher mortality rate, but also here, it's those with weak immune systems that tend to die.

This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective - diseases that don't kill its vectors are going to outcompete those that do.

I can't think of any disease which kills healthier specimens more than the weak. The avian flu scare a few years ago was initially reported as hitting the healthiest the hardest - that turned out to be misinterpreted results; it hit the most mobile part of the population more often due to a shorter than usual incubation window, not harder, which led to more young adults dying. And many elderly were already immune due to an outbreak in the 60s.

So I'm sorry, what are those "quite a few diseases out there" that you refer to?

Very frequently a "strong" or "weak" immune system has little to do with whether you catch a disease.

Very frequently, it has a lot to do with whether you survive it if you catch it.
And that is what determines whether your genes have an advantage or not. It only takes a small statistical advantage for successful genes to be selected for.

Comment: Re:Somewhere in the middle... (Score 1) 341

by arth1 (#49527279) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

You do realise that proximity and exposure is the biggest factor in determining who develops antigens to any given disease?

ie, chance?

Um, yes? But the diseases we vaccinate against aren't 100% lethal or 100% sterilizing.

It's not chance that determines whether someone who does catch the disease will survive as a reproductive individual. It's the overall strength of the immune system and fitness of the individual.
As long as some catch and survive a disease, evolution selects for the genes those individuals have versus those that die, become sterile or never catch the disease. Take away the risk of catching the disease, and those genes no longer have an advantage. With vaccination, those with weaker immune systems have an increased chance of surviving until reproduction, and as a result, the next generation will, on average, have weaker immune systems than if the culling had taken place.

If your father would have died from measles as a child had he caught it, due to him having a weak immune system, and he survived because he or those around him got vaccinated, chances are higher for you to have a weak immune system than the child of someone from an area without vaccinations. And if you have a weaker immune system, the risk of allergies is higher.
Of course, your father might have had a strong immune system and laughed off measles. But the reason we do vaccinate is that not everybody does. There will be lives saved, or we wouldn't do it. Even if just some survive that otherwise wouldn't have, this will have an impact on the next generation.

We choose to save lives now, and accept the genetic costs of the weakest not being culled from the herd. This isn't something that is disputed. It's a moral choice we make, but we don't get to escape paying the price - at least not until we reliably can make genetic repairs.

Comment: Re:Somewhere in the middle... (Score 1) 341

by arth1 (#49524755) Attached to: Study Confirms No Link Between MMR Vaccine and Autism

In a way, you are correct, but unintentionally so.
There is a correlation, but the causation is one layer higher.

Vaccines are safe, and save lives. And that's the problem. Whenever a young life is saved, that is one person who would have been culled from the pack that now grows up and likely will procreate. Nobody can deny that.
That means that genes that earlier were weeded out now survive and spread in the population the next generation. Including genes that code for weaker immune systems, which appears to be a common factor for both propensity for dying from childhood diseases if catching them, and propensity for becoming allergic.
In short, it's not the children being vaccinated that causes autism, but their parents having been vaccinated if they survived as fertile individuals as a result of the vaccination.

Until we obtain the genetic know-how and competence for how to fix this in individuals, that's the price we have to pay for taking action in saving lives that otherwise would have been lost. The consensus (except for crackpots) seems to be that as a society, we are willing to pay that price.

That there are negative side effects to saving children's lives is not a popular thing to mention, though, so I'm waiting for the down-votes to start.

Comment: Re:Matlab (Score 1) 181

by arth1 (#49516449) Attached to: Swift Tops List of Most-Loved Languages and Tech

And there was much bitching about how everything was so indirect and hard to figure out exactly what was going on. Of course, this was before there were good debuggers and direct compilers.

I think the point was that one should know exactly what was going on before it was run, and being able to follow the low-level flow by looking at the source without "and then, magic occurs" moments.

Simula and Ada were arguably much better languages for understanding exactly what was going on, being as unforgiving as leather clad mistresses, but "C with classes" won out because it was so similar to C. C++ is great, but it does give the programmers enough rope to hang themselves with, while obscuring what's really going on behind the scenes.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 591

You're statement that the death penalty "will have no effect on whether a murder will happen or not" is flawed when your only example is the person who committed murder despite the death penalty.

What part of "Almost all murders happen either in affect, or in a situation where the perpetrator thinks he can get away with it" did you fail to understand? Those two types of murders is not impacted by whether there's a death penalty or not.

A couple of less common murder types are also not affected:
- Those who seek martyrdom. Actually, I think many of those would prefer there being a death penalty.
- Those who seek to go out in a blaze of glory, i.e. never be tried and sentenced.

So what murders, exactly, are affected? Who are those who will kill if there's a life sentence, but not if there's a death penalty? Statistics don't show lessened murder rates for states with capital punishment, so who are those people?

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 5, Informative) 591

How many prison sentences have been reversed after the last appeal was over ?

Quite a few. Like when new exculpatory evidence comes to light, like someone else confessing, or recanting the testimony that led to the conviction, or new or improved technologies can determine innocence.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, from 1973 until today, 152 people have been exonerated after being sentenced to death. Unfortunately, many of them were executed before being exonerated.
Without the death sentence, many more innocents would be alive.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 4, Insightful) 591

There is no logical difference between execution and murder versus imprisonment and kidnapping.

Except that one of them is irreversible.
A -> B vs A -> B, X? B-> A

By your comprehension of logic, there is no logical difference between my beating you and my beating you to death either.

Always try to do things in chronological order; it's less confusing that way.