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Comment: Re:Our Forefathers were Idiots (Score 1) 105

by codeButcher (#48672123) Attached to: Scientists Say the Future Looks Bleak For Our Bones

What were they thinking, trading slightly more fragile bones for longer life spans, less dangerous lifestyles, philosophy, sanitation, modern medicine, equal rights, going to the moon, labor saving devices, the internet, quantum physics, cell phones, the internal combustion engine, and digital watches?

You forgot to mention laying the groundwork which would enable facebook. What were they thinking, indeed...

Comment: Yeah me too (Score 2) 172

by codeButcher (#48658849) Attached to: Study: Light-Emitting Screens Before Bedtime Disrupt Sleep

I sometimes work into the night ("flow"). Other times I read a while in bed on my (big-screen) phone. I use f.lux on the computer, Bluelight Filter on android - other apps have been mentioned.

The science seems to be fairly well understood for a number of years, long enough to develop these apps. See e.g. for pointers, may also be of interest (other effects than light on sleep).

Comment: Re:It's the production line (Score 1) 113

by codeButcher (#48584013) Attached to: Study Explains Why Women Miscarry More Males During Tough Times

The fun question is how the mechanisms that've evolved to make this happen actually work. Figuring that out's going to keep researchers occupied for the next century or two.

This is just me speculating, but you may have answered the question already:

... the least resilient male offspring ...

Obviously is offspring is less resilient, no special mechanism is necessarily needed. Just the mother being under stress herself (nutrition) may cause the less resilient to "not pull through" in the womb. It is my opinion that the male is the less resilient of the two sexes in any case, illustrated by their lower life expectancy (

Comment: Re:Selfish gene: highly misunderstood term (Score 1) 113

by codeButcher (#48583899) Attached to: Study Explains Why Women Miscarry More Males During Tough Times

Some of the genes we have in our bodies have copies living in other species, other genera. Some of them are 100 million years old. The genes as a whole are the selfish ones vis a vis the organisms as a whole. They survive. We don't.

Getting back to chickens and eggs, part of the chicken I ate last night is now living on inside me, where I am a different species. So I'd say it was the chicken's animal body that was the selfish one, I bet the genes are digested by now.

Comment: Insensitive clods..... (Score 1) 327

by codeButcher (#48513183) Attached to: You're Doing It All Wrong: Solar Panels Should Face West, Not South

For us southern hemispherians, facing panels south won't do us much good....

On a more serious note: It looks like motorized sun-tracking mounts for panels can be quite expensive, while a fixed mount can be sub-optimal.

So how about a hybrid mount? I'm thinking of a fixed mount with a number of predetermined positions that need to be adjusted manually (e.g. fixed with a bolt/split pin/similar). Coupled with this is an algorithm that calculates the optimal position for the day (or more realistically, for the week) and sends the homeowner to the roof to make the adjustment if necessary. Factors that such an algorithm would need to take into account would differ from home to home and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it should be customizable to each individual case - e.g.:

  • usage pattern over the day and week
  • cost pattern (if electricity prices vary over time)
  • storage cost patter (if electricity buy-back prices vary over time)
  • cost of storage/storage losses (for local storage e.g. batteries, as not all jurisdictions allow supply back to the network)
  • season/sun position, obviously
  • temperature, wind, general climate
  • history
  • etc

Comment: English language (Score 1) 289

by codeButcher (#48496341) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

I think this thread is a good demonstration why I do not like the English language's deviation from how other Germanic languages write a single word for a single idea. Hint: the "science" part in "science fiction" is simply an adjective that describes the noun "fiction". It is the noun that is the important part.

OK, I won't make the mistake again of asking which part of "science fiction" don't you understand....

Comment: Standards and methodologies (Score 1) 176

Many others have already mentioned that for a 1-(+-)4 person "company" admin, payrol, HR, legal etc. can take up a lot of those resources' time (or money, if you get in an employee to do those), which could rather be spent on doing your core (technical) work. I have seen it time and again.

I want to chip in about the general topic of standards and methodologies. Please remember that one isn't (necessarily) better than the other - they are all simply tools working towards a goal and you use whatever tool works best in your circumstances. Now, your GOAL is the important thing: communicating between different members of the company (communication over space) and remembering (communication over time) - which sometimes is important even if you are one person. Using a formal standard to do this should accomplish several things:

  • All members speaking the same "language" or format (know what to expect);
  • Things should be stored in a physical or electronic medium (well-indexed), not in brains, so that interrogating that source takes only one person out of his task and not two (or more);
  • Should enable the organisation to function as an organism distinct from the people that make it up - so that people joining, leaving, or just turnover influences as little as possible;
  • Should be adaptable, because the organisation (from the previous point) should be a learning and developing organism.

Comment: Re:Why giving ? (Score 1) 92

by codeButcher (#48443329) Attached to: How "Big Ideas" Are Actually Hurting International Development

Personally, I do favour a more hands-off approach. Let people figure out their own future, as (IMHO) it seems that western aid often brings with it a perpetual dependence on that aid.

On the other hand, from some of your previous posts I gather that you personally are an emigrant from China to a large western state. A lot of emigration from "poor countries" to western countries happens because people are not happy with the way those countries (the people in it) survive, they want to "survive" somewhat "better". "Better" being in part defined by the standard of living such aid seems to suggest. (Because there are also some "worse" aspects to western culture in comparison to what is left behind.) I guess your opinion would carry more weight if you were still living and working in China. Just saying.

Whom computers would destroy, they must first drive mad.