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Comment: Re: Exinction (Score 5, Insightful) 120

by jc42 (#48209851) Attached to: Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

My guess is that the fact that no organisms exist with a Neanderthal genome defines them as extinct. Where one draws the line is more art than science I guess ... I know that there are some genetics in us (like the HMG group of proteins) that are ancient, but work so well that we still retain them. That doesn't mean the first species to have evolved them isn't extinct, it just means we evolved from them.

Well, I don't think that quite matches the scientific concept of "species". By your definition, almost all species who were alive 50,000 years ago would be considered extinct, but hardly any biologists would agree with that. It's true that no humans alive today have 100% Neanderthal genes, but it's also nearly certain that there are no living humans with 100% Cro-Magnon genes, either. What happened would be considered a mixing of several human sub-species after migrations of one or more African groups into Eurasia. The Cro-Magnon sub-species disappeared, too, and modern human Caucasian and Asian sub-species are the results of that mixing. This sort of thing happens in species all the time, when conditions allow such genetic mixing, and the result is rarely considered a new species.

The fact is that modern humans are all one species. We can and do interbreed when groups mingle, and there are no groups of modern humans that are genetically incompatible. If sub-species "disappear" by genetic mixing, that is usually not called an extinction event. It's just the routine and normal mingling of subspecies.

An interesting contrast is that most North American duck species are known to hybridize occasionally, and the offspring are usually fertile. Does this mean they're really all one species? No, because they all mingle a lot, but interbreeding is rare. They have "behavioral" species-separation features, mostly based on female mate choice. The females are mostly all mottled brown (protective coloring), and the males often approach females of other species (because they can't tell them apart either ;-). But the females usually only accept males that have the "right" color markings; the others are ugly to them. This suffices to keep the species separate, though there is probably a very low level of genetic interchange between many of the species.

But humans aren't like this. Even if we do generally prefer mates in our own subspecies, most of us do find many members of other subspecies physically attractive, and we'll mate with them given the opportunity. This means that we really are all the same species. We now have good evidence that the Neandertals were merely another subspecies, because when they had the opportunity, they did interbreed with those slender, dark-skinned folks who migrated into their territory. They did so often enough to produce a new subspecies that's physically distinct from either of the earlier two (or three or more).

Comment: Re:I never ever commented on the SCO issue in any (Score 1) 187

We knew what was going on when you ran your anti-IBM campaign, sometimes even positioning yourself as arguing on behalf of our community. It was a way to lend credence to IBM and MS arguments during the SCO issue. To state otherwise is deceptive, perhaps even self-deceptive.

Florian, you would not be devoting all of this text to explaining yourself if you didn't feel the need to paint your actions in a positive light. That comes from guilt, whether you admit it to yourself or not.

Go write your app, and if you actually get to make any money with it you can give thanks, because it will happen despite what you worked for previously. Keep a low profile otherwise because your credibility is well and truly blown and you can only make things worse. And maybe someday you can really move past this part of your life. But I am not holding out much hope.

Comment: Re:Bruce, I know why u r disappointed. Let me expl (Score 1) 187

So, I see this as rationalization.

The fact is, you took a leadership position, and later turned your coat for reasons that perhaps made sense to you. But they don't really make sense to anyone else. So, yes, everyone who supported you then is going to feel burned.

You also made yourself a paid voice that was often hostile to Free Software, all the way back to the SCO issue. Anyone could have told you that was bound to be a losing side and you would be forever tarred with their brush.

So nobody is going to believe you had any reason but cash, whatever rationalization you cook up after the fact. So, the bottom line is that you joined a list of people who we're never going to be able to trust or put the slightest amount of credibility in.

And ultimately it was for nothing. I've consistently tried to take the high road and it's led to a pretty good income, I would hazard a guess better than yours, not just being able to feel good about myself.

Comment: Re:This could be really good for Debian (Score 5, Insightful) 547

by Bruce Perens (#48188887) Attached to: Debian's Systemd Adoption Inspires Threat of Fork
I am beginning to be wary of systemd, but no. I am talking about anal-retentive policy wonks who believe they only make the distribution for themselves and have (perhaps without intending to) systematically marginalized Debiian and made the project a whore to Ubuntu.

...when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. - Fred Brooks, Jr.

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