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Comment: Re:Has it been working so far? (Score 1) 387

by gringer (#48164299) Attached to: Torvalds: I Made Community-Building Mistakes With Linux

Can you please save your systemd frustrations for posting on soylentnews? We don't quite have enough of those yet.

I don't think you can put much blame about systemd on Linus. At least the first search I made on "linus torvalds systemd" was an article reporting a somewhat annoyed comment by Linus regarding the inability of systemd developers to fix their own bugs.

Comment: Insightful jokes (Score 5, Funny) 174

by gringer (#48120569) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: VPN Setup To Improve Latency Over Multiple Connections?

Hi, I'd like to hear a TCP joke
Hello, would you like to hear a TCP joke?
Yes, I'd like to hear a TCP joke
Okay, I'll tell you a TCP joke
Okay, I'm ready to hear a TCP joke
Okay, I'm about to send a TCP joke, that'll last for 10 seconds. It has two characters, it does not have a setting, it'll end with a punchline.
Okay, I'll get your TCP joke, that'll last for 10 seconds. It has two characters, it does not have a setting, it'll end with a punchline.
I'm sorry, your connection has timed out

On the other hand, I could successfully tell you an entire UDP joke, but you might not get it.

Comment: Exponential progression (Score 1) 478

by gringer (#48114659) Attached to: The CDC Is Carefully Controlling How Scared You Are About Ebola

This is an important and worrying epidemic not because of how many infections or deaths there are now, but because of how many there will be by christmas, or in a year's time. Even with strict border controls, I expect that this is going to be all over the place in less than 3 years time, and very likely less if the virus mutates enough to have a greater contagious time for pre-symptomatic individuals. Containment for this virus is incredibly expensive, and spreading the virus around is incredibly cheap.

People just don't get non-linear progression and expansion. Ebola will hit the world hard before it is ready.

Comment: Re:If you wanted us to believe your Op-Ed... (Score 1) 547

by gringer (#48105417) Attached to: Goodbye, World? 5 Languages That Might Not Be Long For This World

Come on, python's got its problems, but forcing you to lay out your program in a naturally readable way to compile isn't one of them.

I wouldn't mind python's indentation quirk so much if it didn't give me bugs when rewriting and transferring code, or if I could use braces (or something else) to indicate program flow. In short, changes in the control structure of the code can require indentation changes that cannot necessarily be determined by the editor:

A copy-paste of code from one place to another will only be easy to do in the case where the surrounding indentation is the same in both places.

When a particular bit of code needs to be surrounded in an IF statement (or a loop), it is necessary to manually re-do the indentation to indicate where the statement starts and stops.

If my editor decides that the default indentation is 2, while the code has a default indentation of 4, there's a chance I could inadvertently alter the program flow by re-indenting a line.

With other languages where structure is specified by non-whitespace, I can tell the editor to re-indent refactored code to accomodate new changes, taking a second or so instead of a minute or so (plus any time taken fixing bugs).

Comment: Kazaa (Score 2) 174

by gringer (#47803333) Attached to: Tox, a Skype Replacement Built On 'Privacy First'

Hmm, interesting. It might be worth pointing out that Skype was originally based on a decentralized service pushed through the Kazaa network:


Like its file sharing predecessor KaZaa, Skype is an overlay peer-to-peer network. There are two types of nodes in this overlay network, ordinary hosts and super nodes (SN). An ordinary host is a Skype application that can be used to place voice calls and send text messages. A super node is an ordinary host’s end-point on the Skype network

Of course, the problem with the Skype system (as it was when that paper was written) is that the decentralised nature of the network means that your video call could be routed through any number of Skype network nodes (i.e. computers) before it arrives at its destination. I think now Microsoft has replaced most of the supernodes with microsoft servers, so replace "any number of Skype network nodes" with "any number of Microsoft servers".

Presumably Tox is doing something similar to going back to the roots of Skype, with maybe a bit more encryption thrown in.

Comment: Re:This doesn't compute...or does it (Score 1) 113

by gringer (#47752765) Attached to: Is Dong Nguyen Trolling Gamers With "Swing Copters"?

Then I thought, well perhaps designer spends years designing a game with all sorts of clever ideas then copiers use them all a few days after release. I have to ask, though, is this what happens? Surely a game must spend some time before becoming popular enough to copy, during which it builds a following and has first mover advantage.

Flappy bird is certainly not a good example of the ideas being the expensive part. Here's just one example of an earlier game that is similar in nature:


Comment: Re:Link to abstract (Score 1) 63

by gringer (#47561519) Attached to: UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

Right. I finally got around to writing an R function to do this, because this problem has cropped up a few times in the past year:

getPV <- function(prevalence, sensitivity, specificity){
        popnTrue <- prevalence;
        popnFalse <- (1-prevalence);
        popnTruePos <- popnTrue * sensitivity;
        popnFalsePos <- popnFalse * (1 - specificity);
        popnTrueNeg <- popnTrue * (1 - sensitivity);
        popnFalseNeg <- popnFalse * specificity;
        ppv <- popnTruePos / (popnTruePos + popnFalsePos);
        npv <- popnFalseNeg / (popnTrueNeg + popnFalseNeg);
        return(data.frame(prev = prevalence, sens = sensitivity,
                                            spec = specificity, ppv = ppv, npv = npv));

NCI tells me that 4% of the US population are cancer survivors, so I'll use that value for the population prevalence:

> prev <- 4 * 0.01;
> sensSpec <- rbind(c(94.8,54.7),c(81,78.7),c(62.1,94)) * 0.01;

> out.df <- NULL;
> for(i in seq_len(dim(sensSpec)[1])){
    out.df <- rbind(out.df,getPV(prev, sensSpec[i,1], sensSpec[i,2]));
> out.df;
    prev sens spec ppv npv
1 0.04 0.948 0.547 0.08020305 0.9960546
2 0.04 0.810 0.787 0.13677812 0.9900409
3 0.04 0.621 0.940 0.30131004 0.9834779

So the best they can do for this test, according to the paper, is a 30% positive predictive value -- if this test comes up positive, there's a 30% chance that you actually have cancer (and that's allowing for 2% of "negative" results actually being cancer).

Comment: Re:Link to abstract (Score 4, Interesting) 63

by gringer (#47555519) Attached to: UK Team Claims Breakthrough In Universal Cancer Test

The actual paper is behind a paywall.

Yay for institute access. Their idea of "approach[ing] 100%" is a little bit loose:

Based on these calculations, the cutoffs for low (0.10), medium (0.25), and high (0.50) thresholds are 1.47 at a sensitivity of 94.8% and a specificity of 54.7%, 1.73 at a sensitivity of 81% and a specificity of 78.7%, and 1.99 at a sensitivity of 62.1% and a specificity of 94%, respectively

I have yet to do the calculations using population prevalence, but I'm going to guess that the positive predictive value of these tests are not particularly high.

Comment: Re:All software is full of bugs (Score 2) 150

For that matter, all of everything constructed by human beings

You might not be terribly surprised to know that our genes (and the genomes of pretty much everything) are also full of bugs. We have a whole raft of deleterious genetic variants in our DNA that are just waiting for the perfect time to activate and say "hey, you know that life thing? I can make it worse." On top of that, we have a few viral genomes in our DNA (possibly some that are still active), and rely on bacteria and mitochondria to provide us with energy required to live.

In other words, defective objects are the rule, not the exception.

p.s. hmm... I've only just realised how much I miss that handy login form that SoylentNews has to deal with accidental AC posts.

Comment: Tesla's response (Score 1) 443

by gringer (#47434231) Attached to: The First Person Ever To Die In a Tesla Is a Guy Who Stole One

We apologise for the inadequacies of our car at high speeds, and are investigating ways to make it even safer. We have designed a flexible partitioning system to take some of the energy from a "car split" incident, and will be implementing it in all new Tesla cars, and retrofitting it to all drivers who want it. Additionally, the car will require that the driver and all passengers are wearing seatbelts when the car is driving at speeds exceeding 70 mph.

"I've seen it. It's rubbish." -- Marvin the Paranoid Android