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Comment: Re:Dude, wait... (Score 4, Insightful) 681

by mangobrain (#48689371) Attached to: Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains His Christmas Tweet

What part of his tweet constitutes telling Christians that Christmas is "bullshit"? The part where he celebrates Isaac Newton's birthday, or the part where.... Oh, wait; that's the ONLY part. It is not mutually exclusive with celebrating the birth of Jesus, and nowhere in the original tweet - or the following explanation - does he imply that it should be.

Should the world at large be banned from honouring the memory of anyone else on that date, just because it happens to be a Christian religious festival? Sounds remarkably like religious discrimination to me.

Comment: Re:I use Unity. It's OK. (Score 1) 125

by mangobrain (#48600569) Attached to: Unity 8 Will Bring 'Pure' Linux Experience To Mobile Devices

My general take on this is that things like Cinnamon & MATE were knee-jerk reactions to GNOME 3 created purely for design reasons, with no real technical backing, and no appreciation for the amount of work which actually goes into creating a complete, properly integrated desktop and toolkit. Unsurprisingly, despite looking pretty, reports continue to crop up about them not quite working right. I'm honestly surprised MATE is still going, and whilst I wish them luck, there *were* real technical problems with the GNOME 2 underpinnings - I understand the desire to have something that is simply "GNOME 2's UI built with GTK3", and part of me wishes that had been available as an option on GNOME 3's release, but creating something reliable and maintainable into the future requires more than just hacking away on the same old code. My own personal take on Cinnamon is that it's mainly running on inertia, having built up initial popularity mainly as a function of when it was released, when Unity and GNOME 3 hatred were simultaneously peaking.

GNOME Shell does work. You may not like it, but from a pure technical standpoint, it does what it is designed to do. In terms of alternatives, I'm interested to see what - if anything - eventually becomes of Budgie and Pantheon (used as the default desktops in Evolve OS and Elementary OS, respectively, but - I believe - available for installation on other things), which are written as Mutter plugins, i.e. the same underlying technology as GNOME Shell itself. IIUC, writing Mutter plugins is the "correct" way to create alternative shells based on the GNOME 3 stack without actually forking anything, if what you want to do is outside the scope of a GNOME Shell extension.

Comment: Re:Isn't that click fraud? (Score 1) 285

by mangobrain (#48556031) Attached to: AdNauseam Browser Extension Quietly Clicks On Blocked Ads

Doesn't sound like that much of an edge case to me. These things may only need to be downloaded once on a given machine, but I assume that almost everyone who does so, does so via a browser. This sounds quite plausible to me without the need for exaggerating about using the browser "exclusively" for this purpose.

Also, GP was giving this as an example, not as the one and only case in which malicious ads get through AdBlock.

Comment: Re:Sustainable business model (Score 1) 167

by mangobrain (#48213125) Attached to: Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

What, you mean a business model in which they expect people to actually pay in order to use something, on the Internet!? Outrageous!

In all honesty, whilst it is refreshing to see a business plan slightly more concrete than the usual "1. build a huge client base, 2. ????*, 3. profit," I can't help agreeing with you. They won't succeed without offering something very, very compelling compared to the existing offerings, and what makes the existing offerings compelling derives from the fact that everyone is already on them - hence the larger they get, naturally, the harder they become to replace. Does the average punter really find data sanctity and lack of advertising compelling enough? Clearly Ello themselves don't even think so, or they wouldn't have the concept of a basic free account. Also, starting up with an invite-only model seems to me to be based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes a social network tick.

* Usually translated as some combination of get acquired, sell ad space or sell user data

Comment: Re:Great, they've invented "MedBook"... (Score 1) 198

Er.... what? Neither TFA nor the summary make any mention of the GUI, nor advertisements. I suppose you started with the premise that the NHS did something IT-related, automatically assumed it must be bad, and then just started randomly making stuff up.

Comment: Re:The real question is about Emacs (Score 1) 252

by mangobrain (#45846983) Attached to: Emacs Needs To Move To GitHub, Says ESR

This; a million times this. The problem is exacerbated by the long-running trend towards computers as consumer appliances, instead of specialised tools. I grew up coding in BASIC on an Acorn Archimedes, which was state-of-the-art at the time; when my family finally "upgraded" to a Win98 PC, the second thing I noticed (the first being the massive jump in performance) was the lack of printed reference manuals and built-in development tools. When I was at university, the teaching language was Object Pascal (via Delphi), I had a vague knowledge of Linux due primarily to the social circles I moved in, and I eventually ended up doing the bulk of my work in C++ on Solaris for the simple reason that the UNIX labs on campus always had plenty of free machines (which could not be said of the Windows labs). This rekindled my love of plain-text editors and the command line, to the extent that I still bind F12 to spawn terminals on my Linux machines (any RISC OS user will know where I'm coming from ;) ).

Had my background and social set been different, I could very easily have graduated knowing only how to do RAD on Windows via graphical IDEs. Not really fitting for a comp sci course with software development modules.

Comment: Re: MUAHAHAHAHA (Score 1) 240

by mangobrain (#44657181) Attached to: NASDAQ Trading Halted Due To "Technical Issue"

Why wouldn't he? An investor isn't trying to time the market that narrowly, so he'll pull as close to a real-time quote he can get confirm its still in the region he was looking for and submit the order.

If you're worried about the nebulous, evil effects of HFT affecting your order price between entry and execution, why enter anything but a limit order?

Actually, if you set a limit price on an order, it should close at the asking price if the asking price is lower.

Then my point still stands - if you enter a limit order, an HFT algorithm can't make money by raising the asking price then selling to you higher than you expect. Firstly, there's a limit price on your order; secondly, how is the algo supposed to raise the asking price without buying something? It makes no sense to buy high just so that you can annoy someone else, because the algo still ends up selling to them for less than it bought.

Comment: Re: MUAHAHAHAHA (Score 1) 240

by mangobrain (#44648587) Attached to: NASDAQ Trading Halted Due To "Technical Issue"

I think you have it backwards. Unless you are entering an at-market order, your order will be executed at the price which it is originally entered. So an algorithm which "bids up" the price, which it can only really do by entering an order with a higher execution price (just entering high quotes makes no difference if nobody executes), then executes a sell to you at your (lower) bid price, will *lose* money.

Comment: Re: Foolish assumptions (Score 1) 208

by mangobrain (#44648383) Attached to: GM Rice Passes Unexpected Benefits To Weeds

Surely though this is entirely dependent on the effects - expected and otherwise - of those extra proteins? The energy argument sounds convincing in its simplicity, but I am doubtful precisely because of that simplicity. We are not dealing with simple organisms in simple environments; the very existence of this article speaks to a complexity and subtlety of interactions which cannot be easily predicted.

Comment: Foolish assumptions (Score 1) 208

by mangobrain (#44616517) Attached to: GM Rice Passes Unexpected Benefits To Weeds

From TFA: “The traditional expectation is that any sort of transgene will confer disadvantage in the wild in the absence of selection pressure, because the extra machinery would reduce the fitness,” says Norman Ellstrand, a plant geneticist at the University of California in Riverside.

Well, that seems like a foolish expectation. These modifications aren't already common in the wild, therefore they must be disadvantageous? This seems to be assuming that evolution has already made these plants as fit as they are going to get, and can't possibly be altered in a way that might make them more so (regardless of whether the alteration has any desirable side-effects). To me, it seems pretty stupid to assume that evolution has somehow peaked, for *any* species, given the time scales, diversity and mechanisms involved.

It's not often I come away from an article like this thinking "those stupid scientists, this is clearly wrong because of X", because normally they've been looking at it for a lot longer than I have and there is something (often a whole wealth of things) I don't understand or am not aware of. But in this case - those stupid scientists, this is clearly wrong because evolution will keep going unless we somehow eliminate all natural sources of genetic mutation.

Comment: Re:Profit! (Score 1) 208

by mangobrain (#44616425) Attached to: GM Rice Passes Unexpected Benefits To Weeds

Really, +5 Insightful? I actually thought the summary and headline were quite good. Let's take it point by point:

1. "A genetic-modification technique used widely to make crops herbicide resistant has been shown to confer advantages on a weedy form of rice, even in the absence of the herbicide."
Yep, that seems to be what they're saying - they took genetically-modified rice, cross-bred it with weedy rice, cross-bred the offspring to make a second generation, and found that the resulting plants were fitter than their weedy grandparents, according to several fitness measures.

2. "A common assumption has been that if such herbicide resistance genes manage to make it into weedy or wild relatives, they would be disadvantageous and plants containing them would die out."
Well, yes. From TFA: "“The traditional expectation is that any sort of transgene will confer disadvantage in the wild in the absence of selection pressure, because the extra machinery would reduce the fitness,” says Norman Ellstrand, a plant geneticist at the University of California in Riverside." Seems legit.

3. "But the new study led by Lu Baorong, an ecologist at Fudan University in Shanghai, challenges that view: it shows that a weedy form of the common rice crop, Oryza sativa, gets a significant fitness boost from glyphosate resistance, even when glyphosate is not applied."
This is taken almost word-for-word from TFA, so is also pretty accurate.

4. "The transgenic hybrids had higher rates of photosynthesis, grew more shoots and flowers and produced 48 — 125% more seeds per plant than non-transgenic hybrids — in the absence of glyphosate, the weedkiller they were resistant to."
Yep, these numbers come from TFA. The point being that this "extra fitness" was measured under normal conditions, with no glysophate application; so the weeds are not only glysophate-resistant, but natural selection will operate in their favour.

So yes, this is totally botched; an outrage, I say! Oh, wait...

Long computations which yield zero are probably all for naught.