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Comment: Re:Guinness (Score 1) 130

by metaforest (#48606505) Attached to: No More Foamy Beer, Thanks To Magnets

There was a Pub in Boston that I had the pleasure of visiting in 1986 that had their Guinness flown in from Dublin. I was quite fond of Guinness at the time. The combination of it being served at room temp, and being astonishingly fresh had me thinking that I'd been drinking stale beer back home in CA. I didn't get to experience that again until I visited England in 2005 during a layover on my way to Russia. I gave up drinking Guinness after that. Here on the west coast it just doesn't taste right.

Comment: Re:Just in time. (Score 1) 219

by metaforest (#48605965) Attached to: Seagate Bulks Up With New 8 Terabyte 'Archive' Hard Drive

Seizegate -- from the late 80's and early 90's round of SCSI and PIDE drives that suffered from early spindle bearing failure and sticktion problems.
Sleazegate -- ever since... for various sleazy tricks like selling 3 year warranty drives into channels where the case manufacturer would only warranty the drives for 1 year. Bad firmware... poor customer service on warrantee issues, PR games...

  I simply will not buy prefabbed external drives anymore. I buy an empty case and stick a 'who has the best quality record this year aside from Seagate' drive in the case.

Comment: Re:Something is dodgy here. (Score 1) 184

Anyone with slightly more than passing experience using a translation tool could bounce between English and Korean to get appropriately flavored Engrish.

I'm leaning towards false flag on the emails. However if this is a Korean attack on Sony, then the goal is to utterly destroy their business. Flinging their data to the four winds as has clearly been done is going to cause a lot of knock-on effects that will result in Sony suffering a huge amount of pain over the coming months and possibly years.

Comment: I turned it off (Score 1) 328

I liked the convenience of finger print ID for logging into my phone, but after thinking on it for a bit, I realized a LEO, or a criminal.. (not much distinction these days) could physically force me to touch that little disk with a fingertip. Now I use a complex passphrase. It is a pain in the ass, but I feel better knowing that it would take a lot more effort for an adversary to cause me to give that up than a fingertip. YMMV.

Comment: Re:It helps to actually use the thing. (Score 1) 296

by metaforest (#48231565) Attached to: How Sony, Intel, and Unix Made Apple's Mac a PC Competitor

OSX is actually worse than both windows and linux when it comes to backwards compatibility...
No pre OSX apps (pre 2000ish) will run on the current versions of OSX...
No PPC-only (pre 2006) apps will run on the current versions of OSX...
16-bit windows dates from the early 90s, 64bit windows will run 32bit windows apps just fine.

16bit windows/dos is now sufficiently antiquated that its possible to emulate the hardware entirely and get reasonable performance, emulating a ppc machine to boot earlier macos is doable but some of the later ppc apps designed for g5 class systems are likely to perform worse than the real hardware.

I call bullshit.

Rosetta performs no better than any of the freeware emulators you can get now. I'd argue that with the latest i7s, an emulator like PearPC can outpace a dual core G5 (real throughput, not theoretical throughput) even though PearPC doesn't really emulate the G5 CPU yet. On top of that all of the apps where that might matter have either been ported to x64, or have been replaced in the market by something far superior that runs natively.

The current hassle over 10.7 - 10.9 sandboxing does create some grief, but that can be resolved by hosting 10.6.8 in a VMWare 6 instance, with the bonus of getting Rosetta back.

Comment: Re:Headline: "Force of nature gave life its asymme (Score 1) 120

by metaforest (#48012299) Attached to: Physicists Find Clue as To Why the DNA Double Helix Twists To the Right

It's also interesting because unlike the other two proposed mechanisms it is a result of the fundamental asymmetry in the weak force rather than an accidental boundary condition, so it implies that life everywhere is more likely than not to be right-handed, whereas the explanations involving magnetic fields will make a universe that's 50/50 right/left.

TFA goes too far with this idea; which I think is confusing the issue here. While the article focuses on DNA chirality, I think that is going too far up the chain of evolution.

There were most likely replicating molecules before DNA, and many of the building blocks for life were likely set long before DNA became the preferred genetic coding system.

What this study says, in the bigger picture, is that the chirality of many classes of molecules in early life may have been influenced by this mild bias in the weak nuclear force. What that would mean is that organisms using building blocks of the 'wrong' chirality were --over the long term-- more likely to become extinct than their peers using the same building blocks with a different chirality. Over a couple of billion years that selection pressure would weed out organisms using the 'wrong' chirality because those molecules are more likely to break when exposed to low energy beta-decay.

Now, whether this mechanism specifically influenced the chirality of DNA... there is probably no way to tell. This mechanism of chirality selection works up and down the entire evolutionary chain. And it doesn't just select for right or left... it selects the chirality that is least likely to break from this source of pressure.

Comment: Re:How is that supposed to work? (Score 1) 131

by metaforest (#47990323) Attached to: The Site That Teaches You To Code Well Enough To Get a Job

My father and I had a rough time with my budding 'hacker nature' as you describe it. I was always tearing stuff apart to see what was inside. It pissed him off that in the process of exploring I would break stuff.

In some areas, electronics, chemistry, he had some input. But he had no idea how to encourage me, or help me. He was trying to teach me Maxwell when I couldn't even get long division to cross check reliably. I felt like an idiot because I couldn't understand what he was trying to teach me. I was willful hot head and he was a hot head.

Our 'bicycle incident' ended in a huge blowup when I was 13 that deeply scarred our relationship until I was in my late 20's. He flat out refused to help me rebuild my bike. I had no access to his experience, or to the correct tools. When my 20" sears special finally started falling apart after 6 years of hard use and abuse it was 'tough shit.' Then one night he did something really stupid he berated me about it. He told me I had allowed my bike to fall apart.

I reminded him that he never even gave any suggestions for how I should go about maintaining it, even when I asked for help. I reminded him that I was not born knowing how to repair stuff, nor did I know where to find good materiel on it. The books in the library focused on 'real bikes' (10-speeds and early BMX stuff) I had figured out the basics.. oiling bearings, replacing tubes and tires. But what do I do about cracked forks, a stripped gooseneck, or broken coaster-brake retaining strap? How do I re-true a rim? He knew! Where's the guidance.... Dad?

His response to that: A serious beat down.

I gave up on bikes. I still don't like messing with them even though I like riding a lot.

I also stumbled onto a mentor. Alton was a machinist who lived near by. That man could build almost anything out of metal, and repair everything else. He had the tools, patience and enough free time to teach me a lot... mostly by dragooning me into being an apprentice.

From Alton I learned the Art of Hacking.

Eventually my Dad got over whatever it was that set our relationship on a dark path, and I forgave him. By then, though, he wasn't really a guiding influence. If anything he helps me refine my teaching skills, because he wants to understand how wear-leveling on an SD card works... He knowns each cell in a FLASH array can be written to a few thousand times before they fail, and he knows better than I do WHY they fail. He wants to know how long to expect an SD card to last before he should replace it.

So.. take the time to teach your sons and daughters what you DO know... Try not to avoid the subjects just because you are tight on time, and their sudden interest in something catches you off guard. Don't expect them to get it the way you did. Don't expect that you are a good teacher of the subject, just because you are good at it.

Comment: Re:Bullshit (Score 1) 221

by metaforest (#47970741) Attached to: Secret Service Critics Pounce After White House Breach

One second is a long time, in combat situations. Mostly that 21 foot perimeter is about retaining a buffer space so that one doesn't run out of Perception->Prediction->Commit->Respond time by letting Red get too close because they only have a knife when Blue has drawn an appropriate ranged weapon.

Having had some personal experience in this type of situation, (training and SoHK experience) I can say that 21 feet would not be enough buffer to react to a reasonably fit opponent with some training, even if the target has good training.


Comment: Re:Wake me when chimpanzees invent smelting (Score 1) 224

by metaforest (#47957061) Attached to: Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other

It took roughly 2 million years after we diverged from proto-hominids to develop smelting. Along that 2 million years our lineage passed through the development stages we see now in Chimps and other modern primates. Due to the physiological changes our line experienced through 2000 centuries our line has advanced in ways this planet has never seen before. And yet there are creatures following their own lines on this planet that, long before Sol turns into a red giant might have their moment and long after we have ceased to be the top of the planetary food chain.

This planet has seen much more devastating disruption than Homo Sapiens, and were we to drive ourselves extinct there would be other organisms that show signs of getting to where we are in a very distant future.

I don't worry much for this blue green ball. But right now, it sucks to be human, knowing what we know, and knowing what we don't know.