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Comment: Re:Memorizing site-unique passwords isn't possible (Score 2) 194

by Rei (#49350175) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess

Yeah, the suggested method for generating passwords generates needlessly long passwords. The total entropy is good, but the entropy per character is pretty poor. You get much better entropy per character with abbreviation passwords, where you have a sentence or group of random words and you use the first letter from each, or second, or last, or alternating, or whatever suits you. It's still not as much entropy per character as a random pattern, but it's much better than writing out full words - and pops into your head just as fast (because it is, in essence, the same).

Comment: Re: what if NASA gets the wrong 4 meter-or-so boul (Score 1) 93

I think there's already a 2030 mission in the works to send the boulder back with flowers, chocolates, and an apology letter inscribed on a golden disc that reveals a YouTube compilation of Carl Sagan quotes if placed in a laserdisc player. (The instructions on the sleeve for constructing such a device simply say "This product has been discontinued" in a mixture of pulsar coordinates and atomic oscillations.)

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 5, Insightful) 521

by Rei (#49345311) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Are people really going to miss yet another totally fake show pretending to be reality? Is it just because this one combined cars and Daily Mail-style politics?

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for a primadonna for whom curses at an employee for 20 minutes and then physically assaults him up for half a minute (without any resistance from his victim) before someone pulled him off, all because the Clarkson's food wasn't warm. And this is hardly the first time Clarkson has behaved like this, he was already on "final warning" after a string of other incidents. What befalls him is his own bloody fault. And all of the abuse that the victim got over this whole thing... my favorite tweet on the subject was:

"Man assaults another man and victim receives abuse because people can’t watch a TV show about cars. Bravo society. "

Comment: Most of Japan is very beautiful... (Score 4, Interesting) 184

by Rei (#49342927) Attached to: Japan To Build 250-Mile-Long, Four Storey-High Wall To Stop Tsunamis

.... but their beaches, usually not so much. So hopefully this won't be too much of an eyesore. Japan is usually pretty good about trying to fit human-made structures into the landscape; my friends and I had a running joke when we were there: "They have the prettiest drainage ditches here!" ;) That said, a 250-mile long, 4-story "anything", that's going to be hard to make look nice.

I'm rather curious about what kind of concrete they're going to use. Japan has been a pioneer in the use of fiber-reinforced concrete, I wonder if they'll use that in lieu of steel that may need cathodic protection in such a high salt environment?

Comment: Re:Keyword "apparently" (Score 1) 102

by Rei (#49342817) Attached to: The One Thousand Genes You Could Live Without

Well, not exactly. The answer to the question of how the immune system can defeat a foe that is mutating and evolving so quickly is "it also is mutating and evolving quickly". Immunoglobulin genes in B cells mutate very rapidly. Those whose antigen binds best with an invader are stimulated to reproduce (and evolve more), ultimately differentiating into plasma B cells (whose job it is to mass produce antibodies) and memory B cells (which stay alive for long periods of time, allowing the body to "remember" how to fight off an invader that it fought off in the past).

That said, this only applies to genes responsible for antibody production, and only in B cells.

Comment: Re:floppy disk (Score 2) 102

by Rei (#49342779) Attached to: The One Thousand Genes You Could Live Without

Where do you get that? Wikipedia says that the human genome is 3,23473 billion base pairs. I mean, you could compress that to fit on a CD, but it won't fit at one byte per BP. Won't even fit at 2 bits per BP.

And if we want to think of a BP like a letter in a piece of code, with an average programming code line length of say 15 non-whitespace characters, that corresponds to a program 216 million lines long. That'd be no little program...

Of course, only a tiny fraction of our DNA codes for what we would consider to be the "interesting stuff".

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." -- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928

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