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Education

Ask Slashdot: Terminally Ill - What Wisdom Should I Pass On To My Geek Daughter? 698

Posted by Soulskill
from the f*#&-cancer dept.
An anonymous reader writes: I am a scientist and educator who has been enjoying and learning from Slashdot since the late 90s. Now I come to you, my geek brothers and sisters, for help. I've been diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, which you will remember is what took Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch from us. My condition is incurable. Palliative chemotherapy may delay the inevitable, but a realistic assessment suggests that I have anywhere from two to six months of "quality" time left, and likely not more than a year in total.

I am slowly coming to terms with my imminent death, but what bothers me most is that I will be leaving my wife alone, and that my daughter will have to grow up without her father. She is in sixth grade, has an inquisitive and sharp mind, and is interested in science and music. She seems well on the path to becoming a "girl geek" like her mother, an outcome I'd welcome.

Since I will not be around for all of the big events in her life, I am going to create a set of video messages for her that she can watch at those important times or just when she's having a bad day. I would like to do this before my condition progresses to the point that I am visibly ill, so time is short.

In the videos I will make clear how much I treasure the time we've spent together and the wonderful qualities I see in her. What other suggestions do you have? What did you need to hear at the different stages of your life? What wisdom would have been most helpful to you? At what times did you especially need the advice of a parent? And especially for my geek sisters, how can I help her navigate the unique issues faced by girls and women in today's world?

Please note that I'm posting anonymously because I don't want this to be about me. I'd prefer that the focus be on my daughter and how I can best help her. Thank you so much for your help.
Cellphones

Pakistanis Must Provide Fingerprints Or Give Up Cellphone 134

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-donate-kidney-to-keep-tablet dept.
schwit1 sends this report from the Washington Post: Cellphones didn't just arrive in Pakistan. But someone could be fooled into thinking otherwise, considering the tens of millions of Pakistanis pouring into mobile phone stores these days. In one of the world's largest — and fastest — efforts to collect biometric information, Pakistan has ordered cellphone users to verify their identities through fingerprints for a national database being compiled to curb terrorism. If they don't, their service will be shut off, an unthinkable option for many after a dozen years of explosive growth in cellphone usage here.

Prompted by concerns about a proliferation of illegal and untraceable SIM cards, the directive is the most visible step so far in Pakistan's efforts to restore law and order after Taliban militants killed 150 students and teachers at a school in December. Officials said the six terrorists who stormed the school in Peshawar were using cellphones registered to one woman who had no obvious connection to the attackers.
China

Tech Companies Worried Over China's New Rules For Selling To Banks 127

Posted by Soulskill
from the worried-all-the-way-to-the-bank dept.
An anonymous reader writes: China is putting into place a new set of regulations for how banks interact with technology, and it has many companies worried. While the rules might enhance security for the Chinese government, they devastate it for everyone else. For example, not only will China require that companies turn over source code for any software sold to banks, the companies building the software (and hardware) must also build back doors into their systems. The bad news for us is that most companies can't afford to simply refuse the rules and write China off. Tech industry spending is estimated to reach $465 billion in 2015, and it's projected for a huge amount of growth.
Mars

Lost Beagle2 Probe Found 'Intact' On Mars 130

Posted by Soulskill
from the so-close-and-yet-so-far dept.
New submitter Stolga sends this report from the BBC: The missing Mars robot Beagle2 has been found on the surface of the Red Planet, apparently intact. High-resolution images taken from orbit have identified its landing location, and it looks to be in one piece. The UK-led probe tried to make a soft touchdown on the dusty world on Christmas Day, 2003, using parachutes and airbags — but no radio contact was ever made with the probe. Many scientists assumed it had been destroyed in a high-velocity impact.

The new pictures, acquired by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, give the lie to that notion, and hint at what really happened to the European mission. Beagle's design incorporated a series of deployable "petals," on which were mounted its solar panels. From the images, it seems that this system did not unfurl fully. "Without full deployment, there is no way we could have communicated with it as the radio frequency antenna was under the solar panels," explained Prof Mark Sims, Beagle's mission manager from Leicester University.

Comment: Re:Great to see (Score 2) 152

by orasio (#48802529) Attached to: Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

I don't know whether what he says is true, but beggars are not a typical sight in communism.
In a communist state, they would either not get much gain by begging on their streets (think Cuba, at least when foreigners are not involved), and or be thrown in jail by doing it (like what they say happens in North Korea)
Also, political leaders enjoying luxury goods and meals is the norm in most countries, communist ("real" or not) or otherwise.

Comment: Re: Satellite not needed (Score 1) 115

by orasio (#48651171) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

I find it quite believable, seeing how the Venezuelan govt simply issues orders to all ISPs to block the IP ranges of sites that make them uncomfortable; a famous victim is DolarToday.com, a site that tracks the black market currency exchange rate and now publishes unflattering news and opinion. I'd include a few traceroutes but I'm posting from my phone. Even pastebin.com was blocked for more than a year (haven't checked recently) because a list of URLs with leaked emails wad posted there.

Currency black markets are not "unconfortable", they are _illegal_. I'm sure there are examples of censorship in Venezuela, but that's not one.

Comment: Re:Modern Cellular is the way to go (Score 1) 115

by orasio (#48651137) Attached to: Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority

My city, Montevideo, an oldish city, with some similarities to Havana, was also wired by a state owned telco with fiber. Also most of the urban country is already fibered.
It's taking a bit over a couple of years, most of the city is covered, and the smallest plan is 30 dollars (or free if you a single Giga per month is enough for you).
Of course, 35 dollars in Cuba might be expensive, but also most of the cost they had here was labor, construction salaries are high. They wouldn't have that problem over there. They could even have you dig the ditches yourself if you want internet, dammit.

Anyhow, I would go with LTE. It's probably a lot cheaper, and flexible enough.

Businesses

Displaced IT Workers Being Silenced 398

Posted by samzenpus
from the nobody-spoke-for-me dept.
dcblogs writes A major problem with the H-1B debate is the absence of displaced IT workers in news media accounts. Much of the reporting is one-sided — and there's a reason for this. An IT worker who is fired because he or she has been replaced by a foreign, visa-holding employee of an offshore outsourcing firm will sign a severance agreement. This severance agreement will likely include a non-disparagement clause that will make the fired worker extremely cautious about what they say on Facebook, let alone to the media. On-the-record interviews with displaced workers are difficult to get. While a restrictive severance package may be one handcuff, some are simply fearful of jeopardizing future job prospects by talking to reporters. Now silenced, displaced IT workers become invisible and easy to ignore. This situation has a major impact on how the news media covers the H-1B issue and offshore outsourcing issues generally.

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 1) 196

by orasio (#48516211) Attached to: IoT Is the Third Big Technology 'Wave' In the Last 50 Years, Says Harvard

Networked is not the same. Internet connected or something like that might be better.
Also, networked _might_ imply wired for some, while IoT is more in the line of wireless, standalone.
Internet enabled is good, but already means other old, unrelated things.

It is a new trend, that is actually gaining some momentum right now, cheap systems on chip, BLE, and stuff, and it needs a name, so others what you are talking about. IoT is as good a name as any other. It doesn't really bother me, even if it's silly.

No reason to keep whining about it. There are possibly tens of thousands of tech people reading this today, if you have a better name, descriptive, not stupid, or whatever, please share it, below the line ----v , we might like it, start using it instead of IoT, and it just might catch on.
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Comment: Re:Oh no (Score 2) 297

by orasio (#48350515) Attached to: Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

They are identical on paper, but not for a person.

It's a lot easier to get energy from doughnuts than from broccoli.

It's 5 medium doughnuts versus 5 broccoli bunches. I'm pretty sure I can have 5 doughnuts in a sitting, but not 5 broccoli bunches.

There's a lot of fiber in broccoli, so even if you manage to have all that broccoli, you will have a hard time extracting many calories from it. In any case, it will be slow, so at least it keeps you full for a longer time than doughnuts.

Comment: Re:Oh no (Score 4, Interesting) 297

by orasio (#48349249) Attached to: Study: Body Weight Heavily Influenced By Heritable Gut Microbes

That's what is being done nowadays, counting calories.

The problem is that calorie consumption is not constant. It's more like household economy.

If you earn (eat) a lot every day, you will probably end up with a lot of savings (belly fat).

One way of getting rid of those savings (belly fat) is taking a lower paying job (dieting). The problem is that your savings don't magically dissappear, and you can make changes that allow you to keep your savings (fat), even with a lower income (daily calorie intake).

Another way you can get rid of your savings is just spending more daily (like exercise). The problem is that, if you have a good enough income (daily intake), and sizable savings, you will only lose capital (weight) in the long run, no sizable short term effect.

So, a fat person body works, in what respects to calories, like a financially savvy household. Going skinny would be like going broke. Some of us could benefit from a way to teach our bodies to do a bit worse in the calorie finance department. Could be a lot easier than just dieting, exercising or both.

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