Forgot your password?

Comment: Tree Bog (Score 5, Interesting) 167

by pfafrich (#39134599) Attached to: Gates Foundation Makes Progress On Reinvented Toilets
Best and simpest idea for a toilet I've seen is the tree bog. Its a raised platform over an enclosure space fenced off with chicken wire. Around the bog you plant willow or other greedy trees which rapidly consume the nutrients, effectively turning the poo into biomass. Aerobic decomposition has advantages over anaerobic decomposition and there is no smell if you use a layer of sawdust. The whole thing requires no maintenance as the poo decomposes very quickly. Not good for urban situations but ideal in rural environments.

Comment: Distance between the eyes does not change much (Score 3, Interesting) 215

by pfafrich (#38481134) Attached to: Face-Scanning Vending Machine Denies Children Access To Pudding
A while back I did some work looking at how people faces change with age for a medicinal application. One quite surprising thing is how little the distance between the eyes actually change, quite young children will have the the same distance as adults. On the other hand noses keep growing throughout life.

Comment: Sexual Discharges (Score 1) 484

by pfafrich (#38163642) Attached to: Lego Bible Too Racy For Sam's Club
Have a look at Old Testament > The Law > Sexual Discharges. NSFW. Which starts with the line, 'When a man ejaculates semen...'.

Now in its original context I've no problem with the written version, entirely in keeping with the spirit of the book. That section was never intended to be illustrated, indeed the illustrations go against the moral spirit of book. Its intended as book of rules of conduct not as a spectacle of images to be gawped at. I'm generally in favour of using illustrations to help interpret books making them more accessible. Here its just inappropriate and Sam's Club is entirely right to ban it.

Later in the same section Leviticus 15:28-15:30, the bibles advocating the large scale slaughter of doves. Apparently women should sacrifice two doves or pigeons eight days after the end of her period. So thats 24 doves a year. Its a good thing all christians don't follow this as we would very soon rid the world of doves. I now know what I'll ask the next time the Jehovah Witnesses come knocking on my door.


+ - Ask Slashdot: Science Sights to See? 2

Submitted by
steevven1 writes "My girlfriend and I are planning a long trip across the United States for this summer, and we'd like to see the usual sights, but we both have a bit of a geeky side, and we were trying to think of science-related marvels to see along the way. So far, we have thought of places like the Very Large Array in New Mexico and Fermilab in Illinois. Any suggestions?"

Comment: Re:Geometric Proofs? (Score 1) 247

by pfafrich (#37424348) Attached to: British Schoolkids To Be Taught Computer Coding
But didn't we all start by writing some spaghetti code. Before we can teach good programming design they need to experiment with a print statements, and maybe a loop and an if statement. These constructs are all translatable between languages. This is really a very early stage, they are getting to grips with basic algebra at that age, don't expect too much from the average student.

Comment: Reminds me of a security conference (Score 1) 887

by pfafrich (#36722560) Attached to: DOJ: We Can Force You To Decrypt That Laptop
This reminds me of a security conference I went to. After a talk about computer forensics by someone from the UK police, I asked what they did about encrypted messages. He replied that they "normally just ask for the password", he didn't go into details about quite what "ask" involved.

Comment: Terrible statistics (Score 1) 295

by pfafrich (#36372882) Attached to: Average Gamer Is 37 Years Old
If you look at the PDF you see that they have grouped the ages into three categories. Under 18, 18-49 and 50+. It looks like they have calculated the average from just three data points. As the 18-50 group is so big its skews the average towards the middle value of that group 33. A finer division of groups would probably show a greater number of younger people playing games.

Comment: Speaking up for literature (Score 1) 292

by pfafrich (#35913292) Attached to: Revolution of the Science Fiction Authors
I can roughly divide the books I've read into two piles: those that have left a lasting impression on me and those I enjoyed but ultimately forgot about. In the first pile there in a lot of Science Fiction and a lot of the "literature", in the latter goes a fair bit si-fi and fantasy and some more mainstream stuff.

Of the really great books I'd put Kafka, Orwell (1984, Animal Farm), Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha, The Glass Bead Game) and those which shaped the way I think about things. Some of these could be called science fiction, they use settings removed from the real world, but also provide some commentary on how we live now.

So much si-fi does fall into a formulaic adventure romp. There is little to learn from these, indeed they can be dangerous - as the characters can be idealised heros, setting unrealistic role models. One exception to this was Moorcock's eternal champion, initially a hero but by the end just a slaughterer of half the population. Perhaps a truer view of conflict than most.

Yes a bit of escape can be fun, but there are other reasons we read fiction. I like books which give me something I was not expecting, and shed a bit of light on life. Its been a while since I read a modern science-fiction book which has done that.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai