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Comment: Re:End state and private capitalism. (Score 1) 321

by retroworks (#47688227) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Dead Is Antivirus, Exactly?
And we reduce resource consumption as well for the sake of achievement? Keep in mind that cost savings have driven most of the conservation as well as most of the extraction of earth resources. Risking capital investment for the sake of achievement isn't something many would buy into.

Comment: Re:To be fair... (Score 0) 158

by retroworks (#47669445) Attached to: Murder Suspect Asked Siri Where To Hide a Dead Body
Thanks, and thanks tandis, anubus iv, and exomundo. Slashdot editors can't really be blamed for letting this slide through, as it was reported as such even if the reporter was a UF grad or something. Shows the worst and best of the internet. Worst is someone composes a tweet or thought or joke or stereotype and it's reported as "news" EVERYWHERE. Best is that fellow nerds on /. are essentially acting as background checkers and via internet have the tools to out the hyperbole quickly.

Comment: Re:Politically Correct Science (Score 1) 538

by retroworks (#47649399) Attached to: Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

"There is a wide consensus that the racial categories that are common in everyday usage are socially constructed, and that racial groups cannot be biologically defined" - wikipedia

There's simply no scientific basis or definition of "race" as Nicolas Wade uses the term. People in the bookstore will presume he's talking about melanin. Three hundred years ago Spaniards were considered a different "race" than Anglo Saxons or Greeks. To suggest that the "learning gene" is somehow incompatible or cannot be passed on in combination with a certain skin color / melanin gene seems obnoxious if that's not what the data show. Most "races" as defined by book-buying public are hetero-genetic, it may indeed seem to some either reckless or cynical of Wade to work "melanin and intelligence" into the book title. If I inherit dark melanin from my father and intelligence from my mother, I'd be more than just "politically correct" to be pissed off at Wade for implying that my dad's skin color negates mom's smarts.

It is controversial enough that tendency for intelligence can be inherited. The fact that skin color can also be inherited is true. Height can also be inherited, and hairlines. To insinuate, through the title of the book, that "race" is more correlated than height/hairline may be true (or not, I don't know), but if it's not determinative of intelligence, it doesn't belong it the title. Some people objecting may indeed object out of so-called "political correctness", but unless the skin color gene is somehow genetically incompatible with intelligence, it's just creating a non-useful stereotype.

Since there is no link to the letter of objection, those /.ers whining about "political correctness" are merely guessing at the motive of behind the letter of objection. My personal guess is, "don't take years of our scientific data and pick two traits - melanin and learning - and imply that those two traits, out of thousands of other traits, are tied together in some way just to promote your book sales."

+ - Potentially Immortal Single Cell Life form Eats, Breathes, Electrons ->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "University of Southern California, Los Angeles researchers are studying forms of bacteria, found on the sea bed, which can feed directly on electrons from electric current. Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. NewScientist reports on cells which make ATP, a molecule that acts as an energy storage unit for almost all living things. This life form needs no sugar or protein, it can consume electrons, from electricity, directly.

"To grow these bacteria, the team collects sediment from the seabed, brings it back to the lab, and inserts electrodes into it. First they measure the natural voltage across the sediment, before applying a slightly different one. A slightly higher voltage offers an excess of electrons; a slightly lower voltage means the electrode will readily accept electrons from anything willing to pass them off. Bugs in the sediments can either "eat" electrons from the higher voltage, or "breathe" electrons on to the lower-voltage electrode, generating a current. That current is picked up by the researchers as a signal of the type of life they have captured.""

Link to Original Source

Comment: Meat is in 2nd Link (Score 1) 82

by retroworks (#47496503) Attached to: High School Students Not Waiting For Schools To Go Online

The blog about the second link (2013 in particular doesn't really add much value.

The UCLA report, however, is pretty interesting. Many of the application strategies described were the same my daughter (entering college in September) and wife and I adapted. We told her that the mortgage crisis of 2008 was triggered by a bunch of adults who were told at 17-18 that signing student debt notes for university was rational and wise, and that it so confused people that it's no surprise they never saved to buy cars or houses and brought the whole economy down. We figured that more and more applicants were coming from overseas, which is a good thing as otherwise the middle tier colleges in the USA will collapse. Like the averages in the report, we told her to apply to many more colleges, as the cost of the application (about $100 per college) was probably less than the standard deviation between financial aid offers from the 1/4-1/3 of institutions she'd get admitted to.

If you are going to apply to college, or have kids headed that way, the report is definitely worth reading. We managed to find a way to get the full cost down to about $15K including room and board. All the things people were told to consider in choosing a college 20-30 years ago don't matter. You can choose based on selectivity, class size, strength of degree programs, etc. but aside from geography the only thing you will remember is people - roomates, classmates, bandmates, workmates, and professors - and there's no way to analyze that in advance, so just take the deal you can afford.

Comment: Tinkerer's Blessing vs. Resource Curse (Score 2) 145

The "curse of natural resources", also known as the paradox of plenty, refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources. The skills to succeed are in government control of billion dollar resource control contracts, and being related to people with sharp elbows.

By contrast, nations which have succeeded despite having few natural resources - Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, etc. - usually develop from import for repair and refurbishment. Fixer economies reward problem solving skills and education. "Good enough" tech. I like Hartree's phrase "like locking the toolbox until the car is fixed" (mod him up please)

"Every man is, no doubt, by nature, first and principally recommended to his own care; and as he is fitter to take care of himself than of any other person, it is fit and right that it should be so." - Adam Smith

Comment: Bigger blackness (Score 1) 238

I moderated /. (emitted my energy). But the world is not more enlightened, because I was counter-moderated (anti-doesn't-matter). We may need this device/material to more accurately graph our lack of enlightenment, given the energy (carbon) submitted. Already available, BTW, on /. beta.

Comment: "It's just matter of time, money, and effort." (Score 5, Interesting) 91

It's well established that plenty of consumers discard or donate hard disks without taking any precautions, and are playing roulette with their identity. It's also well established that hundreds of millions of tons of this equipment is replaced, resold, stolen or discarded, and most people who wind up with the secondary device lack either the time, money, or effort to scavenge data off the phone. If in fact someone is in the identity theft business by buying phones on ebay, they'd profile themselves pretty well after a dozen phone purchases (what do these data-theft-victims have in common?). And who knows how many phones they'd have to buy which had been wiped in some way (and required more time, money and effort)?

This isn't a bad article in that it birddogs simple things you can do before selling your used phone, and if it elevates the perception of risk in order to get people to do something easy, that's appropriate. But in response to people who are shooting and burning their devices to be "100% sure" that no one spends the time, money and effort to follow them... that's appropriate if you are a high risk target. If you have stuff on your phone of interest to the FBI or KGB, the amount of time+money+effort may be less than or = the amount of risk. Your call.

But there is a lot of hyperbole out there about the percentage of identity theft which is traced to secondary market devices, and the billions of dollars in secondary market sales on sites like ebay represent time+money+effort interest in new product makers to spend fanning flames. Again it's appropriate that the article raises concerns and then points to simple efforts a consumer can take to increase the barrier-to-entry to their personal data. But the army of ebay buyers getting their porn fixes by buying and then de-encrypting cell phones to retrieve ugly selfies seems exaggerated. Warn people about sharks if they are swimming in shark infested waters, don't tell people that most swimmers will be attacked by sharks.

Tear your mail in 8 pieces and someone could dig it out of the trash and tape it together, but the time+money+effort that represents is significant. I remember people selling paper shredding equipment in the 1990s who described armies of Iranian students or Chinese peasants who could be buying torn paper and taping it back together. If they know it's the President of the USA's mail, they no doubt will expend that time+money+effort... Presidents should assume they are swimming in a shark tank. For most of us, ebay resales are a swimming pool, and warnings of shark attacks get tiresome.

+ - Dubai's Climate-Controlled "Dome City": Members Only?->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Motherboard.vice reports on Dubai's planned 7Km "pedestrian city", complete with retractable air conditioned dome. The mega-project is projected to open at the United Arab Emirates World Expo Trade Fair (2020). Dubai's demographics — 85% expatriot imported labor (mostly Asian) — is already one of the most polarized by income level, and Motherboard finds the air conditioned cityscape artwork "dystopian". Prime Minister Mohammed Bin Rasheed, on the other hand, sees it as a move towards a tourism economy, and part of the kingdom's plan for post-petroleum. "We plan to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision," Bin Rasheed explains in a press release.

Details of the "Mall of the World" project include:
- World’s largest mall occupying 8 million sq. ft. connected to 100 hotels and serviced apartments buildings with 20,000 hotel rooms
- Temperature-controlled covered retail street network spreading over 7 km
- Largest indoor family theme park in the world
- Wellness district catering to medical tourists in 3 million sq. ft."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Learned Behavior can be Passed On (Score 2, Interesting) 157

by retroworks (#47440505) Attached to: Chimpanzee Intelligence Largely Determined By Genetics
Can't remember whether I saw this on /. or another news site, but the cutting edge research on evolution has been called "neo Lamarckism". Intelligence itself can be passed on genetically. A recent "Epigenetic inheritance" study showed that mice who were taught to associate an odor with danger had baby mice who reacted strongly to the same odor. (Science Daily 12/2013). It may be that learning or education "triggers" latent genes. Lamarck may not turn out to be a Tesla, but Darwin is unfinished business.

Comment: Need fast-acting yeast (Score 2) 159

by retroworks (#47438119) Attached to: Biohackers Are Engineering Yeast To Make THC

They better act fast if they want to skirt the law with yeast, while there's still a law to break. In USA, Pot will be legal nationwide by 2018

At least that's been my bet. According to the LA Times today, the DEA in Washington is showing "fatigue" at enforcing it and the White House is ready to give up on the "war on pot".

Comment: "Don't Worry, it's only 400k volts" (Score 1) 162

by retroworks (#47430305) Attached to: Hair-Raising Technique Detects Drugs, Explosives On Human Body

This is intriguing. Jokes about tasers and cattleprods will abound, and it would definitely get plenty of late night comedy attention. But if the science is good, it will have a lot of commercial applications. As the employer of several commercial truck drivers (and a CDL who takes the tests myself), I'd be very interested in having one at the doorway of our employment office (to scare away certain substance abusing job applicants, mainly).

What it doesn't really address is the "bottleneck" equation at TSA. We've already reached the breakeven point where a suicide bomber can kill more people standing in the incoming security line of the airport than he'd kill bringing down a plane (arguably TSA is mainly a property crime and marketing psychology tool). Also I wonder what the "false positives" rates are and how many people will miss flight connections. You are going after one out of a billion flyers, it would have to either be wickedly accurate in order to achieve it's outcome, which is to redirect suicide bombers from airplanes and towards softer targets.>/p>

+ - British Airways Experiments with Electronic Mood Reading Blankets->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "From Bloomberg Businessweek: "British Airways (BAY:LN), the airline that pioneered the flat-bed seats in the 1990s, has taken the business of in-flight sleep to its next (logical? absurd?) level: The airline has developed a blanket to analyze the “meditative state” of premium cabin fliers. The wool “happiness blanket” is embedded with tiny fiber-optic LEDs that change color based on brainwaves transmitted via Bluetooth from a band worn on a passenger’s head. Blue signifies calm, peace, and relaxation and is seen most often when the person is sleeping deeply."

A British Airways video (embedded in the article) describes how its gizmo monitors "neurons in the brain" sensing when a passenger is enjoying a state of well being. Information is transferred via bluetooth to microfibers in the blanket, which turn bright red if the passenger feels anxious. Now, the video explains, British Airways knows — scientifically — that people like to sleep during their flight."

Link to Original Source

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