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Comment: Re:Use PostgreSQL (Score 1) 272

by rycamor (#46705059) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Which NoSQL Database For New Project?

A few hundred million rows is no trouble to PostgreSQL, if configured right. And if you go beyond that there are some great ways to deal with the problem:

1. Partitioning: Make a large table composed of smaller subset tables. This is a great way to deal with what is primarily historical data, since you can partition by month, quarter, or whatever time period makes sense for your application. Then, when it comes time to archive or delete old data, all you have to do is migrate that month's table to the archive location, or just drop it. MUCH less expensive than a DELETE with a WHERE clause.

2. BigSQL: if you want the power of NoSQL but the querying ability of PostgreSQL, check out this package.

3. If you are starting to get serious data, hopefully you are making serious money. There are scores of commercial entities that can help you get a lot more performance out of PostgreSQL. Some of them have add-ons for performance, or have just gotten a lot of experience and good ideas on how to deisgn a solution.

These steps may sound like a pain, but NoSQL brings all sorts of pain with it, also. Limited querying ability, many extra measures required for data integrity, stability issues... bizarre limitations in some areas... Think these things through carefully, and don't fall for anyone's hype.

Comment: Re:Replusive (Score 1) 505

by rycamor (#46131977) Attached to: The JavaScript Juggernaut Rolls On

Exactly. I'm sick of all this talk of how bad Javascript is. What were the alternatives in 1997? Brendan Eich had to solve a problem quickly and actually get something into production. Same with Tim Berners-Lee and HTML. Not perfect or elegant technologies, BUT they actually solved a problem within a finite time without expending ridiculous amounts of brainpower in design-by-committee cycles. The real world directly benefited from these solutions.

Really, Javascript only has two major problems: 1. The security model (freezing of libraries so they can't be modified by other code loaded in the browser) and 2. A few ugly aspects of how the language handles this or that type of expression... most of which have been solved in latest versions of Javascript (Harmony). Most of the other problems are just questions of implementation and add-on technologies (WebGL, Websockets, etc.. expanding the scope of a scripting language into areas that may... not... just... be the wisest)

Yes, there are all sorts of esoteric reasons why Javascript is a Terrible Lisp, and a Downright Horrible Scheme, and an Ugly Hybrid of Object-Oriented and Functional, blah blah blah... So what? It's meant to solve small finite problems in the front end. Let's keep it that way, and just clean it up. Fortunately, it is a fairly simple language.

To all those who want a type-checked, compiled language running in the browser... Uh no. I don't want to allow any site to run code I can't inspect.

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 1) 400

by rycamor (#44831729) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

Generally, if the U.S. government is committed to an idea, that's my first tip-off that it is a bad one. At least, anytime since about 1913 when the statists and authoritarians took over.

Notice I didn't issue a blanket "grains are harmful". I stick to the blindingly obvious: processed sugars and highly-processed grains (and the foods they tend to be packaged in) are harmful. Even the government scientists will tell you that whole-grain bread made from freshly-milled wheat is better for you than Twinkies or that Wonderbread with a 2-month shelf life. Problem is, they still subsidize the hell out of the raw materials for Twinkies and Wonderbread. They would also (grudginly) agree that fresh vegetables picked that day from your garden are probably more nutritious than something harvested halfway across the country and shipped through three major distribution hubs before arriving at your local supermarket.

If you just look at things simply and empirically, it is very easy to test these questions. Problem is Americans are in love with "Science" as an overarching authority, and industry as a supplier of all needs, and would rather see huge edifices of logical supposition built upon studies done decades ago (of often questionable financial sources) rather than look at the evidence right before their eyes. Vary your diet for a month, and see if there's a difference in your health. Ain't that hard to do...

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 1) 400

by rycamor (#44813379) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

Good luck generating 100%-accurate data for anything related to diet in humans without violating a bazillion ethical codes. You could merely institute draconian monitoring of your test subjects in which case you'll end up kicking everybody out of every group but the junk-food group for non-compliance. Or, you could just lock all your test subjects in cages and feed them rations of the appropriate type, allowing them to nearly starve if they refuse to eat them.

Feeding tests in lab rats are fairly practical, tests with humans are anything but, mostly for the reasons we already agree on. That's why everybody has their favorite diet and an argument about why it is better than all the others.

I didn't say 100% accurate data but a hypothetical 100% satisfactory evidence. The "could" meant it was hypothetical, as in "even IF". Now, I know it's impossible to be 100% about this stuff, but we have abundantly satisfactory evidence just from looking around us and at the food habits of those we know, that processed foods high in sugars and grains do horrible things to our health. Anyone I know who has modified their diet toward fresh, whole foods, cutting back on the processed carbs has come out a whole new person. It ain't rocket science, nor does it need to be.

Comment: Re:you ate them fried with cinnamon, didn't you (Score 1) 400

by rycamor (#44810823) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

Sweet potato "fries" (actually baked) are really tasty too. Just slice like steak fries, brush on some melted butter, olive oil or coconut oil, sprinkle a little salt (celtic sea salt is really good here), and bake for a half hour at 350 or whatever works for you. Crunchy salty-sweet. Almost like junk food, but without the transfats, preservatives and insect parts at acceptable levels.

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 2) 400

by rycamor (#44809605) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

AFAIK most of those boggy fields have been carefully engineered to be that way. Ironically, according to Masanobu Fukuoka rice yields can be higher without flooded fields.

There is an incredible amount of momentum behind both bad farming practices and bad eating practices. The modern world tries correct this momentum by adding technological backfixes rather than address the problems themselves.

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 1) 400

by rycamor (#44808701) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

I agree that subsidies played a big part, but subsidies didn't force people to eat the grain. They just made the lesser foods more available and cheap. People are always following paths of least resistance to their detriment. This is the part that is almost impossible to change in a population.

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 1) 400

by rycamor (#44808601) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

Yes, it is extremely hard to get people to change eating habits. I'm willing to bet just getting them to change from white rice to golden rice will be all but impossible. Food remains humanity's biggest "decision bug". You can take modern educated people, provide them 100% satisfactory evidence that replacing processed foods (mainly sugar and grain) with good quality vegetables and proteins will give them abundantly more energy, better mood, health, even good looks, not to mention a longer, more active life, and they will just say shrug and return to their established habit. It takes an extremely self-directed and self-disciplined person to change a diet when something lesser, but immediately-gratifying is available.

Notice also, this is rice. These food/culture problems always seem to center around grains and starchy foods. Those foods offer similar instant gratification to sugar. Quick elevations in blood glucose, followed by longer-term energy crashes. I think people get addicted to the blood sugar swings. I know it took me some serious mental reprogramming to stop centering my diet around sugars and starches.

Comment: Re:"The only problem? It's GMO." (Score 5, Insightful) 400

by rycamor (#44806003) Attached to: Interview With Professor Potrykus, Inventor of Golden Rice

No kidding. The anti-Luddites are just as bad as the Luddites when it comes to this stuff. There is a whole spectrum of food available without needing to rely on someone's patented experiment.

With sweet potato, it's not just vitamin A. they have about the highest concentration and spectrum of vitamins you will find in any common crop. And it's freaking easy to grow. The problem is not lack of technology, but lack of simple knowledge and willingness to apply it.

Another crop that is ridiculously easy to grow in temperate and tropical zones is the moringa tree, which produces copious edible leaves and seed pods, with a near-miraculous nutritional profile. Unfortunately, try to get poor Africans to grow it and eat it and they will often turn up their noses in disgust, calling it "poor people food". Sweet potato often receives the same low-brow snobbery in the USA, actually.

The problem of nutrition is always more cultural than anything else. Look at the USA itself, where abundant nutritious food is available, yet the average American gets most of his calories from high-fructose corn syrup (delivered to your gullet in many sneaky ways). And when you add up HFCS and highly-processed grains, that probably accounts for a good 85% of the calories eaten in this country.

So yes, "golden rice" might solve a problem, in the sense that it would fool culturally-bound people who are unwilling to forego rice as their staple food. But it's hardly the only way. And I do remain highly suspicious of the long-term risk/benefit scenario with GMOs.

Comment: Re:Sugar Beet (Score 3, Interesting) 242

by rycamor (#44543553) Attached to: Looking Beyond Corn and Sugarcane For Cost-Effective Biofuels

Yes, there's a world of difference between fresh beets and the canned garbage you buy. And there is another world of difference between 5-day-old beets you get in the produce section and beets you just picked from your own garden. Fresh beet juice isn't half bad, also.

Beets are easy to grow, and since they are in the brassica family (along with broccoli, collards, kale, etc..) the leaves are quite healthy for you (yes, broccoli leaves are good eating), and good in a salad, or cooked form. I didn't find out any of this until I started growing my own garden.

Comment: Re:No Obligatory XKCD (Score 1) 106

I think modern developers have a very fuzzy idea of what "business logic" means. I model business logic all the time in my databases, completely without the use of stored procedures (or even custom functions for the most part). Just the fact that you use a foreign key constraint happens to be business logic, and it *absolutely* belongs in the database.

This idea that a database is just an adjunct to the application only works for startup companies or lightweight web applications. Once you have a mature company doing anything of any real complexity, you will end up with such problems as

a. databases being accessed by more than one application.
b. databases that outlive application (or several applications)
c. enough tragic "oops" moments from the application team that the company finally hires a real DBA and/or data architect to make sure that no matter what, the data has trustworthy characteristics and integrity on its own.

Yes, data IS more important to a company than your application. Get over it. Just like the money in the bank (and who it belongs to) is more important to the bank than its tellers. It's just a fact of life.

It's time to boot, do your boot ROMs know where your disk controllers are?