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Comment: Overall effect of phytoestrogens: Still unknown. (Score 2) 227

by Futurepower(R) (#48442385) Attached to: Doubling Saturated Fat In Diet Does Not Increase It In Blood
"... consuming so many phytoestrogens than men are growing boobs."

From the National Institutes of Health, a free PDF: The pros and cons of phytoestrogens. The author considered 308 scientific sources and came to the conclusion that not enough is known to indicate that phytoestrogens are good or bad for humans.

Comment: Who gets the $314 million? (Score 1) 150

by Futurepower(R) (#48439045) Attached to: Mozilla's 2013 Report: Revenue Up 1% To $314M; 90% From Google
It would be very interesting to know who gets the $314 million every year.

During the same years that easy Google millions have been pouring in, Mozilla Foundation has become much more sloppily managed, it seems to me.

Firefox has become much less stable in the past few years when many windows and tabs are open for a long time. The most recent version crashes without activating the crash reporter. Instead of fixing the crashes, Mozilla Foundation has prevented reporting of them.

Apparently Mozilla Foundation is trying to discourage the use of the Thunderbird email client. The newest version of Thunderbird, 31.2.0, has the Save-As bug. All file saves are Save As, and suggest a different file name than name with which the email was saved before. The Save-As bug has been reported, but no new version has been released, giving the impression that the bug is deliberate.

Other obvious bugs were introduced into Thunderbird. For example, the fields for email addresses are much more difficult to read.

Pale Moon has been removing some of the issues in their FossaMail version of Thunderbird. I haven't tested it to see if the Save-As bug is fixed.

Comment: Re:What's so special about Google? (Score 1) 302

by c (#48438073) Attached to: The EU Has a Plan To Break Up Google

but to any thinking person it's quite clear that the total dominance of a few global superplayers is not beneficial to the market or the people.

I don't entirely disagree, but before they have a go at kicking around Google, there's a whole host of larger corporations with a much longer and broader history of abuse that need a kicking first. That they don't seem to be interested in taking them on suggests that the "benefit of the market or the people" isn't the primary goal behind this little initiative.

Comment: You might like: "Marxism of the Right" (Score 1) 195

by Paul Fernhout (#48431651) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

"This is no surprise, as libertarianism is basically the Marxism of the Right. If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function. Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics. And like Marxism, it has its historical myths and a genius for making its followers feel like an elect unbound by the moral rules of their society.
    The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. Simple physical security, which even a prisoner can possess, is not freedom, but one cannot live without it. Prosperity is connected to freedom, in that it makes us free to consume, but it is not the same thing, in that one can be rich but as unfree as a Victorian tycoon's wife. A family is in fact one of the least free things imaginable, as the emotional satisfactions of it derive from relations that we are either born into without choice or, once they are chosen, entail obligations that we cannot walk away from with ease or justice. But security, prosperity, and family are in fact the bulk of happiness for most real people and the principal issues that concern governments."

I would add "community" and "health" as public goods government should also help support.

BTW, to underscore the point that charity only tends to work well in communities where people are well known to each other (either that or an abstract gifte economy like JP Hogan wrote about), see:
"Switzerland's shame: The children used as cheap farm labour"
"Gogniat, his brother and two sisters were "contract children" or verdingkinder as they are known in Switzerland. The practice of using children as cheap labour on farms and in homes began in the 1850s and it continued into the second half of the 20th Century. Historian Loretta Seglias says children were taken away for "economic reasons most of the time⦠up until World War Two Switzerland was not a wealthy country, and a lot of the people were poor". Agriculture was not mechanised and so farms needed child labour.
    If a child became orphaned, a parent was unmarried, there was fear of neglect, or you had the misfortune to be poor, the communities would intervene. Authorities tried to find the cheapest way to look after these children, so they took them out of their families and placed them in foster families. ...
    The extent to which these children were treated as commodities is demonstrated by the fact that there are cases even in the early 20th Century where they were herded into a village square and sold at public auction. ...
    "Children didn't know what was happening to them, why they were taken away, why they couldn't go home, see their parents, why they were being abused and no-one believed them," she says.
    "The other thing is the lack of love. Being in a family where you are not part of the family, you are just there for working." And it left a devastating mark for the rest of the children's lives. Some have huge psychological problems, difficulties with getting involved with others and their own families. For others it was too much to bear. Some committed suicide after such a childhood.
    Social workers did make visits. David Gogniat says his family had no telephone, so when a social worker called a house in the village to announce that she was coming, a white sheet was hung out of a window as a warning to the foster family. On the day of this annual visit David didn't have to work, and was allowed to have lunch with the family at the table. "That was the only time I was treated as a member of the family... She sat at the table with us and when she asked a question I was too scared to say anything, because I knew if I did the foster family would beat me." ...
    The Farmers Union agrees with the principle of compensation, but is adamant that farmers should not have to contribute. You have to understand the times in which these children were placed into foster care, says union president Markus Ritter. Councils and churches had no money. Farming families were asked to take children who had fallen on difficult times or had one parent so the farmers were fulfilling a social function. Does he acknowledge abuse occurred? "We received a lot of feedback from children who were treated really well⦠But we are also aware that some children were not treated properly." ..."

Of course, either big business out of control or big government out of control (or both at once) is a terrible thing, like a fire let loose to rage and burn everything good in its path. Libertarian criticism is often valid, even if solutions put forth by "propertarian" libertarians may be found wanting in various extreme aspects. (BTW, there are also "Libertarian Socialists" lwhich are better represented in Europe, and that is what the rest of the world outside the USA thinks of when people say libertarian -- an example being Noam Chomsky.) So, given that our society is no longer small-scale enough for some older social processes to work well (short of rethinking and remaking our infrastructure, which is maybe a good idea in any case), we need to think about a healthy balance, which can be a very hard thing to achieve or maintain.

Comment: Re:Debian OS is no longer of use to me now (Score 1) 535

by Paul Fernhout (#48431315) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

"You are personally going to migrate your employer's systems because you personally do not like something, something every single major distro is moving too, and the top kernel developers are already using?"

No, AC, he said he is going to migrate his *personal* systems and those of an apparent volunteer organization he is affiliated with. Read more carefully next time before launching into the personal insults...

+ - Malwarebytes forums compromised->

Submitted by toygeek
toygeek (473120) writes "Just a few minutes ago, I received an email from Malwarebytes notifying me that I'd have to change my forum password next time I logged in. On November 10th their Invision Power Board based forum was compromised. Yes, it can happen to anyone! There are several lessons that can be learned, as outlined in my blog post below:"
Link to Original Source

Comment: The Ben Franklin / Copyright "Pirate" connection (Score 1) 55

by Paul Fernhout (#48431235) Attached to: Machine-Learning Algorithm Ranks the World's Most Notable Authors

"Ben Franklin and others who owned printers realized that copyright didn't apply to them, so they promptly began making copies of everything - books, sheet music, etc."

I had know that for much of US history there was no respect for foreign copyrights (from other countries). I never saw anyone connect this to Ben Franklin's success before. Interesting!

Now that I look:
"Benjamin Franklin, Copyright Pirate"

"Benjamin Franklin, the first IP pirate?"

Comment: Small nuclear vs. solar PV vs. a singularity (Score 1) 498

by Paul Fernhout (#48431185) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

I agree we may well see cheap compact nuclear fission reactors in the 2020s like from Hyperion., Also, it is a sad truth that we could build much safer reactors if engineers had been asked to prioritize safety over other things (Freeman Dyson's TRIGA design being one example) and if the USA has not focused on a Uranium nuclear cycle that intentionally could be easily weaponized (instead of Thorium).

Still I'd expect solar will actually continue to fall in price by the 2020s too. It would not surprise me if PV was in the 15 cent per watt range by 2030 (or even less) other things remaining constant. Consider how "cheap" used "solar collectors" in terms of tree leaves are in the Fall in the USA. Solar panels potentially could be printed as cheaply as aluminum foil using advanced nanomaterials and special inks.

We haven't really seen anything like the amount of research in PV we will probably see when it reaches grid parity everywhere and people really invest in it in a huge way equivalent to previous investments in fossil fuel production and research. Some people (myself included) have been predicting this turning point for a long time, and it has been dismissed and ignored. It is easy to say PV progress will never get to grid parity until it actually happens. That has been true even though the trends for decades show a clear line towards zero cost (no doubt it will go asymptotic at some point to just be dirt cheap though).

Unfortunately, in our short-term-oriented society in the USA, until PV is cheaper than the grid it is only a niche thing for special circumstances or motivated environmentally-minded people. That has been what has been funding it as only a relative trickle of investment. Once PV is cheaper than the grid, assuming a good solution to energy storage exists (fuel cells with nickle-metal hydride storage, Lithium ion batteries, molten salt batteries, compressed air, or something else), it will be economically foolish to use anything else to generate power than PV. And then, sometime after the stampede, we will see enormous sums of money flow into PV research and production. Electric utilities may collapse all over the place as his happens because grid power becomes too pricey once the cost of delivery exceeds the cost of on-site production. Except for the value of their right of ways as internet conduits, and maybe the value of their copper wires, I would guess that most utilities if properly accounted for, given decommissioning costs and outstanding long-term debt in sunk costs, most utilities may well have a negative net worth right now given any forecast that includes these trends.

Personally, I still think it possible that hot fusion or cold fusion will displace PV (as well as nuclear fusion) in the near future. Those could potentially be really really cheap. Even if fission gets cheaper and better (including potentially as small batteries), I don't see it could compete with workable fusion (and probably neither could PV for most applications).

We'll likely also see energy efficiency increase greatly. The current best construction in Europe is to build passive solar superinsulated houses without furnaces; search on "no furnace house".

I'd love to see the solar roadways thing work out... Or even just for parking lots or driveways.

Still, as I said elsewhere, the same reasons PV s getting cheaper (cheaper computing leading to cheaper collaboration and better designs by cheaper modeling and newer materials and so on) are the same sorts of reasons we will also see much cheaper nuclear power. Of course, there are other trends that all interact with that as well... A post by me from 2000:
"[unrev-II] Singularity in twenty to forty years?"

+ - fake Price Comparison fools Walmart->

Submitted by turkeydance
turkeydance (1266624) writes "People are reportedly creating fake Amazon pages to show fake prices on electronics and other items. In the most heavily publicized cases, Walmart was reportedly duped into selling $400 PlayStation 4 consoles for under $100.

Here's how this scam has played out: The perpetrators create fake Amazon pages and show these fake listings to Walmart cashiers (and ultimately to store managers) in an attempt to con them into matching the phantom prices."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Don't teach them to "program" (Score 1) 107

by TopherC (#48427525) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Professionally Packaged Tools For Teaching Kids To Program?

About design patterns: In my own experience, I learned about design patterns only after many years of programming experience. I had already encountered and/or invented all the patterns I later read about. But reading about them was good because it allowed for a common language to communicate with other programmers as well as a kind of self-reflection and ability to think about design patterns more conscientiously and methodically. I'm glad to have learned about these when I did, and not sooner.

It's just fine, IMO, to teach programming as a self-discovery, unguided hacking, kind of thing. This is a "constructivist education" approach, and works extremely well in many cases.

The same comments apply to a lesser degree about teaching multiple languages and general programming language concepts. I would not teach a second programming language before a young student had the chance to explore and get comfortable with their first. That may or may not take long.

Comment: Bad management. Discouraging use of Thunderbird? (Score -1, Troll) 382

Yahoo has been terribly managed, and Mozilla Foundation is rapidly getting worse.

It appears that Mozilla Foundation is trying to discourage the use of the Thunderbird email client. The newest version of Thunderbird, 31.2.0, has the Save-As bug. All file saves are Save As, and suggest a different file name than saved before.

Other obvious bugs were introduced. For example, the fields for email addresses are much more difficult to read. The Save-As bug has been reported, but no new version has been released.

If many windows and tabs are open for a long time, Firefox now crashes in a way that does not cause a crash report to be sent.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.