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Comment Re:Why does anyone care? (Score 5, Informative) 117

I don't know about those times scales, but femto-second pulsed lasers are damn useful for imaging. Briefly, say the experimenter images green fluorescence. Normally, to get green fluorescence you need to excite with blue light of, say, 450 nm. However, if you can pack enough photons into a short packet then you can also get green fluorescence at about double the wavelength. It's called "two photon absorption" and won a Nobel prize. So you pump in 900 nm light and get back green. The advantage is that longer wavelengths are scattered less by biological tissue and, crucially, the depth of field is much better so there is very little out of focus emitted green light (see image in link). Because the laser scans over the specimen relatively slowly (e.g. a few times a second), you can collect scattered green photons and still assign them back to where they came from. So it's very efficient. Maybe this new laser will all for the process to work efficiently with 3 or even 4 photons.

Comment Re:Thank you, early updaters (Score 1) 317

My machine is by no means blisteringly fast and I built it for chump change but I've got 500GB of SSD, 16GB of RAM and eight cores. I give a shit about bloat. In principle, I care very much. In practice, it is not really affecting me any more.

So what specs would qualify as "blisteringly fast." Discounting the graphics card, you can't get the specs of a machine a whole lot higher than what you have now. Yes, you can add more RAM but going beyond 16 GB is only going to be helpful for a small selection of tasks.

Comment Re:this attitude is part of the problem (Score 1) 195

This attitude about let's not discuss any possible downside because it will give the anti-vax people ammunition is part of the problem. Often forgotten is that a certain percentage of people who get vaccines die.

Your claim has no source so I'll provide one. Summary there is currently no evidence to support a causal relationship between vaccinations and death. So there is no evidence that vaccines are causing the death of anybody at all. Zero deaths given the huge power of the study (13 million people and 24 million vaccinations).

Comment Re:Not the best summary... (Score 1) 195

This is not an anti-vaxxer argument, as those fools think that the vaccine causes problems unrelated to what it is supposed to be preventing.

Indeed, the "anti-vaxxer" argument has nothing to do with the science of vaccines. It has to do with the fundamental right to determine what happens to your own body.

I don't believe that anti-vaxxers are defenders of such "fundamental rights". Any who make these claims are just using weasel words to lend sympathy to their cause by attaching their motives to a political/moral concept with which some non-anti-vaxxers might agree. In reality they're just conspiracy theorists, who through willful ignorance do not understand vaccination and therefore reject it. IMO those who are defending the "fundamental right to determine what happens to your own body" are people like euthanasia and abortion activists. Anti-vaxxers are just the same class of idiot as those who say they get cancer from Wifi.

Comment Re:A plea to fuck off. (Score 1) 365

But if a hacker actually gives a crap about what he's doing and actually wants to get into your accounts, a system like this is well-known enough that he could guess your passwords to other sites once he knows one of them.

I don't think that's such a worry for a few reasons. Firstly, it's easy to not make it very super obvious that this scheme is being used. Secondly, your scenario is only a only a concern if a targeted attack is being performed against me personally. i.e. someone cares enough to look at my password and try to figure out if it means something. The scheme would protect me if my details were harvested amongst thousands of others in a large-scale attack on a site. Thirdly, the attacker needs to know usernames on other sites as well as passwords. Fourthly, I tweak the scheme slightly for more important sites such that I still can remember the password but it can't be inferred should someone have guessed the scheme and are trying to break in.

Yeah, except I'm sure they break half of the password policies at various sites anyway. That's the primary reason I started using a password manager -- even if I used a system like yours, I'd still have to remember all the random constraints on passwords for a various sites.

I've never found this to be a problem.

Comment Re:A plea to fuck off. (Score 1) 365

It's risk analysis. Password managers are essentially making a bet that the risk of your hard drive being compromised is far less likely than a website being compromised. Most people can't remember more than 5 (strong) passwords at best and they get lazy and reuse them everywhere.

I have one strongish password which I modify in a systematic and easy to remember way based on the website name. For example (and this isn't exactly what I do, obviously), say my core password is ghs78kja: on slashdot I would use as a password /DOTghs78kjaSLASH* on the New Scientist's site I would use /SCIENTISTghs78kjaNEW*. These passwords are all unique, long, very easy to remember, and use all the character classes.

Comment Re:Not acupuncture (Score 1) 159

Clearly what the poster intended was that When acupuncture first developed the Chinese did not have knowledge of electricity.

And at the time they also knew no anatomy because they didn't conduct dissections. So acupuncture was practised in China by people who didn't even know what muscles were. Any credible modern research on acupuncture is conducted on the Western version, which is totally different.

Comment Re:pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 4, Insightful) 288

You've exactly described my mother's experience with computers. She's been like this for years. Since her 40s. She just memorizes sequence of actions and if anything's changed she is stuck. I don't know what the issue is, as she's smart otherwise. After two years of computer use I realized she still didn't even know about copy and paste. It's taken me about two or three years to get her to use that functionality and she's still not competent with it. I'd love to know why this is so hard for her.

Comment Re:The author doesn't understand Herbert (Score 5, Insightful) 234

Frank is a deeper fellow than all but a few really grasp.

"The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action."

- Frank Herbert.

How perfectly does that describe the Guardian and most of its readership?

Um... not very well?

Comment Happened to me once with a magazine subscription (Score 1) 251

I subscribed to the electronic version of a magazine. Each month I got an e-mail to alert me to the new issue and the e-mail included my plain text password. I contacted them and explained to them why this was a problem. They agreed and got in touch with the company providing the e-magazine service. It took two months, but they stopped the practice. So I think you should just politely inform people.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly