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Comment: Comparison to code bugs a bit flawed (Score 4, Informative) 236

The fine article submission asks:

Is it a good thing that people who engineer for a living can now get their names on national news for parts designed 10 years ago? The next time your mail goes down, should we know the name of the guy whose code flaw may have caused that?

One key difference here is that the engineer(s) responsible for redesigning the switch and not changing the part number were not just implementing an everyday change that happened to be buggy. By not changing the part number, their actions are more akin to trying to fix a known bug that has exposed the company to huge potential liabilities, and then hacking the version control system to make it look like the bug was never there, in full intentional pursuit of obfuscation and ass-covering.

Cheers,

Comment: Language geek details on French nouns and gender (Score 4, Informative) 60

by zooblethorpe (#46468405) Attached to: First Mathematical Model of 13th Century 'Big Bang' Cosmology

Wouldn't that be "grosstete"?

The first "e" in the French word tête has that funny hat on it, technically called a circumflex. This tells us that this vowel used to be followed by an "s" in earlier stages of the French language. So tête derives from older form teste.

The word tête is also feminine, so any adjectives must also use the feminine form. French gros (from Latin grossus) in the feminine form becomes grosse.

So, just as expected, gros + tête == grosse tête as spelled in modern French, and grosse teste in Old French, whence the Norman French language and names of 1200s England, courtesy William the Conqueror.

Cheers,

Comment: Codetalkers (Score 1) 195

by zooblethorpe (#46085663) Attached to: FBI Has Tor Mail's Entire Email Database

Phone lines, but only if you speak in Navajo.

Historical trivia -- the Navajo codetalkers didn't just speak in the Navajo language, they spoke in a strange code that used Navajo vocabulary. So instead of simply translating the word abreast for so many people walking shoulder-to-shoulder, they would encode that first as ant breast, and then translate that into the corresponding Navajo, probably wóláchíí be’. More here. Other Navajo speakers who hadn't been trained in the code wouldn't understand what was being said. The Japanese even captured a native Navajo speaker in the Philippines, Joe Keiyoomia, but since he hadn't ever been trained as a codetalker, he wasn't able to make any sense of the codetalker code.

Cheers,

Comment: Handful of genome samples does not a species make. (Score 4, Interesting) 144

by zooblethorpe (#46083631) Attached to: How Farming Reshaped Our Genomes

What is this silliness, that "humans" in the broad, blanket sense could not digest starch? Feh.

We already know from analysis of Neanderthal remains that they could digest starch, and did in fact eat things like starchy tubers and grains. By 8000 years ago, it's generally accepted that the Neanderthals were no more, at least as a distinct population, and that any remaining Neanderthal-specific genes had been absorbed by the wider Cro Magnon population. (Interestingly, it sounds like the Neanderthal genes might give their descendants, i.e. non-sub-Saharan-Africa humans, extra resistance to viral infection.)

This study, where evidence from one individual is extrapolated to the entire human population, sounds silly in the extreme. "One Size Fits All!" never really does.

Cheers,

Comment: Aversion to offal rises with industrialization? (Score 1) 543

by zooblethorpe (#46051177) Attached to: 20,000 Customers Have Pre-Ordered Over $2,000,000 of Soylent

For some reason in the past century or so, Americans and other Western cultures have started to develop an aversion to offal, but that's a recent and somewhat stupid development.

I wonder if that timing is indicative -- I wonder if the Western aversion to organ meets is at all related to the ways in which 1) organ meats typically contain higher concentrations of environmental poisons, and 2) the number and dangerousness of environmental poisons has increased substantially since we started learning how to make more of them.

Cheers,

Comment: Why not convert to Sithrak! (Score 1) 770

by zooblethorpe (#45992029) Attached to: Creationism In Texas Public Schools

You may be on to something there. The creator as incompetent and sadistic cretin sounds pretty consistent with observable facts.

Have you noticed that life is cruel and insensible?

That's because the creator is angry and insane -- Sithrak the Blind Gibberer!

So why not convert to Sithrak -- the god who hates you unconditionally.

http://imgur.com/gallery/YmOBmx1, sourced from:
http://oglaf.com/sithrak/ (use caution: other pages on this site are definitely NSFW)

Cheers,

Comment: Amplified, sure enough. (Score 1) 110

by zooblethorpe (#45728295) Attached to: Ted Nelson's Passionate Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart

In other words, the world we're living in, except for that bit about "amplified intelligence".

No, no, things are certainly amplified, so that part is correct. It's the "intelligence" part that's a bit off the mark here. Networking can help leverage the abilities of each of the networked nodes (people, in this case). When many of those nodes excel at being dumb animals, well, you get a heavy preponderance of lolcats and porn. Many (perhaps most?) of us humans are just living day to day and trying to get by. Not a lot of room there for higher-order thinking.

Lest we lose sight of all hope, it's important to recognize that it's not all gloom and doom, though -- despite all the porn and lolcats, there's also a good bit of smart thinking that is also amplified. That's easy to miss amidst all the noise, but it's definitely there.

Cheers,

Comment: Hamburg == East Texas (Score 1) 178

Hamburg regional court
is known for its cowtowing to the intellectual property holders. That is why they try to go to that particular court if they sue for copyright infridgement.

And Hamburg is known as the birthplace of the hamburger, which is made from beef, which is raised in large quantities in Texas, and the most prosecution-friendly venue for patent lawsuits in the US is East Texas...

Aha! We've found the causal link!

...

But now I wonder what the basic legal trends are for the Frankfurt regional court. :-P

Cheers,

Comment: "High-power"? (Score 1) 161

by zooblethorpe (#45590433) Attached to: How To Hijack a Drone For $400 In Less Than an Hour

The target range of the Skyjack drones is limited by the range of the WiFi card, but Kamkar said he uses a very powerful WiFi adapter called the Alfa AWUS036H, which produces 1000mW of power.

So this "very powerful" Wi Fi outputs 1000 milliwatts ... which equals one watt.

Am I missing something, or is this just bad reporting?

Comment: Re:Anecdote, data, and all that, but... (Score 4, Informative) 331

by zooblethorpe (#45541967) Attached to: 62% of 16 To 24-Year-Olds Prefer Printed Books Over eBooks

Any citation for that?

Nope; as noted, "I haven't run across anyone in my personal life...", so this would fall under the "anecdote" category. :)

I want to see a proper double blind study done of this.

I look at an LCD all day, then sometimes some more at home. I do not suffer from any eyestrain I can detect.

Similar to the anecdote/data duality is the fact that not everyone is affected by things the same way. You may be one of the lucky few or lucky many who aren't negatively impacted by looking at an LCD all day. I know that my nearsightedness is markedly worse at the end of any workweek where I've been staring at the monitor all the time, and that my eyesight is noticeably improved after spending several days not staring at something only a couple feet away. YMMV, and all that.

The impact of backlit screens on circadian rhythms has been studied, if memory serves. Some quick googling pulls up a goodly number of hits, including a couple actual studies just in the first page of hits. Changing from regular web-wide Google to Google Scholar produces more hits for studies.

And more specific to eye strain are these hits. I haven't waded through, but the number of hits (524) and the titles of the first page of hits suggests that this is an area of study. This one in particular sounds like what you might be looking for: Comparison of eye fatigue among readings on conventional book and two typical electronic books equipped with electrophoretic display and LC display . This link to the paper is paywalled, unfortunately, but you might be able to ferret out an open copy of it somewhere.

Cheers,

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