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Comment Re:Quarantine works (Score 1) 97

I thought you were talking about quarantines in general, rather than in the specific case of ebola. Now that I look it up, I discover that there have been clinical trials of ebola vaccines in west Africa in the last couple of years. The husband of a friend is a tropical disease specialist and worked on the last Ebola outbreaks and described some of the operation to me: bottom line is that you're more likely to survive becoming infected in a quarantine area than out of it.

Comment Re:Fashion or need? (Score 4, Interesting) 320

The materials costs of new clothes is tiny. The costs are either labour or capital costs of machinery. In the very poor places that are the recipients of second-hand clothes in large quantities, the cost of labour is very, very low. Shipping them fabric costs less than shipping them second-hand clothes (because it can be transported more densely in rolls) and the cost of making the fabric into clothes at the end is negligible, as is the cost of mass producing fabric. When your entire supply chain for both new and second-hand goods is dominated by the cost of transportation, there's little incentive for a second-hand market to exist.

Comment Re:Biogenetic Engineering to the rescue! (Score 1) 320

Moths work for natural fibres, but they're far less keen to eat synthetic ones (which is part of the attraction of synthetics). They also find don't often do much damage to tight weaves (apparently it's not actually the moths that eat the clothes. They lay eggs in them and the larvae eat them immediately after hatching). I have had a few cashmere jumpers eaten by moths after less than a year, but shirts in the same wardrobe have survived for 20 years (well, survived might be a strong claim given the state of the cuffs and collars, but certainly not been eaten by moths).

Comment Re:Smallpox blankets (Score 1) 128

I was a bit surprised by that claim as well. I remember watching a black-and-white history film that talked about the smalltalk blankets thing, back when I was at school, at around the time that Churchill apparently first published his stuff. He may have been one of the leading proponents of the theory, but I don't think he can be blamed for originating it.

Comment Re: Research (Score 3, Insightful) 128

This post is at -1. I only see it because I have a low threshold explicitly configured, most people won't. That said, your post is at 0, so by replying to it you've increased the number of people who see it.

It's easy to be in favour of censoring people that you disagree with, the problem is that the censor is going to be a human making judgement calls. Most of us agree that censoring child pornography is fine, but the group charged with doing that in the UK managed to block Wikipedia because it contains a picture of an album cover that contains a naked child. So, if you want to censor racist posts, who do you want to give the authority to decide what is racist and what isn't to? If you can't name an individual, then there's a simple solution: log in and use your mod points.

Comment Re: The black death was a big up for society (Score 2) 97

It was one of the contributors to universal suffrage in the UK. When we sent all of our young men off to fight, women were required to do traditionally male jobs. There was a lot of attrition in the First World War, but then even more in the 1918 pandemic. The combination of these two meant that there weren't enough able-bodied men after the war to send the women back home, which led to the Representation of the People Act 1918, which allowed women to vote in Parliamentary elections for the first time.

Amusingly, lots of people are making a big deal about this being the 100th anniversary of women being able to vote, when it was not the first time that women could vote (some were able to vote - and even be elected - in local elections before then) and most still could not, yet it was the first time that practically all men could vote. Women didn't get equal voting power to men until 1928. The 1928 act was made possible by the social changes that followed the end of WWI and the 1918 flu epidemic, when women became a significant proportion of the workforce.

Comment Re:Quarantine works (Score 1) 97

Not all of them. Some will have natural immunity and the rest will have easier access to treatment than elsewhere. In some cases, it's feasible to vaccinate everyone in a quarantine area, but not everyone in a country, so the survival rate for uninfected people in the quarantine area may be higher than if the disease escaped into the general population.

Comment Re:OSX hardware has seen good updates (Score 1) 152

To put it in perspective: DDR4L uses about 10% more power than LPDDR4. Even if DRAM were the primary consumer of DRAM, this would translate to only a 10% drop in battery life. In comparison, DDR4 uses around five to ten times as much, and so would drop the battery life considerably. Only a few other vendors are using DDR4L, but the ones that are seem to get the kind of battery life that would make me happy. In addition, Apple added a bunch of support for hot-swap RAM to XNU back in the XCode days and so could probably support using 16GB on battery and 32GB on mains power. A lot of the RAM contents is read-only disk caching, so you don't even end up flushing much out to disk / swap / compressed memory when you de-power half the RAM in a typical machine.

Comment Re:Ah yes, the beginning of the dongle era (Score 1) 152

Apple isn't, but most non-Apple phones have USB-C at the high end and it's gradually propagating to the low end. Apple is in a bit of a difficult position, because Lightning is very similar to USB-C (similar size, reversible, carries USB 3 signal). It's not a huge improvement for consumers (there aren't many peripherals that you plug into both a phone and a computer, so you need a USB to Lightning cable anyway, and there's little difference between carrying a USB-A to Lightning or a USB-C to Lightning one) and there are now a bunch of phone / tablet peripherals that use it. In contrast, for most other manufacturers, USB-C is a better connector than microUSB (it's more resilient and it's reversible), so there's a bigger incentive for them to upgrade. I imagine that Lightning will go away at some point though.

Comment Re:EDM? Maybe 15 years ago (Score 5, Insightful) 477

New music has always sounded crap. It's a case of Sturgeon's Law (90% of everything is crap) combined with survivor bias (the 10% that isn't crap is more likely to be remembered and still played much later). For every great song you can remember from a prior decade, there are nine more that were such complete crap that you don't even remember that they were briefly popular.

Comment Re:Released by Steve Jobs (Score 3, Interesting) 152

I've seen a few, though to be fair most of them were on Apple employees. The one use I've seen for them that I actually like is two-factor auth. I saw a colleague use this and it seems pretty convenient. The watch connects to the computer via Bluetooth and when you need to do 2FA the watch beeps and prompts for a fingerprint and then signs the request. It's more convenient than carrying a U2F token around with you, but not quite so convenient that I would actually want one.

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