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Music

Ozzy Osbourne's Genome Reveals Some Neanderthal Lineage 151

ByOhTek writes "CNN reports that in July, rocker Ozzy Osbourne became one of few to submit his blood to have his full genome sequenced and analyzed. The results are in, and it turns out his genome reveals some Neanderthal lineage. What does Ozzie have to say about it? 'I was curious, given the swimming pools of booze I've guzzled over the years - not to mention all of the cocaine, morphine, sleeping pills, cough syrup, LSD, Rohypnol... there's really no plausible medical reason why I should still be alive. Maybe my DNA could say why,' he wrote."
Security

Hiding Backdoors In Hardware 206

quartertime writes "Remember Reflections on Trusting Trust, the classic paper describing how to hide a nearly undetectable backdoor inside the C compiler? Here's an interesting piece about how to hide a nearly undetectable backdoor inside hardware. The post describes how to install a backdoor in the expansion ROM of a PCI card, which during the boot process patches the BIOS to patch grub to patch the kernel to give the controller remote root access. Because the backdoor is actually housed in the hardware, even if the victim reinstalls the operating system from a CD, they won't clear out the backdoor. I wonder whether China, with its dominant position in the computer hardware assembly business, has already used this technique for espionage. This perhaps explains why the NSA has its own chip fabrication plant."
Businesses

IE6 Addiction Inhibits Windows 7 Migrations 470

eldavojohn writes "As anyone in the industry will tell you, a lot of money went into developing web applications specific to IE6. And corporations can't leave Windows XP for Windows 7 until IE6 runs (in some way) on Windows 7. Microsoft wants to leave that non-standard browser mess behind them, but as the article notes, 'Organizations running IE6 have told Gartner that 40% of their custom-built browser-dependent applications won't run on IE8, the version packaged with Windows 7. Thus, many companies face a tough decision: Either spend time and money to upgrade those applications so that they work in newer browsers, or stick with Windows XP.' Support for XP is going to end in April 2014. In order to deal with this, companies are looking at virtualizing IE6 only (instead of a full operating system) so that it can run on Windows 7 — even though Microsoft says this violates licensing agreements. IE6 is estimated to have roughly 16% of browser market share, and due to mistakes in the past it may never truly die."

Comment Here's a few books that I would strongly recommend (Score 1) 291

I've read a lot of database books in my time, and been around some of the biggest rdbms instances on the net. Here's probably my top three:

1) If you don't know SQL, O'Reilly's _Learning SQL_ is the best intro I've seen. This doesn't sound like what you're looking for, though.

2) If you know SQL reasonably well, but you want to get much better, I can't recommend O'Reilly's Theory In Practice book _The Art of SQL_ highly enough. I don't have it in front of me to remember precisely why I liked it so much, but it's outstanding. If you're going to get one book, get this one.

3) To really get the theory of databases, one of CJ Date's books is good. Someone else recommended _Databases in Depth: Relational Theory for Practitioners_, and I recall that looking pretty good when I skimmed it once. I would also recommend _Foundation for Object / Relational Databases: The Third Manifesto_, which I found to be very educational. You need to be careful with Date, though, because he tends to advocate how things "should work", not how databases actually work, and so you may find him advising you to do things that are actually bad ideas on your database of choice, so balance this off against good books for your specific DB

Also,

4) If you need to build large data warehouses (doesn't sound like you, yet), then Ralph Kimball's _The Data Warehouse Toolkit_ is all you will need to understand the theory. Unfortunately, effective warehousing is especially tied to your database of choice, so you'll want to hit the product manuals even harder here.

5) If you need to do OLAP (also not likely), there's only one generic book that's particularly good at all for the concepts, _OLAP Solutions_ by Erik Thomsen, and even that is not that generic. Unfortunately most OLAP and BI stuff is highly vendor-specific.

Joe Celko's books are also pretty good, in my experience, but I wouldn't buy them before the above.

Image

Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"

Comment What is wrong with reusing content too? (Score 1) 252

Vogel speaks of the book/author analogy, but doesn't carry it as far as he should. Using a BadAnalogy for the sake of the audience, requiring new art content in every game would be like telling Terry Pratchett he was wrong to keep re-using the Discworld as a setting, because we're owed "new everything" in every book. Or saying that Intel/AMD/ARM are cheating by not introducing new instruction sets with every generation of processor.

I've got no problem re-using engines, artwork, characters or anything else in games, as long as the narrative and situations are interesting.

-dB

Comment Re:Design (Score 1) 284

Alas, most prop planes are turboprops these days, so they have the same problems. The size of plane that has actual piston engines would need 50 flights just to get one jetliner worth of people home.

They also require a different fuel that probably isn't available at the large airports that are prepared for large numbers of passengers milling around.

Comment Re:"I reject notion of separation of church and st (Score 1) 999

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state,” said David Bradley, a conservative from Beaumont who works in real estate. “I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

Oh boy.

He is probably pulling the "amendments aren't part of the constitution" gambit, by which the validity of the Equal Protection clause and the Income Tax is also "refuted." -dB

Comment Anyone think (Score 1) 147

The incident may have been a pretense to jettison someone whose departure was desirable for other reasons. That the budget is being cut might be reason enough to try to offload the (probably) most expensive guy on the payroll. Maybe he was a squeaky wheel and wanted more security than was determined to be affordable, and just wouldn't shut up about it. Invent your own possible ulterior motives...

-dB

Businesses

eBay Urges Rethink On EU Plan's "Brick and Mortar" Vendor Requirement 139

mernil writes with this snippet from Reuters: "According to a draft regulation drawn up by the European Commission and seen by Reuters, suppliers may be allowed to require that distributors have a 'brick-and-mortar' shop before they can sell online. The proposed rules would replace existing guidelines exempting companies from strict EU competition rules under certain circumstances. Those rules expire at the end of May."
Games

Revisiting the "Holy Trinity" of MMORPG Classes 362

A feature at Gamasutra examines one of the foundations of many MMORPGs — the idea that class roles within such a game fall into three basic categories: tank, healer, and damage dealer. The article evaluates the pros and cons of such an arrangement and takes a look at some alternatives. "Eliminating specialized roles means that we do away with boxing a class into a single role. Without Tanks, each class would have features that would help them participate in and survive many different encounters like heavy armor, strong avoidance, or some class or magical abilities that allow them to disengage from direct combat. Without specialized DPS, all classes should be able to do damage in order to defeat enemies. Some classes might specialize in damage type, like area of effect (AoE) damage; others might be able to exploit enemy weaknesses, and some might just be good at swinging a sharpened bit of metal in the right direction at a rapid rate. This design isn't just about having each class able to fill any trinity role. MMO combat would feel more dynamic in this system. Every player would have to react to combat events and defend against attacks."
Censorship

Australian AvP Ban Reversed 71

Earlier this month, we discussed news that Sega's new Aliens vs. Predator video game had been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it. After a scathing response from the developer saying they wouldn't censor the game, and later news that the classification scheme may be updated to include an R18+ rating, it now seems that the Classification Board has seen fit to give the game a green light after all. Sega's Darren Macbeth told Kotaku, "We are particularly proud that the game will be released in its original entirety, with no content altered or removed whatsoever. This is a big win for Australian gamers. We applaud the Classification Review Board on making a decision that clearly considers the context of the game, and is in line with the modern expectations of reasonable Australians."

Comment What about Java (Score 3, Interesting) 162

The only thing I'm concerned about regarding this deal is how this will change Java. The way I see it, one of two things will happen: One, current Oracle staff will manage the Java platform development and bad things will happen (all sorts of bad things could happen). Two, Oracle will deem Java an unprofitable product and will spin off a free software foundation, the likes of Mozilla or Apache.

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