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Comment Mass-Media Report (Score 5, Informative) 470

In retrospect, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention at least one mass-media report that doesn't seem too excitable:

Researchers in Shanghai identified a human bacteria linked with obesity, fed it to mice and compared their weight gain with rodents without the bacteria. The latter did not become obese despite being fed a high-fat diet and being prevented from exercising. The Shanghai team fed a morbidly obese man a special diet designed to inhibit the bacterium linked to obesity and found that he lost 29 per cent of his body weight in 23 weeks. The patient was prevented from doing any exercise during the trial. Prof Zhao said such a loss in an obese patient using this diet was unprecedented. The patient also recovered from diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease.

It will be fascinating to see what happens when other teams try to replicate these results with larger, more statistically significant groups than just one individual. ^^;

Comment Mass-Media Report (Score 1) 1

In retrospect, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention at least one mass-media report that doesn't seem too excitable:

Researchers in Shanghai identified a human bacteria linked with obesity, fed it to mice and compared their weight gain with rodents without the bacteria. The latter did not become obese despite being fed a high-fat diet and being prevented from exercising.

The Shanghai team fed a morbidly obese man a special diet designed to inhibit the bacterium linked to obesity and found that he lost 29 per cent of his body weight in 23 weeks. The patient was prevented from doing any exercise during the trial.

Prof Zhao said such a loss in an obese patient using this diet was unprecedented. The patient also recovered from diabetes, high blood pressure and fatty liver disease.

It will be fascinating to see what happens when other teams try to replicate these results with larger, more statistically significant groups than just one individual. ^^;

Submission + - Specific Gut Bacteria May Account for Much Obesity (nature.com) 1

resistant writes: "A limited study from China offers the tantalizing possibility that targeting specific gut bacteria in humans could significantly reduce the scope of an epidemic of obesity in Western countries:

"The endotoxin-producing Enterobacter decreased in relative abundance from 35% of the volunteer’s gut bacteria to non-detectable, during which time the volunteer lost 51.4kg of 174.8kg initial weight and recovered from hyperglycemia and hypertension after 23 weeks on a diet of whole grains, traditional Chinese medicinal foods and prebiotics."

As usual, sensationalist reports have been exaggerating the import of this very early investigation, and one wonders about that "diet of whole grains." Still, there could be meat in the idea of addressing pathogenic bacteria for the control of excessive weight gain. After all, it wasn't too long ago that a brave scientist insisted in the face of widespread ridicule that peptic ulcers in humans usually are caused by bacterial infections, not by acidic foods."

Comment A Jingoistic Sentiment (Score 3, Funny) 210

Many of the the superstitious, ill-educated tribesmen that U.S. ground troops regularly encounter already think the Americans are witches. A headless donkey scampering along with supplies will really mess with the heads of the rag-heads. Maybe some of them will flee in terror instead of shooting at our soldiers. Really, what's not to like? You'll excuse me for a moment whilst I cackle in wicked laughter and stroke my black cat with the unnaturally intelligent glow in its eyes. ^_^

Comment Modern Shunning (Score 3, Informative) 354

One wonders what would happen if an ad-hoc, "name and shame" reputation network were to identify TSA agents everywhere they went. It's easy to imagine the near-universal environment of hate stares, extreme rudeness and occasional violence from victims of the TSA's Orwellian tactics putting direct pressure on TSA employees themselves to drastically reform their arrogant policies.

Comment Playing Games With Names (Score 2) 705

The marketing problem with insect consumption for Western audiences could probably be addressed by focusing a non-objectionable label on one particular kind of insect, much in the way that "beef", "pork", "chicken" and "fish" are labels for specific kinds of animal. The relatively innocuous term "cultured grasshopper meat" sounds a lot better than the generic term "squashed, processed bugs", for example. Once the idea of eating bugs ... pardon me, "cultured insect meat" gains traction, acceptance for this new food will naturally expand over time to other insects.

Admittedly, I expect the idea of eating yucky wormies will catch on very, very slowly indeed with Americans, no matter how enthusiasts try to make them sound appetizing by frying them up or making delicious-looking meat pies out of them. Personally, worms will always make me think of the squishy, nasty messes on the sidewalk after a hard rain, and I'll smack anyone who tries to get me to actually eat them.

Comment Blame Ain't the Real Game (Score 1) 1201

Many small companies with tight cash-flow situations and overworked owners simply do not have the resources to train new workers for the specifics of a job, and the human-resources departments of a fair number of bigger companies probably fear being blamed for new hires who take a long time to become genuinely productive. That's not to say some employers aren't being unreasonably picky, but as with most human affairs, closely examining the matter will inevitably reveal it to be more complex than the pictures drawn by simplistic answers. Frankly, I'd look at burdensome, complex regulations and a risky legal environment as major contributors to stubborn unemployment.

Comment Shipping Costs, Etc. (Score 4, Insightful) 377

I've always wondered why when irate brick and mortar retailers yell about an "unfair advantage" with no sales tax, they invariably fail to mention shipping costs, which don't exist for direct in-person brick and mortar store purchases. Admittedly, Amazon (for example) these days has free shipping for many orders of $25.00 or over, and intense competition over the past few years has put great pressure on all on-line retailers to not play games with charging excessive shipping fees to pad their profits, which used to be a huge problem.

Frankly, I gloat over not having to pay sales taxes (when possible). That's the free market. Amazon certainly has no moral obligation to levy sales taxes if there's no direct legal obligation to do it. It's up to the individual states to decide how badly they want to drive out business or attract it with varying tax treatment.

Comment Re:At least they are trying... (Score 1) 179

I also am a happy A&A customer.

I had a nightmare problem with my ADSL line (eventually traced to water in an underground junction box), the lengths A&A went to in supporting me to get this fixed were remarkable. For starters, their control panel allowed me to show the BT engineers who were round (often) when my line was dropping or throttling back. These engineers said I had online access to quality of service info even they didn't know about, and were amazed.

No comparison with the major ISPs - just none whatsoever.

Comment Re:sco still alive? (Score -1, Offtopic) 286

I would support the social causes if I thought government could fix them. Instead it often makes the problems worse and at best wastes a ton of money for little result. The American people are very generous and dont mind spending money to help people who are in need. At the state and community level they can do it more effectively. It just doesnt work having the federal government involved. In some cases it has the opposite affect and makes the problem worse.

Comment Windows users and BIOS updates... (Score 1) 558

I've encountered plenty of corporates which keep a box of floppies around, primarily to bootstrap windows (prior to 2008/vista you had to load storage drivers from floppy if they werent in the default install) and to perform bios updates...

Also at least one place includes floppies in their monthly stationary orders, even tho noone has used them in years. Someone who works there was telling me how he has to throw out all the unused floppies to stop them filling up the stores.

Comment Re:older developers... (Score 1) 742

Schools teach many skills which aren't explicitly on any syllabi or assignment, not the least of which are copy and paste, and ethanol appreciation. I'm sure a plurality of universities produce high quality CS graduates, but most of the A and A- graduates from the five major universities within 200 miles in the last decade or so did not appear to be of that variety. There were a few gems, to be sure, but they had unremarkable academic careers.

I've mostly retired from IT in the last two years, but the recent graduates I run into at the usual industry groups and events still complain about being forced to choose in fourth year one of: their first experience with LDAP, their first experience with SQL, "system administration", how to write malware, or history of computing. They admit that the majority of their cohort have graduated without any substantial exposure to some major concepts and basic tools of the trade.

I'd be glad to introduce any good resources you may know of with respect to "how to recruit talent" to the local and regional industry groups since everyone from 10-person consultancies up to the local branches of the big three letter global services companies are all hurting for skilled grads.

Comment Re:Excuse me? All criticism has been well earned. (Score 3, Insightful) 324

As much as you have a point, I've been working in IT for years as well and I've only met one British worker in the US, and I think he's got at least a green card because he married an American girl. Just about everyone else I have ever seen working H1-B is Indian and boy do they fuck them over. As a white man who actually speaks a dialect of English that is considered civilized in the US, you are going to have a decent time of it. The only thing you need to worry about is idiots making too many Limey jokes and telling you that your spelling is funny.

The Indians generally have to worry about unscrupulous companies that bring them in, keep them in the dark and then make sure that they work under conditions that you could consider appalling. I can't tell you the number of H1-B colleagues that I know who have at one time or another had to worry about losing their job and then having to deal with being packed off back to India 5 days later because they are a guest worker.

The problem with H1-B is that it allows more bad than good. Clearly we want to have some guest workers like you over here to provide actual technical expertise, but most of these guest workers are doing jobs that Americans could definitely do and not even getting paid decently for it. That may be because we don't have enough IT people available to work over here, but I suspect that the supposed lack of IT workers is more of a situation where those said workers actually want to be paid US wages and treated like professionals.

Of course, the H1-B problem is one where many of us feel we are being unemployed in favor of cheap labor, but it doesn't change the fact that the program is allowing the guest workers to get screwed too, if they happen to be from somewhere sufficiently backward. That's just bad all around, and I see no reason that it should be allowed to continue as it has been.

Comment Myself excluded (Score 1) 742

I'm not a kernel hacker, just yet, but it is a personal goal that I've been working towards for a while now. I don't get a chance to work on anything deeply linux at work, but I've seen some shortcomings in the kernel that I'd like to rectify. One example is the lack of a "Ready Boost" like cache, but a bit beefier, utilizing SSD's to alow large databses to run at SSD speed for writes and cached reads while gaining the benefit of cheap spinning disk storage. This is a LOT of theory work and deep kernel driver stuff that I'm glad to learn on my own time.
I might be unique, or perhaps the fact that I'm not actively DOING it makes me another statistic, but i think the kernel is a worthwhile cause.

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