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Comment Re:Heard about Marathon (Score 1) 105

This thread on IGN is poor speculation. Developers often throw in nods to their seminal titles when creating new games. Besides, Bungie has already stated several times that Halo and Marathon are different universes and simply use some similar themes and ideas. And now that MS owns Halo, but not Bungie, Bungie would be hard pressed to position a new Marathon game as an actual Halo sequel. I wouldn't mind seeing them revive the Marathon universe, but it won't likely be by tying it explicitly to Halo.

Comment Re:Reflections (Score 1) 960

Some techs enjoy it, but IT administrators hate the idea that they are 1) having to allow potentially insecure equipment on their precious network and 2) having to waste staff time to fix stuff which may not be in any way compatible with the various tools they've purchased or implemented to save time and money. These are the same administrators who lose sight of why they are there. Here's a hint: it has little to do with policy.

Comment Re:Reflections (Score 1) 960

This probably happens at universities and colleges more than anywhere else.

Yes, it is irritating that older faculty won't migrate to Word from WordPerfect, but WordPerfect historically had the edge in editing large documents like book drafts, and the job of the faculty is to publish or perish AND to teach. That problem probably isn't as pronounced these days, and isn't as important as Expensive Equipment. If your chemistry lab bought a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer many years ago for $20000+ and that GC mass spec will only talk to a machine running Windows XP, your job is not to chastise them about how they need to go out and spend ANOTHER $20000 because you can't support Windows XP any longer. That GC mass spec is more expensive than any computer or number of computers the department will buy, so it needs to become a priority to support such things, even if it means making exceptions to policy.

It is all about getting work done, and if policy is making people needlessly spend redundant dollars and holding up the process of doing work, it means IT is broken.


Submission + - Perl sucks: we have proof (knowing.net)

locust writes: Hot off the presses from oopsla:

Researchers at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have proven what a lot of us have already suspected: using perl is no better than using a language where the syntax and semantics are picked at random. The full paper is here

Let the flame wars begin.


Submission + - Vietnamese rhino goes extinct (mongabay.com) 1

roat35 writes: Poachers shot and killed the world's last Vietnamese rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) for its horn confirms a report from International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). A subspecies of the Javan rhino, the Vietnamese rhino was the last Javan rhino to survive on the Asian mainland and the second subspecies to vanish, following the extinction of the Indian Javan rhino (rhinoceros sondaicus inermis). The Javan rhino is the world's most imperiled rhino species with now only around 50 individuals surviving in a single park on its namesake island in Indonesia.

Comment Re:There is a bright side (Score 1) 383

Actually, I believe the reduced energy consumption of CFLs offsets the mercury contained in them. You see, coal contains mercury, and that mercury enters the environment as coal ash in the air and in material waste when the coal is burned for electricity. Did you know coal ash contains radioactive elements as well? Anyway, the CFLs reduce electricity consumption enough that the mercury prevented from entering the environment more than offsets the mercury in the bulb over the course of its life (this does not apply if you like to throw away perfectly good bulbs or smash them for no reason, however.)

Comment Re:thimerosol-free flu shot (Score 1) 383

Well, the greatest threat is when you are at greater than regular atmospheric pressure, but long-term exposure to over-oxygenation can cause many harmful effects on the body, many of which are reversible if symptoms are treated and oxygen levels brought down. There are cases, however, where you need much more available oxygen because your lungs are very bad at absorbing it. Wikipedia actually has a pretty nice article on the topic.

Comment Re:I think you mean Thiomersal (Score 1) 383

How do you conclude that their definition of chronic exposure is comparable to a yearly flu shot? Hey, too much oxygen or water is poisonous, even deadly. It's all about amounts. I have seen no credible research that suggests the amount of thimerosal in vaccines is sufficient to be of any risk to human health or development.

Further, while there may not be much cause to continue to use it in the US, low cost and ease of manufacture and distribution can be critical in poor nations which may already be struggling with preventable disease. In those nations the cheapest, quickest, easiest option which is "good enough" is often preferable, because otherwise they must simply do without.

Comment Greater effect on poorer nations (Score 1) 383

Given that thimerosal (thiomersal) vaccine formulations are time-tested and, by now, relatively affordable to produce, a ban on thimerosal would probably most hurt poor nations. Here in the US we don't use it much, despite the fact that it has been demonstrated time and again to be relatively safe, but in poorer nations thimerosal formulations may be able to be produced more cheaply than alternatives and can be stored and distributed more easily, especially in/to more remote areas. The US and Europe will likely be unaffected, but if vaccines become more expensive or harder to get or simply less stable in poorer storage conditions in poorer nations, we could see increases in diseases which might otherwise be at least partially under control. If the UN is to include any conditions or exclusions for medical purposes, they should favor improving health in the poorer nations and not putting ideology above the needs of the citizenry.

Comment Re:thimerosol-free flu shot (Score 1) 383

Thimerosal is used in such low doses that it won't make any difference, really. That and thimerosal is a pretty safe form of mercury, as far as the human body is concerned. As long as there are safe and effective alternatives I support, generally speaking, reductions in use of thimerosal, but if the replacements are less effective and harm the efficacy and affordability of vaccines I say don't throw out the baby with the bath water.

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