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Comment Re:True True (Score 1) 230

Ouch, I hate broken tailbones. I did that once, and the doctors gave me some ibuprofen and told me to get one of those donut pillows. Took a month or so to stop hurting. They said if it was really bad they could prescribe codeine (I might have used that for a day or two), or if it was really badly broken they could consider surgery (it wasn't.)

United Kingdom

UK Government 'Muzzling' Scientists 83

taikedz writes "Fiona Fox, chief executive of the Science Media Center, has claimed that leading scientists independently advising the UK government are being actively prevented from speaking to the public and media, especially in times of crisis when scientific evidence is necessary for a fully open and educated public debate, such as the current badger culling policy, and the past volcanic eruptions and ash fallout and their effects. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whom many of these scientists are advising, denies any such practices."

Comment Counterattacking forged IPs and cracked boxes (Score 1) 183

Sure, counterattacking is great! It's especially useful when you're being attacked from a forged IP address, or a bunch of malware zombies running on cracked machines, or when the attackers are forging your IP address for their queries to DNS servers or other smurfing amplifiers.

That sales guy at $YOUR_CUSTOMER who answered some phishing mail needs to know that his PC is infected with malware that's trying to phish you; you might find gentler approaches than a DDOS attack or ICANN domain name takedown to stop his machine.

And sure, exampledomain.com really ought to rate-limit their DNS servers and run them on ISPs that use BCP38 to reduce IP address spoofing, but nuclear weapons from orbit aren't the right response to the problem. Ok, actually, there are some days that nuclear weapons from orbit really do seem to be the appropriate response, but that's when you find out that they're using Amazon AWS cloud services as a backup, so nuking Philadelphia just didn't do the job.

Comment Transmitting from a Rotating Planet (Score 1) 196

Some of the drivel we transmit goes out omnidirectionally, but my guess is that most of it's fairly directional, so instead of a hypothetical alien getting it as a direct beam, they're just going to get brief bursts of any given signal stream as the planet rotates around and then it goes on to spam other aliens with our car commercials and Kardashians. Is this plan going to do directional antenna stuff to keep the signal aimed at that one star, or will it also just splatter around the universe?

Comment OS support for multi-tier caching? (Score 1) 172

Operating systems have had good support for 2-tier storage for a while - disk drives cached in RAM. But Flash/SSD really offers an intermediate performance level, and I haven't seen much from either Linux or Windows to take advantage of it without lots of customization or niche applications (such as Readyboost, or mounting /usr/share on a flash stick or whatever.) Has anybody seen anything interesting happening to take advantage of flash?

Enterprise storage solutions do a bit better job in hiding SSD or RAM caching into big expensive SANs, and for a long time they've had solutions for tape backup, etc. But what I've really been looking for is support for a moderate amount of fast disk drive and a large amount of slow bulk storage (e.g. use the expensive SAS drives for the database but archive the logfiles onto consumer-priced slow storage.)

Comment Sometimes you need a truck (Score 1) 172

(insert "series of tubes" joke here.)

You don't just care about the acceleration speed; that 1995 Civic had pretty good handling, and might be more use on the freeway than a muscle car that's made to go really fast in a straight line. Or maybe what you need is a truck, because carrying everything in one trip is a lot faster than 50 slightly faster trips.

Comment Slow writes, fast reads, low $$, application needs (Score 1) 172

Flash writes are a lot slower than SRAM or DRAM writes, but the reads are still very fast, and both of them are a lot faster than rotating mechanical disk drives. Also, the price/performance means that you may be able to afford putting a lot more of it into your machine.

Depending on your application, you may be getting a big performance win by moving from disk drive to some kind of RAM, and it doesn't matter if it's flash or DRAM because the important thing was eliminating rotation and seek latency. Or you might get better performance because you can put a terabyte of SSD onto your machine, while you don't have room (or budget) for that much flash.

Back in the 80s, the price and capacity of RAM for Vaxen improved to the point that we could finally upgrade our machine to 16 MB and still fit in two cabinets. The run-time for our 12-MB simulation application suddenly went from a week down to an hour per run, and I was able to stop chasing mysterious virtual memory flakiness. The upgrade probably cost us about half a person-year's salary, and it would have probably made sense to get it a year earlier, but capital expenses and salaries came from different budgets, and big bureaucratic companies are that good at cost accounting.

Comment 23&Me tests are $99 vs. Myriad's $3000 (Score 1) 214

23andme.com's genetic test does have a "not for diagnostic use" disclaimer, but their standard test looks at three of the BRCA genes and five other breast-cancer genes, as well as a lot of other gene snips for medical and ancestry factors. (And hey, Myriad's not going to tell you what percentage Neanderthal you are :-) For some traits, there's one well-understood gene, so they can tell you if you've got it or not; for many others, there are a bunch of genes that affect it, so they may tell you that you've got a lower risk of diabetes or a higher risk of Parkinson's or whatever. And for a couple of the more scary genetic traits, they ask you if you really want to know the results before showing you (I forget which ones, but I think that included BRCA and Huntington's chorea.)

Comment Couldn't get Coralcache to work? (Score 1) 42

The standard Coralcache link for the main article would be http://linuxgizmos.com.nyud.net/tiny-cortex-a9-module-runs-linux-and-android/, but it chokes when I try to use it.

The Variscite.com Product Link worked just fine for me, but in case it goes away, http://www.variscite.com.nyud.net/products/system-on-module-som/cortex-a9/dart-4460-cpu-ti-omap-4-omap4460 worked fine also. I couldn't find the price, though.

Comment Smartphones, Pencams have same risks as Glass (Score 1) 97

I know you're mostly just trolling, but smartphones and pencams have the same risks to public privacy as Google Glass, in terms of being a small portable camera with a radio-based internet connection. (They're actually more risky, because they have better battery life.) What Glass does is give you a display and somewhere to head-mount the camera instead of having to clip it onto your pocket or whatever, plus make it much more obvious that you're using it.


Video Backyard Brains Shows You How to Remote Control a Cockroach (Video) 62

This is our second video starring Backyard Brains (Motto: "Neuroscience for Everyone!"). The first one was pretty lab-oriented, with a twitching roach leg here and there. This one has more roaches, with most of them crawling on command. Will the DoD see this and decide to make cockroach soldiers? Or roboroach bomb detectors and defusers? Or cockroach drone pilots? Anything's possible these days. But meanwhile, relax and enjoy learning about roboroaches and watching how, with little circuit boards on their little backs, they scurry hither and yon under control of their human masters. WARNING: Excessively squeamish people should not watch this video, but should stick to the transcript.
The Internet

One Year After World IPv6 Launch — Are We There Yet? 246

darthcamaro writes "One year ago today was the the official 'Launch Day' of IPv6. The idea was that IPv6 would get turned on and stay on at major carriers and website. So where are we now? Only 1.27% of Google traffic comes from IPv6 and barely 12 percent of the Alexa Top 1000 sites are even accessible via IPv6. In general though, the Internet Society is pleased with the progress over the last year. '"The good news is that almost everywhere we look, IPv6 is increasing," Phil Roberts,technology program manager at the Internet Society said. "It seems to be me that it's now at the groundswell stage and it all looks like everything is up and to the right."'"

Lizard Named For Jim Morrison 50

ColdWetDog writes "The LA Times has a quick article on a newly named giant lizard: 'An ancient plant eating lizard that looked like an iguana but was closer in size to a German shepherd has been named after Jim Morrison, the late troubled and charismatic lead singer of the Doors.The lizard's name was chosen by Jason Head, a paleontologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a hard-core Doors fan since college.' Hunter S. Thompson, who hallucinated presumably somewhat more carnivorous lounge lizards, was also considered for the honor."

Comment Re:The inability to research? (Score 1) 230

LSD's only known fatal toxicity in mammals has been in elephants; it causes heat regulation problems, and therefore might also be dangerous to other very large mammals. (It's probably a bad idea for aquatic mammals, in case disorientation can lead to drowning, but it can also be dangerous for human subjects that need to operate large machinery, such as cars.)

Damage to receptor molecules isn't much of an issue with LSD; that seems to be more of a risk with Ecstasy and the various dopamine-affecting drugs. Unfortunately, the DEA's bans on research make it really hard to study those effects on the recreationally interesting ones, compared to the more politically correct drugs. But for LSD, doses are really low and they only affect a few receptors, unlike some of the more complex psychedelics. On the other hand, for people who have risks for psychosis, it can be a really powerful and disorienting experience which they can't handle well.

I've stayed away from the serotonin-regulating drugs, but tried a dopamine-agonist for restless leg syndrome, and after using that for a few months and getting a bad reaction to nitrous at the dentist, it took me a couple of months to feel like myself again. Not planning to touch that stuff or anything like it again.

Comment Re:The inability to research? (Score 1) 230

I think hedwards was referring to other drugs, though there are psychiatric treatments like traditional talk therapy or Cognitive-Behavioural stuff.

But the reason there hasn't been as much research on LSD and Ecstasy as we'd need for routine non-experimental use in psychiatry is entirely because the drugs were banned for political incorrectness, not safety, even including bans on medical research for the psychedelics. Groups like MAPS are starting to fund new research in countries where they can get permission, and there's current work in the US on Ecstasy as part of PTSD treatment for veterans (because treating injured veterans has a political correctness all its own.) Psilocybin, in particular, seems to be really helpful for depression for some people, though the ketamine research may be more promising.

And the military research into LSD isn't very relevant (except insofar as it got people like Ken Kesey exposed to it, which popularized it on the West Coast.) They were trying to develop drugs for rapid temporary incapacitation of enemy soldiers on the battefield and also for interrogation of prisoners, and it's not very useful for either of those applications. They weren't trying to develop psychiatric treatments for shell-shocked vets, or migraine treatments, much less an enhancement for loud music and bright colors and having your world be really radically different for a day.

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