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Comment Re:The anti-science sure is odd. (Score 5, Interesting) 452

"The authors of the paper note it’s particularly interesting that global warming keeps winning the bet despite ocean cycles, solar activity, and human aerosol pollution all acting in the cooling direction over the past 15 years. Human-caused global warming has become so strong that it’s consistently overcoming these natural short-term cooling factors... In other words, betting against global warming is an almost sure way to lose money at this point."

https://www.skepticalscience.com/betting-against-gw-sure-way-to-lose-money.html

Comment Re:Of course. . . (Score 2) 380

Be sure to place a monetary wager and profit on your knowledge!

https://science.slashdot.org/story/16/08/02/0124236/climate-change-contrarians-lose-big-betting-against-global-warming

Ignore this, though: "The authors of the paper note it’s particularly interesting that global warming keeps winning the bet despite ocean cycles, solar activity, and human aerosol pollution all acting in the cooling direction over the past 15 years. Human-caused global warming has become so strong that it’s consistently overcoming these natural short-term cooling factors... In other words, betting against global warming is an almost sure way to lose money at this point."

https://www.skepticalscience.com/betting-against-gw-sure-way-to-lose-money.html

HP

NASA's Outsourced Computer People Are Even Worse Than You Might Expect (arstechnica.com) 235

Eric berger, writing for ArsTechnica: As part of a plan to help NASA "modernize" its desktop and laptop computers, the space agency signed a $2.5 billion services contract with HP Enterprise Services in 2011. According to HP (now HPE), part of the Agency Consolidated End-User Service (ACES) program the computing company would "modernize NASA's entire end-user infrastructure by delivering a full range of personal computing services and devices to more than 60,000 users." HPE also said the program would "allow (NASA) employees to more easily collaborate in a secure computing environment." The services contract, alas, hasn't gone quite as well as one might have hoped. This week Federal News Radio reported that HPE is doing such a poor job that NASA's chief information officer, Renee Wynn, could no longer accept the security risks associated with the contract. Wynn, therefore, did not sign off on the authority to operate (ATO) for systems and tools.A spokesperson for NASA said: "NASA continues to work with HPE to remediate vulnerabilities. As required by NASA policy, system owners must accomplish this remediation within a specified period of time. For those vulnerabilities that cannot be fully remediated within the established time frame, a Plan of Actions and Milestones (POAM) must be developed, approved, and tracked to closure."
Iphone

A Design Defect Is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units (iphonehacks.com) 210

Evan Selleck, writing for iPhoneHacks (edited and condensed): For many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners out there in the wild, a design defect is apparently causing some huge issues. Gadget repair firm iFixit has reported about a flaw dubbed "Touch Disease", which it claims is cropping up. With it, owners of the phones are experiencing, to start, a gray bar that appears at the very top of their display. And, for many others, the display itself becomes unresponsive to touch, or less responsive overall. In the blog post, iFixit says the problem stems from issues with the touchscreen controller chip, which is soldered onto the logic board. Interestingly enough, iFixit posits that the same internal design decisions that led to "Endgate" might be causing the issue leading to Touch Disease, too: "In both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Touch IC chips connect to the logic board via an array of itty-bitty solder balls -- "like a plate resting on marbles," Jessa explains. Over time, as the phone flexes or twists slightly during normal use, those solder balls crack and start to lose contact with the board. "At first, there may be no defect at all. Later you might notice that the screen is sometimes unresponsive, but it is quick to come back with a hard reset," Jessa explains. "As the crack deepens into a full separation of the chip-board bond, the periods of no touch function become more frequent."

Comment Re:Not strictly Excel's fault (Score 1) 326

"I can change the column when/if I need to"

Actually, I have major problems trying to convert text to a number format once it's in the spreadsheet program. (I use LibreOffice, but I assume Excel functionality is the same.) If I take a column that's text-formatted, and click Format > Cell > Number, then all of the numeric stuff gets a single quote prefixed, sabotaging the attempt to treat it as a number. Your proposal would generate a massive user outcry for that and other reasons.

Comment Re:It was user error, not a spreadsheet problem .. (Score 5, Insightful) 326

It could rather be a conversion error. For example, if you have the original in a CSV file (possibly output from one program) where strings have no lead colon, and then load into Excel or LibreOffice, it will (by default) turn everything it can into a numeric format. One needs to be aware of that and ask that the column be converted to text -- which is easy to overlook if you have a column that's mostly non-ambiguous, but somewhere far below is a single date-like name.

I've gotten hit by this many times with CSVs coming out of our school's learning management system, with long numeric student IDs that get turned into scientific notation in the spreadsheet application. In some sense that's easier to catch, because it will hit a whole column of data at once; but even so it's distressing how often I need to backtrack to resolve that.

Programming

20% of Scientific Papers On Genes Contain Conversion Errors Caused By Excel, Says Report (winbeta.org) 326

An anonymous reader writes from a report via WinBeta: A new report from scientists Mark Ziemann, Yotam Eren, and Assam El-Osta says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article, titled "Gene name errors are widespread in the scientific literature," article's abstract section, the scientists explain: "The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions."

It's easy to see why Excel might have problems with certain gene names when you see the "gene symbols" that the scientists use as examples: "For example, gene symbols such as SEPT2 (Septin 2) and MARCH1 [Membrane-Associated Ring Finger (C3HC4) 1, E3 Ubiquitin Protein Ligase] are converted by default to '2-Sep' and '1-Mar', respectively. Furthermore, RIKEN identifiers were described to be automatically converted to floating point numbers (i.e. from accession '2310009E13' to '2.31E+13'). Since that report, we have uncovered further instances where gene symbols were converted to dates in supplementary data of recently published papers (e.g. 'SEPT2' converted to '2006/09/02'). This suggests that gene name errors continue to be a problem in supplementary files accompanying articles. Inadvertent gene symbol conversion is problematic because these supplementary files are an important resource in the genomics community that are frequently reused. Our aim here is to raise awareness of the problem."
You can view the scientific paper in its entirety here.

Comment Re:WSUS offline + PortableUpdate (Score 1) 400

Are you sure that the security-only update will be accessible that way? I thought it was for enterprise users only, unavailable to home users.

(And if they continue on this trajectory of Trojan-ing feature changes as security updates then I'm not sure how much even that buys us.)

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