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Comment Re: Missing option (Score 1) 225

Unfortunately, this whole thing that could have been an interesting case is clouded by the murder attempts. It's also no good that he wasn't just a website admin, he also produced and sold illegal drugs through the site. I voted "got what he deserved" (regardless that it's not what he was charged with) because he tried to have people killed. The interesting test case would be one similar to this, but where the defendant had only made a website that facilitated secure, anonymous, escrowed transactions and maybe conflict resolution services with no concern whatsoever for the type of transaction. No illegal sales undertaken by said administrator, no guides on how best to package illegal drugs for shipment written by the administrator, and absolutely no attempts to have anybody murdered. That I'd like to see tested, and life in prison would be rather sever for an admin of an ecommerce site of that nature. The actual case isn't of much interest to me since it turns out Ross Ulbricht actually did terrible things.

Comment We're the part that got dropped (Score 1) 248

We lost probably $30k in lost sales, and employees unable to do their jobs yesterday. Liquid web is going to lose a ton of customers over this. I don't know if it was their "fault," or if it was the top tier providers in their area they contract with. But as I understand it, if we had been with anyone really big who had us colocated in facilities way far away from each other, this would have been extremely unlikely.

Comment Re:It's an artform (Score 1) 240

Or you can just learn how to expose film properly before you ever set foot in a darkroom, and then spend your time in the darkroom learning about dodging and burning, cropping, using multicontrast papers and filters, ferrotyping tins, different developers, etc. to get the look you want, in which case you get feedback within minutes and can keep printing until you get what you want.

It's true it's not the fastest way to check framing, exposure, depth of field, focus, etc. Although it can also force people to put more thought into those things, since the stakes are higher.

Comment Re:Vitamin takers ignore absorption pathways (Score 1) 707

You can find current articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, etc stating medical items as facts that are 10, 20, 30 years or more behind the current state of research at the time.

You still see newspapers running articles saying that post-menopausal hormone supplements reduce the risk of heart-attack in women (they increase it), that plastic cutting boards have lower risk of harboring dangerous bacteria than wood (it's higher), that low-fat diets help with weight loss (they make it harder to lose weight than higher fat diets), that all fat is unhealthy (it's not), that foods like rice cakes and baked potatoes and simple pastas are great diet foods (they're terrible, they have high glycemic response, you'd be better off eating a candy bar as far as weight loss is concerned), I could go on and on. The article you reference is simply written by someone who doesn't keep up on the current state of the research.

"Current state" meaning around 2008.

I don't have time to recount all the science, but here's one link to a 2009 meta-study.

I'm not exaggerating at all. I'm not claiming my views are so well established that they're in the 8th-grade health textbook, that will probably take 100 years, but the science behind this in peer-reviewed research journals is well established. Expect at least 10 years for the media to pick up on it, if we're lucky.

Comment Vitamin takers ignore absorption pathways (Score 5, Informative) 707

One of the biggest problems with vitamin supplements is that neither the takers nor the manufacturers (nor doctors prescribing supplements) pay any attention to absorption pathways. They also tend to ignore variants, which is a problem with a broader category of nutrients than just vitamins. There is a pretty decent scientific basis for the idea that good levels of vitamins are healthy, but supplements are usually taken in ways that are likely to make things worse rather than better through crowding out other essential vitamins and minerals that get absorbed through the same pathway.

Take zinc. It was found that zinc can denature viruses, so a viral sore throat can have its symptoms somewhat alleviated by zinc lozenges. But zinc is absorbed through the same pathway as copper, and the sort of large doses of zinc that people are taking for cold remedies is probably crowding out reasonable levels of copper absorption. And guess what copper's critical for? White blood cells and your immune system, the functions that can really do something about colds. Usually there's some bit of news, that the media gets wrong, then the general public gets even more wrong, and what the average consumer does in respect to a new scientific development ends up being completely counter-productive. Thus the news that zinc can denature viruses on contact turned into people taking zinc supplement pills with ads on the side of the bottle about taking them for colds. But pillsâ"as opposed to lozengesâ"do not result in significant concentrations of zinc where the virus is, and then they end up weakening the immune system by crowding out copper absorption.

Vitamin E is another excellent example. "Vitamin E" is 8 different vitamins that serve very different roles in the body. But they are absorbed through the same pathway and are highly subject to crowding-out. Basically, due to a terminology problem that the 8 distinct vitamins got lumped together as "Vitamin E," people who take vitamin E supplements end up deficient in 7 essential vitamins, unless they're taking reasonable doses of multitocopherol supplements, which isn't what much of anybody takes.

This tendancy to lump things together has lead to another super popular modern marketing disaster, Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is not a type of fatty acid, it's a class of fatty acids encompassing many different molecules. It turns out that only the fish-derived versions demonstrate any of the health benefits, but basically every food in the grocery store touting "Omega 3" all over the label is using plant sources, where they might as well be adding a gram of canola oil or corn oil for all the health benefits you'll be getting. Everything touting the helath benefits of flax seeds have no scientific basis, the the science is quite clear that the Omega 3 fatty acids in flax do not exhibit any of the hormone-like beneficial properties such as reducing inflammation that the fish Omega 3 fatty acids have.

I strongly suspect that in the long-term it will turn out that taking appropriate supplements is a very good idea for health, but right now, the science hasn't explored the area thoroughly enough to make solid recommendations given the complexity of the subject, and what little we do know has very little effect on what manufactures make and advertise and what consumers actually take. Which probably leads to the negative outcomes.

If you want to try to figure out, based on what we know, what the best guesses might be about what supplements to actually take, try reading up on the work of Bruce Ames and Andrew Weil. They don't have easy answers, but Bruce Ames did brilliant research, and Andrew Weil makes practical best-guess recommendations based upon the current state of the science.

Comment Re:War! (Score 1) 259

How long might it take us to become a threat? Interstellar space-faring aliens may have civilizations millions or billions of years old. They may have seen annoying upstart civilizations seem as harmless as one gnat to all the world's militaries, but then leave them alone for just a few tens or hundreds of thousand years, and all of a sudden they're some kind of annoyance. How often do they happen through this part of space? The universe is a big place. Monitoring may be resource intensive and error prone. They might just consider it good practice, in discovering new life, especially with some modicum of intelligence, to stamp it out as they find it to reduce risk to their way of life.

Comment 5 Zettabytes? (Score 4, Insightful) 138

I'm surprised I don't see anyone here questioning this 5 zettabyte number. The biggest drives currently manufactured are 4 terabyte 3.5" drives. 5 zetabytes would require 1.25 billion of those drives. A great price on a 4TB drive right now is $190. I doubt there's enough margin in them to make this possible, but let's just say that based on the insane quantity they get them for $150 each. That's $187 billion for the drives alone, nothing for the computers and racks and air conditioning and all. The NSA's budget is estimated at 8 billion a year. $187 billion is 23 times their yearly budget. It would be about 3% of total federal spending for a year... just for the drives. Total facility costs would certainly run many times that... it would probably cost more than an entire year's military spending to build a 5 zettabyte data center.

Also, you can fit about 500 terabytes in a server cabinet. That means 10 million server cabinets. A server cabinet is about 15 cubic feet of volume. So just the cabinets alone would run 150 million cubic feet. And that's just storage, not even including computers. And it's not like you can pack them in solid, of course. If you can make a datacenter with one third of its total volume being server racks, that would be amazing. The largest building in the world is only 472 million cubic feet, this would have to equal or surpass it.

Also, the entire world wide market for hard drives is only a little over 30 billion a year... this one project would consume over 6 times as much value in hard drives as every other use in the world combined for the year.

Unless the NSA has developed their own mass storage technology that no one else knows about and is radically superior to anything commercially available, I'm guessing someone's exaggerating or got their numbers wrong.

Comment Re:"35mm DSLR" (Score 4, Informative) 316

What I think the poll options are intended to mean, for those of us into photography who keep picking at them:

1. Small format film camera
2. Medium or large format film camera
3. Permanent lens digital camera.
5. Compact System Camera (or SLD, Single Lens Direct-view. The name for this category is still solidifying.)
6. Cell phone camera
7. Cowboy Neal
8. I'm going to complain about lack of options

What's wrong with what he said, for the nitpicky:
1. "Film camera (35mm or smaller film)" Nothing wrong. Covers the majority of film cameras, 35mm, APS, 110 roll film, Kodak Disc, etc.
2. "Film camera (film > 35mm)" Again, nothing wrong. Covers all the common aspect ratios of 120 roll film, including all those popular medium formats like Hasselblad, Mamiya, Yashica, Rolliflex, etc. (or many of these can take medium format sheet film). It also covers on up to viewcameras - press cameras (Graflex) and studio cameras, 4 x 5, 8 x10, etc. Or George Lawrence's 8' x 4.5' camera.
3. "Fixed-lens digicam of some kind" The nitpick here is with the use of the term "Fixed-lens," which in photography, "fixed" usually refers to a lens of "fixed focal length," meaning a prime lens, not a zoom lens. It doesn't usually mean a lens that's permanently attached to the camera. Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have permanently attached zoom lenses.
4. "Digital SLR in conventional 35mm size." 35mm is actually an unconventional size for a digital camera sensor. There are certainly several full frame DSLR's out there, but they're the high-end exception. Most are APS-C sized, and then there are the Olympus and Panasonics with 4/3, and probably some other sizes out there. While this list divided film cameras by film size into a comprehensive dichotomy, this classification of digital cameras leaves a lot of cameras homeless, that probably should have fit into this category - aside from APS-C and 4/3, there are a few digital rangefinders, there are Medium Format digitals. 5. "Micro 4/3,Q, or other newfangled mount." The problem here is the attempt to use new mounts to cover a new body type that's become popular. The name for this is still up in the air, but Compact System Camera may be winning. It's the Olympus PEN's and OM-D's, Sony NEX, Panasonic Lumix G series, Nikon 1, Pentax K-01.
6. "Whatever came with the phone." Or came in a phone. Whatever.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 4, Insightful) 630


I'd say about a quarter of the kids I knew in school drew pictures of guns or tanks or other violent things.

Adam Lanza was also an honer student. While about 25% of kids draw weapons, only about 10% of kids are honor students. For higher specificity on their correlational targeting, they should arrest honor students.

Comment Re:Oracle? SPARC? (Score 4, Interesting) 98

Five years ago your comment would have made a lot of sense to me, but now you're talking about how everyone's gone X86 during the first massive movement away from X86 the industry's seen... smartphones and tablets are all computers that run on ARM processors, they're cleaning X86's clock in the only rapidly expanding market. And ARM's next core design is aimed at servers.

For the first time, Windows compatibility is mattering less and less as many users only use the web and web apps on their computers - opening the door to competing processors for the first time since the late 80's. At the same time, PC's continue to represent a smaller and smaller share of new CPU's, which are migrating to data centers, smartphones, and pads, which are even less dependent on X86 compatibility.

For the first time, the computational penalty of X86 instruction set translation for RISC cores may not outweigh the compatibility benefit for a significant portion of users. Increasingly, customers don't care about compatibility with existing X86 codebases. Like ARM, anyone with a new processor with compelling performance per watt might actually be able to sell the thing, without everyone assuming it's worthless if it won't run Windows.

Also, I wouldn't quite characterize POWER as a strictly legacy product, since IBM introduced the latest iteration, the power 7+, in August 2012, and is currently selling 15 different systems using Power7 processors. Not to mention the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii, and not-even-out-yet Wii U that are all POWER based systems.

Comment Re:Simple but effective (Score 1) 348

Dave's Insanity and it's many varieties are very effective. For a friend's birthday we just got him a bottle of Dave's 2012 Private Reserve ghost pepper sauce. At 650,000 scoville units, it's no slouch. Really hot. I got to try it, and while I apply it with a toothpick, the guy we gave it to will eat a couple of teaspoons of it with a meal.

I joke that next year for his birthday, we're just going to kick him in the teeth, it seems about as pleasant of a gift to most people.

Still, if you're just looking for pure, ludicrous, incapacitating heat, it goes way beyond anything Dave's Gourmet has made. The above, the hottest sauce ever by Dave's, is only about the 45th hottest on Scott Robert's list of hot sauces/extracts. Blair's owns the top of the list, selling things right up to pure capsaicin, 16 million scoville. More of a novelty than anything else.

Comment Re:Selll your stock. (Score 1) 398

That's a common theory, but Apple's P/E is 15.6. For context:
Microsoft: 15.4
IBM: 14.5
GE: 18.2
Walmart: 15.2
Toyota: 17.87

Do most of the biggest companies in the world also hold most of their value in the expectation of further rapid growth?

Apple makes unreal amounts of money. Their profitability increased so fast, it outpaced their stock value despite its growth. Early this year Marc Andreessen made the investment news pointing out that Apple's profits had so far outpaced their stock price that they had the P/E of a steel company that was about to go out of business.

Compared to other companies, their stock price is pretty much what one would expect it to be for a company that investors expect to stagnate right where it is.

Comment Re:I wouldn't (Score 3, Insightful) 265

You nailed it in pointing out that the current TLD system is already a "point of stupidity." The point of having different TLD's would be to allow otherwise identical URL's to be usefully differentiated by a TLD. In practice, this is very rarely the case. Most domain owners do not want otherwise identical domains at other TLD's, so they feel they need to register their domain at a bunch of TLD's and forward them. The nearly ubiquitous need to do this among major websites demonstrates that the whole idea is flawed. Most of the public only knows about ".com" and basically think that means "on the internet." Only a few geeks are even aware of what the TLD system was intended to accomplish.

The best answer to the TLD problem is to abandon it - grandfather it out. Stop adding new ones. They should do this by making the final period a non-special signifier in addresses. Anyone can pick anything they want and put any number of periods in their address they want. Every current address would still be unique and valid. But you can register new addresses with no TLD, just use whatever non-owned string makes the most sense for you. If you like TLD's and actually think they're useful, nothing's stopping you from registering new sites with a period followed by the three letters of any current TLD or any new one you want to make up. The process of handing out new addresses with no TLD fairly - you know, like "," or "http://sex" would be a bit messy, but grandfathering out official TLD's would be the best system for the future internet.

This will never happen though, because there's too much money in selling new imaginary property with every new TLD they roll out. The majority of that money is not coming from people looking to take advantage of a new useful identifier, but from people looking to defend their identifier from others in the new domain - revealing the whole problem with the TLD sytem.

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