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User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 3^3 5

As requested by the world's greatest masked mystery person, Anonymous Coward, it may or may not be time for yet another biology help desk thread, after a surprisingly long hiatus of about four years. Feel free to contribute both questions and answers.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Slashdot could recover top spot from Reddit

So Reddit - where most veteran Slashdotters have been hanging out these days - is melting down, and for good reason.

I've been coming back here more lately.

But man, there's things that Reddit does better. No limit on mod points, for one. A better story queue mechanism for another.

There is a window here, if Slashdot admins have the balls to try. Implement Reddit's up vote system and subreddits. Maybe limit the latter to departments more traditional for Slashdot, but allow all users to submit stories in the Reddit manner. Hell, just clone the thing! You'd get a huge amount of your readership back.

Maybe the Slashdot front page is curated a la /r/bestof to get that moderator filtered quality for the front page, but subslashes should be open season.

Is the spirit of Rob Malda still alive in /. HQ? Can a tiger team code this in a hurry? You should.

Ah, nobody will ever read this....

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume Seven 19

Hey, remember these? I do. Vaguely. But vaguely isn't good enough, so here's another one. Since I've discovered that the secret to understanding machine learning problems well enough to implement them is mostly a matter of strategically procrastinating, it seems only fair that I should run one of these. So before cross-entropy actually starts making sense to me, what would you like to know?

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 6 36

It's probably a bad idea to run one of these while I'm slogging through the project bulge of my last semester of undergrad, but let's take a stab at it anyway. Have at it! Clever trolls welcome!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 2n+1, n=2 34

I've gotten a couple of requests now for another one of these, so here one is. Please, bring to me your curiosities and questions about the strange and mysterious biological sciences. I can probably answer (or research answers to) most questions. (Also, if you keep missing these, I've decided I'm going to vaguely hint at them in mysterious ways on Twitter (@rhet0rica) from now on. I guess even Twitter has to have some utility.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 4 22

Bring me your curiosity! As before, if this expires and you want to ask a question, just slip me a comment (or an e-mail) and I'll put up another one of these. No question is too trivial; no thinly-veiled troll too transparent! (I'm going to regret saying that, I'm sure.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk: Volume 3 10

I've received another request for one of these, so I figured that I would put it up. Since they only last about two weeks, please feel free to track me down and ask for a new one if you ever have a question!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk Again 25

I'm really not sure how long these last as comment-on-able, so here's another one. I'll try to be a little more vigilant in making sure there's always a journal open for asking questions.

A little more elucidation: I'm in the fourth year of a combined bioinformatics/medical informatics degree. Most of my semester is from the CS curriculum, but I have gotten through biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, physiology, and organic chemistry courses. (Mostly in the presence of pre-med students.) I've also taken genomics-specific courses and worked in a molecular biology lab studying C. elegans, and a medical lab studying Autism.

So ask away!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Biology Help Desk 4

Thanks to the power of my silly sig, I've been getting a lot of biology questions lately. Most of these are fun to answer, but occasionally they pop up in totally inappropriate threads just out of the blue. Since Slashdot supports commenting on journal posts, it seemed like the best thing to do would be to make one and encourage people to ask here instead. So do that!

And I really will phrase things as car and computer analogies when possible. Although computer analogies are way more common.

For clarification, I've taken physiology and genetics courses, and can answer most geeky things about the human body and fundamental biology. I don't know much about pharmacology or ecology (because it is very, very, dry), and I am not a doctor. But I'll try to answer those questions, too.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Still here... 1

I'm still here.

I wonder how many others from the early days of Slashdot are still kicking around?


User Journal

Journal Journal: Help me end MS 2010! 1

OK, so the MS Bike Tour is this weekend and I'm a little behind the 8 ball when it comes to fundraising - Slashdot, help me end MS! Pledge me here!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Welcome to 2010

Out goes the RAZR2 V9

In comes the BlackBerry 9700.

Amazing bit of hardware. Finally lives up to the promise my Palm Lifedrive offered but never quite delivered on.


User Journal

Journal Journal: PayPal Donations... I'll be damned 1

So a while ago, I wrote a little web based e-book called Autocross To Win (inspired by Carrol Smith's "To Win" series.

You can see it at

I wrote it primarily because I wasted a shit-ton of money chasing my own tail and following "conventional wisdom" when it came to race car setup, and discovered a number of things that conventional wisdom got wrong.

It became more important to me just before I left for Afghanistan. I didn't want this information left locked inside my head where it would be lost if I got knocked on the head while in theatre. It seems silly I know, but I wanted to make sure that it wouldn't go for naught if I got killed.

Now I'm back - and I'm unemployed. I've been trying to go back to Afghanistan but there's no open slots and I'm having a lot of trouble prising one open. And it struck me that there's a lot of good info in ATW - enough that it probably makes a good book.

But I also do not regret the impulse that put it online for free. To pull it down so I could charge money for it... that seems dishonest. Information really does want to be free, even the information I wrote myself.

I put some ads on the site, but I'm not a high-exposure site. I'm deep, not broad, and I'm very highly specialized. The ads cover the bandwidth bill and little else.

So yesterday I figured I'd try a tactic that I've seen web cartoonists use - the PayPal "donate" button. I added one to the ATW base template. Small. Unobtrusive. No fanfare or hard sell. No promotion of this on any of the forums I use to announce site updates. Just added it quietly.

And 24 hours later, I have my first donation. Wow, I didn't think that would work.

I'm going to do up a little "thank you" certificate and email those out to donors.

Maybe this is how all content providers will get paid from now on...


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