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Comment Humans versus Sheep (Score 1) 253

What is gained from trials on sheep? Why not test human volunteer subjects? Here are the cases I see.

Given whatever value of "success" deemed appropriate:
1. Sheep trials a "success" -- proceed to human trials -- also a success, in which case, why not just go with the humans first?
2. Sheep trials not a "success" -- which does not eliminate the chance that sheep are immune to whatever was tested and humans are not, in which case, why not just go with humans first?

I admit, I probably stand more on the side of animal rights than the majority of Slashdot which probably leans towards seeing animals as property. I'm still curious.

Comment Java applet crashed Firefox on Arch Linux (Score 1) 454

I successfully completed the download, upload, and latency tests. When the jitter test started, a Java dialog box appeared and I OK'd it. It then crashed my browser (Mozilla Firefox: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.2) Gecko/20100207 Firefox/3.6). I repeated the process and confirmed that it was the Java applet that crashed my browser.

I couldn't download the compiled Java bytecode and reverse assemble it. Anyone else?


Can You Trust Chinese Computer Equipment? 460

Ian Lamont writes "Suspicions about China slipping eavesdropping technology into computer exports have been around for years. But the recent spying attacks, attributed to China, on Google and other Internet companies have revived the hardware spying concerns. An IT World blogger suggests the gear can't be trusted, noting that it wouldn't be hard to add security holes to the firmware of Chinese-made USB memory sticks, computers, hard drives, and cameras. He also implies that running automatic checks for data of interest in the compromised gear would not be difficult." The blog post mentions Ken Thompson's admission in 1983 that he had put a backdoor into the Unix C compiler; he laid out the details in the 1983 Turing Award lecture, Reflections On Trusting Trust: "The moral is obvious. You can't trust code that you did not totally create yourself. (Especially code from companies that employ people like me.) No amount of source-level verification or scrutiny will protect you from using untrusted code. In demonstrating the possibility of this kind of attack, I picked on the C compiler. I could have picked on any program-handling program such as an assembler, a loader, or even hardware microcode. As the level of program gets lower, these bugs will be harder and harder to detect. A well installed microcode bug will be almost impossible to detect."

Europe's LHC To Run At Half-Energy Through 2011 194

quaith writes "ScienceInsider reports that Europe's Large Hadron Collider will run at half its maximum energy through 2011 and likely not at all in 2012. The previous plan was to ramp it up to 70% of maximum energy this year. Under the new plan, the LHC will run at 7 trillion electron-volts through 2011. The LHC would then shut down for a year so workers could replace all of its 10,000 interconnects with redesigned ones allowing the LHC to run at its full 14 TeV capacity in 2013. The change raises hopes at the LHC's lower-energy rival, the Tevatron Collider at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, of being extended through 2012 instead of being shut down next year. Fermilab researchers are hoping that their machine might collect enough data to beat the LHC to the discovery of the Higgs boson, a particle key to how physicists explain the origin of mass."

Radio Hams Fired Upon In Haiti 265

Bruce Perens writes "A team of radio ham volunteers from the Dominican Republic visited Port-au-Prince to install VHF repeaters, only to be fired upon as they left the Dominican embassy. Two non-ham members of the party were hit, one severely. ARRL is sending equipment, and there is confusion as unfamiliar operators in government agencies join in on ham frequencies."

Cuba Jails US Worker Handing Out Laptops, Cellphones 400

eldavojohn writes "An American citizen working as a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development has been arrested for giving away laptops and cellphones in Cuba. The intent was to enable activists to connect with each other and spread information of what's happening inside Cuba. From the article: 'Cellphones and laptops are legal in Cuba, though they are new and coveted commodities in a country where the average worker's wage is $15 a month. The Cuban government granted ordinary citizens the right to buy cellphones just last year; they are used mostly for texting, because a 15-minute phone conversation would eat up a day's wages.' A Representative on the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the arrest was 'no surprise' while a human rights watch group cited a report outlining the Cuban Criminal Code offense of 'dangerousness,' which is most likely the one for which this individual was detained. There is at present no way to contact the individual nor official word on why he was detained." The article quotes an actvist with Human Rights Watch who said that "any solution to the contractor's case would probably be political" and that "the Cuban government often provokes a negative reaction in the United States just as [the two] countries begin to move toward more dialogue."

Comment Re:The comment may also be complex.. (Score 1) 660

It's been my experience that people who leave competent comments are both the people who write competent code and who can touch-type.

I would imagine that when you have to peck out 400 lines of code using four fingers, there's very little incentive for you to go back in and start trying to explain things.


The Economics of Federal Cloud Computing Analyzed 85

jg21 writes "With the federal government about to spend $20B on IT infrastructure, this highly analytical article by two Booz Allen Hamilton associates makes it clear that cloud computing has now received full executive backing and offers clear opportunities for agencies to significantly reduce their growing expenditures for data centers and IT hardware. From the article: 'A few agencies are already moving quickly to explore cloud computing solutions and are even redirecting existing funds to begin implementations... Agencies should identify the aspects of their current IT workload that can be transitioned to the cloud in the near term to yield "early wins" to help build momentum and support for the migration to cloud computing.'"

Student Loan Interest Rankles College Grads 1259

theodp writes "Like many recent college grads, Steven Lee finds himself unemployed in one of the roughest job markets in decades and saddled with a big pile of debt — he owes about $84,000 in student loans for undergrad and grad school. But what's really got Lee angry are the high interest rates on his government-backed student loans. 'The rate for a 30-year mortgage is around 5%,' Lee said. 'Why should anyone have to pay 8.5%? The government has bailed out homeowners. It's bailed out big businesses. Why can't it also help students?' Not only that, federal student loans are the only loans in the nation that are largely non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, have no statutes of limitations, and can't be refinanced after consolidation, so Lee can forget about pulling a move out of the GM playbook. And unlike mortgages on million-dollar vacation homes, student loans have very limited tax deductability. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education blamed Congress for the rates which she conceded 'may seem high today,' but suggested that students are a credit-unworthy lot who should thank their lucky stars that rates aren't 12% or higher. Makes one long for the good-old-days of 3% student loans, doesn't it?"

Comment Re:Don't forget (1918): (Score 2, Interesting) 258

There was something odd about the Spanish Flu, which was a more deadly version of H1N1. It attacked and killed the healthy and young far more than the sick and the weak, the very young and the elderly.

Now, the report, below says that the two H1N1's are "distant cousins" and "totally not related", but...

The newer "swine flu" H1N1 strain also seems to be following that pattern -- killing teens and "the very healthy" more than the old or young people, in spite of their relative health.

The Spanish Flu made the body attack itself -- the healthier you were, the worse the reaction Click Here:

  • Spanish flu
    Main article: 1918 flu pandemic

    The Spanish flu, also known as La Gripe Española, or La Pesadilla, was an unusually severe and deadly strain of avian influenza, a viral infectious disease, that killed some 50 million to 100 million people worldwide over about a year in 1918 and 1919. It is thought to be one of the most deadly pandemics in human history. It was caused by the H1N1 type of influenza virus.[4]

    The 1918 flu caused an unusual number of deaths, possibly due to it causing a cytokine storm in the body.[5][6] (The current H5N1 bird flu, also an Influenza A virus, has a similar effect.)[7] The Spanish flu virus infected lung cells, leading to overstimulation of the immune system via release of cytokines into the lung tissue. This leads to extensive leukocyte migration towards the lungs, causing destruction of lung tissue and secretion of liquid into the organ. This makes it difficult for the patient to breathe. In contrast to other pandemics, which mostly kill the old and the very young, the 1918 pandemic killed unusual numbers of young adults, which may have been due to their healthy immune systems mounting a too-strong and damaging response to the infection.[2]

    The term "Spanish" flu was coined because Spain was at the time the only European country where the press were printing reports of the outbreak, which had killed thousands in the armies fighting World War I. Other countries suppressed the news in order to protect morale.[8]

Perhaps there is something to this study. Now, I don't believe studies as a rule and I have criticized the same, but logic and history seem to add evidence to the *strong* correlation.

As to this study, I think it's a lot closer to being airtight than most (very large sample size, fractional percent margin of error, good science, peer reviews, findings being scrutinized and met with skepticism):

  • "There are a large number of authors, all of them excellent and credible researchers," he said. "And the sample size is very large - 12 or 13 million people taken from the central reporting systems in three provinces. The research is solid."

Sadly, I'm not as dubious of this Canadian study as others and will weigh my options for my family.... :-(


Solution For College's Bad Network Policy? 699

DAMN MY LIFE writes "I'm going to Central Michigan University in the fall. Upon examination of their poorly organized network usage policies, I'm worried that using their internet service will expose my web browsing habits, emails, and most importantly, passwords. Another concern I have is the 'Client Security Agent' that students are required to install and leave on their systems to use the network. Through this application, the IT department scans everyone's computer for what they claim are network security purposes. Of course, scanning a person's hard drive can turn up all kinds of things that are personal. Do all colleges have such extreme measures in place? Is there any way that I can avoid this? There are no wireless broadband providers available in the area, I already checked."

Hacker Jeff Moss Sworn Into Homeland Security Advisory Council 139

Wolfgang Kandek writes "Hacker Jeff Moss, founder of computer security conferences DEFCON and Black Hat, has been sworn in as one of the new members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) of the DHS. Moss, who goes by the handle 'the Dark Tangent' says he was surprised to be asked to join the council and that he was nominated to bring an 'outside perspective' to its meetings. He said, 'I know there is a new-found emphasis on cybersecurity, and they're looking to diversify the members and to have alternative viewpoints. I think they needed a skeptical outsider's view because that has been missing.'"

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