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Comment Re:All student loans are sketchy (Score 3, Interesting) 81

I really hate the for-profit servicers as well. "Obtuse" is a polite term for them. I really miss when my loan was serviced directly by the Department of Education.

To deal with this kind of issue (I had this with Verizon), I encode my payment amount so I can know what's paid and when. For example, let's say the actual amount due is $253.12. I'll put the month as the last dollars and the cents for the day. So making that payment on June 4th, I'd actually pay $256.04. A payment on July 3rd would be $257.03. So even if they don't post it to my account for 2 months, I know which payment it was.

Next, use your bank/credit-union's bill pay to send payments so you have an audit-trail. NEVER let them draft from your account - it's just not worth the .25% rate break.

Lastly, if they're servicing federal loans and still jerking you around, write to your senators and congresspeople. They have staff who are good at helping un-f*ck bureaucratic organizations.

Comment Re:Why do I need cloud for my Office? (Score 1) 144

However for Office Tools I see no real benefit.

I generally agree with this - I really prefer to work offline and have my documents stored locally. However, in a couple of my classes, teams of students often use the online Google Docs. The main benefit here is that multiple people can synchronously edit the document. It's weird to watch, but it's particularly helpful during online meetings where we're working together on a document. The changes are made live and any of us can make the changes. Or when working on a presentation, we can all be working on the same document but different slides.

In this case it's better than "Great, I'll make those changes and email the updated copy to everyone by the end of the day."

Comment EMV Stinks in the US (Score 1) 225

They might be great in Europe but they're really badly done here in the US.

The new terminals are just plain slow. Even without the chip, it often takes over a minute to approve the transaction, and (unlike before) you can't swipe the card and put it away until the checker has completed scanning all the items. More than once, I've just left a pile of bagged goods at the counter because the thing didn't work at all.

So I have simply stopped shopping at places that require the chip. Amazon ships most non-food things I need and I just pay cash at the grocery store.

Make these work at least as fast as the old way, and not require me to leave the stupid card in the terminal, and I'll consider going back to those shops. Otherwise, I'll probably just spend less; great for me, less so for the retailers and the economy.

Comment Re:Entire study is retarded. It's FOOD, not activi (Score 1) 115

That was my thought too. I have trouble imagining that ancestral farming methods were any less strenuous and "bone-buliding" than even persistence hunting.

I've been reading a lot these days about correlations between the rise of agriculture (and the resulting high consumption of grains and carbohydrates) and worsened dental and overall health as well as shorter stature in humans.

I know that even with my own n=1 change in diet (from a "standard western diet" to a low-carb/high-fat) over the last year, my health, according to current "standard" markers" like BMI, A1C, fasting glucose, HDL/Triglyceride ratios, etc. has improved dramatically. The funny thing is, after this change in my diet, I'm just more energetic - I've never in my life had such a desire to just get out and be more active.

It's strange to me, but in the US, the focus in health is so strongly oriented towards keeping the heart healthy. But if you think about it, the heart is a fairly simple organ, being a pump. We can easily transplant it and even make artificial ones. I've come to the conclusion that the focus in health should be on the liver - and that what keeps the liver healthy will keep the rest of me healthy. And liver health is most easily managed by what you put in your mouth.

Comment Re:why the fuck cant purdue (Score 1) 95

I suspect because Purdue is in the business of selling education services and not being a book vendor. They'd have to hire people to be experts in the business of book sales. It's the same way that most universities don't grow their own food or grow their own forests to build the desks and tables. Sure they could do that, but it's typically more efficient to leave it someone who specializes in that particular thing.

As a book vendor, Amazon has so much more clout than a single university. Maybe a university has 500 students needing to buy a calculus book. Amazon maybe has a market of 500,000 students to sell a calculus book to. They have a lot more leverage than a single university does.

Comment Re:Bugger (Score 1) 61

I actually have a freshinstall.sh that I've built that does quite a few of the things I want to happen to a clean system (add/remove software, turn services on/off, map network resources, etc.).

That's a great start, but what I haven't been able to figure out how to script things like adding and configuring applets to the panels.

Comment Re:Fad diets based on new "science" (Score 1) 166

I agree.

I have been eating "low-carb/high-fat" over the last 8 months, with a focus on natural and unprocessed foods (so essentially, meat, eggs, and green veggies). This fits well with people who eat paleo. The biggest divergence is that I use butter, cheese, and dark chocolate and try to avoid the moderately carb-rich foods that paleo people eat, like sweet-potatoes, and highly-carb rich foods like honey.

But again, I think you can't go too wrong by eating a diet of mostly unprocessed and refined foods, whether it's paleo or not.

Comment Re:low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (Score 3, Informative) 166

The theory of "low carb diets" is that they reduce your appetite, resulting in fewer calories consumed.

This has been my personal experience. I started eating "low-carb/high-fat" last September and just crossed the -60 pounds mark. I still marvel at how I'm just not very hungry most of the time, even after missing meals or exercising for several hours... or how I can, indeed, go ride my bike vigorously for a few hours before eating any breakfast.

I haven't counted calories at all, so from an objective sense, I can't give precise amount of wha I used to eat compared to what I eat now. However I'm certain I eat less from the mere fact that now I often miss meals (from not being hungry enough to bother) when before I might even eat 2 lunches, and snack much less than before (evidenced by the fact that I don't buy snacky foods much any more - when for example I was subscribed to Amazon to have boxes of KIND bars delivered to both my home and office). One of the best parts is that I can now take long bike rides after work (I've been a bike-commuter for a few years) and not have to rush home to eat dinner from crazy hunger.

I believe the theory about low-carb and hunger is that carbohydrates stimulate insulin production. This causes cells in the body (fat and muscle) to take up blood glucose more than they would otherwise, thereby lowering blood glucose. This dynamic system has delays, so blood glucose will drop below the "normal" level and as a result you get really hungry in order to raise it back up again. As a result, you either eat more or feel lethargic due to lack of energy. This may explain the need/desire to snack between breakfast and lunch and after lunch in order to stave off the fatigue and "crash" that most people experience at these times.

Some people go a bit nuts when I say I can eat as much as I want with this way of eating and still lose weight - as if they think I believe I'm violating the laws of physics. But the reality is that of course I'm obeying the laws of thermodymics - it's just that when I eat a diet low in carbohydrates, I just don't want to eat very much. And how can that be a bad thing? I'm getting fitter, feeling better, and all without being hungry or otherwise suffering.

Comment Re:Fad diets based on new "science" (Score 5, Interesting) 166

Common sense tells me that the best things to eat for an animal species is what it's evolved to eat in its natural habitat.

This sounds like the foundation of the "Paleo" diet. And while this makes sense, I'm not sure there have been many good studies demonstrating the benefits of this approach. Part of the problem is establishing what "paleo" humans actually ate.

For example:

For humans, that would be 2 million years of eating nuts and fruits and clams and fish and some red meat on occasion.

This is an assumption, and maybe a good one. But look at societies like the Masai. They're fairly "aboriginal" and eat mostly red meat, blood, and milk and very little plant matter (they apparently consider eating plants a sign of weakness). Other aboriginal societies live on diets dominated by coconuts and plants.

I think the problem today is that there are few sources of "original" food sources available. As a species we've domesticated most of the plants and animals we eat, changing them over time. So it's hard to rely on the concept of "eat what we ate a million years ago". The best we can do to determine optimal nutrtion now is try to conduct solid double-blind studies based on the foods we have available. Unfortunately that is expensive to do and most of the money in nutrition research comes from the food industry, which has a vested interest in the outcomes of the research they fund.

That said, you probably can't go too wrong by avoiding processed and refined foods, eating animals that eat what they naturally eat, and eating plants that are grown with as few chemical interventions as possible.

Comment Re:low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (Score 5, Informative) 166

That's a good question.

In the past, I've tried to merely restrict calories and eat what the food pyramid recommends... plenty of "healthy whole grains" and limiting fats. I lost a tiny bit of weight and was miserable and hungry - and my cholesterol numbers actually got worse. I went to the gym every day but was tired and listless mosf of the time. And as soon as I eased up, I gained even more weight (over the equilibrium weight I was at before starting the calorie restriction).

If you look at how metabolism works, fructose is only processed in the liver and the result is serum triglycerides. Dietary fats, however (at least as I understand it) are quickly taken up by chylomicrons and delivered to cells throughout the body, so they don't contribute much to trigylcerides as measured in the standard lipid panel. This is at least how I undersand it.

My personal experience is just an n=1, but within the low-carb community, the predictions were that by adopting a an LCHF diet, I would lose weight, not be hungry but eat less, feel more energetic, and that my lipid panels would improve. I've found all of these things happened, as well as odd little things like no longer having indigestion and just having a desire to exercise and be more active.

Do I KNOW this is from an LCHF way of eating? Not with absolute certainty, of course. But my experiences match the predictions and when I do endulge in a large amount of carbohydrates, I tend to feel not-so-great for a couple days.

Frankly, I'm just thankful to have found a way of eating that allows me to lose the weight I've carried for decades while allowing me to be more energetic, and with all that, not suffer from hunger or feelings of deprivation. A year ago, I had conceded to my best friend that I would always be fat but I could at least be active and fat (I was already bike-commuting and hiking). But after a mere 8 months of this way of eating... eating "as much as I feel like eating", I now weigh less than I have in almost 2 decades and I've started racing (albiet slowly) in 5Ks and triathlons. And note, I adopted the diet and started losing weight (about 30 pounds) before I started any of the running.

Maybe it's a "fad diet", I just eat like diabetics were told to eat in the early 1900s (https://archive.org/details/diabeticcookeryr00oppeiala) and how like most people were told to eat to lose weight until the 1960s or so. It's essentially "meat, eggs, and green veg" but avoid sugars and starches and most fruits. And I've never felt so good as an adult.

So my n=1 is not "science" and maybe it's all placebo, but if so, it's a pretty darned good placebo. I'm down 60 pounds I never thought I could lose and doing crazy things like triathlons, which were also unimaginable, even a year ago.

Comment low carb and low PUFA vs high Omega-3? (Score 5, Interesting) 166

A diet with all its componets is very different than supplement pills.

My guess (without reading 5000 papers) is that if there is some kind of benefit from an "Eskimo diet" it would be from it being devoid of flour and sugar, and generally low in carbohydrates and industrially processed polyunsaturated fats.

My personal experience is that by focusing on eating natural sources of fats and eliminating most carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) for the last 8 months, I've lost a lot of exceess fat (60 pounds so far) and gained enough excess energy that I'm now regularly running in 5ks and even started competing in triathlons.

I take vitamins because they are relatively cheap, but I'm not sure I see the point of fish-oil capsules, especially with the bad breath and indigestion that comes with them.

As for CAD risk, I'm not sure. But by adopting a low-carb/high-fat diet (LCHF or "keto"), my cholesterol numbers (for what they're worth) have improved dramatically. My HDL is higher by a few points and my triglycerides are lower by more than 20 points, compared to when I used to be on a statin.

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