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Comment I see diminishing returns (Score 3, Interesting) 109

We're really digging the bottom of the barrel as an industry if we're putting energy into doing analytics on vacation photos to identify which ones contain landmarks. The way I see it, we've already accomplished the big things in computing (word processing, spreadsheets, image editing, etc.) and now all that's left is the constant development of minutiae.

Comment It's never too late (Score 1) 314

If you're interested in programming, learn it and do it. Don't worry about whether you'll make money at it or whether your employers will think you're too old. Do it for yourself because it's fun and interesting. If the money or the job aspect comes later, icing on the cake.

The Media

What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper? 166

ananyo writes "Nature has published an investigation into the real costs of publishing research after delving into the secretive, murky world of science publishing. Few publishers (open access or otherwise-including Nature Publishing Group) would reveal their profit margins, but they've pieced together a picture of how much it really costs to publish a paper by talking to analysts and insiders. Quoting from the piece: '"The costs of research publishing can be much lower than people think," agrees Peter Binfield, co-founder of one of the newest open-access journals, PeerJ, and formerly a publisher at PLoS. But publishers of subscription journals insist that such views are misguided — born of a failure to appreciate the value they add to the papers they publish, and to the research community as a whole. They say that their commercial operations are in fact quite efficient, so that if a switch to open-access publishing led scientists to drive down fees by choosing cheaper journals, it would undermine important values such as editorial quality.' There's also a comment piece by three open access advocates setting out what they think needs to happen next to push forward the movement as well as a piece arguing that 'Objections to the Creative Commons attribution license are straw men raised by parties who want open access to be as closed as possible.'"

Video When Your Data Absolutely, Positively has to be Destroyed (Video) 295

Here's a corporate motto for you: "Destroying data since 1959." Timothy ran into a company called Garner Products (which doesn't use that motto as far as we know), at a security conference. While most exhibitors were busily preserving or encrypting data one way or another, Garner was not only destroying data but delighting in it. And yes, they've really been doing this since 1959; they started out degaussing broadcast cartridges so broadcasters could re-use them without worrying about old cue tones creeping into new recordings. Now, you might ask, "Instead of spending $9,000 or more to render hard drives useless, couldn't you just use a $24 sledge hammer? And have the fun of destroying something physical as a free bonus?" Yes, you could. You'd get healthy exercise as well, and if you only wanted to destroy the data on the hard drives, so what? New drives are cheap these days. But some government agencies and financial institutions require degaussing before the physical destruction (and Garner has machines that do physical destruction, too -- which is how they deal with SSDs). Garner Products President Ron Stofan says in the interview that their destruction process is more certain than shooting a hard drive with a .45. But neither he nor Tim demonstrated a shooting vs. degaussing test for us, so we remain skeptical.

Comment Re:iOSification? (Score 1) 965

I didn't realize this at first, but now I get it.

You don't even actually own a Apple computer, you're using a hackintosh. There hasn't been a Mac that couldn't scroll in 10 years.

So pardon me while no one gives a fuck that you're getting a shitty experience on a substandard machine not designed to be used for what you're using it for.

Actually, I own way too many genuine overpriced Apple computers. I just happen to use mice that don't have scrollwheels. I scroll by clicking and holding and moving the mouse. And no, I'm not an old geezer. I'm in my 20s. There is no ideal input device or UI convention that works for everybody. Apple definitely believes in one-size-fits-all, and that's sad, because it generally means dumbing things down and removing options.

Comment Re:iOSification? (Score 1) 965

Do you need scrollbars eating screen real estate when they aren't needed or you aren't scrolling?

Yes, yes I do. I like to know my position in the page and the relative size of the current screen. Also, I don't use a laptop or a mouse with a scrollwheel, so that whole "pops up when you need it" thing isn't true for me.

Displays are big. A scrollbar on every window is not a big deal. Thankfully I can turn it off under OS X, but I can see the day coming when you can't, because that's the way Apple is.

Comment What a waste! (Score 2) 2

Why is it so important to waste significant time and money protecting the President from EVERYTHING? If the President was assassinated, it's not like the people who own this country could't afford to buy a new one.

The Military

Submission + - Targeting the President's DNA 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Atlantic reports that experts in genetics and microbiology are convinced we may be only a few years away from the development of advanced, genetic bio-weapons able to target a single human being based on their DNA. The authors paint a scenario of the development of a virus that causes only mild flu in the general population but when the virus crosses paths with cells containing a very specific DNA sequence, the sequence would act as a molecular key to unlock secondary functions that would trigger a fast-acting neuro-destructive disease that produces memory loss and, eventually, death. The requisite equipment including gene sequencers, micro-array scanners, and mass spectrometers now cost over $1 million but on eBay, it can be had for as little as $10,000. According to Ronald Kessler, the author of the 2009 book In the President’s Secret Service, Navy stewards gather bedsheets, drinking glasses, and other objects the president has touched—they are later sanitized or destroyed—in an effort to keep would-be malefactors from obtaining his genetic material. However no amount of Secret Service vigilance can ever fully secure the president’s DNA, because an entire genetic blueprint can now be produced from the information within just a single cell. How to protect the President? The authors propose open-sourcing the president’s genetic information to a select group of security-cleared researchers who could follow in the footsteps of the computer sciences, where “red-team exercises,” are extremely common practices so a similar testing environment could be developed for biological war games. "Advances in biotechnology are radically changing the scientific landscape. We are entering a world where imagination is the only brake on biology," write the authors. "In light of this coming synbio revolution, a wider-ranging relationship between scientists and security organizations—one defined by open exchange, continual collaboration, and crowd-sourced defenses—may prove the only way to protect the president.""

Comment Pesticides (Score 1) 497

To me and everyone I know, we buy organic not because we think it enhances the nutritional value of the produce, but because we want to eat less (maybe a lot less) pesticides with our produce. Why they would study the vitamin content is beyond me. It's never been a concern, claim, or issue.

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