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Comment Alternatively (Score 5, Informative) 173

“In Venezuela Chavez has made the co-ops a top political priority, giving them first refusal on government contracts and offering them economic incentives to trade with one another. By 2006, there were roughly 100,000 co-operatives in the country, employing more than 700,000 workers. Many are pieces of state infrastructure – toll booths, highway maintenance, health clinics – handed over to the communities to run. It’s a reverse of the logic of government outsourcing – rather than auctioning off pieces of the state to large corporations and losing democratic control, the people who use the resources are given the power to manage them, creating, at least in theory, both jobs and more responsive public services. Chavez’s many critics have derided these initiatives as handouts and unfair subsidies, of course. Yet in an era when Halliburton treats the U.S. government as its personal ATM for six years, withdraws upward of $20 billion in Iraq contracts alone, refuses to hire local workers either on the Gulf coast or in Iraq, then expresses its gratitude to U.S. taxpayers by moving its corporate headquarters to Dubai (with all the attendant tax and legal benefits), Chavez’s direct subsidies to regular people look significantly less radical.”

Naomi Klein

Comment Which brings us to now (Score 0, Troll) 417

So, this acidic extinction event in the distant past was one of the steps that occurred in the lead up to the evolution of homo sapiens, who nevertheless went on to invent the plow, the novel, the steam engine, the city, radio, television, the airplane, the internet, and Slashdot, right? Why should I be scared of anything?

Submission + - Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping

wombatmobile writes: For more than 5,000 years, apiarists donned protective suits and lit bundles of grass to subdue swarms of angry bees while they robbed their hives of precious, golden honey. Now two Australian inventors have made harvesting honey as easy as turning a tap — literally. Cedar Anderson and his father Stuart have just been rewarded for a decades worth of inventing and refining with a $2 million overnight success on Indiegogo. Their Flow Hive coopts bees to produce honey in plastic cells that can be drained and restored by turning a handle, leaving the bees in situ and freeing apiarists from hours of smoke filled danger time every day.

Comment Youtube fixed my shaky phone video (Score 3, Funny) 37

Youtube said my shaky phone video looked shaky, would I like it to fix it? OK, I clicked. Why not?

The fixed video is a lot less shaky! I'm pleased. The parts where the girls are lifting up their dresses to show me their underpants are still dark, because they only did it in the shadows of the dance floor. But perhaps google will be fix that too some time?

Comment Chemistry vs Molecular Biology (Score 5, Informative) 74

Turing's theory was formulated in an era when physics and chemistry were the foundation components of biology. The problem he was trying to solve is: How is biological complexity achieved in terms of fundamental chemistry and physics? At the time, chemistry could explain how two poisonous chemicals, sodium and chlorine, could combine to produce a substance as benign as common table sale (NaCl). But nothing could explain how a single cell could develop into something as complex as a fish, or a mouse, or a human being.

In 1953, Crick and Watson published a paper in Nature that revealed the chemical structure of DNA. The discovery was a revolution in science because it changed biology from an amalgam of physics and chemistry into an information science. In DNA and RNA, a whole vocabulary of computing was encoded. Suddenly, the complexity of biological processes such as embryogenesis, heredity, and cancer could be understood in programmatic terms through the molecular language of DNA.

Turing's theory of chemical morphogenesis doesn't mention DNA. As such, it is too simple to explain morphogenesis per se. Rather, his concept of intercellular reaction-diffusion may be applied to cell biology inter alia, but it isn't the big picture. Crick and Watson worked that out, thanks in no small part to Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins.

Comment Pitfalls of Shipito (Score 5, Informative) 206

I've used a Shipito consolidation account for 5 months to send stuff to Brisbane. This is what I learned:

0. I pay $50/year for an account, which gives me an address in California (Suite 123456, 123 Something St., Sometown CA, 90250). When a package arrives for me, they list it on my web based UI with a photo of the package and shipping label.

1. The cheapest freight out to Australia available through Shipito is TNT, but the cost varies from $15/lb for 8lbs, down to $4/lb for 30 lbs.

2. The optimal weight package to consolidate and send off to Australia is 29.5 lbs. Shipito adds a $10 surcharge for heaviness if the package exceeds 30 lbs.

3. It is cheapest to minimise the number of small packages you send in to your Shipito account because they charge $4.50 per piece to consolidate each incoming package into the big box that they send to Australia. Their literature makes it seem like only $2.50, but really it is $4.50 because there is a handling fee and a consolidation fee for each item. So, if you want to order 10 books from Amazon, get them sent to your Shipito box in Caliornia as on shipment of 10 books and you will only have to pay $4.50 handling and consolidation fees. If, however, you let Amazon send you 10 individual packages of 1 book each, Shipito will charge you a total of $45.00 handling and consolidation to put the same 10 books in your big box that goes to Australia.

4. Watch your Shipito account like a hawk. If a package goes missing and you don't tell them within 10 days, too bad. You have no recourse.

5. A package can be delivered to Shipito by Amazon's courier, but Shipito might not ever credit it to your account, in which case you better read #4 again. Until the package is assigned to your account, it hasn't arrived.

6. Their customer service is not aleays good. However, once you have received a reply from a service agent, if you continue to send further enquiries directly to that agent's email address you may get better customer service than if you just use the forum or the general address.

7. Fill out the online customs declerations each time a package arrives. It makes it easier for you to calculate when to close off a consolidation because you can see when the value of all packages is getting close to $1000 or the weight close to 29.5 lbs. You need to send the consolidation before it is worth over $1000 to avoid being charged GST in Australia.

8. They do some annoying things like if you let the package overstay the maximum of 90 days in storage, they just remove it from your a/c without warning and say too bad. So be vigilant about their rules, and don't expect them to be as understanding as some other more mature businesses.

9. If you follow all the above guidelines, Shipito is a good service that will save you considerable amounts on freight, and enable you to buy stuff from US vendors who will only ship to a US address.

Comment Quality of what? (Score 1) 617

The quality of the recording is only a technical aspect of the recorded work. The musicality (how good or enjoyable the music is) has a far bigger bearing on the quality of the listener's experience. We all want good music first, and clear sound second. Without the former, the latter doesn't please, but the converse is not true.

Submission + - New technique sequences ancient DNA 99.9%

wombatmobile writes: Ancient DNA has proven difficult to sequence or clone, because it is fragmentary, and most of it breaks down into single strands after it is extracted from bone.

However, a new technique developed at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, sequences single stranded DNA. Scientists just announced they used the technique to fully sequence Denisovan DNA from a bone fragment found in a cave in Siberia. They're going to go back to sequence their library of hundreds of Neanderthal DNA specimens.

How long before they make Dolly Denisovan?

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The absence of labels [in ECL] is probably a good thing. -- T. Cheatham