Elementary School Mathematics

Put 9 pigs into 4 pens so that there are an odd number of pigs in each pen.


Experimenting With Biochip Implants

My significant other put it quite aptly: “he needs a girlfriend.”


FAA to Allow Airlines to Expand Use of Personal Electronics

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.



Patent War Goes Nuclear

Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a “responsible” party.

This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android.

Ideally, Google loses down the road and Android gets shut down for all intents and purposes. With a furious enough Congress, patent reform might accelerate in the right direction.


How to Reduce MySQL’s Huge Memory Footprint

While investigating what was making my old laptop swap, I ended up wondering why MySQL is such a memory hog.

I mean, seriously… 450MB or so of RAM.

That is completely crazy by any standard for an idle process.

(Postgres, for comparison, is very happy with under 20MB when idle.)

A bit of googling later, adding the following line to the my.cnf file trimmed it to a much more tolerable 35MB:

performance_schema = 0

(Naturally, don’t forget to re-enable it if you need it. It can be useful.)


Anger Builds Among Key US Allies

Four months or so into the NSA leaks, the backlash and after-effects continue on.

Europeans are, predictably, angry:

One European official said the disclosures had prompted EU countries to review policies on internet governance, privacy and data-sharing, amid growing scepticism about whether the US can be trusted. Major transatlantic trade negotiations have also been jeopardised amid anxiety that the US’ surveillance tools give it an advantage during talks.

“It has become clear we’re not doing business on a level-playing field during negotiations,” the official said.

So are Latin Americans:

A Brazilian official said that some top-level discussions with the US on energy matters had been suspended as a consequence of leaks, which suggested Canada may have spied on its energy and mines ministry. It would be “impossible” for discussions to proceed on that basis, the official added.


OS X 10.9 Mavericks

John Siracusa:

Incidentally, that wave desktop picture is 5120 x 2880 pixels, which is exactly double the horizontal and vertical resolution of Apple’s decidedly non-retina 27-inch Thunderbolt display. And have you heard that Apple’s new Mac Pro can drive three 4K-resolution displays, were you to purchase them from… somewhere? Just wondering.

Apple rumor mill to be set in motion in 3… 2… 1…


Sweden Rejects the Low-Fat Dogma

For a long time, the health care system has given the public advice to avoid fat, saturated fat in particular, and calories. A low-carb diet (LCHF — Low Carb High Fat, is actually a Swedish “invention”) has been dismissed as harmful, a humbug and as being a fad diet lacking any scientific basis.

Instead, the health care system has urged diabetics to eat a lot of fruit (=sugar) and low-fat products with considerable amounts of sugar or artificial sweeteners, the latter a dangerous trigger for the sugar-addicted person.

This report turns the current concepts upside down and advocates a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, as the most effective weapon against obesity.

Welcome, sanity.


Fructose in the EU: Handers, Corruption and Favors

Lobbying and corruption on the back of scientific fraud (or is that pseudo-scientific lunacy?) are alive and well in the EU:

The EU has now ruled that food and drink manufacturers can claim their sweetened products are healthier if they replace more than 30% of the glucose and sucrose they contain with fructose.

In case you need a refresher on fructose health “benefits”:


System Failure: US Democracy Is Nearing Its Limits

Der Spiegel:

Tea Party protagonists such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin beguile their followers with folksy language they can understand and proudly hold up ignorance and stupidity as badges of honor in their battle against the “elite” and their intellect.

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