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Slashback: New E3, Archimedes Webcast, Dell Wildfires 199

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the yet-another-lap-close-call dept.
Slashback tonight brings some clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories including: a victory for evolution in Kansas, the Stardust Program launched, Lego Mindstorms goes live, continued backlash on the new E3, Archimedes gets a webcast, another Dell bursts into flame, and a possible RIAA silver bullet Read on for details.

A Victory for Evolution in Kansas. SatanicPuppy writes "Yesterday, elections in Kansas saw four of six pro-Creationism school board members replaced by pro-Evolution candidates in a one issue election. Interestingly, it didn't go by party lines; at least one of the conservative Republicans who supported Creationism failed to make it past their party primary. Ken Willard and John Bacon are the two remaining pro-Creationism incumbents."

Stardust Program Launched. lee1 writes "Anyone with an internet connection now has the the chance to find microscopic grains of dust from beyond the solar system. The project, called Stardust@home, is patterned on projects like SETI@home. But rather than exploiting idle processor time, it will ask volunteers to search through millions of microscope images on their computer screens, exploiting spare time in general as well as ego: 'People get very competitive,' explains the project director. The first volunteer to spot an actual interstellar dust grain will get to name it and will be listed as a co-author on any resulting research papers. The images come from a NASA project called Stardust, whose primary mission was to collect samples of dust from the tail of Comet Wild 2, but might also have captured some interstellar dust that could reveal the physics of the stars that produced it. To minimize false positives and to ensure that all the grains are found, each participant will go through an online training and testing process before starting their search. They will be scored on how well they distinguish real dust grain impacts from fakes."

Lego Mindstorms goes live. MicroBerto writes "As of August 1, 2006, the next generation of Lego Mindstorms is now available for sale in North America. Mindstorms NXT is a robotics toolset that allows you to build and program robots for various purposes. It combines the power of the Lego technic building system and an all new intuitive software environment powered by National Instruments LabVIEW."

Continued backlash on the new E3. Anonymous Howard writes "Angry Gamer reacts badly to the news of the Electronic Entertainment Expo's demise. They see it as a major blow for small game developers who are having enough of a hard time getting noticed by press and retailers as it is. From the article: 'This is a win only for the EAs, Sonys and IGNs of the world. Everyone else has to fend for themselves.' It seems like the days of smaller developers getting noticed by 'drive by traffic' at E3 are over." Relatedly The Escapist Lounge has an interview with the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences president, Joseph Olin, on what is actually happening to E3. As Joseph Olin responds: 'So it's going to take a couple of months until the world knows what the scope of E3 2007 will be, and how it will be structured. The opportunity to make material changes to improve it shouldn't be snap judgments. The rhetorical question I might pose is: "You know you have a problem. You know you need to make changes. How do you make changes and convey it and announce it, and to whom, and when?" There's never a good time. Whenever you make significant change, there's no way to introduce that change without detractors. The challenge is that without being able to announce the exact implementation of change it leaves that gray area for ignorance to fill the void.'"

Archimedes gets a webcast. jd writes "Some time ago, Slashdot covered the story of the rediscovery of several lost writings of Archimedes by means of X-Ray fluorescence. Well, they're still scanning the book and at 11pm GMT (4pm PDT) on August 4th will be putting on a live webcast as they scan and interpret pages not seen by human eyes for over a thousand years."

Another Dell bursts into flame. starwindsurfer writes "A Dell laptop's battery caught on fire in a company's IT department this week, burning a hole right through the casing. Nearby techs used fire extinguishers to put out the blaze. Employee Henrik took pictures to document the affair and uploaded them to the Toms Hardware message boards. From the writeup: 'The police department showed up. The entire lower floor was allowed to leave early and as we stood there in front of the building we simply couldn't resist... we jokingly called the engineer a terrorist as he was being asked a few questions by the friendly officer.'"

An RIAA silver bullet? Chris Fairman writes "TechDirt is running a story about how the RIAA seems to be dropping cases where the defense includes (or hinges on) an IP address as the means to identify the source of criminal activity. Essentially the defense argues that all an IP address can prove is who was paying for the net access at a particular time. Having a wide open WiFi router on your network seems to be currently the most effective means of getting the RIAA to drop all charges. Essentially the activity originating from one IP, only proves that illegal file sharing behavior is coming from one network, and not necessarily from any one specific computer or user. More importantly, it seems that the legal system is beginning to catch on to more complex technology concepts. Such concepts play a large part in how future legal cases are argued, and contribute ultimately to the foundation of complex technology legal precedents."

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Slashback: New E3, Archimedes Webcast, Dell Wildfires

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:09PM (#15836208) Journal
    I view Evolution as God's tool. The days in the Genesis account were days of God, and not days of man. It's said in other places in the bible that a day of God is longer than a day of man. Besides what is a day when the sun isn't even in existance? I envision God sculpting the species over billions of years by using Evolution as a tool. God gave a small account of how he created the universe, but its also eloquent. Science will change in the next 1000 years shattering our notion of the universe, but the Genesis account will never change.
  • by JanneM (7445) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:14PM (#15836237) Homepage
    Science will change in the next 1000 years shattering our notion of the universe, but the Genesis account will never change.

    And that, in one sentence, summarizes the fatal flaw in using religion as a means of understanding the world.

  • by conteXXt (249905) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:36PM (#15836320)
    Well that's actually a great question for the legal types (you know them they preface everything with IANAL).

    If it were a criminal case (as I understand US law) you SHOULDN'T have to prove it was someone else, just introduce the reasonable doubt that it was actually you. A dynamically assigned address and an open wifi introduce a lot of doubt.

    It's up to them to prove you did it.
    This unfortunately isn't a criminal case (yet!).
  • by Petrushka (815171) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:36PM (#15836321)

    So, yes to evolution, and yes to the account of creation given in the first chapter of Genesis, and yes to the account of creation given in the second chapter of Genesis.

    ... um, mods, how is self-contradiction "interesting"? OK, well I suppose it's interesting in the sense that it's a very, very peculiar way to think. Or rather, I suppose, doublethink, since that is literally what it is.

    Even the craziest sentence in this post --

    Science will change in the next 1000 years shattering our notion of the universe, but the Genesis account will never change.

    -- has some kind of rational meaning if you think about it in a sufficiently sideways fashion: e.g. "the Genesis accounts are unlikely to change in the next 1000 years, because people who are in the business of producing critical editions of historically important texts are going to want to preserve the text in a form as close as possible to its original". But just because it's possible to re-encode something in your head in such a way that it makes some kind of sense doesn't mean that it's a useful something for thinking with ... and that goes for creation myths, too, by the way.

  • by anothy (83176) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:48PM (#15836364) Homepage
    no, it doesn't. it summarizes the fatal flaw in using religion to replace science. religion's a very useful tool for understanding some aspects of the world, including human nature and psychology, even if you don't believe it's a useful or true description of the metaphysical. it's just not a replacement for science, nor a good means for understanding, say, physical phenomenon. don't confuse arguments against using religion to teach science with arguments against religion in general.
  • by Maelwryth (982896) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:56PM (#15836405)
    New King James Bible
      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep, And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.

    New International Version
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening, and there was morning-- the first day.

    And thats just from two versions in english. Fairly similar, but changing.
  • by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @08:57PM (#15836409) Homepage Journal
    "religion's a very useful tool for understanding some aspects of the world, including human nature and psychology,"

    no.

    religion is a very useful tool for observing some aspects of the world, including human nature and psychology.

    it offers no understanding at all.
  • by Ohreally_factor (593551) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:13PM (#15836482) Journal
    More power to you, Jim. I have no problem with people of faith when they're actually using their brain. That, to me is real faith, not the pseudo faith of the fundamentalist. The kind of faith you seem to have is more of a creative mental act, much like imagination. Faith gets a bad name because of the many people who claim to have faith, when really it's a matter of being brainwashed by a dogma.

    I was going to disagree with your contention that:

    Science will change in the next 1000 years shattering our notion of the universe, but the Genesis account will never change.


    but after a little thought I decided that you might be right, at least on a deeper level. At any rate, there's nothing I can point to to say you're wrong, to prove that the underlying message has changed thru interpretations. On a more superficial level, one could point out the history of various translations of the Bible. Anyway, I won't argue for the sake of argument. I'll just try to keep an open mind.
  • by hawridger (929560) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:15PM (#15836490) Journal
    "Likely" is not the precise standard of proof that the RIAA would be required to show. Actually, a preponderance of evidence requires the plaintiff to prove that it was more probable that not that the defendant is liable. By pointing to a wide-open network IP address, the RIAA will face difficulty in proving by a preponderence that a particular user of that network was the infringer. As the plaintiff, the RIAA has both the burden of production and persuasion. Only after both of those are met is the defendant required to offer evidence to counter the RIAA's burden. I think the significance of this "silver bullet" is that courts will decreasingly recognize an IP address as meeting these burdens. An IP address, without more, is merely a piece to the evidentiary inquiry. Therefore, defendants in RIAA cases would be able to successfully move for summary judgments if the RIAA has nothing more to offer as identifying evidence.
  • by Synonymous Bosch (957964) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:19PM (#15836505)
    Religion isn't intended to be a means of understanding the world - it's a means of understanding yourself and in turn, understanding God.

    It's a shame most religions (or their followers) have lost sight of that point.
  • Re:RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rophuine (946411) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:20PM (#15836508) Homepage
    One bit of FUD being spread around is the whole "They'll be able to prove it was you when they seize your computer" crap. I haven't seen it hit /. but I've certainly seen it around the place. This isn't a criminal matter. The police aren't going to be getting search warrants and raiding your place for MP3 sharing. If the RIAA turn up at your place and try to take your laptop, call the police and have them arrested for Unauthorised Entry and Attempted Theft. The best the RIAA can do is subpoena your stuff, at which point you are required by law to provide them with copies (or possibly access to the real thing) at an actual court hearing. They can also demand copies of records you have during disclosure, if it makes it to a hearing. At the end of the day, they are going to have to be satisfied with the access YOU give them, under the terms of a court order. While I'm not suggesting you should falsify evidence (which would be a serious crime), hard drives crash all the time. Who makes regular backups, really? Do you save and keep all the logs from your wireless router? The data doesn't need to be missing. If they subpoenaed me for a list of all the MP3s on my desktop, I would happily give it to them. I keep all my MP3s on my MP3 player, not my desktop. What about all the P2P software which has ever been installed on my laptop? I have an old laptop sitting downstairs running as a router. That's the laptop they mean, right? Ultimately, the infringement they're chasing you about, and the potential gain to them, is not worth the cost of a serious investigation. Especially not when it's weighed against the potential loss of actually losing a case and setting a precedent. I say: Fight the good fight. I never used to buy music; it was burned CDs for me. I was a poor high school student. Now that I work as an engineer, I buy CDs all the time (not from Sony anymore, though). If the RIAA had bent me over and spanked me as a student, though, I'd have to wonder why I should go legit now that I can. Ultimately, the RIAA is alienating today's P2Pers who would have been tomorrow's customers. They would have ended up buying their own music, CDs as gifts, gift vouchers, iPods... But once they've been grounded for a month and banned from the internet for three because their parents had to pay a settlement to the RIAA, FORGET IT. On that note, wouldn't it be nice if America could stage a large-scale music boycott over this issue?
  • by GuyverDH (232921) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:39PM (#15836601)
    Now stop and think a moment...

    When the information was shared with man on how the universe and world was created, who among us could understand genetics, quantum physics, superstring theory and a host of things we still don't know about?

    We understood the concept of god. We understood creating something. We knew simple numbers. We understood simple concepts for measuring time, days, seasons, etc...

    If the story of creation were handed down today, I'm positive it would read differently. For one thing, we'd get a lot more technical information on how it happened. We'd also understand terms like genetic mutation, manipulation, millenia for time periods, etc...

    For the longest time, I've thought about that story, and what it would sound like if it was given to us for the first time today. It's amazing to think that instead of a *rib bone* being used to create woman, it was actually sort of a proto-y chromosome component that was removed from man, and added to the same component on woman. Thus instead of an original XY for man and XX for woman, we originally had an X and Y with a half leg extending out the lower right quadrant. When that piece was removed from the original man, and combined with another to form the first XX chromosome, we changed - not only was there now woman, but a different form of man.

    How would that have been explained to the people of that time? As far as I'm concerned, it couldn't have. Thus we have the stories of the bible written in the simplistic terms of the day, instead of the meticulous scientific detail we'd like today.
  • by Rolman (120909) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:47PM (#15836638)
    If you don't like the food, then don't eat it. Very simple fix.

    There are some of us that weren't available in the original discussion and have something to say. So, if you already posted or read something about these topics before, then it's very simple for you not to click in the story and not to produce more ad impressions to the oh-so-greedy editors.

    Just ignore them, that works quite better than complaining.
  • by Guuge (719028) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @09:54PM (#15836683)
    There may be something of a backlash against the new direction of conservative politics in this country. Is this a sign of things to come? Is there hope that the near future will hold less politicization of religion? The optimist in me hopes that people are fed up with politicians exploiting their religious beliefs in these nonsensical confrontations with science. The fact that a pro-evolution Republican is even possible in Kansas gives me hope.
  • by Teach (29386) * <graham.grahammitchell@com> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:12PM (#15836758) Homepage
    But just because it's possible to re-encode something in your head in such a way that it makes some kind of sense....

    But there's no re-encoding necessary. The biblical account of creation only has a few crucial claims, IMO:

    • God existed before anything and created everything.
    • Things appeared in a certain order: the universe, later plants, later sea creatures & birds, then land creatures and finally mankind.
    • Men are a special act of creation, unique from animals in that they're in "God's own image."

    So far, I've never learned any science that contradicts these fundamentals. Society at large used to think God created each variety of animal ex-nihilo; now the evolutionary process is commonly accepted, even by quite a lot of Christians. This "change" doesn't affect the above tenets.

    This is my viewpoint, anyway, and based on what the OP said, it's his, too. I hate to add to the offtopic-ness, but I felt like clarifying.

  • by Petrushka (815171) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:23PM (#15836802)

    But there's no re-encoding necessary. The biblical account of creation only has a few crucial claims, IMO:

    It must be very nice, just happening to be the person who knows which claims are crucial and which ones aren't.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:45PM (#15836904)
    Ah, the non-thinking goes both ways.

    For example, taking the definitions of both science and evolution I found in text books such as "Life, and introduction to biology" by Drs. George Gaylord Simpson and William S. Beck (I've been told they were somewhat important evolutionists) I not only found that it is impossible for evolution to be scientific at all, but in over thirty years of asking, I have yet to hear a defense of evolution as science that is logically defensible.

    It is the same definition of science that makes creationism not science.

    Further, Richard Dawkins' claim that religion leads to murder (true, for some religions, but for all?) is just as applicable to some followers of evolution (Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, to give a few). It is for good reason that such an argument is called a logical fallacy.
  • by Otto-Marrakech (989922) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:18PM (#15837058)
    From watching Ken Miller's recent lecture at Case Western University (whole 2hour talk can be seen here [youtube.com]), one point really stands out for me, that for 'Intelligent Design' a supposedly non-religious packaging of creationism to be accepted, it must go through a simple process that evolution also went through;

    Novel Scientific Claim > Research > Peer Review > Scientific Concensus > Classroom & Textbook

    Intelligent Design proponents are doing the follow;

    Intelligent Design "Theory" > Classroom & Textbook

    If Intelligent Design supporters are so confident in their research and findings which supposedly vindicate the literal truth of the Bible, why do they skip the most important process in getting their theory accepted?

    Meanwhile we have Ken Ham already building a 25 million dollar creation science museum [youtube.com].
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:32PM (#15837112) Journal
    Dawkins also describes the Christian god Yahweh as "the most evil fictional character ever."

    Think about it. This creature will ultimately resurrect, then heave into Hell almost every person who ever lived, where they will lie in unending agony. Very few get into Heaven, after all. The Bible tells us so.

    Now torturing almost everyone who ever lived, for ever and ever, isn't the definition of worst possible being, I don't know what is.

    No need to argue or debate whether God is real or not -- just conclude that, either way, it is evil beyond Hitler and Stalin and Ghengis Kahn and John Wayne Gacy put together. Anthropologists estimate 75 billion people have lived, more or less, so far. All but 144,000 of them are going to be excruciatingly tortured for ever and ever. Or a few million. Or even a few billion. Googol to the googolplex years, and the remaining scores of billions are still just getting started.

    That's a perfect and omnibenevolent god for ya!
  • by evilviper (135110) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:38PM (#15837146) Journal
    Last year, Richard Dawkins, of The Selfish Gene fame, made a documentary about religion called "Root of All Evil?", where he defines faith as "the process of non-thinking" that can lead to even the worst human condition, like murderous thinking when the fundamentalism make people hate and kill each other. Just like what's happening in Israel right now.

    In any group, whether religous or not, you will find nutjobs trying to usurp the group for their own purposes.

    The issues with Jews and Arabs would exist even if both groups were the same religon. Anti-arab and anti-semetic feelings exist among just as many non-religous groups.

    Groups like the KKK didn't claim Blacks and other non-whites followed the wrong God. They made-up their own secular reasons to justify what they already wanted to do.

    Religon is just another scapegoat for bad people that want to do bad things.

    One of the most interesting things about it is that he tries to talk with several religious leaders about evolution, and they sistematically avoid any rational discussion and undeniable evidence with the same stupid arguments, equivalent to "my book says this and therefore, it must be true".

    The Catholic Church recognizes and supports "The Theory of Evolution", and has repeated condemed "The Hypothesis of Intelligent Design".

  • by Seraphim_72 (622457) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @03:52AM (#15837939)

    Slashdot, where arm chair scientists get shouted down and arm chair theologians get modded up.

    Try reading the books of the bible and then study the thoughts of some of the great Christian Apologists over the ages. Perhaps then you can stop repeating the group think of everyone that dislikes Christianity because Pat Robertson and his ilk are assholes. For example only a few small groups (and no main stream denomination) believe in the whole 'only 144000' make it into Heaven thing, even a simple search of google will find that for you.

    Or a few million. Or even a few billion.

    ... or even all 75+ billion.

    That's a perfect and omnibenevolent god for ya!
    Yup.

    Seraphim

  • by hey! (33014) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @09:53AM (#15839205) Homepage Journal
    Any sentence of the form "Religion is X", where X is some simple, monovalent role in some schematic view of "everything" is bound to be twaddle. Religion is definitely a natural product of the human condition: the interaction of human biology, psychology, and sociology. Say anything definite beyond that and you're on shaky grounds.

    It might also be a product of God trying to sneak into our thick skulls. But be that as it may, I've never seen a simple theory of what religion is, positing that religion exists to perform a particular single function, that holds water when examined critically.

    Religion is a product of complexity, and as such plays different roles, usually imperfectly, in different situations.

    Philosophe style theories of religion are like a lot of shallow explanations of organisms in terms of the role they play in ecologies, e.g., those that imply that wolves "exist" to keep prey species healthy. Wolves, or coyotes in places where they've moved into the top predator niche, do do that. But it's not "why" they exist. They just do. If they're put into different contexts, they might play other roles like scavengers. It's not a violation of natural order, it's them doing what they do naturally, in a different context.

    Religion is much the same way. It just is, and it does different things depending on the situation. It can certainly be used as a tool of oppression. It can also be used as a check on oppression. In either role it is less than perfect as a tool because it was never made as a tool, and can trecherously slip in your grip to produce unwanted effects.

    Another truism which I lack confidence in is "religion causes war". You can also say "religion mitigates war". And you can find evidence for both ideas. I think, looking at history, the most you can say is religion is part of the landscape in which war takes place, and is used in every conceivable way to further and retard the aims of people making war.
  • by getek2006 (989831) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @10:23AM (#15839468)
    Exactly. When commodores came out we got a generation of kids who could program in BASIC. And then we all got criticized for not using "good programming techniques". But the point is we did learn the fundamentals of programming and logical thinking and problem solving. C was much easier for me to pick up than if I had no concept of "for loops", or "subroutines". I agree with what your saying - that Labview should not be considered for serious development work, but it can get the kids used to thinking logically, and using available tools to solve real problems.

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