Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: Falling forward not backward (Score 1, Informative) 181

by goombah99 (#49774531) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

I agree it's not a problem. As can be seen at Retraction Watch, lots of bad science if found out and retracted. That's a good thing not a bad thing. One could ask how much of published science is made up and undetected but a better question would be how many results are simply crappy in the data or crappy in the analysis. It surely dwarfs the latter. But who cares. If the result is important it will be replicated. if it's not important then no one will cite it.

ultimately it's the well cited articles that also get vetted by reproduction. Those constitute the body of science moving forward. the rest goes into the gutter of history.

In skiing the saying is, if you fall and your fall isn't forward your not being aggressive enough. It's the same in science. People will make errors. If they weren't then then were not paying for aggressive enough research.

Comment: Ghostery and adblock (Score 1) 192

I use several anti tracking plugins and I've noticed that when I switch to a different browser without them the page load time is much faster. I also have googled safe surf turned on which blocks evil sites. In starting to think these tracking blockers and stuff slow things down. They don't really stop tracking since the blockers or google safe surf are middlemen who can track you.

Thus I would welcome a unified approach to protecting myself that was actually faster

Comment: Crypto is NEVER the answer if the question is Vote (Score 1) 99

yES!! if the TYPICAL voter does not understand why the vote is secure the method fails. this is virtually the turing rest for any proposed schema.

Someone needs to write one of those form letters we have for why someones proposal to end spam will fail for all these stupid people who think the problem is crytography.

Comment: swift (Score 1) 267

by goombah99 (#49746685) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Career Advice For an Aging Perl Developer?

If there were one single language to distinguish yourself it might be Swift. it's currenlty apple specific so this will limit your platforms and it's not a sysadmin language. it's an application language. But like perl it is suited for rapid development for small niches like the other languages you know. So you could sell it on a first to market sort of basis that might be consistent with your other skills. The advantage is it's new and thus a level playing field for the short dinosaur arms of an over-the-hill 40 something.

Comment: python white space (Score 3, Interesting) 412

by goombah99 (#49743219) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

Like most people I thought pythons enforced white space and avoidance of braces and elimination of semicolons was constricting. Then I realized how easy it was to read other people programs. Python used to be even simpler to read when it only provided one idioms for one job (avoiding a dozen way to do the same thing resulting in dialects). Now it's adding new idioms and genres so it's a little more opaque. But it's still easier to read than any language with comparable expressiveness. (Lua is refreshing for similar reasons).

Comment: New plug in (Score 2) 147

I use the "strangers on a train" plug in. It exchanges all your facebook cookies every 5 minutes with another random person. It doesn't hurt your facebook login itself since you still need your password for that. It just scrambles your identity when you press like. If everyone used this then the "likes" would still add up to being meaningful but the user profiles would be completely homogenized and have no tracking value.

Comment: other uses for lasers weapons as well. (Score 1) 185

by goombah99 (#49719825) Attached to: Navy's New Laser Weapon: Hype Or Reality?

there are other uses for lasers that projectile weapons don't satisfy easily.

there a high peak power, low total energy, laser ionizes a trail from the laser to the target device. then you send a bolt of lightning down that air column, which continues to ionize it while it electrically destroys the target. This can be used to disable vehicles non-lethally from remote distances. It can even be used to destroy roadside IEDs.

Another use, in fact the one it was originally researched for in the 1990s, is discharging lighting storms. In the 1990s there were multiple outages of the internet and other coms systems with astonishing price tags, due to lightning strikes. These don't seem to be as much of a problem now, at least not making the news. But at the time it looked like our new electronic infrastructure would need protecting.

ships are the ideal laser platform due to their abundant power and cooling, as well as their weight carring capacity, sturdy rigid platform, limited storage space for ordinance. Moreover ships are a highvalue asset that in recent years have been denied access to coastlines (littoral) due to proliferation of cheap anti-ship weapons. so defeating those is important to the navy. the main drawback with lasers is you can't fire them over the horizon, and thus the longer range weapon will always bee needed as well.

Comment: drones (Score 1) 185

by goombah99 (#49719639) Attached to: Navy's New Laser Weapon: Hype Or Reality?

There never was a mission for the navy to shoot down nuclear missiles. there may have been a mission to shoot down anti-ship missiles. But they already had the Phalax and it is probably as effective as laser would ever be for that mission. But the drone situation changed everything. There wasn't a good way to deal with these, and the pinpoint accuracy of lasers combined with the low power requirements needed makes lasers the ideal weapon for this. Similarly, non-lethal weapons to fend off small craft boats are better solved by lasers than projectiles. Lasers are a great weapon for the navy since they have abundant power and cooling at hand. It means they can carry less explosives making their own vessels safer and reduces the logistics needed for re-supply.

What's remarkable to me is that in the 1970s the idea of a laser weapon seemed ludicrous since they deposited more energy into the laser than into the target, focusing through heated air was a problem, and simply rotating a large target (balistic missile) greatly increased the power needed to damage it. Now we have breakthroughs in laser diode efficieniency, and slow moving non-spinning targets with a low damage threshold

Practical people would be more practical if they would take a little more time for dreaming. -- J. P. McEvoy