Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 1) 171

by Rei (#49360117) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

One thing that dark energy can't be is *all* fundamental constants, plus position, velocity, etc scaling up evenly. Because if such was the case then there would be no perceptible change.

If youe saying that for example what is ground state would change too then it seems like you're arguing that things at the quantum level *aren't* moving into higher energy states. But things at the macroscopic level absolutely are moving into a higher energy state. So are you arguing that dark energy doesn't act on the quantum scale? I find that difficult to accept if so.

United Kingdom

UK Licensing Site Requires MSIE Emulation, But Won't Work With MSIE 92

Posted by timothy
from the strange-circlings-back dept.
Anne Thwacks writes The British Government web site for applying for for a licence to be a security guard requires a plugin providing Internet Explorer emulation on Firefox to login and apply for a licence. It won't work with Firefox without the add-on, but it also wont work with Internet Explorer! (I tried Win XP and Win7 Professional). The error message says "You have more than one browser window open on the same internet connection," (I didn't) and "to avoid this problem, close your browser and reopen it." I did. No change.

I tried three different computers, with three different OSes. Still no change. I contacted their tech support and they said "Yes ... a lot of users complain about this. We have known about it since September, and are working on a fix! Meanwhile, we have instructions on how to use the "Fire IE" plugin to get round the problem." Eventually, I got this to work on Win7pro. (The plugin will not work on Linux). The instructions require a very old version of the plugin, and a bit of trial and error is needed to get it to work with the current one. How can a government department concerned with security not get this sort of thing right?"

Comment: Re:WIMPs (Score 4, Interesting) 171

by Rei (#49358535) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected

That the thing about dark matter... it has a perfectly reasonable explanation (WIMPs). It's not that weird of a "thing".

Dark energy on the other hand, that's just WEIRD ;) It doesn't act like any "energy" as we know it, even though everything is clearly moving into a higher energy state. A question I've had for a while... if space itself is being inflated (or any sort of mathematically equivalent scenario) - everything inflating in all directions at all scales - wouldn't there be some sort of weak radiation signal from electrons expanding into a higher energy state due to dark energy and then collapsing back down? But I have trouble picturing how to reconcile an absolute, varying distance at the atomic scale with quantization of energy states, positions, etc...

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 1) 343

by Rei (#49358149) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Sure there is: add this to the CPDLC standard and make all of the hardware modifications needed to support it:

Message type: Revert flight plan and lock
Message arguments: TIME: the time of the flight plan to use
Message description: Revert to the flight plan that was active at TIME that had been approved by both ground control and the pilot; engage autopilot; and disable all pilot / copilot access to all systems. If there is no approved flight plan then the flight plan is to return to the nearest suitable airport in the most direct route possible.

Additional modifications: Make sure that the pilot can never disable datalink communications with ground by any means that ground wouldn't have time to respond to.

Result: Nobody is ever "remote controlling" the plane from the ground. A murderous / terrorist ground controller can't crash the plane, only make it autopilot itself on a previously approved or otherwise reasonable flight plan. A pilot behaving suspiciously can't crash the plane, as ground control will just engage the autopilot and lock them out. To abuse the system both ground and the pilot would have to agree on a suicidal flight plan.

Comment: Re:Perhaps you are not entitled? (Score 1) 378

by ranton (#49354337) Attached to: Millennial Tech Workers Losing Ground In US

"Pay us well" Meaning that Fair Market value shouldn't be based on what you can pay people in a third-world country where the cost of living is 1/8 what it is here.

Fair Market Value is whatever an employer can spend to get an equivalent amount of work done anywhere. Everyone needs to ensure they are valuable enough to be worth more than a third-world developer. Most of that extra worth will come from soft skills, not technical skills. Your salary will get capped real quick if you are mostly relying on your technical skills as your value to the company.

"Give us job security". Once upon a time, your knowledge of the company and how it runs and how best to make it run was considered as important as actual technical skills and not something to be lightly discarded just because this quarter ran under than management wants to keep their bonuses up/prop up stock prices by laying off people en-masse.

Computers aren't the only reason companies are more efficient today. One area (among many others) of improvement has been in knowledge management. 50 years ago companies were often far more reliant on the tacit knowledge of their employees. This could include your lead engineers' knowledge of your product, your senior salesmen's insight into your customers' needs, and so forth. Companies today spend far more effort in disseminating that information and codifying the knowledge so it is saved when an employee moves on or moves into another role. A well run company should be able to weather the loss of any employee with minimal disruption.

Just because you have a cushy job where they still behave companies did pre-1980 doesn't mean that that's how the majority of today's corporations work. If they should happen to change - and companies do change - I worked at one where doing a good job was guarantee of employment until one day - literally one day - their new owners threw that policy away, dumped whole departments on the street. It was such a big cultural shift that the local news agencies reported on it.

And when that day comes, you'll find that all those job offers you've been getting aren't so shiny as they appeared.

When did s.petry say he is still working at a cushy job with a company still living in the past? For all you know he moves companies every 3-5 years as new opportunities present themselves. People who mismanage their careers usually find it impossible to even understand what a well-managed career looks like. I have worked at a failed start-up and a large company which was and still is losing market share because of mismanagement. Neither of these companies sunk my career; in fact both were used as springboards. I learned a lot, gathered contacts, and moved on.

Comment: Re:Memorizing site-unique passwords isn't possible (Score 2) 255

by Rei (#49350175) Attached to: Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess

Yeah, the suggested method for generating passwords generates needlessly long passwords. The total entropy is good, but the entropy per character is pretty poor. You get much better entropy per character with abbreviation passwords, where you have a sentence or group of random words and you use the first letter from each, or second, or last, or alternating, or whatever suits you. It's still not as much entropy per character as a random pattern, but it's much better than writing out full words - and pops into your head just as fast (because it is, in essence, the same).

Comment: Re:This validates the US policy... (Score 1) 724

by ranton (#49346093) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

I dare say that a flight attendant (mostly women) is not going to stop a (co)pilot (mostly men) with a plan for murderous suicide.

Thanks for showing your misogyny nature.
Poor helpless woman would not be able to stop big mean man.

My wife and I are almost as progressive as they come, but that doesn't mean my wife is stupid enough to think we are equals when it comes to physical strength. And we are pretty average for our genders when it comes to physical strength. Even with a knife or baseball bat she would not have much of a chance without a lucky hit early in the fight. She could surely injure me severely (with a weapon that is), but not stop me if I intended to pacify her.

There is plenty of actual misogyny in our culture, there is no need to invent some while making yourself sound stupid.

Comment: Put tragedies into perspective (Score 1) 724

by ranton (#49345609) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

People need to stop losing their minds every time we have a tragedy. People are going to die in plane crashes from time to time. Sometimes it will be an accident, sometimes it will be negligence, and sometimes it will be terrorism. No one lives forever. Deal with it.

Put things into perspective
There were 3.4 trillion passenger miles flown worldwide in 2012, and 475 aviation deaths.
There were 3.0 trillion passenger miles driven in the US in 2012, and 33,561 traffic deaths.

Maybe it makes sense to add another pilot to flights, but lets not let the amount of press coverage a single incident gets determine policy changes.

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 5, Insightful) 631

by Rei (#49345311) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Are people really going to miss yet another totally fake show pretending to be reality? Is it just because this one combined cars and Daily Mail-style politics?

Sorry, but I have no sympathy for a primadonna for whom curses at an employee for 20 minutes and then physically assaults him up for half a minute (without any resistance from his victim) before someone pulled him off, all because the Clarkson's food wasn't warm. And this is hardly the first time Clarkson has behaved like this, he was already on "final warning" after a string of other incidents. What befalls him is his own bloody fault. And all of the abuse that the victim got over this whole thing... my favorite tweet on the subject was:

"Man assaults another man and victim receives abuse because people can’t watch a TV show about cars. Bravo society. "

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.