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Comment: Re:Not their fault (Score 1) 390

by hey! (#48918827) Attached to: "Mammoth Snow Storm" Underwhelms

Something worth considering. We associate snow with cold, so it's tempting to see more and frequent snowstorms as disproof that the planet is warning. However temperature is only one of the constraints on snow. The other is moisture.

I have lived here in Boston over fifty years, and in the 60s and 70s the December climate was bitterly cold and *bone dry*. In recent decades there has been a marked tendency toward warmer AND wetter Decembers and Januaries, and thus frequent significant snow storms in December (almost unheard of) and January (rare until the 90s).

This storm was particularly intense, and in my town got two feet or more. This has happened on six prior occasions, once in 1888, and five times since 1969.

Comment: Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (Score 4, Insightful) 110

by Zocalo (#48895581) Attached to: Bomb Threats Via Twitter Partly Shut Down Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport
Aside from the few hundred lives vs. a few thousand lives if the plane was actually hijacked and attempted another 9/11 style crash into a metropolitan area there is another reason you might want a chase aircraft - obtaining camera footage of the plane should the threat prove genuine and the plane is blown up. I would imagine such data might prove quite useful to the resultant investigation in terms of narrowing down where the bomb was located, how powerful it was, whether it was carried on or checked, and potentially even narrow down who might have got the bomb onboard.

Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 198

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 3, Informative) 304

by hey! (#48894185) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

I have an even better idea: let's find a way to fix human beings so that they're perfectly consistent in their behavior.

While certainly taking demonstrably bad drivers off the road is a no-brainer, even good drivers have lapses. My teenaged son is learning to drive, and whenever someone does something like cut us off I make a point of saying we can't assume the driver did it on purpose, or did it because he was an inconsiderate or bad person. Even conscientious and courteous drivers make mistakes or have lapses of attention.

It's the law of large numbers. If you spend a few hours on the road, you'll encounter thousands of drivers. A few of them will be really horrible drivers who shouldn't be on the road. But a few will be conscientious drivers having a bad day, or even a bad 1500 milliseconds.

+ - Rare astronomical event will see triple moon shadows on Jupiter->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Stargazers are in for a treat as they will be able to witness a rare astronomical event early tomorrow morning (January 24, 2015) where shadows of three of Jupiter’s largest moons — Io, Europa, and Callisto — will fall upon Jupiter simultaneously. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles will provide a live online broadcast on its Livestream channel. The event is slated to being on January 24, 2015 at 4:30 AM GMT and should end by 7:00 am GMT. For those in the PST, the event will happen today from 8:30 pm to 11:00 pm."
Link to Original Source

+ - Should Disney Require its Employees to Be Vaccinated? 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "According to Joanna Rothkopf Disneyland is already a huge petri dish of disease with tired children wiping their snot faces on Goofy and then riding log flumes through mechanized rivers filled with the backwash of thousands of other sweaty, unwashed, weeping toddlers. Now John Tozzi reports at Businessweek that five workers at Disneyland have been diagnosed with measles in an outbreak that California officials trace to visitors at the theme park in mid-December. The measles outbreak is a publicity nightmare for Disney and the company is urging its 27,000 workers at the park to verify that they're inoculated against the virus, and the company is offering tests and shots on site for workers who are unvaccinated. One thing Disney won't do, however, is require workers to get routine vaccinations as a condition of employment. Almost no companies outside the health-care industry do. "To make things mandatory just raises a lot of legal concerns and legal issues," says Rob Niccolini. Disney has been working with public health officials, and Disney has already put some employees on paid leave until medically cleared. "They recognized that they were just a meeting place for measles," says Gilberto Chávez. "And they are quite concerned about doing what they can to help control the outbreak.""

+ - Extremely rare Star Trek Phaser prop is going on sale for $60,000

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The latest Star Trek item that’s going on sale and expected to go for a doozy of a price. A 47 year old Star Trek Phaser from the original show featuring original Enterprise Crew led by Captain Kirk, Spock, et al, is reportedly going to be sold for a price of a whopping $60,000 (£40,000). This fiberglass prop is apparently one of the two that are currently in existence and hence the fantastic price tag."

+ - Microsoft Announces Office 2016 And Office For Windows 10 Coming Later This Year

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "At its Windows 10 event yesterday, Microsoft unveiled the touch-optimized version of Office. Today, the company offered more details about that version, and then snuck in another announcement: the next desktop version is under development, it is called Office 2016, and it will be generally available “in the second half of 2015.” Office for Windows 10 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook), meanwhile, is also slated to arrive later this year, though Microsoft has shared more about it and plans to offer a preview in the coming weeks. These new Office apps will be pre-installed (they will be free) on smartphones and small tablets running Windows 10. They will also be available to download from the Windows Store for other devices."

+ - Bill Gates Needs an Online Education History Lesson

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes ""We're not fond of Bill Gates," wrote Philip Greenspun in 1999, "but it still hurts to see Microsoft struggle with problems that IBM solved in the 1960s." And, after reading the 2015 Gates Annual Letter, one worries that BillG might be struggling with online education problems that PLATO and other computer assisted instruction systems solved in the '60s and '70s. One of the five breakthroughs Bill and Melinda foresee in the next 15 years is that Better Software Will Revolutionize Learning, but the accompanying narrative suggests that Bill still doesn't know much about TechEd history. "Think back 15 years," the Gates write, "to when online education was first gaining traction. It amounted to little more than pointing a camera at a university lecturer and hitting the 'record' button. Students couldn't take online quizzes or connect with each other. It wasn't interactive at all." Think again, Bill. Check out A 1980 Teenager's View on Social Media, Brian Dear's ode to his experience with PLATO. Or ask ex-Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie to share his experiences with PLATO in the '70s, a decade that saw PLATO teaching reading to young children and computer science to college students like your then 18-year-old self. And while cheap microcomputers eventually killed the expensive PLATO CDC mainframe star, there are some lessons today's MOOCs could learn from studying their PLATO History, like providing easy-to-learn-and-use authoring software to allow courseware to be built by classroom instructors (pdf), not just Gates Foundation and Google-funded engineers. Keep on keepin' on Bill, but make sure your MOOC Research includes some history lessons!"

+ - Quantum Computing Without Qubits->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "For more than 20 years, Ivan H. Deutsch has struggled to design the guts of a working quantum computer. He has not been alone. The quest to harness the computational might of quantum weirdness continues to occupy hundreds of researchers around the world. Why hasn’t there been more to show for their work? As physicists have known since quantum computing’s beginnings, the same characteristics that make quantum computing exponentially powerful also make it devilishly difficult to control. The quantum computing “nightmare” has always been that a quantum computer’s advantages in speed would be wiped out by the machine’s complexity.

Yet progress is arriving on two main fronts. First, researchers are developing unique quantum error-correction techniques that will help keep quantum processors up and running for the time needed to complete a calculation. Second, physicists are working with so-called analog quantum simulators — machines that can’t act like a general-purpose computer, but rather are designed to explore specific problems in quantum physics. A classical computer would have to run for thousands of years to compute the quantum equations of motion for just 100 atoms. A quantum simulator could do it in less than a second."

Link to Original Source

+ - Dish Network violated Do-Not-Call 57 million times->

Submitted by lightbox32
lightbox32 (1903946) writes "Dish Network has been found guilty of violating the Do Not Call list on 57 million separate occasions. They were also found liable for abandoning or causing telemarketers to abandon nearly 50 million “outbound telephone calls, in violation of the abandoned-call provision of the Federal Trade Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule."
Link to Original Source

+ - Barrett Brown, formerly of Anonymous, sentenced to 63 months

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Barrett Brown, a journalist formerly linked to the hacking group Anonymous, was sentenced Thursday to over five years in prison, or a total of 63 months. Ahmed Ghappour, Brown's attorney, confirmed to Ars that Brown's 28 months already served will count toward the sentence. That leaves 34 months, or nearly three years, left for him to serve. In April 2014, Brown took a plea deal admitting guilt on three charges: “transmitting a threat in interstate commerce,” for interfering with the execution of a search warrant, and to being "accessory after the fact in the unauthorized access to a protected computer." Brown originally was indicted in Texas federal court in December 2012 on several counts, including accusations that he posted a link from one Internet relay chat channel, called #Anonops, to another channel under his control, called #ProjectPM. The link led to private data that had been hijacked from intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting, or Statfor."

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