Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:How I stopped worrying and came to love the bom (Score 1) 97

It means if we ever did see another Great War style conflict no nation, even the other large nuclear powers, can threaten our home land.

That was actually an important motivation of many of the scientists who promoted nuclear research in the 1920s and 1930s - they'd just witnessed a devastating war of attrition, and thought that nuclear weapons would not only make this kind of war obsolete, they'd make the entire concept of war between nuclear-armed nations unthinkable. It's important to remember that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were, by themselves, no worse than any number of other atrocities committed by the Japanese, Germans, Russians, British, or Americans - some of the Allied firebombing campaigns late in the war managed to kill more people in one go than either nuke. Nuking Japan simply sent the message "look, now we can do it with just one bomb."

Comment Re:The problem with the ad (Score 2) 159

This was my reaction too. Most of us working in highly technical fields have encountered stunningly beautiful (but nonetheless competent) female engineers. We are also acutely aware of the fact that women in general are very underrepresented in software development. I'm 100% in favor of encouraging more women to pursue technical careers, but in the current environment, my reaction whenever I see an ad like that is to assume it's trying to manipulate lonely male engineers. (Which probably says more about me than the makers of the ad, but the point isn't that the ad is wrong, it's that the backlash is entirely predictable in context.)

I find the Dice ads repulsive, of course, but at least they're acknowledging (and laughing at) the fact that a very large fraction of engineers are hairy, nerdy, not-very-athletic young men. (Also note that it's not considered at all inappropriate to mock hairy, nerdy, not-very-athletic male engineers.)

Comment Re:Isn't this a no brainer? (Score 4, Insightful) 406

I'm not trying to be a Google shill here, but this is exactly why I like Google's ads (or rather, liked, back when they were more obviously ads on the right side of the search results). If I'm looking for something, I might do a Google search for it; if one of the AdWords ads shows up, as a small text-only ad, and it's exactly the thing I'm looking for, that's a good thing IMO. I guess this is called "targeted advertising", and IMO it's the best kind. If I'm explicitly searching for something, or have some kind of problem I'm Googling for an answer to, having a small,text-only ad pop up with a product that solves my problem is a big help.

Comment Re:He hasn't been charged (Score 0) 313

By US standards, he was charged, then dismissed of the crime, and is now being tried a second time for the same crime. Almost nowhere else in the world has the strict double jeopardy laws the US has, but if we apply US standards, the charges and process are invalid many times over for many different reasons.

No - in the US, double jeopardy rights attach after voir dire, when the jury is empaneled and sworn in. There are plenty of times that charges are brought, amended, dropped, re-added, etc. before trial, and that's all irrelevant. There is nothing about Assange's case that remotely resembles double jeopardy.

Comment Re:18 million for someone that was NEVER Charged?! (Score 1) 313

That's not how things work here. The police typically interview you before charges are file. Assange has refused the interview.

No he hasn't. The Swedes are refusing to interview him in the Embassy. Now, why would that be? Think, think...

Because in Sweden, the defendant investigation is the last thing that happens before trial, and by law, trial must occur within one week?

Comment Re:Clarify... (Score 5, Funny) 33

In their case, when it detects a cyber attack, it signals the giant mecha robot station in LEO to launch powered cybernetic suits that enter the earths atmosphere and land on top of the attack command and control. These suits then rip the roofs off the houses/offices of the attackers and pulls their pasty, fat asses out of their chairs and slice them to pieces using energy blade weapons. Unless the attackers are female, at which point they are returned to the giant mecha robot station to be brainwashed and trained as cybernetic suit pilots with psychic powers and fucked up emotional issues of identity, purpose, and a weird love 2+n(angle).

Comment Re:He hasn't been charged (Score 1) 313

George W Bush, is that you?

"Lantos went on to describe for the president how the Swedish Army might be an ideal candidate to anchor a small peacekeeping force on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Sweden has a well-trained force of about 25,000. The president looked at him appraisingly, several people in the room recall.

"I don't know why you're talking about Sweden," Bush said. "They're the neutral one. They don't have an army."

Lantos paused, a little shocked, and offered a gentlemanly reply: "Mr. President, you may have thought that I said Switzerland. They're the ones that are historically neutral, without an army." Then Lantos mentioned, in a gracious aside, that the Swiss do have a tough national guard to protect the country in the event of invasion.

Bush held to his view. "No, no, it's Sweden that has no army."

The room went silent, until someone changed the subject.

A few weeks later, members of Congress and their spouses gathered with administration officials and other dignitaries for the White House Christmas party. The president saw Lantos and grabbed him by the shoulder. "You were right," he said, with bonhomie. "Sweden does have an army."

Comment Re:"At that price it's almost a burner" (Score 1) 154

I paid 80 bucks new from Amazon for this now discontinued phone.

Quite respectable, and a few months ago, was my best pick under 100 bucks. My girlfriend uses it, and she didn't want anything expensive, just basic Android apps, internet, etc. By anyone's standard, this is a smart phone.

Comment Re:Great another stupid dice article... (Score 1) 237

Depends. Apparently, in the UK, degree programs aren't as "broad" as they are here in the US. So, you take just the math and computer science courses, but not the history, anthropology, 4 semesters of foreign language, etc etc. I mean, let's think about it (from memory):
Calc: 3 courses
Discrete: 1
Linear Algebra: 1
Diff Eq: 1
Total Math to get a base: 6 (add in a couple electives for those wishing to go further)

Computer Science:
Intro to Comp Sci: 1
Intro to Programming (SICP!): 1
Data Structures + intro to algorithms: 1
Algorithms: 1
Compilers: 1
OS: 1
and you could probably add 3-6 electives on top of this as the student desires.
So that's, what, 6 fundamentals courses plus a few specialized courses?

That's 12 courses to cover the minimum. Spread that out to about 4 classes per semester, 3 semesters a year, that's a single year. Now add a second year of electives, about 12 courses. Third year: projects and work study.

Do this online, at my own pace, keep the cost to under $10k for the whole program (for reference, University of London offers a full BSc in Computer Science for ~$7500 USD completed in 3-8 years at your pace. I think we can do better), and I'd sign up.

Comment Re:Let's just not do it. (Score 1) 167

This all sounds interesting, but I don't really agree about the cost of mining bit. Yes, launch costs are high, but once you have all the stuff you need on-site on the Moon (or wherever, but obviously the Moon is cheaper than Mars or Venus), the only costs are getting workers to the Moon (and tired ones back home), and whatever it costs to send (hopefully refined) material back to Earth. Basically, it's a one-time cost to get the infrastructure up there. If you're doing enough mining up there (between the Moon, and maybe capturing asteroids and then refining them on the Moon, or in orbital or Lagrangian stations), then it would be profitable, of course assuming there's enough valuable ore there to begin with.

So it really comes down to a question of: what's the total cost of establishing all that infrastructure up there, plus the ongoing cost of actually operating up there, compared to how much you'll be able to sell the material for down here (taking into account time value of money of course)? With the huge up-front costs, it probably doesn't seem like it'd be worth it, but there's a lot of material up there between the Moon and the asteroids, and over a long enough time span it might make sense. Throw in space tourism (who wouldn't want to spend a week on the Moon?) and that should sweeten things. On top of that, launch costs are coming down thanks to the efforts of SpaceX and others. Ongoing costs can be minimized with heavy usage of either automated robotic systems, or with remote-control (or a combination of the two): with the Moon only a few light-seconds away, two-way radio control isn't such a problem as it would be for Venus or Mars. The fewer humans you need to regularly cycle there, the less things will cost to operate.

Now obviously, if the break-even time is 4 centuries, then you're not going to get many investors for that. But what if it's less, maybe only 30 or 50 years? It does seem like several billionaires are very interested in asteroid mining, among other space ventures. All it took for Columbus (today's namesake, even if he was a murderous bastard) to help start colonization of the Americas was an investment by the Spanish crown. What if some silicon valley billionaires pump a bunch of money into this, not really caring if they see a return on their investment in their lifetimes? (Plus, these same billionaires are also pumping money into longevity research, so if that works out and they live to 250, they might very well see a return.)

All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.