Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: 12,125 PSI pressure at that depth (Score 3, Interesting) 33

by Beeftopia (#48643663) Attached to: New Record Set For Deepest Dwelling Fish

12,125 PSI pressure at that depth. Surface pressure is 14.7 PSI.

1) Source for ocean depth pressure at 8145m.
2) Source for atmospheric pressure at earth's surface

It's totally dark down there. No light except the occasional bioluminescence. It's like an off-world environment. Makes me wonder where else life can exist.

+ - Researchers Find The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist->

Submitted by Beeftopia
Beeftopia (1846720) writes "From the article: "For a real-life example of an actual worker shortage, Salzman points to the case of petroleum engineers, where the supply of workers has failed to keep up with the growth in oil exploration. The result, says Salzman, was just what economists would have predicted: Employers started offering more money, more people started becoming petroleum engineers, and the shortage was solved. In contrast, Salzman concluded in a paper released last year by the liberal Economic Policy Institute, real IT wages are about the same as they were in 1999. Further, he and his co-authors found, only half of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) college graduates each year get hired into STEM jobs. “We don’t dispute the fact at all that Facebook (FB) and Microsoft (MSFT) would like to have more, cheaper workers,” says Salzman’s co-author Daniel Kuehn, now a research associate at the Urban Institute. “But that doesn’t constitute a shortage.”"
Link to Original Source

Comment: They've made something that mimics C. elegans (Score 2) 200

by Beeftopia (#48399785) Attached to: A Worm's Mind In a Lego Body

It's fascinating but it's not C. elegans. It doesn't reproduce. It doesn't die. It's not alive.

The sensors are implemented in large, electro-mechanical hardware. Not biochemical systems. It has no telomeres. No cells.

Humans have several subsystems: digestive, endocrine, pulmonary (pneumatic and hydraulic), muscular, skeletal, nervous. If they manage to create an electro-mechanical system to mimic the nervous subsystem, it's just that - mimicking the subsystem. It would be an amazing feat, and what's been done here is fascinating, but we're still quite some distance away from stating that a human - or C. elegans - is 2^n nand gates.

Is something that mimics a nervous subsystem via an electro-mechanical system equivalent to the nervous system? Be it the 302 neurons of the C. elegans or the approximately 100 billion of the H. sapiens? It might become very intelligent... more intelligent than us... and then we'd have a problem... Frankenstein didn't appreciate being locked in his form...

Would it really feel emotions? Pain, rage, joy, fear, ennui? Or is it just mimicking them?

Fascinating stuff.

Comment: Stroustrup's book (Score 2) 223

by Beeftopia (#48389819) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Programming Education Resources For a Year Offline?

Bjarne Stroustrup's "The C++ Programming Language", updated for C++11 (4th edition). Seriously. His books are surprisingly easy to read, yet information dense. Because it covers the standard template library and the current paradigms, the information will apply to the interpreted languages. This is if you know the basics of programming, and it really helps have done a bit of C++. He's got another book that's an overview of C++, if you're completely unfamiliar with the language.

For books "about" software, try 'Joel On Software' by Joel Spolsky. I liked it.

I have "JavaScript The Definitive Guide" by Flanagan, but I keep hearing "JavaScript The Good Parts" by Crockford is an easy an informative read. The Definitive Guide is great but it kind of reads like a textbook. I've not read 'The Good Parts' but that's the impression I got from this site.

"Code Complete", "The Mythical Man Month", "The Psychology of Computer Programming" are the standard "about programming" books which are commonly recommended.

"Computer Networks" by Tannenbaum is interesting, although it can get a bit dense at time. It is a textbook.

Comment: Re:Wait.. (Score 1) 716

by Beeftopia (#48329485) Attached to: Bounties vs. Extreme Internet Harassment

On Usenet, there was a strong culture of using one's real name, and often one's institutional affiliation was readily visible from the network one posted from.

Maybe in the rec. or comp. hierarchy for the more staid groups, but in the alt. hierarchy, especially in the controversial areas, definitely not. It simply wasn't done. Also, I was able to pick an anonymous login when I got my school account. Maybe later, people were assigned (probably mid to late 90s when computer accounts became more common), but then one would have to be much more judicious about which groups one posted to.

Comment: Re:Wait.. (Score 1) 716

by Beeftopia (#48328747) Attached to: Bounties vs. Extreme Internet Harassment

Making a credible threat against someone's life ought not to be treated like a prank. I've frequented the deeper sewers of Usenet, before the web came to universities, and that simply was not done. Nor was posting anyone's personal information. It was crossing a line. Granted people were much more guarded about their personal information as it was considered folly to post it. But the online world has changed and so has access to information.

Secondly, holding individuals accountable for making credible death threats against other individuals and posting others' personal information online has little in common with political opposition to a totalitarian government.

Comment: Re:No thought (or logic) in your experiment (Score 1) 430

by Beeftopia (#48310655) Attached to: Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out

Any heterosexual man has the same basic physical capabilites as a homosexual man, so he could easily engage in homosexual acts... [...] Face it: There is no "gay gene".

1) There is the concept of physical attraction. Looking at a woman's breasts or thighs or buttocks and being attracted. Versus looking at a man's buttocks, biceps or chest and being attracted.

2) There are simple measurable physical tests for both attraction and arousal.

For a bisexual, he can probably be aroused by another man and get an erection. For a pure heterosexual, this is simply not going to happen.

I'm sure there are porn stars who have such will and control over their erections that they can generate an erection on demand. But my suspicion is most mail porn stars are bisexuals. Ron Jeremy said, "At any given time there are about 24 reliable woodsmen, guys who keep good erections in the American porn scene. You know, myself, Randy West, Peter North, Tom Byron." But let's say they are pure hetero - that's 24 people he's talking about in the 300 million strong US population.

You're right in that there is a lot of variation in sexuality. Serial killers are aroused by murdering the objects of their attraction. I've seen estimates of up to 50 active serial killers in the US at any one time.

I'm sure there is pretty much any variation of sexuality out there one can imagine. In tiny numbers. Focusing on those instead of the larger groups is an inability to see the forest because of the trees.

Comment: Re:Terrible (Score 4, Interesting) 430

by Beeftopia (#48306865) Attached to: Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out

"However, to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality."

A simple thought experiment to see if homosexuality is a choice: If it really is a choice, try being gay for a week. Try engaging in gay physical intimacy with another man.


Caveat: For a bisexual, this won't be a problem. For a heterosexual, it will be extremely difficult if not impossible. I suspect those who believe homosexuality is a choice are probably bisexuals.

Comment: Re:This is an easy one ... (Score 3, Interesting) 608

by Beeftopia (#48237565) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

Consider the possibility that women just aren't interested.

Yes, but why? It might lead to some insights about ourselves and the field itself.

Could it be something biological, as politically incorrect as that might be? Autism for example, is much more prevalent in males than females: "ASD is almost 5 times more common among boys (1 in 42) than among girls (1 in 189)." [3rd bullet point from top]

So it seems like there are brain differences between males and females, when viewed as a group. And the brain creates personality.

If the reason is purely sociological, we can fix that and open the field to women. If the reason is in fact biological, we can stop trying to hammer square pegs into round holes.

Comment: Re:Thought it was just me... (Score 2) 158

by Beeftopia (#48232257) Attached to: The Problem With Positive Thinking

I thought it was just me that was was motivated solely by fear and worry, but apparently it's most people if not everyone! Of course if you expect things to go great already then wtf are you working so hard for, things are going to turn out great anyway remember?

Anxiety energizes and motivates people. Too much will paralyze them. Gotta reach the optimal amount that energizes, but does not enervate. Along the lines of "eustress" not "distress."

Comment: Humans have rules for driving (Score 2) 287

by Beeftopia (#48208873) Attached to: Will the Google Car Turn Out To Be the Apple Newton of Automobiles?

Humans have rules for driving. For example:

-> If you see a traffic light, identify what color it is, then continue, slow down, or stop based on one of those 3 colors.

So the Google Car cannot identify a traffic light? Or if it does, it cannot identify its color? If so, is that a weakness in the computing power? Like, a supercomputer could do these things, but a reasonably sized onboard computer cannot? Or a weakness in "vision" sensors?

-> Paper versus rock in the road: This, I can understand. There are a myriad things in the road. The decision here is, can the car safely pass over it? Inability to determine this is due to vision sensors or limitations in computing power?

I saw an interesting problem the other day: a piece of wood baseboard trim (for a wall) blew off a truck. It seemingly hung suspended in air then came down. I hit my brakes but kept going straight, hoping for the best. It hit the ground, bounced and lay flat. I imagine that might legitimately freak out an autonomous car.

A moron can drive safely, through city traffic, if he's highly motivated, manages to keep his attention on the road and his speed down. I guess a moron is still more capable of navigating the world than a computer.

Comment: Maybe they do have custom needs (Score 1) 104

by Beeftopia (#48198299) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Event Sign-Up Software Options For a Non-Profit?

That's the problem. Maybe they have fields that are not available on any of the other sites. Maybe they want to run reports off the site. Let me tell you what I think their goal probably is: A few weeks before the event, they want to lock the registration, get a report of all registrants, when they get in, when they leave, if they have any dietary restrictions, who requests lodging. Then they give that to their office manager who starts contacting local hotels and caterers.

I wrote a web-based event management program a few years ago on a LAMP plus JavaScript. It's been rock-solid and has handled thousands of registrants. Having said that, here's the way to determine if their needs are truly specific (you're going to need a management module and a registrant facing module):

1) What fields do they want to display to registrants? To event planners? Problem here: clients don't know what they want till they start playing with the site.

2) What fields do they want registrants to fill in after they click on the invitation link and reach the registration page? Do registrants request lodging? Do they arrive on different days? Do they leave on different days? Do they have dietary restrictions?

3) How will registrants be allowed to edit their information until the "lock" date? Probably a combination of unique pin generated for them, plus their email address.

4) How do they want to contact the registrants and ask them to sign up? The site I created created a custom URL for each event, and they were mailed to the invitees for that event. So, you create the event, and you email all the registrants (in the BCC field) with the link.

5) You're getting PII - personally identifiable information. You need a secure server. You'll need an SSL certificate to encrypt the connection.

Fortunately, your organization has a few years of experience with this. So they know what they want to do generally. That's a very big deal - a client who actually knows what he wants.

THEN - you can check out some of the available commercial options, or see if they really need something from scratch.

Comment: Like the Ford Taurus brand being retired (Score 1) 150

by Beeftopia (#48197841) Attached to: 'Microsoft Lumia' Will Replace the Nokia Brand

Brands are a big deal. They have value. Nokia had a storied history. Something like "Nokia (by Microsoft)" or just leaving "Microsoft" off entirely (like BMW does with Rolls Royce, or Tata does with Jaguar) would have allowed the brand value to be preserved.

Some years ago, Ford decided to get rid of the Taurus line and rename it the '500'. They quickly realized the error of their ways and brought the Taurus name back.

Comment: Trolling is a very broad term (Score 2) 489

by Beeftopia (#48183249) Attached to: In UK, Internet Trolls Could Face Two Years In Jail

Imprecise laws give authorities a great deal of discretion about the threat of prosecution. And discretion here is another name for arbitrary power.

Do they mean targeted harassment or libel? Or theft or fraud? Or do they mean playing devil's advocate?

Conflating the harassment of the McCanns with "trolling", a broad term, is just a power grab by an opportunist. It might sound politically beneficial right now but curbs on basic freedoms have blowback. Consequences.

The article reads like satire. I'd expect it out of a backward or totalitarian regime, but not the UK.

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Pablo Picasso