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Comment: Re:And this makes things easier...how? (Score 1) 101

Digitizing a book doesn't destroy the original. This means that digitizing the book will have absolutely no negative effect on your library experience.

Instead it allows the library to continue loaning out the original without the fear of losing something that is out of print. Also, people will be able to read the book at the library even though the original was checked out by someone else or even lost or damaged.

I don't see how this is a problem for you.

Comment: Re:Crichton is an idiot. (Score 1) 761

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47855069) Attached to: How Scientific Consensus Has Gotten a Bad Reputation

The lack of context is obvious. Which is why both this thread and the general public are doomed (evil grin).

Scientific knowledge gains traction by building a consensus of scientists that agree because it aligns with their theory or because they were able to reproduce the results. Will there be a consensus of non-believers or even disagreeing scientists? Of course!

There is a political element to science, but most of the time the correct scientific knowledge wins. Why? Because of the weight of the consensus' knowledge of the subject matter counts more than a simple popular vote. If the theory is sound then eventually it will gain traction. Otherwise it will simply become obscure waiting for someone else to take another stab it.

Scientists are not automatons that instantly gravitate to the new correct view. They are opinionated and stubborn. They (rightfully) need to be convinced. This is where consensus building takes place. A paper is published and presented at a conference. The author(s) explains the theory behind their paper and if the subject is popular enough in their niche and the theory is correct (or more correct than current understanding) it will eventually become part of the common knowledge in that field or at least have enough followers. Eventually the new theory will overtake the momentum of the out-of-date one, and become the prevailing theory.

Once you understand that there are scientific politics involved but in an arena where the argument isn't about "feelings" or "power" but about the correctness of one's theory, you should appreciate the fact that so many climatologists have agreed with the concept of global climate change.

The contextual part of consensus:

The reason there is a large consensus of scientists that believe climate change is real is not because of some political argument or personal passion but because they were convinced by the theories and data handed to them. The reason there is a large consensus of climate deniers that believe Michael Crichton is correct isn't because he gave any credible theories or provided conflicting data. It is because they want him to be correct because it conforms to their political views or personal opinion. They both are consensus of people but the motives behind the consensus is what differentiates the two.

Comment: Re:Oh good. (Score 1) 99

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47839055) Attached to: LLVM 3.5 Brings C++1y Improvements, Unified 64-bit ARM Backend

It is not out of the question for Slashdot submissions to expect their target audience to know about LLVM and Clang. If you didn't then you weren't the target audience.

It would be like me having to write "Obama (the current US president)..." in a Democratic Party Newsletter or "Alabama (a US State)..." on an American news site.

Do we have to explain what a "Tesla Model S" or a "Ford Escort" is to the reader? No, because they been around long enough that it can be expected that most of the audience will know about them. LLVM and Clang fall in the same category for the audience of this site.

Instead of reading the article or looking it up on Google, you decided the best thing to do was whine about it. It seemed like a counter-productive move since there are other stories you could have read and commented on.

Maybe you'll find CNet, USA Today, or Highlights for Children more acceptable.

Comment: Re:As someone who went to NC State (Score 1) 595

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47838983) Attached to: New Nail Polish Alerts Wearers To Date Rape Drugs

I bet it really doesn't.

A quick survey of "Acceptable Use Policy" from several universities including NC State allow for "Authorized users may access University IT resources for occasional, inconsequential personal uses, with no expectation of privacy..." and usually include a bunch of restrictions that apply more to employees than students except where "The use does not negatively impact the availability or performance of the University IT resources" and "no cost is incurred by the University".

Your tuition covered the use of the equipment for academic purposes which means as long as you are doing something specific to your class assignments then you are free to continue using the equipment for as long as you like with the exception of a lab being closed due to a class. If you are using the computer for personal use and someone else needs access to the computer then you will be asked to stop. It's done all the time and it shouldn't be a surprise to you.

Comment: Re:well (Score 1) 200

The parent comment was:

It is strictly illegal for anybody (including law enforcement without a warrant) to use ANY means to view something on your property that isn't clearly visible to a common pedestrian or vehicle going past.

I doubt the law is that draconian or even enforceable. I countered with:

So have they issued warrants against Google yet?

You know because they used a satellite to photograph the contents of the Jane's backyard and she did say "ANY means to view something on your property".

and the rest of the real engineers, do some actual work.

With the difficulty you are having with context, I sure hope you aren't a real engineer.

Comment: Re:Idiots (Score 1) 205

by Bill_the_Engineer (#47617387) Attached to: MIT Considers Whether Courses Are Outdated

During that 12 week class you spend about a week learning a couple of formulas that you realize will be very helpful when coding accounting software, but just as you're getting into it they switch topics and start teaching you about business management and then spend 4 weeks on "How to use Excel"...

If only they would offer a more specialized class after the introductory course is taken.

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