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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).

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Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1121

Why do you, and others, deliberately frame this discrimination as though it's some choice someone made? Nobody chooses to be gay, the same way nobody chooses to be black. They are, they can't and shouldn't try to change it, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not okay to deny someone the same service you provide to others because of who they are. The bakery is required to depict a black man and a white woman, an asian woman and a indian man, or a white woman and a white man, but for some reason it's fine if they don't want to depict two women or two men. Nobody in that list made a decision about who they are, and no conscious decisions were made about who they want to be with, so why should people have permission to discriminate against one group? Because there are fewer of them?

It's trivial to make any argument sound solid if you frame it in a favourable manner. Inserting arbitrary "values" into an argument about other people's rights is bullshit.

Comment: Re:Way to piss off customers, Apple. (Score 1) 190

You spent $800 on a fashion accessory that tells the time. Smart watch manufacturers are asking you to spend anywhere from $150-500 on a fashion accessory that acts as a tiny computer. Clearly the people purchasing the smart watches are getting significantly more out of it, so they don't need the expectation that it will last for a jagillion years before becoming obsolete; much the same argument was true of smart phones vs dumb phones. One let you make calls and lasted a month per charge, the other puts a computer in your hand and lasted a day. People went for the one that lasted a day because it offered more.

Your choice to buy the time-only watch isn't an invalid one, but comparing it to a smart watch in that way is just as silly as comparing a dumb phone to a smart phone.

Comment: Source (Score 3, Informative) 97

by Brulath (#49367119) Attached to: SuperMario 64 Coming To a Browser Near You!

It's not directly linked anywhere, so here his is wordpress blog page about it, including source (Unity3D project). There's native clients at his link also, or you can download the /Web.html page and /Web.unity3d file from the webplayer version then edit the html to make the screen size larger (I altered it to 2500x1400, looks cooler larger).

It's hitting the nostalgia pretty well for me, having not played any 3D mario games since 64. The little bombs look awesome. The whole thing makes me want to make a small game in Unity, which is pretty cool.

Comment: Why isn't public transport 'free'? (Score 4, Interesting) 198

Public transport uptake would likely increase dramatically, at least here in Australia, if it were free. It probably wouldn't change train usage, but for buses and trams there would likely be a marked uptake. I suppose it might be a hard sell due to the cost, though the benefits of fewer cars on the road might sell that pretty well.

At a guess, I'd say there are two main reasons people don't use public transport: it's inconvenient to schedule your transport around someone else's timetable and path, and it's inconvenient to have to carry the correct quantity of cash / make sure a bus card has enough money on it; for the poorer demographic the cost part is probably a greater component. Having more people using public transport would probably result in increased availability / paths for public transport, mitigating the first problem a bit.

Just seems a bit weird; if you want cars off the road, reduce the benefits of using one (using a bus would eliminate wear & tear, fuel, and parking costs). As a bonus your population's health might improve very slightly as people are walking to and from the bus stops.

Comment: Re:The Facts Don't Matter Because "Narrative" (Score 3, Interesting) 109

by Brulath (#49306373) Attached to: The Stolen Credit For What Makes Up the Sun

...his vids that expose...

It is often extremely difficult to find a perfect example of something when trying to explain it, so many of the materials people use when trying to make a larger point have flaws and can be nitpicked pretty easily. Any sufficiently complicated argument suffers from this when you attempt to compress it into a smaller time-scale, making it easy to overlook the 'bigger picture' and be offended by the examples presented. How do you distil the years of experiences and biases which have lead you to a particular argument in an objective manner in a short presentation without exposing yourself to seriously flawed examples, regardless of the topic? Try convincing a religious person why they should abandon their religion in 20 minutes without presenting examples that can be nitpicked; it's pretty difficult, because the topic is quite complex when you drill down into it (even though it seems pretty simple, it really requires analysing why they believe first).

I read somewhere that the best way to respond to an argument is to re-state your opponent's argument, as you understand it and in the best possible light, comment on and discuss the parts you agreed with or liked, and then present the pieces you disagree with. *some searching later* turns out it was Daniel Dennett, here: http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/03/28/daniel-dennett-rapoport-rules-criticism/.

How to compose a successful critical commentary:

  1. You should attempt to re-express your target’s position so clearly, vividly, and fairly that your target says, “Thanks, I wish I’d thought of putting it that way.
  2. You should list any points of agreement (especially if they are not matters of general or widespread agreement).
  3. You should mention anything you have learned from your target.
  4. Only then are you permitted to say so much as a word of rebuttal or criticism.

Turns out I forgot the learned bit. The reason I'm replying is because I don't think the video creator you mentioned prescribes to a method of arguing which is useful for much beyond entertainment for those who already agree, whatever the subject under discussion. Which is partly the fault of the format – it's much faster and easier to make a dissection-style video that is short and matches your preconceived viewpoint than it is to do the above – but that's not really an excuse for intellectual laziness in the end.

Note that I'm not saying his opponents are correct – some use the same approach as he does and fail for the same reasons. I'm pointing out that his videos don't prescribe to any form of argument which could be used to convince a person to change their mind. He does not expose anyone, because the people who watch them already agree. The best that most short youtube arguments aspire to is entertainment.

Comment: Re:Need a reason? (Score 3, Interesting) 215

by Brulath (#49299495) Attached to: Gabe Newell Understands Half-Life Fans, Not Promising Any Sequels

It seems more like they're suffering from their flat (in theory) company structure, where there isn't a directed chain of people who say what is going to be done. They appear to be a bit undirected at times because they are. Flat structure is hard; flat structure with over a hundred employees must be ridiculously difficult to orchestrate.

Comment: It still has layers, just prints all at once (Score 2) 95

It still prints in layers, it's just printing the entire layer simultaneously, using projected UV light, rather than running a flattened tube of material over the entire surface. It's a pretty cool way to print a small prototype-y model.

I'm curious, would that approach be able to scale to multiple colours? The object is fully suspended within the liquid material whilst printing, so I'm guessing it would have to drain the pool, clean the excess fluid from the in-progress model, refill the pool, re-submerge the model, print a bit, and repeat. Which sounds slow and error-prone.

Also curious, how many other substances are there that have similar properties (that is, they can transition from liquid to solid via radiation exposure).

Comment: Re:Science (Score 2) 416

by Brulath (#49272567) Attached to: Politics Is Poisoning NASA's Ability To Do Science

On the other hand it's quite likely that the technology required to build satellites that can observe Earth is remarkably similar to the technology required to build satellites to observe other planets. There's a huge amount of overlap; why wouldn't you want them to do it on Earth first? It'd be cheaper and faster, for a start, along with providing useful information. What's the downside?

Comment: Re:Jira Atlassian (Score 1) 144

by Brulath (#49260475) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Issue Tracker For Non-Engineers?

Jira doesn't seem super-suited to non-software tasks at the moment, though it can be wrangled into it (it'll still display a lot of software dev-specific info). They are, however, planning to create views for it sometime this year (I think - can't find the reference) which could be used to e.g. coordinate a management team or similar. So probably not super useful right now, but maybe in six months take another look and it might just beat the competition.

Comment: Re:someone explain for the ignorant (Score 1) 449

by Brulath (#49099253) Attached to: Credit Card Fraud Could Peak In 2015 As the US Moves To EMV

In Australia with the Commonwealth Bank the purchases are (afaik) limited to $100 before requiring a pin and are covered by the bank in the event of fraud. As long as the cards come with the guarantee that unauthorised payments charged if it is stolen are not your responsibility, what's the problem? It makes paying for things easier, which probably increases the amount you spend and thus works out well for those companies.

Comment: Re:What's the evidence this will work? (Score 1) 156

by Brulath (#49065341) Attached to: Bill Gates On Educating the World

Having a very narrow point of view computer nerd billionaire, totally disconnected from the realities of life, coming up with methods of education, all solely focused upon his personal preferences and extremely limited experiences is truly foolish.

You're making the wild assumption that Bill and Melinda didn't consult widely and look for evidence before deciding they'd sink a significant amount of time and resources into this venture. You seem to dislike the man, but I see no reason to take that dislike and assume he's wildly negligent in his philanthropic endeavours. It's a foundation–there's more than two people in the decision making hierarchy. It's reasonable to assume that a number of them have actually spent time with the people they wish to educate and have carried out enough research to determine that a mobile phone-based software solution has the potential to do what they're aiming for.

They're predicting that software will get there in 15 years (or whatever); we're not there yet. If you look at how far we've come in the last 15 years, then predicting that putting significant resources into creating digital education will result in better experiences for the most needy isn't that far fetched.

Comment: Re:Why not use commit date as version (Score 1) 199

by Brulath (#49052089) Attached to: Torvalds Polls Desire for Linux's Next Major Version Bump

It can make it a bit easier to read. 3493343873.36 vs 3 493 343 873.36 vs 3,493,343,873.36 for example, the comma seems to give you an easier starting point for reading the following number compared to the blank space. Counting the three commas is easier than counting the three spaces to determine it's a number in the billions.

You shouldn't use them in circumstances where you're writing an array, but you probably also shouldn't use spaces in that circumstance either. You don't need to store the numbers with commas.

Comment: Re:Steam User Score beats traditional scores (Score 1) 135

by Brulath (#49035027) Attached to: Are Review Scores Pointless?

The steam overlay is included in every game launched through steam. After closing the game, or preferably after launching it when you've played more than a few hours, it could prompt you to click thumbs up or thumbs down. Might be a little annoying I guess, but it'd probably even out the negative versus positive bias and only requires clicking a button.

Comment: Re:Okay, so... (Score 1) 378

by Brulath (#49009099) Attached to: Woman Suffers Significant Weight Gain After Fecal Transplant

It's getting harder to find yoghurt not labelled low-fat in supermarkets (in Australia at least); the vast majority choose to reduce total fat content to minimal levels and fill in the flavour void with sugar. A generic supermarket yoghurt is 5g fat 29g sugar 30g carb, marking itself as 2% fat. You seem to have to aim for full-fat Greek yoghurt for anything approaching a 10g fat to 6-7g carb ratio. So the chances that he was eating a low-carb yoghurt are pretty low.

Comment: Re:I don't think this is really true. (Score 2) 153

by Brulath (#49004235) Attached to: Facebook Will Soon Be Able To ID You In Any Photo

Were these rather generous photographs or partially obscured faces wearing hats in a crowd? Was the database of potential people in the billions? Identifying the subject of a selfie at your university might not be the most difficult task, but identifying everyone in an arbitrary crowd is going to be a lot more involved. The process could probably benefit from being able to map relationships to narrow partial matches down, hence Facebook.

Nothing in progression can rest on its original plan. We may as well think of rocking a grown man in the cradle of an infant. -- Edmund Burke

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