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Comment: Initial fossile fuel no problem in reboot (Score 1) 365

by CptJeanLuc (#49473691) Attached to: Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

Pollution = average pollution per capita times population. In a post-apocalyptic scenario after an event on a scale that would cause a "reboot", there would not be 8 billion people around. Burning some fossile fuel for a period in order to get enough of an economy going that would allow the infrastructure to then build a better green infrastructure, should not be an issue.

Comment: Request: enable april fools button in profile (Score 3, Insightful) 113

by CptJeanLuc (#49386221) Attached to: Coup in Arrakis Capitol Leaves Region in Flux

Assuming Slashdot sees its target audience as on average at least moderately intelligent, it would be nice to give us a way to opt in (or at least opt out) to the whole April Fools mess. Some of us come here to browse some hopefully interesting stuff. If the reaction of your online audience is mainly "oh [insert favoured deity here], not those 2-3 days on Slashdot again", maybe you are going about this the wrong way.

Comment: You cannot protect against this type of incident (Score 1) 385

by CptJeanLuc (#49357063) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

There is no protection against a sufficiently crazy pilot determined to crash an airplane. To be quite blunt about it, here is how it might go. Pilot brings hammer or other heavy blunt object into some bag he has in the cockpit. He pretends he is about to visit the bathroom. The other pilot has no idea anything is wrong, and after one whack with the hammer there is only one functional person in the cockpit.

Really, there is no defense. Ok, so in the above scenario, there is a sort of filtering of crazy people that only the ones who are willing to go Dexter on someone else and go through that experience, in addition to the more abstract idea of suicide-murdering a plane full of people without having to observe the result, will be able to go through with it. But this is just one random idea, and there must be lots of other ways. E.g. use chloroform, and put the other pilot to sleep.

There is no point trying to invent defenses against indefensible scenarios. All we can do is decide whether having planes flown by people is an acceptable risk. This week's happening was a tragic event, but one that historically happens extremely rarely - it is the first time I hear of anything like that happening on such a scale - in a span of decades.

If you have to choose between secure or insecure cockpit, I would prefer the locked cockpit - as it seems the frequency of pilots causing such incidents is a lot smaller than the chances that someone - i.e. anyone in the world who is not on a flight ban list - will board a plane with bad intentions.

Comment: Re:Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 1) 662

by CptJeanLuc (#49352337) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear
Strictly speaking this is true that there are few facts available to us the public, but BBC for sure must have plenty of facts, there must have been lots of witnesses if this happened on a set, and BBC clearly would not let one of their few global stars go unless they saw no other way. I would say those are pretty good indicators.

Comment: A very sad reality check (Score 1) 737

by CptJeanLuc (#49348095) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

First of all, this is a horrible and tragic incident, and I can only imagine what people directly affected are going through.

Unfortunately, this type of incidents is something we as a society can never fully protect against. If you think about it, knowing human nature and the number of people with psychological issues out there, one might think it is a miracle that such dramatic events do not occur more often. Also one can never simultaneously protect everyone and all assets, that is just not feasible - for crazy people or terrorists there will always be soft targets available.

What actually _would_ help is if media could write more responsibly about this type of events, and now I am not just thinking about this particular event but other crazy people acts (which may incentivize other crazy people to want to get attention) and acts of terrorism. If some of the events that haunt our media for weeks were only barely mentioned and sticking to relevant facts rather than always making it about personal stories and tragedies, then terrorist acts or any attention seeking of crazy acts would lose their effect.

I really hope that becoming infamous was not part of the pilot's plan, because if that is so then media must bear a big part of the blame.

Comment: Popularity is no excuse for bullying or crime (Score 3, Informative) 662

by CptJeanLuc (#49347833) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

I hate how the media is spinning this, that because 1 million people or whatever want someone back in a TV show, a TV star should somehow be above the set of laws and expected normal social behavior that the rest of us have to deal with. When someone starts hitting co-workers over the lack of warm food, they should get severely reprimanded - why is this even a discussion. The answer is of course because - and I will put this in tabloid terms because that is the only thing that seems to get across these days - of the way media works this day, how everyone now has a voice through the Internet, and the few voices of common sense gets drowned by moronic opinions of idiots. Why should you care about the opinion of a labour law expert when for each such expert ten thousand average Joe's and Jane's have touchy feely opinions that tell them something different.

The behavior in question seems to be some type of inflated ego syndrome, that people get so full of their own success that they feel petty stuff like following rules and being civil to one another is beneath them, that such things apply only to other people (which by the way includes their fan base). It is always sad to see how someone sympathetic get famous, then are starstruck by themselves, and shortly after enter a downward spiral and discover their dark side.

It is even sadder to watch the fan base. If the average fan turned away from this type of behavior and actually stopped watching a show for a period if the host has done something particularly offensive, that would send a clear message. Instead the shows probably get higher ratings because of the extra attention.

Comment: Obvious from just looking at your own network (Score 1) 112

by CptJeanLuc (#49263533) Attached to: Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies

Of course there are too many (useless or only marginally useful) scientific studies. Just look at the people who are working as scienctists that you know personally or that you otherwise vaguely know, how smart they are (everyone cannot be an Einstein) and your estimate of the quality of knowledge artifacts that they would produce, and what is the research they do, not just limited to your own field of schooling or expertise. And what do your friends and connection who are researchers have to say about the publish or perish regime, and whether they are happy about how they are able to go about their research. There is no need for some scientific study to tell us what most people who are not working as scientists ourselves - and thus have no need for convincing ourselves that the world of science is so fantastic and perfectly objective - can plainly see bright as day if we just open our eyes.

Comment: In a privatized correctional facility system ... (Score 1) 305

by CptJeanLuc (#49263131) Attached to: Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders

... it makes sense to receive money to teach inmates a skill which is very unlikely to result in employment opportunities, while preventing the inmate from spending the time on other and more productive training, thus effectively reducing the chances of employment, and increasing the chances of another stay and the chance to take a follow-on course in advanced programming.

Ok, so this is slightly cynical and based on not even reading the article, maybe there is something else going on here ... but after watching too many hours of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and similar, this is the most probable explanation that comes to mind.

Comment: Re:Not at all surprising (Score 1) 187

by CptJeanLuc (#49211567) Attached to: China's Arthur C. Clarke

The thing about sci-fi authors is they can live in the land of ideas and alternative worlds without being constrained by the realities of where we are today. There is plenty other sci-fi covering similar ideas without anyone branding it propaganda.

It is easy to talk about propaganda elsewhere, but seriously we are a bit brain-washed here in the West as well, thinking that our cold-hearted capitalist system with increasingly dumbed-down media and culture is so much better than everything else in every way possible.

Ok, I need to stop because I am about to go on a rant and blood pressure is increasing. Just look through a backlog of about a year or so of the Colbert Report, The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight, Real Time with Bill Maher, and probably some others I have not been monitoring - and yes these days you actually need to turn to comedy in order to get something which resembles critical investigative journalism and real unpolished news, the world once again needs a court jester. The list of examples of a broken system is quite overwhelming.

So let's not celebrate our broken system too much, and let's not be too quick about branding alternative ideas as propaganda.

Comment: Re:Sign Me Up (Score 2) 135

by CptJeanLuc (#49149499) Attached to: Adjusting To a Martian Day More Difficult Than Expected

I actually did this (though 2 hours not 40 mins) when studying for an exam. I had gotten myself into a really bad rhythm getting up around noon or so on a regular basis (this was during a period of only exams and no classes), and decided I should reset my biological clock before the exam. However I knew trying to get up early would fail, because I just loved sleeping in too much - even with a 3-alarm-clock system.

The exam was in 10 days, so I decided to just prolong my day to around 26 hours, which would land me perfectly on exam time - and this is what I did. It was a great experience, I was well rested each "cycle", and during the night it is easy to study with no distractions or interruptions. I had not told the other students living in the dorm about my project, and I remember the priceless look of surprise on one of them as he was getting out from his room at 7 AM in the morning wiping his eyes and coming into kitchen, and the first thing he saw was me taking a lasagne out of the oven (for dinner).

A Mars day with not even 25 hours? Bring it on ... the only thing better would be if we could find a 26-hour planet.

Comment: VR based on current technologies will not be real (Score 1) 71

OP is asking for "real", IMHO it cannot be done. In order to properly experience the forces on your body on a bicycle, you would have to follow the same trajectory as the real thing in a gravity field - or alternatively another experience which provides the same forces, simulating gravity. In order to do that, the simulator would basically have to be put inside a spaceship which simulates those forces. This is something we cannot do with current technology because a spaceship can only provide thrust for so long.

Then there are "VR glasses", which though I have never had the chance to try the latest models, I can say that the only 3D-like experience that technology based on two separate 2D images can provide the user, is one with a predefined focal depth which will not be perceived as true 3D by the brain, i.e. more like watching a 3D movie than being in the real thing. I don't foresee any mechanisms witih eye tracking which would simulate user controlled natural change of focus.

So "true VR" will only happen when we are somehow able to interface directly with the brain at a level that the experience is directly projected into our conscience, thus bypassing our sensory organs. Obviously we are nowhere near that type of technology and perhaps it is not even possible, so in answer to OP's question when do we get true VR, I would answer hard to say, probably not in our lifetime, and perhaps never.

Comment: Unfortunately, we no longer have real "journalism" (Score 1) 645

by CptJeanLuc (#49004499) Attached to: Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?

Well, there are a few niche news outlets which tries to focus on real news, but that is not what most people are following. Instead, we get whatever is going to make us buy, click or watch, and whatever is going to keep us buying, clicking or watching. You either get something very tabloid which has next to no news value, or you get something heavily politically laden which is basically a marketing machine for some political or corporate agenda - or a mixture of both.

Unfortunately, as "journalism" is gone and journalists love to sit on their high horses and play the pretend game that they are still journalists, there is noone to tell us about this trend in an honest way.

Of course, showing 22 minute videos of people burning has no journalistic value whatsoever. Probably 99.9% of people have enough imagination they know a 22-minute burning is a very bad thing, without having to actually watch it and be desensitized to watching snuff. A real journalist would leave it at mentioning the incident, and then talking about some important relevant stuff.

This is the problem with "newsotainment", the important stuff gets ignored and coverage has no proportion to the importance of the subject matter at hand. There is always the "personal angle" on anything, and whereas before you could get some relatively neutral coverage about e.g. a court case, these days it is all about how everyone in the process are "feeling", behaving and reacting. As the criminal behind some event which happens to get news coverage, you immediately become a focus of news attention, and their lawyers get lots of coverage about how the accused is "shocked", is "sad for the victims", etc. Everything is told as if there are two equal sides which sort of have 50/50 value, whereas in real life if there was a murder and there is already enough evidence that the accused fleeing from the scene with a bloody knife observed by 20 people, then why on earth do we need coverage about their perspective on the whole thing. Why? Because it is some kind of emotional porn/snuff/whatever, and in some ways similar to the burning incident though not as graphically horrible.

I wish we had real news. And in the absence of that, at least one would hope that newsotainment channels could show some self restraint.

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