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Comment: NASA PR treated as fact (Score 1) 160

by DCFC (#49428731) Attached to: NASA's Chief Scientist Predicts Evidence For Life Beyond Earth By 2025

The 10 year horizon offers no step change in our space exploration to discover life.
We certainly won't visit the gas giant moons that seem promising within a decade, NASA can't send humans to Mars within a decade, SETI continues good but unrewarded work, we have no new physics to peer more closely at extrasolar planets and even if we did, NASA can't build *anything* new in less than a decade.

So you basically have to ask, "will today's tech with a slight upgrade do something basically different in the next decade ?"

Maybe, but probably not.

NASA exists only to distribute pork according to the demands of incumbent politicians.

What we have here is in no useful way different from the Disney Hype for the next Star Wars film.
Indeed I expect more surprises from SW7 than from NASA in the next decade, which is bloody sad.

Comment: Re:The man in the high castle (Score 1) 175

Wasn't making that comparison, indeed Hitler had much little personal for most of his time, even when the war started. Also of course he fought for country in WWI doing a very dangerous role, got decorated. Obama never served, GW Bush's daddy got him the job of defending Florida from North Vietnam, Clinton dodged the war altogether, Reagan never saw action, etc.

McCain did do serious military service, yet in free and fair elections the American people rejected him for President.

I mention this because of the sheer number of films where the US President is portrayed as a cross between a Captain America and Batman., Independence day, White House Down, Olympus Has Fallen, Air Force One et al.

Yet the reality is that US Presidents cower in corners.

Comment: The man in the high castle (Score 5, Funny) 175

As a loyal citizen o Her Britannic Majesty, I ind this whole thing hilarious.

You need a castle mate.
All this bollocks about fences "looking like a prison" is failure of imagination on a galactic scale.
For centuries people from less happy lands have crossed our silver sea to raise the hand of war against out kings and queens but their knavish tricks have been frustrated by our castles.

They are so aesthetically pleasing that millions of tourists flock to them, The Tower of London has no moat but would remain fast against any plausible attack. We use it to store the Crown Jewels.

If your Mr. Obama would care to contact Her Majesty then I'm sure she would supply the plans as a gift, I have her address if you need it.

Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Queen of Canada,Queen of Australia,Lord of Man,Overlord of Sark Defender of the Faith
Buckingham Palace

Comment: Britain is an alternative universe (Score 0) 199

by DCFC (#48980387) Attached to: British MPs Approve 3-Parent Babies

Imagine a world where conservatives saw a genetic treatment and passed legistlation to allow it.
Imagine a world where they listened politely to the faith groups, but listened more intently to doctors and sufferers from a horrible disease.
Imagine that the leader of the conservatives went to one of the top 10 universities on the planet because he was smart, not because his dad gave them money.

Imagine that the leader of said party had been required to understand the difference between backwards E and upside down A as part of his course which included Goedel's incompletness theorem.

Imagine (and I'm getting silly now) that the leader of this conservative party pledged that under his leadership spending on socialised medicine would increase in real terms. Imagine further that his own children used the sociliased medial system.

Then on this planet, the leader of the conservatives pushed through laws in the teeth of faith group opposition to allow gay people to get married, because he believes in marriage and has a firm conviction that its benefits should be open to all.

Imagine a political leader who will leave officer *poorer* than when he started ?

This strange planet is called "Britain", David Cameron is the leader of the *Conservative* party.

Comment: The senator is right (Score 3, Insightful) 413

by DCFC (#48478549) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

He does politics for a living and has succeeded in a competitive domain, we should listen.

The issue is that Gerrymandered seats are safer, the elected official *is* communicating with voters, but the electorate he must worry most about is his own party in the primaries.

If you have a seat that is safe for one party then you get elected by activists of that party, not voters in general which leads to people getting elected from both parties who would never win on their own merits if they had to "communicate" with a more representative portion of the electorate.

They don't get re-elected by doing a good job, they get it by convincing activist members of their own party that they "represented our values".

They don't get fired by screwing up, but because some faction of their own party, be it unions, Tea party, some religious or ethnic group don't like them or because they sleep with someone that causes a fuss.

So the surprise is not that elected official are less than the best, the surprise is that they know such advanced maths as "some numbers are bigger than others" and that grasp foreign politics well enough to know that the Queen of England isn't a New York bar.

Comment: It's a stupid test (Score 5, Interesting) 642

by DCFC (#48402233) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

Imagine that we believe that "two women talking about something other than men" was a good test, we'd therefore lose:

Colonel Samantha Carter, PhD Physicist, intergalactic heroine, smarter than God. Can program, fly fighter jets & alien spaceships, shoot and do things that they don't bother to explain because they are simply beyond us poor males to understand. So that's Stargate gone.

Lt Uhura: Dr Martin Luther King who *some people* see as quite into rights loudly praised her character, but I can't recall her talking to women much, except maybe some of the aliens might have been female, so that's Star Trek gone.

ST in it's various forms look remarkably feminist (usually) women commanded warships in ST long before the US Navy let them, they are engineers, scientists, doctors and of course inexplicable nexus of unknown forces.

Ripley from Alien, Aliens, Alien3, Return of the Alien, The Alien strikes back, Alien Resuscitation. Smart, hard, no bimbo, the Aliens are apparently female, she kills them, conversation with them is rare. The men are a) weak, b) stupid, c) dishonest, d) weak, stupid and dishonest

X-Files : Scully is smart and hardly ever talks to women.

Agents of SHIELD: Loads of women programming, analysing and occasionally shooting at people. The inter-female dialog is rare.

Babylon 5: Strong women, being heads of security, scientists, highly cultured aliens.

Torchwood : Strong female lead, again almost no inter-female dialog.

Under the Dome : The main character is a strong woman, all the weak bad people are men

Terminator 1,2,3, Sarah Connor : Oh look ! what a surprise a strong woman in a world of defective men

I've not yet seen Interstellar, but let me guess, the women in it are smart and honest and whoever is screwing things up is a man ?

I can't be the only person who's noticed that in many SciFi and action films a dumb American male is accompanied by a highly educated woman who actually understands what is going on, whilst he shoots at it.

+ - Dr.Who to teach kids to code ->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The BBC is releasing a game to help ten 8-11 year olds get into coding. Based on Dr.Who, it alternates between standard platform game and programming puzzles that introduce the ideas of sequence, loops, if..then, variables and a touch of event driven programming...and you get to program a Dalek to make him more powerful, apparently the BBC thinks upgrading psychopathic racist death machines is a good idea."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Where is version 2 and 3 ? (Score 3, Interesting) 205

by DCFC (#43636595) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: How Do You Sell an Algorithm To Venture Capitalists?

If you can explain it in ways they can understand then its probably not worth much and if you do explain it they can share it with others.
You're really lucky you have an algo where they can see the effect, leave it like that.

They want a cash flow over time, which means:

1: Patent protection

2: A version 2,3,4,5, read up on Dolby Studios, they started decades ago doing the same thing but for hissy audio tape, still going N versions later on totally different media.

3: Get the word "mobile" in this. VCs are obsessed with mobile currently, I assume this will make phone pictures better ?

4: They want an exit strategy, is this going to be sold to join people's patent armouries or a firm they can float ?

5. Have you talked to Google, this sound like just what they might want for YouTube and to stop others getting it.


+ - Saving the Quantum Owl at the Ryoal Institution->

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "The Royal Institution home to the famed Christmas lectures and leads science outreach in the UK has financial problems, if it dies no longer will ordinary geeks be able to quiz serious physicists and Terry Pratchett about quantum owls, no more kids building ad-hoc anti-matter detectors in Faraday's old lecture theatre and it is all your fault.

You haven't joined the Ri and if you don't the building will be turned into apartments for Russian oligarchs."

Link to Original Source

Comment: People want better ads. (Score 3, Insightful) 978

by DCFC (#43130019) Attached to: Game Site Wonders 'What Next?' When 50% of Users Block Ads

Readers block your ads because they are crap.

Your advertisers only want to reach people that are useful to them.
Cross the two.
Facebook et al try to steal personal data, why not negotiate with users ?
Treat them like adults, say “you are going to get one ad per 5 page views, so why not tell us what sort of ad you want ?”. I care about storage, you probably don’t, so why not honestly ask the readers ? You’d have a higher quality product to sell and readers would be bugged less.

Also, make a virtue about only having non-irritating ads and be honest that having the ad pays for the content, so that people ad your site to their exception list.

The thing I hate about most ads is that their server slows down your page load, that's fixable, and would cause a lot less use of blockers.

+ - S&P webiste "accidentally" downgrades Goldman -> 1

Submitted by DCFC
DCFC (933633) writes "For the second time in as many months the ratings agency Standard and Poors has put up a press release on its website that "accidentally" downgraded a major borrower.
Last month it was France, this month is was Goldman Sachs, whose shares were hit for about $460 million.

They again blame "technical issues" but as any Slashdotter knows this sort of thing isn't a typo or a fat finger if you're running a major site."

Link to Original Source

+ - Namecheap Opposes SOPA->

Submitted by
sfcrazy writes "Namecheap, one of the top domain registrars, has come out opposing SOPA, the dangerous bill aimed to destroy the Internet by Hollywood. Namecheap CEO, Richard Kirkendall, has released an encouraging statement "While we at Namecheap firmly believe in intellectual rights, SOPA is like detonating a nuclear bomb on the internet when only a surgical strike is necessary. This legislation has the potential to harm the way everyone uses the Internet and to undermine the system itself. At Namecheap, we believe having a free and open Internet is the only option that will continue the legacy of innovation and openess that stands for everything we all value in our modern society.""
Link to Original Source

+ - EFF reverse engineers Carrier IQ config->

Submitted by
MrSeb writes "At this point we have a fairly good idea of what Carrier IQ is, and which manufacturers and carriers see fit to install it on their phones, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation — the preeminent protector of your digital rights — has taken it one step further and reverse engineered some of the program’s code to work out what’s actually going on. There are three parts to a Carrier IQ installation on your phone: The program itself, which captures your keystrokes and other “metrics”; a configuration file, which varies from handset to handset and carrier to carrier; and a database that stores your actions until it can be transmitted to the carrier. It turns out that that the config profiles are completely unencrypted, and thus very easy to crack."
Link to Original Source

"I am, therefore I am." -- Akira