Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Why Would Advanced Civilizations Emit Anything? (Score 1) 365

I consider any of these types of studies to have faulty logic.

Humans have only been creating electromagnetic signals for about a century. None of them make it to Alpha Centauri, four light-years away. There isn't a radio transmitter with the power.

Furthermore, as we enter an age in which we live largely in virtual worlds of our own design, strong radio emissions (radio, TV) are decreasing. Sure, there's plenty of wifi, but we all know that signal won't make it more than a couple of blocks, let alone four light-years.

Perhaps it's that I'm in the field, but it seems to me that we're ultimately headed for a world in which human consciousnesses are housed in something we would not today recognize as a machine.

If other civilizations followed our same path (i.e. trapped by the speed of light within our own solar system), then their radio emissions would never be detected. They'd also be fairly short-lived -- a couple of centuries at best.

Once you're a "download" (for lack of a better word) and living your life entirely in virtual worlds that only interface with the real world for power and maintenance, why would you broadcast anything?

In short: these types of approaches assume that civilizations emit greater energy and detectable emissions the older the civilization is. I suspect the reverse is true: the older the civilization, the less it emits.

Comment Re:LibreOrifice - GAY NIGGERS Endorse LibreOrifice (Score 1) 254

What the frak is this?

Ok, I recognize the GNAA trolling group, but the rest ...

Anonymous Coward, please, in the name of Ghu's Holy Purple Robes, learn two basic things:

  1. Learn to use paragraphs.
  2. Learn grammar. Any grammar. I'd take French grammar, if you know it

Oh, and one other suggestion:

Seek psychological help. Now.

Comment Re:Yeerks (Score 1) 167

Lawmakers at the Federal level have not upheld their Oaths of Office for over a century. That includes every President, Senator, and Congressman in my lifetime -- Rand and Ron Paul excluded.

The Constitution is a joke no longer worth the parchment on which it's written. It ceased to be of any relevance a century ago. It's a figurehead, like the Queen of England.

There is no point in discussing Constitutonality. The Constitution is wholly and utterly irrelevant.

We live in a growing Police State. There is absolutely nothing that can be done about it. Nothing.

The only thing left to us now is simply react to the tyranny and protect ourselves as much as possible,

Get used to bending your knee. The United States as conceived is gone and will never return.

Comment Re:Real Science Is No Longer In the Academic Lab (Score 1) 444

But the kind of science you want is also not occurring in academic labs. It will never again occur in academic labs, because academics has been undermined by the multiple generations of decreasingly literate students.

For details of the long-term problem, see The Happy Days Ahead by Robert A. Heinlein.

(One thing to keep in mind about Heinlein: he was a compulsive newspaper-clipper. That is to say that he would clip newspaper articles about a subject and file them away. By the time he wrote The Happy Days Ahead, he had about 50 years' newspaper clippings on the subject. He could cite long-term trends in education, with the decades of clippings to back it up.)

Comment Re:Real Science Is No Longer In the Academic Lab (Score 2) 444

No, they were illiterate in the truest sense of the word.

I had students who were unaware that books have page numbers. That's how frequently they cracked a book during twelve years of compulsory education:

I.e., never.

They couldn't read the textbooks. They couldn't read my PowerPoint presentations. They were incapable of following lab manuals -- a complete killer if you're in a systems or network administration class. They detested typing and would not accept my assertion that it's a key skill, one that they'll use continuously in the field.

No, sadly, they are simply illiterate,

Comment Real Science Is No Longer In the Academic Lab (Score 0) 444

Real science -- the kind that actually advances human progress -- is no longer occurring in academic laboratories. Rather, it's occurring within companies like Cisco, Google, Apple, even occasionally Microsoft.

Real science make extensive use of the quantuum tunnelling effect, for example. Real science has changed everything about the way we live. Indeed, it's changed it several times during my life (I'm 50).

Science coming out of universities is at best marginal. That coming out of government institutions doesn't even follow the Scientific Method.

"Science" is doing just fine. It's academic institutions that are completely broken.

I say this, by the way, after three years' teaching at a technical college. Most of our incoming students were outright illiterate. They could neither read nor write nor perform the most basic math.

(Want the true definition of "futile"? Try teaching binary mathematics and logic to students that can barely count to ten using their fingers.)

We have raised an entire generation of illiterate ignorami. Small wonder that this bleeds into academic science.

Submission + - We're Living In The Golden Age Of Star Trek Webseries Right Now

DakotaSmith writes: "We're Living In The Golden Age Of Star Trek Webseries Right Now"

If you're a true geek, you already know about Star Trek Continues and Star Trek: Phase II .

(If you're a true geek and you don't know, run — do not walk run — to watch "Lolani". Your brain and — and more importantly, your heart — will love you for the rest of your life.)

But there's more to it than that. A lot more.

How about the years'-long wait for Act IV of Starship Exeter : "The Tressaurian Intersection"?

Or Yorktown: "A Time to Heal" — an attempt to resurrect an aborted fan film from 1978 starring George Takei?

For fans of old-school Star Trek (the ones who pre-date "Trekker" and wear "Trekkie" as a badge of honor) only since 1969 has there been a better time to watch Star Trek: The Original Series.

(Oh, and there's plenty content out there for you "Trekkers" and NextGen-era fans. It all varies in quality, but it doesn't take much effort to find them. This is truly a Golden Age. It'll have a place in the history books, alongside the Golden Age of Hollywood and the Golden Age of Television. Recognize it and enjoy it while it lasts.)

Comment Re:Interesting, Given Age (Score 1) 292

I wish I had your options. Unfortunately, I got divorced too late in life to ever recover financially. I became above-water on all my bills last month -- the first time since my 2004 divorce.

I have no property beyond some furniture and books. I will never again own a home. I drive a 2001 POS and will never own another new car. I had to liquidate my retirement accounts years ago to keep above water on my child support.

I have nothing and I never will again.

(I'm not complaining, BTW. I'm not unique. I've just described a little under 50% of the men of my generation.)

Unfortunately, retiring isn't an option for me. I assume I'll wind up a greeter at Wal-Mart in a few years. After that, well, my family owns some South Dakota ranchland of which I'm fond. When I can no longer physically even be a greeter, I'll go there to die.

Wish I had your resources. Short of that, I'm chomping at the bit for the Singularity, so I can upload my consciousness and leave this insanity behind. ;)

Comment Re:Interesting, Given Age (Score 0) 292

I taught at a technical college for three years. That's not a good option.

The unfortunate fact is that the majority of today's US High School grads is that they're illiterate. I don't mean functionally illiterate, I mean absolutely, hands-down illiterate. They could neither read nor write nor perform the most basic math.

Try teaching binary logic and arithmetic to people who can't count to ten using both hands.

No fooling, no exaggeration: it's just that bad.

Consequently, you're faced with a choice: grade honestly and flunk damned near everyone; or falsify your grades.

The former choice causes unemployment. The latter choice inflicts incompetents on the field.

I graded honestly -- and lost my job.

Oh, and teaching positions pay horribly. It was very bad for my morale to walk into the nearby convenience store and see them advertising managers making about what I was as an instructor.

Comment Interesting, Given Age (Score 5, Interesting) 292

This is fascinating to me, inasmuch as I just hit a landmark birthday (the Big Five-Oh). Theoretically, I've got all the accumulated talent that one would be looking for in my field.

However, the reality is that the industry likes youth. I'm one of the oldest people at the company where I work, and absolutely the oldest sysadmin.

It was also extremely difficult finding this job. I had to be clear that I'm very negotiable on salary, and in fact I took less than I've earned in 20 years.

But it was the only job for someone my age.

Where do old geeks go? We can't all go into management -- I know I lack the temperament for it. Many of us do.

So where are all the people who theoretically could meet the exacting standards of experience that some employers require?

Honestly: where do they go? Where are all the people I started out with in my 20s? They're not at any company I've worked for in the last ten years.

Comment Shenanigans! (Score 0) 459

I call shenanigans.

I just left teaching IT at the collegiate level (a trade school). There are two issues:

  1. Not many black students enter IT programs. Don't ask me why. I have theories, but to voice them might open me to charges of racism. Suffice to say that I heard a black commentator recently bemoan how some black people denigrate other black people who try to better themselves. They call it "acting white."

    IT is bettering yourself. It's "acting white."

  2. The vast majority of High School graduates are now outright illiterate. They cannot read nor write nor perform the most basic math.

    Want real fun? Try teaching binary logic and arithmetic to students who can count to ten if they remember to include both their thumbs.

    I had students that were unaware that books had page numbers. Consider the implications of that, for a moment.

We have raised an entire generation of illiterate ignorami. Small wonder that this might include black people, who tend to be hurt even worse than whites in situations like this.

We have raised an entire generation of illiterate ignorami.

Your good nature will bring you unbounded happiness.