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Comment: Re:So it is official. (Score 1) 168

by Dave Emami (#48592163) Attached to: Airbus Attacked By French Lawmaker For Talking To SpaceX

Uhhh, you realise that Ariane 5 has launched many many many missions successfully, and has a better reliability record than the US's launch vehicles, right?

SpaceX is in fact the untested upstart in this situation.

If that was Senator Gournac's objection -- "maybe it's cheaper but it's too risky" -- it would be entirely reasonable, assuming reality backed him up. But I'm assuming Airbus was considering SpaceX based on objective cost/benefit/risk considerations, and Gournac was effectively saying "Airbus should use Ariane because it's European, even if the cold hard facts say using SpaceX is the better option." And that's crap. Airbus should do what's best for Airbus and Airbus' stockholders.

And yes, if Boeing was considering launching a satellite using Ariane, and a US senator threw a fit, I'd say exactly the same thing.

Comment: Re: Yeah, right... (Score 1) 459

by Dave Emami (#48362749) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

As an example, a business or industry that recruits heavily through word-of-mouth recommendations is likely to end up with a systematic racism problem, because even though the individuals within the system may be well meaning and totally non-racist

Racism is a belief (note the ism). Whether or not it exists is based on what individuals think -- in the case of racism, thinking that the goodness/badness or other attributes of an individual are defined by their race. A system cannot hold a belief, therefore there can be no such thing as "systemic" racism. Bad results can be caused by racism, but they cannot themselves be racism. Otherwise, a meteor striking a mostly-black-populated neighborhood would be "racist."

To give a flips-side illustration, consider Don Sterling, owner of the LA Clippers team, who was in the news a while back when he made racist slurs. Despite there being no negative impact (there were lots of black players on the Clippers, earning lots of money), he was still a racist, because of his beliefs.

Comment: Re:Back in the USSR (Score 1) 430

by Dave Emami (#48309653) Attached to: Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out

Whatever its political and economic faults, at least the Soviet Union didn't try to enforce medieval Christian values on people.

Yes, they did. They just used different language, calling it "social deviationism" or such, instead of "sinful." What happend to Yevgeny Kharitonov is one example.

Comment: Re:Robot factories (Score 1) 331

by Dave Emami (#48283825) Attached to: Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

Yes, when a University closes a philosophy department, it is a problem. You say that like you don't think it is.

I agree that it would be a problem, but so would taking out a large loan to get a philosophy degree. It's a recursive major -- the only significant demand for a degree in it, is to teach it. I'm not saying that philosophy isn't something people should learn (they should), or that you can't get a non-teaching job with a philosophy degree (I know someone with such a degree who works in software), but you're not going to go through the job listings and see "philosophy degree" as a job requirement unless the title is "philosophy professor." If that's your dream, go for it -- but do so with eyes open, and have a backup plan.

Incidentally, back in my senior year of HS, when everyone was going over the university course catalogs and deciding on majors, the thing that drew people to a philosophy and similar majors was the low number of fixed-course units. That is, there were only 35-something units worth of courses that you had to take, out of 120 units or so to get a degree, whereas for a CS degree there were 90+ if memory serves. I heard a lot of variations on, "Wow, for 3/4 of the classes I can take whatever the hell I want!"

Comment: Re:Robot factories (Score 1) 331

by Dave Emami (#48283663) Attached to: Colleges Face New 'Gainful Employment' Regulations For Student Loans

So what you are saying is that the companies that employ burger flippers are SUPPOSED to pay below-market wages

There is no such thing as below (or above) market wages. What their skills can earn them in the market is their market wage, which varies with the particular combination of parties and circumstances. They may be earning below average, or below what they'd like to earn, but those are different things.

because someone else (parents) is SUPPOSED to SUBSIDIZE those companies by paying to house, feed, and clothe their employees?

The parents aren't subsidizing the companies, they're subsidizing their offspring. You're independent of your parents once your skill set is valuable enough -- said value determines by the marketplace -- to sustain you without their help, not once you reach a certain arbitrary age.

Comment: Re: Can we please cann these companies what they a (Score 1) 288

by Dave Emami (#47896685) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Almost all of law is based on the 'why'. If you kill someone, it starts to really matter 'why'. On purpose? By accident? For profit? All very different scenarios, and treated differently under the law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M...

Right - guilty mind. "Why" matters.

I did not say that "why" does not matter at all. I said that if you have the right to do X, you can do so for whatever reason you want. Killing someone is something you normally do not have the right to do, but the law makes exceptions under certain extraordinary circumstances. That is, motive can make something permissible that otherwise would be forbidden, but it cannot (per natural rights, not necessarily per the legal system) make something forbidden which is permissible. I have the right to drive people around in my car, or let them sleep in my house, or eat my food, etc. I can exercise those rights, or refrain from exercising them, for any reason I want, or for no reason at all. I do not have the right to shoot someone, or break into their house, or physically restrain them, but the law may decide that I am justified in doing so in rare situations.

Comment: Re: Can we please cann these companies what they a (Score 2) 288

by Dave Emami (#47895589) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

Money changed hands. Tax man needs his cut or something bad might happen to you.

Much as I detest taxation, that's a separate issue -- "you can do X but not in exchange for money" vs. "you can do X, but if you get money for it, we'll be taking some of that money." Though in the case of the IRS, they'll be looking to tax you even if money didn't change hands. If you drive your co-worker to work and he buys you coffee in thanks, the price of that coffee is income as far as the tax man is concerned.

Comment: Re: Can we please cann these companies what they a (Score 1) 288

by Dave Emami (#47895459) Attached to: California Declares Carpooling Via Ride-Share Services Illegal

When you do something for profit, your in business. Your legal liability changed. Your insurance needs changed.

And that's the wrong-headed doctrine that needs to be gotten rid of. If you have the right to do X, then you have the right to do X regardless of why you want to do X. When the law says otherwise, "then the law is an ass."

Comment: Meh (Score 2) 209

I prefer the Unix-based method from Vernor Vinge's A Deepness In the Sky. Everything is seconds based on the Unix epoch, with SI prefixes for longer periods -- ksecs (00:16:40), msecs (about 11.6 days), gsec (about 31.7 years), etc. With processing power as ubiquitous as it is, converting back and forth when planetary/celestial timing really matters is trivial. Most of our non-analog timing devices already work this way already, and those that don't (LED alarm clocks) are being phased out by devices that do work that way (smartphones). Granted this isn't any more likely to be used than the TCC, but at least it's cleaner.

Comment: Re:Not even much money (Score 1) 423

by Dave Emami (#46764021) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

This is complete and utter bullshit. I'm sick of people conflating basic human needs and monetary systems.

Who said anything about money? I said trade. If Ook the caveman gives Thagg the caveman some fish in exchange for a bearskin -- as opposed to clubbing Thagg over the head and taking the bearskin -- that's trade, just as making a lean-to out of branches is engineering, adding 2+2 is mathematics, and Ook and Thagg grunting at each other is communication. Everything else is just an increase in sophistication and scale. And when Chief Krunk starts deciding whether or not Ook and Thagg can exchange fish and bearskins, that's regulation, and (assuming they can't simply kill him) Krunk's goodwill is now valuable to Ook and Thagg. Krunk's probably going to be getting some "donations" of trout and furs.

Comment: Re:Not even much money (Score 1) 423

by Dave Emami (#46761231) Attached to: Intuit, Maker of Turbotax, Lobbies Against Simplified Tax Filings

True capitalism at work, everything is for sale, even the laws.

"When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators." -- P. J. O'Rourke.

When people consider something valuable, that thing will be traded. Potatoes, oil, heroin, sex, shiny rocks, senators, whatever. That's not merely capitalism, it's basic human nature, on which capitalism rests. And it is by far those who dislike capitalism who push the hardest to make politicians valuable.

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"

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