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Comment: We didn't need this space station, either! (Score 1) 88

by Dr. Spork (#49363017) Attached to: Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station
The ISS was a huge waste of NASA money, costing as much as all of NASA's "space exploration activities" combined (source:). This prevented, killed and neutered many missions that would have produced genuine science. It was simply a mistake. So hooray, let's make a bigger one!

Comment: Re:Need the ISS (Score 1) 88

by Dr. Spork (#49362979) Attached to: Russia Wants To Work With NASA On a New Space Station
Do you really think there are going to be humans in LEO turning bolts with hand-held wrenches, and that's how the Mars ship will be built? Did you not notice that even in the safety of Earth's factories, humans aren't really doing that kind of stuff anymore? By the time we get around to building a Mars ship, I doubt our automated manufacturing machines will be worse than now, and unlike humans, these machines can actually be designed to perform optimally in space.

Comment: Re:Isn't Government wonderful? (Score 1) 137

It may be a private company, large portions of UK (and US I believe) functions are performed by private contractors and have been since the 1980s.

That said, even if it isn't, this experience is something most of us have suffered over the last 15 years from public and private entities. Most have ended up capitulating under pressure to knock it off with the "IE6 only" BS, in part because Microsoft (yes, Microsoft!) forced the issue with IE7 and its follow-ons, itself in part because too many people liked Firefox for Microsoft's comfort.

It shouldn't surprise anyone there's still "IE only" crap out there. Especially amongst organizations that are (1) large, and (2) constantly cutting their budgets and having to apply "defered maintenance" to everything they do to stop going under.

And those budget cuts are, for the most part, the fault of the same people who insist governments are always incompetent.

Comment: Parent Post Semantic Content: Null (Score 5, Insightful) 253

by FreeUser (#49354007) Attached to: How Professional Russian Trolls Operate

It's only those damn Russians are doing this, all other countries are saint.

Yeah, because that makes it all OK then.

Your comment is designed to distract from the issue at hand, shut down intelligent conversation on the topic, and imply the wrongdoer is just fine because, by implication, "everybody else does it, too" (no evidence to said implication provided, certainly not proven, and probably not true), all without contributing a single creative or new thought to the discussion at all.

Nice job, (Russian?) troll.

Comment: Re:Reminds me of one thing (Score 1) 727

by IamTheRealMike (#49352757) Attached to: Germanwings Plane Crash Was No Accident

Because then everyone dies when the computer fails. Autopilots regularly fail and expect the pilot to take over

I think this depends on your definition of "fail". As far as I know true computer failures where the machine just goes crazy and tries to crash the plane are non-existent. What happens more regularly is the autopilot sees that something weird is happening and chooses to disengage itself - presumably an autopilot program could be written that never disengages and always does the best it can to fly the plane, unless deliberately disengaged.

This is particularly problematic when sensors fail, as they did in AF447, and the computer doesn't know what's going on any more.

No, this is irrelevant. If the planes sensors completely fail then the pilot doesn't know what's going on either, and the plane is probably doomed no matter what. In normal operation these planes are flying in a very small speed corridor between disintegration and stalling. If you don't know how fast your going a stall or overspeed is pretty much inevitable, and if you don't know how high you are even basic visibility problems can cause a crash into the surface. Neither human nor computer can succeed in such a situation.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 1) 83

I think of all the times anyone has tried to explain it to me, this is the one that clicked. If I'm understanding correctly, they're (electrons, photons, et al) not really either a "particle", as I think of it (like you say, teeny tiny baseballs with well defined boundaries and positions), or a "wave", but entirely different animals that happen to have some, not even all, of the features of both.

Thanks (assuming I didn't misunderstand!)

Comment: Re: Linux? OS X? Chrome OS? Nope. OpenBSD! (Score 1) 167

by FreeUser (#49349361) Attached to: NJ School District Hit With Ransomware-For-Bitcoins Scheme

Until systemd is removed from a major Linux distro, I would consider that distro to be less secure than even a Windows system.

Some Poettering apologist will probably mark you as a troll, but for completeness there are a number of distros that default to non-systemd init architectures, including but not limited to

Calculate, Gentoo, Funtoo, Source Mage, Dyson, indeed all kinds of distros either default or support running a systemd-free system.

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 481

by squiggleslash (#49336325) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

No, it's completely understandable and shouldn't even be thought of as strange to seasoned programmers.

The critical issue is there's a difference between calling an I/O function like write, and actually manipulating the IDE control lines on a hard disk. Typically for the former, the operating system is sitting there buffering things up in a relatively simple, uncomplex, way - ie it has some memory allocated, a pointer, and when you call the function all it does is copy the bytes to the memory and increment the pointer as needed. Once either enough time has passed, a critical function has been called, or enough data has been written, the OS then starts manipulating the IDE control lines to write the data.

Now, the comparison becomes "the OS's buffer handling" vs "Your language of choice's string handling and garbage collection algorithms." For C, chances are you're as good as the OS as C's string handling is extremely uncomplicated and bare metal. For almost anything else - such as Python and Java, both tested in this scenario - you're likely to end up with the OS handling some situations more quickly than your language would.

Does it make sense now? It should. There are very few programmers this should surprise. Unfortunately, I know quote a few that will be...

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 4, Interesting) 83

You think you have problems? I'm still trying to get my head around "It's both a particle... AND a wave!". How the f--- does that work? It doesn't even make any sense! It's insane! Wave things are not particles, and particle things are not waves!

(Note: yes, I know, it's true, I've seen the double slit experiment et al, I'm not doubting the science, I'm just saying my brain is too small to understand it. So put me in a position where I have to understand that something is in every state possible until observed, and... well, the worst part is I can visualize it, but only in a way I know deep down is wrong...)

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 332

As you say it was stable under the Ottoman empire, because they took over and kept it, America needs to do the same thing. The US, Canada, Australia, NZ were all British colonies, but the difference is the white people never left, so they remain beacons of progress. Hate to sound all racist here, but there is a strong correlation between those and African, Middle Eastern states that were given back.

I think you should probably read a good history of the British empire, followed by 20th century history, before posting nonsense like this.

The causes of problems in the middle east have a lot to do with the long term history of the "beacons of progress" fucking with the region. Specifically when the Ottoman Empire collapsed the colonialists divided the region up along entirely arbitrary borders that often drew straight lines right through native tribes and populations, then appointed flunkies to rule these new countries. There was zero attempt to make something that worked for the people who lived there. This caused serious long term resentment.

Have you ever watched the ISIS video of them blowing up border posts? The ISIS soldiers keep talking about the end of Sykes-Picot. Even though I actually have read a history of the British Empire, I still had to look that one up. It turns out to be the British-French treaty that created the borders of Iraq. Families in different villages were suddenly divided from each other, etc. The people who live there apparently still hate Sykes-Picot to this day.

Plus, when countries in the region got leaders the western powers didn't like, there were interventions (e.g. Iran). There were invasions. Not to mention the gaping wound that is Israel and the absolutist support for it from the US.

There hasn't ever really been a time when more powerful militaries weren't fucking with people who live in the middle east. Religion certainly plays a part, but the USA is a lot more religious than other western developed countries and it doesn't seem to hurt them much ....

Comment: Re:Your government at work (Score 2) 332

You are an idiot. The entire purpose of drone strikes is to carry out very targeted killings.

.... of civilians. You know, when the US says it killed "militants" what it means is "any adult male in the strike zone". This has been verified beyond doubt now, they openly admit it. Often they have no idea who they are killing as the drone strikes are targeted based on e.g. NSA tracking of a mobile phone. Whoever holds the phone at the time gets whacked. This is how they end up drone striking weddings and the like.

If we didn't care about collateral damage and didn't mind indiscriminately killing people, expensive drones would not be necessary.

Obviously you care about collateral damage, not because the USA is such a bunch of caring hippies but because the purpose of drone strikes is to exercise power. You cannot exercise power over dead people. You have to instead kill anyone who does something against your will, or is suspected of doing so, or just someone who got in the way to serve as a lesson to others. If you see the purpose of drone strikes as minimising casualties in a conventional war then you don't understand what drone strikes are for or why the USA uses them. Their purpose is power.

Comment: Re:Fuck those guys (Score 2) 569

And there it is! That European smugness. I didn't expect to see it in this thread but I can't say I'm not surprised. Tells us again, for the millionth time, how your shit doesn't stink....

Yes, there are a lot of smug sounding Europeans posting on Slashdot when stories about the US doing something dumb crops up.

However, today is not one of those days. The OP talked about "other countries". The USA is practically alone in having a problem such as "swatting". It's not just Europe that lacks this issue - it's Australia, Canada, China, Russia, India ...

SWATing seems like a natural consequence of a heavily militarised society that worships soldiers and has decided it makes sense for everyone to be heavily armed all the time. If the rest of the world didn't point out that decisions have consequences, you guys might think it was normal.

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