Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Every Dog's Day (Score 1) 91

by Fire_Wraith (#49516473) Attached to: Netflix Is Betting On Exclusive Programming
The solution is that standard terrestrial cable TV should get replaced by channels and services over the internet. You're starting to see this now, not just in Netflix, but with HBO Go, and others that are likely to follow. There's no quality advantage anymore, nor any particular reason to prefer using the old broadcast model to on demand streaming - no reason for the customer, that is.

Comment: Population Control is Unnecessary (Score 1) 379

by Fire_Wraith (#49515927) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars
Draconian/dystopian controls are completely unnecessary. Population explosion projections fall prey to the xkcd rule on extrapolation - they don't properly account for the impact that modern technology/medicine/family planning options have.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say our problem isn't going to be having too many babies, it's going to be having enough of them.

Several advanced nations have already fallen well below replacement level (i.e., roughly 2 births per female). The USA is even one of those nations at 1.88 births per woman as of 2012. Some places are even worse, like South Korea at 1.3, a rate at which if it continues, the South Korean population would be gone by 2700 or so (though of course, see previous statement on extrapolation). It's true for pretty much every sufficiently advanced nation. The USA and many of these countries have started replacing their population via immigration (which is why the US population is still growing despite the slowing birth rate), but that's only going to work for so long...

Because it's spreading. In 1970, Mexico's birth rate was 6.72 per female. In 2012, it had fallen to 2.22. What about India? 5.49 in 1970, 2.50 in 2012. Yes, it's still pretty high in some of the most undeveloped nations, but that will change, not because governments enforce it, but because on the whole people want it.

Comment: Re:Hold it (Score 2) 379

by Fire_Wraith (#49514691) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars
Everyone who was technically astute and aware, on sites such as this, raised concerns of this very nature. While I don't have the reference at the tip of my finger, I feel that I can state with some certainty that this very possibility was raised, by explaining how applying the DMCA to cars would prevent you from modifying, repairing, or otherwise working on your car, or even taking it to a third party mechanic. (After all, since when has Slashdot been able to resist a car analogy?)

No, the people that "didn't realize this" are the politicians and proponents of the DMCA and other horrible laws like it, and the others who bought the line of BS being fed to them by those proponents - the people who dismissed such objections as the being "outlandish," "preposterous," or similarly unrealistic. We tried to tell them, and they ignored us.

Comment: Re:Idiotic (Score 1) 554

And how much do you think it costs us right now to keep someone on death row while all the various appeals processes are carried out? I've read sources that cite the figure for executing someone is actually higher. Now, obviously those may be partisan figures, and the cost is certainly going to vary from case to case, but it's certainly arguable at present.

Now, I suppose you could propose curtailing appeals and hurrying on to the imposition of the death sentence - but are we really comfortable with that given all the instances where the Justice system has clearly failed, and sometimes spectacularly? It doesn't seem like a week goes by before we hear of another story of some egregious action on the part of law enforcement. This past week was the news that the FBI had been presenting hair sample analysis overstated the evidence in 95% of the trials that had been reviewed, which included 32 death penalty cases.

Comment: Barren Class M Planets? (Score 3, Interesting) 56

by Fire_Wraith (#49505971) Attached to: If Earth Never Had Life, Continents Would Be Smaller
I wonder what implications this has for alien worlds that somehow ended up vaguely earthlike, with lots of liquid water, yet never developed life despite being generally hospitable. Offhand I think it's certainly possible that such worlds exist, but this would seem to indicate that they'd more likely be predominantly oceanic, with only small continents or isolated archipelagos for land mass.

Comment: Re:workshop (Score 1) 208

While it's certainly possible to use Steam and never, ever spend any money in theory, in practice I don't think the sort of person who buys a retail game that's Steam activated but never buys anything on Steam, ever, is generally going to be the sort of person who finds themselves limited by these restrictions.

What I suspect is much more common is that the retail game introduces them to Steam, and along the way they start purchasing games, probably in the various Steam Sales.

This is all about understanding the profiles of different users, and setting it up so that you don't impact 99.n+% of legitimate users, but significantly impact bots/scams/etc.

Comment: Re:Compensation delays? Hardly. (Score 1) 66

by Fire_Wraith (#49505355) Attached to: US Military To Recruit Civilian Cybersecurity Experts
The Government, and the Military as a whole, has several problems when it comes to hiring and retaining talented network/IT/etc security people. Much of that is endemic to it being the government and military, as others have noted, and I won't belabor those (valid) points.

What this seems to be largely about though is restructuring their internal codes. Pretty much every job in the military or government, civilian or otherwise, has a particular job code and career field, from park ranger to law enforcement to, yes, Special Forces (which is 18 series for the Army). When they talk about "Cyber Branch 17" that's what they mean, it's the designation for that series of military occupational specialties (MOS), just like 11 is infantry, 12 is combat engineer, etc.

Now, on the civilian side, one of the problems the government in general has had is that they don't/didn't have a career field for "Cyber." Everyone that I met was being shoehorned in either as an Intelligence billet or as a general IT billet, neither of which apply quite correctly, as IT Security has focuses and training that would not apply to the majority of the jobs previously classified as those fields, at least in the sense that the Government does. Someone might have 10+ years of experience as either, but know absolutely nothing about advanced IT security.

Comment: Re:Just staggering... (Score 4, Interesting) 192

It should also be pointed out that at the time they were conducting the Able/Baker tests, they didn't realize just how nasty the effects of nuclear weapons against warships is. The military scheduled three tests as part of Operation Crossroads - Able, Baker, and Charlie, held at Bikini Atoll. It was considered important to know how effective nukes would be against ships, and what sort of defenses could be employed, how long they could survive, etc. Various animals were used in place of crew members at different points around the ships, with radiation measuring devices.

Able was an air burst, and for the most part the ships survived, partly because it missed its target, the Battleship Nevada, though it was judged based on the data that the Nevada would have been a floating coffin from the radiation. So the ships got hosed down and the second test, Baker, was conducted, with a nuke detonated some 90 feet below the water, which not only sunk multiple ships, but sprayed the radioactive byproducts pretty much everywhere, and it got into everything on all the ships, to the point that they had to cancel the third test because it was judged impossible to clean them up at that point.

So in short, they intended to clean up the surviving ships and recycle them, but the nature of the test served to make that impossible.

Comment: Re:Smaller Is Better (Score 1) 99

by Fire_Wraith (#49480471) Attached to: US Navy Researchers Get Drones To Swarm On Target
The question becomes how maneuverable one is, versus the other, as well as the question of speed.

In fact, let's we have a rocket powered drone, that has its own guidance systems, and an explosive charge, that is trying to hit the jet, or come reasonably close to it and explode that charge, in order to destroy the jet. ...and now let me point out that these "Drones" have been in regular use by armies worldwide for over fifty years. They're called guided Surface to Air Missiles.

Comment: Re:We lucked out (Score 4, Insightful) 118

by Fire_Wraith (#49479897) Attached to: Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'
Correct me if I'm wrong, but what took Thompson down was not online harrassment, twitter trolling, or IRL threats of violence/rape/etc - it was clear-headed dissection of his poor arguments and the legal sanctions against his own atrocious behavior. In short, he was given enough rope to show himself up as the idiotic demagogue he is/was. Twitter trolling, sending pizzas to his house, and other Anon-style pranks may have made people feel better, but they probably had no positive impact in the court of public opinion. At the very least, that sort of behavior wasn't going to convince anyone that didn't already hate him.

On the other hand, what about Anita Sarkeesian? Can we really say she's been responded to in any sort of rational way? No, what the public sees is a bunch of juvenile attempts to shout down a critic. We're not even talking about how inappropriate rape or death threats are, we're talking about how counterproductive it is to let the conversation change over to that, rather than pointing out how she's wrong, her criticisms are overblown and uninformed, etc. Hell, I would never have even heard of her if it wasn't for the threats and harassment, because THAT'S the story the media keyed in on.

That's why her accusations stuck, not because anyone was evaluating them on any merits, but because a bunch of trolls turned it into a conversation about her being attacked, which caused people to take her side. I'm sure it helped that she was in the role of "feminist critic under attack" rather than "overly litigious lawyer" and thus much more sympathetic in nature, but the ultimate point is that the Gamergate trolls' behavior isn't just objectionable on its own merits, it's also proved rather counterproductive.

"I've seen it. It's rubbish." -- Marvin the Paranoid Android