Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:How (Score 1) 208

An apples to oranges comparison. Girls, like all children are forced to go to class, thus they naturally adapt (in this case they do so better than males), but choosing to join a club is an entirely different matter and takes into consideration far more than just the subject matter, namely personal enjoyment.

When you decide to engage in extra curricular activities ( what my original statement was referring to not the AP course ) you take into account all factors that affect your enjoyment including the prospect of being awkwardly hit on for being one of the only girls in the group. There is quite a bit of psychology around group dynamics involving a gender imbalance, and it rarely turns out well. Such pressures can be the tipping point that forces anyone out of an extracurricular program, not just women.

Imagine if you will, a scenario where you are given an opportunity to learn about a subject you truly love from one of the best experts in the field, but you would have to take the class with 10 of the most far right nut wingers imaginable. A classroom filled with Rush Limbaughs. Some would have the mental will power to ignore it and get some good out of the class and others will say hell no.

Granted that is an extreme example, but for a middle school or high school child who are not the most stable people to begin with they may choose to join their friend's clubs regardless of what they may truly enjoy and in the process find something different from STEM.

Comment: How (Score 1) 208

I can imagine the kinds of comments that are coming, but I have to say that I approve of these women targeted programs because I believe they do create an environment that encourages more participation. Most people feel comfortable around similar people especially at younger ages, and telling a girl that she will be in a class with other girls as apposed to a class filled with men could be the difference in her decision making.

Put another way, if a nerd was told they would be working with other nerds they would feel more comfortable trying to work in that environment because common background and common interests fuel conversation. Hopefully these women targeted programs will help some talented women on the fence to take the plunge.

Comment: Re:Seems unintuative (Score 2) 174

by Forgefather (#48616415) Attached to: Researchers Accidentally Discover How To Turn Off Skin Aging Gene

I think you may be misunderstanding. The summary says that it is the engineered mice that could resist the sunlight while the normal mice became prunes. In this case the cream (more likely a shot) would be what allows you to stay out in the sun without using sunscreen at all.

Comment: Re:Magic Pill - Self Discipline (Score 1) 153

by Forgefather (#48580959) Attached to: "Fat-Burning Pill" Inches Closer To Reality

In diabetes there is a new medication that I underwent clinical trials for that takes advantage of a certain trait of the body to dispose of sugars before the levels become too high. You see when the body becomes saturated with glucose the body takes it on itself to urinate out the excess sugars. Typically this threshold is at the 190+ level (where 140 is a normal maximum). Long story short the medication was a pill that lowered the threshold to the healthy 140 level so that even if you body took in all of that sugar it would dispose of the excess before reaching unhealthy levels.

In regards to the amount of food that we intake we don't convert all of that food into energy. Plenty of energy is lost in the inefficiency of the process of digestion. I see no reason why a pill couldn't be made to inhibit the intake, or facilitate the evacuation of, an unhealthy level of fats and carbs in the same way we can with sugars. Controlling factors like dosage and other things would be a challenge, but it is certainly plausible.

I agree with you that if you want to be truly healthy you will probably never be able to take a magic six-pack pill and exercise will always be a part of a healthy lifestyle, but for those who just want to take their weight down a level a pill like that would be a great option.

P.S. I do realize that the medicine in question is taking a different approach. I just wanted to point out that some precedent exists for this kind of thing, and it isn't all just snake oil.

Comment: Re:As a Market Lover (Score 1) 107

by Forgefather (#48580779) Attached to: Microsoft Quietly Starts Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Method

It is very difficult to forge a Bitcoin, and the only only known way (controlling a 50%+ share of the entire pool) can easily be discovered. If it is discovered that Bitcoins are being forged then the value tanks and the people who were forging them lose big money so I think its fairly safe on that front. Certainly less likely that the banking industry crashing the economy again.

As for treating it like a commodity there is a very good reason for that as well because just like gold Bitcoin has no inherent value other than what we give it. Just like gold has uses in industry Bitcoin has fringe uses in driving anonymous transactions but the majority of all use is hoarding. I'm not saying that you use it like gold to shore up your investment portfolio with safe bets, but to look at it like an investment option which derives its value from belief that it has value (similar to currency which I feel is where the confusion on how to classify it comes from).

Invest in BTC like you would in any other volatile stock.

Comment: Re:As a Market Lover (Score 5, Interesting) 107

by Forgefather (#48572203) Attached to: Microsoft Quietly Starts Accepting Bitcoin As Payment Method

I'm like you in that I don't like the idea of a self regulated currency, but I don't find Bitcoin to be a problem because I have always looked at it as an investment similar to a stock or a bond. When you buy a Bitcoin you are buying the chance that they will become more valuable in the future. Funny enough the people who have made the most money from Bitcoin are the exchange traders and early adopters.

I think as long as you look at Bitcoin as a commodity and transactions like a barter or trade system then there isn't much of a problem when both parties understand that they are trading in goods not currency. As far as an actual currency it is far too volatile. You can't have a currency that changes value significantly in the time it takes to get to the grocery store.

Comment: Re:Great... (Score 1) 377

by Forgefather (#48572131) Attached to: Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Another great implementation for this will be images stored on smartphones. I know plenty of people who don't want to use iCloud (for good reason) that often have their phones filled quickly with music and photos. If you could halve the size of an image, you could greatly expand the usage of small hard drives on phones. Add to that the benefit of being able to send smaller images over your cell data plan and it feels like a natural fit.

Comment: Re:From Jack Brennan's response (Score 1) 772

by Forgefather (#48566067) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

It is an apples to oranges comparison. Constitution is the law that governs the land, and you are right; it has been wrong before, but the declaration of independance gives us the spirit of the law. The ideal which we were meant to aspire to.

During WWII we see the same kind of propaganda regarding the Japanese. We termed them as violent monkeys, and vicious barbarians for the manner in which they treated prisoners of war, and there executions which were also beheadings. Despite this, at the end of WWII when the Japanese surrendered we didn't exact vengeance by slaughtering all those who committed such crimes. Instead we cooperated with them to rebuild their homes an economies that had been decimated by war. Today we can see the results of that effort. Japan is one of the most peaceful nations in the world minus the bad blood between them and the Asian mainland, and we certainly aren't locked into a decades long struggle of occupation like we are in the middle east.

Contrast these results against Germany from WWI and we have clear definitive evidence that retribution fails where forgiveness succeeds. This isn't bleeding heart liberalism it's pure fact. If we just murder all of these men in cold blood, consequences be damned, then it is with 100% certainty that I can say it will only be a few more years until their sons pick up the guns and back we are to a cycle of perpetual war. If we want a happy ending to this then it will start by engaging that part of the world as less "enemies" and more "people."

Comment: Re:From Jack Brennan's response (Score 2) 772

by Forgefather (#48559041) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

So when the US firebombed civilian populations in Japan killing hundreds of thousands of people was that an act of war or terrorism? How about the more recent example of the US's use of drones to terrorize the local populations by flying overhead for days on end before firing missiles that more often than not kill 10x more civilians than actual militants? The debate has been going on long before that as to whether or not the civilian population, which drives the industry for the war machine, is as much a target in a war as any soldier. Does the man who builds warships become a military asset when he makes the weapons used to fight? How about the drone pilots? Do they stop being fair game when they leave the office and drive home?

The world trade center was targeted for the same reason as the pentagon. Not as a military asset but as a symbol. The pentagon represented the dirty dealings of the US through the CIA that built and ultimately abandoned Al Qaeda. While the trade center was the symbol of western capitalism which runs against the ideology of hard line Islam and Sharia.

Comment: Re:From Jack Brennan's response (Score 1) 772

by Forgefather (#48558967) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

Let me share a little quote with you:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Please note the part were it says "all men" and "unalienable rights." If you believe in the values that this country holds even slightly then you must believe that even the worst kind of human beings still have rights. Should they be called upon to answer for their crimes? Absolutely. But stop this nonsense of dehumanizing people to justify their extermination. That is the reasoning of tyrants, murderers, and Despots. It is one of the tactics used in Germany and Rwanda, and I want to believe that we can be better than that.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 602

by Forgefather (#48516621) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

And what happens when the fire department finds out you can't afford to pay them for putting out your house fire? Do they just let your house burn and put out the fire when it spreads to the houses of people that can pay? We subsidize these things as a society because it benefits the entire society to do so. By ensuring that the fire department shows up we can insure that we don't have a Chicago style fire every few months which protects everyone from the added cost of subduing a wildfire as apposed to a house fire.

Even in your own stupid example about paying for a fire subscription you state that such payments would be required by a mortgage company. In what way is being required to pay for a service from a private company different from being required to pay for a service from a not for profit public institution other than conflict of interest? What safeguards do we have that the fire station will properly maintain its equipment? Or do you propose that we regulate these industries to ensure that conflict of interest is handled appropriately? Of course that would put a few holes in your bubble regarding a perfect libertarian fantasy.

The best societies are built on the understanding that a mix of laws, regulations, and services that are applied using data driven thought rather than blanket ideologies that have no foundation in anything other than academia.

Comment: Re:Great (Score 1) 602

by Forgefather (#48516303) Attached to: UK Announces 'Google Tax'

I had a big argument in another thread about automation in McDonald's and long story short somewhere along the line you need humans to make the robots. All automation does is push the jobs further up the supply chain.

The real danger of automation is for the people who don't have the experience or education to get the more specialized jobs that automation creates, making a divide between those who are able to afford schooling for those positions and those who can't.

Comment: Re:The lesson (Score 1) 329

by Forgefather (#48489709) Attached to: Taxi Medallion Prices Plummet Under Pressure From Uber

Bear in mind that one of the primary reasons for taxi medallions that was not listed in the article was that limits were placed on taxi services to control congestion. Cities were trying to prevent their streets from flooding with every halfway qualified driver from the suburbs during rush hour and clogging the streets. In that respect taxi medallions do have an effect on controlling that congestion that less strict regulation wouldn't.

You're already carrying the sphere!