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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).

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Comment: Re:Why not just eliminate trolling? (Score 1) 52

by Headw1nd (#49146711) Attached to: Patent Trolls On the Run But Not Vanquished Yet
This doesn't work. The reason you get a patent in the first place is so you can market your product without fearing that it will be instantly ripped off. Let's say for example, I develop software that would say help manage data over transoceanic cables. I myself don't own any of these cables, so I would have to convince some company that did to license my software. Except that in your example they won't, since they know that if nobody licenses it then they can just replicate it themselves without fear, since I would have "no customers" and thus no claim to the patent. Perhaps if you modified your idea to where the patent has to be "in play", either a part of an offered product that is available or in development, or an internal part of a business model, and if if does not satisfy either of these for two years it is declared abandoned.

Comment: Re:Fad Ahead? (Score 1) 128

by Headw1nd (#49131813) Attached to: Inventors Revolutionize Beekeeping
No, he shared two links to places people involved in beekeeping were talking about the system, one to the patent for the system, and then stated his own view that there might be issues with pest management and people believing that there is nothing but honey collection involved in beekeeping. Nowhere was there any whining, though perhaps some bemused skepticism.

Comment: Re:Net metering is little more than theft (Score 1) 353

by Headw1nd (#49130357) Attached to: The Groups Behind Making Distributed Solar Power Harder To Adopt
I can't imagine where you are getting this information, it's just not true. Energy payback for most solar installations is less than 4 years, well within their service life. This includes inverters and mounts. Even financial payback, once not possible, now is a given.

Comment: Re:But... (Score 0) 251

by Headw1nd (#49124777) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper
That guessing is called using context clues, and it's an incredibly important part of reading comprehension. If you are really confused, I can see referring back to a dictionary, especially for foreign words. However it would be unusual to refer to a dictionary for every new word you encountered.

Comment: Slashdot's parochial worldview (Score 1) 132

by Headw1nd (#49119485) Attached to: Pakistanis Must Provide Fingerprints Or Give Up Cellphone
I find it fascinating how slashdotters seem to be unable to transcend their western viewpoints. There are numerous comments in here, many highly upvoted, with themes like "I wonder what their real motives are" and "This has nothing to do with terrorism, this is about controlling the population".

Guys, this is not the US, where "terrorists" are trotted out like the bogeyman for scare effects. In Pakistan, terrorists are real, active forces that have de facto control over significant amounts of the country. They are absolutely trying to get control their citizens, and in fact specifically to stop them from trying to overthrow the government, and you know what? Most Pakistanis support this because the citizens we are talking about are not part of any legitimate political process, but instead murders and gangsters who are responsible for thousands of deaths. If the US was doing the same thing for the same stated reasons, it would absolutely be a crock of shit, but this is not the US. Given the circumstances, trying to positively ID people buying phones is pretty reasonable.

Comment: Re:Ratio..? (Score 2) 395

No, he's right. The LD50 dose for water is somewhere around 6-10L in a sitting. With an average "dose" of maybe .5-1L, this would put it in the same range as alcohol. Of course, it is incredibly difficult to actually achieve that, since the quantity consumed is so large, which incidentally is the exact problem with comparing alcohol and heroin on this basis. Consuming a lethal dose of alcohol is generally a time consuming process, injecting a lethal dose of heroin is no more complicated than injecting a regular dose.

Comment: Re:"Mathematical Rules" (Score 1) 81

They are being a bit more specific than that. As in "when x increases by 1.00, y increases by 0.73".

Also, common sense thinking is a notoriously bad way to evaluate anything, as it is highly dependent on the selection and weight of initial premises. It is not at all a given that cities existing thousands of years before mass transportation, elevators, and combustion engines would work anything like modern cities.

Comment: Re:Evidence based, reasoned arguments don't work (Score 1) 671

by Headw1nd (#49108919) Attached to: Bill Nye Disses "Regular" Software Writers' Science Knowledge

If someone wants to believe something, your reasoned arguments and evidence based defense of your facts will never persuade them otherwise. Instead, they just end up believing even harder in what you challenged them on.

Amusingly enough (in a dark comedy sort of way), science has shown this too. They don't even have to "want to believe", it just comes naturally.

Comment: I feel like they buried the lede (Score 1) 249

by Headw1nd (#49073485) Attached to: Game Theory Calls Cooperation Into Question

So I read through the paper, and it was certainly above my maths, but it seems the most important point was actually left out. If I understood it correctly the "extortionate" idea simply seems to be you can arbitrarily cheat, then enforce a tit-for-tat strategy until your opponent decides to give you another chance. As the modern "evolutionary" play styles seem to be built around cooperation and avoiding falling into long negative spirals, you gain an advantage. Certainly realistic, as I (as have we all) have seen these behaviors in the real world. Also not super surprising.

What I thought was interesting, and perhaps more important, was they seem to show that the player with the shortest memory controlled the game - that having a thousand turn memory didn't help against tit-for-tat, because you would end up playing tit-for-tat regardless of your larger strategy. This is an idea that I think should be explored further.

Overall it seems interesting but I imagine the applicability of the IPD to biology is somewhat limited, in that it doesn't compare the overall gains of the prisoners as a system to other prisoner's systems. i.e. a "winning" strategy very well may end up with a disproportionately large piece of a very small pie.

Comment: Re:Not anti-science, anti-authority (Score 1) 580

by Headw1nd (#49049465) Attached to: Low Vaccination Rates At Silicon Valley Daycare Facilities
The group you are linking to gleefully mixes measles cases with measles deaths, (which declined earlier to cases due to better treatment of secondary infections, and better medical care all around), switches between logarithmic and linear scales on its graphs, and ends its analysis with a stirring endorsement of homeopathy. The years before the vaccine reported cases hovered around 500,000 (as the disease was considered part of growing up, many or most cases were likely not reported) by 1972 there were less than 50,000, now we could have less than 1000. This is not coincidence.

Comment: Re:Soap Box time! (Score 1) 271

by Headw1nd (#49048259) Attached to: Peak Google: The Company's Time At the Top May Be Nearing Its End
Yes, "exponential growth" has a definite, scientific meaning. Its meaning is a function whose rate of growth is proportional to its current value. Like, say a quantity which grows at a growth rate of 1.2 times its current value. We call it "exponential growth" because you can write it in the form (1*a^x), where a is a constant. In this example, it would be (1*1.2^x)

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