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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Not kill the messenger ... (Score 1) 116 116

Unfortunately, by your definition I don't believe that there *are* any civilized nations. It's not that I disagree with you, exactly. But I believe that your idealized definition of civilized doesn't map to any country in the world either at the present time or at any previous time.

Comment: Re:Not kill the messenger ... (Score 1) 116 116

Plenty of excuses, but sorry, if we're using English "kill the messenger" essentially means to act in such a way as to discourage others with the same (or sufficiently similar) message.

You may use the excuses to claim that the intent was other than "killing the messenger", but not to argue that that isn't what they did. To argue that that isn't what they did you would (probably) need to show that their action did not serve to discourage others with similar communications.

OTOH, perhaps in Spanish the phrase would be taken literally, as it once was in English. But in modern English "kill" has many figurative uses, such as "kill the spotlight" (though I think that's now more commonly "strike the spot", which also doesn't involve hitting the light).

Comment: Re:I hate bloatware as much as the next person... (Score 1) 79 79

Why not? Suing them seems totally appropriate unless they are making adequate pre-purchase disclosure, and ensuring that the prospective purchaser is aware of the characteristics of the thing they are purchasing.

Disagree? Re-read Adam Smith.

Comment: Re:Indeed (Score 2) 382 382

Yes, but remember, in those days "Cookie Monster" was a typical virus. And internet communities were relatively homogenous.

There are, there must be, limits to free speech. Shouting down someone else doesn't count as free speech. At most it's a reasonable reaction to their stifling of your own speech.

In this case it appears (as an outside observer) that this is the silencing of an honest, truthful, and respected voice. If she is an employee of Rededit, then I suppose that is their right, but the proper response is to refuse to deal with or support Rededit in any way. Which is what this protest appears to be doing.

Comment: Re:Indeed (Score 2) 382 382

What you say is clearly reasonable, but I've got to believe that you are mischaracterizing this event. Censorship is always questionable, even when done for the highest of motives. So are you asserting that the folk on Rededit were inciting to violence? Taken literally it appears that this is what you are saying. I'm sufficiently unfamiliar with the events that this could even be a true and accurate characterization. But I think I'd need to have seen some proof before I believed it.

Given the way that people often behave, I have to admit that defending incitements to violence isn't something I have a hard time believing. What I have a hard time believing is a massive outcry in support of defending incitements to violence (without considerable prior propaganda).

Comment: Re:It's that time... (Score 1) 337 337

It's important. The times that it's critical are rare. So... add if's it's in the middle of the road you prefer to stop rather than run over it. If it's up-right it's proper to dodge dangerously rather than to hit it. The number of crawling kids in the middle of the road is quite small, but it's larger than the number of infants, so add in something that smoothly increases the probability of human as it's (estimated) weight approaches 90 pounds and decreases it as it exceeds 300 pounds. Or 400. So you have a flattened bell curve with a smooth top.

But really, all this fiddling is just to handle corner cases. Usually you just stop or avoid the thing on the road without wondering much what it is. Only if you can't do either of those do you need the fancy figuring, which is a pain, because that's when you need the fast decision, so you "corner case handler" need to be something simple.
Rule 1: If it's standing up, it's a human. Don't hit, even if you must take damage. (This yields several false positives, but too bad. We need a quick decision.)
Rule 2: Estimate it's weight. (Ouch! That looks like a slow process...so while you're doing it, slow and start dodging.) If it's above 25 pounds, avoid even if you must take damage. (Note that hitting something heavy at a fast speed will damage you no matter what.) Continue slowing and preparing to dodge. If it's following a ball, dodge even if you must take damage.

Sorry, time's up.

This isn't a perfect approach, but it's simple, and doable. The hard step is estimating weight. There is a problem with false positives. A paper mache statue would count as human. But it should handle all common cases. And there should also be a distinction between streets where the traffic is slow and rare and streets where the traffic is fast and common. Freeways are much less likely to have humans walking in the road.

Additionally, there should be a rule about not overdriving your reaction time, especially on slow streets, but nothing can stop a kid from running out right in front of you from between two parked cars. And nobody, neither automaton nor human, can reliably deal with that. Which is why that first rule about "upright" is made to yield a lot of false positives. If you have time, then you can refigure things and perhaps decide that "that's a paper mache statute", so you may start to dodge in a way that will damage yourself, and then refigure to avoid damaging yourself when you, more slowly, decide that such action isn't needed.

Comment: Re:It's that time... (Score 2) 337 337

Why? Just make it so that as far as the machines are concerned Gorillas are a subset of humans. And then keep the actual gorillas away from them.

You've got a reasonable point for more advanced machines, but for now I'd just as soon that they also avoid squashing dogs and cats...or, pretty much anything protoplasmic over, say, 5 pounds. Or 4. Slaugher house machines don't need to be intelligent, and shouldn't be. Not until things are FAR more developed.

And, really, wouldn't you just as soon that your car avoided running over that skunk? So if you adopt a variant of the precautionary principle, you can get most of the advantages without waiting for perfection.

Comment: Re:Really ? (Score 1) 254 254

You need to plate it with teflon.

What bothers me is the idea of that being a colony rather than just an outpost. Where to you get metals? Can you split the CO2 into C + O2 and than use the C for bulk fabrication? It seems as if graphene can be either conductive or insulating, and nanotubes are pretty strong, but now we're talking about a rather extensive fabrication facility just in the initial set-up.

I consider asteroids a much more reasonable habitat. (I'm not sure that Mars is a good choice, but it sure sounds better than Venus.)

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 1) 80 80

Depends. How safe a neighborhood do you want? I believe that the normal asking rent for an apartment in Oakland was around $1500/month a few years ago...but I haven't actually been looking in the last 30 years, so I don't know what neighborhood is implied by that price.

12 * 1,500 = 18,000, so it depends on your other expenses...and whether you want to live that cheaply. OTOH, neighborhood is *VERY* important. And I also don't know what size apartment I'm talking about.

My suspicion, however, is that there was no intention of living in a downtown area, and that commute was as important as cost. Of course, for enough money you can find a sufficiently desireable location in a city, so saying money is the basis isn't incorrect.

Comment: Re:Why live there then? (Score 0) 80 80

Units should be of the appropriate size to what you're measuring. Farenheit is more appropriate for judging room temperature and even cooking temperature when you don't need to be precise enough to get down to fractions of a degree.

The metric system has a lot of value, especially when doing precise measurements. When doing rough measurements at human scale it runs into problems. The meter is about the right size, but centimeter, or even decimeter, isn't a good replacement for foot. And for many purposes centimeter is too small to replace an inch. (When you start using fractions of an inch this advantage disappears.)

One can argue whether a Kilogram or a pound is the more useful general weight, it seems pretty much a draw to me. Ditto for Kilometer and mile. And when being precise metric is the clear winner.

OTOH, for outside temperature, a rough measue (Farenheit) is not only better suited in size, but also in accuracy. You don't get an accurate outside temperature, because it varies too much from place to place. So it's best not to pretend that you do. Which means avoid fractional degrees, whether Farenheit or Centigrade (okay, Celsius, but Centigrade is a better name).

Reality must take precedence over public relations, for Mother Nature cannot be fooled. -- R.P. Feynman

Working...