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


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:Goodbye free speech (Score 1) 203 203

(which is silly because you can yell fire in a theater if, you know, the theater is on fire).

Actually I don't believe you can legally. The law was created in the belief the panic from hearing fire yelled would do more harm than good as panic stricken patrons trampled over each other to get out.

I'm not sure how you notify them without striking fear into them but I'm sure the law addresses that in the details /s

You asked that with the sarcasm flag, but seriously if the fire alarm system doesn't sound, and only you noticed the fire, I would go to the movie theater staff and alert them so they can follow their emergency procedure. I'd imagine that procedure involves something like stopping the movie and asking patrons to exit the theater calmly and quietly, perhaps with the theater staff offering a partial or full refund or tickets to a later showing and implying (or outright stating) that the reason for the stoppage is nothing more than technical difficulties with the projection system.

Comment: Re:Poor Scalia (Score 1) 1074 1074

In fact, is there anything in the law that requires the Nine to be judges or even lawyers? If Scalia resigns from that body of nine unelected lawyers, I put forth my name as a candidate for the post. I'm not a judge or lawyer (well, except when I'm playing a game, where I'm usually the one reviewing the rulebook when a rule disagreement occurs.)

Comment: Re:How is this news for nerds? (Score 1) 1074 1074

You mean like the amendment banning slavery would have mortified the slave-owning authors of the Constitution?

The Founding Fathers got some things right. They got some things wrong. In hindsight there are a couple of things about which they probably should have elaborated (the Second Amendment is very concise, perhaps they should have spent a little more time explaining what they were thinking.) They were human.

Comment: Re:Breach of contract? (Score 2, Insightful) 242 242

This would be a great precident too, if the courts could be used to actually force politican to uphold campaign promises.

No, it would lead politicians to give even vaguer statements of their proposed policies than they do now, so as to avoid saying anything that could legally be construed as a promise. It would also probably lead to politicians using more "weasel words", like "I want to cut taxes during my first term in office.' That's not a PROMISE to cut taxes, though it kind of sounds like a promise; it's expressing a DESIRE to cut taxes.

There's also the problem that a person can make a promise that he or she cannot fulfill. For instance, using a US example, if a presidential candidate promised to cut taxes by 50% on every American but Congress laughed in their face after they were elected and proposed such a change to the tax code, could a court force the President to do what he or she does not have the legal authority to do? Sure, the President could ASK Congress but the decision is ultimately up to them. Could the courts force Congress to uphold the presidential candidate's promise? Neither of those seem palatable.

Comment: Election fatigue (Score 1) 292 292

Perhaps if politicians actually waited until 2016 to start campaigning for 2016, we wouldn't already be sick and tired of the election and might be willing to answer questions about it. Instead, if we think of President Obama's term as a year they've started showering us with ads for Christmas and it's only late July or early August. Frankly I feel like awarding each of the candidates a load of coal or perhaps reindeer dung in their stockings.

Comment: See Goldberg's article (Score 2) 1066 1066

There's a classic document appropriately titled What Every Computer Scientist Should Know About Floating-Point Arithmetic. The "Special Quantities" section discusses plus and minus 0, denormal numbers, infinity, and NaN and offers some rationales for why those special values exist in IEEE floating-point arithmetic.

Comment: Re:How can this work? (Score 1) 86 86

How does this work with backups? I have trouble believing that they flush their backups after three months. In which case an FOI request ought to require them to pull the files from backup. Which ought to mean that they've only massively increased the cost of complying with the requests.

Which means a higher cost they can pass on to the person or organization filing the FOI request, which makes it more expensive to dig into the government's dirty laundry. If you filed an FOI request for a document and was told it cost $5, would you pay? What if you were told it costs $50? How about if it cost $500?

Comment: Re:RFID tags, obviously (Score 1) 124 124

So instead of a car thief just stealing your car by taking the keys from your hand or pocket, now they're going to have to chop off whatever body part contains the RFID tag that unlocks it. May I suggest installing the RFID tag in the tips of your fingers, to minimize the tissue loss? As an added benefit to RFID at/in your fingertips, after a couple robberies you'll be able to nail the Onion Knight (from Game of Thrones) Halloween costume!

Comment: Re:More like a bad design for voting system (Score 1) 57 57

Thus anyone can count the public votes and you can check your own vote by checking the public vote based on the number you have stored and then comparing the gibberish and checksum to your gibberish and checksum and if need be unencrypt your hidden vote and compare.

And the person who threatened to harm you or your family or fire you from you job unless you voted the way they wanted, or who offered to pay you after the election if you voted the way they wanted, can do the same by requesting that you provide them that secret information or allow them to look over your shoulder as you check your vote.

Comment: Re:Permissions... (Score 1) 203 203

Or create a separate role-based rather than individual-based email account (say widgetPolisher@yourcompany.com) that your manager owns (so it persists even after you've left) and to which you forward emails (ideally to be automatically filtered into categories) that are relevant to your work. That way you don't need to worry about forgetting to delete a personal item and having it forwarded on to your replacement.

Comment: Re:Parents should be liable (Score 4, Informative) 254 254

Diphtheria has a very serious "side effect", and I suspect the percentage of patients who develop it is larger than the percentage that react to the vaccine. Wikipedia says:

"Diphtheria is fatal in between 5% and 10% of cases. In children under five years and adults over 40 years, the fatality rate may be as much as 20%.[17] In 2013 it resulted in 3,300 deaths down from 8,000 deaths in 1990.[6]"

Comment: Re:See it before (Score 4, Insightful) 276 276

Sure, most folks just want their facebook and online shopping... most of the time. However, there is still a not-insubstantial percentage of folks who want to have a means of using their computer while it is off the network.

And there are some people for whom that is not a want but a NEED.


The computer of a programmer working on the design of a new piece of classified military hardware isn't going to be able to connect to the open Internet. If the security of the system is sufficiently important, the machine may not be allowed to connect to any network at all.

May Euell Gibbons eat your only copy of the manual!