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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).


Comment: Re:People CHOOSE to work for Amazon (Score 2) 321

by Jason Levine (#49357175) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

Just because people choose to work in a place, doesn't mean the company gets to trample its worker's rights. Besides, it might not have been much of a choice. Suppose someone loses their job and is out of work for awhile. Money gets tight and they need to feed his family. He is offered a job at Amazon and no other prospects are forthcoming. Should he decline the job on principal/due to the non-compete contract clause, thus putting his family in deeper financial peril? Or should he accept the job protecting his family from financial ruin now but at the possible non-compete expense further down the line? Not everyone has a lineup of a dozen companies vying to hire them every time they find themselves unemployed.

Comment: Re:Pilots must remain in control (Score 1) 365

by Jason Levine (#49356321) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

I say we get rid of the cockpit entirely, and instead provide a set of virtual controls in every passenger seat's seatback touchscreen. That way the passengers can fly the plane democratically. It will only fly into a mountain if that's what a majority of the passengers want it to do.

But, if the head of a large company is flying, he represents many more people and should get more votes than everyone else.

Everyone is equal, but some people are more equal than others.

Comment: Re:Ummmm ... duh? (Score 3, Interesting) 365

by Jason Levine (#49356237) Attached to: Modern Cockpits: Harder To Invade But Easier To Lock Up

Actually, 1 in a million might be too high of an estimate. There were 37.4 million flights scheduled worldwide last year (Source). The summary gives 5 examples from 1999 to present. Let's double that number (and exclude 2015 since this year just started) just to be safe. So 10 incidents in 6 years for an average of 1.6 incidents per year. So the risk of any one flight having a suicidal pilot/co-pilot determined on bringing the plane down is 1 in 22.4 million.

You likely have a greater chance of dying on a plane from a heart attack than from the pilot/co-pilot crashing the plane. It's just that "co-pilot locks out pilot and crashes plane" makes for a juicier news story than "pilot and co-pilot fly planned route with no major issues and land safely just like they did a dozen times the previous week."

Comment: Re:I just skip the "free" wifi (Score 1) 40

by Jason Levine (#49353489) Attached to: Big Vulnerability In Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests At Risk

And Marriot wanted the ability to block you from using your mobile hotspot, forcing you on the hotel's wireless network for "security reasons." Thankfully, they withdrew the request when it became apparent that a) it wouldn't be granted and b) there was a ton of bad PR being generated by this move. Still, this insecure hotel wi-fi story makes that request even more laughable.

Comment: Re:Left unsaid in the article (Score 1) 220

by Jason Levine (#49353471) Attached to: Broadband ISP Betrayal Forces Homeowner To Sell New House

The problem is that the companies told him repeatedly when he was purchasing the home that they would provide service to the house. After his purchase was completed, they decided that they really don't serve that property after all. Why should he pay for the build out when they originally told him that no build out was needed? If the cable company tells you that they'll serve Property X, they should be held accountable to that and be forced to serve Property X - not suddenly decide that this property isn't in their coverage area after all.

As a side note, these companies publish coverage maps and use them to "prove" to the government that there is a vibrant competitive landscape. When it comes time to adhere to these maps' coverage areas, though, they suddenly discover that there are flaws in them. Not that they'll correct the maps or update their coverage areas to adhere to the maps, but just an "oops, we can't cover you anyway."

Comment: Re:Stop with this Three Laws bullshit (Score 4, Funny) 129

by Jason Levine (#49336969) Attached to: Do Robots Need Behavioral 'Laws' For Interacting With Other Robots?

It was a device to drive a story, nothing more. They aren't real laws, and there's no possible way you could effectively incorporate them into advanced A.I. Just stop it. Stop mentioning them. Stop it.

Not only that, but the stories were specifically about why the Three Laws didn't work.

If you want to write a science fiction story where the robots follow the Three Laws, go right ahead. If you want to propose that actual robots must follow these laws, we'll just be sitting here laughing at you.

Comment: Re:Consequences for quantum computing? (Score 1) 83

If there is a size limit for a quantum computer, I wonder if you could get around this by having a large cluster of them. (Insert standard Beowolf joke here.) Have a classical computer break down the problem into components, send the components to the quantum computers, and then reassemble the results for the user.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 1) 83

I took quantum mechanics in college. I was going for a physics degree at the time. I struggled so much wrapping my brain around quantum mechanics that I dropped that as a major. (Instead, I went into computer science where I was picking up everything with ease.)

Comment: Re:All it would take (Score 3, Insightful) 185

by Jason Levine (#49335637) Attached to: New Bill Would Repeal Patriot Act

The terrorist attack doesn't even need to happen. They just need to "find" a terrorist cell with explosives, plans, etc. all ready to go. Then sow a little fear that others might be out there and their funding/powers will not only be unchallenged, but increased and challenging their authority will be political poison for another decade

Comment: Re:How fucking tasteless (Score 1) 339

Children generally have more time in front of them and therefore are being robbed of more when killed.

Also, children generally have less of a say as to their country's political actions. In democracies, adults can vote. In non-democracies, adults could decide to protest (often risking arrest, imprisonment, or death) or engage in outright rebellion. Depending on their situation, the adults might have a small say in what their country is doing, but it's still something.

Children don't even have this. You can't expect a three year old to march on his nation's capital demanding that the President-For-Life step down because of his militaristic maneuvers. You can't think that a five year old would cast a vote for the opposition party, risking his life and pre-k education to voice his political opposition to the majority party's policies.

The worst-case-scenario with kids is that they can be (at a certain age), taken by force and drafted into a quasi-army, but that still is the adults turning the kids into soldiers, not the kids deciding for themselves that strapping bombs to themselves would be fun to do after they are finished at the playground.

Comment: Re: Idiot Parents (Score 1) 569

Of course you are a father, you are on Slashdot!

I'm not sure how to take this (lack of tone in text can be a killer).

"Of course, you're a father" because everyone on Slashdot is a geek which means, by definition, we all live in our parents' basement and never see real women in person?


"Of course, you're a father" because everyone on Slashdot is male and no mother would come here at all.

I'm not sure which I should be refuting (or neither). I don't think it's gotten to the point of "Of course, you're a father because everyone on Slashdot is a parent" yet. It would be interesting to see demographic data on how many Slashdotters were married/not married and had kids/didn't have kids. If only to help bust the "living in mom and dad's basement" stereotype.

Comment: Re:Keep track of what you eat (Score 1) 491

by Jason Levine (#49329923) Attached to: Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds

It had entries for non-barcoded food too. I could eat a banana, enter "banana" and know just how many calories (plus fat, fiber, etc) that banana contained. I could also set up custom entries for when I cooked dinner (which is more frequent than me eating food prepared for me). If I made a taco salad, I could figure out how much one serving was and enter that. Then, all subsequent taco salad meals could use that.

I used the barcode recognition more with ingredients. Add cheese to the dish. Scan barcode, figure out how much per serving we're eating. Add pasta to the dish, scan barcode, figure out how much per serving we're eating. Add frozen veggies to the dish (which I tend to use more than fresh since they don't go bad as quickly), scan barcode, figure out how much per serving we're using. Etc.

Even if you just use estimates, you can still benefit from meal tracking. What I've found tracking apps like this cut down on is mindless snacking. The "I'll just have a handful of these... and maybe a few of those... and a couple of those..." situations that result in people wondering why they can't lose weight.

Is your job running? You'd better go catch it!