Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


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

Comment: A Tough Call (Score 1) 248 248

We have had a local problem with companies refusing to hire people over rather old misdemeanor arrests. In a way imposing a permanent penalty for law breaking has its merits but we do see people with very minor violations suffering permanent harm even though only a small fine was the penalty. Yet I do see an issue with a job candidate who has a perfect record being passed over by someone who had a drunk driving conviction thirty years ago. Should we not always promote or hire the best?

Comment: Resistance To Change (Score 1) 561 561

Think of the built in resistance that already exists. Condominium and rental apartments are frequently next to impossible to convert so that owners or renter can easily recharge their electric cars. I don't have data on the subject but maybe one half of all housing in the US is rental, condominium, dormitory or military post housing. That means a hard uphill for electrics taking a huge market share. And the sick part is that we all really need to go electric.

Comment: My Rant For Years (Score 1) 256 256

No government on this planet wants or accepts private communications. In one sense of the term secrecy is in itself a hostile action and not just by nations but by individuals as well. A simple example is Russia. Because we do not know exactly what the Russians are doing at all times we carry a heavy expense burden of trying to be able to defend against any hostile actions by any new imaginable technologies. So secrecy is sort of an act of war. Taken down to the man and wife level any degree of secrecy puts stress on the party who does not know all about the mate. A parent must take precautions and purchase various forms of insurance as it is so well known that teens will keep secrets from their parents. It all boils down to secrecy being a rather overt, hostile act. And it works in both directions. It means nothing to be able to vote when a government is allowed to keep secrets from the public. Should I vote for a man who wants to shrink our military when i am not allowed to know the true strength of our weapons?

Comment: Been There (Score 1) 319 319

Early on I built industrial scale robots for universities to train engineers and other professionals. This was about 1985. Deaths and severe injuries did occur in universities and we found that making robotic systems idiot proof is next to impossible as idiots are so very creative. In essence the robotic arms were moving at about the same speed as the tip of a golf club when the user is trying to hit a hole in one. Combine that with the portion of the arm in motion weighing over 300 lbs and you can picture brains covering the walls of a robot lab. Naturally we used the floor mats that shut down the arms if someone got near as well as the usual blinking lights and honking horns as did other shops supplying universities. Yet people did die from time to time. They moved the floor mats or disconnected the leads. Obviously the same can happen in industry although some safety systems now do things that we could not back them. I think the public would be stunned if they knew what robots could already do in 1985. The limiting factor in deployment was not the ability of the robots but the vision of corporate officials combined with the cost of the required technicians back in those days.

Comment: Re:The "glow in the dark" thing (Score 1) 288 288

From a moral standpoint can we allow even one death from oil or coal to take place without murder charges being applied to the culprits? Jobs or perpetuating current lifestyles are not an excuse for allowing even one death or disability from coal or oil pollution. Greed has twisted minds. We can measure and know that shutting down seven large cruise ships would equal getting rid of every gasoline engine in the US. But who has cried out to stop large ships from burning the worst possible fuels? Who has cried out about stopping international air traffic that is proven to spread germs quickly around the globe causing all kinds of health problems for the masses. Your immune system is being beaten into the dust by over exposure to germs caused by tourism. We are an insane society hell bent on doing the things we have always done as gutless masses cry out in fear of change. Like the insane we keep doing exactly the wrong things over and over again.

Comment: Re:Renewable versus fossil - where is nuclear? (Score 1) 288 288

The problem with nuclear power is the degree of harm it can cause. The world has already seen incidents of nuclear contamination that are far from trivial. The recent Japanese disaster will be harming human and animal life for centuries. Take a look at ocean front nuclear reactors in the US alone. Imagine rising seas and a need to disassemble these nukes and move them elsewhere. Could it even be done? I'm in Florida near a nuclear plant that sits about three feet above sea level right on the beach. When 9/11 occurred we had the German air force protecting our nuclear plant in Florida the next day. As I was born during WW2 seeing the German air force flying over my home was creepy to say the least. Yet we are sitting on tidal energy here that exists 24 hours every day all year long. And the amount of tidal and water current energy locally could probably power most of the US.

Comment: TV Committed Suicide (Score 1) 194 194

They listened to the bean counters. They put more and more junk advertising per hour on TV. Then they got the notion that having less episodes of a series would save a buck. Viewers fled over the air TV in droves. Ads should be restricted to 1 one minute ad per hour. Series should be designed to run 52 weeks a year with a new episode every week. That holds viewers. You could chart the encroachment of advertising and the shrinkage of new episodes of series and offer a strong proof of why business types simply can not run successful TV networks. Right now i would give up all over the air channels for Net Flicks.

Comment: Deep Thought (Score 1) 227 227

Programming a chess computer or just using a chess computer can teach one quite a lot. The computer is essentially given a lot of rules and values are programmed in. For example a script aimed at capturing a queen in six moves without suffering a major negative can be installed. Other scripts might seek a certain advantage in 5 move or in 15 moves. The end result may be a very, very strong chess game that no human has ever played before. These programs have already reached a point at which humans offer only a tiny challenge to them and if one looks at the game as art then the art produced is likely to be totally original. The type of goal oriented programming exemplified in chess programs does not always extend well to other challenges but by any fair definition of creativity common chess programs meet the tests. Now imagine what can be done with a game of checkers. No human should ever win a game of checkers against a decent computer program. In other areas such as music programs can adjust every note slightly so that perfect pitch for every note is the norm. Human players simply can not play that perfectly so the music produced is singular in quality. I suppose that is musical intelligence beyond human abilities.

Comment: Hold It! It's A Trick (Score 1) 249 249

GM had a much sought after electric car and declined to allow customers to keep the car or get access to new ones. In other words GM has shown a dedication to stopping electric cars. This is likely an attempt to ruin Tesla rather than any real commitment to advancing electric vehicles. So go buy a Chevy electric and learn that if you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

Comment: TROUBLE WILL FOLLOW (Score 2) 816 816

Although I think a confederate flag other than the battle flag should be flown I suspect that taking down the stars and bars will cause quite a severe reaction in the south. That flag honors our southern war dead from all wars and not just the civil war. Southern soldiers are well known for ferocious dedication and bravery during really heavy combat. Many people will be severely hurt by states not flying the flag and it may well spark violence. The confederate flag has nothing to do with race at all. Black soldiers fought for the south as well as white soldiers.

Comment: Smack Me with A Mullet (Score 1) 134 134

Obviously 3D printing is going to be an enormous blessing for all of us. It is as profound as the creation of computers in what i expect for social and economic change. Yet everyone I mention 3D printing to seems to be unaware, lost in space, or totally ignorant of what 3D printing can do. It is as if they are the ones who have been slapped silly with a mullet. I just can not understand how blind or dumb people can be when it comes to something that is sort of new.

Comment: Call Me A Snob (Score 1) 89 89

Many teachers are already being replaced by computers. But as far as what target the teaching should be designed for I have an unpopular opinion. Teach to the brightest students! The gifted students will be the ones that offer society the most and educational efforts should support the star students far more than lesser students. Even in public grade schools we need to teach to a level that is challenging enough to cause some very bright students, from good homes, to fail. Lesser students should be trained to cook or lay brick or build roads. Right now many of our best minds are being held back while teachers struggle to get kids who could care less about learning up to speed which almost never works.

Comment: Super Important (Score 4, Informative) 136 136

Wiki Leaks is so important in correcting social and political issues that it may well be something the history books must feature as a very prominent turning point in history. The more that people around the world are able to see and understand the better our laws and social policies will become. In a way it is simply nothing more than social and political government in the sunshine and we all should demand the kind of access that wiki has created for us. Every utterance of public officials should be public 24/7/365. Corruption could cease to exist.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 3, Informative) 308 308

And yet Germany is making even better progress with true, natural energy. No nukes needed thank you. Sun, wind and tide can get the job done. But I do fear that assassins will be used to keep big oil and big coal going.

After an instrument has been assembled, extra components will be found on the bench.