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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Think of the children! (Score 2) 161

The problem is with the underlying assumption that there is some kind of conspiracy.

There probably is. Not the purposefully coordinated kind where everyone meets in a dark room somewhere to plot their actions, but the kind where everyone sharing fundamentally rotten values leads to effectively coordinated flock behaviour. For examples of this, look at Catholic Church's recent scandals; but it's hardly the only organization that sets the mask of respectability above the wellbeing of mere children.

People are trained to pretend they are helpless against systemic injustices from the day they're born. It's what allows those injustices to continue existing. If a child molester takes advantage of this trained response to look the other way, for example if the local cops ignore what "respected" members of their community do with their children, it's a matter of semantics whether that should be counted as a conspiracy or not.

In any case, there's going to be a lot of pain to go around as this culture of silence runs headfirst into the Information Age, becomes effectively defunct, and forces people to see what's been all around them all this time, whether they want to or not. The world will be better for it, though.

Comment: Re:Other than the obligatory security theatre... (Score 1) 107

No, he's referencing the idea that authorities would rather shoot the plane down than let it crash into something important.

Which rises a question of whether it's possible to prepare specifically for this sort of thing. For example, could one have a missile/chaff specifically designed to choke a jet non-explosively and use towing cables to drag the plane somewhere it could be allowed to glide down? That would give the passengers maximum chances of survival while protecting ground population.

New threats call for new methods of dealing with them.

Comment: Re:nVidia Consumer Card (Score 2) 94

by ultranova (#48899567) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: GPU of Choice For OpenCL On Linux?

Get back under your bridge... troll.

Thank you for your well-reasoned analysis of the problems with binary-only drivers on Linux, and why my misgivings about them arenot only unfounded but must be a case of arguing in bad faith. Your contribution to the discussion has enlightened us and enhanced the human condition.

Comment: Re:Social Networking is a mess (Score 1) 106

by ultranova (#48897909) Attached to: Twitter Moves To Curb Instagram Links

with width and height specified (via CSS, of course)

...Why? Width and height of an image are functions of its content and have nothing to do with style. What do you gain by specifying them separately from the IMG tag itself, apart from more complexity (and probably slower page loads due to the need to download and parse more CSS)?

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 1) 287

by ultranova (#48897833) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

Children, people banned for the more serious traffic offences, the blind and poor sighted, and older people who fail the driving re-test they must take periodically. How they get around is their own problem.

How children get around is usually their parent's problem, actually. And it quickly becomes my problem if the group who cannot drive becomes large, since that means they cannot get to work. Guess who's going to pay for either their upkeep or the security force needed to keep them from rioting?

I understand it's fashionable to display a near-sociopathic lack of empathy nowadays, but it can very quickly cross over into sheer stupidity, and usually does.

One solution is not to live somewhere they can only reach by driving a car. I live in a remote area and I accept that one day, when I get old, I might have to move into a city.

Choosing where you live requires resources, which requires income, which in practice requires being able to drive or hire someone who can. Which gets us back to large amounts of people being prevented from driving very quickly becoming my problem.

Comment: Re:Oh yay, more about the bullshit clock (Score 5, Interesting) 187

by ultranova (#48897653) Attached to: Doomsday Clock Moved Two Minutes Forward, To 23:57

You know, when something says that we are so close to destruction for over half a century... well you have to wonder why anyone would put any stock in it. It is a bit hard to reconcile with being on the edge of destruction, and yet everything continuing to not be destroyed.

Did you know the most dangerous drivers are not those who have just gotten their license, but those who have had a bit of experience? The reason is that new drivers are all too aware that they're one bad decision away from being gruesomely killed, while those who have driven for a while let their guard down because "nothing's happened so far, so nothing ever will".

This is true for dangerous acitvities in general. Someone who's handling boiling acid for the first time will make damn sure to think what they're doing. Someone who's done it a hundred times is busy thinking what they'll be having for lunch. And then acid gets somewhere it shouldn't, and suddenly things get very exciting again.

We haven't been destroyed because we've been very lucky. During Cuban missile crisis American ships actually dropped depth charges on a nuke-carrying Russian submarine. The captain and the political officer were all for launching it in retaliation, but the idea was vetoed by Vasili Arkhipov. And it's not the only time humanity's fate has hung on the decisions of a single person.

And of course this is all ignoring the possibilities of, say, biological warfare advancing technology is bringing to within reach of even non-state actors. You may not have noticed, but some of these actors are nowhere near as rational nor benevolent as the Soviet Russia of old.

Finally, the dawning of the Information Age is challenging whole new facets of human capacity for evil. Hypocrisy is quickly becoming impossible as privacy continues to erode. At the same time, anonymity serves to strip away pretensions of civility and expose the grinning skull beneath all too many faces. With Industrial Age, the choice was "cease warring or die"; with Information Age it's "stop being hypocrites or have your souls crushed". Given that it took two world wars to get humanity to the point where we had any chance to survive harnessing the power of the atom, I shudder to think what it'll take to prepare us for omnipresent computation.

We're running a gauntlet, a purgatory forcing us to choose between our shadow or increasing amounts of pain. Every aspect of our existence is being confronted by its shortcomings like never before, for there are no more second chances. Humanity will either demonstrate it has mastered its dark side before it will master nature and reach the stars, or it will send itself to oblivion so more worthy beings might inherit them instead. It's not two minutes to midnight, it's Judgement Day.

Comment: Re:Poor Alan Kay (Score 1) 148

by ultranova (#48897431) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

for backwards compatibility with C (IMO Vala does better -- YMMV)

If this is a priority, why not just use C?

But it does a reasonable job of "good enough" on all three fronts, and that is what has made it so enduringly popular over the last few decades.

Or, more cynically, it's simple enough to pick up basics fast yet has enough complexity to take years to master and an endless amount of obscure gotchas for true gurus to demonstrate their superiority. In other words, once it got adopted it helped establish a pecking order of programmers, who then have every incentive to keep it popular to protect their investment and the resulting status.

There is no field of human activity where psychology didn't rule supreme.

Comment: Re:They already have (Score 1) 661

by Bruce Perens (#48897151) Attached to: US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax

There is no reason that we have to pick one and abandon work on the others. I don't see that the same resources go into solving more than one, except that the meteor and volcano problem have one solution in common - be on another planet when it happens.

The clathrate problem and nuclear war have the potential to end the human race while it is still on one planet, so we need to solve both of them ASAP.

Comment: Re:Salary versus cost of living in each city (Score 2) 132

by m.dillon (#48895213) Attached to: By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

Well, not necessarily true. You are ignoring the costs to maintain the home, a myrid of utilities you have to pay every month that renters often don't, insurance, and property taxes. I'm a home owner but I don't think there is such a huge gap between owning and renting. A lot of older owners are faced with having to sell their homes after retirement and moving somewhere cheaper when they would rather stay where they are. It's more like a safety net and less like a nest-egg, frankly.

That said, I prefer to own.


Comment: Might be difficult (Score 1) 397

by m.dillon (#48895049) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Mice are so mass-market these days that it is hard to find one that actually performs properly. I've gone through a lot of mice over the years, always preferring the hardwired mice over the wireless (dead battery == unhappy), but in the last round I simply couldn't find a wired mouse that worked well. Everything being sold was wireless.

Of late, many of the mice I've tried have simply been too big and bulky, stretching my fingers and generally uncomfortable.

I wound up going with a Microsoft Sculpt 1569 wireless mouse (w/ Nano Transceiver). The Logitech M325 wireless also works but its middle-button-scroll wheel isn't ratcheted. These small mice are nice, my thumb and two right fingers hang over the edge and stay relaxed.

Also I recommend buying a non-rechargable alkaline AA for it, which will last 6 months. The rechargable NiMH batteries usually only last 1-2 months before they have to be replaced/recharged due to nominal leakage, which is too annoying (though I suppose one could buy low-leakage NiMHs).

The middle button scroll wheel isn't a problem. Most of them can also be clicked left and right which IS a problem because it's trivial to accidently click left or click right when you are just trying to push down on it as a middle button. So I disable the mouse-wheel left/right action entirely via:

xinput set-button-map Mouse1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 0 0 10 11

For the transceiver I find that (obviously) the closer it is to the mouse the better. The best solution is to buy a keyboard that has a USB extension on its right or left side and plug the transceiver into that. Then the transceiver is right next to the mouse with no extra cabling. The Razer (mechanical) gaming keyboards are my favorite... very heavy so they don't move around and have the same feel as the old IBM mechnical keyboards had. 80 WPM is a breeze on them.


Comment: Re:Ppl who don't know C++ slamming C++ (Score 5, Insightful) 148

by hey! (#48894501) Attached to: Bjarne Stroustrup Awarded 2015 Dahl-Nygaard Prize

Well it's been many, many years since I've used it, which was back in the late 80s and early 90s. My impression from this time is that C++ is unquestionably a work of genius, but that I didn't particularly like it. Part of that is that we didn't really know how to use it effectively. In that era most object oriented programmers used concrete inheritance way too much. Part of that is due to aspects of what we thought an OO language should have that turned out to add complexity while being only marginally useful in practice (e.g. multiple concrete inheritance and operator overloading).

But in terms of meeting its design goals C++ is a tour de force of ingenuity -- even if some of those goals are questionable by today's standards. The very fact that we know some of those features aren't necessarily ideal is because they were taken out of the realm of academic noodling and put into a practical and highly successful language that could tackle the problems of the day on the hardware of the day. It's hard to overstate the practical impact of C++ on the advancement of both theory and practice of software development.

Any prize for contributions to OO programming pretty that didn't include Stroustrup in its first recipients would be dubious.

Comment: Re:I have an even better idea (Score 1) 287

by ultranova (#48894449) Attached to: Government Recommends Cars With Smarter Brakes

You don't have a right to be able to afford anything. At least in any society beyond pure communism - which has never existed in groups of more than say, 100.

That is untrue. For example, food stamps are all about ensuring everyone can afford food.

Also, Cold War is over and you won. Congratulations. However, it also means that the Red Scare is no longer an effective rhetoric. Get over it already.

Anyone can make an omelet with eggs. The trick is to make one with none.