Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re: Good for greece (Score 4, Insightful) 1173 1173

I think much of your analogy is flawed, but accepting it at face value, the correct move now is to sell the house that is inappropriate for the family's financial circumstances, and move into an apartment or much smaller house. If this solution is refused, the creditors (in this situation, I am sure the family has other debts) are within their rights to seize the family's assets, including the house, and leave the family to fester.

In most countries, there is a bankruptcy process that can ameliorate the consequences somewhat. There is no bankruptcy process for countries so, if they upset their creditors too much, they can expect truly unpleasant consequences.

Comment: Re:Drone It (Score 1) 833 833

Valid point on the acknowledged $1,000,000,000,000 program cost. I would only point out that this cost will inevitably increase over time if the program continues.

Your assumption that the US economy will continue to steadily grow over the next 20 odd years is not conservative, but arguably optimistic.

Whether the F-35 is a powerful weapon is open to debate. Certainly, one could question whether the money could be better spent elsewhere. For instance, a trillion dollars will buy about 250,000 Predator drones.

Comment: Pork barrels versus real weapons (Score 2) 833 833

There is some ceiling on US military spending beyond which they will not be allowed to go. This portion of this for weapons needs to be split in some manner between weapons necessary to enforce US foreign policy, and weapons spending with domestic political benefits. At the time the JSF boondoggle was getting underway, it seemed the US would be facing weak opposition in conflicts. That allowed spending on combat weapons to be restricted, and more to be allocated towards pork barrel projects like the JSF. Indeed, with less projected need for weapons used in warmongering, projects like the JSF were important to keep military spending near its permitted ceiling. The situation is now a bit different. To support US foreign policy, a credible deterrent against a resurgent Russia and increasingly aggressive China is now needed. The JSF may need to go to free up cash for real weapons systems.

Comment: Large charities (Score 4, Insightful) 27 27

In general, I think the point about large charities being mostly about sustaining themselves is correct. However, they have connections that can often make them the only (albeit imperfect) organizations that can mobilize relief after major disasters. Further, some specific large charities provide unique services that smaller organizations, however well run, cannot replicate. An example is the Red Cross and their monitoring of prisoners of war. I also greatly respect one or two large charities. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) does tremendous work, such as fighting the ebola outbreak for months before the WHO did anything effective.. Generalizations can have limited validity, but must not be taken too far

Comment: Unsuccessful experiments still have value (Score 3, Insightful) 188 188

It is easy to explain why an experiment failed after the event, but that does not mean the result was obvious. This is a case in point. Had the experiment succeeded, cheaper, safer food with reduced environmental impact would have been possible. Sadly, it failed. Now, we need to look at other approaches.

Comment: Re:Static (Score 1) 287 287

With a mobile device (which most Android devices are) that are continually switching between networks, static IP addresses are not ideal. The "static" IP address (for most protocols) needs to be routable. This means the address must change when switching networks. Support for DHCPv6 is arguably the easiest way to do this. Having routers need to recognize when random addresses are generated inside their networks and correctly route them without security concerns is not ideal.

Comment: Re: I'm afraid! Please send hugs! (Score 2) 500 500

My post was intended as flippant, but I do know the full story.

The woman was treated normally by the United flight attendant. Rude service by United is the norm, and excusing it by claims that it is necessary for security par for the course. However, the argument that a young woman armed with a cola could be dangerous was pretty ridiculous. The better airlines provide, not only cans of soda, but even small bottles of wine. I am unaware that these have ever been used for terrorist purposes.

She was upset, posted about it on her Facebook page, and responded to media enquiries when the story went viral. Was there any Islamophobia? I think at least one of the passengers telling her to "shut the f--k up" was probably motivated by an antipathy to Islam. I certainly would not speak that way to any young woman.

You are quite right that the story has been blown out of proportion. That said, many people exhibit a quite irrational fear and hatred of Islam. The vast majority of Muslims are normal folk whose dress code may or may not be old fashioned.

Comment: Re:I'm afraid! Please send hugs! (Score 2) 500 500

You are right to be concerned. Only Saturday, a young female student on a United flight tried to lay her hands on a can of cola. The flight attendant had been alerted to the danger (no doubt as a result of the Patriot Act provisions) and prevented the woman arming herself, storming the cockpit and flying the plane into the rebuilt World Trade Center. Who will monitor the intentions of these desperate terrorists if the Patriot Act provisions lapse?

Seriously, the administration would prefer the provisions are renewed as it reduces the number of acts they carry out illegally. In reality, however, they will continue doing what they like, as they have been for decades. No prosecution for their illegal actions is possible, because the evidence of wrongdoing is classified for security reasons.

Comment: Couple of observations (Score 1) 43 43

In any decent analogy, the black hole ought to be a pocket if playing pool. Perhaps, they should have compared the behavior to one of those billiard games played on tables with no pockets.

My other comment is that BH is a really slow player. I am not particularly speedy myself, but playing since 1992 and not yet finished a single frame ... jeesh!

Comment: Windows for Workgroups (Score 1) 387 387

I had limited exposure to Windows 3.0 (and 3.1). From a support angle, it was mostly a matter of it worked or it didn't (give or take memory limits). Windows for Workgroups (3.1 and 3.11) on the other hand holds many memories for me, almost all horrendous. To this day, I still do not understand why it would sometimes work Monday and Thursday, but simply refuse to network Tuesday and Wednesday. The hours I spent trying to make that garbage work ...

Comment: Re:Why not just... (Score 1) 384 384

Correctly spoken, TCP and UDP are two completely separate transport layers available within the Internet protocol suite. When people talk about TCP/IP, they should be talking about using the TCP transport layer and IP (v4 and/or v6) internet layer. This does not include UDP. Of course, as with most complex technology, the wrong terminology is often used. I am sure you can find references where the "Internet protocol suite" is called "TCP/IP" and all the distinctions between different layers and protocols confusingly blurred. That does not make such terminology technically correct, and it certainly does not promote correct understanding. Wikipedia actually has a superb and very readable description of the Internet protocol suite and all the different components that are currently part of it.

Comment: Probably small static battery powered devices (Score 1) 403 403

I doubt the ones that immediately occur to me will be the winners. However, there are smoke detectors guaranteed to work for over a decade, and there is a pacemaker with a minimum lifespan of 14 years. Some digital watches are also 10+ years. Tadiran batteries are supposedly good for 40 years in some applications (remote monitoring devices?)

Comment: Re:Sororities (Score 5, Insightful) 257 257

Why do sororities even exist?

The tribal instinct remains strong. Human beings tend to feel more secure when they can form themselves into groups with whom they identify and that exclude those with whom they do not identify. The "secret rituals" are one of the key ways of reinforcing this feeling of being in a cohesive tribe, protected against intrusion from outside.

Some fairly modern tribes, such as country clubs and gentlemen's clubs, are now legally constrained in their ability to exclude members they feel uncomfortable with. Criminal tribes, like the mafia and yakuza are typically particularly careful about the members they recruit, and have many rituals designed to inspire loyalty and the feeling of exclusivity.

Regardless of type, the instinct we have to form ourselves into tribes remains, long after it outlasted its useful protective purpose in primitive societies.

Comment: Plausible versus implausible threats (Score 1) 254 254

The article's assumption that the key difference between a Dec 7 and Apr 28 threat is passage of time is simply wrong. Another Virginia Tech shooting is plausible. A single mentally disturbed individual is quite capable of carrying it out. It is rather unlikely that any anonymous poster has a bunch of aircraft carriers handy to launch a new attack on Pearl Harbor.

You are an insult to my intelligence! I demand that you log off immediately.