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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:You have one last hope (Score 1) 247

Well Slashdot, the Republicans that so many of you despise, are your last line of defense against the rod that is about to be rammed into you...

I'm surprised you think there are two sides of politics remaining, they are the left and right wing of the same party and this agreement purely increasing control over the populous. Ask yourself who wants this. When trade agreements override a nations sovereignty this ceases to be a political issue and becomes a structural issue of democracy.

We are all getting rammed...

Comment 90 days (Score 1) 247

And they want to release it in a *a month or so*. So at roughly 80 or so pages (in the Intellectual Property section) can we expect a 2400 page document with 60 days to read it, so 40 pages a day after a full time job, commute and so on. So that's the expected input from the populous who will be affected by this trade agreement.

So essentially, sign this contract before you understand it. That's worldwide democracy right there. Talk about a Faustian Bargain.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 2) 98

While Fukushima was the latest accident, I always like to point out that the Fukushima plant is actually older than TMI, by at least by a few months, depending on how you measure it - do you start the time when construction started, or when criticality was first achieved?

When construction started. More precisely when the design was finished. The nature of a NPP means that it is close to impossible to retrofit any technological advances into them because a lot of the technology is in the way the plant is arranged and constructed.

One exception is I am seeing some interesting developments in nano level enhancements to coolants for the primary cooling loop however these appear to favor extending the existing lifespans of existing reactors.

Modern, actual modern nuclear plants would be far safer.

By what standard? And to which approved, viable and currently available NPP designs are you referring too? We have already seen significant design advances for NPPs already proposed and rejected due to the expense. By some ironic quirk TMI *is* one of the safest designs because it was designed to be resistant to aircraft impacts

And yes, Coal power kills more people any given day than Nuclear does all decade.

Coal and Nuclear are as bad as each other but for different reasons. Nuclear kills people for subsequent decades as the radioactive effluents make their way through our water and food supply, it also reduces the birth rate because pregnancies fail to come to full term. The key thing is it happens very slowly and the majority of effects are still years away as opposed to coal whose effects are almost instantaneous in comparison.

If there was the will to fix some of it's many design flaws it may have a chance to contribute to human society, however right now it is just a source of subsidy revenue for the oil and coal companies using provisions made available in the 2005 energy act. Governments, i.e. the populous, should own the nuclear industry as private industry is profit motivated as opposed to safety motivated. Properly managed NPP's could have provided economic stimulus, for example by providing cheap industrial power inputs, during downturns forcing industry to invest to take advantage of them. Alas!

I'd really like to see a high-efficiency high temperature molten salt thorium reactor deployed.

From my understanding of this technology it's spent fuel product is 233 Thallium, IIRC, which is characterized by many daughter products with short half lives. I'm not saying it isn't better reactor technology however it would seem the central issue of current reactor technology, the long term storage of spent fuel products, is an issue for thorium reactor technology as well.

Until we have effective, geologically stable and appropriate spent fuel containment facilities then we will always have higher levels of risk with greater levels of impact as a result of accidents in the nuclear industry. For that reason it's important to reduce that level of risk and impact to the community regardless of what reactor technology is deployed.

Comment Animals can't read signs (Score 1) 98

And animals don't have the mental capacity to understand how radionuclides will affect their offspring, that's still human created toxicity.

These animals are as likely to be exposed to radionuclide contamination by eating the local plant life as humans are. Since animals live vastly shorter lifespans than humans there is less time for cancers to manifest it's effects on the animals.

I doubt eating these animals would be a good idea however it would be very interesting to examine just how much radionuclide contamination is in the apex predators, like the wolves. The salient point about this article is that the microbes, insects and birds at the bottom of the food chain aren't there, as these are the fundamental building blocks of life.

Hardware Hacking

Desktop Turing-Welchman Bombe Build 65

An anonymous reader writes: I completed a months long project to build my own version of the Turing-Welchman Bombe. My machine uses a Raspberry Pi2 and an Arduino to drive stepper motors to turn the three output indicator drums and to drive an LCD display, to work like the indicator unit on the real Bombe. Everything was custom made by me at home. The unit is built to reflect the style of the real Bombe at Bletchley Park and to run in a similar way but as a portable, desktop sized unit. To demonstrate it I use the same Weather Report Menu as used at BP to demonstrate their real Bombe. The entire build was painstakingly documented over many months but the link given shows an overview and a film of the completed machine in action.

Comment Re:America (Score 1) 390

I don't have your qualification, however I've encountered them and found they destroy everything. I hope organizations recognize how damaging they are and take steps to exclude them.

I could only see a Narcissist or Psychopath thinking that it would be a good idea. In my experiences they have very little competence that is reliable enough to offset the damage they cause.

Comment Re:America (Score 2) 390

But I know a few high-functioning psychopaths

No you don't. You've never encountered a psychopath or you would never make such a suggestion. They were probably Narcissists, the only one's self-absorbed enough to make such a boast and they are probably only competent in convincing you of what they wanted you to believe.

There is nothing about the lack of empathy in a person that makes them in any way, shape or, form fit for any position where they have *any* authority higher than a parking officer.

Any slight detection of this form of mental dis-function should be automatic disqualification from any role resembling leadership. They simply do to much damage. "High-functioning psychopath" is an oxymoron and anyone misfortunate enough to encounter one would only suggest escaping these "people" at any opportunity.

We've already seen what they do when they have absolute power and it is more reasonable that they remain installed in power now, that that is why the world is in such bad shape and, that they should be removed as quickly as possible.

Comment Re:America (Score 1) 390

the war is psychological and the weapons are not physical, nor would the solution be

Whilst I agree that your sentiment is an accurate representation of the symptoms, I think the actual characterization is that the war is conducted by changing the laws and modifying the intents of the bill of rights. In essence the war is one of *law* where the 1st, 4th, 5th (possibly the 6th and 8th) constitutional amendments have essentially been repealed, effectively suspending due process - exampled here a blatant 4th amendment violation for an elected official. One only has to read the appropriate articles to find that laws that are blatantly unconstitutional are passed with no resistance because both major political parties in the US are the left and right wing of the same political party. Otherwise Obama would have restored due process removed by Bush.

America is in a constitutional crisis *right now*, these are the times Franklin was warning the American people about with 'a despotic people only fit for rule by a despotic government', yet for all the patriotic vitriol we see complacency winning time and again. The genius of American aristocracy is that it is concealed from the people so they can conduct their affairs with little or no interference whilst propagating the illusion that power rests with the free people.

This is not an issue of left or right politics, it's an issue of democracy and how long the American people can tolerate living in a police state before dealing with her domestic enemies.

Of course mod me into oblivion because this cuts through the illusion that any of us a free at all.

Comment Re:You know what's wrong with the world? (Score 1) 162

It's difficult to express the level of amusement reading this comment. It's like looking at a stray dog trying to take a shit on a lawn and just at the critical moment the sprinkler goes off and as the hapless creature jumps from lawn to lawn, more sprinklers go off as it is ejected from the neighborhood unrelieved.

Comment In Conclusion (Score 1) 151

Considering that the judgement brings the demise of a business dedicated to holding back invention from the very people that can make it work my initial reaction to the loss of their business model was:

ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Thank you judge!

Comment Re:You know what's wrong with the world? (Score 2) 162

The product line I have helped develop over the last 15yrs is nearly all command line stuff with a web gui on top. It means that 99% of the C/C++ code base will build cleanly on linux, solaris, hp, aix and windows.

Sounds like a good separation of the domain and presentation. I find thats the interesting difference between *IX and MS paradigm. You need design patterns in MS to make it stable however when you apply the same practices to *IX platform the application is *almost* indestructible. That's probably a part of the reason your application is successful.

We haven't started using powershell yet because some of our customers are still stuck on win2003.

I think it could also be called powers hell because, yeah it's great that there is a native shell for windows now however it has a long way to go before it is as elegant as even sh - let alone ksh, and bash. Don't get me wrong the object paradigm in ps is great but, it needs more work for it to come anywhere close to traditional shell script utility. *IX shell is just so easy and consistent. Smartest move MS made for a long time, even if they are still trying to work out why. Good that they will support ssh too.

That's the "problem" when your project makes money, using new O/S features is a trade off between improved functionality and pissing off luddite customers.

The irony being is with MS having such a tightly coupled UI makes it's greatest strength a weakness. The bar to fail on *IX is really high and you have to make a lot of really bad choices to get the the level of "technical debt" is an issue. Not bashing MS here by the way , just an observation of the differences in fundamental design of the OSs.

Comment Re:28 years and still going (Score 1) 162

Been doing sysadmin on Unix since minicomputers.

I'm in this club this year too, though my "career" started many years before on a TRS-80 and building electronics projects - great fun. I remember sweeping floors to save enough to buy a low voltage soldering iron. The day I found out I could do this as a career was the day my career started and a couple of years later I got my first computer job roughly 28 years ago. SCO, SunOS/Solaris, AT&T, AIX, HP/UX, Linux and C.

People seem to complain about sysadmin work however, I find it exciting and it was an excellent entry point into an IT career. I set out to learn as much as I could and whilst being a sysadmin has been a role I've done, dba and programmer has also been the roles I've filled. I have found that being a generalist with some very deep and specific expertise has served me greatly. I can do whatever I want in IT now. Being a sysadmin made me a better DBA and programmer and visa versa. If you spend your time complaining about being a sysadmin then you are missing great opportunities to learn and change organizations in very fundamental ways that usually get recognized by the board because you can make changes that save them a lot of money.

The opportunities for seeing and doing things in IT has, for me at least, made me think that it is an exciting and varied career. It has taken me from accounting systems to simulation and data extraction from research nuclear reactors, I've seen so much. I love it, and I think the problem with some people is that they just do it for the money and, as a result, can't take the pressure - so that's when they whine about it.

I'll keep going as long as I can.

Wherever you go...There you are. - Buckaroo Banzai