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Comment: Re:Irreversible? (Score 1) 145

by Zocalo (#47765285) Attached to: Climate Damage 'Irreversible' According Leaked Climate Report
"Irreversible" is a very strong word, and clearly incorrect. We're not so much talking about unscrambling eggs here as something than *can* be corrected, and in all likelihood *will* be corrected, just by leaving it alone and waiting long enough. The problem for us humans here today, of course, is that we won't we around that long and in all probability neither will many generations of our decendants. I fully expect the naysayers to latch on to this in combination with the historical record showing that the earth has been warmer than this in the past as further "evidence" that the IPCC has no clue in their rebuttals over the next few days.

Comment: Is that so? (Score 1) 157

by SmallFurryCreature (#47764691) Attached to: Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Since the idea is that this universe is a simulation, who says it is a simulation of reality? Maybe we are some kids crazy fantasy world in which the container has to be larger then its contents! FREAKY!

The trick to thinking outside the box, is to stop thinking the box is real.

IF this is a simulated world, there is no reason to assume the rules in the simulation are the same as the ones of the world in which the simulation is running.

Comment: Re: Switched double speed half capacity, realistic (Score 1) 261

by Thagg (#47764537) Attached to: Seagate Ships First 8 Terabyte Hard Drive

Curious. Back in the stone ages (12 years ago) we had a 53 GB 12-platter drive (The box said "Solve your disk space storage problems forever!") that had a head fail. I was able to recover 22/23rds of the data, but it was clear that the data was recorded from one platter to the next all the way through the stack, and then the heads moved. Back in that day (I don't know if it's still true) one side of one of the platters just contained alignment information.

Comment: Re:Paying by the MB (Score 1) 445

by cduffy (#47763815) Attached to: Net Neutrality Is 'Marxist,' According To a Koch-Backed Astroturf Group

We've been paying for roads by the mile for decades, via gas taxes -- an effective way of making people who drive more, pay more.

That might be true if gas taxes were more than double what they are now.

Funds from gas taxes go to a fund accessible to the federal highway administration -- which is to say that they don't pay for city streets at all, which are covered purely by property taxes. Even then, the FHWA only covers about 49% of highway costs, meaning that the majority of the costs of highways remain borne by the states, and are paid out of different taxes.

(This is a sore point because so many folks wrongly consider cyclists freeloaders on account of not paying gas taxes -- when the amount of wear put on roads is proportional to cubed vehicle weight, making the road wear caused by cyclists negligible, whereas the property taxes and state sales taxes paid are not).

Comment: Welcome to the free market (Score 1) 283

by jd (#47762443) Attached to: Comcast Tells Government That Its Data Caps Aren't Actually "Data Caps"

Where providers are free to gouge and customers are free to... well... complain on Slashdot, but that's about it.

It's only actually free when there's freedom. Freedom to choose between genuinely different providers is a start. If they go to the same tier 2 provider, then the that will define the prices and services, so isn't a choice at all. If they ARE the tier 2, then they're the ultimate source of services and pricetag for all the tier 3s out there.

But there has to be more, since bandwidth throttling dictates bandwidth availability downstream. You can't sell what isn't there - unless you're Time-Warner or Comcast, of course. Try that with a physical product ("It'll cost you $elebenty, payable now, no refund, and if it doesn't do what we claim, that's not a lemon, that's the fault of some unidentified someone doing something somewhere somehow and we'd rather screw you than bother them"). So, freedom to know what you're actually buying and freedom to use statuary rights to obtain that product or a refund.

This is actually one reason I'm a little unhappy with free software. It has been telling vendors that it's ok to not provide what is offered. Not so much by actually doing that - free software has been, in general, superb about being up-front about what it can and cannot do, known defects and limitations, etc. More by saying in the license that the producer is entitled to lie through his teeth without consequence. A quick look at Oracle's conduct shows that vendors have paid very close attention to that clause.

Free Software relies on there being a viable alternative, that users can go elsewhere if dissatisfied. The resilience to fixing bugs in GCC and GLibC, in present and prior administrations, demonstrate that when viable alternatives are scant, such software is too complex to fork or replace unless it gets really, really bad. Which it has occasionally done.

When it comes to cable companies, it's infinitely worse. You're not in a position to run fibre from your home to an alternative tier 2 in another State. Partly because of expense, partly because laws governing interstate activities make it impossible for private individuals, and partly because the cable companies would raise all hell, three quarters of bloody murder and a dash of pint of high water to stop you. Which would not be hard for them, all they need to do is to persuade the tier 2 provider to not sell the capacity. If that failed, they could keep you tied up in knots with the FCC over whether you were an unlicensed telecom operator or not. Mind you, some of you might like knots. I dunno. If all else failed, they could SWAT the people running the cable, get you listed for suspected terrorist ties, or just repeatedly run a backhoe through your cable until you got the message.

You have no choice. You have no freedom. The cable operators have been redefining "monopoly" and "telecommunications" to whatever serves their purpose, not yours, and on multiple occasions. They have been free to do so because everyone likes simplified services and nobody in the States is going to vehemently oppose the "market at work". Even when it clearly doesn't. Not until it is far, far too late to stop things happening.

And we're way past it being too far. It was too far when telecos started replacing copper for fibre at select spots. Supposedly to improve service (which never improved). The reality was that DSL companies competing with the teleco all went out of business where this happened. No great surprise, you can't run DSL over fibre and everyone knew it. It was too late when telephonic "service of last resort" stopped being mandatory in many States. It was too late when ADSL was all private users could buy, SDSL was only sold to select businesses.

It was too late when rival multistate networks got bought up by the Big Telecos with not a murmur from anyone.

It was not because these were fatal in themselves, it's because people had become too stupid and too utterly dependent on being spoonfed by corporate giants (who are far less efficient than any big government ever thought of being, except at defrauding customers). The time for people to learn to think had passed. There wasn't anything left to think about. There were no examples to learn from. All that was left was a self-inflicted oblivion.

It's as if a hundred billion endpoints all screamed out and then fell silent.

And no Consumer Jedi to notice or care.

Comment: What could possibly go wrong? (Score 1, Insightful) 123

by castle (#47758885) Attached to: Climate Scientist Pioneer Talks About the Furture of Geoengineering

And they already do this stuff at varying scales. Want to increase/decrease rainfall? Been doing it since the 60's and probably earlier.

I say climate scientists are a pretentious lot. And while I hate to be considered an unreasonable person with regard to respecting scientific opinion, climate science is a major source of ridiculously dangerous and harmful ways to do the wrong thing and throw a complex poorly understood system awry. Thanks for the Ice Age/Marsification/Greenhouse World you self-righteous boffins! ;) but complex organic systems are probably pretty resilient, so perhaps it'll just be a temporary roaring correction til Mama decides to purge the fleas on her back who pretended at trying to fix a system that is self-regulating by doing grossly ridiculous things in the interests of saving us from the over-hyped threat of the generation. ..!..

+ - Feds creating database to track hate speech on Twitter->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd (182728) writes "The federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database that will track “misinformation” and hate speech on Twitter.

The National Science Foundation is financing the creation of a web service that will monitor “suspicious memes” and what it considers “false and misleading ideas,” with a major focus on political activity online.

The “Truthy” database, created by researchers at Indiana University, is designed to “detect political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution.”

The university has received $919,917 so far for the project."

Link to Original Source

Comment: The footage doesn't matter. (Score 1) 298

by jd (#47752663) Attached to: Put A Red Cross PSA In Front Of the ISIS Beheading Video

The publicity is everything to the terrorists. Censorship is, in some ways, even better for them, as rumours (which they can start) can make unseen footage far worse than reality and the Streisand Effect works just fine, bringing people into discussions.

No, this isn't something you can fix in the middle. You have to fix the users, instead. You have to damp down emotional responses and increase rational duscussion. There is no terrorism without fear, there are no causes without fear.

Eliminating the instinct (it's not an emotion, it's baser than that) of fear us impossible - and probably unwise if possible. But damping it, and raising calm rationality, is possible.

And it will not only make video nasties unimportant, it will make the terrorists who make them an endangered species.

You can't fight terror with blinkers or peril-sensitive sunglasses, or even with weapins. Because terror is in the mind, be it their mind or yours. And to fight in your mind the ghoulies and ghosties and things that go bump in the night, a warplane is a very messy, expensive and stupid solution. You can only fight mind with mind.

Comment: Re:My opinion on the matter. (Score 2) 764

by jd (#47752559) Attached to: Choose Your Side On the Linux Divide

Skepticism != Cynicism.

When the distinction becomes blurred, you no longer have skepticism.

All things should be questioned. That doesn't mean forever.

All things should be subject to scrutiny. That doesn't mean wasting cycles.

Once an issue is settled, it's settled until new data brings it back into question.

Things should be fixed before they break, not after, but only with something verifiably better. If it's not verified, it's not better.

Enough of the common sense that you yung 'uns lack. Back to the boot process.

The original boot process was never great. A very limited range of states, temperamental scripts, poorly documented behaviours, wide variation in precise behaviour between implementations, potential vulnerabilities, ghastly completion time, horrible dependencies, etc.

This has been replaced with an alternative that is new, shiny and creates exactly the same problems but in a completely new way.

A pox on both your houses.

Still, six is better than the two runlevels offered by Windows, which are even slower, even less stable and even less secure. What's worse than pox. I know, Ebola on Windows.

The lot of you are a disgrace. All three systems are less designed than congealed. And the Unix man pages were written by Vogons. Drunk Vogons. Practicing poetry whilst smashing snails with hammers.

Comment: "Paleolithic diets" now vs then (Score 3, Interesting) 265

by walterbyrd (#47752289) Attached to: The Evolution of Diet

I doubt so-called "Paleolithic diets" are anything like people ate during that.

For example, people ate fruit then, but it was seasonal, and very different from the fruit we eat today. Same with veggies. The stuff we eat is nothing like the stuff that grew in the wild.

Also, people during that age were not especially healthy. They probably died in their 40s.

The Arctic Inuit may not have high blood pressure, but what about other diseases? Is there average life span any longer than ours?

Then there is the question of physical activity. During the stone age, getting too fat and/or being too inactive, were probably the least of your worries.

Are we really willing to give up coffee, or salt on our foods?

Too much of everything is just enough. -- Bob Wier