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+ - Ask Slashdot: Can some of us get together and rebuild this community? 21

Submitted by wbr1
wbr1 (2538558) writes "It seems abundantly clear now that Dice and the SlashBeta designers do not care one whit about the community here. They do not care about rolling in crapware into sourceforge installers. In short, the only thing that talks to them is money and stupid ideas.

Granted, it takes cash to run sites like these, but they were fine before. The question is, do some of you here want to band together, get whatever is available of slashcode and rebuild this community somewhere else? We can try to make it as it once was, a haven of geeky knowledge and frosty piss, delivered free of charge in a clean community moderated format."

+ - Alternatives to Slashdot post beta? 8

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Like many Slashdotters, I intend to stop visiting Slashdot after the beta changeover. After years of steady decline in the quality of discussions here, the beta will be the last straw. What sites alternative to Slashdot have others found? The best I have found has been, but it has been a while since I've looked for tech discussion sites."

+ - Slashdot BETA Discussion-> 60

Submitted by mugnyte
mugnyte (203225) writes "With Slashdot's recent restyled "BETA" slowly rolled to most users, there's been a lot of griping about the changes. This is nothing new, as past style changes have had similar effects. However, this pass there are significant usability changes: A narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments. BETA implies not yet complete, so taking that cue — please list your specific, detailed opinoins, one per comment, and let's use the best part of slashdot (the moderation system) to raise the attention to these. Change can be jarring, but let's focus on the true usability differences with the new style."
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Comment: Er.. today is the safest it's been in decades (Score 1) 380

by Renevith (#45799961) Attached to: <em>Battlefield 4</em> Banned In China

I want my children to live in a better world than the one that I grew up in and I don't see it happening today. [...] Candidly, I think the world is a more violent, aggressive and dangerous place to live in today than it has been in the past.

You realize this is a factual claim, not an opinion, right? Shouldn't you make a basic effort to know whether it's true or not before posting it?

Since you're talking about your own children, I'll assume you grew up in the 80s to early 90s. And since your comment focused on US culture, I'll use US crime rates since then to illustrate my point, which is that children today will grow up in a world about half as violent what you grew up with:
Violent crime, 1993-2012
Violent crime, 1973-2003
Property crime (theft)
Even non-crime dangers are way down:
Fire deaths since 1918
Traffic deaths since 1900

Bear in mind that I'm not commenting on the rest of your post, just that one claim I quoted above. But if you care about truth more than truthiness, you should really change your tune about the violence and danger in today's (US) society.

Comment: Re:Glory to Arstotzka! (Score 2) 131

by Renevith (#45670649) Attached to: Switzerland Wants To Become the World's Data Vault

China's massive espionage ends at their borders, outside there it's just the usual

This exhaustively researched report claims the Chinese army has a division that actively hacks Western corporations to steal their data:

While China is behind the NSA in some regards, they are beyond it in others. I think 'comparable' is appropriate.

Comment: Re:3. No longer liking my job (Score 1) 641

by Renevith (#44176473) Attached to: Things That Scare the Bejeezus Out of Programmers

Retraining at age 40 to change my career?

I have a co-worker who just switched to our profession (quantitative finance) last year after being a materials engineer his entire life. His retraining was significant, including earning a masters degree. I don't know how old he is but his hair is white and his kids are in college, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say he's older than you.

He's incredibly happy.

Go for it.

Comment: Re:I am doubtful (Score 1) 325

by Renevith (#43816817) Attached to: Predicting IQ With a Simple Visual Test

Also, the correlation was at most 71%, note that flipping a coin is expected to correlate to around 50%.

Flipping a coin would have an expected correlation of 0%, although with only 56 samples it could easily be 20-30% in any particular trial. 71% is pretty significant.

Of course, it seems like the researchers did test a lot of different possible relationships and cognitive skills, so they were biased towards finding at least one strong one. (obligatory XKCD.) Still, 71% is a lot better than you are giving them credit for.

Their data seems to be awfully well clustered and the slope seems to be due to the outliers.

See how the data points are all paired? -- each IQ has exactly two dots above it, one red and one blue, presumably representing the same individual. From what I can tell, the important part of that graph is not the absolute position of the red or blue dots, which I agree do not have a remarkable slope, but rather the difference between red and blue for a given individual.

Their other plot from the news article seems to be just that difference, or some derived representation of it. It's a much more convincing relationship.

Comment: A longer version of his story (Score 2) 159

by Renevith (#42731785) Attached to: North Korea's Prison Camps Are Now On Google Maps

I followed the links through to a Guardian review of the book about Shin, only to find "This content has been removed as our copyright has expired." WTF?

Fortunately, the Wayback Machine is a bit more sane and has the full story:

Comment: Re:Papa John (Score 3, Interesting) 418

by Renevith (#41992667) Attached to: Papa John's Sued For Unwanted Pizza-Related Texts

I can't help but picture this CEO as a 6-year-old who's been prevented from stealing his younger sister's toy and is now throwing a tantrum.

I am a libertarian. It should be a no-brainer for Republicans to attract my support (over the Democrats at least). Instead they're giving me and everyone else the finger with their absurd rhetoric and childish political games. This goes for their politicians, their pundits, and quite a few of their supporters. Everything Obama supports is automatically bad, even if it's the same thing the Republicans earlier supported.

This insane prioritization of winning vs. losing and minor social issues instead of real governance is why I agree with the sentiment of this post. The Republicans are a menace and must be stopped.

Comment: Re:Partially on the subject... (Score 1) 155

by Renevith (#41687635) Attached to: New Evidence That the Moon Was Created In a Massive Collision

That doesn't seem too plausible.

The moon is only about 1% of the mass of the earth, so let's start with a baseline estimate that it could change surface gravity by 1%. However, it's pretty far from earth's surface (around 100 times earth's radius), and gravity scales with the square of the distance, so now we're talking a 0.0001% change.

It gets worse, though: because we are in mutual orbit with the moon, we are actually in microgravity (freefall) relative to it. In other words, the moon pulls on you with roughly the same strength as it pulls on the earth, so the total 0.0001% change in gravity mostly cancels out! The only part of it that's left is from you being slightly closer to the moon than the earth is (when the moon is above you) or slightly farther (when it's on the other side of the earth). This difference is what causes the tides, but it's incredibly small relative to the gravitational pull of the earth.

Not to mention that the moon was probably not around when the earth was fully molten, or that the earth *does* have heavier elements (iron) predominantly in the center, or any number of other reasons why this idea doesn't seem likely...

Comment: Re:so... (Score 1) 319

by Renevith (#41682427) Attached to: Huge Geoengineering Project Violates UN Rules

You seem legitimately interested in hearing a perspective different from your own, so I'll oblige. Note that libertarianism is diverse, like any political affiliation, so not everyone who identifies with that label would agree with my responses.

Insurance is a common libertarian answer in this situation, and one that makes sense to me.

i guess he could take an insurance policy in theory, but even if an insurer were willing to cover this, the premium if correctly computed would probably be more than he could afford

Then he can't do it. If the fair premium is higher than the benefit of the project, that tells you that the total benefits of the project are lower than the total costs, so the project should not be undertaken. If he thinks the premium is unfairly high, or if nobody will cover it due to the size and uncertainly, he could work to build up significant evidence of the safety of the proposed activity (which is exactly what most people would probably want to see before he started anyway, libertarian or not).

so he would just go ahead and do it anyway.

This seems like an argument that applies to any crime under any political system... but if he did that in a libertarian society, then anyone who was potentially going to be affected would be eligible to defend themselves by preventing him from doing it. Note that people could delegate their self-defense, so even someone who lives far away and/or has a busy life already could still exercise their right of self-defense without undue inconvenience.

what would happen in the real world is, of course, that private interests would have this guy arrested and maybe worse. but that's initiation of force

I don't know of many people who consider self-defense to be initiation of force. Of course people would only be justified in using as much force as reasonable to stop him... initiating an experiment like this would not be carte blanche for dialing up the assassins. (This just follows from current common-law precedent for justifying self-defense.)

libertarians would have to admit that private prisons would still exist in their paradise

Yep. The main problem I personally have with prisons is not their existence but the high number of people locked up for acts of non-aggression (e.g. marijuana possession). Also note that, in the hierarchy of monopoly government institutions that libertarians want to get rid of, the justice system is typically near the end of the list because of the problems inherent in having two people with opposing interests (plaintiff and defendant) jointly select from multiple competing private court/prison systems.

you could say that the entrepreneur is "initiating force" by doing something very risky, but that's a definition which would admit many of the government regulations we have today.

"Regulations" are not necessarily against libertarian principles. After all, most libertarians want to live in stable modern society too, and are against direct aggression such as theft as well as indirect and/or probabilistic aggression like pollution of other people's property or reckless endangerment (e.g. driving drunk or attempting large-scale unproven geo-engineering experiments affecting other people's property). Remember not to confuse us with anarcho-capitalists!

I appreciated your reasonable tone when referring to libertarian principles so I was actually willing to respond, unlike in most slashdot flamefests. Hope you found the perspective interesting at least.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes. -- Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, UTCS