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Comment Diethyl Ether ? (Score 2) 1081

Good old-fashioned inhaled Ether. The anesthetic properties preclude the possibility of pain, and increasing concentrations will cause sedation, unconsciousness and then respiratory paralysis (death). Literally painless. Just have to be sure the gas chamber doesn't accidentally explode.

Comment Disappointment (Score 1) 194

I, too, hate it when a film does not inspire.

The story of a man of vast intellect and education who is a virtuoso at his craft (also maligned and misunderstood by almost everyone) filmed carefully so as to make not only his massive intellect apparent, but also managing to paint him as warm and charming within his personal limits.

And yet, for all the success of the film, we just don't have as many Hannibal Lectors as you'd think...

Comment The Empire Strikes Back ? (Score 3, Funny) 98

Disney Exec : Ok, we need to get that Spiderman property back.

Disney Lawyer : There's no legal recourse for us, sir. They got the license from Marvel before we bought them.

Disney Exec : I know, I know... Plus, our usual tactic of throwing money at them won't work, either; Sony is in great shape financially.

Disney Lawyer : I might have an idea about that, sir... [speed dials Kim Jong-Un]

... or maybe not.

Comment Rabid (Score 4, Interesting) 740

It's funny you mention a rabid animal...

We now live in a country where if I choose not to get my dog vaccinated against rabies, not only am I fined, but am legally responsible for the medical care costs of anyone my dog infects.

But if I choose not to vaccinate my child and they get someone else sick, then it's OK, because it was my *choice*.

The inescapable conclusion in my mind is that we care more for the welfare of our dog population than we do our human one.

Comment Verbal Assault != Free Speech (Score 1) 894

I'll be the first to agree that Freedom of Speech is a vital element to a free society, but OTOH, speaking one's opinion and engaging in Verbal Assault should be two different things from a legal standpoint.

There are plenty of ways in which speech causes harm, be it verbal abuse, libel or inciting a riot. All of these are legally actionable.

There is (or should be) a difference between rational speech and being intentionally inflammatory.

Intentionally provoking someone is almost always a bad idea, because sooner or later, you *will* get punched in the mouth either literally or metaphorically

Comment Before Breakfast Club (Score 1) 127

I don't think I was unique in spending my early teen years (in the late '70s) convinced that nobody had problems like mine or could possibly understand my problems, and that everybody else fit in and I was the only loner in the whole school. I'm pretty sure the only ways you get over things like that is to talk about them or to realize that they're just not true, and both of those require social interaction. For me that came at a gaming table. Suddenly I understood that there were a lot of people just like me with problems like mine (or different, but we all had something) and that there *was* a group for me, too. One day before gaming, sitting at that table while we were chatting about the teenage horror du jour, I had an epiphany: Probably everybody in school felt just the same as I did at that age, regardless of who they were. The same conversation we were having in the local library's basement was also taking place in frilly pink bedrooms, garages, football locker rooms, the art labs and the data processing room. None of us were really different at all, which meant that none of us were really alone. That thought is what helped me get through being a teenager without ending up in juvie or worse.

Comment Knowledge is Power (Score 4, Insightful) 157

If you know that you may be more likely to get cancer, then you can get tested more often and aggressively, increasing the chances that your cancer will be treatable.

I suppose on the other hand, if you worry so much thinking that you might get cancer you could die of a stress-induced heart attack or something.

Generally speaking though, forewarned is forearmed, and if the susceptible are more aggressively screened and treated, then it could well take away a lot of the "cancer is a death sentence" mentality that many people have.

I suppose it'll come down to personal decisions, but I sure wouldn't want to die of a condition that I was genetically predisposed toward, that was treatable and that I never got tested for because I was afraid the answer might be "yes".

Comment Courtesy of the Android Sisters (Score 1) 91

Sisters : I will use two pieces of paper as an example. Can you see this?
Human : I see one piece of paper, the other's money.
Sisters : Two pieces of paper.
Human : What ?
Sisters : Here are two pieces of paper. Both the same size. Both just paper... Humans are obsessed with money.
Human : Not all humans; Just some of us... Most of us.
Sisters : One piece of paper is worth 500 solar credits, the other is worthless; Not even worth a solar centavo. Do you know why?
Human : Sure! One's a piece of money, the other's a piece of paper!
Sisters : They are both paper !
Human : Yeah... Right.
Sisters : One has been *blessed* by the treasury wizards, the other has not.
Human : That's it?
Sisters : That's it.

In the words of Jerry Dandridge " You have to *believe* for that to work"...

Comment Not words... Context. (Score 3, Interesting) 512

It was not a matter of collections of sounds, but rather the societal context of those sounds.

"Where's the Beef?" when put into a literal translator will never come up with "this is insufficient", and that is precisely how the aliens communicated. No search of the words "Where" "Is" "The" and "Beef" will ever give you the meaning of the colloquialism. All the translator will do is make you think the person has lost a farm animal.

[back on the planet]

"I made a shelter for us. I think it will protect us from the storms tonight."

[exasperatedly waving arms and pointing at the flimsy shelter] "My cow is missing !"

The hardest part of climbing the ladder of success is getting through the crowd at the bottom.