Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.


Forgot your password?

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

by Rollgunner (#48820447) Attached to: Pope Francis: There Are Limits To Freedom of Expression
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

by Rollgunner (#47491153) Attached to: Dungeons & Dragons' Influence and Legacy
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

by Rollgunner (#46636587) Attached to: Should Patients Have the Option To Not Know Their DNA?
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

by Rollgunner (#46626411) Attached to: Book Review: Money: The Unauthorized Biography
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

by Rollgunner (#46612117) Attached to: Why <em>Darmok</em> Is a Good <em>Star Trek: TNG</em> Episode
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 !"

Comment: The simple fact is this : (Score 1) 245

by Rollgunner (#46514209) Attached to: Is Analog the Fix For Cyber Terrorism?
My sister-in law was excitedly showing off her new car to me, and I said that I didn't care for the idea of a remote-start function for cars. "But it's security coded." she said. My response was this:

If a device can be controlled with an electronic signal, that means that the device can be controlled with an electronic signal.

Sometimes that signal will come from where you want it to, but there can be no guarantee that it will not come from somewhere else.

Comment: Taserball ! (Score 1) 253

by Rollgunner (#45958675) Attached to: How would you use science to innovate upon sports?
Rig the (American) footballs with tasers inside them such that the longer the game goes, the more frequently they deliver debilitating shocks.

This will not only make for unlimited "funniest video" footage, but will also turn the beginnings of every game into a massively brutal offense-fest as no team will want to have the ball late in the game.

Comment: Not Exactly (Score 5, Informative) 116

by Rollgunner (#45278737) Attached to: Drone-Mounted Laser Weapons Are On the Way
Seeing as they specifically mention Electro-Optical and Infra-Red guided missiles, It seems that the objective is not to 'blow up' a missile as the linked article suggests, but rather to use a laser to blind the missile's tracking systems, causing it to lose tracking and veer off target or "generate a miss" as they say.

Getting a laser to destroy a missile requires about 100 kW of energy and a few tons of hardware to focus it.

Getting a laser to blind optical sensors requires a $10 Radio Shack gift card.

Comment: GOLD - Asimov (Score 4, Interesting) 532

by Rollgunner (#44968923) Attached to: I'd prefer my money be made of ...
Gold! Willard was hesitating. Money, when it was a matter of electronic exchange, meant nothing.
There was no feeling of either wealth or poverty above a certain level.
The world was a matter of plastic cards and of slots and all the world transferred, transferred, transferred.
Gold was different. It had a feel. Each piece had a weight. Piled together, it had a gleaming beauty.
It was wealth one could appreciate and experience.

He didn't need the money. He was not so sure he didn't need the gold.

- Isaac Asimov (Gold)

Life is a game. Money is how we keep score. -- Ted Turner