Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


+ - US Government Doesn't Want You to Know How to Make a Hydrogen Bomb 3

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The atom bomb — leveler of Hiroshima and instant killer of some 80,000 people — is just a pale cousin compared to the hydrogen bomb, another product of American ingenuity, that easily packs the punch of a thousand Hiroshimas. That is why Washington has for decades done everything in its power to keep the details of its design out of the public domain. Now William J. Broad reports in the NYT that Kenneth W. Ford has defied a federal order to cut material from his new book that the government says teems with thermonuclear secrets. Ford says he included the disputed material because it had already been disclosed elsewhere and helped him paint a fuller picture of an important chapter of American history. But after he volunteered the manuscript for a security review, federal officials told him to remove about 10 percent of the text, or roughly 5,000 words. “They wanted to eviscerate the book,” says Ford. “My first thought was, ‘This is so ridiculous I won’t even respond.’ ” For instance, the federal agency wanted him to strike a reference to the size of the first hydrogen test device — its base was seven feet wide and 20 feet high. Dr. Ford responded that public photographs of the device, with men, jeeps and a forklift nearby, gave a scale of comparison that clearly revealed its overall dimensions.

Though difficult to make, hydrogen bombs are attractive to nations and militaries because their fuel is relatively cheap. Inside a thick metal casing, the weapon relies on a small atom bomb that works like a match to ignite the hydrogen fuel. Today, Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States are the only declared members of the thermonuclear club, each possessing hundreds or thousands of hydrogen bombs. Military experts suspect that Israel has dozens of hydrogen bombs. India, Pakistan and North Korea are seen as interested in acquiring the potent weapon. The big secret the book discusses is thermal equilibrium, the discovery that the temperature of the hydrogen fuel and the radiation could match each other during the explosion (PDF). World Scientific, a publisher in Singapore, recently made Dr. Ford’s book public in electronic form, with print versions to follow. Ford remains convinced the book “contains nothing whatsoever whose dissemination could, by any stretch of the imagination, damage the United States or help a country that is trying to build a hydrogen bomb.” “Were I to follow all — or even most — of your suggestions,” says Ford, “it would destroy the book.”"

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 335

I read cyclone B is kinda of efficient.

It's called Zyklon B . It is only "kinda of efficient" when used in controlled, enclosed spaces. I don't think anyone's likely to fall for the old take-a-hot-shower-in-here routine again anytime soon so it looks like we'll probably just stick with drones, thanks.

Comment: Re:Kill them all. (Score 1) 335

There is nothing nice about this. It is vicious and it is brutal. Which is why we should not engage in military actions unless we are willing to pursue it. Because the opposite is viciousness and brutality for both sides without any resolution.

A hugely underrated post IMHO. I agree with you entirely, our collective appetite for wars on foreign soil would wane very quickly if we went in with this pragmatic approach.

Like antibiotics, military 'treatment' must be applied at maximum sustainable levels (as per your post) until the problem has been resolved. Tapering and other such pussy-footing behaviour strengthens the invader, undermines the treatment and prolongs the suffering of all involved.

+ - Bring On The Boring Robots->

Submitted by malachiorion
malachiorion (1205130) writes "After a successful 6-month pilot, Savioke's "butler bots" are heading to hotels around the country. These are not sexy, scary, or even technically impressive machines. But they were useful enough, over the course of their 2000 or so deliveries, to warrant a redesign, and a larger deployment starting in April. Savioke's CEO had some interesting things to say about the pilot, including the fact that some 95 percent of guests gave the robot a 5-star review, and only the drunks seemed to take issue with it. Plus, as you might expect, everyone seemed to want to take a damn selfie with it. But as small as the stakes might appear, highly specialized bots like this one, which can only do one thing (in this case, bring up to 10 pounds of stuff from the lobby to someone's door) are a better glimpse of our future than any talk of hyper-competent humanoids or similarly versatile machines. This is my post for Popular Science about why the rise of the boring robot is good news for robotics."
Link to Original Source

+ - The Next Great IT Job Killer May Already Be Here

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "A quiet revolution with a potential impact on the IT workforce reminiscent of outsourcing may be under way in the form of robotic process automation, InfoWorld reports. 'Geared toward automating a variety of business and computing processes typically handled by humans, RPA will stir passions at organizations that deploy the technology, with its potential to slash jobs, shake up the relevant skills mix, and if implemented strategically, stave off the specter of outsourcing.' BPOs and enterprises alike are implementing the technology and seeing positive results in slashing labor costs. 'I would say most IT infrastructure support jobs will be eliminated over the next three years,' says Frank Casale, founder of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation. That sentiment may be a bit bullish on the tech, but early results suggest that a shakeup of the IT workforce could be near, as RPA puts higher-value IT tasks in automation's cross-hairs."

+ - Why Not Utopia? Mark Bittman on basic income and increasing automation->

Submitted by Paul Fernhout
Paul Fernhout (109597) writes "Mark Bittman wrote an op-ed in the New York Times suggesting a basic income as a solution to increasing automation leading to job loss. He concludes: "We have achieved a level of social equality barely imagined by progressives 50 years ago, but economic equality has gotten much worse. No one knows what the world will look like in 50 years, but if we resign ourselves to dystopia — in which capital has full control, as it nearly does now — we'll surely have one. Let's resolve to build something better. In the long run we know that we'll make the transition from capitalism to some less destructive and hopefully more just system. Why not begin that transition now? If there is going to be a global market that will further enrich capitalists, there must be guarantees that the rest of the population can at least afford housing and food. And things can be even better than that: We'll have the robots work for us.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Finland's Education System Supersedes "Subjects" With "Topics"->

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa (887896) writes "Finland is about to embark on one of the most radical education reform programmes ever undertaken by a nation state – scrapping traditional "teaching by subject" in favour of "teaching by topic". The motivation to do this is to prepare people better for working life. For instance, a teenager studying a vocational course might take "cafeteria services" lessons, which would include elements of maths, languages, writing skills and communication skills. More academic pupils would be taught cross-subject topics such as the European Union — which would merge elements of economics, history, languages and geography. There will also be a more collaborative teaching approach, with pupils working in smaller groups to solve problems while improving their communication skills."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Personally I like Microsoft hardware (Score 1) 452

by Sardaukar86 (#49279469) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

Serious question - was it the hardware that sucked or was it the software?

From what I understand even the Kin was decent hardware, just a decade late.

I've managed to avoid pretty much every gadget except a smartphone so I'm sorry I can't offer anything useful. My opinion of the Kin, Zune, Xbox is worthless, being solely based upon the experiences of other /. users.

Comment: Re:Personally I like Microsoft hardware (Score 1) 452

by Sardaukar86 (#49278007) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?


(laughs) actually in hindsight that's pretty obvious, the AC above mentioned the Kin, the Xbox and the Surface RT which I also forgot about.

I was actually thinking of their peripheral hardware, which I've found flawless, however I failed to make that distinction in my post. About the only 'discrete' computing devices that I've used of theirs (for want of a better term) are the Surface line. The RT is constrained by typical MS lumbering thinking but the Surface Pro line is a superb product in my experience.

Comment: Re:Personally I like Microsoft hardware (Score 1) 452

by Sardaukar86 (#49273611) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

Personally I like Microsoft Hardware

I do too; Microsoft have never (to my knowledge) produced bad hardware. I'm sure they probably re-badge a bunch of stuff from other manufacturers, however if so they do it seems that decent gear is all they will put their moniker to. The efficacy of their designs may well be up for debate but the quality of their hardware has never been in doubt for me, even if their software isn't necessarily deserving of the same praise.

I've always found this dichotomy a little hard to reconcile. :)

+ - Top-secret U.S. replica of Iran nuclear sites key to weapons deal->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Paul Richter at the LA Times has a very cool article describing replicas of Iran's nuclear facilities that the US operates in order to study what Iran's technical capabilities are. 'Using centrifuges acquired when Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2003, as well as American-built equipment, the government has spent millions of dollars over more than a decade to build replicas of the enrichment facilities that are the pride of Iran's nuclear program.' Fascinating stuff."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Please stop. Just stop (Score 1) 1081

by Sardaukar86 (#49265343) Attached to: How To Execute People In the 21st Century

because their justice system isn't about revenge

Well, exactly! Where's the money in that?

Seriously though, you have the issue dead-to-rights here. If we want rehabilitation, there are known methods we could employ to make a considerable improvement to the recidivism statistics. Other countries have achieved results worth looking into.

That suggests revenge is of much more importance to society than an actual resolution to the problem.

We're taught that people who do 'bad things' are 'bad people'. There are precious few of us who develop into adults capable of questioning this. In time a little introspection can resolve this blurry question into a clear focus on the real issue: 'why do people do bad things?' Another angle suggests that 'people are not their behaviours'.

People behave the way they do through learned behaviour. Violent people are enacting learned behaviours that they perceive grant them a little short-term power for a medium-to-long-term loss that doesn't matter because it's not happening right now. Persistent short-term thinking is a hallmark of a being in 'survival mode'. They'll never prosper in this state, nor will they interact well with others.

We must see this for the inherently-correctable behavioural issue that it is, because the consequences otherwise are a steadily-inflating prison population and an ever-widening gap between the attitudes of the average citizen, the police enforcing the law and the judiciary meting out an acceptable form of justice.

Comment: Treat them as you would passwords (Score 3, Funny) 1

by Sardaukar86 (#49254699) Attached to: When Social Betrayal Breaks Your Logins

The only way I've found to deal with these questions is to keep a few stock question/answer pairs in regular use. Presumably as competent computer users none of us are re-using any sensitive passwords, so we'll lose no significant security by using common q/a pairs. Examples:

  • - Your mother's maiden name: Brelph11ternkar1 (that's "brell-free-tern-carry")
  • - Make of your first car: innaw333ni3fudddg ("inner-weenie fudge")

Naturally, I'm lazy and let Chrome store the passwords. Google passwords can be changed very easily, even with a smartphone whilst shivering at night in your undergarments outside the door to your former accommodations. ;-)

+ - When Social Betrayal Breaks Your Logins 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What do you do when the answers to your security questions are known by someone who dislikes you, such as a stalker or an ex-partner? It's getting hard to remember some of the more obscure factoids about my own life, like where I ate my first reuben sandwich, or things that might change over time, like my favorite TV show. Is it just me or is this a ridiculous security hole? Anyone have good suggestions for workarounds when I'm signing up for a new site?"

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.