Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Phone Numbers (Score 1) 289

I think it's an interesting thought, but disagree. To many places say "go to" or "" for that to be true. I believe you are attempting to equate laziness with ignorance, which is wrong. Most users are lazy, but they know what an address is. Hell, most technical people are lazy too. We just maintain truckloads of bookmarks.

This isn't something you can "disagree" on. I spend a significant portion of my time teaching/training/educating users up and down the food chain. Let me assure you -- there are a LOT of people out there who do not have any idea what the address bar in a browser is and how to use it. When you show them something as simple as typing "" they look at you like you've just given them a pill which regenerated their kidneys and cured their need for dialysis.

Comment Re:Phone Numbers (Score 1) 289

- Universally Ubiquitous
- Nationalized
- Lowest Common Denominator
- (for POTS anyway) Pretty damn rock solid in most of the world

Did Facebook kill Email? No.
Did Google kill the address bar? No.
Did Apple kill the PC? No.
Did solar panels (insert any other energy technology) kill the grid? No.
Will Facebook messenger (or any company-centric IM system) kill telephones? No.

Next flamebait topic please.

It is easy to sit here on Slashdot and say that Google did not kill the address bar, because I've no doubt at least 85% of the people here know what "URL" stands for, how a URL is composed and read by a browser, and are also people who desire a high level of direct control over their computing and therefore don't mind memorizing dozens of unique URL strings for the sites/pages they use most often.

Actual normal users, on the other hand, only know whatever their current system tells them. I work with/around hundreds of people every day who only know one URL: I rarely get more than 1-2 days without observing a user go to google and type "yahoo mail" as the search string, then click a google result for the Yahoo! Mail site. This is how they always access their email. Going to the address bar and typing in is like asking them to interpret ancient copies of the Bible written in Greek. The address bar wasn't totally 'killed' by Google, but the google mentality and in-browser search providers have so heavily obfuscated the site/page address that a significant percentage of computer users would be stymied by a browser operating at, say, the Netscape 4 level, and it would take them a very long time to find things they access every day.

It's a very apt comparison to phone numbers, which for many people under 25, they don't know ANY numbers of their friends' or family members. They have been using name-based electronic lists of contacts since they were 17 or earlier. If they lost their cell phone and were standing at a pay phone they would have no idea how to contact anyone without calling Directory Assistance... i.e. Google for phone numbers.

Comment Re:This is a good thing. (Score 1) 291

to pay for basic income, everyone has to earn less

I don't think that's accurate. Productivity since the 70s has doubled, but real-terms wages have been stagnant. In the last 3 decades, the top 0.1% of Americans have doubled their wealth. It's obvious that improved technology can maintain the same lifestyle for the same number of people but with the labour of fewer people - the maintenance of employment levels has mostly been due to the improvement of that basic lifestyle (smartphones, better medical technology, etc) providing jobs for displaced farm workers etc. The system we have encourages spending the extra productivity of technology and economic growth on an expanded lifestyle, but it could be diverted instead to providing a basic lifestyle without requiring extra labour.

But as I understand it the critique of your position is that "the extra productivity of technology" came from the inventor/entrepreneur class specifically because of the profit motive -- that is, the motive to earn more profit than the other guy. And therefore when you say "it could be diverted instead to providing a basic lifestyle", you are falsifying the equation by doing an operation on one side that you're not doing to the other. You are assuming that you wipe the profit motive out of existence while still keeping the innovation and economic activity which arose from the profit motive. That innovation and economic activity doesn't exist on its own absolute terms.

So the critique of your position is that sure, you could take the results of increased capital/production/capacity and divert it to people who didn't invent or bring to market the innovation which made it possible... one time, and maybe for a full generation if there was a previous extraordinary growth to draw from. But rather quickly human nature adapts to the new reality. Once you have removed that more-profit-than-the-other-guy motive, there is zero incentive for the remaining inventors/producers/entrepreneurs to continue to invent and produce and bring new things to market. So what happens over time is that the previous increase in productivity is spent by the redistributionists, and then the rate of increase slows dramatically without motive to drive it drives it, and then the market re-normalizes at a new level where yes everyone is closer to equal but at a lower equilibrium point.

Comment Re: Remove casing from a Wallmart clock - get invi (Score 1) 621

None of the other people or nationalities you listed have books from God that tell them to kill nonbelievers ask a means to please their God.

That is the difference.
But, by all means, if you feel differently about it, you can travel to Syria and make nice with Isis.

I'm sure you're up to the task, after all, you're so fair minded and much better than the rest of us.

Huh? What comment are you replying to? What makes you think I am asking for fairness or being nice to terrorists. On the contrary that is my entire point -- the GP I was replying to was saying that this kid's supposed isolation as a result of the incident is the most effective way to make him into a terrorist. I am pointing out that isolation doesn't make someone into a terrorist. There are millions upon millions of people leading "lives of quiet desperation" every day and they don't become terrorists, and it is ridiculous to support anything remotely resembling any kind of understandable rational path to murdering people and blowing things up for a political/religious ideology. If feeling a bit isolated leads you to bombing civilians, then you were already a terrorist in your heart, and the isolation was just a minor catalyst which would have inevitably happened in thousands of future social situations.

I don't see the relevance of your reply. If you are trying to make a point that belief in Islam makes terrorists, well that's your own thread, go for it.

Comment Re:Remove casing from a Wallmart clock - get invit (Score 1) 621

They made this kid feel like an isolated second class person and to be honest, I can't imagine a more effective way to turn this kid into an actual terrorist.

The attention he got was more about undoing the damage than rewarding any actual genius.

So we're on Slashdot, the official Internet home of mom's basement losers and Magic The Gathering addicts.... in other words, hundreds of thousands of people for whom the first 25 years of their lives consisted of nothing but "[being made to ] feel like an isolated second class person". How many Slashdot users go blow up innocent people as a political ploy?

If feeling a little isolated and second class is the most effective way to turn you into a terrorist, why didn't all of the isolated second class Italians and Irish and Germans and Chinese and Japanese immigrants who barely made it to this country with the clothes on their back and didn't have 30,438 federal assistance programs, become raging terrorists? How is this country even still standing -- what with all the mass bombings and slayings and blood running in the streets from all those angry disaffected young Japanese men terrorizing San Francisco?

There is absolutely 0.000% of anything in this kid's history in the United States which should explain/justify/rationalize him turning into a terrorist in the future. You're simply making another instance of the Bundy-porn argument made by the James Dobsonites in the 1990s -- Bundy watched a lot of porn; Bundy raped/killed a lot of women; therefore if someone watches a lot of porn, "I can't imagine a more effective way to turn this kid into an actual serial rapist".

Comment Re:Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speec (Score 1) 109

Ugh, quote FAIL. The final paragraph belongs to the comment I was replying to.

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Re:Do Not Conflate This With Individual Free Speec (Score 1) 109

But the truth of the matter is that, as a consumer, we only have so many hours in a day to decide which of the thousands of products we consume in a year we should spend our money on. So it does come down to federal guidelines for what is "Grade A" or "Organic" or "Green" when there is a label espousing these properties and there are consumers paying a premium for this notion. Without those guidelines those words will mean absolutely nothing and there will be no way to tell where your product was made, how much cadmium it has in it or whether it is the end result of spewing carbon into the atmosphere. Without similar laws, you wouldn't be able to trust the nutritional information at the grocery store. Is it free speech to claim that my potato chips cure cancer and lead to weight loss no matter how many of them you eat? People will know that I'm lying? Cigarettes used to sooth sore throats. Trans fats used to taste awesome.

Okay, how about "Tasty" or "Chunky" or "Kids love it!"? How can we allow companies to just sling those words around willy-nilly without a few hundred men in Washington DC taxing and regulating everything to make sure we aren't led astray? I pay an extra 12% per can for "Thick and Chunky" stew instead of the plain stew, which must in comparison be thin and runny. Since corporations are evil and out to deceive me to trick me into giving them money, how can I be sure the Safeway-brand frozen pizza actually is "Tasty"? What happens when the can of "thick and chunky" soup only has two pieces of beef and a couple little cubes of carrots? How about when I try to serve my child the raisin oat bran cereal and not only do they not love it, they refuse to eat it?

"Green" or "Organic" are just words. They are words which marketers observed in daily use and wanted consumers to identify with their product, in exactly the same way marketers want you to associate their products with words like "Zesty" or "Bursting With Fruit Flavor!"

Design a conceptual framework which allows the government to regulate the word "Organic" which does not also allow them to regulate "Healthy" or "Very Berry!" or "Extra Bold Taste".

Speech used by an individual to express ideas is free speech. Advertisements -- especially advertisements representing a very large organization -- are not. Corporations should not have the same rights individuals have and I feel that free speech is one of those clear cut distinctions. There is a long history of consumer protection everywhere in the world -- learn about your own country's struggles with it. It's not a simple issue and advertisement should not be regarded as free speech.

Comment Re:Thaty's the wat to do it ... (Score 1) 257

My mom had that rule when i was young for a while, I would get nothing else till it was eaten.... I went to bed many times without eating anything.

So this plan may work on some, but is going to harm others.

But the question is, did your mom really plate the veggie course and only the veggies and bring those plates to the table, then everyone sat with them for 10 minutes before your mom went back into the kitchen and finished the next course? That is what AthanasiusKircher is describing. That is not the same as putting all of dinner on the table and then setting a mere verbal rule that kids have to eat some broccoli first even though the kids can see and smell the skillet of sausage links.

Comment Re:Not w/ substandard service/working conditions (Score 1) 166

I have more trust for the government than I have for a benefits-dodger like Uber. The company shows hate by using contractors as a dodge against benefits as well as implying a second-tier status.

The government responds and answers to me without regard to stock ownership, while Uber responds primarily to some faceless individuals.

"The company shows hate"? Really? Hate? Is that seriously what you mean? Why in the 21st century can we no longer have a discussion about the relative advantages/disadvantages of various sets of policies without any disagreement having to be cast in some binary in/out group "hating" the other?

Comment Re:give up because it is and (Score 1) 684

Make an objective scientific argument in favor of the survival of the human animal as a species.
For bonus points, make sure that you do not co-incidentally argue for the preservation of all species on the planet.

All existence is subjective. I think therefore I reach. I don't really care about objectivity, because I'm not objective.

But, if I were to try, I guess I'd base it on the existence of self awareness. Science cannot exist without the self-aware mind to posit, observe, and reflect. For there to be a science or logic within which this argument can be judged valid or invalid there must, therefore exist that mind. Given that you find value in scientific objectivism, you by extension hold value in the self aware mind.

I doubt that's acceptable, as you'll probably call it circular, but, as I said initially...I'm not objective when it comes to my own existence.

You are correct. There are zero non-circular objective arguments for preservation of mankind. Every animal has an instinct for self-preservation, because over time natural selection cannot help but produce such an instinct. When a hungry dog rips into an unlucky rabbit, murdering it for no other reason than to preserve itself, we do not attempt to make a rational argument in favor of the dog's moral right to murder other animals. Does the dog have a right to exist? Is there some absolute standard against which we measure the survival of humankind and find a moral justification? Certainly not. All we have done with our wonderful Sentience (and we know it is wonderful, because we sentiently tell ourselves so every day) is cloak the plain savagery of nature in successive onion layers of Meaning. In this way, our Sentience actually makes us the lowest, most depraved species on the planet. Because at least the dog (or any other creature) doesn't craft for itself elaborate lies about why the rabbit deserves to die and the dog deserves to live.

'She,' began Weston.

'I'm sorry,' interrupted Ransom, 'but I've forgotten who She is.'

'Life, of course,' snapped Weston. 'She has ruthlessly broken down all obstacles and liquidated all failures and today in her highest form civilized man - and in me as his representative, she presses forward to that interplanetary leap which will, perhaps, place her for ever beyond the reach of death.'

'He says,' resumed Ransom, 'that these animals learned to do many difficult things, except those who could not; and those ones died and the other animals did not pity them. And he says the best animal now is the kind of man who makes the big huts and carries the heavy weights and does all the other things I told you about; and he is one of these and he says that if the others all knew what he was doing they would be pleased. He says that if he could kill you all and bring our people to live in Malacandra, then they might be able to go on living here after something had gone wrong with our world. And then if something went wrong with Malacandra they might go and kill all the hnau in another world. And then another - and so they would never die out.


'It is in her right,' said Weston, 'the right, or, if you will, the might of Life herself, that I am prepared without flinching to plant the flag of man on the soil of Malacandra: to march on, step by step, superseding, where necessary, the lower forms of life that we find, claiming planet after planet, system after system, till our posterity - whatever strange form and yet unguessed mentality they have assumed - dwell in the universe wherever the universe is habitable.'

'He says,' translated Ransom, 'that because of this it would not be a bent action - or else, he says, it would be a possible action - for him to kill you all and bring us here. He says he would feel no pity. He is saying again that perhaps they would be able to keep moving from one world to another and wherever they came they would kill everyone. I think he is now talking about worlds that go round other suns. He wants the creatures born from us to be in as many places as they can. He says he does not know what kind of creatures they will be.'


'I may fall,' said Weston. 'But while I live I will not, with such a key in my hand, consent to close the gates of the future on my race. What lies in that future, beyond our present ken, passes imagination to conceive: it is enough for me that there is a Beyond.'

'He is saying,' Ransom translated, 'that he will not stop trying to do all this unless you kill him. And he says that though he doesn't know what will happen to the creatures sprung from us, he wants it to happen very much.'

From Out Of The Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis. As quoted on: this site.

Submission + - Here's what Ridley Scott has to say about the science in The Martian (

sciencehabit writes: If you’re planning on watching The Martian, Ridley Scott’s newest sci-fi blockbuster, get ready to fall in love. No, we don’t mean with Mark Watney (Matt Damon), the movie’s intrepid astronaut hero who gets stranded on Mars after a NASA mission goes awry. The story’s real heartthrob is, well, science. Between the technologies showcased on the Mars mission and its breathtaking Hermes spacecraft, Watney’s ingenious solutions for staying alive on a deserted planet, and the creativity of scientists back on Earth, the story reads like a love letter to science g—and a surprisingly plausible one at that. To get a deeper insight into how its creators balanced realism and movie magic, Science spoke with director Ridley Scott; Andy Weir, whose debut novel provided the tale; and Jim Green, NASA’s director of planetary science and an adviser on the film.

Submission + - The New Technique That Finds All Known Human Viruses in Your Blood (

schwit1 writes: Ian Lipkin, a virus hunter from Columbia University, recently received a blood sample from colleagues at the National Institutes of Health. They came from a man who had received a bone-marrow transplant and had fallen mysteriously ill, with evidence of severely inflamed blood vessels. In analyzing a similar case a few years back, Lipkin had discovered a new polyomavirus, part of a family that can cause disease in people with compromised immune systems. Perhaps this new case would yield another new virus.

It didn't. Instead, when Lipkin's team ran the sample through a system that they had devised to detect human viruses, they found that the man was infected with dengue virus. In hindsight, that made sense-he had recently returned from Vietnam, where dengue is prevalent. But the thing is: The team wasn't looking for dengue virus.

"It wasn't what we anticipated, but we didn't have to make a priori decisions about what we planned to find," Lipkin says. "When people analyze samples from people who are ill, they have some idea in mind. This is probably an enterovirus, or maybe it's a herpesvirues. They then do a specific assay for that particular agent. They don't usually have the capacity to look broadly."

The new system, known as VirCapSeq-VERT, barrels past this limitation. Lipkin, together with fellow Columbia professors Thomas Briese and Amit Kapoor, designed it to detect all known human viruses, quickly, efficiently, and sensitively. By searching for thousands, perhaps millions, of viruses at once, it should take a lot of the (educated) guesswork out of viral diagnosis.

Comment Re:Ashcroft hospitalized over NSA showdown? (Score 1) 258

ah, i'm being accused of accused of carrying on too long. fair enough accusation. but it is coming from someone who makes believes their own posts in tandem don't exist. that's some heavy psychological projection there friend

You definitely have been carrying on too long. You should've passed on with Ruston and the other early Kurobots. It's always astonishing to run into your persona online, still going ~20 years later. You have been practicing the desperate need for self-validation provided by Internet discussion for lo these many years, but apparently you like Bono still haven't found what you're looking for. How long til your soul gets it right? Can any human being ever reach that kind of light? You should call on the resting soul of Galileo, king of night vision, king of insight.

Slashdot Top Deals

Earth is a beta site.