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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).


Comment: Re:TV = video (Score 1) 244

by TMB (#48985897) Attached to: Over the past 10 years, my TV-watching has..

There's a huge range of ambiguity these days.

How often do I watch a TV set that has a signal coming from an antenna, cable, or satellite receiver? Absolutely never.

How about if I stream an old TV show on Amazon instant video on my computer? How about if it's the latest (but not live) episode from the current season of a show? How about if I stream a live Canucks game on my computer? How about if I stream any of those onto a TV set via a Chromecast? I can't see a reasonable argument that sitting in front of a TV set watching a live sports event isn't "watching TV" --- but you can come up with plenty of industry definitions where it doesn't qualify.

Comment: Re:PR works well? Where? (Score 1) 413

by TMB (#48482981) Attached to: Mathematicians Study Effects of Gerrymandering On 2012 Election

Canada has FPTP and has had at least 3 major parties every election for decades (at times up to 5). It's more the case that when you have 2-party FPTP, it is very hard to break out of it... but if you start off with more viable parties, it can remain that way.

Which is not to say that I endorse FPTP in any way, shape or form. We all know that Arrow's Theorem says that no voting system satisfies all the axioms you would like a voting system to adhere to, but some violate the axioms more often and in more egregious ways than others. FPTP is more egregious at the individual level than almost any alternative.

The problem with Arrow's Theorem is that it is really about what happens for a choice amongst a few individuals (like a presidential election), while the majority of countries have parliamentary systems in which it is the aggregate of all of the individual choices that determines the government. If you ask what government you get as a result of all of those individual FPTP elections, its faults vis-a-vis Arrow's Theorem are usually not too bad. Which is probably why FPTP persists despite the fact that it does badly at the individual level -- people tend to agree that the government it produces at the national level usually reflects the will of the people.

+ - New Jersey e-vote experiment after Sandy declared a disaster

Submitted by TMB
TMB (70166) writes "Al Jazeera reports on a Rutgers study about e-voting in New Jersey after Superstorm Sandy, and it is damning. It concludes that the middle of a natural disaster is the last time to try switching to a new voting method, especially one rife with such problems as e-voting. The table of contents includes such section headings as "Internet voting is not safe, should not be made legal, and should never be incorporated into emergency measures"."

Comment: Re:Storage is not same as GUI Design (Score 2) 370

by TMB (#48180313) Attached to: Apple Doesn't Design For Yesterday

The one that drives me crazy is removing the ethernet port on MacBooks. Which wouldn't be too bad if Apple's USB or Thunderbird ethernet adapters lasted more than 6 months before breaking, but I'm on my 5th in slightly over 2 years now... finally bought a third party one in the hopes that it will be less frail.

Comment: Re:Assuming ... (Score 1) 150

by TMB (#45913947) Attached to: New Class of "Hypervelocity Stars" Discovered Escaping the Galaxy

Except that if the star was captured by the Milky Way, that already tells you that it was moving at less than the escape velocity, while these are moving faster than the escape velocity.

Still, it would be interesting to see if they share orbital elements with known satellites or streams...


Comment: Re:Can We Compete Against Them? (Score 2) 308

by TMB (#45632523) Attached to: Physicist Peter Higgs: No University Would Employ Me Today

I disagree - being an academic takes all your time, and being an administrator also takes all your time. I'd like my administrators to have enough time to be good administrators!

Now, I think that all administrators ought to have once been academics, otherwise they don't actually understand the problems that they need to deal with, but not that they still are active researchers.

Comment: Re:NSF not writing checks (Score 2) 1144

by TMB (#45058677) Attached to: Slashdot Asks: How Does the US Gov't Budget Crunch Affect You?

Yes, indeed. Impacts on me:
    - My wife works for an organization that operates a federal facility on behalf of the NSF. She is on furlough. (actually, even worse - she has to work on a project that's deemed essential, but she's not going to get paid this month if the money from the NSF doesn't flow before payday. Yes, she will probably get back-pay, but that doesn't help when this month's bills are due!).
    - ...and lives in housing that is owned and operated by the agency. So there is no trash collection, and if anything goes wrong she's SOL.
    - Oh, and our daughter's daycare is also on-site. It is being run privately out of someone's house during the shutdown.
    - Processing of my green card application is on pause until after the department of labor is up and running again.
    - I am hiring a researcher with funds that are partly coming from NASA. Some of the money is in my account, but the next payment is expected in a week. Fortunately, some of the money for that position is coming from another source, so I can pay him for about 6 months before I need the NASA money, but if that weren't true it would be about 1 month.
    - I have grant proposals under review from both the NSF and NASA. The review process is on pause and no one knows how long it'll take before we know whether we can do research next year...
    - When I teach, I regularly make use of things on NASA websites, which are not running so my students have to listen to me instead of seeing examples.

So, yes, this is hitting my very directly in a lot of ways.


Comment: Re:They were greedy (Score 2) 320

by TMB (#44985197) Attached to: Two Years In Prison For Using Infrared Contact Lenses To Cheat At Poker

Casinos sell a product - entertainment. In particular, the thrill that you might win some (a lot) of money. People go and pay to experience that thrill. If you want to be entertained by something different, that's fine, but it's not stupid to like a little thrill and be willing to pay a little for it.

Dreams are free, but you get soaked on the connect time.