Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Babylon 5 (Score 1) 363

Okay, someone please explain the appeal of Firefly. I should be smack on its target audience. It was clearly inspired by one of my favourites, Blake's 7. Many many people whose opinions I trust love it. So I watched the entire run. And I couldn't stand it. I hated the characters (not in a Blake's 7 way, where there are no morally good characters but lots of interesting ones, but in a I-don't-care-what-decisions-they-make way), I hated the plots, I hated the western/sci-fi crossover style. I really can't understand the appeal.

Comment Re:Dealing with deniers objectively (Score 3, Informative) 321

I agree, but the problem with arguing against conspiracy theory is that "a vast conspiracy is hiding all the truth so no one can find it" is inherently unfalsifiable, which makes scientific argument (i.e. presenting evidence that falsifies the proposition) pretty useless.


Comment Re:cheap BLU phones (Score 1) 313

Yeah, we have 2 of these in our family, and they're fine. I do find that mine loses connectivity faster than other phones at low signal, but I mainly use it as an emergency phone (I still don't get the point of cell phone culture, never mind smartphone culture) so I don't really mind.

Comment Re:Overdramatic (Score 3, Insightful) 42

The authors of this work didn't invent the word -- that's been one of the standard descriptions of this process for decades, and I'm not sure who first came up with it. I think it evolved from "suffocation", which does make more sense (it runs out of gas).

This is in contrast to other dramatic ways of making a galaxy "red and dead" like "harassment", "tidal strippping", and "cannibalism", during which the galaxy undergoes "violent relaxation" (the single best technical term in all of astrophysics).


Comment Re:Most people answered too low. (Score 1) 158

You might be right, but you might also be the distant outlier. I'm pretty sure I have 2 -- one in my tablet and one in my satnav (not a built in one). My car is 8 years old, I have a very dumb phone that doesn't have one, I don't have a digital camera, my laptop doesn't have one, and I don't have a desktop. I'm not particularly atypical (okay, the fact that I don't have a smartphone is atypical, but if I did have a smartphone I wouldn't have a tablet, so that would balance out).

Comment Depends on the requirements (Score 2) 298

The best piece of code I ever wrote in my life was nearly 100x faster than the next best algorithm ever written to do that problem. That took the expected run time down from a few days to an hour.

It was not a particularly well-commented piece of code. If it were, it would have been even better.

It was not a particularly obvious algorithm for solving the problem. If it were more obvious why one would choose to do it this way, it would have been even better.

If the primary concern is runtime (because it normally takes days to run), and you literally make it orders of magnitude faster, that's good code. It could be better if it were also better commented and easier to maintain, but those aren't *always* the primary concern (yes, sometimes they are. That's the point -- criteria differ!)


Comment Re:Same as zero point energy? (Score 1) 236

That was what was first assumed. There's only one minor problem.

The amount of zero point energy is *120 orders of magnitude* larger than the measured magnitude of dark energy. And dark energy has about 3x the energy density of dark matter.

So, despite the fact that it looks like zero point energy, there's something else going on.


Comment Re:WIMPs (Score 3, Informative) 236


There are actually many proposed extensions to the standard model that predict dark matter particles that would be classified as WIMPs, and there are some others where the interaction is not through the weak force but through a "hidden sector" force. Some of the possible parameter space of some those hidden sector models predict a cross-section that they would have been able to detect in this experiment. So this is indeed a useful result -- it does rule out some possibilities. But they're not necessarily the possibilities that most people would be betting on anyway, so the headline is overhyped.


Slashdot Top Deals

"Just Say No." - Nancy Reagan "No." - Ronald Reagan