Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Anti-gravity (Score 1) 193

It's very obvious that you know almost nothing about any of these concepts, yet you prefer speculation based on ignorance to even a cursory education. It's not even worth explaining why you are wrong, because you don't have the background necessary to understand the answer. There are free resources which would help you better understand the universe as it is known, and while I admit that they're more complex and less fun than the science fiction you've been reading, it would at least keep you from looking foolish when discussing physics. Another excellent way to keep from looking foolish would be to refrain from discussing subjects whereof you know nothing.

Five minutes of reading any of the resources I've mentioned would tell you exactly what the difference is between gravity and electromagnetism, and why manipulation does not follow automatically from understanding. Actually understanding the answer will take much longer.

Comment Re:Anti-gravity (Score 1) 193

No, the hysterical part is where you have no idea what is known about gravity and seem to think that the unknown part is so vast as to include unicorns and wizardry. Anti-gravity is next to meaningless in GR, and even if negative mass exists it would not behave the way you want it to.

Analogy time. This is like saying that because there is some dispute about the authorship of Shakespeare's works, therefore it's possible that they were written by Queen Elisabeth. That relativity breaks down in certain conditions and on certain scales is not evidence against its validity. Newton's formulation of gravity was accurate enough that it took centuries of observation to propose a more accurate model, and Einstein's description of the geometry of spacetime improves on the Newtonian by many orders of magnitude. There is no conclusive proof that somewhere beyond the error bars there are dragons to be found, but there is no reason to believe they would be a macroscopic phenomenon, and plenty of evidence against it. If you would like to remedy your ignorance, I suggest reading the Wikipedia articles on General Relativity and Anti-gravity, followed by Gravitation by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler[pdf].

Comment Evidence for AGW (Score 1) 369

No, the evidence for global warming is the increased CO2 levels. The effects of global warming are everywhere because, you know, global warming...

If you want to contradict global warming, find some way for the Earth to lose heat by means other than radiation. Or prove everything we know about radiation wrong. Make sure your theory reproduces the existing temperature records/trends perfectly too. And after that I'd like a unicorn -- it should be an easier task.

You can prove the central thesis of AGW in your basement. It's not like it's hard to find CO2 (or H2O, if you want to test the feedback too). It would be nice to live in a world where humans were not emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases, or at least limiting ourselves to something that precipitates readily like H2O. Unfortunately people are stupid. Case in point: you.

Comment Re:Targeting Civilians (Score 1) 519

If you are working on something and you hit your partner in the face because your hand slipped off the tool you are using, this is different than if you punch them in the face.

You're not making a different argument, you're repeating the first one. It does not make a difference to the people we're bombing whether we bomb them intentionally or not, especially the way we're doing it.

But there's not a lot of moral advantage in only killing as many civilians as we think we can get away with.

You say this as if we intentionally kill civilians, which we do not.

We don't kill civilians because we have defined "civilian" such that there aren't any.

Here I actually agree with you. I think that overwhelming force is going to be the only possible solution here - to utterly remove the enemy's ability to wage war of any sort.

Haven't Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam demonstrated that this doesn't work either? You can destroy an army's ability to wage war, but asymmetric conflicts where the enemy is any normal person with an AK-47 are immune to everything but massacre.

That being said this is a war that I support because I believe that we have no choice - that these people will continue to wage war on us whether we wage war on them or not. That if we were to suddenly stop the war against them, they would consolidate their territory and then expand, continuing their religious war and killing and destroying anyone and any culture that they do not approve of.

I'm okay with that. Their ability to project force outside the region is minimal; killing a few dozen civilians in Paris is a useless gesture that will only serve to make their enemies stronger and more motivated. Overwhelming force is not an option; we don't have the force levels for a ground invasion and using nuclear arms would be political and diplomatic suicide. Right now we make war with a nest of serpents. Let them consolidate power. Let them brutalize their own. Then when the strongest has eliminated all other potential leaders as threats to his own power, assassinate him and install a puppet state per our usual game plan, and people might actually see us as the lesser evil. It's still going to be a tough diplomatic issue trying to clean up the mess afterwards, but it's an easier problem than dealing with 1,000 wannabe-warlords individually. And yes, in the meantime a lot of brown people are going to die, which is unfortunate. It was unfortunate when it happened in Rwanda and Cambodia too. I don't care how many brown people die, and the western world is not threatened. What I want is a region of peace and prosperity, with education and functioning infrastructure, ruled by a puppet state friendly to us. Right now that's not possible, and we don't have a suitable puppet. There aren't any good options, but pursuing a diplomatic route kills fewer Marines and lets them become their own worst enemies.

Comment Re:Targeting Civilians (Score 1) 519

Whether they know that they are not being deliberately targeted or not is irrelevant (I agree not from their perspective but from ours).
The point that I'm trying to make is that in once case civilians are accidentally killed and in the other they are deliberately targeted.

But as long as civilians are being killed either way, saying that we're being less bad than we could be is mostly nonsense to make our citizens feel better about themselves.

As I said in another post, if we didn't care about civilians we could end this war very quickly by bombing the entire area to glass - something that I daresay IS would do to us if they could.

You presume much, and overestimate our ability to conduct mass murder. But there's not a lot of moral advantage in only killing as many civilians as we think we can get away with. If war is a continuation of politics with other means, then we need to consider political objectives before military ones, and those don't seem to be well served by bombing. We're not trying to control a strategic objective or destroy a large army; that we have the ability to bomb arbitrary targets does not mean that playing whack-a-mole in the desert is a good idea.

As far as apologies and reparations...are you taking the position that our bombing what we believe to be IS positions is somehow illegal?

I don't think it's unreasonable to try to repair our faults even if they are not technically illegal, but given that there has been no formal declaration of war against these people, I would be inclined to think it illegal, yes.

Comment Targeting Civilians (Score 1) 519

There is a big difference between waging war against military targets, making a great effort to target them intelligently to minimize civilian casualties...and deliberately targeting civilians.

Not if you're a civilian casualty. How are they even supposed to distinguish between a military accident and a deliberate act of violence? Do we issue an apology afterwards? Pay reparations? Try, convict, and sentence the offenders? Or do we call every military-age male a combatant in order to pretend our bombing campaign is just and legal?

Considering every military-age male to be a combatant gives them two choices: become a refugee, or take up arms in self-defense. Not only are you not holding anyone accountable (to anything more consequential than your bad opinion), you don't even know what's being done. Our hands are clean because we defined "dirty" in such a way that it doesn't apply to us.

Comment Who Would Jesus Bomb? (Score 5, Insightful) 519

Thank you for defending us against that straw man. Delightful of you to drag your personal conflicts into this discussion. No one is claiming that ISIS are not bad people, the point is that we should not become bad people ourselves in response. Our brains are wired to be irrational towards people we perceive as enemies (as your post demonstrates ably). We dehumanize them, we exaggerate their bad qualities, ignore the good, and so justify any malicious act against them.

In terms of human suffering, Paris was a drop in the ocean, and probably outweighed by deaths in Syria both in recent history and as a result of these retaliatory airstrikes. Interventionist policies are increasingly difficult to justify, and bombing hasn't seemed to do anything except provide welfare for munitions manufacturers.

To a rational person, this is a complicated situation. For the hawkish politician it's a great time for a power grab -- for some reason there's a tendency to want to fight fascism with fascism. By surrendering your reason to violent instinct you aid those who wish to control you, and work to spread suffering -- no matter who the villains-of-the-day happen to be. It's also not particularly Christ-like.

Comment Craigslist (Score 2) 118

I want you to get this fuck where he breathes! I want you to find this nancy-boy, I want him DEAD! I want his family DEAD! I want his house burned to the GROUND! I wanna go there in the middle of the night and I wanna PISS ON HIS ASHES!

$500 OBO Call Dread Pirate Roberts at 555-238-1212

principals only

do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

Comment CO2 in the Atmosphere (Score 1) 488

Hint: Carbon dioxide is only about 5% of the total greenhouse effect on earth. The actual major contributor to the greenhouse effect is water vapor. But the problem with water vapor is that the government can't demonize it and use it as a basis for a power grab.

No, the problem with water vapor is that there are huge reservoirs of it on almost all the globe's surface, and we can't do anything about that. The atmosphere is more or less saturated with it, to the point where it regularly precipitates out.

The problem with carbon dioxide is that it doesn't precipitate. You don't seem to have any idea how it actually traps heat: the good news is that you can replicate this in your basement if you like. The atmosphere is opaque to IR. The mean free path is on the range of meters at sea level (which is why IR photos are blurry) and tens of meters in the upper atmosphere. IR gets absorbed and re-emitted, and finally reaches a level where it is statistically not likely to hit anything if it goes upwards. That lag between when the outgoing thermal radiation is emitted and when it escapes to space is what keeps the Earth from being at its equilibrium temperature (which would be well below freezing). This is directly measurable. There is no other way for thermal energy to escape Earth aside from radiation. The effect of increased CO2 is not to absorb more radiation from the sun, nor does it affect the lower atmosphere that much, (going from a short mean free path to a shorter one isn't that big of a deal). What it does is extend the CO2-rich region further out into space, which means that it takes IR longer to leave the atmosphere, which raises the energy in the Earth's atmosphere. This is true unless everything we know about radiation is wrong, and like I said, you can verify it for yourself. The amount of warming that is guaranteed for a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is about 3.7 W/m^2, or about 1 degree C global temperature. No one is worried about that.

The issue is the water vapor. There's tons of it. It's everywhere, and it's a much better greenhouse gas, and the atmosphere can hold exponentially more of it with increased temperature. Can you say, "feedback loop"? That's what keeps scientists up nights. It's not an unchecked loop, at least until solar irradiance rises enough to start cooking H2O out into space, but the Earth is as happy with global ice ages as it is with ice-free poles, and human civilization is kinda tied to the current interglacial.

What the lag says is that other factors (like Milankovich cycles) influence climate. That tiny extra percent of retained energy takes a long time to show its effect. That it does so eventually is unfortunately indisputable. The physics of atmospheric radiation are bulletproof, and are used to model and predict atmospheric conditions in the Sun, stars, and other planets. We have been trying to prove this phenomenon wrong for 200 years and counting. But if you want to try it out for yourself, CO2 and H2O are pretty easy to come by.

Comment Re:fighting carbon pollution? (Score 1) 369

I'm from Valdez, Alaska. I was there for the spill and the next 20 years. Yes, you can find oil on some beaches. No, this does not represent an ongoing ecological issue. As far as the ecosystem goes, there may be some lingering effects detectable by statistical analysis, but the fish stocks have recovered, and as far as the shorebirds and marine mammals are concerned it might as well never happened. The biggest ecological change in the area since the spill is actually the Columbia Glacier, which has retreated some 12 miles in the last two decades or so.

Yes, there is oil on the beaches. There's a certain amount of hydrocarbons all over this planet. Go there, and find me any other evidence that the spill happened.

And on the actual subject of pipeline leakage, yes, it tends to happen. I believe it was more common in feeder lines that led to the main TAPS line, but I do recall one episode where some drunken yokel decided it would look better with a few shotgun holes in it: spend a few winters in Alaska and that sort of thing is almost understandable. As far as I know, it's a job for a few guys in a hazmat suit and a backhoe, and it's an open question whether the oil or the reams of EPA paperwork do more damage.

For the interested, I found an American Petroleum Institute document on oil spillage, which I don't have time to summarize. Guesses: natural seeps dwarf human spills, and rail and truck spill more than pipelines.

Comment Fallacious (Score 2) 131

Could you have constructed a more ridiculous Slippery Slope fallacy? Let's try:

Google Health: What's next, Google Death Camps?

Google Translate: What's next, mandatory voice implants?

Google Wallet: What's next, the overthrow of capitalism?

Project Loon: What's next, orbital mind control platforms?

Google Doodles: What's next, Lovecraftian horrors, the very sight of which induces madness?!

Hmm, not quite zany enough. Oooh, I know!

Google's self-driving car: What's next, Google Sex Bots?!

(And the answer is, "Yes please!")

Comment Re:UNIX is a standard, not an OS (Score 1) 572

There's nothing stopping you from implementing systemd's API,

And nothing prevented them from implementing the public APIs which were already in use.

There's not a hell of a lot in SysV init that you could call an API. But it does actually run shell scripts just fine. It's true that it's not the same thing that Unix has been doing for decades. It's a shame you might have to learn a new tool.

And what about this problem makes scripting the most appropriate solution? This is a quick fling, not a serious proposal.

Yes, I agree, systemd is a quick fling and not a serious proposal. They tossed it off quickly without thinking about the ramifications of their actions, and now we are essentially at war. Or, that was the idea.

Puerile and evasive. You're not going to admit there's a problem, so why discuss solutions, amirite?

You can use scripts to find out if programs are still running,

Without kernel-level support for process tracking, no, you can't. And you fail to answer the question of whether you should, and why.

I get the impression you've not read nor written any systemd unit files, nor for that matter an OpenRC script. Your argument is an appeal to tradition without any technical justification, and you're perfectly willing to ignore any technical parts of the issue in order to preserve your worldview. Yes, unit files are not Turing-complete, but there is no requirement for them to be so. Shell scripts can be made to do a nigh-infinite number of things, but starting and managing services is a pretty finite domain. The service is needed by a,b,c when the system is in states d or e, and it's started/stopped with commands f and g. And if all else fails, yes, you can script it to your heart's content. By extracting the common functions into a library, you increase the reliability and ease of maintenance of the software. And again, in that respect, OpenRC does the exact same thing. Because most of the time you don't need to customize anything, and you shouldn't have to, and actually needing a full-on Turing-complete programming language and interpreter to define how to start or stop a service is the rare exception and not the rule. OpenRC scripts reflect this, systemd unit files embrace it, and SysV scripts are dead from neglect. But keep complaining, I'm sure you'll get what you want eventually.

Comment Re:UNIX is a standard, not an OS (Score 1) 572

What an in-depth, considered response.

Systemd takes the position that, because the key component in process management is Linux-specific, it's okay if the service manager is Linux-specific too.

But that's wrong. It's not okay if it's not interchangeable.

Why? There's nothing stopping you from implementing systemd's API, in point of fact, there are a number of projects already doing so. Cgroups should have been in Unix from the start, and yes, cleaning up decades of technical debt impacts smaller vendors disproportionately. When they get their act together, we can talk about compatibility. Until then, people need software that doesn't suck -- and everyone including the BSDs and OpenRC agrees that SysV init sucks. I've mentioned some specifics, there are others.

Having an OS-independent service management layer was seemingly a bad idea, since most of the major UNIXes have replaced it.

Yes, and the replacements are almost universally hated.

Citation needed, and hatred is nearly irrelevant compared to correctness.

In point of fact, cgroups are

...easily manipulable from shell scripts with short commands.

And what about this problem makes scripting the most appropriate solution? This is a quick fling, not a serious proposal.

Shell scripts are not the end-all be-all of Unix or any other OS or computing paradigm. They have always been subordinate to C in Unix, which is understandable given the capabilities of early interpreters. SysV had a good run, and it's over now. You might want to brush up on your C.

At the source of every error which is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors, including the error of blaming it on the computer.