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


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).


Comment: Option (c) (Score 1) 162

by gstein (#46636883) Attached to: Subversion Project Migrates To Git

Everybody in that issue, except for three, .. were part of our coordinated effort. Two people threw in comments that we had to delete (and if you look closely, are in the history). The third was likely aware, and his several comments supported our ruse, so they remained.

Our various tweets, including the two from @TheASF were (of course) coordinated along with the movement on the issue.

It was about a dozen of us, spanning around 14 hours. Many April Fool's pranks are "fire and forget". Keeping it *live* was our key. Many people, many voices, and many hours.

Hope you enjoyed :-)

Comment: Carbon fuels only seem cheap (Score 1) 663

by Gnascher (#43599343) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What If We Don't Run Out of Oil?

Even if we found out we had an unlimited supply of carbon-based fuels, if you factor in all of the associated costs with burning them (production, transportation, environmental, health) ... it turns out they're not really that cheap.

Unfortunately, we don't factor in ALL fo the costs into the price of our 'cheap' fuel sources ... we're incurring a huge debt because of it, and the books are going to balance sooner or later. The environment will get its pound of flesh.

Comment: Re:There obviously is a deeper theory (Score 1) 186

by anandsr (#40710169) Attached to: Higgs Data Offers Joy and Pain For Particle Physicists

I think Entropic Gravity is looking very promising.

Verlinde claims that it is starting to make some sense of the Dark Matter and Dark Energy problem.

This theory could change a whole lot of things in physics. And might provide a way to finally bring Quantum Theory and Relativity together.

General Relativity actually adopted equations that would be consistent with Newtonian Gravity without deriving it from first principles.
And probably that is the problem with its current formulation. The Entropic Gravity might provide the deriviation and mechanism for it.

Comment: Re:OpenSolaris Board commits seppuku redux (Score 1) 428

by gstein (#34183504) Attached to: Apache Declares War On Oracle Over Java

Apache tried that game for many years. Work *within* the JCP, and as a member of the EC. Apache *has* made many useful changes to the JCP and how it operates. But even with all that, it hasn't produced the JCK without an FOU clause.

At some point, enough is enough. The Apache brand name cannot continue to be associated with a sham.

Comment: Re:Wut? (Score 1) 406

by gstein (#33815204) Attached to: G2 Detects When Rooted and Reinstalls Stock OS

Exactly. The Apache license provides freedom for developers to work with the code (pretty much) however they wish. It does not provide freedom to end-users (like copyleft/reciprocal licenses do; such as the GPL). HTC and T-Mobile are well within their rights to do something like this. It's uncool, but it is not a violation.

Comment: This is all hogwash (Score 1) 541

by anandsr (#27855979) Attached to: Star Trek's Warp Drive Not Impossible

We don't even have a theory that works. We have GR that breaks down as soon as gravity becomes too high, or it becomes too low. It will also not work at too small distances. We have QM which does not work beyond small distances.

Most scientists are not even willing to consider that the theory is broken, but are happy to extrapolate in places where it doesn't go.

There are very few who are even trying to work on a Quantum theory of Gravity. Without which talking about Cosmology and Warp Drives is meaning less.


Comment: Re:Nah, I call BS (Score 1) 254

by anandsr (#27770959) Attached to: Hundreds of Black Holes Roam Loose In Milky Way

I wouldn't have much faith in this, precisely because it would have been done based on Newtonian gravity. It does not take care of the MOND phenomenology. With MOND in the picture things may be totally different.

MOND is an empirical equation which predicts the rotation curves based on the visible mass in Galaxies. It works beautifully at Galactic scales but does not work well at cluster scales.

We know that General Relativity (GR) and Quantum Mechanics (QM) both are mutually incompatible, which indicates that something is wrong in both of them. In addition GR does not work well when we get very high gravitational fields like a black hole. The equations lead to a singularity. It works beautifully when gravity is somewhat lower but doesn't seem to work well below a threshold, which leads us to the prediction of Dark Matter, with really weird properties to account for the lack of observation.

Also GR takes into account only one special constant speed of light or the maximum signal speed. It does not take into account the Planck's Length or the minimal wavelength of the signal. This is probably why it does not work well with QM. The modification due to taking into account the Planck's length may cause MOND we don't know.


Comment: Simplest tax code would be (Score 1) 913

by anandsr (#27656737) Attached to: To the extent there are taxes, I mostly favor ...

1) A single income tax range applicable on all direct incomes. Specifically profits on investments should not count. Investments actually make money available to the system. No Tax on it will actually help by giving incentive to people to save.
2) A single per person tax deduction depending on the cost of living in an area. This covers poor people.
3) Luxury tax on all products that are more costlier than the bottom say 10% meeting all requirements. This will make richer people pay more taxes, but without any prejudice.

There should possibly be a pollution tax, but that is a subjective quantity and subject to corruption.


Comment: Re:Ignores time dilation (Score 1) 309

by anandsr (#27643223) Attached to: Telepresence — Our Best Bet For Exploring Space

But the biggest problem is going to be finding a course that you can take without colliding with a wart at that speed. It will be difficult to avoid anything at that speed. Also there is the problem of energy. With speed your mass increase too, which requires more energy for the same amount of acceleration. It eventually gets very difficult to accelerate.

I know relativity can forever tie us to this rock. But maybe we could survive on colony sized space ships and mine the planets. I don't know if the nearest star system will be reachable in the very near future.

We will need a laser weapon to vaporize any speck that comes in our way, and hope that there is nothing large on our way.
Space exploration is not easy but I hope that we do it anyway.

First off we will need to fix this dark matter thing. If there is anything wrong with Newtonian equations of gravity at low accelerations (MOND, pioneer anomaly) then we will chart bad courses.


College Police Think Using Linux Is Suspicious Behavior 1079

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-is-your-mom dept.
FutureDomain writes "The Boston College Campus Police have seized the electronics of a computer science student for allegedly sending an email outing another student. The probable cause? The search warrant application states that he is 'a computer science major' and he uses 'two different operating systems for hiding his illegal activity. One is the regular B.C. operating system and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on.' The EFF is currently representing him."

Comment: Re:They told if George W. Bush got elected... (Score 4, Insightful) 629

by Gnascher (#27458331) Attached to: FBI Seizes All Servers In Dallas Data Center

Obama's only been in office since Jan. 20th ... in this time his primary focus has had to be the economic crisis and the wars in the Mid-East.

Bush had a full 8 years to put all of his policies into effect. Do you think it's reasonable that Obama could reverse all of that in such a short time in office? Our new President has been very efficient since taking office and has put many wheels in motion trying to reverse much of the damage that Bush Co. has done to our country. But he can't do it all with a simple stroke of the pen, and he doesn't have the Constitutional authority to just "make it so" with a stroke of his pen for many of the things he'd like to do. His policies must follow the process of law, or he's no better than Bush.

Any objective observer would give Obama very high marks for his first 74 days (as of this writing). Granted he's got many people on the right who will cry foul at many of his moves, and people from the left who are whining that he hasn't given attention to their pet issues, but you have to admit the man has been very busy and very efficient even if you can't agree with what he's done.
It will take time for the 'cultural change' within the government to take hold. Many Bush appointees still hold office, many gov't agencies still have the mindset of the last 8 years and it takes time to enact cultural change within an organization as complex as the US Government.

It's not the time to judge Obama yet, give him time to get his agenda in place. Stay vigilant, yes. Complain that everything hasn't changed yet? C'mon ... be realistic.

Comment: Re:The New Mainframe (Score 2, Informative) 386

by anandsr (#27442439) Attached to: Google Reveals "Secret" Server Designs

Actually google does everything thrice (not unlike the Ramans). And returns the result that reaches it first. So in effect it is even more fault tolerant than the Mainframe. And it does them at different locations not on a single Facility (as opposed to a server or a 1AAA sized Container).

You are underestimating Google.

Comment: Re:Surprise to Anyone? (Score 1) 369

by Varun Soundararajan (#26686647) Attached to: More Indications Windows 7 Is Coming In 2009

wow, this really does look like KDE4! was gone, I was left feeling rather deflated and eventually just went back to my Ubuntu desktop. It looks, feels, and even the feature list reveals, that this is just another minor release of Vista. A Vista SE, if you will. :)

We'll call it Windows Me 2.0

Nobody's gonna believe that computers are intelligent until they start coming in late and lying about it.