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


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Comment Re:Bias... (Score 1) 155

Strange that you use this as a rationale for handicapped parking places, which by definition are not equal-opportunity; they totally prohibit use by the non-handicapped. A shopping center near me does not get my business because they made all their few tree-shaded parking spots handicapped spots (though these are not nearer the stores). Why? I asked, and was told it was so their cars wouldn't get hot inside. Well, we can't have handicapped people's cars get hot just like everyone else's cars do, right? Even if it means the spots stay empty.

Comment Re:This guy... (Score 1) 143

Once an event horizon forms, it doesn't matter what mass/energy formed a black hole; an all-energy black hole is called a kugelblitz. No matter how much you accelerate it, though, a particle remains the same mass in its own frame. It just appears to have a higher energy to the initial frame. It's kind of like the question of an object being so fast relativity shortens it to a black hole density.

Comment Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

Where's the link between Norway rats and the plague at all? Domesticated rat pictures published along with stories about the disease? Circumstantial evidence is also quite weak when totally absent. It might be considered "circumstantial" that Norway rats appeared along with the disappearance of the known disease-transmitting ones, in the same niche, but it is fairly well established.

Comment Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

Interesting arguments. And not all hollow, though I would have used typhus as an example. Just because an animal can be infected by a disease doesn't always mean it is a credible source for transmission to humans. Or that they serve as a reservoir for other animals to catch it. Perhaps Norway rats "can" carry hantaviruses, but the CDC page is quite specific about the rodents that pose a threat to humans carrying it; deer mice one strain, white footed mice another, a third wild "rice rats" and "cotton rats". Toxoplasmosis pretty much isn't spread by anything except felines, though, or eating an infected animal raw. The emphasis seems to be using the vague association of whole groups of economically or otherwise pestiferous animals with specific diseases as an excuse to campaign against noninvolved species, rather than as an honest evaluation of the amount of risk that might be mitigated by removing the animals involved. Raccoon roundworm poses a threat of causing human brain damage, but the simple fact is it mostly doesn't happen, while rodents that catch it can be debilitated for easy catching by the raccoons, and presumably often are. The threat of rat lungworm infection is also very scary as a rationale for controlling giant African snails in Florida, while the cases seem to amount to one man in Australia who swallowed live slugs on a bet; few people go around licking up African snail slime trails. Even relatively tiny numbers of sparsely scattered wolves are attacked as a threat by people using the scary possibilities of carrying the common dog tapeworm, while it is present in the much more dense dog and sheep populations, clearly an excuse for people who don't like wolves, period. Even the article linked to uses a domesticated version of a Norway rat as an illustration, though it isn't actually blaming the disease on "rats". It implies a shared blame, at least the possibility, with little or nothing to go on.

Comment Re:actually, it was the fleas. (Score 1) 135

Well, it's rather a simple chain to follow. Black rats were associated with the plague. Brown rats replaced them, plague stopped. Still, the common wisdom still seems to remain "rats" were responsible for spreading the disease, sanitation measures, that apparently arrived after the disease was already gone, getting the credit. Even "transportation improvements", apparently, although those would tend to spread it more.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.