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Comment The real question... (Score 2) 105 105

Ok, so he's the CEO of a big company that makes robots--among many other things. So I really have to wonder if he's actually as clueless as this makes him appear, or if he's cynically trying to convince stupid people that they should by his company's pseudo-friendly robots?

Or is there some third option I'm overlooking?

I mean, he might as well say, "robots must be designed to answer the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything." That's just about as plausible, given the state-of-the-art. (And then he could try to sell us speaking robots that can say "forty-two".) :)

Comment Testing developers. Developers. Sheesh! (Score 1) 679 679

This was a study of developers. Developers are not exactly typical users. Developers like things like vi and EMACS. And, in fact, developers can already buy keyboards with (for example) caps lock switched with control. (If they care, and are too lazy to remap their own keys.)

Do a broader study of general computer users, and then maybe we'll talk. (No real skin off my nose anyway, since if you design a keyboard layout Idon't like, I'll just remap it to be the way I do like. 'Cause I'm a developer.)

Comment Re:Sling me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast (Score 3, Interesting) 112 112

The legality of that is also dubious, especially in the case of CC-NC or similar content. The Grateful Dead, for example, have a very strict non-commercial-use license for their concert recordings which explicitly forbids any sort of advertisement attached to their music. If I put the Dead's music on my (ad-free) site, and someone else injects ads, that someone could well be liable for violating the Dead's copyrights. Which, since many of the Dead's copyrights are held in part by one of the founders of the EFF, could be a risky move.

Of course, most content on the net is provided as-is, so it's not a general problem, but for cases like this, the ISPor CDN might well find themselves in legal hot water. (And it does have some obvious analogy to the case at hand.)

Comment Re:Birds are not living dinosaurs, (Score 2) 47 47

"Reptile"is another word that no longer has a solid scientific definition. (In large part because of birds.)

The classic definition of reptile (since you're so enamored of classic, outmoded definitions of terms) includes being cold-blooded, though, so Dinosaurs wouldn't qualify anyway.

But if you really enjoy speaking your own variant of English that is out of sync with what most people speak, more power to you. Just don't expect people to understand your antiquated and bizarrely anti-scientific terminology. Perhaps you can also refer to fire as "phlogiston-release". :)

Comment Re:single global language (Score 1) 196 196

Why do you think language gets overhauled in Orwell's 1984?

Because Orwell was a little too enamored of the so-called "Sapir-Whorf hypothesis"? I hate to break it to you, but, despite its many obvious parallels to the real world, 1984 was ultimately a work of fiction.

While it's undeniable that language has some influence on culture and thought, the idea that it can be as influential as proposed by some early SF writers (e.g. Orwell, Jack Vance's The Languages of Pao, or Samuel Delaney's Babel-17) is mostly discredited.

Comment What's happened to Slashdot? :) (Score 4, Funny) 95 95

Ok, three links, one to an actual pre-pub paper, one to CERN's official press release, and one to a reputable news source? What's wrong with this submitter? Don't you know that Slashdot links are supposed to go to some random bozo's blog, where he rants about the political repercussions of a discovery like this, and how it will affect free software/NSA spying/Sharia law/the Lizard people, all with no useful links to any hard data anywhere, but hundreds of ads? :)

Seriously, I've been expecting this since the recent announcement of a possible tetraquark particle, but I certainly didn't expect it this soon. Very cool.

Comment Re:x/0 does not equal 0. (Score 3, Insightful) 1067 1067

You only think this makes sense in the real world because you phrased the answer improperly."No one gets the apple" does not answer "how much of the apple does each person get?" The answer to "how much of the apple does each person get?"is "the question makes no sense because there are no people, so there is no 'each person'." Which is the real-world equivalent of what the mathematics says ("No answer/not-a-number").

Comment Re:Sure, sure, sure.... (Score 1) 830 830

I think you meant to reply to Crimson Avenger, who is the one who claimed that American football is descended from Rugby. (I agree with him, but I never actually made that claim.)

Anyway, as long as I have you here, I'm going to call you out on the (humorously intended, I know, but still) "unique to this country" thing. First of all, there's Canadian football, which is nearly identical (at least from the perspective of someone who knows Rugby). Second, there are American Football teams on every continent except Antarctica (which has had American Football games, but lacks any formal teams or league memberships), and even an International Federation of American Football, which holds a world championship every four years. (Though for some reason, which I'm sure you can work out, they don't invite any NFL teams.)

Just a minor nit, I know, but this is Slashdot, so.... :)

Comment Re:Sure, sure, sure.... (Score 1) 830 830

Americans, Canadians, Australians, and even the Irish have their own local games that they refer to as football. That leave the UK and...possibly Jamaica?...as English-speaking countries where Association Football is unambiguous described as just "football". Sure, you can point to all the Spanish-speaking countries in the world that call the game "fútbol", but we're discussing the English word here, so it's reasonable to limit our survey to the Anglosphere, and there, you're wrong.

(Granted the term is fully ambiguous in Australia and Ireland, where a reasonable percentage of the population will assume Association Football if you just say "football", but a reasonable percentage won't.)

And even in the UK, the term has been redefined. It used to be (and in some sense, still is) a class of games, which is why Association Football even has that name. England alone has at least three games that were once all described as football, including Rugby League and Rugby Union. Blaming Americans for redefining the term every country has redefined seems a bit misguided and historically ignorant, and borders on hypocrisy.

Comment Re:F/OSS reality (Score 1) 167 167

If all you say is true then what is your reasoning for why Linux adoption is still in the low-single-digit percentage?

A combination of: it's long-standing reputation for user-hostility, a general lack of interest in "geeky" things, fear of the unknown, and the fact that you have to go wayout of your way to get a copy.

True story:Iwas talking with a friend, who is a school-teacher, at a bar, and she mentioned how sad she was that the school was shutting down their Ubuntu lab. A while later, Isaid something about Linux, and she said, "Oh Ihate that." So Isaid, "if you hate it, why are you so sad the school is shutting down the Ubuntu lab?" And she replied, "Oh, is that Linux? Ihad no idea! Ithought it was that system where you had to type to make the computer do anything." :)

Comment Re:It's kinda cute (Score 1) 445 445

Maybe someone should tell them that nobody outside the US even remotely takes that "controversy" serious?

I don't know if you realize this, but "outside the US" is an area that contains countries which are not among the developed nations, and in poor countries with limited access to schools and low literacy rates, a lot of people do take the controversy seriously. Heck, Turkey, which is actually part of the EU, has a ever-so-slightly higher rate of evolution-rejectionism than even the US does. (Although it's the only country in the EU with more anti-science idiots than the US.) :)

Brazil also seems to have a lot of science-rejecting creationists. India, perhaps surprisingly, does not, but then evolution isn't actually all that incompatible with Hinduism. Can't find any data on China or south-east Asia or the rest of South America.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks