Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:Bad title (Score 1) 367

by Xyrus (#49619967) Attached to: No, NASA Did Not Accidentally Invent Warp Drive

....It's premature to throw a Singularity party but it's definitely premature to declare the device to not be a warp drive.

It isn't a warp drive, nor has anyone claimed it is. A warp drive operates by affecting local space-time. The method of propulsion here is no different than any other rocket, except instead of propellants it's using EM fields.

IF experiments continue to validate, then there could be some interesting physics that come out of this. Perhaps it's actually acting like a form of hydrodynamic thruster for dark matter. Maybe the quantum foam isn't as "frameless" as originally thought. Or it could simply be experimental error.

More experiments please.

Comment: Re:How is this a bad thing? (Score 1) 353

I RTFA and don't get the controversy. Of course the data used to form regulations should be easily available to everybody. The only reason to use secret data is you want to hide something.

Not trying to troll here, just not seeing the other side.

So you'd be okay with the EPA releasing your personal data if you were part of health impact study? You'd be okay with letting some company dump unknown toxins into your water because the EPA can only regulate what's publicly available and said toxins are guarded by "trade secrets"? How about nuclear waste, where the contents, sources, and locations are all "secret" knowledge?

Do you see where this going?

Any bill regarding the EPA pushed forward by republicans is designed to destroy the EPA. They don't give a single fuck about pollution or destroying the environment. They want to go back to the days where you could set Lake Eerie on fire and getting black lung from living downwind of a coal plant. They want science to die a miserable death in all it's forms.

Always read the fine print. This bill is specifically crafted to remove the EPA's ability to function, with the eventual goal of disbanding it entirely.

Comment: Re:Their software cost an arm and both legs yet... (Score 1) 35

by Xyrus (#49524627) Attached to: OSGeo Foundation Up In Arms Over ESRI LAS Lock-In Plans

ESRI is the Tomacco of GIS software. It's terrible, but they can't stop using it.

I was pulled onto a legacy application that was using ESRI, and after seeing what a disaster it was (the project was on the verge of losing funding) I trashed the whole thing and rebuilt it from the ground up using open source tools and libraries. What used to take weeks to months of hair pulling frustration from programmers now takes a couple minutes for a non-techie user.

Anecdotes are a dime a dozen though. I'm sure ArcGIS and friends have their uses, and in some cases may be the only game in town for some features. I just haven't found where'd I use ESRI vs. an open source equivalent.

Comment: Re:Cancer vs common cold (Score 1) 52

by Xyrus (#49524551) Attached to: Protein Converts Pancreatic Cancer Cells Back Into Healthy Cells

Yes, but they also have certain commonalities. Just like almost all gas engines have a fuel pump, if you want to kill a gas engine, you might want to consider cutting power to the fuel pump. They have have different types of ignition systems, they might have forced air induction, they might be 4, 6, 8 cylinders, etc... but most cancer cells do share a lot of common pathways.

The problem isn't that they share certain characteristics. The problem is that they share the same characteristics with healthy cells.

Killing cancer cells is easy. Killing cancer cells without also destroying everything else is a very hard problem to solve. If this protein can force cancer cells back into healthy cells (or at least self-destruct) WITHOUT negatively affecting healthy tissues then this would be significant.

Comment: Re:Lets use correct terminology. (Score 1) 177

by Xyrus (#49499785) Attached to: MakerBot Lays Off 20 Percent of Its Employees

Is it really common practice now to have laid off workers escorted out by security?

It is fairly common. Sometime the terminatees will delete files, copy confidential information, or even sabotage equipment. I have seen all of these things happen, and was sometimes surprised by who did it. The polite quiet submissive people often have the most bottled up rage.

Have you seen my red swingline stapler?

Comment: Re:uhh...warm oceans=wet land (Score 5, Informative) 173

Your assessment is flawed. Warmer temperatures do mean more water can evaporate, but that does not mean it will precipitate in nearby regions. There are many regions around the world that are hot, humid, and still dry as a bone (Somalia, Northwestern Peru, most Middle Eastern countries that border the ocean, etc.).This is like the other bad science assumption often tossed around by deniers: " Well if there is more water vapor then there will be more clouds and so the world will cool down!". No, it doesn't work like that.

There are conditions that need to be met for cloud formation and precipitation. If the atmosphere is stable, then it really doesn't matter how much moisture is present. If a blocking ridge forms over the region, then those warm moist air masses are going to move somewhere else. If there is a thick enough layer of dry air beneath the moist air, then it'll just be virga. If the air masses destabilize before coming ashore, then it'll just dump rain back into the ocean.

But I'm sure you know all this.

Comment: Re:Congress is a bunch of fucking retards (Score 1) 133

by Xyrus (#49354041) Attached to: GAO Denied Access To Webb Telescope Workers By Northrop Grumman

How far back would you like to go? If Iraq hadn't invaded Kuwait...

Which the US set in motion by putting Saddam in power AND all but gave approval of the invasion by essentially turning a blind eye to it. If the international community didn't raise such a stink over it, it's quite likely the our boy Saddam would still be at the reins.

And we put Saddam in power because the Iranian people decided that they didn't like being oppressed under the rule of a bloody dictator (the Shah) who was, no surprise, also put into power with the help of the US.

Al Quaeda? We bankrolled their entire operation until we found out that they really didn't like us anymore than the Soviets.

We've been screwing over the Middle East region in one form or another for the past 60 years or so. Is it really any surprise that things are they the way they are given the social, economic, and political unrest that our actions (and others) have caused there?

Comment: Re:This is the dumbest research I've seen this yea (Score 1) 486

by Xyrus (#49338029) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

Agreed. This has got to be some sort of April Fools joke. There's no way this is a serious piece of research, much less actually pass a peer review process. Even a junior level programmer could tell you how stupid this paper is.

Some tips for the authors of this travesty:

1. Learn how computers work.
2. Learn how operating systems work.
3. Learn how programming languages work, especially ones that are interpreted or VM/CLR based.
4. Learn2code.

This "research", if it actually is research, should be nominated for an Ignoble Award. This would deserve an F even in an intro to programming course.

I think I'll go write a paper on how having lots of polygons in a 3D model will slow rendering down. I should get two Ph.Ds for that work.

Comment: Re:Climate Engineering (Score 1) 573

by Xyrus (#49310675) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

If we were to engage in climate engineering, warming things up and adding a little CO2 is exactly what we'd want to do.
It would increase the range of latitudes for food production and mitigate future ice ages, which are much more catastrophic than any effects from warming.

Wrong on all counts. Temperature is just one of many factors when it comes to growing food. Just because it's warm enough to grow something doesn't mean it will actually grow. For example, you aren't growing jack on top of the giant granite block in Canada known as the Canadian Shield. In addition, crops also depend on day-night cycles and would have no protections against pests and destructive species in the region. And what about water? In that shiny new latitude do you have any aquifers that can support major agricultural operations?

Starting major agricultural operations isn't something trivially done, and there aren't a hell of a lot of places in the world that actually have the conditions and/or resources to support it (let alone species adapted to those regions).

And no, ice ages are no more destructive than warm periods. Historically climate shifts, either warm or cold, were accompanied by extinction events. Life adapts to current conditions, and if those conditions suddenly change then more often than not that life dies. Just like sheets of ice, heat can easily make regions of the planet practically uninhabitable.

Comment: Re:This is interesting.... (Score 1) 573

by Xyrus (#49310559) Attached to: Greenpeace Co-Founder Declares Himself a Climate Change Skeptic

Though I do believe humans are doing a good job of trashing the environment, I have always felt like Global Warming was being used as a scare tactic, much like those "Repent and be saved!" guys that stand on street corners and preach about the end of days.

It's not a scare tactic. There are consequences when you screw up the climate that major agriculture depends on. We've already seen a couple of examples of what happens even when there's temporary regional shifts. And then of course there's sea level rise on top of that. No, it won't be the end of humanity but it certainly won't be pleasant.

Is Global Warming happening now? Yep, it appears it is. Is mankind the only cause of this phenomenon? I'm not 100% sure on that...

Science is never 100%. That's why it's science and not math. That's why just about every scientific conclusion includes error bars. Science provides the best answer based on available evidence and knowledge. That doesn't mean that knowledge can't be wrong or evidence can't be misleading. That's why the process of science is always reviewing and improving upon itself.

That being said, some high school level physics and math are all you need for strong evidence that the warming is caused by human activities. All the advanced research, models, etc. beyond that is trying to figure exactly how screwed we're going to be. :P

Comment: Re:Explained By Devs (Score 1) 80

by Xyrus (#49240547) Attached to: Watch an Original NES Run Netflix

I don't see what the "accomplishment" is. The video stream was decoded and tile mapped outside of the NES itself. All the NES is doing is reading the tilemaps and displaying them. You don't need to be a genius to figure out how to do that.

In fact, they could increase the "quality" by taking advantage of the HBLANK interrupt (didn't seem like they were doing that in the video).

Regardless, this isn't "streaming" video on a NES.

Comment: Re:Ok then... (Score 3, Insightful) 247

by Xyrus (#49196669) Attached to: How Activists Tried To Destroy GPS With Axes

What i'm wondering most, you start off by calling them crazy, but are they?

For starters, if we get into a war with the machines, we're going to need heavier firepower than an ax...

For starters, to even get to a stage where we would even possibly be at war with machines would imply that we don't destroy ourselves before reaching that level of technological advancement. It is far more likely that we destroy our civilization within the next century through a mixture of extremism, resource wars, and general human stupidity than developing some sort of AI that will wipe us out.

The guy in the article is crazy. Technology is not the problem. People are, and you're not going to convince people to support your cause by doing pointless/crazy things like hacking up satellites with an ax.

Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. - Isaac Asimov