Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Doctor what's wrong with me? (Score 1) 111

Those genes are not expressed, and we don't have copies of those viruses floating around our bloodstream.

Probably, and for the most part. But we used to think the genome was mostly "junk DNA" before we understood that much of it was homeotic in function. It seems to me that virus copies would not be conserved over time unless they were serving some function.

Comment Re:Ah, no lessons learned from Windows 8 (Score 2, Insightful) 170

I just don't think that's true, there's nothing touchy about the design of gnome3, it's a desktop UI and always has been. They are only now starting to add touch stuff, and only because most laptops now come with touch screens.

It does aim to be a very minimalist desktop. You have your application windows and ... that's about it. All the stuff for launching applications, managing workspaces, managing windows and so on is on the overview screen. I think the idea was that the desktop should get out of the way and just present your work without distraction.

I didn't like it much when it came out, but it's grown on me. I now prefer it to KDE and Unity, the two main rivals. The extension system is especially nice: you just go to the gnome extension site and turn the things you like on and off.

Comment Re:Not real science (Score 1) 370

There's plenty of science that works like this, generally in fields where the systems under study are very large and complex.

The example I often see used is the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. This seems like an obvious thing, but it's actually extremely hard to really prove (or equally, disprove). You have an event (smoking a cigarette) and the consequence (lung cancer), but in between you have perhaps 40 years of other health events. How can you possibly prove a causal relationship?

The answer is that in an individual case, you can't prove it. But if you take many people and painstakingly track them over a long enough period you can slowly narrow confidence intervals until, at some very ill-defined point, the case tips over and changes in the minds of people in the field from interesting unproven hypothesis to proven fact. You can also test parts of the theory in the lab (chemicals in smoke causing DNA damage, for example) and generate further hypotheses to test in people. It all adds to the evidence.

AGW is similar in that we'll probably never have 100% proof, it's not even obvious what that might look like, but we can construct a quite detailed model of the system and gather supporting evidence. Again, at some point, if no alternative explanation is found, it tips over into case proven.

I'd also distinguish between science, which tries to understand what is happening to the climate, and policy recommendations.

Your objection seems to be to policy recommendations, and I can understand that. I think policy is the domain of politics and there should certainly be a great deal of political argument about what we should do, or even if it's worth doing anything. However your post seems to be arguing policy by attacking science, and that feels wrong to me.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 1) 174

There used to be a web page called "Your Eyes Suck at Blue". You might find it on the Wayback machine.

You can tell the luminance of each individual channel more precisely than you can perceive differences in mixed color. This is due to the difference between rod and cone cells. Your perception of the color gamut is, sorry, imprecise. I'm sure that you really can't discriminate 256 bits of blue in the presence of other, varying, colors.

Comment Re:From TFA: bit-exact or not? (Score 5, Insightful) 174

Rather than abuse every commenter who has not joined your specialty on Slashdot, please take the source and write about what you find.

Given that CPU and memory get less expensive over time, it is no surprise that algorithms work practically today that would not have when various standards groups started meeting. Ultimately, someone like you can state what the trade-offs are in clear English, and indeed whether they work at all, which is more productive than trading naah-naahs.

Comment Re:No, not economics at all (Score 1) 185

I don't have to apologize for national fiat currency, it's silly too, and I don't keep my assets in cash. My problem with Bitcoin is that it is even less credible than "the faith and credit of the United States government", which has been the justification of the Dollar since it was allowed to float. It seems to be nothing but "wish and it will come true".

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the small-aircraft owners aren't at risk of messing up their avionics. They are, however, consciously messing up the cellular network for everyone else. You see, you are supposed to be in range of just a few cells when you use your phone, so that we get frequency reuse between cells. If you are at altitude, you are in line-of-sight communications with all of the cells out to the visible horizon on all sides. And the frequencies you are using are probably locked out from reuse over that entire vast area. It would not take very many phones at altitude to disrupt the entire system.

Comment No, not economics at all (Score 4, Insightful) 185

People who received a play-money system from a mysterious unknown person and actually convinced themselves that it has value are now facing a schism over the money market failing to grow without bounds. Unless, that is, the software is modified in a way that might, over time, disincent people from playing the game.

I can't be the only one who is thinking that the only problem is that these folks believe bitcoins have value.

Hell, I thought that the fiat currency of nations was a bad deal. This is an order of magnitude worse.

Comment Re:Are they going to fine airlines for doing the s (Score 1) 188

No, the real problem is that you have line-of-sight communications to every cell site until the visible horizon. This tends to use up frequencies over a very large area. In general the antennas have been engineered not to work at high angles, but this can't be complete and the ones on the horizon may see you at the same angle as their regular users.

In any problem, if you find yourself doing an infinite amount of work, the answer may be obtained by inspection.