Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Mdsolar strikes again with unrealistic FUD (Score 4, Insightful) 346

It's interesting in that this is a grid-based solution that helps *all* forms of electrical power, but plays into renewables' weaknesses especially well by amortizing the variability.

Less to mdsolar's liking, it also plays into centralized power production, by letting a single centralized power production facility exist in an area of relatively low demand and export the excess more efficiently -- one of the strengths of renewables is that it scales down well enough that you can get away with local production more often, whereas other sources and especially nuclear is not great at scaling down but is exceptioanlly good at scaling up.

But very much to mdsolar's liking, this means the interests of traditional production and renewables are actually aligned on the subject. Both sides of the coin benefit in different ways from improved transmission efficiencies.

Comment Re: Is it solved then? (Score 1) 117

The first player has 4 choices (all equivalent), the second player has 3, but only one of those choices leads to the deadlock you described. Actually, a case could perhaps be made that the final state is not a deadlock because it removes all of the other player's liberties; but the same case could be made that this violates the suicide rule. I'm just going to call two parallel solid blocks a deadlock rather than look up a ruling.

The other two choices leave the third player with the choice to either immediately win the game, or to deadlock. If you consider exactly equivalent board positions (differing only by rotation or reflection, which in Go is not a different board position), then there are only 3 possible games I believe on a 2x2 grid.

Comment Re:Facebook is already declining (Score 1) 250

People may not have loved AOL, but they loved Yahoo. They really did. There were Alta-Vista holdouts, dogpile holdouts, etc..

Then Google came along and just got better results at the time (remember, not only has Google and its competitors improved, but the actual content of the web has also changed drastically).

Comment Re:Now... (Score 1) 412

That's the point. If they can eliminate all asteroids -- which must include incoming asteroids, because they haven't eliminated all asteroids everywhere -- why can't they eliminate incoming nukes? The best nukes we have have a payload that is similar scale to the absolute minimum damage they'd possibly do purely as a mass driver.

Comment Re:Now... (Score 1) 412

So we need to develop an AI that is able to tactically analyze a Dyson sphere to find high-value targets (along with detector equipment to find them), despite having no notion of what's there? Or do we just have a kamikaze population in cryosleep or generation ships to steer the nuclear missiles?

If we're assuming we have sci-fi technology, why not just assume we send self-replicating nanobots to disassemble the Dyson sphere?

a nuke is going to do a lot more damage than an asteroid that's as easy to see

What makes you think that?

You can add velocity at the same mass and it will increase the impact while also giving the opponent less time to detect it. Note that you'll have an entire star's gravity pulling you into the Dyson Sphere, and the cite ewibble made above about 75m asteroids doing 100 megatons was based on Earth impact so it significantly overstates how big the asteroid needs to be. The escape velocity of the sun is about 60 times that of Earth, so assuming the Dyson sphere's properties are similar to our sun's, the impact is 3600 times as much at the same mass (because kinetic energy is proportional to the square of velocity and 60^2 = 3600). Kinetic energy is directly propertional to mass, which is proportional to the cube of the radius, so the radius is about 1/15th the size. That means your 100 megaton asteroid is really just 6m in diameter. Tsar Bomba, which was only 50 megatons, was 8 meters long and 2.1 meters in diameter. They have comparable dimensions and comparable payload. If these are serious threats to the Dyson sphere, then the Dyson sphere must already be defending agaisnt threats of this scale in some manner.

especially if we assume the nuke has been "stealthed" to be as near to invisible black as possible.

How do you stealth a nuke beyond the capabilities of a Dyson-Sphere wielding civilization with unknown other technologies to detect? Again, the premise was launching nukes today "just in case". If there's a way to stealth these things better than silent asteroids, we don't know it.

and are okay with announcing where we live, as opposed to letting it sail harmlessly past their solar system and then decelerate and attack from another vector

How much fuel are you going to load into this thing???? Fuel that has to last millennia in space, mind you (much longer if you're going past and then revectoring). If it's going to re-vector such that it scrubs out its previous trajectory, then it needs to significantly nudge its orbit even if you take liberal advantage of slingshotting. Mind you though, if you're already thinking of adding fuel to re-vector in flight, it doesn't need to go past the target solar system. Just aim a little to the right or left of the star and have it course-correct in 1000 years and then securely delete the information on the computer that did the course correction (so that the computer's function can't be reverse-engineered). Even a relatively slight angle would effectively wipe out information about its trajectory.

Presumably if these things were stealthed and undetected until impact, they can't really find us anyway. Except in the same sense that we found the Dyson Sphere in the first place with early 21st century technology, in which case, maybe they watch us launch the nukes in the first place with their superior exoscale optics looking at all the planets likely to harbour dangerous lifeforms :).

Then again, on a ballistic trajectory we're not going to be able to hit anything except the sphere itself, which is probably a relatively low-value target.

The point isn't to hit them with mass drivers, the point was that they are being constantly slammed by mass drivers from the ambient environment. If they can survive that, and if those ambient mass drivers are more destructive than what we can put out, that implies they can survive what we send against them unless there's some killer distinction we can make.

There's no need to assume we want it to reach them "soon" for kinetic energy to overwhelm the nuclear payload, by the way. Unless you go out of your way to achieve a soft landing, the minimum impact speed into the Dyson sphere should be its escape velocity at its surface (it had already escaped and was chilling in our solar system, so it must have at least that much gravitational potential energy compared to the Dyson sphere). You would have to do something incredible for the nuke to *not* deal as much or more damage from kinetics compared to the reactive payload.

Also, yes, we can only hit the sphere itself from here. Unless you assume we put a pilot into cryofreeze or a hyper-advanced AI into the nuke so that 1500 years from now it can figure out what a high-value target is, and that furthermore the number of high-value targets on a Dyson sphere is small enough that this is even a noticeable inconvenience to the target.

Comment Re:No value-add for society (Score 1) 317

Did you not already get some basics of the legal system in your school? If not, you should agitate for that. That's a terrible argument against CS in school.

I was born in 1984 and I got taught both CS and some legal basics in school (not in the US). The sky didn't fall. And of course some very basic CS has a value-add for society.

The tech industry is like 6% of the US workforce -- sure, not all people in the tech industry actually know how to code, but by the same token, not all people outside of tech code. The legal sector is more like 1%. Everybody consumes from both the legal sector (wills, etc.) and the tech sector (their laptop/tablet/phone, their Internet). Nobody is going to learn enough in primary and secondary school to defend themselves against livelihood-threatening litigation any more than they will learn to roll their own uncrackable encryption scheme (in both cases, the hope would be that they learn enough to know they should hire somebody else to solve that problem, unless they go on to make it their life's work).

Comment Re:FSF suckers can suck my dick (Score 1) 231

All property is imaginary. A construct of laws. You could make an argument in principle for own body being inherently sovereign, but even then people argue about it with things like fetal rights / abortion / mandatory vaccinations / organ donors / etc., not to mention that abhorrent ideas like slavery have existed which prove that people can indeed claim ownership on another's body.

The idea that property's defining attribute is that you can "give it back" is a strange invention of yours. Property is, literally, entity-dependent rights, as opposed to universal rights. Often these are fairly exclusive, just 1 person or a small family unit of people.

So, yea, you're right: they don't believe in Intellectual Property. They also don't believe in the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus. Do you?

Intellectual Property is real. It's defined strictly in law and loosely by social convention, which are the only places where any notions of property are defined. This disbelief in Intellectual Property is completely unlike disbelief in Santa Claus. They don't believe Santa Clause exists; they may or may not believe Santa Clause existing is a good thing. They don't believe Intellectual Property existing is a good thing, but they absolutely agree that it exists.

Just so you know, the world was doing just fine and progress was being made -- creative works flourished, inventions were born left and right -- for all of human history before the ridiculous idea of "everything must be owned" started being written into law, a mere ~300 years ago, not even a blip on the human timeline.

The world's also doing fine now. Creative works are flourishing and inventions are happening at an unprecedented pace, with a large bulk of them happening well within the last 300 years as you cite. That makes this a ridiculous argument.

Furthermore, things recognizable as IP law go back thousands of years. There are records of ancient Greeks using something like a patent (with a 1-year term). Actual things called patents in English go back over 600 years. It's not as new as you suggest.

Um, you do realize that money is a fictitious construct as well, don't you?

Don't you?

Nevermind, we're not even gonna get into that. I just wanted to point out that referring to something that is completely made up as "practical" makes no sense at all.

In one sentence you point out that money is fictitious, and in the next you say that it makes no sense to refer to something fictitious as practical. I conclude that, to be consistent with those two claims, you must believe that money has no practical use. Do you agree that this is nonsense?

The problem is that you are playing fast-and-loose with the definitions of fictitious, imaginary, and made up. Using one definition, I can agree that fictitious things like comic book characters have no real life utility in and of themselves, although media featuring those comic book characters -- and in fact, the shared *idea* of those comic book characters as a representational artifact -- does have utility. Using another definition of fictitious, I can agree that money is fictitious. But you can't use the same definition for fictitious in both of those statements without reversing position on one of them; it's insanity.

Furthermore, if completely made up things are not practical, then there can be no possible problem with IP law in practice because it's completely made up. I do not believe you really have trouble making sense of these statements.

This is my problem with the FSF movement and RMS in particular. A lot of the arguments contain a huge amount of newspeak redefinitions or recastings of terms and acronyms and a) often they are nonsense, and b) even if they did make sense, you're spending all your time arguing semantics and not substance. It really, *really* doesn't matter whether IP stands for intellectual property or imaginary property, what matters is whether it's a good / effective idea in practice for either the majority of people, or for a minority of people that would otherwise be unfairly oppressed. There are well-known arguments on either side for both the majority case and the minority case. It doesn't really matter if it's GNU/Linux or Linux.

At no point in your post did you make a substantive stand against intellectual property. The closest thing was your claim that the world kept turning even without intellectual property, which is a very weak proposition, since the world will keep turning with or without intellectual property, as it would with or without medicine (we should choose "with"!) and with or without slavery (we should choose "without"!). There are actual arguments against, I've heard many of them before, some are even pretty compelling, but you are mostly spending your time insulting people for living in a matrix while you carefully redefine words to make the conversation impossible.

Comment Re:Region Locking Still in Place (Score 1) 32

There is an infinite supply of copies (or streams or viewings or whatever) of movies, but there is definitely not an infinite supply of unique movies. New movies require actors, producers, writers, editors, etc.. This impedence mismatch means a bridging mechanism is necessary.

The mechanism can be to impose artificial scarcity on the copies of movies. Or it can be some form of patronage -- maybe Coca-Cola buys a movie directly, or more subtly has product placement, or the patronage is lower-level and is just a bunch of doofuses donating their time as actors, or a pure honour-system donation model of patronage, or whatever, but *something* has to solve the mismatch or else new content cannot happen. And I am deeply doubtful that the donation model will scale to more than the occasional super niche low budget production, and totally convinced that there's a limit to quality content from people getting no benefit.

If it's truly inherently worthless then you will not get content.

Comment Re:Obligatory (Score 1) 172

I'm not the person you're arguing against, but yes, I positively make the claim that "I don't know" is not a silly stance. This is a thing that nobody knows objectively to measures of absolute proof, and where there is, in fact, widespread worldwide disagreement over time and space (even religious folk don't always have a sentient creator; major religions also cover the ideas of an infinite regress of time, of a finite but circular progression of time, and the idea of a non-sapient beginning). When people disagree and can't put forward sufficiently compelling evidence for their side, "I don't know" is a reasonable answer.

I would classify myself as atheist, not agnostic; and I do really doubt that this agnostic person doesn't even have a hunch about some aspects about origins eg. "was there a sentient creator-being?", but strictly speaking I disagree with none of his arguments. The fact that my hunch for that question was always, to the earliest of my memories "almost certainly not -- that sounds like exactly the sort of thing people would make up, whether innocently or maliciously" is what moved my self-identification from agnostic to atheist, though I don't think my actual position changed.

Most people make no truth-claims to Russell's teapot before it's mentioned to them, then they make a truth-claim it doesn't exist without absolute proof that it doesn't exist.

Comment Re:FTFY... (Score 0) 492

There is no organization "SJW".

Somebody who fights for justice, including social justice, is pretty much good by the definition of justice. SJW was originally an ironic term applied to somebody who was frothing at the mouth over an issue that they didn't really understand or truly care about; a kind of Internet troll that wasn't really fighting for justice. But it's come to be the case that when people see anybody advocating for any sort of justice, whether completely legitimately or misguided with their hearts in the right place, they associate them via the label "SJW" to kicking random people out of colleges. That's an absurdity. Twitter is not kicking people out of colleges. Injustice is not a universally good thing.

When you talked about kicking people out of college on a thread about twitter going too far on social justice you have performed a new sort of Godwin. It's an enormous escalation.

Slashdot Top Deals

"It takes all sorts of in & out-door schooling to get adapted to my kind of fooling" - R. Frost