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


Forgot your password?
For the out-of-band Slashdot experience (mostly headlines), follow us on Twitter, or Facebook. ×

Comment: Re:The most important thing we've learned from thi (Score 1) 193 193

this shows just how bad an idea it is to put too much trust in computer models

What's this? What exactly did the output of their model harm?

If anything, it was a reality check reminding people who don't study the spread of disease just how bad things can get if something this harmful goes unchecked.

Comment: Re:wrong is right (Score 1) 193 193

Exactly. Do those asking the question "did the modelers get it wrong?" think that the models can actually account for the level of response there will be from every country in the world that has the ability to help mitigate the spread of the disease?

I can see it now... epidemiologists sit down, come up with a model of the outbreak based on what they know about how the disease spreads, and where it's starting from, and then ask themselves "OK, now what's the World Aid Fudge Factor?".

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 1) 225 225

We don't provide any live chat support to our customers. We're not big enough to have a customer service department to handle that kind of support. We only correspond to our customers via phone and email.
Internally, however, it does look like a nice alternative to Skype; but try telling that to the boss who likes to use the Skype app on his mobile phone for conference calls.

Comment: Re:Wow ... (Score 4, Funny) 225 225

Yeah, pretty epic bug.
We use Skype for communicating with coworkers (we are a very small company, and all telecommute, so to speak), when the conversation doesn't warrant a phone call (on our IP phones).
But I'm still very tempted to try it. It's like a big red button that says DO NOT PUSH.

Comment: Re:Black Ice (Score 1) 249 249

Really? Coal and diesel pollution?
Haven't you ever seen a snow-covered parking lot get the snow plowed into piles, and then watch those piles melt away, becoming more and more "sooty", as you put it?
It's sediment gathered up in the glacier when it was forming, over a long period of time. As it melts, the sediment becomes more concentrated because it stays put while the water runs away.

Comment: Re:I created a game with my SIster's kids (Score 1) 315 315

There's something to be said for starting with something that's already written, and hacking away at it.

That's how I got my start mainly: I'd get some of those old DOS games on a 5.25" floppy... you know the kind, that actually included the BAS source files. I'd browse through it and just start making changes to do something different... to change colors, change text prompts, etc. Before I knew it, I was using the existing game or program as a launching point to piece-meal together an entirely different game. Learning by example like this greatly reduces the intimidation factor when starting out to program. You don't have to know a whole lot to get started, like program entry points, dependencies, etc, you just have to understand some basic logic and flow control (and most 7-year olds will understand "if this, then that"), and you're ready to start hacking at it, learning as you go.

After you've hacked away at it little by little for a while, you'll want to start looking things up and learning how to do more complicated tasks, so a readily-available online reference would also be a big plus.

I'll also add that, like others have mentioned, having immediate feedback is also crucial. That was easy with BASIC where the "IDE" and compiler/interpreter was readily available on all DOS machines. Find something like BASIC where making these little changes is easy and quick feedback is available. Maybe look into some online IDEs?

Comment: Re:Do the math: that is stupid! (Score 1) 421 421

You make excellent points, and I agree with your main point: this "powdered alcohol" is in no way the most efficient way to transport ethanol.

But what you miss is that's not the point. It's all about practical transport. In the specific case of hiking, yes, you could take something like Everclear. However as others have pointed out in comments (user Rei mainly), containers used when hiking aren't designed to transport liquids that are that highly concentrated in ethanol. They're designed to be light and space-saving (i.e. thin, collapsible, plastic containers). I personally wouldn't trust anything I'd use to transport liquids (water) while hiking to be able to withstand transporting something like Everclear, especially when it's really hot outside.

Even if there were a container that can hold up to that kind of a liquid in those conditions, I'd still argue it's not the most efficient for hiking. It still contains a lot of weight for the water that it still contains. When hiking, water is first and foremost for drinking by itself. If you're able to secure a sufficient water source (or brought enough and have reached your destination successfully) only then would you say "ok, now I can use some of that water for celebrating". Until then, that water contained in the Everclear, or whatever alcohol you're packing, should be reserved for sustaining life.

Comment: Wear Sunscreen (Score 1) 698 698

I *strongly* urge you to read the essay "Wear Sunscreen" by Mary Schmich. Or, as most of us heard it the first time, listen to the spoken word song by Baz Lurhman "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)".

To this day, when I listen to it, the advice, and how it's conveyed, makes me tear up a bit.

"Do one thing EVERY day that scares you..."

Just one powerful line from a powerful essay/song.

Comment: OT: one-way (Score 3, Interesting) 349 349

Not really related to the skipping-a-leg-for-cheaper-airfare, but I booked one-ways for a trip to Jamaica (from the US).

Not for bonus points or miles, but because it was cheaper and provided more convenient flight times. We booked with Delta on the way down and US Air on the way back. It takes a little more work because you're shopping for plane tickets twice, but I'd bet in most cases, it's worth it.

"Any excuse will serve a tyrant." -- Aesop