Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



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

Comment: Re:Taxes (Score 3, Interesting) 172 172

You can't have no taxes and a government that wants to promise the world at the same time. Low taxes are fine if you have a government that isn't spending anything on programs and by the same token if you have a government that has or wants to have a lot of policies and programs, it is going to need to have a revenue stream to support them.

Comment: Re:Copyright Law (Score 4, Informative) 190 190

You're oversimplifying the legal case as well as leaving out the series of legal battles preceding the one which you're speaking about and failing to note that the payment was for legal fees. The reason that Apple Corps lost is because in a previous court battle they had agreed to legal terms that allowed Apple Computer to have the right to any services that allowed music to be played or delivered, which is essentially what the iTunes music store does, as long as they weren't distributing pre-recorded music on physical media, which is what Apple Corps was in the business of doing.

If the Apple Corps didn't want Apple Computer to even be able to sell music, they shouldn't have agreed to legal terms that would allow them to do so. Unfortunately they had a legal agreement with Apple that permitted Apple to do exactly that as long as they weren't distributing tapes, CDs, or other physical media. It's not really surprising that a record company failed to see the coming storm of digital music and was foolish enough to include language about physical media. Sucks to be them, but that was the agreement they made.

Wikipedia has a decent overview of the various court cases between the two over the years.

Comment: Re:Fucking Lawyers (Score 1) 181 181

My guess is there's a distinction between an individual function/method signature and the entire API.

Arguing that Larry Ellison is going to come after you over a int min(int a, int b) function is a bit like all of the crazy rednecks that always say Obama is coming for all of their guns every time there's any kind of weapons bill in Congress.

It seems unlikely that you can lay claim to a single signature any more than you can copyright an individual sentence in a book and prevent someone else from using it. Not that it makes the decision any better, but spewing alarmist nonsense isn't being honest.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 1) 187 187

Whether or not it makes money has nothing to do with patents, but everything to do with whether or not a company or individual is likely to engage in such an endeavor at all.

For example, let's assume that a system in which patents last 100 years exists. Even in such a system where a company can reap the profits of their research for generations, that company would be unlikely to devote resources towards finding a cure for a condition that affects a few dozen people.

Patents, copyrights, and the notion of intellectual property is merely a tool to incentivize creation and discovery. Like anything else, it's simply a matter of finding the ideal balance that provides enough incentive for pursuing new knowledge without keeping it locked away from society. However, regardless of whether patents exist or not, businesses won't engage in activity that isn't expected to be profitable. Because the effectiveness of new technology or the yields of research are not knowable in advance, you need some form of a system to make the investment economically feasible. If not patents, then you likely rely on government grants, which is going to have its own set of issues.

Comment: Re:Must have been visited by some serious looking (Score 1) 45 45

The question becomes one of to what extent is is no longer possible to limit workforce replacements to a small enough percentage that it's beneficial to the overall economy.

As technology improves, we remove low-skill labor jobs from the workforce, leaving only jobs for which substantial amounts of training or education are required in order to fill, which means that eventually anyone who is removed from the work force may take several years before they are capable of being productive and adding to the collective wealth of the economy.

Realistically, this isn't an issue in terms of the capacity to produce wealth, but if demands falls of, supply would naturally decrease and at best the excess production capacity is used for something else. However, it does leave a lot of people without the ability to participate in the economy which is not good for society as a whole.

I think that eventually we'll reach a point where there's enough material wealth generated through automation that everyone can be given food, shelter, and clothing at no cost. The only stable alternative (at least that I can conceive of at this time) is for humans to start selectively breeding themselves so that their ability to learn and engage in new forms of labor is not outpaced by the rate at which they are able to figure out how to automate existing labor, which itself makes for an interesting equilibrium as being smart enough to quickly learn and adapt also implies being smart enough to find more efficient solutions to problems.

Comment: Re:Must have been visited by some serious looking (Score 1) 45 45

It still doesn't matter in the long term as even if China tries to hamstring adoption, other countries (like the U.S. that doesn't even have the large workforce to protect anymore) won't and therefore China loses business which means workers are laid off regardless. I suppose China could keep the people employed and limit parts of their production for internal use only, but even that's pointless. Let the robots produce the goods and let all of the people find something more productive to do. China is supposed to be a communist country, so what do they care if they have to redistribute wealth to people during an adjustment period.

Comment: Re:GMOs have so many different problems (Score 2) 187 187

Someone needs to invest the money necessary in order to prove that a GMO actually works or does what is claimed and then additional testing is done to ensure that it's safe for human consumption or that there aren't unintended side effects. If as soon as any company could prove a particular GMO safe and fit for use, another could simply start producing it as well without having to spend the initial investment, it makes companies more averse to doing the research.

Put frankly, you might spend $10,000 if you had a reasonable belief that you could generate $20,000 in return from your investment. You might not do the same if your $10,000 is a lot more likely to result in only $5,000 back for you.

Comment: Re:sigh... (Score 3, Interesting) 939 939

Sorry, but when you make a claim, it's on you to provide either a source for it or your evidence for making it. It's not some other person's responsibility to keep up on your Slashdot posts so that you can be lazy and then be a dick about it on top of that. I've never seen the claim made before either, and there are probably a lot of other people who haven't either.

Comment: Re:Why is it always "learn to code" (Score 1) 473 473

To some extent learning to program is more than just writing code. It's also learning to solve problems and to think in abstract terms. Eventually automation will remove all of the jobs that don't require those types of skills or make it economically unfeasible for that work to be done by humans.

Comment: Re:Well they're getting closer to the truth (Score 1) 473 473

Which is a good argument against affirmative action. If you don't have that policy in place, how can anyone make an argument that a person was only hired based on some characteristic (ignoring nepotism, which has nothing to do with gender, race, sexuality, etc.) other than their ability?

It especially sucks for anyone who didn't need to policy to get hired as it unfairly creates an assumption that they might be otherwise unworthy of their position, which probably leads to them feeling as though they constantly have to prove themselves when they really shouldn't.

Not that you're going to completely remove the idiots that make statements like "X because she's a woman". To some degree you'll get that anywhere you have a limited number of individuals in a group regardless of what that group is. It's human nature to try and find patterns and when your sample size is 2, it's pretty easy to fall prey to any number of cognitive biases. They really should spend more time on formal logic and logical fallacies in primary and secondary education. I don't think the world would be perfect, but it would be a lot better in general.

Comment: Re:Phase out fossil-fueled power plants by midcent (Score 2) 308 308

First, there's the obvious matter of how much said plant will cost, not only in nominal monetary terms, but also in terms of potential damage to the environment in order to acquire the materials necessary to build it. Solar has a reliance on rare earth metals and the DOE has pegged China as having about half of the world's estimates and they're rather protective of them, never mind their poor record on doing anything in an environmentally friendly manner. However, I'm rather optimistic that within 30 years we'll have solutions that work just as well if not better than what we currently have without these requirements.

Next, there's the obvious issue of constraints on energy production, which is where nuclear really stands out as it doesn't matter whether the sun is shining or which way the wind is blowing. To some extent you need a reliable source of power that can be tapped into regardless of what the conditions may be like, especially on a local level. I'm also fairly optimistic that we'll eventually solve many of the issues related to transmitting energy over long distances, but for now it's a good idea not to waste a lot of energy in moving that energy to where it needs to be.

Finally, we have nuclear solutions that can work today. The technology is already there and works well. It's not something that will be ready in five* years or some indeterminate point in the future. If I'm going to be just as optimistic here, nuclear can also get a lot better as well, especially if it were to get the same kind of money and mind-share thrown at it as some of the other alternatives.

Is nuclear the be-all, end-all solution? Of course not. Much like coal or any other fossil fuel, there's a limit to the amount of fuel we can extract from the Earth, but the energy density is rather good and many of the resources are untapped. I imagine that we'll get to some real space-age shit that we can't even comprehend at this point before we run out of nuclear fuel or that a combination of improvements in solar and general energy efficiency of products will be able to sustain humanity's needs over several centuries.

Not sure if that's the nonsense you were looking for.

Comment: Re:IMAX is a trademark, shame on Ars' editors. (Score 3, Insightful) 190 190

Given that /. is a for-profit website, why is it permissible for them to run this story if what you're saying is true? For that matter, how can any story that mentions any brand ever be run on any news site, of which almost all are run as for-profit enterprises?

Your claims don't even meat a basic standard of common sense, so even not knowing the laws surrounding trademarks, that you could make such a claim at all boggles the mind.

Comment: Re:Slashdot layout (Score 2) 250 250

Does anyone ever click those share buttons anyways, other than perhaps accidentally?

I don't use much social media so I have no idea if they show up frequently, if at all. The only time I can ever recall seeing one was in an image capture of someone who had (perhaps accidentally) shared a porn video, which for whatever damned reason had Facebook integration.

One would think that people come here to get away from the Facebook crowd and that the Facebook crowd has little interest in what's posted here, so why they bother incorporating such a feature is beyond me. Never mind that the layout seems fucked, but it could just be my browser.

A language that doesn't affect the way you think about programming is not worth knowing.

Working...