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


Forgot your password?
Take advantage of Black Friday with 15% off sitewide with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" on Slashdot Deals (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Cubic gigaparsec ... (Score 2) 184

1 cubic parsec is (according to Google) 2.93799895 × 10^49 cubic meters. 1 Olympic-size swimming pool has 2500 cubic meters of volume. Diving, that gives 1.1751996 x 10^46 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Cubic *giga*parsec, so presumably you're off by a factor of 1e27. But what's 1e27 Olympic pools between friends...

Comment Re:Ok, so no net neutrality in US (Score 1) 706

If what you were saying was true, a republican Congress would not have been re-elected

I haven't seen the figures for 2014, but the only reason Republicans won a congressional majority in 2012 was due to massive, unchecked gerrymandering. As demonstrates, the Ds won ~1.5E6 more votes than the Rs, yet the Rs have 33 more seats. Of course, this is probably even more true in the Senate, where a voter in Wyoming has something like an order of magnitude more influence than one in say California.

Comment Impact factor metrics (Score 1) 308

Isn't this what impact factor metrics like the H-index (and improved versions) are designed to address? Those take into account the "quality" of a given paper, as measured by its citation count, as well as the number of papers (productivity). Of course, the citation count may not be an accurate measure of quality, I guess. It's probably simplistic, but certainly better than just counting papers published.

Comment Re:Welcome to Capitalism (Score 1) 611

Not certain if the fact that Ayn Rand was a devoted admirer of serial killer William Hickman falls into the "hypocrisy" or "logical outcome" category, but it's quite disturbing either way. Benefiting from SS/Medicare after terming those who do "parasites" is barely worth a footnote in comparison. Read all about it here: Excerpt:

The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged , John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market , Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him.

What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'"

This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead : "He was born without the ability to consider others." (The Fountainhead is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' favorite book -- he even requires his clerks to read it.)

Comment Re:Cruel and unusual (Score 1) 369

Income tax rates are mostly irrelevant when it comes to much of the income of the "rich", including the "idle rich" and trust fund babies. The capital gains tax in the 50s was 25%. The estate tax was 77% on estates > $10E6. Both have been gutted today, with little evidence that either "helps the economy". They certainly "help" the deficit. You probably know this, and are just ignoring this in your confirmation-biased little mind.

Comment Re:Don't worry, Romney... (Score 1) 836

As for the "accounting fiction" the trust fund is invested solely in Treasury Bonds, those are the AAA rated investments backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. Goverment. You can be an anarchist if you want, but the U.S. Government has never failed to pay back a dollar of treasury bond debt. They get shitty interest rates though (currently 10 year notes are returning a negative interest rate -- you get less back in 10 years than you invest up front, but they still sell easily).

Hmm, where do you get the negative interest rate for 10 year T-bonds? has them at 1.6% today. Or are you factoring in inflation?

Comment Re:Death knell (Score 1) 361

Interesting, thanks. It sounds like the cache controller/circuitry surrounding the cache itself emitted "particles", from that post. But then it goes on to talk about humidity etc. Plus, they mention about a 1% CPU time effect, but if you flush the cache you could be affecting other processes' performance too and it's not clear if that's taken into account. Weird. Did they replace it with "mirrored SRAM" which they say is the only real fix ("not available on midrange systems"), or just another box with tuned up scrubbing parameters and what not?

Comment Re:Realclimate trolls again? (Score 1) 670

Assuming the measurements are accurate. Arriving at a global mean temperature is voodoo enough, but when you place your surface temperature measuring stations beside air conditioning unit exhaust vents you have to wonder if the temperatures even reflect reality. Most of these stations surveyed have a margin of error in recording temperatures of more than 2C... while your measured catastrophic increase is 0.6C?? Next stop, measuring your member with an unmarked ruler. "Hey, it's about a foot long. Really!!"

I certainly agree that some of the surface measurement sites are situated poorly. However, given that "changes in borehole temperatures (Section 2.3.2), the recession of the glaciers (Section, and changes in marine temperature (Section, which are not subject to urbanisation, agree well with the instrumental estimates of surface warming over the last century" and that there is no statistically significant difference between the records from rural and urban surface temperature stations ("While there is little difference in the long-term (1880 to 1998) rural (0.70C/century) and full set of station temperature trends (actually less at 0.65C/century), more recent data (1951 to 1989), as cited in Peterson et al. (1999), do suggest a slight divergence in the rural (0.80C/century) and full set of station trends (0.92C/century) However, neither pair of differences is statistically significant.", as detailed in the IPCC report, it doesn't, well, appear to be statistically significant. Oh, and could we omit the petty attempts at vulgar "humor"?

We're now glossing over point 2 and making broad assumptions. Nevermind that "To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today. Clearly, other factors besides atmospheric carbon influence earth temperatures and global warming." [Source] Hmmm... what's the phrase I'm looking for here... something about correlation and causation.

Perhaps you ought to take a look at this study. I quote: "The answer: This particular ice age didn't begin when CO2 was at its peak -- it began 10 million years earlier, when CO2 levels were at a low." "Taken together, the evidence suggests that the ice began to build up some 10 million years earlier than when volcanoes began pumping the atmosphere full of the CO2 that ended the Ordovician ice age." "Our results are consistent with the notion that CO2 concentrations drive climate."

May want to update your talking points...though I rather suspect you'll regurtitate the same set the next time a climate change discussion comes up here.

" This last one brings us to the ultimate death blow to the global warmers' argument. The warming we've experienced since the last glacial period has brought us grasslands, forests, jungles.... When the next glacial period comes, the planet will be covered mostly by icy tundra and extreme deserts again. Warming has only made this planet MORE habitable to us. I've got 12000 years of proof that warming is good. What do you have to the contrary?"

Dude...are you being deliberately obtuse? It's not just sea levels rising due to glacial melt, though that alone is problematic (though there's this thing called empathy where some humans sympathise with the plights of other humans...something you apparently lack). Potential consequences also include droughts, heat waves, disruption of various ecosystems, increased oceanic acidification due to greater CO2 absorption (up to a limit) and so many others. If you were genuinely interested, I could go into the details.


Submission + - China bans horror books to protect children

An anonymous reader writes: China's capital is seizing ghost and horror books from shops to protect the "physical and mental health" of its youngsters, local media said on Tuesday. The tales are usually printed by small illegal publishers or circulated on the Internet, often borrowing from a rich pool of classic Chinese ghost stories, giving them up-to-date settings such as elevators or night buses. "The illegal publications are quite popular among students and are apt to harm the physical and mental health of young people," the newspaper quoted a government circular as saying. Collections of scary tales have found a frantic readership in China in recent years, especially among students and white-collar workers who find them a ready outlet from stressful lives. Among the blacklisted stories are adaptations of "Death Note", a Japanese manga comic series about a high school student who has a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it, the Beijing News said.

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing for money.