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


Forgot your password?
Back for a limited time - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Coincidentally (Score 5, Interesting) 137

I just finished watching the movie Tomorrowland yesterday. It was a bit of a let-down ... good acting, but the story made the movie weaker than it should have been.

But, hidden within it was this very insightful gem:

"In every moment, there is the possibility of a better future. But you people won't believe it. And because you won't believe it, you won't do what is necessary to make it a reality. So you dwell on this all-terrible future and resign yourselves to it for one reason: Because that future doesn't ask anything of you today." -- David Nix / Hugh Laurie

We like being pessimists when it comes to our future. When we imagine a brighter future, then we are responsible for doing what is necessary to create it. But when we imagine a bleaker future, there's nothing we have to do to make it a reality. We can just live as hedonists until our passing.

Comment Only Red Mercury? (Score 1) 330

I mean, if they're really this gullible, why stop there? If we want to talk about fictional destructive fluids of a crimson color, why not try to sell them red matter? What faster way to your 72 virgins than destroying an entire planet? Or don't they have a way yet to drill to the Earth's core?

Comment Re:In the search for truth (Score 1) 519

I welcome the opinions of others, especially those that differ with my own. I don't welcome the name calling that accompanies it.

There's a big difference between saying, "I disagree with your idea" and "Your idea is stupid." The former leaves room for discussion. The latter is designed to censor or invalidate the statement based on emotional argument, leaving no room for debate.

There's an even wider difference between saying "Your idea is stupid", and "You are stupid for having come up with such a stupid idea." Gstoddart transitioned from the former to the latter, though, instead of calling me stupid, he called me a "fucking idiot." Now we're not only invalidating the statement, but also the person who made it. But the individual being censored is not silenced for valid reasons, but rather over emotions.

And there is an irony in that. These terrorists have abandoned reason in their acts; emotion has clouded their judgement, emotion influenced by corrupt religious leaders. We should not allow emotion to cloud our judgements in the same way. (No, our judgements are not anything near the same as their atrocious acts. But we still are allowing emotions to interfere with the ability to scrutinize them properly.)

Comment In the search for truth (Score 1) 519

We must be willing to accept any and every possible examination of the truth.

Comments like yours are what's making our country more difficult to live in. People are too afraid to share ideas, because they fear being judged for them.

In fact, the very essence of your comment is a quintessential illustration of the problem I was trying to highlight. Let's not debate the idea. Let's judge the voice.

Comment Sigh^2 (Score 1) 519

All I can say is wow. I came back to check on responses to my comment four hours after posting it, and it looks like only the parent seems to have understood my meaning.

I know very well that the 1st Amendment is a limitation on actions the government may take against the people. My point had nothing to do with government action against an individual. My point is that we as a society would rather lynch anyone who dares to rationalize the actions of these bombers before we ever will find the courage to consider it ourselves.

In our rush to defend the victims of this tragedy and protect them from further harm, we are quick to decry any-and-all rhetoric that fails to condemn those responsible as anything less than psycopathic, sadistic, demented, and/or depraved. So, when someone has the courage to merely suggest that these individuals may be acting out in a manner that is, dare I say, human, we must as a society silence that voice. We will not allow ourselves to, as the parent put it, "foster debate, free from intrusion". These individuals who attacked civilians in Paris were/are monsters, we must forever see them that way, and we must treat them that way.

But it's that exact point-of-view that got us into a 10-year war in Iraq. It's that exact point-of-view that is keeping us in a 14-year war in Afghanistan. We as westerners do not understand the Arab mindset. (A decade ago, I lived for a year in Cairo, Egypt, myself. I'm not a Muslim, but it did certainly give me perspective on this subject.) The more we seek revenge / justice / reparations / etc. from these individuals, the more it will inflame them. We're pouring water on a gas fire, and it's only spreading further and further. If we want to ever succeed in solving this Crisis in the middle east, we -must- see these terrorists not as savages, but as humans. We need to understand what drives them to such ends, and cure the sickness rather than treat the symptoms.

And when a politician of all people has the courage to suggest as such, we cannot treat him or her as a monster either.

Comment I second the RF jammer (Score 1) 156

This makes no sense to me. Why does our government need Boeing-grade solutions to very simple problems? Can our federal IT department not spend 60 seconds on Google, look up "Drone Jammer", and find this well-documented solution? Why can't they make something like this? FCC? Psh...these are the feds we're talking about. If Stingrays aren't a problem for them, jamming commercial drone frequencies won't be either. Maybe the electrical diagrams too complex for Uncle Sam to know what to do with? Oh, they want to detect them also? Another 60 seconds with "Sonar to detect drones" tells me that our friends across the pond have developed drone sonar for Heathrow. I'm pretty sure we're good friends with the Brits and can figure out how to use this technology in our prisons. Seriously...I've seen high school science fair projects look more complicated than this.

Or maybe I'm not getting the point. Maybe our government just doesn't want to bother coming up with their own solutions. Maybe they just want to throw our tax money away.

Comment That's easy (Score 2) 278

Article 1, Section 8, Section 1: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States."...and Section 18: "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers." Congress controls the money, and they can use it any way that is "necessary and proper" for the "general welfare" of our nation. Pretty broad power.

But, to clarify, Congress does not require any state to follow the educational laws they have passed. If they refuse to do so, they just cannot receive desperately-needed federal funding. The constitution allows it, as opined by the Supreme Court in South Dakota v. Dole.

Comment What students "need" (Score 1) 217

"Make it a high-school graduation requirement," Emanuel said. "They need to know this stuff."

I recall a moment in college when I was standing in the ruins of classic Rome with a friend of mine, reading to him a sign in one of the structures indicating where Julius Caesar was stabbed, and having him ask me, "Who's Julius Caesar?" Smart guy, graduated from college in three years, and has been a middle school science teacher ever since.

A central problem with our K-12 educational system has been too many cooks, i.e. politicians, in the kitchen. The central message they have been preaching without ceasing has been "More, more, more," and schools continue to suffer. Schools have become bloated with educational mandates that keep adding to the curriculum, and expect it sooner. For example, 25 years ago, my kindergarten classroom met for a half-day three days a week, where we learned our ABC's, learned how to count from 1-10, and otherwise drew crude drawings with crayons and played on the playground. Now every kindergartner needs to know how to read. The Finns still enjoy play time, and who has the better test scores? And don't get me started on Algebra expectations...

If we really want students to succeed, we need to give them room to grow by relaxing curricula standards, not adding more to them. If a smart guy can get through college and succeed in life not knowing who Julius Caesar was, does he need to know how to program a computer?

In my personal opinion, beyond the 8th grade, I think the only class every student should be required to take by law nationally is Civics. The care and maintenance of our nation depends on it. Leave the rest up to the states, and let national benchmarks like the ACT and SAT serve as a common metric students can measure themselves by.

Comment Recommended suggestion (Score 1) 247

It appears obvious that the human condition will put too much trust in the car. So, let's not let all humans operate self-driving vehicles for now. Let's say we instead begin with a very limited license that can only be obtained by specially-trained drivers familiar with expectations for device operation and manual override. Find a fleet of taxi drivers in a municipality, for example, or perhaps some transport vehicles that just bus passengers between an airport and hotels. Beta test car operations to determine how much driver-intervention is required at this stage in SDV technology development, then make recommendations from what is learned on how to proceed to the next step?

Either that, or start building dedicated highways that only allow self-driving vehicles. And only allow SDV-mode while on those highways.

Comment Is it a problem? (Score 5, Interesting) 151

N. fowleri can easily survive for 24 hours

But is it surviving? Does it even exist in our water system at present? I only know about this amoeba, because it became an issue up here in Minnesota when a boy swimming in Lake Minnewaska was believed to have contracted the disease and passed away. (Although, it was later determined that he died not from an amoeba but rather from bacterial meningitis.) But, as this was happening, it was shared that there's been only 35 confirmed deaths from amoebas over the last 10 years. Do we really need to concern and trouble ourselves over something killing 3.5 humans a year?

Comment These changes... (Score 5, Insightful) 466

He doesn't cook, and was able to get rid of almost all kitchen appliances because of that. He uses a butane stove for hot beverages. He powers a small computer off batteries, which get their energy from solar panels. For intensive tasks, he remotes to more powerful machines. He re-wired his apartment's LED lighting to run off direct current. Have any of you made similar changes?

No. I have a wife.

You have a massage (from the Swedish prime minister).