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


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:A Sympton of the Problem (Score 1) 306

by bentcd (#49526491) Attached to: Futures Trader Arrested For Causing 2010 'Flash Crash'

They are right in the effect. However, you never see anyone take it to the next step. Do we NEED to market to be THAT liquid?

We can't really know the answer to this. The applications that would benefit from instant liquidity haven't been developed because instant liquidity has not been available.

Maybe there are some true killer applications for this that just need a few more years of HFT-provided instant liquidity for someone get around to inventing, and once they do, we'll all wonder how people could even pay their bills under the old system let alone live their lives to the full.

Comment: Re:Heisenberg compensator ... (Score 1) 83

To me, the weird thing is the notion that you could live in an N dimensional universe yet only be able to interact with N-1 of its dimensions.

The 2D person who cannot perceive up and down: both up and down are there and they produce various forms of inputs to the 2D world so how could he possibly not observe them?

What it is about the Nth dimension that makes it fundamentally impossible to observe directly?

With this concept being so weird it doesn't really explain anything for me wrt QM, it just adds a new question.

Comment: Re:Of course it is ... (Score 1) 224

by bentcd (#49327359) Attached to: $1B TSA Behavioral Screening Program Slammed As "Junk Science"

TSA is a place where money goes to be spent on the premise that spending money on things which do nothing is better than doing nothing, even if the outcomes are the same.

It that were only the case it wouldn't be so much of an issue.

One billion dollars of pork is just one billion dollars of pork: payouts to the friends of the king, business as usual.

But what they are in fact doing is spending that one billion in order to make the entire rest of the economy less efficient. They are spending one billion so they can make sure another 100 billion is lost or never produced that otherwise would have been.

The one billion isn't the problem, the one hundred is.

Comment: Re:So, such rules are bad for keeping people worki (Score 1) 327

by bentcd (#47669283) Attached to: California May Waive Environmental Rules For Tesla

A coke oven is a chemical?

Strictly speaking pretty much everything we sorround ourselves with is a chemical. (Although a coke oven will typically be several chemicals.)

Obvious exceptions include light and other EM phenomena, plasmas, and elementary particles. Neutrinos aren't chemicals but then we don't really see much of them either even if they are everywhere.

Comment: Re:Patents are not the problem. (Score 1) 240

by bentcd (#47653461) Attached to: Patents That Kill

Or, according to /. earlier today. The people approving the patents are actually doing whatever the fuck else they want, instead of their job, and getting paid for it.

Which may be rational enough. Patent examiners are educated, intelligent people and they are inside the patent system so they know it well. They probably realize what a complete and unmitigated disaster it is from end to end and figure they have better things to do with their lives than try to polish a turd.

They do like the wages though.

Comment: Re:Govt panders to short-sighted voters, news at 1 (Score 2) 291

by bentcd (#47480869) Attached to: Australia Repeals Carbon Tax

Cheer up and take heart in the fact that even in these tough times of austerity they did at least commit to buying 58 more Joint Strike Fighters for $12.4 billion. Cut down on sicence and buy more flying lemons, at least they have a sound strategy.

That $12.4 billion buys them the continued good will of the world's strongest military power. It's not really about the Australian air force, it's simply cheap insurance.

My country does the same but only half heartedly tries to claim it's all about strengthening the air force. Hell, if we're really lucky there might actually be some decent jet fighters in it for us in the end. That's not the main point though.

Comment: Re:It's a tragic story, but.. (Score 1) 249

Given the nature of trademarks, DC is pretty much forced to deny such a request since each request granted represents a dilution of the trademark and introduces a small risk of the trademark being lost to DC.

On the other hand it is not clear why their permission is required at all in this case. Trademarks protect against someone other than the trademark owner selling products displaying that mark, but, there is no reason to believe that the intention is to create this statue and then try to sell it to someone as a genuine Superman product. There therefore cannot exist any confusion in the market as to the provenance of the statue since the statue isn't in the market in the first place, and so it doesn't constitute a violation of anyone's trademark.

This would only be an obvious trademark issue if they also intended to create merchandise based upon the statue and then sell that, I don't know if this is the case since as any good slashdotter I never cared to RTFA.

Had this been a copyright issue things would be different.

(I am not a lawyer and these are the random babblings of an amateur.)

Comment: Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (Score 1) 131

by bentcd (#47398167) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

That isn't consistent with them selling the units. The moment you charge money you are just selling them. If you are selling them, you can't argue you're trying to target devs.

But of course you can, if that is in fact what you are doing.

Then they shouldn't be selling them to anyone who orders one.

And apparently they are not anymore: they're no longer selling to China because they've learned they don't tend to end up with developers over there.

The devkits are theirs to sell to whoever they wish, and if they don't want to sell to China then that's their business.

Comment: Re:What's the big deal, Occulus? (Score 1) 131

by bentcd (#47397935) Attached to: Oculus Suspends Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales In China

I realize they have the right to stop selling anything to anyone at any time for any reason, but I'm struggling to figure out what their beef with this is.

The value of the Oculus brand is greater the more developers they can snag to work on/with their product, and so the more developers that get their hands on the devkit the better for Oculus. They are limited in how many devkits they can build however and so it is important to Oculus that every single one that they make goes to an actual developer, because that developer increases the brand value. Every devkit that goes to a non-developer is a net loss to Oculus because that is a devkit that did not go to a developer.

This would be different if they were not production constrained but I expect that they are.

Comment: Re:Except, of course, they have to prove you can (Score 1) 560

by bentcd (#47331033) Attached to: Mass. Supreme Court Says Defendant Can Be Compelled To Decrypt Data

Out of interest - what makes a lawyer so special that he can talk to the cops? Are lawyers vaccinated against cop-tricks or something?

The lawyer isn't under suspicion and so need not be afraid that the cops are trying to build a case against him.

A lawyer that is under suspicion should only say "I wish to remain silent and I want a lawyer" just like anyone else.

Comment: Re:Clarification (Score 1) 249

by bentcd (#47220431) Attached to: New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure

The main problem with your cynicism in this case is that if the product were to be mainly marketed to imbeciles then why does it have any pretense at privacy protection at all? Such people don't care one whit and so in the previous system they would just always click "accept" and "install" and there wouldn't be a problem (for Google).

The problem instead seems to be that there is in fact a sizable portion of users out there who do care at least a little about their privacy and who do get nervous about it every time an app asks for more permissions on an update. This is why they are (apparently) now changing the permissions system, to give an appearance of privacy protection while not really offering it: they want to sell to people who actually care about their privacy and who are prepared to take reasonable steps to safeguard it, such as click "Hell No" in an installer/updater.

Comment: Re:Not About Growth Anyway (Score 1) 97

Where is the harm in saying that KÃlsch has to be made in the designated area around KÃln.

(I don't know why I can't get proper umlauts but you can.)

The main issue is that the public has had hundreds of years to learn that Champagne is a particular type of bubbly alcohol, and now that specific public awareness gets thrown under a train in order to co-opt a couple centuries of goodwill into money into the pockets of local special interests. This is exactly the opposite of what trademarks are meant to be: this explicitly deludes the public as to the nature of the goods that they are buying so that they are tricked into not purchasing the item that they actually wanted which may have been bubbly from California but they can't have this anymore because they're searching for Champagne which no longer means what they thought it meant.

The public perception will correct itself within a couple decades but this shouldn't have been necessary. Trademark laws should help preserve the public awareness, not randomly undermine it.

(Of course these aren't actually trademark laws, they are localised protectionism, but in my opinion proper trademark and consumer protection concerns should trump such shenanigans.)

"America is a stronger nation for the ACLU's uncompromising effort." -- President John F. Kennedy