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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Re:Nice resolution (Score 1) 93

by bigpat (#49166977) Attached to: Valve and HTC Reveal "Vive" SteamVR Headset
I agree that VR is ready for a wider mass market. I was just responding the idea that Oculus had somehow been the one to find that secret ingredient. VR has had a lot of milestones towards becoming a mass market gaming platform and technology improvements in many areas are responsible for that. And there are plenty of opportunities still.

Comment: Re:Earth Fossils on Mars? (Score 1) 88

by bigpat (#49088217) Attached to: Could Fossils of Ancient Life From Earth Reside On the Moon?

If we are finding rocks from Mars on Earth, it is likley there are rocks from Earth on Mars and possibly fossils from Earth on Mars. And I wonder about bacteria from Earth on Mars. It is possible. This complicates the "finding life on Mars" projects. Is it martian life or transplanted life from Earth?

There will always be uncertainty, but if we can find some trace of life on Mars and it isn't directly associated with a meteorite with a composition that could indicate it is from Earth then that would probably be good enough to rule out direct transport from Earth... but it wouldn't rule out that it was transplanted life unless it was completely different than anything we have or had on Earth. So if it is bacteria or other simple life it is going to be nearly impossible to rule out transplant theories with limited evidence.

But even the result of finding life on Mars that reproduced or flourished there in the past would be a great milestone of discovery and I think we can safely rule out mere contamination by meteorites just by looking at the geology of where we find it.

Comment: Re:Huh? (Score 1) 220

by bigpat (#49080989) Attached to: Obama Says He's 'A Strong Believer In Strong Encryption'

Are we supposed to celebrate abortion?

No. Nor should we celebrate people shooting each other. Having the right to bear arms and having the right to an abortion don't mean we have to celebrate when people do bad things just because they had a legal or civil right to the means.

The sooner we can stop trying to take away people's rights because we are afraid they are going to do something bad and focus on making the world a better place where people don't need guns or abortions but can rest assured they have a right to them the better off we will all be.

The same goes for drug use which should be recognized as a constitutional right for the same reason abortion is. People have a right to privacy of their own bodies. And people have a right to privacy in their effects. People must have a right to choose encrypted communications using whatever method they choose. Making people into criminals merely for choosing privacy isn't some borderline legal issue... it is the fulfillment of the dream of a total police state where privacy itself is made illegal and a punishable offense. Choose Liberty.

Comment: Re: domination (Score 1) 271

by bigpat (#49047171) Attached to: Peak Google: The Company's Time At the Top May Be Nearing Its End

All of those are extensions of Google's online ad business. And that is their business, search is not.

Without the search business people's attention would be funneled by other companies like Comcast or Verizon into other vertically integrated content/ad networks. Search is very very much core to Google's business. It is the one place people visit almost every day for something and ads are merely the way they monetize that.

An interesting experiment for Google might be to allow people to pay a monthly fee to access search and every website that they serve ads on and make them ad-free (conditional that no other ads are shown or something like that) and then they could pay content websites where their ads would otherwise be shown based on people's interest in that website rather than on clicks. It turns the model around, but it could be of interest to people. More like the HBO model of entertainment without overt advertising support. Like I said an interesting experiment. Of course even if it worked to any extent it would just make advertising more focused on product placement rather than overt ads.

Comment: Re:SpaceX stories (Score 2, Insightful) 53

by bigpat (#49038701) Attached to: SpaceX Signs Lease Agreement With Air Force For Landing Pad

Seriously, why would SpaceX give a shit about promotion on Slashdot?

Don't worry - the AC is just upset that Musk and Co. are building the future whist he merely spends his life complaining about things in front of his terminal.

Seriously. SpaceX is cool for what they have already accomplished reducing launch costs significantly. If they can reduce costs even further it will enable far greater space exploration and much more sustainable utilization of space. If SpaceX can actually land some of these rocket stages so they can reuse the rockets eventually and make good on reducing costs even further, then that is a giant leap forward on par with all the great milestones. People are excited about SpaceX and the new space race for all the right reasons.

Comment: Re:Hmmm... (Score 1) 212

by bigpat (#49000203) Attached to: The Search For Neutrons That Leak Into Our World From Other Universes
Why put the experiment next to a neutron source? Is it just to ensure that the shielding is sufficient to block Neutrons from our Universe? Or calibration? I would think you could pretty much set up the experiment anyplace if you verified the shielding was sufficient and you could do that with any neutron source. Or is there something else?

Comment: Re:Hidden agenda that might bite us? (Score 1) 379

by bigpat (#48982033) Attached to: Confirmed: FCC Will Try To Regulate Internet Under Title II
On first reading the lack of mention of peering is a major red flag... the way netflix and others have been blackmailed into pay to play schemes have been through the peering arrangements. Basically the links between networks become saturated whenever there is a popular service and if Comcast or Verizon decide they don't want to upgrade those links then the service is effectively throttled. Unless the regulations mandate upgrading the bottlenecks between networks when they happen then it won't be an effective policy change and the Internet will continue to fragment.

Comment: Re:Great? (Score 1) 105

by bigpat (#48981871) Attached to: Staples To Buy Office Depot For $6.3 Billion
I'm usually strongly against anything that reduces competition, but Staples and Office Depot merging seems like a shrug off in this market. Neither seems like a business on the upswing nor are there big barriers to entry for selling the types of products they sell. If anything I would be concerned that the merger costs and failure to integrate the businesses alone are going to kill both companies and reduce competition in that way.

Comment: Re:How will this affect peering agreements? (Score 1) 379

by bigpat (#48981625) Attached to: Confirmed: FCC Will Try To Regulate Internet Under Title II
Bingo... this doesn't provide net neutrality unless providers are required to upgrade peering arrangements when services their customers request routinely saturate the connections. So a new service comes along and the big providers can simply de facto block/throttle it by refusing to upgrade the peering connection to the other network...

Comment: Re: Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by bigpat (#48806663) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

That's true too, but taken alone the secret ballot has a long long history of being used as cover to stuff ballot boxes or otherwise miscount votes and steal elections. Although there are real benefits to a secret ballot it leaves the entire system vulnerable to conspiracies by small groups of people. Hundreds can steal votes from millions. Whereas the theoretical benefit of a secret ballot is that it allows people to vote without personal consequence such as voter intimidation. So, the math wins in my estimation. It is more democratic to put your faith in the integrity of millions of people to resist intimidation and other forms of manipulation than to put your faith in the integrity of a select few.

Comment: Re: Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

by bigpat (#48802473) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting
Perhaps I was being too subtle, but I am suggesting using an open/electronic ballot for ballot questions as a first step rather than for electing individuals. Basically as a way to replicate Open Town Meetings which have open voting. I think this would be especially useful for local voting on local issues. And for now, at least, keep the secret ballot for voting on elected officials, representatives and parties. And secret ballots mean no electronic voting and no mail-in absentee voting. Just because electronic and mail-in ballots are inherently not secret ballots doesn't mean there is no use for them.

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.