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Comment If you're serious... (Score 1) 1822

If you guys are serious about turning Slashdot around I wish you all the luck, and if there's anything the community can do to help, please don't hesitate to ask us. That might include asking us to change our behaviour (both to improve things from first principles, and if we need to change our behaviour to adapt to a change to the system).

I've been reading (and rarely contributing to :) Slashdot for a long time, and over the past year I've been looking for alternatives. I still haven't found any that were better; I'd even considered starting a new one. I will be very pleased if it turns out competent people acting in good faith have taken the helm.

Comment The basics (Score 1) 1822

The basics:

* Continue making posts about good content worthy of discussion
* Avoid the trolling and pandering that's been too obvious in too many posts/stories
* Avoid the Slashvertisements (and if you have to do them, tell us about it and why you're doing it - even if you just want to make more money to gilt your monocles)

If there's anything you can do about the obvious astroturfing that happens in the comments that would be nice, but I think that's playing with fire. The moderation system seems to work reasonably well most of the time, maybe just tweak the weights a bit (so anybody who positively moderated an obviously astroturfing or trolling comment has less karma).

Feel free to change the UI some, but don't try to differentiate via the UI. And please nothing 'flat' :)

Comment Re:Boo, you fad killer! (Score 2) 111

What if, for instance, you find that that "perfectly functional" person has a rare modification to another gene that allows them to get by without the missing gene?

What if, for instance, that gene is only required when you've been exposed to some common element or set of circumstances that the "perfectly functional" person just happened to avoid, by chance?

What if, for instance, that "perfectly functional" individual isn't, in fact, perfectly functional? What if, for instance, any complications simply haven't yet become apparent?

The headlines and any articles that say we could do without a given gene are almost certainly sensational. I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume the original paper doesn't make any such ridiculous claims.

Comment Re:If only Los alamos were as smart as slashdot, e (Score 0) 112

Some negative comments might actually be pretty reasonable. That they "only just figured this out" means some combination of the following three things:

1. Nobody tested this until just now, meaning our understanding of the Casimir effect was sufficiently incomplete that nobody should have been writing on the topic with any confidence or authority. A real scientist familiar with the topic probably wouldn't have been; but "real scientists" are sufficiently thin on the ground that you could likely have gone through a doctorate in science and not met one. Teachers in particular, at all levels, seem pretty prone to talking and acting like they're hot shit.

2. Nobody thought to test this until just now, which means that some pretty dumb assumptions were made (they're dumb because they were assumptions and incorrect).

3. Nobody thought to test this until just now, and it's a pretty _obvious_ test too, so either nobody spent any time on it or they were extremely myopic. (Something I've seen in many "scientists"' publications these days; overspecialization to the point of virtual uselessness. They're competent to gather data but not design interesting tests.) I'm only vaguely familiar with our knowledge of the Casimir effect (which is sometimes good!), and I would certainly test all sorts of patterns - on each surface - to figure out how that affects the effect.

Of course this discussion is based on the assumption that what the summary talks about is in the article, which I haven't checked, and that the article faithfully summarizes what's in the paper, which I haven't checked, and that the paper purports that this is new knowledge, which I haven't checked. It's quite possible that what's published in the paper is already well-known.

Comment Re:Calories? (Score 1) 470

(BTW, I also know you're either not obese or you're obese and you've never successfully stuck to a very low-calorie diet for any length of time. Almost certainly the former, since the idea that somebody can eat 1,200kcal/day and not lose weight is so utterly foreign to you. That means that you're likely eating 2500kcal+/day. Probably the former For five years I maintained a ~1000kcal/day diet - average, never going over 1500kcal in a given day - and managed to gain 50bs of fat over that time. Yes it is possible for people to subsist off a piece of bread and an egg for breakfast, a can of tuna for lunch, and a small dinner. It's just very, very unpleasant.)

Comment I've started reading the text through ... (Score 1) 201

I've started reading the text through, and all I can say is: GO CANADA!

As a Canadian I've been dreading our role in these negotiations. I feel that we really haven't pressed our position sufficiently in bilateral treaties with the US when it comes to commerce (this goes back decades). This is exasperated by the current Federal party in power in parliament (though it's a minority), which demonstrably follows the US lead in many areas.

However, it seems that at least in this case, our government (as distinct from parliament, I might add) is clearly pushing for the Right Stuff(tm). At least as hard as the EU, maybe harder. As an example, it seems that wherever punishments (remedies) for infringers are mentioned, Canada (and usually the EU) has added: [the judicial authorities] "shall take into account the need for proportionality between the seriousness of the infringement and the remedies ordered as well as the interest of third parties."

In other words, no ridiculous court cases where a 16-year-old gets saddled with a $750,000 judgement against them because they downloaded a few tracks from Kazaa (or whatever the kids are using these days :) and didn't know enough to turn it off.


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