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Comment Re:Sputnik? (Score 1) 57

but the development of the Shuttle and the Soviets' failure with their equivalent

Actually, the Soviets succeeded in realizing that an airplane-shaped payload strapped onto the side of a rocket makes no sense after only one flight. It took us over 100 flights before we realized the same thing. I think they won that round.

Comment Re:Violence! (Score 3, Insightful) 469

It was a war. Shit happens.

No, it wasn't a war. It was a series of heavy-handed, ultra-violent overreactions to minor incidents which themselves were responses to systematic oppression. Military action often does kill civilians, the so-called "collateral damage", but herding groups of unarmed women and children into a building and then deliberately shelling that building to kill them all is not collateral damage; the unarmed civilians were the target.

If you want to understand what's really going on in Israel, I highly recommend you read "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel", by Max Blumenthal. It's a hard book to read, not because Blumenthal isn't a good writer but because the truth is so horrible. And if you doubt that it is the truth, check the included citations.

Comment Re:Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence (Score 1) 199

What you seem to be missing is that War is a macro-aggressive, acute failure of society. Microaggression is a stealthy, sinister, chronic failure of society that is far more widespread and far more damaging to the long-term health of humanity than is an acute War that has a beginning and an end.

Others have addressed the first major flaw in this argument, which is that killing people is worse than being mean to them.

But there's another flaw, which is your apparent belief that microaggression is something new. It is definitely not. People have always been nasty to each other, and we're significantly less nasty to each other today than ever before. The notion of microaggression is perhaps the best proof: previous generations didn't even bother thinking about microaggression, because it was just normal. Today, we recognize this subtle form of personal attack and work to expose it and thereby reduce it.

You should read the first few chapters of Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of Our Nature", in which he documents historical evidence of the ways in which people were nasty to each other. He focuses mostly on physical nastiness, violence, but lots of other sorts of nastiness are covered in passing, or obviously implied. Society is much, much better than it used to be. Empathy for strangers is normal today. It wasn't always.

Comment Re:Things are looking up (Score 1) 199

In 1914, there was no entertainment as you imagine.

So radio, films, plays, books, and concerts didn't exist?

Note the correction of the year. 1940 was obviously a typo, the discussion was about 1914.

Radio was demonstrated but not used commercially in 1914. No, films didn't exist. Plays and concerts did, but high-quality productions were pretty much limited to major cities. Books, yes.

books were expensive and rare, etc.

Poppycock, etc.

I have difficulty believing anyone could be so completely ignorant of history. But apparently you are.

Compared to today, yes, books were expensive and rare. Most everything was dramatically more expensive than it is today, in terms of what a person with the median income could afford, and that included books. In 1914 most homes had a small number of books, far fewer than today. But the typical person also had far less leisure time.

Comment Re:Next up: Stone candy. (Score 3, Insightful) 156

I agree with you in spirit, but disagree in terms of basic caloric intake.

Once we have the ability to create tasty foods with effectively no caloric value, it doesn't matter how much our bodies tell us to eat. We can only hold so much worthless food at a time. If we can literally gorge ourselves on near-zero calorie foods, we will have solved obesity, simple as that.

I do have to wonder how our bodies will rebel against this latest way to eat-without-eating, but strictly in terms of energy-budgets, this seems like a win/win.

Comment Re:Dealers cannot die soon enough (Score 5, Insightful) 480

you think Kia wants to open up their own showrooms at malls across america? I assure you not.

Hey, if Kia doesn't want to sell directly to me - Tesla does. I have no problem with both business models competing with one another.

I do, however, have a problem with needing to deal with middle-men because of protectionist laws that forbid companies like Tesla from selling directly to me. But hey, YMMV, right?

Comment Re:anti-business liberal scoring points (Score 1) 370

If they are publicly traded and their principal business is not risk, then they are required to be by law.


I'm fairly certain there is no such law. What publicly-traded businesses are required to do is to do what they say they'll do in their articles of incorporation and their prospectus. For most, these documents state that their focus is to generate a responsible return on investment (language varies, but that's what it boils down to). However, it is perfectly acceptable for them to include other goals, and even to prioritize those goals over making money.

Were SpaceX to go public, they could specify that their primary goal is to get to Mars, for example, rather than to make money. That would probably lower their valuation, but there would be nothing at all illegal about it.

Comment Re:yet more engineer bashing (Score 1) 494

The real question is not are engineers 9 times more likely to be terrorists. The real question is are they 9 times more likely to hold extremist beliefs, or just 9 times more likely to act on them because to engineers the point is to solve problems.

I suspect it's some of both. It seems to me that engineers do tend to be more passionate about their interests (whatever those may be) than the average person. And they think in terms of how to solve problems.

Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man -- who has no gills. -- Ambrose Bierce