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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Intel processors (Score 3) 67

The idiots that you refer to are Nixon and Clinton (B, not H).

Nixon "opened up" China and Clinton gave them "most favored nation" trading status.

Nixon's motivation is easy to understand, he thought he was breaking up the monolithic Communist bloc and weakening the Soviets who were considered the big threat at the time.

Clinton's motivation is harder to fathom. Why would he bend over backwards for the Chinese Communist party like that? Soviets were gone, China's human rights were still deplorable, it was still a totalitarian regime, and liberals are not supposed to favor that type of a government. Only answer I can think of is that he's a liberal in name only and he just did what his corporate campaign donors wanted him to do, which is get him cheap labor so they can make more profits (gutting domestic manufacturing jobs be damned).

Comment Re:Amnesia? (Score 1) 129

Two things. First you're conflating market cap and GDP but they're not analogous at all. Market cap is what a company is worth. GDP is not what a country is worth, it's only the current economic output of a country. Total worth of a country is far more than its GDP numbers. For example, Yellowstone national park does not add anything to the GDP of the United States, yet no one can argue that Yellowstone is worthless.

If market capitalization is the only thing, does it still exist in the absence of humans?

No. Market cap requires humans to own stocks in a company. Robots and computers are not interested in buying stocks at the moment. In fact they're not interested in anything at all, the only thing they do is run code inputted by humans.

You could argue that one day soon computers will develop sentience and become interested in money, at which point they may want to invest in stocks. Well I'm not stoned enough for that discussion at the moment, so I'll just leave that to Ray Kurzweil.

Comment Re:Sounds great! (Score 1) 162

Since road wear scales with the 3rd or 4th power of axle weight, a 200 lb cyclist should pay about 1000'th of the road taxes as a driver with a 2000 lb car (or 1/5360'th as much as a 3500 pound car). So if you pay $1000/year in taxes for your 3500 lb Honda Accord, the cyclist would pay about 20 cents.

There are other costs to building and maintaining a road besides simple road wear. The biggest cost of a road is usually the land acquisition in order to build one. A bike lane takes up far more than 1/5360th of the land that a car lane uses. Probably closer to 1/3rd.

And there are other causes of road wear than the weight of vehicles traveling on it, such as water damage from rain puddles, freeze/thaw cycle, etc

Comment Re:Seems silly. (Score 1) 66

The cooler thing would be if you have enough high speed printing capacity that you could manufacture and assemble a 1000 drone swarm in a very short period of time and overwhelm an adversaries defenses without requiring a ship big enough to carry a 1000 completed drones. And then another one, and another one. You would need a tanker full of plastic and a freighter full of batteries, electronics and propellers.

âoeKill decisionâ baby.

Comment Re:I don't believe it. (Score 1) 83

Especially given than history is littered with examples of airplanes not being able to pull out of dives due to control surfaces not responding properly (or ripping off) in supersonic or transonic flow. Alsbury would have been intensely aware of these concepts.

Well it's not exactly like deploying flaps at high speed and having them rip off the plane and damaging stuff. He didn't deploy anything, he only unlocked it. He thought the motors would hold the feather in place and nobody at Virgin or Scaled drilled into his head that prematurely unlocking feather = DEATH. Quite possibly because they also didn't think the feather would move by itself just from air pressure and vibration. We know it NOW, but before?

Unlocking the feather while going up was part of the procedure. He did it too soon but was not adequately informed of the disastrous consequences of mistiming the unlock. So yeah, I do agree they're blaming the dead guy too much.

Also, Alsbury was an experienced pilot but not exactly a Chuck Yeager. As to whether pilots would think through all the possible consequences of every action in a cockpit jam packed with switches and levers and knobs, under a heavy workload, well it's easy to say while we're sitting in a desk but reality is not that sterile.

Keep in mind the SS1 was a scary ride and I assume SS2 is no cupcake either. When that rocket lights, it kicks your ass not just with monster acceleration but also crazy vibration and deafening noise. It scared Brian Binnie shitless and he was used to flying F-18s off carriers. Even Mike Melville who is about as cool a customer as they come (and an excellent, excellent pilot btw) was quite impressed shall we say. A good pilot would get used to it pretty quick I'm sure, after doing it a couple times. The first time? It would mentally compromise most anyone including experienced pilots and you'd have to have superhuman levels of the Right Stuff to function at 100% the first time you're on that crazy rocket ride.

Comment Re:You just described SoylentNews. (Score 2) 550

I would mostly agree with parent. Soylent is fine execpt the community isnt big enough so the comments are barely there or worth reading, the name is kind of bad and the stories are routinely just old enough to be yesterdays news on Slashdot or Hacker news.

Their Twitter feed, which is where I get my news feeds, also puts these really annoying lame "from the deptâ attempts at humor in the tweets instead of just the title of the story and the link:

Razer Acquires Ouya Software Assets, Ditches Hardware from the kicked-down dept

They will even thorten the title to make room for the utterly stupid âoefrom theâ.

The best solution to replace Slashdot would probably be if Hacker news grafted the classic Slashdot look, commenting and moderation system on to their generally good stories and great community.

Comment Re:Whistle blower (Score 4, Insightful) 601

There is a high probably no Sunday talk show would have let him speak once they found out what he was going to say. They are all owned by giant media conglomerates you know. They wouldnt risk the wrath of the Federal government. Pretty sure Snowden went to Greenwald because he was one of the few journalists with the balls to do the story. The Guardian was hammered by the UK government for running it.

Remember when the CEO of Qwest defied the NSA plan to tap all data and phones lines after 9/11. The Federal government pulled all their contracts from Qwest, hammered their stock and then put him in prison for a phony securities rap. Qwest was a rare corporate hero among telecoms, long since swallowed up by CenturyLink who are just as bad as all the rest.

Comment Re:Can email service providers do more? (Score 1) 58

Regarding your number 2... Frequently get tampered with in transit? Really? I have, literally, never seen this....

You're lucky there. I see such tampering several times per day, and fixing the problem often takes a lot of time (and soto-voce swearing ;-).

The reason is that I deal with a lot of data that's "plain text", but is computer data of some sort, not a natural language like English (which is sorts stretching the meaning of "natural", but you know what I mean). Or it's in a human language, but not English, and the character encoding uses some 2-byte or longer characters.

The simplest example is computer source code. The tampering is often caused by the "punch-card mentality" coded into a lot of email software, which often doesn't allow lines longer than 80 (or 72) characters, and inserts line feeds to make everything fit. Many programming languages consider line feeds to mean something different than a space, usually "end of statement". Inserting a line feed in the middle of a statement thus changes the meaning, and very often introduces a syntax error.

Even nastier is the munging a lot of other plain-text data representation that mixes letters and numbers. Inserting spaces or a line feed in the middle of a token like "G2EF" usually destroys the meaning in a way that can't be corrected automatically at the receiving end. Usually the way to handle such tampering is to reply to the sender, saying "Can you send me that in quoted-printable or base-64 form?" And you try to teach everyone in the group that such data should always be encoded in a form that's immune to the idiocies of "smart" email handlers.

Text in UTF-8 form, especially Chinese and Japanese text, is especially prone to this sort of tampering, which often leaves the text garbled beyond recovery.

Anyway, there are lots of excuses for such tampering with email in ways that destroy the content. It's not always for nefarious reasons; it's just because the programmers only tested their email-handling code on English-language text. And because they're idiots who think that lines of text should never be longer than 80 (or 72) characters.

Comment Re:Redirecting (Score 1) 188

When I noticed that the address was the address of my machine, I did a quick find(1), but couldn't find the IMDB files or the takedown letter. Do you think I should contact Universal Pictures and ask them to send me another copy of the letter, so I can figure out which file to take down?

Actually, I noticed that all of our home machines (we have several, including tablets and smart phones) seem to have the same address. I guess that's to be expected, since ISPs only give us a single address, so we all have to use that silly NAT protocol and try to make sense of the confusion that it always creates. Anyway, I did look around on all of them, and still couldn't find anything with "Universal Pictures" inside. I did find a few files that contain "IMDB", but they're in the browsers' cache directories, and I got rid of those by simply telling the browsers to clear their cache(s).

But somehow I don't think this has taken care of the problem. So who should I contact at Universal Pictures to make sure we get a copy of the letter and purge our machines of their files?

(And for the benefit of many /. readers and mods, maybe I should end this with: ;-) Nah....

Comment Re:Profits are important to allocate resources (Score 1) 93

What rate of return would convince you to put your money in an investment if you knew it was going to be 10 years before you received the first dollar back - and there was a 90%+ chance of failure to boot?

Funny thing; those numbers were used back in the 1980s, with interesting results. The topic wasn't drugs, though, but rather solid-state manufacturing, and very similar numbers were widely quoted in east Asia. At the time, it was generally estimated that to build a new solid-state facility would require several billion dollars, and would take around a decade to become profitable, due to the extreme difficulty of achieving the required low level of contaminants inside the equipment. Much of the decade would be spent making test runs, discovering that the output was useless because of some trace contaminant in one part of the process, and redesigning the setup to get past yet another failure. Success wasn't predictable; the 10-year estimate was just the minimum.

But people in east Asia (mostly Japan and Korea) argued publicly that the American companies that controlled most of the production at the time wouldn't be able to get funding for new factories, because American investors would refuse to invest so much money in something with no payoff for a decade. If Asian investors would step in and support the effort, in 10 years they could own the world's solid-state industry. Enough people with money (including government agencies) listened, made the gamble, and a decade longer, they owned the industry.

It's probably just a matter of time before the American drug industry goes the same way. Would you invest in something with no payoff for a decade or more, and wasn't even guaranteed to pay off then because nobody had yet created the drugs that might be created? If you guess that few US (or EU) investors will do this, you're likely right.

In particular, the Republican US Congress is highly likely to continue its defunding of academic basic research, partly due to mistrust of investments that won't pay off during their current terms in office, and also due to a serious religion-based dislike of the biological sciences in general. Without the basic research, the only "new" drugs patented by industry will continue to be mostly small tweaks of existing drugs, which under US law qualify as new, patentable products.

Of course, this is all a bunch of tenuous guesses, based on past behavior of the players. That's what investment is usually like. It's entirely possible that they'll wise up, and not abandon the drug industry the way they abandoned the electronics industry. The US does actually have a few solid-state production facilities, after all, though they're now a small part of the market.

But, as the above poster said, would you be willing to gamble your investment money on the hope that US private drug makers will support the research that the US government is getting out of? Remember that, to corporate management, scientific research appears to have a record of 90% failure; i.e., 90% of funded research projects fail to produce a patentable and marketable product. This is the nature of research, which only discovers facts and theories, not products, and where the outcome of a study is unpredictable before the fact. (If it were predictable, it wouldn't be called "research", it'd be "development". ;-)

Comment Mars One is a fraud (Score 2) 48

Moss: Having looked over the Mars One plans I must say I am also highly skeptical, but hesitantly so, because you never know what can happen. Humans are remarkable...

Then he proceeds to debate the technical details of Mars One plan. Dude, it doesn't matter what the finer points of their plan are, the reality of it is that 1) they need tens of billions of dollars, and there's no way in hell they're gonna raise that with a reality TV show. The money they need exceeds the entire world's TV advertising budget, probably by a lot. And 2) they are taking money from gullible "astronauts" who are hoping to go to Mars. Put 1 and 2 together and you have a fraud.

If they were taking money from banks or investors or advertisers, yes I would applaud them for trying to make a go of a laudable goal. But that's not what they're doing, they're taking money from future employees. What do you call a Hollywood casting director who says he's making a movie and hiring actors, then takes money from aspiring actors for the chance to be in his movie? You call him a con man. The director's is supposed to pay the actors, not take money from them.

Someone needs to do a serious accounting of what the Mars One guy is doing with the money he's taking.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban