Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment: I briefly considered CatGenie... (Score 2) 77

by dfenstrate (#48656965) Attached to: An Automated Cat Litter Box With DRM
...But turned away because not only was the machine expensive, but the hack was another $100. I highly recommend the Litter Robot (~$370). I've had one for a few years, and it works off of standard kitchen trash bags. I have two cats and I tend to it once every 7-10 days- I refill the litter and swap out the bags, and maybe do a thorough cleaning twice a year. No BS consumables.
Another model, Litter Maid (~$120), uses custom plastic trays. It's cheaper, but it doesn't work as well as the Litter Robot. After a few months you'll find yourself tending to it every other day. The cost of the plastic trays added up over the course of a year, but it's a non-DRM receptacle, so you can hack a cheaper 'solution' at home with a small amount of craftiness. If you do go with Litter Maid, go for the cheaper one- it actually works better than the 'Elite' model.
But really, go for the Litter Robot. I've had mine for two or three years and I love it.

Comment: I actually think the finished product is cool (Score 2) 56

by dfenstrate (#48649921) Attached to: 26 Foot Long Boat 3D Printed In 100,000 Different Pieces
It's too bad the creator had to ruin it by opening his mouth. Any 'Art' that makes it's statement with a bunch of words next to it generally isn't art. It's glued together junk that's not aesthetically appealing. This guy actually made something neat and arguably pretty, then made sure we all knew his talents started with, and ended with, this sort of work.

Comment: Oh boy, rewind to the Spanish Inquisition! (Score 3, Insightful) 678

by dfenstrate (#48633271) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'
First, pointing a finger and screeching 'DENIER' seems a lot like pointing the finger and screeching 'HERETIC', lending credence to the whole environmentalism-as-a-substitute-religion theory.
Beyond that, these scientists might find more traction for their beliefs if they could get away from the folks who are peddling 'solutions' for AGW. You know, the activists who want to make energy so expensive that poor people will have to live in dark, cold homes, and gasoline so expensive that they have to stay in those cold, dark homes.
I imagine, however, that any activist or scientist advocating the use of 'denier/(heritic)' has substituted Gaia for God, and would be very happy to burn their opponents at the stake.
As for me, I'm not qualified to analyze the science. Instead, I'll consider the matter when the people who say it's a problem act like it's a problem. Until their personal conduct matches their words- buying carbon credits ('indulgences') doesn't count- then it's just a continuation of prior climate panics.

Comment: Re:How do we know? (Score 0) 182

by dfenstrate (#48625027) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking

Why should we believe anything the "senior intelligence officials" tell us? They have a profound record of lying.

Occam's Razor. It's pretty clear to the rest of us that a hero-worshiping despotic regime like North Korea might lash out against a company- or movie theaters- making a comedy about killing their national hero/despot.

That leads to my question- are you posting from Pyongyang?

Comment: Sony's hack is their problem. Threats, though.... (Score 1) 182

by dfenstrate (#48625003) Attached to: US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking
I don't really give a hoot about Sony getting hacked. What I do care about is Americans being threatened for lawful activity by agents of a foreign government. (That is, 9/11 style attacks for screening The Interview.) That threat made what was Sony's problem into a national issue that our government ought to deal with. Unfortunately I don't see much chance of the D.C. set showing any spine or defending any principles.

Comment: Oh, look, another lefty enamored with himself. (Score 2) 209

Yes, people really are stupid. Give them something to be angry about, and they'll vote against their own interests.

It's rather presumptive of you, and every other Democrat, to pretend to know people's interests better than they do. It's part of the unmistakable arrogance that comes from the left, and was perfectly displayed by Gruber. You and your fellow leftists are cut from the same cloth as every other human, but you whip each other up with flattery on how kind, intelligent and compassionate you are for simply being on the left. Whether ruin or prosperity follows your policy actions isn't terribly important. You had the best intentions, you see, and the books can always be cooked after the fact to hide any negative news that doesn't fit the narrative.

Comment: Re:Your neighbor tried to kill you, but he's idiot (Score 1) 772

by dfenstrate (#48560047) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

(I'm not studied up enough on the topic at hand- 'enhanced interrogation'- to condemn it or defend it.)

I realize this is a distracting thing to say, and I don't support torture, and it appears we've used it, and it's a crime that no one in power will unfortunately ever be held accountable to. My intent was more to say that I haven't RTFA or summary report; and I was responding only to the position of 'let's just ignore them because they're so terrible at killing us.'

Comment: Re:Oh bullshit on a stick (Score 1) 772

by dfenstrate (#48560005) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

There is no such thing as a terrorist. But it must be nice to see the world in black and white, saves you the trouble of having to actually think about or empathize with other humans. "

If not terrorists, how about Barbarians who must be kept at bay? The people who think we need to empathize with barbarians are often under the following mistaken impressions:

1) Westerners are the only real evil in the world today.

2) Westerners are the only people who act; who have agency. All other people do not have their own plans, thoughts and ideals- they merely react to what westerners do. They are automatons we can control through correct choices.

Comment: Your neighbor tried to kill you, but he's idiotic (Score 1) 772

by dfenstrate (#48559889) Attached to: CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

I prefer this memo:

Part of being the "good guys" means NOT being the "bad guys".

More people die in traffic accidents EVERY YEAR than the "terrorists" have ever killed here. So why give up a morally superior position to "fight" people who pose almost no threat to anyone outside their own countries?

I prefer to discourage people from attacking my countrymen, and simultaneously limit their capabilities to do so. That often means killing the people who are trying to kill us, until they get the idea that trying to kill us is a bad idea. Their incompetence in killing us does not erase the trespass. People who get into accidents have their insurance rates go up. People who try to kill us get killed. Actions have consequences.

If your neighbor was trying to kill you, repeatedly, would you tolerate it? Would you find the milk in your cereal curdled one day from poison, push it away, then look out your window and say 'Ah, nice try Mohammed! Maybe next time!.' I mean, you might notice that next crude tripwire before you set off the IED in your hedges.

You wouldn't tolerate it. You'd have him thrown in jail at the first try. Back to the national scale, if the people trying to kill us are in countries that will have them thrown in jail, great. If not, well, now we're back to the concept of war between distinct states or peoples. The fact that one side is weak and incompetent does not mean they get to keep trying without reprisal.

What you seem to advocate- ignoring attacks by barbarians as just another risk in modern society- is in it's own special moral vacuum. I'm having a hard time fathoming how such a dereliction could seem morally superior to you, and I can only guess your education has been a steady diet of 'Western civilization is the worst thing that ever happened to the world.' That sort of 'critical theory' rubbish has been all the rage in higher education for decades.

(I'm not studied up enough on the topic at hand- 'enhanced interrogation'- to condemn it or defend it.)

Comment: Re:Ambiguous headline (Score 1) 150

by dfenstrate (#48515023) Attached to: UK Authorities Launching Massive Child Abuse Database

someone has to bear the public's wrath.

Has anyone actually borne the public's wrath over Rotherham scandal? I'm not sure anyone has even resign over it. No, just more tepid 'investigations of failures in processes.'

The problem with Rotherham wasn't that it went 'Undetected for years.' It was detected and ignored, by people who didn't want to seem racist for arresting sexually deviant immigrants. Either that, or they were on the take.

No, Rotherham represents an abject failure of people in society to act in order to protect the young. There's no slouching away the travesty by implying that sort of mass, long ignored child abuse in common elsewhere in the world. England is a country where people know better than to tolerate this, and once had the moral fortitude to do something about it.

Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 143

by dfenstrate (#48434087) Attached to: Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

Keep pushing that canard. No activist has stopped the construction of a new power plant. The problem is financing. Banks don't want to lend the money because of the cost over-runs. That's why the nuclear industry has been pushing the government to guarantee those loans.

1. Shoreham.

2. When building a power plant will involve hundreds of millions of dollars in lawyers fees to keep your sort at bay, that tends to increase cost over-runs. Which your sort then uses as a further argument against nuclear power. (Yes, there are plenty of non-lawyer related cost overruns.)

Comment: Re: It's still reacting carbon and oxygen... (Score 1) 143

by dfenstrate (#48434067) Attached to: Coal Plants Get New Lease On Life With Natural Gas

The more massive generalisations you make the less people should listen to you. You are merely projecting your own ideas of what an environmentalist is to you, and the battering it to death with a bizarre take on logic.

Who is listening to environmentalists these days? There's still a mass of laws and regulations they use to gum up the works constantly, but folks are starting to realize most environmentalists don't care so much about the environment as much as they hate their fellow man and his enjoyment of modern life.

Of course, you folks have your own tinpot dictator in the White House, who is a law unto himself and will probably service his ideological base with economy-crushing diktats.

Comment: Re:I judge people by their merit (Score 1) 459

by dfenstrate (#48361383) Attached to: Black IT Pros On (Lack Of) Racial Diversity In Tech

I had this argument before w.r.t. affirmative action. I asked if they didn't want to be judged on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, and was told - seriously - that quote is from Martin Luther King Jr., and he's "theirs," so I'm not allowed to use his quote in an argument. No,.. really.

The proper response is to laugh in their face.

Comment: Re:Special treatment (Score 1) 834

by dfenstrate (#48360371) Attached to: How To End Online Harassment
As a matter of reasonable debate- and I'm not going to pretend that everything on the internet needs to be, or ever will be reasonable debate- using slurs when debating religion would be unhelpful and polarizing. There are, however, religions out there whose adherents are unable to weather any criticism gracefully- which means that said religions are fragile and should be subject to even greater scrutiny and criticism.

Comment: Re:Reminder of who not to credit (Score 1) 151

by dfenstrate (#48350997) Attached to: 25th Anniversary: When the Berlin Wall Fell

I'm curious how a command economy with what amounts to a captive labor force runs out money.

Hayek wrote a book about this question- The use of knowledge in society. A quote:

The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.

To put it another way, no communist politburo can centrally manage the knowledge necessary to make a modern economy work. There's simply too much to know. In a market economy, the participants know how to play their role, and how to get what they need to give their customers what they want. They need to know nothing more than that. Millions of such people quietly playing their own role delivers success. In a command economy, the politburo pretends to be able to manage all the knowledge and decision making required throughout the economy- and this is an impossible task.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson