Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Two things... (Score 1) 38

Two things you can take to the bank: 1) If the classification system can be twisted to cover up government boondoggles or malfeasance it will be, 2) Any power given to the government will eventually be abused. The government is not your friend, hence, there is no substitute for vigilance and transparency.

Comment The dumbing down (Score 1) 611

That's what I called it 10 years ago when I was trying to hire engineers for projects at a National Laboratory, the dumbing down. Perhaps 1 in 5 were competent. Most could do nothing without a computer to do it for them. Sad really, and a little scary because these were supposed to be the cream of the crop. They blamed each other for failures and were completely unable to diagnose complex systems. Now that others have recognised the trend perhaps something can be done about it. But given that the problem stems from our colleges and universities and programs that focus their energies on the worst performers (like no child left behind that in effect leaves all children behind) I have little hope of a reversal without a complete repudiation of the misguided government controlled education agenda.

Comment Speed is not the problem (Score 1) 531

... at least in the US. The problem is that more often than not the connections among the various transportation providers is extremely poor making it at least difficult if not impossible to go seamlessly from air travel to rail to subway to bus. Europe, for whatever reason, has been much better at interconnecting mass transit so the system is usable.

Comment Just nuclear power (Score 1) 673

Turning the discussion to just nuclear power for a moment this event is another serious indicator that the business mind is not well suited to the use of nuclear power. Having spent many years as a nuclear reactor operator I was always a bit frightened by the ability of business (mostly materials providers but also power companies) to put their business interests above the safety of the public. They always talk a good game, but when push comes to shove they cover their business arses first and let someone else fend for the public. Sometimes it's the delivery of substandard components (lesser grade steels) to pocket higher profits, or falsify reports to get paid for work not performed (in weld radiographing for instance) and sometimes, as in this case, it is putting the desires of the company to protect its investment ahead of public safety both in reporting and response. I felt from the beginning that TEPCO was protecting their business interests and that the initial response to this disaster should have been to seal the site to protect the public. Nuclear power could be a major contributor to the world's energy future but I fear that implemented as a business, given the propensity for greed, cover up, and corruption it is, unfortunately, just too dangerous.

Comment Bury 'em (Score 1) 673

It occurs to me, given the huge expense incurred in an accident, that nuclear plants should be installed deep underground. The ground would serve as a radiation shield, sealing the plant in a severe accident would be relatively easy compared to surface installations, and they would be far less vulnerable to natural disasters.

Comment Problems keeping it up to date... (Score 1) 85

Well, let's hope they are better at keeping up with PHP versions with 7 than they were with 6. Using Drupal 6 with PHP 5.3.2 was worse than any beta I have ever participated in. Core features failed, plugins would not run, things just did not work. Still it was the most promising environment we have encountered for integrating Lucene, Solr, and Alchemy for an advanced NLP research workstation. If 7 is well behaved enough then we may even attempt a GATE integration.

Comment Fundamentals (Score 1) 650

The email leader said:

"Just Where Is The Lincoln Memorial, Anyhow?
        from the those-naughty-republicans dept.
        posted by timothy on Friday August 27, @23:28 (Google)"

For those who are unaware, Glenn Beck is an Independent NOT a Republican and his Honor rally was NOT political.

The thing that people fail to understand in general about Glenn Beck is that he dislikes the Republicans as much as the Democrats. He provides historical context for the fundamental ideas on which the US was founded. Then he goes on to report on how our leaders measure up against those ideals. And for those who just discovered him, he did the same to Bush.

Comment Kudos, but ... (Score 1) 233

Kudos to Heap. Anyone applying technology to oppose oppressive regimes gets an A+ from me. Notwithstanding that such news is uplifting for us, Heap has probably put his life in jeopardy to do this. I hope we are not adding to that jeopardy by exposing it here.

Comment Really? (Score 2, Insightful) 124

"They boasted an elegant design and an extremely sophisticated and astonishingly modern technology,"

I find the premise of the article arrogantly modern. "They" didn't boast modern technology at all but rather demonstrated the of the state of the art in Egypt 3000 years ago. Perhaps the appropriate view is that today's engineering despite all its plastic and glitter has not advanced significantly beyond that of ancient Egypt in some areas. I do wonder why it is that we do so often equate ancient with stupid and marvel that those stupid old folk could actually have come up with a "modern" idea (which is the underlying theme of the article)?


Global Warming 'Undeniable,' Report Says 1657

BergZ writes "Scientists from around the world are providing even more evidence of global warming. 'A comprehensive review of key climate indicators confirms the world is warming and the past decade was the warmest on record,' the annual State of the Climate report declares. Compiled by more than 300 scientists from 48 countries, including Canada, the report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said its analysis of 10 indicators that are 'clearly and directly related to surface temperatures, all tell the same story: Global warming is undeniable.'"

Comment Re:it doesn't make any sense because (Score 1) 473

I've been watching the slow decline of Ubuntu on Dell for the past year. This current move is no surprise. First then towers disappeared, then the XPS M1530 line disappeared, then only the Cannonical notebook remix was available on the Mini, now they remove the last holdout. It could be that they are simply responding to unit profitability requirements as some have suggested in here. I would be more inclined to believe that if Microsoft was not involved in the business decision. MS's business model demands exclusivity and it will bully or buy any technology that threatens even the slightest margin of its market share. Make no mistake, MS hates Linux with a passion as it does any competing technology it cannot control to its exclusive benefit. There remains little doubt that MS weighed heavily in Dell's decision to pull back on, if not out of, their Linux offerings. Dell is only responding to protect it's own market share and leading product line. The Linux community should work to make the competing distros better and easier to install/use/maintain across all hardware environments and expand the number of Linux only hardware distributors by supporting them with your purchases.

Comment Nothing new here, move along (Score 1) 281

Think about it. Point 1: Companies may require certain education and experience levels neither of which they pay for. So, what's the difference between that and requiring a certification? Point 2: If a company paid for your certification can you use it to qualify for employment elsewhere. i.e. who owns the cert, you or them?

Comment This is not Y2K (Score 1) 233

The date jumped from 09 to 16 when the digits went from 09 tp 10. So what programmer in his right mind interprets any part of a date in HEX? Y2K was caused by programmers seeking to save space. This bug was caused by a programmer interpreting the last two digits as HEX! This was just a bonehead mistake not a space saving measure. So I really do not understand all the comparisons to Y2K. Just because they were errors in date fields does not make them the same at all.

Never say you know a man until you have divided an inheritance with him.