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Comment: Re: Sounds familiar (Score 2) 136

by CastrTroy (#49385489) Attached to: The End of College? Not So Fast
Exactly. If a course is free, then there's nothing to stop you from signing up. If it's an online sign up, then that makes it even easier. How many people here have visited a ruby/go/dart/coffeescript tutorial page and then failed to learn anything of value about the language. That's more what I would equate dropping out of a free MOOC with. You can't compare a free online course with a university class that students are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to attend. Looking at it that way, it's amazing how high the drop-out rate is in universities.

What's also amazing though, is how long some students hold on at university, paying money for years, and never actually getting closer to their goal of getting a degree. I knew a girl in university who was taking psychology. But wait, that's not the worst part. When I was in second year, I took an introduction to psychology course, basically psychology 101, and found out that she was in the class, because she hadn't manage to pass it the previous 3 times she took it.

Comment: Re:Not so fast (Score 2) 126

by Rei (#49385153) Attached to: World's Largest Aircraft Seeks Investors To Begin Operation

Most people's perception of how airships should behave from holes is wrong, and it's based on their experience with party balloons. The reason for the differences are:

* Party balloons are pressurized - the skin is stretched taught. The skin on airships are loose.
* Skin area (and thus leak rate) scales proportional to the radius squared, while the volume scales proportional to the radius cubed. Airships are many, many orders of magnitude larger than party balloons. Consequently the rate in which gas can leak out of a hope is drastically lower.

Even large holes in airships don't take them down quickly. Even a moderate sized airship can generally continue flying to its destination and then fix the damage and refill there.

Comment: Re:Woop Di Do Da! (Score 1) 215

Boo hoo.

0.10p / KWh. (excluding VAT at 5%) = 0.148c / KWh (at current exchange rates). Call it 0.16c in reality, rounding up etc.

And that's just the lowest priced ones (because that's a price comparison site), on average, not including VAT, not including service charges, and tied into long contracts to get that etc.

And we have little solar alternative (the UK isn't great at producing sun, though we do have some).

And of course providers are charging fees for solar users - if you want to push back to the grid, it's horrible to do so for solar as it's so variable and in the wrong "format" for grid energy.

To quote your link - "We're supposed to encourage conservation but it must be cost-effective."

Consider yourself lucky that you have a viable alternative at all.

Comment: Re:huh? (Score 1) 299

by ledow (#49384289) Attached to: Why More 'Star Wars' Actors Don't Become Stars

In anything, I've never seen so much of Liam Neeson since Star Wars.

Ewan has dialled back but I'm pretty sure it's nothing to do with Star Wars and to do with his theatre and TV career instead.

And that's fucking SIR Ewan McGregor and SIR Liam Neeson. For services to drama. They were fucking knighted for it. You don't get much higher than that.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 2) 269

by ledow (#49384267) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective?

I consider use of profanity not to be an indicator of any of the following:

Lack of intelligence
Lack of articulation
Lack of class.

Because you can go out of your way to swear. You can swear and make a fool of yourself. And you can swear in sublimely perfect diction. In fact, some of the best writing and insults I've ever witnessed are exactly the latter. Call it the Stephen Fry syndrome.

The indicator is: Is is JUST swearing and no content? Have I used expletives to bulk up an sentence otherwise devoid of meaning or insight? Or have I used them as a superlative that's informal, on an wildly informal forum, for exaggerated or comic effect?

People who don't swear scare the shit out of me. Honestly. I've met a handful in my life and even the most prim and proper of ladies working in the most exclusive of establishments will resort to a curse in the right circumstances or if they feel the company is suitably informal and won't be offended.

Those that don't swear use it as a personal crusade against the others, but it's such an easy target (precisely because everyone does it) that it means nothing and is usually a form of oneupmanship. "Look at me, I don't swear, aren't I perfect?" While I guarantee you that the upper-classes swear like troopers (most of them have served in the military and therefore are probably among the worst!). Prince Philip has a reputation for it, for fuck's sake.

For reference, I work in an exclusive private school during the day. I am in an environment where it's impossible to swear because of the age of the children (hell, I get told off if I call them "students" rather than "pupils"!) and the prestige of the school. I guarantee you, to a man, every member of staff right up to the very top will eff and blind in the staffroom. No matter their background, no matter their upbringing and no matter their outward appearance. All are highly educated. Most are privately-educated themselves. Hell, the groundsman is a former pupil from 50 years ago that has a diction I can only emulate in jest. And you've never heard swearing such as that present in the staffroom, I assure you, and not aimed at anything (or anyone) in particular but used as superlative.

Swearing is not some class-bound element of society, nor tied to the lack of an appropriate vocabulary except in the most extreme examples. It's a superlative, usually with plosive sounds which actually "feel" better than any more moderate alternative.

"Gosh darn it" strips the sentence of every harsh syllable.
"God damn it!" doesn't.

The harsher the plosives and "k" sounds, the worst the swearword, for a reason - it "sounds" better. Did you know that swearing while holding your hand in freezing ice-cold water (or any pain experiment) actually increases your pain response? Mock-swearing doesn't. Your brain is able to tell the difference and is MORE satisfied and distracted if you're allowed to swear properly. It's a confirmed, physical, biological, neurological effect. Google Stephen Fry again if you need to witness it, along with Brian Blessed.

Similarly, almost all swearing is tension relief coupled with plosives for superlative effect, and in some cultures (I'm British) is seen as a natural part of expression and even bonding. If I don't swear in front of you eventually, I'm being incredibly formal or harsh - and therefore impersonal. I'd be hard pressed to feel comfortable in an adult's presence that I couldn't swear in front of. Sure, we all do the gentle introduction rather than going straight for the c-word in front of a stranger but it's honestly nothing of import.

So, to summarise, you're fucking wrong.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 269

by ledow (#49384221) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Dealing With User Resignation From an IT Perspective?

Such that they annoy the user, prevent them doing useful work, and have to take action anyway, rather than - say - discretely copying the folder to another place. Or making a shadow copy at that time. Or having a rapid-backup to hand (we're not suggesting tape, I don't actually like tape, but at least a NAS or something which you can restore from in seconds IF the worst happens).

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis