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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

×

Comment: Re:Still useful research (Score 4, Insightful) 224

by donscarletti (#48743503) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

Guess what, American beers and wines are winning contests in Europe.

Yes, but not the beers and wines that Americans in general actually consumes.

Sure, you can go to a craft microbrew bar in San Francisco and drink a beer the equal of anything coming from Europe's best breweries. But in 99% of the country and at the price range that 80% of the country can afford you can only get Budweiser, Miller or Coors.

Compare this to any country in Europe where you can be in the most backwards, rural town and get something good served to you just by walking to the bar and asking for "beer".

America is a huge and populous country and it stands to reason that there will be a little bit of everything happening there. But nobody cares what you and your hipster friends are drinking and it doesn't change the fact that American beer is shit.

Comment: Re:Accuracy (Score 2) 106

by donscarletti (#48743091) Attached to: European Researchers Develop More Accurate Full-Body Polygraph

Exactly. There's no reliable body response for a lie. All they are measuring is nervousness, which you could have for a variety of reasons.

A polygraph measures nervousness on one axis and time on the other.

The point is not to measure if the subject is generally nervous, it is to measure a nervous reaction to stimulus, usually a question posed by an interrogator.

Polygraph results are not admissible in court, they do not override a suspect's right to not answer questions and unlike torture there is no real evidence that they lead to false confessions. A stupid but innocent suspect could only believe that the polygraph will exonerate them. It's not that judges, prosecutors, the police or anyone in power believes they are more than 60% accurate, what a jury believes about them is irrelevant since if they receive the outcome it's grounds for a mistrial.

A polygraph test is like an IQ test, it does measure something that is very useful for some people in some cases, but what it does measure is very different to what the general public understands it to be measuring. If you however are one of the people who need the information that it actually does measure, it's extremely useful. It seems however that the same group of people have their panties in a knot about both things.

Comment: Re:Erh... I don't get it (Score 4, Funny) 104

In 1766, the Royal Society commissioned Lt. James Cook to command H.M. Bark Endeavour to sail to the South Pacific to witness the transit of Venus across the sun from the southern hemisphere, where it would be visible. On this voyage he and his crew would become the first Europeans to see the East Coast of Australia and New Zealand.

In the closing days of 2014, the news reaches slashdot.

Comment: Re:TFA is a big bullshit ! (Score 1) 32

by donscarletti (#48674303) Attached to: Inside China's 'Christmas Factory' Town, Yiwu

£200 to £300 is 2,000 to 3,000 Yuan RMB.

In Beijing, where salaries are amongst the highest in China, I know plenty of professionals, like teachers with masters degrees (from BJ's top tier schools) and three or four years experience working for 4,000-5,000. At my company, which does game development, which is seen as a lucrative career, we pay graduates about 3,000.

I don't know about Yiwu, but at least in Ningbo, which is a bigger and wealthier city nearby, where my previous company has got manufacturing operations, salary for factory workers did not reach 1,500 three years ago when I was last there and could not have doubled in these years. Zhejiang people are the most tight, miserly people in China, if not the world, which is why they can create these decorations so cheaply, and they do not do so by paying their workers well.

You cannot make 5,000 doing factory labour anywhere in China, not in Tianjin, not in Shenzhen and especially not in any city in Zhejiang or Jiangsu. Hell, you probably wouldn't get more than 5,000 managing an entire assembly line in Yiwu.

Comment: Re: Motive (Score 1) 282

by donscarletti (#48671215) Attached to: Did North Korea Really Attack Sony?

And with this, you would lose any hope of support from anyone in the region. The South Korean government would either consider this tribute as too much of a humiliation or would consider it as payment for the war in its entirety and not commit any of its own troops. Japan would be skeptical and would start distancing itself, China would use it to enormous political advantage, as would Russia. Not to mention the problems that this tax would have on integrating the brained washed North Korean masses into Korean society, when they are trained to hate everything un-Korean as imperialism for 60 years, then suddenly are conqured by foreign soldiers and are forced to pay 2% of their earnings to a foreign power, learning that Kim Il Sung was right all along.

Basically you would be turning this from something achieved with a few air strikes, lend lease and South korean blood to another Vietnam war, for two percent of the income of a war torn and divided nation.

People like you having the vote is why the framers of the U.S. constitution did not envision a standing army or entering permanent alliances.

Comment: Re:Profit? (Score 5, Insightful) 133

by donscarletti (#48523175) Attached to: Chinese CEO Says "Free" Is the Right Price For Mobile Software

I'm the CTO in a Chinese technology company. The government has never paid us to install spyware or anything else for that matter. In fact, the government just cares about 1) blood not being too red, 2) gambling not being too overt 3) users not being able to use words equivalent to "fuck" or "cunt" in English, names of prominent politicians or particular terms in reference to disagreements with neighboring countries, 4) characters being in simplified and not traditional script. 5) under 18 not playing video games for more than 4 hours per day.

Beyond that, they don't give a shit.

Westerners often revere the Chinese government as being some all knowing all powerful being with a profound understanding of technology and deeply nuanced plans that span decades, roughly in the same way they view their own government. Fact is, the Chinese government is interested in keeping its people more-or-less satisfied with the status quo, just like your own government is. Chinese old people with too much free time to cause trouble get their panties in a knot about sex drugs and violence and "young people these days", so that's what the Chinese authorities crack down on. They simply do not have the time or inclination to be bothered with who you are and what you are doing.

Think about the last time you interacted with your own government. Did they know who you are? Did they know what your life circumstances were? I'll wager they didn't know shit about who you are and why you were there, nor did they care, they just wanted you to either shut up and go away or pay your tax and go away. Now imagine that level of caring, divide that by 1000, that's how much foreign governments gives a shit about you. Your own government couldn't even be bothered installing spyware on your computer, why would the Chinese government?

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 1) 355

by donscarletti (#48512787) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

As countries go China's political history was remarkably stable. How many modern nations actually existed in a recognizable form in 1644, much less 1000AD.

United Kingdom (Commonwealth of England and Scotland), Spain, Portugal, Japan, Thailand, Ethiopia (Solomonic Dynasty), Russia (Russian Empire), Iran (Kingdom of Persia), France (Ancien Reigime), Austria (Archduchy).

England and Scotland restored their king a few years later and continued with the same parliament and same royal family (subject to the Act of Settlement), same military and same government until today. Spain, Portugal, Japan and Thailand have the direct heirs of the kings of the day on the throne.

China on the other hand, was more chaotic. Ming was toppled by Li Zicheng's bandits and China was invaded from the north. For the half century it was essentially under foreign occupation until the Manchu slowly became more Chinese and the Chinese started identifying with the Manchu impositions. Qing was disrupted in the early days by Wu Sangui (the very man who let the Qing through Shanhaiguan and fought along side them at the walls of Beijing) and later by the Taiping Kingdom of Heaven, the Yihe Tuan (Boxers), the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and other uprisings. Finally it was toppled in the very much foreign supported Xinhai Revolution and fractured into warlord states, which fought amongst themselves until the Northern Expedition under Chiang Kaisheck and established the Republic of China. Finally, in the rubble and smoke of the Second World War, this republic was driven to the island of Taiwan by the People's Republic of China. This new republic's institutions, its government and its premier were overthrown once again in the 1960s by the CCP's own chairman and students loyal to him. Finally, the government of the People's Republic was restored and rebuilt by the Chairman of the Central Military Commission Deng Xiaoping who, with his successors built China into the modern state that it is today.

China's history is long and complex but China (Zhonghua) as a concept is only a bit over 100 years old, based on European concepts of nationalism that scholars like Sun Zhongshan learned abroad during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Great Qing for most of its history definitely did not see itself as a nation state, more of just the holder of the mandate of heaven that did not discriminate between nations nor recognise states. Ming was even more so.

Comment: Re:Is it true... (Score 2) 355

by donscarletti (#48508239) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

Japan, China, and South Korea were never colonized nor significantly ruled by foreign powers and they're doing great.

  • China: Qing Dynasty, 1644 - 1912; China was invaded by the Manchu army lead by Hong Taiji and Durgun. Manchu replaces Chinese as administrative language for first decades of rule, Manchu officials replace Han officials in highest administrative posts. Manchu dress and hairstyle are mandated on all subjects on pain of death.
  • China: Yuan Dynasty, 1271 – 1368; China is re-instated as a country by Mongol ruler Kubli Kahn after his ancestors Ghengis and Bantu absorbed it completely into the Mongol empire. Chinese subjects are denoted as fourth (and lowest) tier subjects after Mongols, central Asians and Europeans. Chinese subjects are forbidden to use given names, instead being assigned a family name and a number.
  • Korea: Japanese Empire, 1910–1945; Sovereignty of Korea transferred completely to the Emperor of Japan and exercised in person by the Governor General (a Japanese national). Hundreds of thousands of Korean women abducted and used in military brothels and possibly millions of Korean workers deported to work on infrastructure projects throughout the empire.
  • Japan: Occupation Period, 1945–1952; Japan's unconditional surrender as per the Potsdam Declaration made Japan a military governorship under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, General McArthur. Japan's current constitution was written, including it's current system of election, legislation and public service was devised under the absolute military rule of the United States. So much so that most Chinese still consider Japan to be a semi-independent satellite state occupied by the United States.

What about Vietnam, the Philippines, and Mongolia? Are their genes so different that they missed out on the Chinese/Japanese smarts?

Mongolia was never a colony. It was still lead by the Borjid Dynasty, who were treated by the Manchu Asin Gioro as a particularly honored Vassal. Many empresses dowagers of this period were Borjit princesses, including Xiaozhuang Empress who acted as regent for the young Kangxi. They also ruled over China for a century and made a giant mess of it, which is the key reason Chinese have historically often considered them to be somewhat mentally inferior (though they probably aren't, just their territory doesn't lend itself to intensive farming or city building).

Philippines and Vietnam are better compared to other South East Asian nations, rather than North East Asian nations. Thailand was never a colony, but it's not doing so great. Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei however all were and tower over all Asian nations but Japan in standard of living. Hong Kong was a colony too and if treated as a country is possibly on average the most prosperous on earth.

In fact, if you look Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, all former colonies, you will find that the Chinese ethnic group does extremely well economically whether they go. Particularly when you see how well the Chinese do compared to the native Malays in economic pursuits, you will see that cultural values make a lot of difference

So hence the north-south theory, the same as Europe. Northern societies tend to be more industrious since they have to endure the scarcity of food and heat every winter. Japan, China and Korea are all freezing f---ing cold in December-March and the trees are bare and fruitless, a human society if they want to survive here must spend its time preparing clothing, and stores of grain for the winter so they lend themselves to tens of thousands of years of economic focus. Vietnamese, Thais, Malays, etc. are not stupid, they're just not economically minded. You cannot starve or freeze in these countries, coconuts litter the ground and fish teem in the rivers and the sun shines warm every day, a bit of shelter from the monsoon and you can live indefinitely.

Colonialism is a red herring. Everything is more interesting if you actually learn about Asian history rather than trying to mold it to prove a point.

Comment: Re:we ARE different (Score 2) 355

by donscarletti (#48507389) Attached to: James Watson's Nobel Prize Goes On Auction This Week

If you have ideas, whether they are right or not, there are some people are going to disagree with you.

If others have ideas, whether they are wrong or not, there are some people who are going to agree with them.

I do not believe that there will ever be an impartial and scientific study conducted to definitively prove anything and one sure as hell sure that none could be conducted in my life time. Humanity has believed many things about race in its history, humanity believes many things about it today and humanity will continue to believe various things about it in years to come. Perhaps in your country, or your community or just in your circle of friends, there is a consensus that you are right, but in the wider world, this is still very much an open topic. This applies whether or not arguments to the contrary offend you.

One of the best ways to promote one's ideas as being rational is through civil discourse and tolerance. Your profanities and ad hominem demonstrate neither.

Comment: Re: I'll never be employed (Score 1) 139

by donscarletti (#48502931) Attached to: Want To Work For a Cool Tech Company? Hone Your Social Skills

Great. You'll be pleased to know that the "cultural fit" referred to above is codeword for weeding out anyone with life commitments they would consider more important than work.

45 with three kids? No worries! Hope you like pizza fuelled all night gaming marathons and our monthly team trip to Vegas! Oh, you don't? Sorry, you aren't a cultural fit.

I'd decry the practice if I didn't know that I would do the exact same thing if it was my own money on the line. If you want success you need obsessive commitment from every layer. The only reason one would compromise would be if one simply couldn't find enough talented workers any other way. Experience goes a long way, one 40 year old bachelor or divorcee for every ten 20 year old virgins will keep the team functioning as if they were all greybeards. Diversity can be achieved by hiring some Indians and Asians too. There is no economic reason to hire someone who has interests outside of work over someone who doesn't.

Comment: Re:writer doesn't get jeopardy, or much of anythin (Score 3, Funny) 455

Terminator isn't a peer-reviewed scientific paper. In fact, it's often thought that much of its sources were fabricated with special effects and clever camera work.

In fact, it's author James Cameron is not even an established scientist, it has been recently discovered that his oceanographic work on Titanic was published BEFORE he underwent any deep sea exploration, and it's speculated that he only went down there afterwards to further fabricate his already published results. It's also speculated that he never produced unobtainium in his lab before claiming its discovery.

In fact, I'm not even sure if Judgement Day even happened, and whether or not any Cyberdyne Systems products were responsible for it happening.

Comment: Re:Yeah right (Score 4, Insightful) 128

It just amazes me to think that anyone would believe that the same China that is currently blocking Google, Youtube and Facebook would hesitate for a second before blocking Edgecast.

As far as they are concerned, there is no economic damage, in fact there is an economic incentive since anyone wanting their website to be usable in China would now be best hiring a CDN within China.

This is similar to what happened when Facebook was blocked and it allowed buggy local clones, notably Renren and Kaixinwang which were previously maligned by users to surge in popularity. Similar also when Google was mostly blocked, allowing Baidu to fill up the void. The thing is, they have every economic reason to block large foreign online services that compete with domestic ones, it's just they cannot block them on economic grounds, since that would be in violation to the free trade principles they espouse and would lead to retaliatory import sanctions. They can however block whatever they like on political grounds.

I do not disagree with Google's pride and principles in not continuing in their previous manner of following Chinese censorship guidelines. However, the net result to the present date is that users have been forced from a service that follows the guidelines only as far as they must and was allowed a fair bit of leeway in their implementation, to others that take the initiative to censor what _might_ be required to be censored for fear of greater pressure if they don't go far enough. The users are also getting exposed to less worldwide ideas. The feeling amongst former users is that Google has abandoned them because of their pride and they are afforded less and less respect by Chinese netizens.

It seems that this whole project was simply going to isolate Chinese netizens further and push China further towards its own separate Internet. This edgecast block will be faced with far less uproar than the ones that came before it, and those caused very little uproar.

Comment: Sweeden (Score 4, Funny) 642

by donscarletti (#48402499) Attached to: Sweden Considers Adding "Sexism" Ratings To Video Games

As far as I know, the Swedish game industry consists of DiCE (Battlefield series: faceless men with guns + bugs. Mirror's Edge: slightly poorly thought out controls + bugs), Arrowhead (faceless mages + bugs) and Coffee Stain Studios (goats + bugs). It seems like Swedish game developers have a huge struggle against writing code that actually does what it is supposed to, not in its representation of female characters. It has gotten to the point that until you see a Swedish game in the "bargain bin" at your games retailer that it is guaranteed that won't be patched to a playable state yet.

It seems that since King Gustavus Adolphus or whoever the hell it was convinced the vikings to stop going on voyages to rape remote villages and settle down to do "civilized" work that entire country has been writing code the way that IKIA builds furniture, by which I mean that it is good for the first ten iterations and then crashes hard thereafter. I have yet to play a Swedish game that has remained stable for long enough to degrade women before it runs out of memory, reads from/writes to a null pointer, totally screws up the render state or overwrites a vertex buffer with random garbage.

Seriously, look at your supposed "retard cousin" next door Finland, does Trine crash? Does Angry Birds crash? How about Crayon Physics, Super Stardust or Clash of Clans? No, they run beautifully and smoothly. And does anyone give a shit that the Theif in Trine covers her face and not her legs? No, not even Germaine Grier, Simone de Beauvoir or any of your feminist type authors would pick a deeply nuanced female character over one that actually runs for 10 minutes without crashing. I mean, how could you be a female role model while accessing a null pointer.

Seriously Sweden, you have to learn to code before you get all preachy on us all.

Comment: Re: Boys are naturally curious... (Score 5, Insightful) 608

by donscarletti (#48237257) Attached to: Solving the Mystery of Declining Female CS Enrollment

When you are looking for why a segment of the population is or isn't doing something, working out generalised patterns between members of the group should be the first thing you should do.

There is an exception to every pattern, but means little when answering questions of percentages. If you are the exception, then maintain that it doesn't apply to you and move on.

Whom the gods would destroy, they first teach BASIC.

Working...