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Comment Re:Because the CIA is evil. (Score 1) 214

Do you mean waterboarding? The very same technique to which thousands of US military people have subjected themselves during routine training? That sort of thing?

And "behind the Irag invasions" ... what? Do you meant the invasion conducted by dozens of allies following Saddam's attempt to take over Kuwait? Or do you mean the follow-up invasion that occurred because Saddam never met any of his obligations following the cease-fire has his invasion was pushed back, and as he continued to fire on aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones over the territories occupied by the ethnic minorities he'd been systematically killing with air strikes and WMD's? Silly me, of course you know all of that, and you're just a cowardly anonymous troll out to re-write history and, as a another lying little lefty, trying to distract everyone from the fact that the party you want in power will be run by Hillary Clinton, who saw all the same intelligence and supported (through her own votes and vocal support) both the original conflict and the second one that completed it. Hint: people actually pay attention, so just lying about it doesn't actually change history.

Comment Re:Because the CIA is evil. (Score 1) 214

There was never any strong evidence for WMDs regardless of what rumors may have been out there

You're actively pretending that Saddam didn't USE his chemical weapons to kill thousands of people. And you're completely mischaracterizing the UN inspection team's early observations of large caches of VX that could NOT be later accounted for (remember the huge, completely phony "documentation" dump provided by Saddam's people to the UN, followed by active blocking of UN inspectors whenever they asked for unplanned inspections of the very places they thought they might find such things?). Yes, I remember Hans Blix, but you're choosing not to remember how things actually played out on the ground as his inspectors were turned away time and time again.

Comment Re:he should know better (Score 1) 251

Why? I wasn't aware that Mr Dawkins sold advertising space at his speeches. If that does happen, yes he should be required or obligated to run an advertisement that sounds like a prayer or whatever if someone pays him to.

The principal here is not the content. It is the denial of commercial services to members of society based on their speech or whatever they do not like about them. Mr Dawkins is only tangibly connected here because of his outspoken atheist views and someone asked him about this. Of course he took the high road and doesn't think speech should be suppressed even if he disagreed with the speech.

Comment Re:Because the CIA is evil. (Score -1, Flamebait) 214

Seriously, the CIA is responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda as a threat to America, you're welcome for 9/11.

So let's see ... as everyone has had to do through all of history, we worked with regional interests to help push back against the greater bad guy (the Soviets, continuing to try to expand their territory). The regional guys turn out to have their own post-Soviet-fight agenda. You, however, as typical nonsensical racist, think that people from that region aren't able to make their own decisions or set out to fulfill their own wishes. No, to you those Foreign Brown People are like zombies that would sit and do nothing without the controlling wizardry of Teh Eeevil Amerikkka blah blah blah.

the drone killing campaign which spawns ten terrorists for every one it kills

I see. So you're a bigger fan of going in on the ground with huge column of armor and troops and the supporting logistics so that we can, instead of using deliberate air strikes, get into a non-stop series of random street fights while trying to kill the same terrorists, but instead rack up huge collateral damage while also telegraphing every move on the ground and chasing the targets out of range for months on end. That is an EXCELLENT alternative. And of course that strategy wouldn't do anything to inspire new jihaddi recruits, no not at all.

stupid illegal invasion of Iraq

Oh, here we go. I didn't realize you were just trolling. Sorry. Since you're revising history and just making stuff up, I guess we'll call it a day.

Comment Re:You mean a NATO wargame almost triggered war (Score 1) 186

That's sort of like building a large bomb in your house attached to a motion detector pointed at the sidewalk and when a pedestrian gets too close to your house, he trips it and the bomb annihilates the pedestrian and your entire house with you in it. You then point out that it's the pedestrian that triggered it, which is true, but hilariously misses the point.

If you build a system that causes you to launch a preemptive strike without an actual attack underway, it doesn't matter who triggered it. You're still the idiot that created a system that almost launched WWIII when no one was actually attacking you.

Luckily, the Soviet people were not stupid, but the leadership mindset at the time was very much insular and paranoid. The extent to which that was true shocked Reagan himself badly when he realized that they actually believed that we were going to attack.

I remember life in the USA in the early 1980's. We were constantly concerned with nuclear war, but no one actually believed we'd be the ones to fire the first shot of WWIII. We had no interest in actually attacking the Soviet Union, but we were rightfully concerned that they'd roll through Germany with a lot of tanks. And frankly, given the fact that they had shown no qualms about doing so in either 1956 or 1968 in their own allied states, I'd say we had reason to be concerned. The Soviet Union might have been paranoid of an attack, but they earned that paranoia by exporting revolution and outright expansionism.

Comment Re:Yeah, I've worked with a few of those (Score 1) 486

The summary seems to be assuming that terrorism is a phenomenon that is limited to conservatives or religious folks. Particularly radical Islamists.

In my opinion, their description of religious and terrorist merely means that engineers are more likely to be *religious terrorists*.

There are types of terrorists that are not religious, and actually, you had a lot of Marxist and anarchist terrorists in the past who could not by any means be called "conservative" or "religious".

So really, all this is saying is that engineers tend to be more conservative or religious, so if they become terrorists, it's because they have found a conservative or religious terrorist group to join.

I imagine there is a similar correlation between certain social scientists and Marxist terrorism.

Comment Re:Cost of access is key. (Score 1) 315

You're assuming that the catapult/accelerator is on the ground, for one thing. Concepts like a launch loop actually put the accelerator at 80km above the Earth and only impart a 3g acceleration on launch. Yes, you have to get there with an existing craft, but that's a much easier thing to do economically.

Don't get me wrong, this is all concept design often requiring things like megastructures. The launch loop would be 2,000km long and suspended by a maglev cable system, for instance. No one has ever done such a thing before. Not even close.

However, I don't think such a megastructure is beyond human capabilities technologically, and while there are intervening steps we need to get through, none of them are really based on speculative science or technology, it's mostly engineering and materials science.

I do have to wonder if it is beyond human capabilities in terms of attention span. The cost would be colossal, but not impossibly high, particularly if we could commit to such a project over a longer period. I just think if humanity said, "We are going to complete a launch system", that it is something we could do. It's not woo-woo Star Trek fake technobabble, it's just really, really hard.

Comment Re:I dunno... (Score 1) 214

Yes, I am bemoaning the loss of the plasma screen, I still think it has the best blacks, but still.

I bought a 60" plasma screen last year. It has terrific blacks, from the panel itself, to a special non-glare coating, to a "round down" function to handle the case where the HDMI stream ends up encoding black as "almost black", and forcing it back to black.

Plasma TVs vanished from the bottom-end, but they still exist. OLED might genuinely replace plasma, though.

Comment Re:Easy (Score 3, Interesting) 214

My home theater setup is a 60" plasma screen attached to my laptop. It's only used as a display panel, but it works fine for that (text isn't great, but movies are). I enjoy a real home theater setup over any tablet or whatever. I doubt that use is going away.

I think the big failure is that "Smart TVs" just aren't quite good enough to replace the "TV sticks", or at least not at a competitive price. But a big dumb display panel that looks great; that I want.

Comment Re:It requires energy, not money. (Score 1) 315

I think energy is the first thing we will be able to get from space, not materials. Space based solar is a project that will provide energy, but without the major concerns of mining and transporting actual matter to Earth. And as you pointed out, once there is sufficient space based power, the mining can become profitable both in space, and in providing materials for Earth.

The sun itself is probably the best energy source we have at this time and it will scale up very well over time. If we can figure out the big hurdles of building the infrastructure and transmission, there could be significant profit to be made in space well before we start mining it. Indeed, the mining might be started by the energy company itself to reduce costs of building more infrastructure by not having to launch them from Earth.

Comment Re:The guy aint no Sagan... (Score 1) 315

So for this to work, particularly for guys like Musk who barely hit the two-figures billion$, the private market has to be orders of magnitude more efficient then NASA, which does not seem terribly likely because the private market has had years to get beyond the ISS and still has not done so.

We are still relatively early in the Space Age, particularly in comparison with human history. I don't think it is right to say that just because we haven't done it in 50 years that commercial players will never do it. We're still doing things like figuring out reusable launch systems, but we are making progress on those fronts.

Admittedly, there will have to be a point where the businesses do have to make some money, and satellite launches and space tourism are unlikely to advance the profit as much as you'd want. My best bet for such a profitable enterprise would probably be space based solar power. While such a project has significant hurdles that have yet to be overcome, energy production is something we need to have increasing amounts of, and it is incredibly important to make that a renewable, "green" source as our energy requirements grow.

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.