Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 2) 609 609

Humm yes? This is because people vote for the greens, the commies, and the crazy nationalists. Do you think people shouldn't be allowed to vote for them?

Now seriously, Italy has a lot of problems, but at least bipartidarism is not one of them. They are one of the most disfunctional European democracies, but even they managed to avoid being so absurdly disfunctional as to shut down their own government.

Comment Re:Only Two Futures? (Score 1) 609 609

I think this is just being realist. The US is a two-party state, and voting for a third party is wasting your vote. This is a simple consequence of the archaic electoral system you have, it has nothing to do with the "culture seeing two possibilities" or people being stupid.

A useful comparison can be drawn with European democracies, as the crushing majority are multi-party. Unlike the Europeans, I don't think this is because they are smarter than the yankees. I think the reason is that most European countries have a more or less recent political system (Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, etc. have political systems that date from after world war 2), and when it came the time for deciding what it should be they chose something that is not so absolutely stone-age as a first-past-the-post system with an electoral college.

Comment Re:Let's just humour them (Score 1) 235 235

Hum, I believe the problem is that most of the world is not christian, but they would still like to be able to refer to the year according to the Gregorian calendar, since it is almost universally used.

AD is kinda heavy for non-christians; it means in full "Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi", or in english "In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ", so if you are very pedantic writing 2015 AD is actually a lie for them.

What do you suggest the Chinese and Japanese to do, for example?

Comment Re:Habeus Corpus (Score 1) 336 336

It is creating a legal framework for deciding these things, because the law currently lacks one.

And why is that a good thing? More lawyers, regulations, court cases? I don't think creating rules is something good in itself, on the contrary.

But anyway, don't you think parliament is the proper place to debate such a deep question? I feel that a judge really shouldn't have the power to decide whether chimps deserve to be treated as humans.

Comment Re:Matlab (Score 1) 181 181

Matlab is the worst piece of shit I ever had the displeasure of working with. I only use this crap because the SDP interpreters I like (YALMIP and CVX) don't support anything else.

Once I had a bug in a code I had been writing for more than a month, and after lots of work I tracked it down to a vector declaration of the kind

v = [a, b +c];

You know what Matlab thought this meant?

v = [a, b, c];

Yep. It interpreted a whitespace between 'b' and '+' as creating a new vector element. And it's not even consistent, if I type [a, b + c] if gives again a two-element vector instead of a three-element one.

The fact that the programmer who introduced this "feature" was not instantly smitten by a thunder is proof that Zeus does not exist.

Btw, if you know any sensible SDP interpreter that does not require Matlab, I'd really like to know.

Comment Re:Yeah, (Score 1) 313 313

Thanks for the book reference, seems cool, I'll check it out.

Well, there will be major social changes, that's for sure. But bringing people back from the dead it's a minor thing, as realistically we'll never be able to bring back anyone that did not take precautions to be ressucistable, and these will remain a small minority for the foreseeable future.

I think the largest impact will be when technology to radically extend lifespan and life quality (cure ageing) becomes widespread.

Comment Re:Yeah, (Score 2) 313 313

Honestly, I think the whole religious industry ought to be frogmarched to jail and never let out. Is it quackery, fraud, and cruel, preying on grieving relatives, selling false hopes, engaging in grotesque experiments with human remains.

There, fixed that for you. The major point of most religions is to comfort people from their fear of death. All the religions I can think of prey of grieving relatives, sell them false hopes of an afterlife, and perform some grotesque ritual with human remains.

The difference is that unlike religions, cryonics is actually based in reality. Everything else is guaranteed to not work; but according to our current knowledge, cryonics is the best shot we have to actually cure death.

Of course it is highly unlikely to work, but it is a completely different league than burying (or burning) a body and hoping that some god will grant that soul eternal life in some paradise.

Comment Science versus religion (Score 1) 228 228

Typical case of religion obstructing the progress of science. Luckily in this case it is a minority religion that the local administration does not take seriously anymore. Imagine if that was a place sacred to christians, like the Mount of Olives, or to buddhists, like Sri Pada (also known as Sri Kanda). The poor telescope would never have a chance.

Comment Re:The fucking cat (Score 1) 172 172

This is true; a measurement always returns a definite result, never a "smearing" or a "blur". But I'd like to point out that the issue is a bit deeper, as there is no physical distinction between "determinate" and "indeterminate" states. For example, a photon with vertical polarization is in a "determinate" state if you measure it in the vertical/horizontal basis. But if you measure it in the diagonal/antidiagonal basis it is in a "indeterminate" state, a equal superposition of diagonal and antidiagonal.

Comment Re:The fucking cat (Score 4, Informative) 172 172

I wish people would stop speculating about the fucking cat and just read what Schrödinger wrote. Come on, it's four paragraphs.

What Schrödinger is doing is pointing out how ridiculous it is to accept the "quantum blurring" because "it only affects microscopical particles anyway and they're just weird". The problem is that one cannot consistently keep the blurring confined to the atomic domain. As Schrödinger points out very clearly, if we accept that the atomic nucleus is "blurred", then this blurring can be easily amplified to the macroscopic domain and make the cat be simultaneously dead and alive. Since we don't observe cats to be blurred, we cannot accept atomic nucleus to be blurred.

That's what Schrödinger states one line after introducing the fucking cat. Since I know nobody is gonna click the link and RFTA I'm going to quote:

It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a "blurred model" for representing reality.

Comment Nice story, but misleading (Score 1) 172 172

I never knew that Schrödinger joined at some point in Einstein quixotic quest for a classical unified field theory. Cool story, bro.

But I'm annoyed about the portrait of Schrödinger as Sancho Panza to Einstein's Don Quixote. Schrödinger was a major genius! He invented quantum mechanics, for fuck's sake! I'm particularly riled up by the statement

Embarrassed by the incident, Schrödinger would give up his quest for unity altogether and turn to other topics. Similarly, he would never collaborate again with a prominent physicist.

This seems to imply that Schrödinger never accomplished anything after he stopped collaborating with Einstein. Well, he helped discover DNA.

Those who claim the dead never return to life haven't ever been around here at quitting time.