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


Forgot your password?

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: Missing the obvious? We have found aliens! (Score 1) 686

by irp (#47219851) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

The question is: How do we detect said aliens? We can probably not use radio, because as some of you have touched, modern spread-spectrum communication is indistinguishable from noise. Add to this that we have this HUGE wide-band noise-generator right next to us called the sun. The radiation from alien suns is hard enough to block out at stellar distances in the visible regime, even harder at radio frequencies.

So how do we detect aliens? By the bulk. E.g. by looking at the atmospheric composition and saying "here are compounds that can not be produced by any natural method ".

So we will be checking against our models and trying to find deviations. Which leads me to my point:
Here we have a planet with the mass 17 times of earth, but with an atmosphere way of the chart of any predictions!

It is far out, even for me :-) but this is actually the "kind" of signs for life we are looking for. Alright in this case, I have a hard time imagine what could suck the air out of the alien atmosphere - but then again, that would make it really alien! - probably not carbon based :-)

Comment: Re:A bunch of nuns? (Score 3, Funny) 800

by irp (#46937873) Attached to: Autonomous Car Ethics: If a Crash Is Unavoidable, What Does It Hit?

Actually, this raises a more interesting question (at least to me) which your little thought experiment approaches. What if my autonomous car decides that the action to take that is likely to cause the least harm is to kill the driver? For example, what if the car has the opportunity to swerve off the side of a mountain road and drop you 1000 feet onto some rocks to avoid a crash that would have killed far more people than simply you? Is my autonomous car required to act in my own best interest, or should it act in the best interests of everyone on the road?

Your autonomous car? :-)

It will be a Google car. Partly paid by ads and data collected while used. As such it should - of course - behave in the best interest of the real costumers. I.e. not you! :)

Comment: No hopes: It is made in the US (Score 5, Insightful) 183

by irp (#46265365) Attached to: The Ultimate Hopes For the New Cosmos Series

... Which means it will start with a 10 minute teaser/cliffhanger to prevent people from leaving during commercials. Then the commercial break. Then a 10 minute teaser, repeating most of what was said in the previous segment, adding like 2-3 minutes new stuff and a new cliffhanger. Commercial break. Then 10 minutes of repetition. Etc. etc.

There are a lot of *seemingly* interesting documentaries being made in the US, but upon inspection they are mostly made to ensure viewers STAY for the COMMERCIALS.

If you watch them without commercials, the look like they were made by retards for retards! :-/

I will probably give it a change, but I guess I will be disappointment... Currently I'm only watching documentaries made by the BBC...

Comment: Another implementation (Score 1) 332

by irp (#45448641) Attached to: Time For a Warrant Canary Metatag?

A company (I've forgotten which, think it was a "pre-cloud" storage solution) used this approach:
Each day post a photo of the front page from a local newspaper, with the message that if said image was no longer updated, they had received a 'request'. The idea being that the government/law agency/whatever only have the legal means to make them STOP doing something, but are unable to force them to go through the trouble of uploading a new image each day. ... I remember wondering if there is some legal way to force a person/company to stop stopping...

Comment: What does the electronics do? (Score 4, Interesting) 208

by irp (#44860883) Attached to: USB "Condom" Allows You To Practice Safe Charging

I've apparently made 'USB condoms' myself. A male and female usb connector soldered end-to-end, the data pins shorted together.

This enables my ancient HTC Desire to recognize any usb charger as a dedicated charger, and charge with up to 1 A (in reality significantly less). It is a low tech solution that works.

So why so much electronics on the board??

Comment: If Indigogo projects are like kickstarter projects (Score 1) 55

by irp (#44317629) Attached to: New Android Eyewear Wants To Compete With Google Glass

... Then the GlassUps will be at least 1 year delayed, and when - if - they finally arrive, they will be inferior, fragile, buggy and has to compete with Google glasses v2.

The idea is nice, I wish them the best of luck! And after donating to some kickstarter projects, I know they will need it. The path to a final product is not straight and easy.

For all of you who donate: Cool! And I mean this sincerely. You are willing to risk money for a great idea, I appreciate that. I've myself lost money on great ideas on Kickstarter... Too much money for my taste... This time I'll pass donating, I'm beginning to loose my faith in crowdfounding.

Comment: Who cares? (Score 0) 142

by irp (#44316299) Attached to: Nine Traits of the Veteran Network Admin

I did of course phrase the subject to maximize the provocation :-) but my point is, while I really like the plumping to work, I don't really care about "the nine traits of a veteran plumber". For me a network admin is (believe it or not) a LOW TECH job, using of-the-shelf standard components (as any other admin/technician/mechanic). If my mechanic has to stare blankly while mentally figuring out what is preventing my car to start, I will let him do that in peace - because I assume he knows better than me how to do his job.

I have NO doubt that network administration is an intriguing job, with its share of problems to solve. But as long as the down time is counted in hours and not days, I prefer them to work invisible behind the scenes, not bothering me and hindering me to do my job.

Don't get me wrong, I know that a good admin is well worth his pay. But also I love the cleaning personal, especially when they don't clean while I'm working :-)

I guess I was hoping to gain a little insight in how the admin job is done - I dunno, maybe adapt some of it to my little (tiny) home network. But most of the points was fairly obvious - yes I also reboot my router. No of course I can't calculate subnet masks/read packages/write filters in my head. Is it impressive he can? Slightly, but not much, skills like that develop by regular use. I would be more surprised if he had written "we just google it" :-)

Comment: Keytronics ErgoForce (Score 1) 341

by irp (#41322361) Attached to: I go through keyboards ...

I prefer Keytronics ErgoForce series. They have different downforce depending on which finger you use. They are also of the reliably (but noisy) style. Luckily not as noisy as the old IBMs.

They have the added advantage of being white and having "old style" raised keys. I.e quite easy/fast to use, even in the dark.

Modern - "stylish" - keyboards on the other hand. They are black and sleek. So now they have to add LED backlights to make them usable during the night. Designed stupidity: LED backlights are NOT necessary if using a white/non-sleek keyboard.

Unfortunately, keytronics no longer make non-US keyboards. So when my old ÆØÅ Danish keyboard dies, I'll have a significant problem... :(

Comment: Re:Space ninjas (Score 1) 438

by irp (#38115086) Attached to: Human Survival Depends On Space Exploration, Says Hawking

"Without gravity, we'd die."

Citation needed. Note that none of the astronauts have died due to the lack of gravity.

And to see how evolution proceeds without gravity we just need to look at the sea. Sea lions, dolphins and whales are all descended from mammals that used to live exclusively on land.

Sea lions etc. are just as much influenced by gravity as we are. The problem is in our organs. Whether you're surrounded by air or water on earth, the gravitational pull on your organs are the same (they are, in a sense, always submerged anyway)...

The problem is not the survival of the individual, but our spices. There are experiments on rats indicating that they can't get pregnant in zero gravity...
Citation: - just read it; highly recommended. On a similar note;

Anyhow, seeing the rapid drop of energy prices, I assume the solution is near, when energy becomes essential free, everyone gets a jetpack!... ... Oh wait! I am holding the card upside down!

Reminds me; I once read a sci fi - can't remember which - there were a passing reference to other races who had burned the fuel on their planet before reaching spaceflight. They were forever trapped in the gravity well. I assume the same will happen to us.

Not that it changes much. Saving between 0% (robotic probe) and 0.00001% (a crew of few thousands) of the population will not really make a dent, especially when you add the fact that it mission will either be bias towards christian theocracy or aggressive capitalistic pseudocommunism (how much do you trust e.g. China to represent American, if they are the ones "rescuing the race"??). All in all, regardless of the outcome, the probe will not be representative for most .. The rest are left to die...

Goodnight, and happy dreams! :-)

Comment: Yes! (Score 1) 142

by irp (#37859690) Attached to: Avira Anti-Virus Detects Itself

I have been fighting a virus on my work the last couple of days. It is calling itself McAfee Antivirus Enterprise. The symptoms is it slows my (aging) lab computers to a grinding halt. The last 3 days it has essentially incapacitating them for more than an hour, every day. I hope whatever payload it needed to update is done, so it will stop disrupting experiments by stalling.

We'll soon need to upgrade an old - but still adequate - dedicated lab computer running a single piece of equipment, just because IT have chosen McAfee...

(fyi; If I take it offline I can only log-on a month or so, then it has to connect to the domain, resulting in a torrent of forced updates. Beside we need to be able to retrieve the data, and last time I needed one, no one had an usb stick!).

Comment: That was late... (Score 3, Interesting) 116

by irp (#37115864) Attached to: Australian 'Electronic Pigeon Hole' Could Replace Gov't Snail Mail

We've had this in Denmark for 5+ years. - except it is not only government mail, but all official mail. My bank, insurance - even my salary slip from my company. Also I can upload my own scanned documents into the repository, where it will stay forever.

I haven't received anything important in my mailbox for YEARS. I only check and empty it once every second week (only spam).

The system is secured by the national "Nem-ID" (Easy-ID) system, which is a combination of a password and a one-time pad. Also used by my bank (and all other danish banks. I have an old account in another bank. Same login work for both).

It took a while to get it all running smoothly, but it is really nice now it works. Added advantage is that electronic thefts (stolen login details etc.) from banks dropped to almost 0 nationwide since it was introduced.

The next person to mention spaghetti stacks to me is going to have his head knocked off. -- Bill Conrad