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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Re:Montreal Protocol? (Score 2) 120

by jc42 (#49789671) Attached to: Thanks To the Montreal Protocol, We Avoided Severe Ozone Depletion

Skip the middlemen and ask the Koch brothers.

And here we have another "troll" mod to this comment, from a reader without a sense of humor.

(Actually, the Koch brothers might not be predictable in this case, since it'd depend on how much they had invested in the companies that manufactured the old, damaging refrigerants. And they might be aware of how easily society reversed that atmospheric problem with relatively little economic effect, so they might want to be careful about getting people comparing it with the effects of our CO2 output. ;-)

Comment: Re:Let me guess... (Score 1) 109

The solution is to give them more money...

Except that's rapidly becoming non-viable, since over the past few decades, they've succeeding in capturing most of the money that exists and sequestering it so it's out of reach of the other 99% of us. Soon they'll have to find another approach if they want to continue capturing the money supply as they have been doing.

Comment: Re:What else is new... (Score 1) 109

The reason why "global business leaders" don't know about technology is that they are completely divorced from the daily life that normal humans live. They don't have to know shit, so they don't know shit.

And Carly Fiorina, who Portfolio Magazine named as one of the 20 worst American CEOs in history, now wants to be President of the United States. ...

She's just upping her game, trying to become the worst American president in history. But she'll find that there's a lot of fierce competition for that title. Can she make it? Stay tuned ...

Comment: Re:I am amazed (Score 1) 242

by jc42 (#49787249) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot

People keep arguing that /. doesn't support Unicode, when it really does - it just uses a narrow whitelist of characters. The reason for this is obvious if you think about it - to prevent situations like this from happening.

Heck, there might be strings out there that will crash any Unicode library implementation, just we haven't found them yet because the search space is huge.

Hmmm ... That tempts me to try a test using a couple of file names on this machine that are two of the names for a Mandarin-English dictionary: .html and Ptnghuà.html (and also Pu3Tong1Hua4.html for systems that can only accept ASCII ;-). Those names aren't in any sense obscure or tricky; they're strings you'd expect to see in online discussions of text handling in various languages. If you can't handle at least these trivial Chinese strings, you've failed pretty badly. Of course, they look findin this Comment: panel, and will likely survive the Preview button.

Let's see how /. handles them ...

Nope; the 3 Hanzi characters didn't show at all, and only the à showed correctly in the second name. But both everything looks correct in this second editing widget. This proves that /. hasn't damaged the actual text in the Preview. Let's see what happens when I try to post it ...

I see that the "Comment:" edit widget for this message does have the Hanzi and marked 'u' and 'o' characters missing. So the damage is done after you hit the Submit button. There's no excuse for this. None of those characters have any special meaning to the code, and text containing them can't do any damage to anything. If damage happens, it's the fault of the crappy software handling the text, not the fault of the creator of the text. The right thing to do is to correct the crappy software. Damaging the text is simply idiotic, and interferes with the main reason (communication between literate people) that Unicode was invented.

(And we might note that a significant fraction of the users of the Internet now consists of people who communicate via Hanzi text, or Arabic or any of the hundreds of other character sets that humanity uses to communicate. Damaging those folks' texts to avoid fixing your crappy software is a good way to tell them that you don't want them communicating with other people. This is rapidly becoming a commercially untenable position for people trying to "attract eyes" on the Net. ;-)

Comment: Re:I am amazed (Score 1) 242

by jc42 (#49784229) Attached to: A Text Message Can Crash An iPhone and Force It To Reboot

People keep arguing that /. doesn't support Unicode, when it really does - it just uses a narrow whitelist of characters. The reason for this is obvious if you think about it - to prevent situations like this from happening.

Heck, there might be strings out there that will crash any Unicode library implementation, just we haven't found them yet because the search space is huge.

Hmmm ... That tempts me to try a test using a couple of file names on this machine that are two of the names for a Mandarin-English dictionary: .html and Ptnghuà.html (and also Pu3Tong1Hua4.html for systems that can only accept ASCII ;-). Those names aren't in any sense obscure or tricky; they're strings you'd expect to see in online discussions of text handling in various languages. If you can't handle at least these trivial Chinese strings, you've failed pretty badly. Of course, they look findin this Comment: panel, and will likely survive the Preview button.

Let's see how /. handles them ...

Nope; the 3 Hanzi characters didn't show at all, and only the à showed correctly in the second name. But both everything looks correct in this second editing widget. This proves that /. hasn't damaged the actual text in the Preview. Let's see what happens when I try to post it ...

Comment: So this means ... (Score 1) 82

... All affected members will receive letters of apology, offering two years of free credit monitoring and identity threat protection as compensation, ...

So they're saying that they have such monitoring/protection, but members who aren't explicitly paying extra for such monitoring/protection aren't being protected from identity theft in any way?

Somehow, I don't find this surprising. But I'm a bit surprised that they'd admit it so blatantly and openly.

(Actually, I'm a bit dubious about their implicit claim to have such monitoring/protection already. But it's fairly common for companies to make such claims for PR purposes, without bothering to actually implement what they're claiming to supply until something like this hits them. Maybe they had another similar incident happen sometime in the past, and are finally getting around to doing something about it?)

(And what exactly does "identity threat protection" mean? Google doesn't seem to have any matches for that phrase, and automatically replaces it with "identity theft protection", which doesn't sound like the same thing at all. ;-)

Comment: Re:The "edge" of the universe? (Score 1) 64

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/further

Definition 1) Farther

Heh; I think you've got it. ;-)

This is one of the favorite "language peevery" examples that get discussed often in (English) language forums (or fora if you prefer ;-). The confusion about any purported difference goes back to before there were any actual English dictionaries, and probably 99% of the world's native speakers of English treat them as synonyms. The few that don't can't hardly agree about what their "correct" usages should be. But that doesn't stop such people from harrassing the rest of us about our "misusage". Mostly, it's just a thing they can feel superior about, while the rest of us casually ignore them.

It is a bit curious to see such peevery pop up in a discussion in which General Relativity pretty much rules. Trying to make a strict distinction between distance and time in such discussions is mostly just funny, as well as a signal that the writer lacks understanding of something important to the discussion. But language peevery is rarely based on reality; it's more about some small crowd's attempts to impose strict rules on a language with many dialects and hundreds of millions of speakers.

Now let's all join in singing a round of "Farther along" ... (in which the phrase clearly refers to time. ;-)

Comment: Re:The song remains the same (Score 1) 201

by jc42 (#49716881) Attached to: Baton Bob Receives $20,000 Settlement For Coerced Facebook Post

Who pays then, when the government elected by the people do misdeeds?

So where in the US are the police elected by the local citizens? I've never heard of this happening. It certainly hasn't been the practice in or near any place I've ever lived.

I've also never seen any candidate in any election running on a promise to do "misdeeds", so I've never actually been able to vote for or against a candidate on that basis. It'd be interesting to know where this is done, and why it isn't done where I've lived.

Comment: The "edge" of the universe? (Score 0) 64

So how do they know that the "background" microwaves are from the edge of the universe? I thought that the primordial microwaves are scattered throughout the universe, so what we see when we look in some direction is the sum of all the background microwaves coming from that direction.

If we're actually seeing the edge, doesn't that shoot down the idea that the universe doesn't actually have an edge, and everywhere appears to be at the "center" of the universe? How was this idea disproved? I seem to have missed the discovery of an actual edge, somehow.

Comment: Re:Scary side of US (Score 1) 649

by jc42 (#49710441) Attached to: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Gets Death Penalty In Boston Marathon Bombing

What country has 52 states? Is this one of those 87.3 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot things?

The OP was probably counting DC and PR as "states". After all, they satisfy most of the legal requirements for the term, except for their residents being denied representation in Congress.

OTOH, one of the fun US trivia questions is "Legally speaking, how many 'states" are there in the US?" The answer, of course, is 46, because four of them officially call themselves a "commonwealth" rather than a "state". The next trivia question is: Can you name those four "commonwealths" without consulting google or wikipedia?

(Note that PR is also officially a "commonwealth". ;-)

Comment: Re:"If you have nothing to hide..." (Score 1) 203

by jc42 (#49606397) Attached to: Inside the Military-Police Center That Spies On Baltimore's Rioters

How are they not terrorist? I mean using violence and the threat of violence against the civilian populations in order to influence actions of government is pretty much the definition of terrorism.

Nah; in the US, the term has been "re-purposed". It now means "Anyone that the people currently in power don't like." That definition successfully explains almost all uses of the word "terrorist" now, while the original, obsolete definition you quote doesn't.

Comment: Just out of curiosity ... (Score 2) 301

How many papers can we find that have been rejected because all the authors are male?

I wouldn't be surprised if it had happened, but I don't remember reading of any examples. Maybe it's my forgetful male memory? ;-)

In any case, can anyone cite other examples (in either direction)? If they exist, it might be interesting to look into the stories.

Comment: Re:false positives (Score 1) 174

You missed the GP's point: the problem is not that true negatives were found; the problem is that they were not published. Because they were not published, future researchers might waste more effort re-discovering them.

Indeed, though there is often a more insidious effect. Suppose there's a claim that treatment T is effective for medical condition C, but it's actually a "placebo effect". If one study showed a (perhaps small) effect, and other studies showing no effect aren't published, a lot of money can be made selling T to customers. If the true negative results are published, the makers (and prescribers) of T lose that income.

This is one of many reasons for the low level of publishing "negative" results. Another reason is linguistic: In English and most other human languages, it's hard to make a clear distinction between "Our study showed no effect" and "Our study didn't show any effect". Most listeners won't hear a difference between negating the object and negating the verb, and the media frequently reports the former as the latter. Managers of scientific organizations are as prone to this problem as the rest of us are. "We want studies that show results, not studies that don't."

And, of course, there's the general cultural resistance to "negativity". This easily explains why many pseudo-scientific beliefs persist centuries after they've been disproved.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

Working...