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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: Doesn't have to be a kill switch (Score 1) 341

by jet_silver (#46187229) Attached to: California Bill Proposes Mandatory Kill-Switch On Phones and Tablets

Wow, a lot of these posts imply that 'a technological solution that can render the essential features of the device inoperable when the device is not in possession of the rightful owner' must be a kill switch.

A decent technological solution might be to sense some unique component of the rightful owner's smell and not work if that isn't present.

Comment: Audiences wait to be entertained. That's not /. (Score 4, Interesting) 2219

by jet_silver (#46182727) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

Look: we're not "the audience", expecting to be amused or enlightened. We're slashdot. The point, which you seem to be missing, is slashdot is its contributors, who come here to interact.

Every time I see the beta design I grope for the alternate link that gets me back to the perhaps-weird but familiar interface I like. That's what I expect. If you want to change it, fine, it's your site, but the contributors will go somewhere they prefer and it won't be here.

Comment: Re:Japanese spin (Score 1) 201

by jet_silver (#42962481) Attached to: Japanese Probe Finds Miswiring of Boeing 787 Battery

It may be you're right but the requirements might have led Yuasa to believe the battery management would be taken on by other system elements. Requirements writing is not all that easy, especially when you're trying to anticipate problems in equipment no one has had to rely on to such an extent before.

Damn fine work by the Japanese MoT nonetheless, aggregating clues from all over the place.

Comment: Low cost, high risk (Score 1) 227

by jet_silver (#40552667) Attached to: China Begins Stockpiling Rare Earths, Draws WTO Attention

Dealing with suppliers or manufacturers of anything in China presents the possibility of low costs but adds risk. The reward/risk calculus is seriously out of whack these days: for example, a tremendous amount of world HDD capacity is located in Thailand, where floods can stop everyone's production. China's industral advancement is going to be short-lived unless they start treating contracts as binding instead of a general idea.

A responsible supply chain manager would second-source everything they bought in China except for plastic toys, shower curtains and flip-flops - and I'm not so sure about the toys because high lead or selenium (or both) levels have been found in Chinese toys.

Comment: Re:Eucalyptus trees are a bio terror weapon (Score 2) 160

by jet_silver (#40522895) Attached to: Insects As Weapons

Eucalyptus trees were implicated in the spread of the Oakland Hills firestorm. They are flammable weeds. There isn't anything except the rapid growth rate and the smell to recommend them for anything at all in the USA, though in Australia it is my understanding that various pests constrain their growth and they're useful wood (for furniture) there.

If every single eucalyptus tree in California died it would bother me not a bit except for the brief time during which they were falling down.

Comment: Re:Because it is difficult (Score 3, Interesting) 208

by jet_silver (#39158899) Attached to: Is Hypertext Literature Dead?

Yup. Samuel Delany tries a little of this here and there and it not only looks strange, it's also difficult to read. Hyperlinking is throwing off some ideas like multiple finishes to a novel. If it's going to flower as a new art form, it has to start with an idea that is really new and not just an obvious mechanism. It's probably even odds that someone has actually come up with genuinely new fiction that is enhanced a lot by its hyperlinking, and it's sitting on a drive someplace with the creator wondering what it is for.

Comment: Selling your credibility (Score 2) 571

by jet_silver (#38471890) Attached to: New Study Confirms Safety of GM Crops

These days, you only have to whore yourself out once to be fixed for life. Reaching the desired conclusion for money has corrupted so many fields that there is a serious credibility problem with anyone getting funded by entities that have oxen and fear their being gored. It has gotten so bad with the unholy alliance between politics and drug companies that many people have begun giving up paying attention to it altogether.

The way these studies are conducted might be unimpeachable and the conclusions with these particular tests (wherein the changes are said to be "insignificant" (on what basis?)) might be statistically supportable. However, this is one conclusion and not a Fact. Similar studies show that coffee|Brussels sprouts|dietary fiber|control of sodium intake is good | bad for you (related summary here), and reaching opposite conclusions shows either that experiments are not being repeated, or that the effects are not clear.

Comment: Re:Lots of red flags, little tech (Score 1) 155

by jet_silver (#36535764) Attached to: Camera Lets You Shift Focus After Shooting

Look at page 4 of this: You can read the founder's Ph.D. dissertation and I guarantee you'll get your geek on if you can follow it. It's a really excellent piece of work, and at the same time it is written in such a pleasant style that it keeps you curious and interested.

Comment: Re:Rights? (Score 3, Interesting) 108

by jet_silver (#36343242) Attached to: NSA Trial Evidence 'Riddled With Boxes and Arrows'

In the second link there is a line: This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the jury will see that the unclassified lan- guage has been changed and left to wonder why they cannot see information the government’s expert deems unclassified. The jurors will be completely and hopelessly confused.1. So, if the jurors are completely and hopelessly confused, is the real problem that they won't know it? In the face of hopelessly confusing evidence, it seems as though the responsibility of the jury is to acquit. IANAL, but if I were the defense would it not be entirely reasonable to say just that in the wind-up of arguments?

Comment: TFA is way off the mark (Score 3, Interesting) 611

by jet_silver (#35818376) Attached to: America's Tech Decline: a Reading Guide

TFA lists as concerns the wrong ones. 1) STEM "education", which is really training. You don't train people to innovate, you train people to push buttons or flip burgers. Education begins with independent, critical thinking and that is less and less fostered by the educational system. 2) Why would a smart student do STEM when the money is in pie-dividing, not pie creation? Besides, B-school is about parties and sex, not cracking books all night and all weekend. 3) The progress toward a knowledge-based economy -should- be slowest for the early adopters, then people can copy it and learn from those mistakes. 4) The benchmark of "green energy" is wrong, it is now viable only because governments mandate it. From TFA: "Clean energy is an industry the government has cited as important to future growth." And the government will piss in your pocket and tell you it's raining. Government initiatives are playgrounds for rent-seekers, perpetual-motion nuts, and con men.

America's tech decline is fostered by a government in thrall to companies that ship profits to Jersey, Bermuda and Monaco; jobs to China and Vietnam; and toxic waste to Africa. Simplification of the tax code, taxing companies and individuals on parity (after all, companies are people) and letting the bastards walk if they don't like it, and a serious crackdown on malfeasance under color of authority are what the government should be doing.

"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy." -- Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards