Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


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: Doomed (Score 1) 29

by Mullen (#49379431) Attached to: Bitcoin In China Still Chugging Along, a Year After Clampdown

"That doesn't mean bitcoin is gaining steam as a currency used to buy goods. Since the government clampdown, the Chinese bitcoin market has matured into one that's focused on speculative trading, said Bobby Lee, CEO of BTC China."

If your currency is nothing more than a Get Rich Quick Scheme, then it is doomed to failure. The currency must fill a niche that can not be filled with paper cash (Or bank transfers and credit cards), whether that is get around currency controls, buy stuff on the dark web or just transfer money without fees. If a currency is nothing more than a get your friends together and buy low and sell high, then there is no use for the currency.

Bitcoin has a real problem ahead of it, a legitimate use.

Comment: Re:Fuck so-called religious "freedom" (Score 1) 1029

Except treat the law isn't put into place for preventing the Baker from having to make gay-themed cupcakes, but allows the Baker to refuse to sell existing, plain ole vanilla cupcakes to a sexual deviant. The question boils down to "What is a protected class?" Given that Indiana (and all states other than Louisiana) follow common law rules, prior cases involving protected classes are relevant. Common law had already established that race and religious beliefs are protected classes. Why sexual orientation has to be a question is something best explained by bigotry and is the whole point of why protected classes are legally exist.

Comment: Re:So What (Score 2) 298

by hey! (#49376609) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

It is your choice to make your eventual obliteration the focus of your life. That's something you can either try to change (good luck with that), or it's something you can choose to accept. But choosing to accept that doesn't mean you have to sit around being miserable and resentful while you wait for the Grim Reaper. The world is only as cold and hard as the things in it you choose to focus on. There's also more wondrous and amazing and even funny things in the world than you an get around to thinking about in a lifetime.

It's like summer vacation when you're in school. You only get ten weeks or so of it, not nearly enough to get to all the things you want to do. And there are some people who will react to that by spending the whole time from day 1 unhappy about going back to school. What a waste of existence! But that's definitely a choice open to you.

Imagine your last few seconds of consciousness before you die. How would you like to spend them? Being angry? Sad? I think that's a waste of precious time. I'd like to have someone I love very much tell me a very funny joke.

Comment: Re:So What (Score 1) 298

by hey! (#49376541) Attached to: Poverty May Affect the Growth of Children's Brains

No, we all make the choice of the kind of world we want -- or maybe it'd be better to say the kind of world we can live with. It just so happens that some people can live with a world that they don't like very much, so long as that doesn't demand very much of them.

Anyone can by choice have an immense effect on the world around them. Maybe they can't change the *whole* world very noticeably, but they can transform their own neighborhood.

Comment: Re:Nonsense (Score 1) 1029

by hey! (#49374839) Attached to: Apple's Tim Cook Calls Out "Religious Freedom" Laws As Discriminatory

Oh, yeah. The rational actor theory. But by the same postulates that underly that theory there should be no human being who eats unhealthy, boozes or gambles excessively, or picks fights he obviously can't win.

I have an alternative theory which states that going by actual behavior most people discount their future welfare to zero when there's an immediate reward, even a trivial one. It's almost impossible to resist an immediate burst of pleasure a nasty habit's got you hooked, whether it's a relaxing smoke or that glow of self-righteousness you get when you act on your bigotry.

People will literally kill themselves for a little short-term reward. Forgoing a little profit is nothing compared to that. If you look at places where segregation was historically sanctioned, you'll see you're entirely right: it's economically irrational. That didn't stop people from doing it.

Comment: Re:a question - Right now (Score 1) 1029

I am required by the government, over penalty of a large fine to do business with corrupt insurance companies. I MUST purchase their product, that provides me nothing that I can't provide on my own. I like how now we equate having insurance with having access to health care. Currently I pay about 10,000 dollars a year for insurance that provides me about 5000 dollars in services a year. What could I do with that additional 5,000 dollars a year for the next 10-15 years that I am running a surplus to create a saving account that I can pay for services when I am older and running a deficit.

To make it more plain. On average the country pays more to insurance companies that they are provided in medical services... otherwise the insurance companies would go out of business.

So, yes currently the government compels me to do business with a company that I don't want to

Comment: Re:Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 1) 199

It's certainly not a 'hoax'. Coal contains (to varying degrees) all of these pollutants.

Coal plants do often have filters these days, but always:

the emissions are significant, and not everything gets filtered out.

Also the filtering is expensive and the carbon dioxide that coal emits is becoming a *massive* problem. Although carbon capture has been trialled, it makes coal non competitive with other technologies.

Comment: Re:Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 1) 199

I can't speak to the chemical plants near you but with nuclear power, you always have incredibly dirty radioactive materials inside a container, with lots of complex plumbing leading into it, and under worst case conditions that stuff can potentially always get into the air and water and get spread far and wide.

Although in principle we could make it never fail over the lifetime of human beings, in practice, we as a species, don't know how to do that, and the proliferative effects of nuclear power and their association with nuclear bombs cannot be underestimated either.

To make nuclear power completely safe, is like trying to make water not wet. It's built into the nature of what we are doing with the materials, for utility-scale nuclear power they are always on the edge of melting down.

Because of these inherent properties it's also never been cheap; the extensive containment and safety you need to engage in, seriously impairs the economics and what you have to do to get around that problem, renders it an inflexible source of power. You have to run it essentially flat out to get the kWh price down to reasonable figures. The most successful systems (like in France) have hydroelectricity or other additional flexible supplies to balance out the power. But if you have that anyway, then overall, technologies like wind power are now usually cheaper and incredibly less risky and easier to install, and compared to nuclear power which is a more mature technology, still getting significantly cheaper over time.

Throwing money at such inherently risky technology like nuclear power to try to make it less risky is not a wise investment right now, and all the signs are that it is only getting less wise with time, other technologies are rapidly rendering it moot.

Comment: Fukushima and Chernobyl not worse case failures (Score 3, Insightful) 199

In Japan, they found at one point that there was a possibility of it *seriously* going to hell in a hand basket.

If the wind had been really wrong, it would have put serious fallout over Tokyo; which would have been really, really, really bad. While few people would have died, the economic disruption would have been (without any hyperbole) unbelievably stupendous.

You can tell me all you want that this kind of accident can never happen, but I just don't believe it. We have no reason to think that Chernobyl or Fukushima were the worse cases, nor that these kinds of failures cannot happen again worse.

Comment: A social scientist translating for them (Score 2, Informative) 408

by aussersterne (#49366895) Attached to: Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient

What they're trying to say, using the usual feminist sociology over-loquatiousness is:

For some on the planet, keeping it under 2 degrees will preserve a relatively familiar or at least acceptable quality of life.

For others on the planet, quality of life can only be preserved by keeping it under, say 1.5 degrees, or even one degree.

The first group (that can live with a higher threshold) are those in the upper portions of the global economic scale, and it's an acceptable rise for them because they can also afford technologies and tools (getting crude, say, air conditioners, new home materials, new kinds of agricultural output, etc.) that make a 2 degree rise tolerable.

The second group (that can't live at the 2 degree threshold, and really need a lower one) are going to tend to be in the lower portions of the global economic scale, who won't have access to the technologies and tools that make a 2 degree rise livable for those at the top of the scale.

Policymakers and scientists tend, by virtue of their privileged position, to be in the first group, and have thus set the 2 degree rise in connection with thinking of their own, best-case lifestyles, rather than—say—a member of one of the globe's largely impoverished equatorial populations without access to much in the way of resources, tools, or technologies already.

It's a good point: the effects are not uniform, and if 2 degrees is the upper bound for the people who are the globe's *most* comfortable, then it's probably a bad upper bound in general, because it will "cook" (even more than already occurs) those that are the *least* comfortable.

It was, however, bad language and clarity—which is a sin that social science commits far too often.

Their point is well taken:

Committees have become so important nowadays that subcommittees have to be appointed to do the work.