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Government

+ - Brennan Sworn Using Copy of Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights->

Submitted by Jeremiah Cornelius
Jeremiah Cornelius (137) writes "The White House ceremony confirming and swearing John Brennan as the new Director for the CIA contained rich and bitter symbolism. By his own selection, Brennan chose to swear his oath on a manuscript copy of the U.S. Constitution, drawn from the George Washington presidential archive. "Director Brennan told the president that he made the request to the archives because he wanted to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA,” The fly in the ointment is that this copy of the Constitution, with Washington's handwritten marginalia, pre-dates including the protections from the Bill of Rights, required by states to ratify the document as foundation law for the nation. Given the recent record of CIA activity in the last two administrations, is possible another intention is being heralded?"
Link to Original Source

+ - How Many Time Standards ARE There?

Submitted by jjoelc
jjoelc (1589361) writes "Being one of those "suffering" through the time change last night, the optimist in me reminded me that it could be much worse. That's when I started wondering how many different time/date standards there really are. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_standard is a good starting point, but is sorely lacking in the various formats used by e.g. Unix, Windows, TRS-80, etc. And that is without even getting into the various calendars that have been in and out of use throughout the ages.
So how about it Slashdotters? How many different time/date "standards" can we come up with, and I'm betting there are more than a few horror stories of having to translate between them..."

+ - 1973 Pre-Publication Manuscript of Dungeons & Dragons?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "There's an interesting debate going on over at The Acaeum (http://www.acaeum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12980) concerning the possible discovery of a pre-publication manuscript of Dungeons & Dragons. While the first published D&D set was released in 1974, D&D's primary author (Gary Gygax) has stated that several "prototype" versions were distributed for playtesting to friends and associates in 1972-1973. Could this recent find be one of those manuscripts?

The herald of this discovery is Jon Peterson, the author of "Playing At the World" (a well-received history on role-playing gaming). Peterson's credentials, industry contacts, and thorough scholarship lend heavy weight to the argument that this is indeed a D&D manuscript. On the other side of the fulcrum are several other major D&D collectors, who contend that — besides the problem that Gygax himself denied writing it! — the manuscript is too professionally-produced to be the sought-after prototype.

Like many similar debates on historical events, the truth may never be known. But for those interested in the origins of one of the cornerstones of modern games, the pursuit is fascinating."

Link to Original Source
Science

+ - Evolution is Reversible, New Study Shows

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "In evolutionary biology, there is a deeply rooted hypothesis called Dollo's law that evolution is unidirectional and irreversible and that once an organism has evolved specialized traits, it can't return to the lifestyle of its ancestors. According to this hypothesis a structure or organ that has been lost or discarded through the process of evolution will not reappear in exactly the same form in that line of organisms. Now Science Daily News reports that researchers have used a large-scale genetic study of the lowly house dust mite to uncover an example of reversible evolution that appears to violate Dollo's law. The study shows that tiny free-living house dust mites evolved from parasites, which in turn evolved from free-living organisms millions of years ago. "All our analyses conclusively demonstrated that house dust mites have abandoned a parasitic lifestyle, secondarily becoming free-living, and then speciated in several habitats, including human habitations," say Pavel Klimov and Barry OConnor of the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The project used large-scale DNA sequencing, the construction of detailed evolutionary trees called phylogenies, and sophisticated statistical analyses to test the hypotheses about the ancestral ecology of house dust mites. The result was so surprising largely because it runs counter to the entrenched idea that highly specialized parasites cannot return to the free-living lifestyle of their ancestors. "Parasites can quickly evolve highly sophisticated mechanisms for host exploitation and can lose their ability to function away from the host body," says Klimov. "They often experience degradation or loss of many genes because their functions are no longer required in a rich environment where hosts provide both living space and nutrients. Many researchers in the field perceive such specialization as evolutionarily irreversible.""

Comment: LANSweeper?... (Score 1) 165

by jjoelc (#40585837) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Documenting a Tangle of Network Devices?

http://www.lansweeper.com/
Doesn't answer the offline part, and it doesn't do any kind of graphical layout (you didnt really specify graphical, though....)

Otherwise, I love this. Enough to actually, you know... Pay for it! Lol. The free version doesn't do push scanning (just run a small script as part of the computer startup or login routine, instead) and doesn't give one click access to some of the tools. You probably already have most of those tools available otherwise, though, VNC or other remote desktop, remote management, etc...

The server runs on SQL, has a nice web interface, can tie in with AD, gather event logging events, has tons of reports available out of the box, with the ability to build custom reports and a community that is glad to help if you aren't an SQL guru... Being SQL, exports and imports are pretty easy in whatever format you need...

Comment: Not the author here... (Score 3, Insightful) 198

by jjoelc (#39976699) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Open Source Multi-User Password Management?

I'm not the author, but am also watching this thread for answers...

I'd love to find something truly multi-user... Multi user in the sense that not every user would have access to all of the passwords stored in the database. Where I could set up groups and which passwords were available to a user would depend on the group they were a part of. For example, I might not mind all employees being able to look up the keys for the wireless network, but only those in the IT department having access to the admin logins for the wireless router... There are many many other examples, but hopefully you understand the gist...

Any suggestions?

Comment: Re:does it surprise you? (Score 1) 541

by jjoelc (#39923069) Attached to: Universities Hold Transcripts Hostage Over Loans

The correct car analogy...

Bank, car loan, new car... Etc...

This is NOT like the bank repossessing your car when you fall behind on payments... This is like the bank "asking" the dealership not to perform any maintenance or warranty work on your car until you are no longer in default on your loan....

Comment: Somewhere in between... (Score 1) 72

by jjoelc (#39465941) Attached to: Animating From Markup Code To Rendered Result

I started to post this in reply to "what's the point"... Or maybe in reply to "I don't think so"... But... The answer is somewhere between the two comments, I think.

This tool would be amazingly useful somewhere in between the "casual" cases where WYSISYG is most prevalent and needed (for those that either don't know the markup, or for whatever reason don't care enough to bother learning it) and those that are masters of the markup. For those that are in the process of learning the code, in other words.

For those who have just discovered that they will be using a markup often enough to run into the limitations of WYSIWYG editing, but are just entering the world of the markup code underlying it. An obvious example already mentioned is Wikipedia (or any other wiki). Another great place would be for students just learning Latex.

This method, aside from must looking pretty, does a good job of letting you easily see what parts of the code translate into what parts of the screen.

Comment: Re:Large Deployments (Score 5, Interesting) 180

by jjoelc (#38930295) Attached to: LibreOffice Developer Community Increasingly Robust

Wile I don't fit into that large deployment category, I do what I can to promote LibreOffice. We have roughly 100 desktops, and the reality is that well over half of them have no use for MS office in any real capacity. I. deploy LibreOffice to every workstation mainly to make sure everyone has at least that baseline functionality. I store all of my documentation and send out all of my memos etc in an open document format. even if very few people regualrly use LibreOffice to do anything more than read the stuff I send them or open the occasional word document attachment... At least they have been exposed to it, and I have actually had a few people ask me about it when they buy new computers, and see the price of MS Office. It's not much, admittedly, but it works. I'm not pushy about it, I don't evangelize... But they all get some exposure to it, and at least know that there are options when they are personally in the position to make that choice.

Microsoft

+ - Microsoft Announces New Filesystem For Windows 8-> 1

Submitted by bonch
bonch (38532) writes "Microsoft has shared details about its new filesystem called ReFS, which stands for Resilient File System. Codenamed 'Protogon', ReFS will first appear as the storage system for Windows Server and later be offered to Windows clients. Microsoft plans to deprecate lesser-used NTFS features while maintaining 'a high degree of compatibility' for most uses. NTFS has been criticized in the past for its inelegant architecture."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Protecting rights (Score 1) 517

by jjoelc (#38701982) Attached to: White House Responds To SOPA, PIPA, and OPEN

I'm late to the party, but here's my two cents worth anyway...

I LOVE the idea of content creators getting paid for their creations (assuming they want monetary compensation, of course. Money isn't the only way a person can feel properly compensated for their efforts. But given what this discussion is about, I'll set that aside for now...) I can even agree that distributors and marketers ave a right to be paid for their efforts as well... Distributors should absolutely not be able to require the signing over of the creator's copyright for the privilege of having it distributed. Corporations should not be allowed to "own" copyright. The individuals working for the corporation can, but not "the Company".

At the simplest level, it is humans who are doing the creating. Copyright should be specifically tied to those humans doing the creating. In other words, copyright is a HUMAN RIGHT, and it should not be made available for sale to the highest bidder. Even if I wanted to sell myself into slavery, it is illegal for me to do so, and illegal for anyone to "buy" me also. Copyright should be absolutely non-transferrable.

I would be willing to bend so far as granting copyright for the lifetime of the creator, with some minimum time frame also. So for example, copyright would last 5 years, or the lifetime of the artist, whichever is longer. (If I publish a book on Tuesday, and die on Friday, certainly my direct heirs deserve some chance to "inherit" the returns from my work. Not forever, but certainly for some reasonable amount of time...)

This all works out wonderfully for those things that are produced by individuals or small groups (books, music...) and fall apart pretty quickly with e.g. movies, where there are hundreds of people actively involved in the creation process. The simplest way to work this out is to grant each person involved a percentage of the copyright. Does the carpenter really deserve a piece of the copyright fro a movie set he helped build? Well, sure... Why wouldn't he? Does he deserve the same percentage as the screenwriter, or the director? I don't think anyone would argue he does, no. Individuals of course can still decide to offer their services for a flat fee or form of compensation other than a percentage of the copyright, but the default should be $X per hour PLUS X% of copyright... And since copyright is not transferable, the collective work becomes public domain when the last person owning a piece of the copyright dies.

So lets take movie as an example. And to make the numbers really simple, lets say that there are 100 people, each with equal shares... (I know, it would never happen that way in the real world, but this isn't it!) Copyright is not transferable, remember, so 20 years later, when all but one of the owners have died, it does NOT mean that one person owns 100% of the movie, or is entitled to all of any profits still coming in. They still only own 1%, and only get revenues from that 1%. What happens to the other revenues? I'd suggest placing those revenues into "the public domain", or as close to it as we can. Those proceeds could for example be used to fund education, or public libraries, or community theater, or any one of hundreds of other places that promote and foster the creative process.

A system like this would allow the real creators of a work to be fairly compensated for those efforts, would set a limit on copyright that I think most people would find reasonable, and would foster the continued expansion of the creative arts.

Not quite ready for the lawbooks, I know.. but that's where MY head is, at least.

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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