Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:I don't think... (Score 1) 411

The term "atheist" was applied to Christians in the Roman Empire, not because they didn't believe in any God, but because they objected to others' belief in gods that didn't coincide with their conception of divinity. They were opposed to one or more gods. In the modern era, where monotheism has become dominant in many parts of the world, the meaning has evolved, but the bit in "History of the World" where Mel Brooks made fun of the Jews only being able to afford one god was kind of accurate. For the most part, Romans were okay with whatever tribal or local gods people prayed too, as long as they also publicly supported the standard pantheon, by which they proved their respect for the culture and their participation in the Empire. Those who refused (Christians and Jews, primarily) were seen as subversive for not falling in line with the dominant tradition, similar to the way some people are currently painting Muslims in many parts of the world.

Comment They are well within their right, but . . . (Score 2) 328

my first thought is that this is evidence of a finance department coup meant to oust an ineffective marketing department.

Bad idea that shows no understanding of the marketplace in which they operate. I feel confident that there were better ways that they could have chosen to wind down a non-profitable service that would have had less of a negative impact on their overall corporate reputation.

Comment Re:Doctors are not that naive (Score 1) 305

Actually, there's quite a lot of information available both online, and in the inserts that come in the drug packaging. If more people had a general understanding of statistical terms and concepts, there wouldn't be as great a need for protecting them from the surface-level misrepresentations.

That said, I agree that people shouldn't have to suffer just because of the state of the educational system in this country at the time when they were coming through it.

If only we could just get the other AMA, the American Marketing Association, working on the side of good . . .

Comment ReI believe your comment is correct, :Who is evil? (Score 1) 515

For years people have made the claim, with a good deal of justification, that people did not have the patience to learn new software in order to switch to a new platform. More recently, though, people have been eased into the idea through their smartphones. People regularly try out multiple apps to access all manner of functionality, and don't think twice about it. I suspect that this attitude could be harnessed by the Linux community, particularly by using the ubiquity of Linux on smartphones to encourage people to install apps they are already familiar with onto a desktop running a free, secure OS that doesn't spy on them. It's not a movement at present, but it's much more doable than in years past. The environment and infrastructure for showing people that linux apps can be just as easy to use as Windows apps is finally in place.

Comment The problem has been compounded, though (Score 1) 444

For a study to be funded, it must be ground-breaking. For a study to break new ground, it must be non-obvious. For it to be non-obvious, it must be, to some degree, counter-intuitive. To be counter-intuitive,it must, to some degree, be illogical (at least from a standard perspective.)
Since scientists can improve their chance of getting funded if they are studying illogical things, there's likely going to be a strong bias toward studying things that aren't true . Some of these things will not b shown to be conclusively wrong, either due to poor design or willful negligence of proper methodology.Unfortunately, this does not get caught by the peer review process, because "peers"can exhibit the same behaviors as movie critics (you can always find one willing to make a positive comment just to see their name in print, or be able to add a line to their vita.)
Because of the proliferation of "journals" in the Internet era, there is a "news cycle" view within the scientific press now, where each publication is trying to be first to report new discoveries.
Preliminary studies that would never have been published in the past are presented in the same format that well-studied research streams were previously, so that the start-up journals can appear to have the same legitimacy as the leaders in the field.
The popular press, desperate for sensational headlines, jumps on these illogical theories with scant research and inconclusive results and treats them like news, simply to fill the requirement for 24-hour reporting.

Comment Re:You're not supposed to ask that (Score 3, Funny) 223

Given a choice between trusting my data to a hipster company motivated by profit, but convinced that it is a still a trendsetter, and a company whose entire business model is based on the collection and distribution of information that it collects by looking over people's shoulders, I actaually feel safer with the deluded hipsters. Even if they are no more trustworthy, their reach is not as great, so I'm willing to bet the fallout will be (marginally) easier to contain.

On some level, to Apple, I'm a customer. To Google, I'm just a product.

Comment I've worked in cubicle farms most of my career. (Score 3, Insightful) 420

Every manager I've questioned about the shortcomings of cubicles has said that it's good for intra-office communication and creative collaboration . . . before walking into their private office and shutting the door behind them. Even in an organization where they made a point that managers didn't have private offices (though, senior managers and executives, of course, still did) most of the managers camped out in the few small conference rooms where employees were supposed to be able to go for "spontaneous collaborative sessions."

I guess this meant that they realized that they have nothing to offer intellectually or creatively to the work of the office.

Comment Grandfather's perspective (Score 1) 286

My grandfather was a talented amateur artist and cartoonist. He had a cartoon hanging on his wall for as long as I remember that he had drawn when he was 65 that had a middle-aged man standing by a street sign that said "Easy St.", with a caption that read, "Old age is always ten years older than I am."

He lived on his own into his mid-90's, passing away at 97, so I like to think that that attitude may have some merit.

Comment Re: Yeah right (Score 1) 308

If their positions weren't protected by the FCC, they would be worried about competition. If they were worried about competition, they would be doing everything in their power to differentiate their service from any potential competitors by using their economies of scale to provide the fastest, cheapest service available. Competition inherently lowers the percentage of profits to very low levels. We can look to the first world countries that we used to be able to count ourselves amon and see the levels of service and pricing that would develop in a competitive market.

I can't believe the hubris of claiming this is a market driven policy. AT&T is bascially saying, "Capitalism, Capitalism, Capitalism . . . unless I lose my monopoly, in which case, Central planning, Central Planning, CENTRAL PLANNING!"

AT&T and Comcast are doing everything the can to prevent market pricing, and claiming that there's a market-based reason for it.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27