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Comment Re:Back to the future.. (Score 2) 369

The Earth has feedback mechanisms to keep things cozy.

Yeah but these feedback mechanisms have serious consequences as well.

The oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic because they are absorbing some of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere.

The warmer oceans are causing some species to die off

And we don't know what all of these feedback mechanisms are going to be and what their consequences are going to be either. But if we start having mass die-offs of phytoplankton, most animals will die off including us.

Earth's feedback mechanisms, are made to cope with temperature change over tens of thousands of years, not in a century or two. So either we can change now to help stabilize this change before it gets really bad or we can just sit back and watch it happen and continually adapt to all of the changes, while we kill off a lot of different species and alter the planet completely.

Comment Re:In line with current US thinking (Score 3, Informative) 190

"Constitutional rights? Bah! Who needs 'em!" seems to be the watchword of the new millenium.

//unless they're gun rights, of course. The gun nuts get everything they want.

I thought this was illegal at first. But a little research says that this is perfectly legal. If a prisoner wants to have an unrecorded conversation with his/her lawyer they can do that in person.

Comment Re:Thermometer accuracy (Score 4, Informative) 735

If mercury itself can be made that accurate and we did it over 100 years ago, I tend to struggle why in the hell we would use anything else today.

Mercury thermometers could break occasionally. Mercury_poisoning

And Mercury is not an abundant element to find especially because it is liquid at room temperature.

Comment Re:And what if we were just colder 160 years ago (Score 1) 735

The freezing point of pure water is 0 degrees Celsius. The freezing point of salt water is -2 degrees Celsius.

Why is this important information? Because as the Antarctic Sea Ice melts it dumps water into the ocean, which lowers the salinity of that water and raises the temperature at which the water can freeze. Which creates a larger area of ice.

Comment Re:Venus (Score 1) 120

(They mention this in the video but it still seems important to state) Venus is much more inhabitable than Mars is. The biggest issue at the moment is the fact that Venus's surface temperature is above 450 C. We currently know how to make a planet warmer over time, but we don't know how to make a planet that much cooler for multiple reasons. Partially because of the fact that with a sulfuric atmosphere and that temperature it becomes very difficult to even get any machines there for colonization.

Also no visible light reaches the surface due to its thick atmosphere. And one final note about Venus, its rotation is so slow it takes 243 days for it to complete one rotation. Therefore a year on Venus is shorter than a day on Venus.

In other words it would take a lot better technology to colonize Venus that it would take to colonize Mars. We could begin on Mars mostly with current technology, a few things would probably need to be improved first, but that could be done in the next decade or so.

But in order to build a colony on Venus we would need to invent the technology to keep the colony off of the surface. And this technology is not easy to test here on earth, because we would need to duplicate Venus conditions and NASA likes to test the crap out of its technology before sending it. While I understand that it is a shorter trip, and it has better gravity. I don't think it would be easier or cheaper at this time.

In the long run a colony should definitely be looked at on Venus, partially because it could teach humans how to terraform planets which would definitely be helpful in the long run. But when we talk about colonizing other planets Mars makes the most since at this time with current technology.

Comment Re:Swarm, not sphere. (Score 0) 339

If it was a Dyson Sphere, we wouldn't be seeing any light at all from it.

Most things need some sunlight to survive. So why would you block out all of the sun's light? Unless you are in a different solar system, but then you run into the issue of needing to transfer the power great distances.

I guess this would only work if you setup a solar system to be mined with robots or maybe to create a wormhole. Otherwise you would need some light to get through.

Comment Re:Not the total cost! (Score 1) 421

If you want to include those numbers, make sure to do it over the long term. This is the first thing that I have seen that actually talks about power generation over the long term.

Wind and solar have minuscule costs over the long term (just maintenance on the machines and lines). However, for fossil fuels there is the constant cost of getting the fossil fuels and bringing them to the plant. Yes wind and solar have more of a startup cost, because of the amount of machines required to generate the same amount of energy, but over the long term they should be cheaper.

Comment Re:Saw it last night in 3D (Score 5, Interesting) 242

I read an interview with Weir that says that the Windstorm on Mars is the one thing that couldn't have happened as it did in the book. But it was necessary to strand Watney.

The other thing that is mentioned is the radioactive heater (OK it was a power source, but it is only used for the heat it gives off) that Watney retrieves. At the moment it is possible, just not surviving being close to it, but this could change in the near future. The book is set around 2030, so this one could be possible by then.

Comment Re:Gun-free zone? (Score 1) 1165

There are two sites I would like to point out as well.

A map view of every mass killing (4 or more people) in the US since 2006. By the way 218 of the 290 listed here were done using a gun.

Also a list of homicides per country, (yes I know not every homicide is committed with a gun, but it is still pretty telling). I suggest sorting it via Rate which is homicides per 100,00 people.

Both of these sites tell me that the US has a problem with gun violence. Now as to whether the solution is to get better mental health treatment, limit gun sales, limit types of guns that are sold, or anything else, I am not sure. But like most problems today there is not a simple solution, and anyone who says that this will be solved with one thing (whether it is more guns or no guns) doesn't understand reality.

But in the US we can't continue to ignore this, because it is going to keep happening until we do something about it. I just wish we had a government that would attempt to do something about this.

Comment Test Mode? (Score 1) 569

First let me admit, that I have no understanding of the amount of code in these cars and especially the amount of code in the fuel pumps and engine.

But as a software engineer, I have setup many test modes. And I have done this many times previously to setup a test mode that provides the correct results, then tried to construct code to achieve the desired results.

So my question here is: Could the person who wrote this code originally, have been writing code for the desired operation that got included later, without their knowledge?

Don't get me wrong the person who wrote the bit of code to detect the situation the car was in to get it to run in this mode is definitely wrong and those who made the decision to add this in are in the wrong. But the original code, might not have been written with malicious intent.

Comment Office Space (Score 1) 266

or else becoming intermediaries who translate the customer's product requirements into engineering solutions

So they take the specifications from the customers and take them down to the engineers?

I believe these will be the first people to be laid off. Hopefully they have some kind of great idea like a jump-to-conclusions mat.

Submission + - Software Is Hiring, but Manufacturing Is Bleeding (

Nerval's Lobster writes: Which tech segment added the most jobs in August? According to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech consulting gained 7,000 positions in August, (Dice link) below July’s gains of 11,100, but enough to set it ahead of data processing, hosting, and related services (which added 1,600 jobs) and computer and electronic-product manufacturing (which lost 1,800 jobs). The latest numbers reflect some longtime trends: The rise of cloud services and infrastructure has contributed to slackening demand for PCs and other hardware, eroding manufacturing jobs. At the same time, increased appetite for everything from Web developers to information-systems managers has kept employers adding positions in other technology segments. If that didn't make things difficult enough for manufacturing folks, the rise of automation has cut down on the number of manufacturing jobs available worldwide, contributing to continuing pressure on the segment as a whole, despite all the noise about bringing those jobs back to the U.S.

Comment Re:LOL - there is no such thing as 'vaccination'.. (Score 1) 118

Ebola is not an airborne virus. Therefore if you detect it early enough in the first people you can vaccinate those around them.

And if you read about Ebola's normal course, it would normally take about a week for things to get very bad for patients (bleeding and diarrhea ). Yes, the vaccine might not work and 2,000 some people may have gotten lucky, or it could work for 90% of them and 200 of them got lucky. This does seem like a promising step forward, if people can put aside their disbelief and cynicism, but then again this is slashdot.

Comment Re:Convenient (Score 2) 118

Really... is it that convenient or is it because cancer is caused by cell mutations and every cancer and victim has a slightly different mutation. And some people have been surviving Ebola, which means their bodies have created antibodies.

Cancer will probably take more than 100 years after this point to completely wipe out. With medicine these days we will probably see better treatments for it and more people will survive over time, but cancer will not be wiped out any time soon.

"I've finally learned what `upward compatible' means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes." -- Dennie van Tassel