Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 307

I do occasionally see web ads - hard to escape that without turning off JS entirely (though /. lets me disable them) - but I'd hardly count that as using a Google product. I don't listen to commercial radio; good public radio where I live, and I mostly listen to audiobooks anyhow. I don't have cable, haven't for 20 years. Netflix is fine for keeping something on my TV. I certainly don't watch any broadcast news, where my choices are the propaganda arm of the Democratic party, or Fox. No thanks. I seriously dislike commercials, as you may have gathered.

The one place Google still gets me from time to time is YouTube. I wish there was a better alternative there, but there's educational content on YouTube that just doesn't exists anywhere else. Fortunately the interstitial ads are pretty rare for the non-pop-culture stuff (and I'm sure I could block those too, if I got more active about it).

Comment Re:It's not what Google wants.... (Score 1) 307

I don't use Google products, because fuck being the product. I went elsewhere. Most people simply aren't aware of what Google does, just as most people think they're the customers for commercial TV.

Google still makes almost all of their money selling ad impressions. You are product. (Facebook too, of course.)

Comment So Quantum Computing is real now? (Score 4, Interesting) 83

This step forward makes "quantum computing" real to me. Up till now, it's all been so experimental that it was divorced from engineering, and for me the target of much skepticism. Now that it's being done in silicon, however, it's on its way to being a product. Finally we might get past the hype and see what can actually be delivered!

Comment Re:As a Canadian (Score 2) 55

This work was huge, because it showed that neutrinos move slower than light. The "flip" was an inspired solution to the missing neutrino problem, as it required a string of assumptions that moved away from the "consensus": that neutrinos move slower than light, that they can "spontaneously" change flavor, and do so frequently, which meant assuming that there was some mechanism to allow the flip without the neutrinos interacting with something. Really quite a reach theoretically, but fully justified by the data.

This is common for the great physics breakthroughs: the evidence that the current model is wring is obvious, often for years, before someone has the inspiration of just how to accommodate the new data cleanly - often by moving far indeed from the current model. This wasn't relativity or QM, but it was still an impressive leap.

Comment Re:Issue is more complicated (Score 1) 856

"Your code is a piece of shit" is a perfectly apt comment. If the code is a steaming pile, it's a steaming pile, and you can't polish a turd. But you shouldn't take that as a personal attack - you are not your code. Especially outside the Open Source world, we're often rushed to produce code to some arbitrary deadline, and it's often crap code as a result. Acknowledging that straight-away "yup, it's total crap, I hope to be allowed the time to do it right" is very effective, and might actually get you that time!

The personal attack, beyond the code, that's different. But I've seen that from people I respect when someone has a pattern of writing bad code, and just can't seem to learn. That's the thing about this industry: the compiler gives 0 fucks about your feelings. Customer support gives 0 fucks about your feelings. The guys stuck maintaining your code years from now give 0 fucks about your feelings. Fuck your feelings. Learn to write good code when given the time to do so, and learn to mark crappy hacks as such with comments when you're rushed by management, so others can see right off that the code isn't supposed to make sense, but is instead a hack job that should be replace at the earliest opportunity.

And if you think any of that is harsh and uncaring, try being an artist sometime. You have no idea.

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 174

Meh, we found so many holes in the Law of Conversation of Energy 100 years or so ago, we had to completely redefine it to include "mass" as a kind of energy. I bet we do that again, one day - broaden the definition to maintain something being conserved. (Also, did you know there is no conservation of energy in General Relativity? Strange but true.)

More fun: an act of divine intervention could conserve energy; it would just require a statistically unlikely sequence of events. Plenty of energy coming from the Sun to power all sorts of wild effects, and the Sun itself is a chaotic system that sometimes bursts energy in amazing ways.

Comment Re:Issue is more complicated (Score 3, Insightful) 856

To quote Linus about "professional"

Because if you want me to 'act professional,' I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.

Comment Re: RISK vs CHANCE (Score 1) 174

Odds are zero as there is no proof or reason to think that there is a god. Asteroids? Yes we have proof of those.

We had no proof or reason to think that there was dark matter, until a few decades ago. Turns out it's most of the matter in the universe. Funny how things turn out. That's the point of Pascal's wager after all: even if the odds are "nearly 0 - as sure as we can really be of anything that it's 0", when you multiply that by infinity you still get infinity.

The flaw in Pascal's wager is more subtle than that - think a bit more about it.

Comment Re:Socalim is organized psychopathy (Score 1) 394

But everyone should not be treated equally in the eyes of the law - the guilty should be treated differently than the innocent - that's rather the point, after all. There are many totally impartial and unbiased systems one could contrive (like flipping a coin) that would in no way serve justice, but would be perfectly fair.

And justice is hardly the ideal goal anyhow. The ideal goal is to do the right thing. Hard to get much agreement on what that is, of course, but for particularly egregious mismatches between the law and the Good we have jury nullification, for example.

Comment Re:Socalim is organized psychopathy (Score 1) 394

Good luck with your Utopia where no one does productive work (but everyone has jobs). Why you'd make people do needless busywork instead of just giving them money is unclear, but hey, it's your Utopia. I'm sure it will work out as well all all the other Utopias man has tried.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Comment Re:RISK vs CHANCE (Score 3, Interesting) 174

Divine intervention is not a legal worry, as there is no god

You seem very sure of yourself, but what if He's just hiding? Sure, the odds of that seem small - quite small. But are they higher or lower than the chance of an asteroid strike? Even if the odds are "infinitesimal" we're multiplying by infinity here, right? Ahh, Pascal's wager - everything old is new again.

Comment Re:Socalim is organized psychopathy (Score 1) 394

More than half of Americans own stock, directly or indirectly. It was up to 2/3s before the 08 crash. I fully encourage others to invest as I have, to take ownership of the means of production (I've lived on half my take-home pay for nearly 20 years now, and it definitely adds up).

However, keep in mind that one equal portion of all the publicly traded stock in the US is only about the same as a year's median wage, and the earnings on that are only about 5%. That's not going to make a real difference.

Comment Re:Socalim is organized psychopathy (Score 1) 394

The topic is the US, friend. Yes, East Elbonia sucks, but then those jobs are often the best available in-country, so there's no easy answers there.

In a properly free market, do you really think the most odious jobs would fetch the lowest pay?

Supply and demand, friend, supply and demand. Jobs that few people can do will pay more than jobs anyone can do, even if they'd only do it as a last resort. (Truly odious jobs do command a premium, of course, but only relative to similar, less-odious work).

Labor will capture it's fair share when unemployment is actually 0%. That is, everyone who needs or wants a job has one

You don't deserve a job as a reward for breathing. You must contribute something that others in society want or need enough to pay for. If you have no skills that enable you to do that (and that's a moving target, as automation progresses), you shouldn't expect a job. You could reasonably expect help with the cost of training, however, and the US is in this weird place where we encourage people who need vocational training to instead go to college and get no job skills and $50k in debt. That's certainly a serious issue we need to fix.

"Don't tell me I'm burning the candle at both ends -- tell me where to get more wax!!"