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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: Re:visibility doesnt matter. (Score 1) 241

by mcswell (#49117063) Attached to: Al-Shabaab Video Threat Means Heightened Security at Mall of America

I suppose that's why the DHS later said there was no credible threat (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/22/us-usa-security-mall-idUSKBN0LQ0IY20150222). Granted, that contradicts what they said the day before. But if the government really wanted to instill terror, they wouldn't turn around and say not to worry.

Comment: Re:And? (Score 1) 60

There is lots of work going on to "save" these languages, in various ways: recording oral and/or written texts, writing grammars and dictionaries, teaching children the languages in the classroom, translating learning materials into them, promoting literacy in these languages. Some efforts are more successful than others. Do a web search for "documenting endangered languages", or for the individual languages.

And if you want to look for other languages--many of them endangered--a good starting place is the Ethnologue (ethnologue.com).

Comment: Re:And... (Score 1) 60

833,000 people would disagree with you.

Ok, if you meant in the future...yes, you have a point. The real way to preserve a language is to preserve genuine human-written or -spoken texts, and preferably a grammar and a lexicon as well. Even better if the grammar is computer-processable. (Disclaimer: that's my job, albeit not for endangered languages.)

Comment: Re:The Poles did it first (Score 1) 194

by mcswell (#49116931) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

An early version of Enigma was broken that way; the one used by the German military during the war, and particularly the one used by the German Navy, was considerably more sophisticated. But more importantly, the real genius of Turing was realizing that not only could this problem could be mechanized--many other things which were considered to be pure thought, and therefore not mechanizable, were in fact mechanizable as well.

As for Rejewski, yes, it would be nice to have a movie of his life. If and when someone does that, we can debate whether your last statement--that his life would make the better movie--is true.

Comment: He was an Uncommon man (Score 1) 194

by mcswell (#49116911) Attached to: The Imitation Game Fails Test of Inspiring the Next Turings

"The message of the movie is that the uncommon man can do amazing things, but the message we need is that the common man, woman, anybody can and should tinker with the technology that manages our whole world." We could debate whether we need that message, but I don't see how you could get it from Turing's life without destroying the truth. He was an uncommon man, and he did amazing things. And he was not a tinkerer.

Comment: Re:SharePoint not so great. (Score 1) 343

by mcswell (#49076623) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Version Control For Non-Developers?

It doesn't protect against multiple check-outs? I'm pretty sure it does, in fact I couldn't check out a document on SP this last weekend because someone else had forgotten to check it back in. And because it prevents multiple check-outs, there is no possibility of collisions. (I'm not sure if there's mechanism on SP for breaking a lock, like there is on svn. I suppose there must be, I just don't know how it works.)

"Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit, Kill the Wabbit!" -- Looney Tunes, "What's Opera Doc?" (1957, Chuck Jones)