Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:You forgot something... (Score 1) 258

by minstrelmike (#48647761) Attached to: Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down

I didn't realize that 11.3% of the US workforce hardly exists.

A lot of people don't realize that. Have you heard about the Ferguson protests? Blacks make up 13% of the US population yet they are treated as an insignificant minority. In America the Black population doesn't count for that much and it is larger than the population of union workers. Draw your own conclusions or analogies using this additional point of view.

Comment: Re:One of these things is not like the other. (Score 1) 120

by minstrelmike (#48641501) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

It's interesting, the asker asks for information about making games and the posters almost universally reply with information about making code. You guys do know these are two completely different activities? (And that computer games are only a small slice of the total gaming universe?)

He asked about game-making on a computer-oriented site. Sorry if we offended you by focusing on the computer aspect only (did you actually read any of the posts about design with cardboard and the usefulness of Dungeons and Dragons?).

Comment: Re:It isn't what you think it is. (Score 1) 120

by minstrelmike (#48641479) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Resources For Kids Who Want To Make Games?

Most people want to write software, or play the guitar, or build a house.

That is, until they see it requires years of learning and practice to do it well.

That's only half of the story.
Creative or energetic or curious people try lots of things and stick with what turns them on.
Most of the people who take up guitar or any other hobby whatsoever don't stick with it. So what?
Try it and stick with the one(s) that keep your interest over time.

For the OP, the posts on game design with cardboard and rules are accurate but if the kid ain't into them, then they are useless. I'd suggest it along with one of the game dev packages (Unity3d is my pref) and see what sticks. When my son was 11, he and a friend filled several notebooks with rules for an open world game they were going to write. It was far too big for them (but I didn't say that to them). The exercise was excellent, they loved doing it, and they're the ones who eventually figured out just how complicated it all is.
Now my son is in college and just released his first game on the iApp store. It's got a single mechanic, touch the screen or release it.

Comment: Re:Boy who cried wolf (Score 3, Informative) 163

by minstrelmike (#48530857) Attached to: New Virus Means Deadlier Flu Season Is Possible

It's not that the reports are "alarmist". It's (1) you're not understanding the actual risk, and (2) you're pretending that the reports are predicting the end of the world.

Yup. that applies to most of the comments.
Viruses mutate and flus occur regularly. Occasionally, one is deadly.
To get in front of evolution and have 50 million vaccines ready for distribution, you need to make educated guesses.
This year we guessed wrong. That's the gist of the article.

Comment: Re:Let's do the math (Score 1) 307

by minstrelmike (#48453503) Attached to: Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies
There appears to be an infinity of possible things that could happen evolutionarily.
But if you look merely at the number of stars in the entire universe, approximately 300 billion billion, that's essentially 10 to the 20th power. That means in order for life to be unique in the universe, all we need are 20 one out of ten possibilities in a row.

Comment: Re:Device is not relevant but OS version is. (Score 2) 52

by minstrelmike (#48379869) Attached to: Popular Smartphones Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own 2014

If the hack results in a jailbreak, I'm sure there will be a patch or a workaround on Cydia. I remember this happening with a SSL issue a few years ago.

Absolutely true. If the hack causes users to trash their old phone and buy a new one, well there's an incentive for the company to NOT fix the hack.
OTOH, if the hack causes jailbreaking and the carrier loses money, now we're talking about terrorists trying to destroy the entire capitalist system.
Incentives are very powerful.

Comment: Re:BlackBerry Z30 (Score 1) 52

by minstrelmike (#48379837) Attached to: Popular Smartphones Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own 2014

Every carrier (this wasn't about the phone but the network) in India provides a back door to the Indian government.

Lucky for all of us in America that we have the Department of Homeland Security "protecting" our private data.
(That's called sarcasm for those of you who are poorly socialized.)

Comment: Re:Falsifiability (Score 1) 282

by minstrelmike (#48229795) Attached to: High Speed Evolution

I'd really like to see a falsifiable rendering of "evolution". It would make discussion so much easier.

That must be the basic problem with physics too. The universe we live in is NOT falsifiable; therefore physics can never come up with a valid scientific theory that us internally consistent and also completely covers everything.

Is that the philosophy of science in a nutshell? Enquiring minds want to know ;-)

Comment: Re:20 generations (Score 5, Informative) 282

by minstrelmike (#48229761) Attached to: High Speed Evolution
The average height of post-war (WWII) Japanese was 2 inches taller than the previous generation. and that was due merely to the better availability of food--an environmental factor--but probably not anything to do with evolution per se.

As stated in another post, if you kill off the shortest 1/3 of the population, the average height immediately goes up.
Similarly, if the small-footed lizards drop off the trees and can't find enough food, the average foot-size immediately increases in the population independent of evolution occurring. Evolution is 2-step process. The environmental advantage or disadvantage occurs during the individual lives of each member of the species. The passing of genes to the next generation is a separate process that still reshuffles the genes via sex relentlessly regardless of environment. That's what makes it hard to determine when evolution via genes is occurring vs purely environmental factors winnowing a current population. The new population of lizards still produces some amount of small-footed ones due to sexual mixing of genes--and if the environment changes to reward smaller feet, the population will again change quickly.

Comment: Re:This is silly (Score 1) 720

It may be good for the economy. It may not be so good for the people who can no longer support themselves because they just lost their minimum wage job to a robot. It may not be good for the people who then get mugged by said hungry person either.

Actually, if it's bad for the workers on the bottom, then it will be bad for the economy over the long run.
Economics is civilization's circulatory system and when money stops circulating because it gets trapped at the top, the economy stops working. /*Money never gets trapped at the bottom */
Quote from the FED: You can't push a string.
No matter how low you push interest rates, it ain't worth borrowing to build a factory if DEMAND--the key to all economics--does not exist or cannot exist because the bottom-most folks have no money. Using taxes to rebuild our roads, bridges and aging water treatment systems would kickstart demand again (by hiring mid-level and low-level construction workers throughout America) but the rich folks think it's "my" money when it's really "our" economy.

Ayn Rand wrote fiction. Reset her "heroes" in Somalia or The Congo or some place without a strong central government and you can quickly see the benefits of a government that provides roads, infrastructure, and enforces contracts.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by minstrelmike (#48154621) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker
I think the Texas hospital caused the infection _because_ we used First World thinking.
1. They did NOT spray the hazmat clothing down with bleach before taking it off--something they do in Africa
2. They suspect the nurses became infected performing intubation or dialysis, neither of which are done for patients in Africa.

Everything, even advanced medical technology, comes with pros and cons, benefits AND costs.

Comment: Re:Just tell me (Score 1) 463

by minstrelmike (#48154519) Attached to: Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker
Last I read, they are suspecting the nurse(s) got infected performing dialysis and intubation, neither of which are ever done for Ebola patients in Africa. There's a lot more possible exposure while doing stuff like that. And it may have been a simple unprotected neck or perhaps an error when taking the infection protection stuff off.

Comment: Re:Take the money and run (Score 4, Insightful) 54

The lawyers have the same disincentive for getting the best price that a Realtor does.
As soon as a Realtor has _any_ reasonable offer for your $300,000 house, even if it is 30K less than what you want, the Realtor is looking at a decent 6% commission. S/he isn't too concerned with trying to get 6% of an additional $10-$30,000 AT THE RISK of losing 6% of the $270,000 already in hand. S/he'll honestly tell you it's a good deal because for her, it is a good deal.
For you, maybe not so much.

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.