Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Its always been like this (Score 1) 228

Poverty is a huge driver of overpopulation. Poor people tend to have more kids to provide for them in their later years. Countries with prosperous economies that are broadly shared tend to have much lower birth rates than poorer countries. That's because raising new humans is a lot of work; if people don't feel like they need to do that, they won't. China, of course, is an exception due to their one-child policy.

And often combined with poor access to contraception, a patriarchy where you want sons to get married not daughters to marry away and a shoddy health care system which means not all your kids might grow up. Even when those things are no longer true it takes time for culture to change and in the meantime you get a huge population bump. That's why we've gone from 2 billion people in 1927 to 7+ billion and counting.

Comment Re:Smart! (Score 1) 183

IF there was an actual store that did that I would go in there once a week, fill my cart up, have the cashier ring me up, bag the groceries and then flip out and storm out when they refused to take the cash

And you could do that once. The second time you'll get banned from the store. The third time they call the cops on you for trespassing.

Comment Autonomous robots, guns and duct tape (Score 4, Interesting) 212

What's the difference between a search-and-rescue bot and a kill bot? The function is going to pretty much identical right up to the point the target is located, just duct tape a gun to point in same direction as the camera and wire the "person located" signal to pull the trigger. It's one thing to ban ABC weapons because they're very specific technologies, but this is way too generic to work. And it's not like the military is going to avoid developing it for intelligence gathering and decision support systems, even if you keep a human in the loop it's literally going to be one flip of the switch to full automatic where the computer's recommendations are implemented by itself.

The primary reason to keep soldiers in the loop today is because you're trying to fight a "good war" and avoid antagonizing the civilians so you want manual confirmation of each target, if you take the gloves off and say if you're found outside after curfew we'll shoot to kill and live with the collateral you could automate much more. And don't get up on the high horse, when the US nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki they knew there's be about 100-200k civilian casualties. In a real war nobody's going to give a fuck if the robots are just 99% or 95% right, if it can save our troops and civilians and end the war for sure we're going to let them fight for us.

Comment Re:Uh... let me think about it (Score 2) 571

Hate to break it to you guys, but the GPS will more reliably find you an optimum route than you can find yourself. That is because the GPS "knows" more than you do: current traffic conditions, road closures, etc. I know people pooh pooh GPS directions and say "I know a faster way" but they really don't 90% of the time.

Maybe your navigation system does, but GPS knows absolutely nothing. Unless your maps are up to date it doesn't even know where the road leads, much less how the current conditions are.

Comment Re:Tugging (Score 2) 291

I am not surprised that requests are not followed up on when a female calls for them, nor am I surprised that their responses are more often responded to when the gender is hidden/neutral. What I am surprised is that female pull requests are "larger and less likely to serve an immediate project need". Does this mean that female developers are concentrating on "big picture features" more often ?

Would that be so astonishing? We come from a hunter-gatherer society where those out hunting had to think on their feet and seize the opportunities where they presented themselves. Gathering is a lot more about planning and organization, those berries won't run away but you have to harvest when they're ripe. And the women were also taking care of the children, sick and elderly for the long term survival and passing on knowledge of the tribe. We've had many thousands years of selection pressure to that effect, there's no need to exaggerate the differences and it's not like one is always better than the other but statistically we are different.

Comment Re:Good ... (Score 1) 220

I'm suggesting if Google is driving, and the passengers are passengers, then why the hell would anybody pay for things like liability insurance for an AI?

Same reason I can lend my car to someone with a driver's license but no car and thus no insurance of his own. Google's driving but it's still your property and that makes you liable. Say you walk into a store and a light fixture falls on your head. Maybe it's a manufacturing error, maybe it's shoddy work in construction, maybe it's sabotage (unlikely) or whatever. It doesn't matter to you because you sue the store, the store manager can't just pass the buck. Even if they find it was a manufacturing error and the manufacturer is bankrupt he still can't pass the buck. I'm guessing they'll keep it as an insurance because then they can also set the conditions of insurance, like if the car is out of spec in any way it can refuse to drive, it might demand to be kept up to date with the latest driving logic, traffic regulations, road maps and whatnot. A product liability is just that the product was in a normal condition on delivery, not beyond.

Comment Re:If it's "settled", it ISN'T "science" (Score 4, Insightful) 555

Most skeptics couldn't tell good science from bad science if their life depended on it, they're just borderline conspiracy theorists who has decided that the establishment or mainstream media are pushing an agenda with cherry-picked data, flawed models and spurious reasoning to give a false, but plausible impression. And because they've found some whack jobs contradicting it they think they're part of a small elite who haven't bought into the lies. They're just as much sheep as the sheep they despise, just going in the opposite direction of the herd.

Comment Re:About 4 times less performance than without OCi (Score 1) 85

However, the CPU has now only 1 core instead of 8 and only about 1.6 times the clock frequency. This means a huge decrease in performance...

Amdahl's law says that depends on what you're doing. Also it has 4 cores/8 threads but yeah. This is obviously just for doing it. As someone who started with a 0.985 MHz C64 and got a 1.2GHz Athlon not so long into the new millennium I'm quite underwhelmed though, despite the IPC improvements.

Comment Re:Why not just call the entire Internet illegal? (Score 2) 91

All hyperbole and kidding aside, is it just me or do these BREIN fools sound like just more politicians, completely devoid of any ability to understand technical things? Their argument is like liberals trying to outlaw firearms: they make a basic assumption that 'guns are evil, therefore get rid of guns' when in reality people kill people, and eliminating guns won't really do a damn thing; someone wants to kill, they'll find a way, gun or no gun.

All hyperbole aside.... if that's how you feel why don't you give Daesh the nuclear launch codes? Surely they want to kill us and surely they'll find a way, so just give up now. Yes, a tool is just a tool. That doesn't mean we're going to stop trying to keep it out of the hands of bad people or find ways to make it less suitable for doing bad things. Even the US has restrictions for convicted felons and fully automatic weapons. So say you're convicted of embezzlement, you've never had any violent history in your life. Does that now mean that you won't ever in your life have a need for self defense? Hell no, but we simply don't trust you.

Now don't get me wrong I don't generally believe people are evil, but a few could be mentally ill, a few driven to madness by malice and a few could be in great distress like a break-up, getting fired and so on. If you gave everyone a gun, there will be school shootings. There will be fired employees going postal. There will be crazy ex shootings. Guns make it easier. Sure you could do it with a knife, but it's a lot less dangerous. If you want to pull this "reductio ad absurdum" then a felon could kill with a knife so since we don't take his kitchen knives away it's pointless. It's not, really it isn't.

Of course there's big problems to some people having guns and some not, but I don't see how you could get away from that. Where would you put the bar on that? Minors? Mentally challenged? Demented elderly? I think only a few Texas die hards really believe absolutely everyone should be allowed to carry a gun. I support gun restrictions the same way I support dangerous drugs being restricted to healthcare personnel, explosives to people working in demolitions and so on, if you have a legitimate need for hunting or sports that's fine. On the streets I'd rather have knives and the cops cracking down hard on gun crime. It seems to be working, your average criminal doesn't carry.

To get at least slightly back on topic with digital it's rather black and white, all or nothing, zero or one. And that's why I feel many analogies fail to make the transition, like in the debate about the iPhone cryptography. If it were a safe, they'd drill it but you can't drill your way through AES256. But this particular case is silly, it's essentially torrents in your browser. If they haven't been able to ban torrent clients, surely there's nothing wrong with this application either. It's just annoyingly convenient for copyright holders, but principally it's no different.

Comment Re:Flash won already (Score 1) 185

The clock is ticking on spinning drives. HDD are still viable, but only for large backups. However, if all you look at is price, then you get what you pay for.

Sure. But apart from the personal content that you should have backed up in multiple+offsite copies for safekeeping and usually just consumes a little bit, for most people the HDD is a n'th level cache of the Internet. For many people that's even true of the SSD content, if you lose your Steam games folder or Spotify offline playlists well you can just download it again. And when it comes to digital media quantity is king, it's a lot easier to have three copies with 95% reliability than one with 99,99% because you could always get a lemon.

Comment Well, duh (Score 1) 50

If we knew what they were trying to communicate, we'd probably find they have different languages too. Same as with people, without long distance travel/communication there's no reason to believe they'd share a language. We've seen this both on the macro scale through colonization wiping out many local languages and on the micro scale through building bridges to islands, linguists found that dialects became much less distinct. And with mass media and the Internet I'm sure we're converging even stronger now. Wolves have none of that so I'm sure a US wolf wouldn't understand much of what a EU wolf was howling, but I'm sure they'd quickly work out the basics.

Comment Re:Flash won already (Score 2) 185

People with bit more specialized needs (hardcore gaming, media production, virtual machines, etc.) can probably soon acquire 1 TB SSD for a price like $200.

And you can get an 8TB Seagate Archive HDD for $223 at newegg today, if you need/want to store lots of data it's still cheaper by far. The real issue from the manufacturer's side is that nobody will pay a premium for anything. You get a SSD for all things performance and the cheapest, slowest HDD because for streaming huge media files you just have to be fast enough, they're mostly accessed linearly and even a video server for a big family only serves a handful of video streams at once. And a lot of people are streaming more or doing download & delete, to be honest I hardly ever get around to watching most things again. Every so often I just go cleaning up a few TB of stuff that was just collecting dust.

Comment Re:Dumb (Score 1) 249

You think say the Linux kernel isn't useful? They've been on a three month cycle for ages, roughly one month merge window and two months of release candidates. Basically what you want is for everybody to time box what they can do before the next release, but you can't know if you don't know how long that'll be. Maybe if it's two months you'll do some quick enhancements and fixes but if it's six you do a deeper restructuring. If 90% of your developers have finished according to plan and 10% is threatening to hold up the release then the great majority won't be able to effectively use a small extension. It's better to just scrub the parts that aren't ready and say we're releasing now, sorry try again next merge window. Of course assuming that you have a large enough project that there'll be some release-worthy items every cycle and that people don't just submit shit for release no matter what state it's in. There's a lot less drama about who is important and can rush patches and delay releases if the answer is no, you can't. Only bugfixes during RC, if your code breaks shit or needs major rework you're bumped to the next version. If you don't have a person with balls managing that your releases will suck, but if you can't stand up to the developers it'll probably suck on a rolling basis too.

Comment Re:Not a problem anymore (Score 2) 154

I can understand people engaging in telemarketing (because they're evil), but I don't get the point of making a call that you know ahead of time with absolute certainty is not going to end in a sale.

Fucked up incentives. Presumably because calls statistically leads to sales, someone was ordered to increase call volume. Presumably cold calling random people could get them in more trouble with the FTC or is against corporate policy, so to deliver on that they're making pointless calls. That the sell-through rate drops in proportion is muddled by competition, random variance, pricing policy etc. so the executives probably don't know it's happening. That kind of corporate dysfunction is quite common when employees don't have any incentive to run the actual business well, just according to the metrics.

Slashdot Top Deals

Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.

Working...