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Comment: Re: Meh... (Score 3, Insightful) 195

by Rei (#49757847) Attached to: California Votes To Ban Microbeads

The problem is, sewage treatment systems have a lot of trouble (at present, let's just simply say "can't") filtering them out. They go into the sewage, they will go into the sea.

Setting up filters for particles as small as 1 micron for all sewage going out into the ocean is obviously going to be a massive expensive. Who wants to pay for that so that people can keep sticking bits of plastic in cosmetics?

Seriously, whose bright idea was it to make bits of plastic, bite-size for plankton, looking like fish eggs, whose very design intent is to wash out into the ocean? And no, while they're not harmful to us, they absolutely will be to plankton - if not immediately (how healthy do you think you'd be if you wolfed down an entire meal-sized chunk of plastic?), then with time. Plastics act as chelators for heavy metals and a number of organic poisons, to such a degree that they might even be economical to mine. There's simply no way that this isn't going to have an impact.

And it's so stupid when one can just use soluble crystals (salts, sugars, etc) instead of plastic.

Comment: Re:Pot, meet kettle (Score 1) 219

by swillden (#49756299) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

Global warming is a sloooooooooooooooooow process

Not necessarily. Greenland ice core records show that in the past the planet has seen temperature shifts of up to 7 C in as little as 30 years. 7 C is huge. It's like transporting Moscow to Rome. Of course, we have no idea what caused such rapid changes in the past. It wasn't CO2 levels, or particulates.

Comment: Re:Math (Score 1) 219

by swillden (#49756245) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

i would not be surprised if humans died off within a couple centuries after that.

I would. If one or more isolated populations managed to survive more than a couple of generations after the event, I think it's highly likely that they'd continue to survive indefinitely. The worst of the changes would be past, and they'd clearly have learned how to survive in the new environment, else they'd have died sooner.

Human intelligence makes us highly adaptable, as evidenced by the extraordinary diversity of environments in which we live, and lived even before the advent of modern technology. Humans who lack the necessary knowledge of how to survive in a particular environment are at severe risk of death any place on the planet, but if they manage to survive for even a year or two, odds are that they'll have learned enough to be able to extend that time almost indefinitely.

Comment: Re:Do people really take this risk seriously? (Score 5, Insightful) 219

by Rei (#49752865) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone

The article is also based on some terrible reasoning, like:

That means there will be no asteroids left in the Solar System, because they all will have struck Earth, in another few hundred million years. Think someone’s overestimated something there? Yeah, me too. Let’s take a look with the flaws in our fear-based reasoning.

Yeah, in a universe where our solar system is some sort of perfect steady state. Which, of course, it is not. Asteroids collide or - more commonly, come close to other bodies and gravitationally interact - and throw each other into different orbits. When that happens, non-Earth-crossing asteroids can become Earth-crossing ones. For example, one of the candidates for the K-Pg extinction event is a Batisma-family asteroid. This family came from an asteroid breakup 80 million years ago.

A person well versed in the field would be aware of the fact that asteroids are not in some sort of unchanging steady state. Which is why they're the ones paid to do the research on the subject.

And more to the point, we really don't have a good handle on what's out there. We have trouble making out dwarf planets in the outer solar system. We really have no bloody clue what could be on its way into the inner solar system, apart from studying how often major events happen.

And on that note, another flaw in his logic, given that until recently, the vast majority of Tunguska-style events would never even have been detected, having occurred over the oceans, remote deserts, the poles, etc. So by all means it's perfectly fair to say that the fact that an asteroid hitting earth is more likely to hit a remote uninhabited area is perfectly fair. But saying that while mentioning the rarity of inhabited areas having been hit in the past is double-counting. The historical record is evidence of how often they hit populated areas, not how often they hit Earth.

Lastly, his claim that only one person has ever been "hit by an asteroid" is ridiculous. 1500 people were injured by the Chelyabinsk one in 2013 badly enough to seek medical attention. Yes, they weren't "hit by rocks", but that's not what large asteroid impacts do; they mostly or completely vaporize by exploding in the atmosphere and/or on impact. And there's lots of reports throughout history of people getting struck by asteroids; just because they weren't documented by modern medical science doesn't mean it never happened. Seriously, what's the bloody odds that the only person to ever in historical times be hit by an asteroid would be in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation? Now what's the odds that someone being hit in the 1950s in the middle of a first-world nation would be well documented, publicized, and believed?

Just a lot of really bad arguments.

Comment: Re:FAQ (Score 1) 131

by squiggleslash (#49750009) Attached to: Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone

From what people are writing here, there are multiple definitions of "perfectly well". Someone in an above thread complains that capacitive screens require only the lightest touch, ensuring that they make mistakes when trying to use their fingernail to accurately press a specific pixel.

That, to me, says that the N900 and Neo900 do not have "touch" sensitive displays, they require pressure. I'm finding it improbable (and I'm willing to be proven wrong, but I'm increasingly sceptical as this videophilesque discussion continues) that the usual range of gestures we've come to know and, yes, love, are going to work nearly as well on that type of screen.

If I'm wrong and a light tap will always work, and a swipe will never be broken up into multiple gestures or ignored altogether, and so on, then I'd be delighted, albeit surprised the technology isn't being used anywhere else.

Comment: Re:FAQ (Score 1) 131

by squiggleslash (#49748049) Attached to: Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone

I'm going to be honest, the more I read this discussion, the move I'm thrown back to old "debates" between advocates of rear projection and plasma TVs, and LCDs, all bemoaning the rise of the latter against such superior technologies as a TV that can only be viewed from one angle (and then not all at the same time), or a TV that requires all 4:3 content be shown in stretch-o-vision to avoid temporary burn-in issues. "But LCDs have a tiny bit of light visible when they're supposed to be black!" screams the videophiles, apparently oblivious to the fact that normal people rarely watch TV in rooms with no ambient light.

The resistive screen they're describing is clearly inferior to capacitive when applied to real world applications. Nobody in their right mind uses their cellphone to "paint" pictures. But everyone uses it to dial numbers, browse websites, and other activities that require a finger, or two, rather than a stylus.

But, hey, for the 0.01% of users who do actually use their cellphones more as an easel than a phone, I guess it might be useful.

Comment: Re:Taxes? (Score 1) 219

I think that is the content industry view, however rotten it might be. The idea is that if you damaged or lost a book (or some other physical item that's hard to copy), you wouldn't expect to have any choice but to buy a new copy, so why should you have a choice other than paying for replacement with music or videos?

Comment: Re:FAQ (Score 3, Informative) 131

by squiggleslash (#49744075) Attached to: Pre-Orders Start For Neo900 Open Source Phone

It has a resistive touchscreen. What's more they're saying they're going for resistive because it's "more accurate" than capacitive and capacitive would be a "step back."

I had a Nokia N800 so am familiar with the history of this platform, but it always felt like a prototype to me, and it seems like the Neo900 is still a prototype of something that would have been released ten years ago. What a shame.

Comment: Re:Corollary: It's difficult to be "clever" in Jav (Score 2) 405

by Waffle Iron (#49743689) Attached to: The Reason For Java's Staying Power: It's Easy To Read

It is not difficult to be "clever" at all. Look at various "bean" frameworks. Use their object marshaling features. Throw in some of their aspect-oriented programming features.

Now you usually have a bloated, incomprehensible mess. Sure you can easily read any couple of lines of code in isolation. But the system as a whole is a huge pile of gratuitous redundant layers of abstraction and confusing action-at-a-distance creepiness.

All great discoveries are made by mistake. -- Young

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