Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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: Das Keyboard Professional 4 (Score 1) 452

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49274317) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Good Keyboard?

I just picked up one of these and I must say I've been incredibly happy with it. The construction is top notch (Germans know a thing or two about how to build stuff), the key action is amazing, and it looks incredible. Pricey? Yes. But so is a finely-crafted automobile. Both will probably outlast you.

Comment: Beating fossil? (Score 1) 356

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49241031) Attached to: New Solar Capacity Beats Coal and Wind, Again

The headline is pretty misleading, and the illogical nature of it is revealed in the opening sentences of the "article." How in the world can you say solar "beats coal and wind" when it is responsible for roughly 1% of overall generation? Sure, it *added* more capacity by percentage this year than other power generation types, but so what? If I generated zero watts last year via hamster wheel generation and added one watt this year, my percentage increase is...well...infinity! Haha! I beat everything on the planet! But my actual generation is laughable.

I'm not trying to talk down solar, or wind, or anything. I'm just sick of the sensational headlines full of hyperbole picking relatively useless metrics to claim something like this is really amazing when, in fact, it's quite pedestrian.

Comment: Wow! A thousand??? (Score 2) 192

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49234059) Attached to: Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available

Now there's more games than gamers!

Seriously, yes, I know -- or at least suspect -- there are more than a thousand Linux gamers on Steam out there, but really...when you've got barely 1% of the gaming market, it's a little silly to say 2015 could be the "Year of Linux Gaming." At some point you have to disconnect yourself from wishful thinking and hyperbole and just say "yeah, it's getting better, but it still has a very long way to go."

Comment: Re:Clear to me (Score 1) 609

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49233575) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

I can't imagine the State Department not adhering to the same standard of security when doing the people's business.

You can't? Try instead to imagine what would happen to a Clinton staffer who told her she can't do something, especially when Hillary has very concrete and politically-motivated reasons for violating policy (i.e. hiding potential corruption, illegal dealings, etc. from FOIA requests and Congressional inquiry). Hillary doesn't exactly have a reputation for dealing kindly with people like that, you know.

Comment: Re:Its Not the Server (Score 1) 609

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49233515) Attached to: Clinton Regrets, But Defends, Use of Family Email Server

I did check the law. There's nothing preventing her from using a private email or private long as everything is recorded, archived, and available for government inspection if needed. The problem here is there is no way to guarantee this. Clinton can say she's turned over everything "relevant" to government business, but she can't prove she didn't withhold unflattering or potentially illegal emails. Further, the government cannot prove what is or isn't relevant because it hasn't had control of the server/email since inception. This kind of stuff is precisely why the law was amended (admittedly after Clinton's tenure as SecState) to prevent Federal employees from using personal stuff for official business.

But to say she didn't break the law is being disingenuous. If she's unable or unwilling to turn over everything, she's not complying with the law.

Comment: 40% lower? (Score 0) 267

One is taken to wondering how power prices can drop 40% when there are tons of new infrastructure being bought and labor being paid to install it. Wind power isn't *THAT* much cheaper to run. I have a funny feeling there are significant tax breaks being given to the companies installing the stuff and tax increases being levied on citizens to make this 40% drop happen...which, if true, means it's not really 40% cheaper, it's just those savings are being offset by higher costs elsewhere.

Comment: Re:hmmm (Score 0) 139

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49138229) Attached to: 12-Billion-Solar-Mass Black Hole Discovered

People used to say the same thing about the "luminiferous aether," you know.

Personally, I think "dark matter" and "dark energy" don't really exist. Instead, I think there's something wrong with our understanding of the fundamental forces of the universe. Perhaps gravity doesn't behave with the inverse-square law across vast distances like we think. Perhaps there's a subtle force out there we've yet to discover that only acts over extreme distances. After all, quantum mechanics is only observable at extremely small scales, and a century ago nobody even suspected it existed. What's to say there's not something else that acts in an observable fashion only at galactic scales?

Comment: Re:On loan??? (Score 1) 118

by prisoner-of-enigma (#49025417) Attached to: Neil Armstrong's Widow Discovers Moon Camera In Bag

The original story goes that Buzz Aldrin was supposed to be the first one to walk on the moon, but during the trip, an order from mission control came in that said that Neil Armstrong was supposed to be the first.

This is pure drivel and has been debunked on numerous occasions. Armstrong was the first out because there was not enough room in the LM cabin for Aldrin to get out first when both were wearing suits. Further, the mission was practiced for months on Earth and every action was scripted and planned down to the minute. To suggest that Mission Control would alter this plan while the astronauts were on the way to the moon -- thus invalidating months of training and safety protocols -- is ludicrous. Armstrong got out first because he had to, and everybody -- including Aldrin -- knew this before they were even strapped into the CM.

Comment: Re:Audiophile market (Score 5, Insightful) 418

As a non-American I am surprised as you Americans allow criminals freely sell products that are clearly scams like this.

As an American, I can say I'm glad the government *doesn't* stop this kind of activity. A functioning society requires its citizens to be at least marginally responsible for their own conduct. If they're stupid enough to be taken in by this crap, they deserve what they get. We neither need nor want a "nanny state" looking over our shoulder all the time, telling us what we can and cannot buy.

Comment: Re:The sad part? (Score 1) 577

And it doesn't mean they do exist, either. I have no right to drive without a license. By your logic, I'd have the right to drive without a license because the Constitution does NOT mention it.

Actually, you're both right and wrong. You do have the right to drive without a license, as fast as you want, not wearing a seatbelt or helmet, drunk as a skunk...if you do it on private land. Doing the same on a public road is prohibited because you implicitly enter a contract with the State to obey certain rules in order to make use of shared public infrastructure.

The GP's statement remains true and correct. The Constitution does not grant rights to citizens. Indeed, it goes out of its way to do the exact opposite: it limits what the government can do. As a governing charter, it is unique in that respect.

Comment: Re:Science... Yah! (Score 1) 958

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48967739) Attached to: Science's Biggest Failure: Everything About Diet and Fitness

Nothing in your statement invalidates the OP's original claim, mainly that if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. During your anecdotal hospital stay, you consumed fewer calories than you burned and suffered the symptoms you described. You probably lost weight, too. Hence, what the OP said is both true and correct.

Comment: Re:Expensive (Score 1) 183

Your claims of "up to $12,000 per month" appear to take the absolute worst case scenario. Wikipedia notes roughly 90% of Xyrem consumers get this via insurance, with co-pays under $50 and a significant number get it for under $25. Admittedly, insurance companies are getting stiffed, but one suspects they're negotiating lower than worst-case pricing with the supplier in the first place.

Being an Orphan drug, development costs are amortized over a very few patients, making costs high. It's like saying a B-2 bomber costs billions of dollars to build when, in fact, a huge cost of "building" the plane is the amortized R&D costs. The actual labor and materials is much less. That's why the fewer planes are built, the more expensive each one becomes.

There is no good solution to this problem. If you fix prices such that R&D costs can't be recouped, you remove incentive for pharma to R&D the drug in the first place. If you allow them to recoup the costs, the end user must pay them. There is no other way. Pharma R&D dollars don't just fall from the sky.

Comment: Re:Shrug, yawn. Have you read it? (Score 1) 224

by prisoner-of-enigma (#48960177) Attached to: Nuclear Safety Push To Be Softened After US Objections

You should dig up a 2011 Associated Press article about tritium leaks at nuclear plants across the country.

And how many people died from said tritium leaks? What, exactly, was the body count? Oh, that's And how much damage was done? How many baby seals and spotted owls were killed? Oh, that's The tritium leaks were so small as to be insignificant on any meaningful scale. They were regulatory violations, yes...but the regulations are such that it takes almost nothing to exceed them. I'm not arguing that we don't need such regulations. I'm saying that you're making it out to be far worse than it actually was just because there was a violation. For example, a plant I worked at last year was nearly shut down by the NRC for a violation of "adverse working conditions." Specifically, the union workers felt unappreciated. That was it. Was it a violation that got the NRC's attention? Sure. Did it have any measurable impact on safety? Nope.

Hell, there have been 2 nuclear plants that SCRAMed recently.
One on Christmas and the other last week, during the big north east blizzard.

This statement alone shows how little you understand what you're talking about. Just because a plant SCRAM'd doesn't mean there was a safety issue. For example, one of the plants I worked at a few years ago had to SCRAM. Why? Maintenance was being done on a backup generator, one of several in a triple set of backup generators. Regulations, however, say that a certain number of generators must be available if utility power failed. And guess what? Utility power from the grid did decide to fail during that generator maintenance period. Just bad luck, really, but it happens. So what did the plant operators do? They shut down the plant, in accordance with regulations. Could they have kept operating safely? Almost certainly. There were still two more generators available, a double redundancy that went unused, but regs say triple redundancy or nothing. A plant I worked at this year SCRAM'd when a tornado hit the switchyard and damaged it. The reactor itself was never in any danger, but regs said it had to be shut down because of the switchyard issue. Again, you make mountains of out molehills to prove a point.

Single tasking: Just Say No.