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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Unintended consequences (Score 1, Interesting) 236

by prgrmr (#49752437) Attached to: Asteroid Risk Greatly Overestimated By Almost Everyone
My biggest fear regarding dying from an asteroid strike is not about the asteroid hitting me or the city I am in, but from unintended, extemporaneous consequences like someone in Russia or China panicking and launching a nuke at it, missing, and hitting France or the US or some other nuclear-capable nation and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hit in Pakistan or India being intentionally/accidentally mistaken as a nuclear strike by its neighbor, and starting WWIII. Or an asteroid hitting a defunct Russian spy satellite, which was really a nuclear launch platform, and setting off the bombs, and starting WWIII. Or any asteroid strike anywhere being used as a convenient excuse by anyone to start WWIII.

So, in summary, the most worrisome unintended consequence of an asteroid strike is WWIII. Let's see the TFA's author gin-up some odds on that one.

Comment: love/hate view on agile (Score 3, Insightful) 507

by prgrmr (#49690645) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?
As a system admin, I admire agile for the rapid proto-typing. Because as we all know, business users seldom know what they really want, but they all know what they don't like. However, I hate agile for being the universal excuse for turning project management into an exercise for "let's make it up as we go along", because then everyone expects me to work like that too. They don't want to acknowledge, let alone understand, that being a good system admin is about being organized and informed and having a more than 5 minute attention span.

Comment: Re:Typo: Digital Rights Management (Score 1) 371

by TubeSteak (#49677161) Attached to: Firefox 38 Arrives With DRM Required To Watch Netflix

So you want complete freedom of expression as long as others agree with your vision.

There's no such thing as complete freedom of expression.
We naturally put limits on expression to prevent assholes from taking advantage and causing us all grief.

Some people see DRM as part of the assholes who would cause us grief.

Comment: Re:Backwards much? (Score 1) 200

But, honestly, with the bullshit "we can do a border search at an airport and within 100 miles of the border", they probably figured they didn't need to.

They've already been told they have search powers that are effectively unconstitutional, but some how magically legal.

There's nothing bullshit about the border search exception.
It was defacto law before it was dejure law and it was done before The United States were United.

Yes, 100 miles from the border is nonsense, but the basic principle existed long before the Constitution did.

Comment: Re:"xenophobic fascist" (Score 1) 1097

by TubeSteak (#49610589) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

The others aren't just prepared to murder Wilders. They want to abolish democracy and replace it with sharia law, and kill the Untermenschen i.e. the unbelievers.

Please don't try and conflate Islamic fundamentalism and the Nazis.
Untermenschen does not mean "the unbelievers" it means "the under-man"

The American who first used the term in the context of inherent inferiority, which is how we understand it, said thusly:
"This term is The Under-Man the man who measures under the standards of capacity and adaptability imposed by the social order in which he lives."

That same year, he also published The New World of Islam where, if you glance at the chapter titles, you'll notice he calls Muslims "Bolsheviks."
Unsurprisingly, this is the same label that the Nazis attached to the Jews in an effort to slur them.
(And no, Bolshevism and communism are not the same as national socialism. The Nazis weren't commies.)

Comment: Re:Liberty (Score 3, Insightful) 1097

by TubeSteak (#49610291) Attached to: Two Gunman Killed Outside "Draw the Prophet" Event In Texas

Reliance upon the government to protect you after you have insulted someone is not freedom

What exactly is it that you think Government does?

Because collective security is the most basic function of Government.

As an example, if you insult the King of Thailand, the only thing keeping the Thai government from crossing borders to take you in for prosecution is your government.
Or do you think you can defend yourself against the resources of a nation state?

Comment: Re:Money (Score 3, Insightful) 140

by TubeSteak (#49566283) Attached to: New Privacy Threat: Automated Vehicle Occupancy Detection

At first glance, all of these technologies are implemented solely for the purpose for bring in more money to the government.

HOV lanes exist to encourage ride sharing and to reduce the traffic load during rush hour.
Ticketing cheaters serves that end and is not exclusively about monetary gain for the State

So yes, you are being cynical, though I wouldn't take off the tin foil hat.

Comment: Re:Very expensive (Score 1) 299

by TubeSteak (#49553103) Attached to: Tesla To Announce Battery-Based Energy Storage For Homes

They make deep cycle lead acid batteries for (mostly) boats. Typically they last 5-6 years in a marine application and you can drain them to about 10% without problems

Not sure why you'd want to go to a lithium based technology in a stationary application.

Lithium batteries have much higher charge and discharge rates.

And while you *can* discharge lead acid batteries down to 10%, you *shouldn't*.
The best lifespan is with a cycle that only goes down to 50%.
A 10% discharge cycle leads to significantly shorter lifespans for lead acid batteries.
This is not the case for lithium technologies.

Comment: p-value research is misleading almost always (Score 5, Interesting) 208

by SteveWoz (#49495363) Attached to: Social Science Journal 'Bans' Use of p-values

I studied and tutored experimental design and this use of inferential statistics. I even came up with a formula for 1/5 the calculator keystrokes when learning to calculate the p-value manually. Take the standard deviation and mean for each group, then calculate the standard deviation of these means (how different the groups are) divided by the mean of these standard deviations (how wide the groups of data are) and multiply by the square root of n (sample size for each group). But that's off the point. We had 5 papers in our class for psychology majors (I almost graduated in that instead of engineering) that discussed why controlled experiments (using the p-value) should not be published. In each case my knee-jerk reaction was that they didn't like math or didn't understand math and just wanted to 'suppose' answers. But each article attacked the math abuse, by proficient academics at universities who did this sort of research. I came around too. The math is established for random environments but the scientists control every bit of the environment, not to get better results but to detect thing so tiny that they really don't matter. The math lets them misuse the word 'significant' as though there is a strong connection between cause and effect. Yet every environmental restriction (same living arrangements, same diets, same genetic strain of rats, etc) invalidates the result. It's called intrinsic validity (finding it in the experiment) vs. extrinsic validity (applying in real life). You can also find things that are weaker (by the square root of n) by using larger groups. A study can be set up in a way so as to likely find 'something' tiny and get the research prestige, but another study can be set up with different controls that turn out an opposite result. And none apply to real life like reading the results of an entire population living normal lives. You have to study and think quite a while, as I did (even walking the streets around Berkeley to find books on the subject up to 40 years prior) to see that the words "99 percentage significance level" means not a strong effect but more likely one that is so tiny, maybe a part in a million, that you'd never see it in real life.

Comment: Re:"Close" Only Counts (Score 1) 342

Yeah, they were 'hands on'

That was a philosophical choice made by NASA: pilots should have as much control as possible over the systems.
Sort of like the design choice made by Boeing to let the pilot override the automated systems and break the airplane if he wants to vs Airbus limiting the max g-forces a pilot can generate.

It didn't hurt that Eisenhower told NASA to only recruit military test pilots for the Mercury program.
While NASA no longer exclusively recruits test pilots, they still make up a large portion of recruits.

Comment: Re:This sh*t again? (Score 2) 247

by TubeSteak (#49476789) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

Antitrust isn't really about consumers (although arguable it is ultimately) but about making sure the free market is both a market and free.

You should have prepended that sentence with the qualifier "American"
In Europe, anti-trust philosophy and regulation is most definitely focused around consumer welfare.

If you re-read the reporting a bit more carefully, the problem with Google's actions is not that it is bad for competition, but that it is bad for consumer welfare.

This is a major difference in thinking between Europe and the USA.
There are other large differences, particularly as a result of the EU's need to integrate markets across its member Countries.
That need to integrate was never a factor during the formation of the USA's anti-trust policies.

Comment: Re:People are tribal even when they don't realize (Score 5, Informative) 247

by TubeSteak (#49476749) Attached to: EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges

And if you think that it's wrong of EU to investigate an American company, think about it this way:

Google is a European company.
Actually, many European companies.
http://www.google.com/about/company/facts/locations/

Google's European headquarter is in Ireland... well, actually, it's an Irish company that is headquartered in Bermuda.
Google USA licenses its IP to Google Ireland Holdings (headquartered in Bermuda).
In turn, Google Ireland Holdings sub-licenses the IP to its wholly owned subsidiary in the Netherlands: Google Netherlands Holdings B.V.
Then Google Netherlands Holdings B.V. sub-sub-licenses the IP to another Google Ireland Holdings subsidiary: Google Ireland Ltd.

To coordinate all this, Google has a network of corporations in individual EU States, usually just "sales support" staff who run the ad-sales and ad-placements.

TLDR: The EU can't break up Google USA, but they can force Google Ireland Holdings to GTFO or change the way it offers services in the EU.

Once it hits the fan, the only rational choice is to sweep it up, package it, and sell it as fertilizer.

Working...