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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Pure undulterated bullshit (Score 1) 195 195

playing content (text, image/sound/video) requires, BY NECESSITY, the ability to duplicate that content.

Ridiculous. If that were true, why would all those clever companies spend countless millions on advanced technologies like BD+ and HDCP?
You think they just enjoy flushing money down the toilet?

Comment Re:What are they going to replace with? (Score 1) 467 467

Huh? There is nothing in there about retro-fitted central heating. I'm sure they already had it, and the article talks about insulation, regenerative brakes on the elevators, LED lights ... all good things but irrelevant to French homes' choice of central vs split-system AC.

Comment Re:What are they going to replace with? (Score 5, Insightful) 467 467

If a lot of people switched to central heating the country could probably be more energetically efficient.

Why central? Retro-fitting to old buildings would be unnecessarily expensive. (except perhaps single-storey homes, but they are not common.)
Just replace the electric radiators with split-system reverse-cycle air-conditioners. Modern systems can use a quarter the energy, or less.
And the next time a summer heatwave hits, the French won't be dying en-masse from heat exhaustion.

Comment Easily fixed (Score 4, Informative) 108 108

... or already broken, depending on your viewpoint.
While fossil fuels reduce atmospheric C14, atmospheric nuclear detonations increase it dramatically.
In 1963, C14 levels reached double the earlier level.
But even before any of that, radiocarbon dating needed to be calibrated according the varying level of atmospheric CO2 over the aeons.
And it is already easy to make fake ancient parchment or paper using greenhouses and fossil fuel.

Combining carbon dating with other techniques should be enough to remove ambiguity in dating.

Comment Re:$805M budget (Score 1) 229 229

So why are you raiding the military budget?

Because it is far too big, and incredibly wasteful. So much is just political pork. I'm not just talking about the mythical $6000 hammer, but whole programs that should be scrapped, like the JSF.
US military spending is equal to the next nine countries combined.
Be careful. With such a bloated military, you run the risk of launching wars of aggression against distant countries that are no threat to the US, killing countless people, destabilising regions, and giving rise to devastating fundamentalist armies.

Comment Re:Science doesn't prove things (Score 1) 280 280

The AC is confusing scientific proof with formal mathematical proof.

Science makes observations of the real world. If those observations make successful predictions, it is real science.

For example, if science can observe an MRI image of brain activity, and correctly determine the gender 99% of the time, this is proof of a difference.
The greater the sample size, the higher the confidence.

Comment Re:Sad summary (Score 4, Interesting) 280 280

Its not just the US. Australia has a lot of data from national standardised testing, notably NAPLAN.

Girls consistent score slightly higher on average in most subjects. I don't think this means any failure or conspiracy in our schools, as it is well know that boys develop later. The difference is very obvious in early school years. If it is considered "a problem that needs fixing", you could set the start age for girls a bit earlier, say six months, and the scores could be equalised. Or you could just accept the "diversity".

    However maths is a special case. Unlike all other areas, boys are a bit in front on average. More interestingly, the standard deviation is substantially larger, so there are more boys at both the bottom and top of scores. The higher the score band, the greater the disparity in numbers. (And again - only in maths) So it is no surprise if >90% of the olympiad-level students are male. If it was equal, something would be seriously wrong in the selection process.

Data can be seen here:
Select domain:numeracy and subgroup:sex
Note the M/F numbers in the first ("exempt") and last columns.

Project that as a normal distribution, and it will predict that the Maths Olympiad is a sausage-fest. Mathematically.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

to fight back against a government that was becoming too overbearing and expanding its powers beyond what the constitution specifically limits it to.....

Well, thats happened. How is the revolution going?

Last time you had a revolution, it killed 2% of the population (equivalent to 6 million today), and only benefitted the elite 1% . What was so terrible about Canada? For ordinary people, rules stayed the same, and taxes went up. Just a change of management. I'm not sure you can afford another one.

Comment Re:Aussie freedoms are inferior (Score 1) 337 337

Oh you're saying you can only have bolt action rifles down there?

Yes, not even semi-auto .22s. But we keep them for hunting, not overthrowing the government, so it is tolerable.

What about semi-auto pistols?

Oddly, they are still legal, up to 10 rounds. And of course, criminals are much more likely to use handguns than assault rifles. But its a lot of hassle to get a handgun license here, and not many people have them. You certainly cannot carry them in public.

A programming language is low level when its programs require attention to the irrelevant.