Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment: Huh? (Score 1) 211

by Black Parrot (#48920405) Attached to: Gamma-ray Bursts May Explain Fermi's Paradox

GRBs clearly haven't prevented life in *our* galaxy, so the Fermi Paradox still stands.

The caluculations probably rule out life in the core of our galaxy, but systems further out would be exposed even less often than ours is. And even though GRBs can periodically sterilize a planet, their directionality means that one burst would not likely sterilize all the planets in an intercellar civilization simultaneously.

So, to modify what someone said above, we can add another term to the Drake equation, but this doesn't do much to answer Fermi.

Comment: Re:We Really Don't (Score 1) 152

by Black Parrot (#48910827) Attached to: How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Sorry... I was going for the joke and didn't pitch it very well. My actual views are more like yours.

As for the reality of the subject matter, I would borrow the concept of "probably approximately correct" from machine learning, and give it a 90-95% chance of being ~80% correct. (The 80% is lower to allow room for some more big discoveries like inflation.)

Unfortunately, people will be (hopefully) studying this for thousands of years on top of the <100 we have so far, and none of us will live to see how it turns out in the long term.

Comment: Re:I have an idea.. (Score 1) 453

It's like the old Texan saying: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, can't get fooled again."

I always heard it as: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

And of course, the word of choice usually wasn't "fool".

(Is this really a regional saying?)

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 3, Interesting) 422

by Mr. Slippery (#48895471) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Where Can You Get a Good 3-Button Mouse Today?

Are there any valuable functions mapped to a middle button anyway, that make it so important?

Yes. For people who use real computers, middle button = "paste selected text".

Who puts three fingers on the surface of a mouse?

People who use real computers but have not yet found the one true pointing device, the 4-button Logitech Marble Mouse Trackball.

Comment: Re:Popcorn time! (Score 0) 374

by Mr. Slippery (#48892573) Attached to: Behind the MOOC Harassment Charges That Stunned MIT

I've heard claims that one in four women will be raped at some point in their lives, and have yet to hear any sort of data-based rebuttal.

Really? You heard such an extraordinary claim, but apparently made zero effort to look into its validity?

Here you go. And here. And here.

Essentially, that inflated number is based on questionable surveys which often fail to distinguish between a regrettable drunken hookup and rape, and is not just about rape but about behavior ranging from grabbing a woman's butt on up through attempted rape and actual rape. (Yes, grabbing someone's butt is bad. It's assault. It's unacceptable. It is not, however, rape.)

Is rape much more common than most people think? Yes. The data is murky but I would be surprised if the lifetime victimization rate for women was less than 5%, 1 in 20. Is it 25%, "eeny-meeny-miney-RAPE!" common? No.

And a teacher sending a student sexy messages over the internet is certainly a breach of professional conduct...but it's not rape.

Comment: Re:It's about time. (Score 5, Interesting) 138

by Mr. Slippery (#48875195) Attached to: Simon Pegg On Board To Co-Write Next Star Trek Film

Star Trek now has freedom to have any future the writers can come up with

No, they're stuck with the universe Abrams left them. A universe which makes no sense, where starships are irrelevant because transporters can move people over interstellar distances (from Earth to the Klingon homeworld), and where a cure for death has been found in Khan's blood. Not to mention the absurd political situation, with a corrupt Starfleet operating accord to some bizarre system of personal prerogative of individual commanders rather than any rational chain of command.

The Wright Bothers weren't the first to fly. They were just the first not to crash.

Working...