Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:I never have understood (Score 4, Interesting) 260

by FooAtWFU (#48663301) Attached to: Serious Economic Crisis Looms In Russia, China May Help

Every nation has a currency. The US economy is just as prone to stagnation, deficit, over, and under valuing as any other currency.

See, you used two words in that sentence. One of them is economy, the other is currency. They're related, but they're not the same. The thing that matters to most US residents is the economy -- specifically that it will be growing enough that it's possible to find a job in it which will secure a certain amount of output to secure one's well-being. (Residents saving for retirement benefit from both). The thing that matters to someone who borrow or lend or hold dollars isn't the economy per se, it's the fact that he can use that dollar in the future to buy a predictable amount of goods and services: price stability. (Stability is better than an increase in value of those dollars, because borrowing and lending need to balance each other out... besides, if you really wanted returns you'd find a real investment, not cash.)

The US has flirted with price stability issues in the past (look at the 1970s and early 1980s), but not to the extent that Russia is experiencing right now. Russia has issued additional rubles through the state-backed Rosneft bond offering (a bailout averting a bankruptcy for one of Putin's top cronies) which was the proximate cause of the ruble free-fall, and because of sanctions, falling oil prices, and general economic decline outside of the oil sector, the ability of a ruble to purchase valuable goods and services (like oil) in the future is in question. China, meanwhile, has its own set of currency controls (hence a thriving black market in RMB-USD) and central-bank interventions of a scope and magnitude which make QE and QE2 look small.

So what else are you going to use? Euros? No way, I thought you were worried about stagnation and deficits and stuff. Gold? Oh, yeah, obviously it's been an absolute MODEL of price stability lately, hahahahahahahahahaha... Bitcoin? Makes gold look good. Pounds sterling? Mmmaybe, in a pinch. Then most of the other currencies are on the small side, so it's harder to use them in high volumes.

The Media

Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics' 717

Posted by Soulskill
from the intellectual-brand-recognition dept.
Layzej writes: Prominent scientists, science communicators, and skeptic activists, are calling on the news media to stop using the word "skeptic" when referring to those who refuse to accept the reality of climate change, and instead refer to them by what they really are: science deniers. "Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry."

Comment: Re:The Future is Surreal (Score 3, Insightful) 273

by Zak3056 (#48629047) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

A few years ago I looked at the numbers and realized I've been officially a woman for the majority of
my life. OK, yeah, I'm one of those. One of those who is very good with Linux kernels, MySQL, VoIP, and
various other technologies. Deal with it. I'm me, I like being me, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

You're 53 years old, posting as AC, and feel the need to announce that you're a transsexual and dare anyone to have a problem with you? FWIW, I don't think it's the world that has a problem with you--it seems like you have a problem with the world.

Comment: Re:what an embrace means. (Score 3, Insightful) 217

by Zak3056 (#48621789) Attached to: What Will Microsoft's "Embrace" of Open Source Actually Achieve?

Back in the day, Microsoft viewed open source and Linux as a threat and did its best to retaliate with FUD and patent threats.

then in 2013 Microsoft suffered a loss of more than US$32 billion

MS had an after-tax income of over 21 billion dollars in 2013. No idea where you're coming up with a $32B loss. Ballmer was a horrible CEO, but the biggest problem was that MS continued to make money--LOTS of money--while he was destroying the company's value, which made him look absolutely great on paper.

Comment: Re:Weird article (Score 1) 176

by langelgjm (#48618729) Attached to: Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

I doubt it as its intended to track flying things. This data is already available from multiple sources.

The article mentions several times that it can be used to track cars, trucks, and boats. Obviously we have data from lots of interstate monitoring stations, as well as devices to measure the amount of traffic passing specific points, but I'm not so sure we have such detailed data across such a wide swath of territory (multiple states) that could actually track object movements (rather than, say, just a count of vehicles passing a point). Maybe someone who knows better can chime in.

Comment: Weird article (Score 1) 176

by langelgjm (#48618475) Attached to: Army To Launch Spy Blimp Over Maryland

Weird article. On the one hand, it presents the blimps as the "last gasp" of a white elephant, defense contract gone-wrong project. On the other hand it plays up fears about privacy that are probably a bit overblown (the blimps don't have cameras, and even if they are installed, the range drops from a 340 mile radius to "dozens" of miles).

Even so, radar can track hundreds of square miles of traffic, and the real question is what the Army will do with that data.

Hopefully they will let transportation analysts have a look at it? Could be really helpful in infrastructure planning.

Comment: It's because it's by David Fahrenthold (Score 5, Interesting) 200

by langelgjm (#48608511) Attached to: NASA's $349 Million Empty Tower

I guessed that before even opening the article. He has a habit of writing misleading Washington Post pieces about government waste. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of government waste, but blame does not fall squarely on NASA. I complained about a piece he wrote last year:

David Fahrenthold's April 24, 2013 article "Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts" incorrectly states that the Pentagon spent $435 on a hammer. That claim has been repeatedly debunked for a number of years. The hammer was $15, and the the $420 represented R&D costs for a project spread evenly across all items. See, e.g.:

To which he responded:

Hello, Dave Fahrenthold here from the Washington Post. I wrote the story that dealt with the cost of “zero balance” accounts, and so I was forwarded the correction request you sent earlier. First, thank you for reading, and reading the story so closely. At this point, I don’t see the need for a correction to the story. Here’s why: the story says that the Pentagon “paid” $435 for a hammer. I had written it that way consciously, since I’d seen the findings you referenced in that govexec story: the hammer’s cost to the Pentagon included $420 worth of overhead (which had been distributed evenly among all the items for which the Pentagon was charged in that same order). The cost of the hammer, at least on the Pentagon’s books, was $435. To me, it’s still correct to say that’s what the Pentagon “paid,” no matter how that cost had been calculated. I’d welcome your thoughts, however. I’m grateful again for the feedback. DF

Nice enough, but to me this shows that he very well knew the full story but chose to present it in a purposefully misleading way. Given that there is so much real waste, I don't understand the need to latch on to myths like this.

Comment: Re:Zoning laws are tyranny (Score 1) 596

by Zak3056 (#48604799) Attached to: Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents

Zoning laws prevent you from doing what you want with your property... They are evil and, obviously, a magnet for graft and other corruption.

Houston, for example, is not any worse without them...

That actually answers something I was wondering about the other day. My company was looking at a facility in Houston and it's in a brand new industrial park that is literally across the street from some of multi-million dollar homes I was amazed that the homeowners didn't manage to kill the project, and now I understand why they couldn't.

FWIW, I think zoning is like any other form of government intervention: a necessary evil. Some is absolutely required, a little more is ok, and it's only when those in power have an axe to grind, or engage in mission creep that the problems start. I'd honestly hate to live somewhere without at least rudimentary zoning, lest someone come along and build a sewage treatment next door, or put in heavy industry across the street from your $5M house like the example above.


Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney 880

Posted by timothy
from the serious-thoughts dept.
An anonymous reader send this link to a developing situation in Sydney, Australia, being reported on via live feed at the Guardian, and covered by various other news outlets as well. According to CNN's coverage, "CNN affiliate Seven Network said that at least 13 people are being held at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. It published a photograph of people inside the cafe holding a black flag with Arabic writing on it. The flag reads: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God." From The New York Times' coverage: The police have shut down parts of the city’s transport system, and closed off the mall area. They would not confirm how many people were being held hostage inside the cafe, nor whether those inside are armed. Local media reports said that the airspace over Sydney had been closed and the famed Sydney Opera House evacuated. Television images showed heavily armed officers with their weapons trained on the cafe.

Comment: Re: In other words, ... (Score 1) 307

Perhaps there's something to the pervasive media narrative about Silicon Valley after all. Not only do they have no ability to relate to the non-asian and non-white crowd but they also have no ability to relate to whites that aren't rich enough for east coast boarding schools either.

Wait, boarding schools? I don't think that's Silicon Valley you're talking about, my friend. I could see Wall Street being accused of that, maybe...

Comment: Re:Fucking Hell, Harper needs to go! (Score -1, Flamebait) 122

by FooAtWFU (#48590693) Attached to: Canada Waives Own Rules, Helps Microsoft Avoid US Visa Problems
"Canadian jobs"? Do Canadians own those jobs? Perhaps this should be better-codified, then! I mean, there are places in the world where people own jobs and are legally entitled to sell the job or pass it on to their children. Mexico teachers' unions come to mind. Of course, they're also a textbook case of dysfunction and an entitlement mentality trying to dignify itself with the trappings of leftism.

Anyway. Essentially what I'd like to get at is that this is a hideously ugly form of nationalism which doesn't really deserve any of the dignity of the idealized socialist struggle (CS workers as the proletariat, ha!) and miserable economic policy to boot. (no nation in history has ever become prosperous by isolating itself from trade.)

Of course, the real question is why the US needs to launder these workers through Canada and doesn't just let them in directly (we're clearly letting in plenty of unskilled workers, after all...)

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers. -- Pablo Picasso