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Comment Re:Apple CEO: Little understanding of marketing (Score 1) 225

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Announces things before they are ready.

Slashdot reader Futurepower(R): doesn't actually read articles or even article summaries enough to understand that Tim Cook and/or Apple didn't announce anything here. It was speculation by some douchebag "analyst."

There are plenty of good reasons to criticize Apple. Making shit up is not one of them. Please don't give fuel to flamewars by just posting anti-Apple shit without actually even reading either the article or the goddamn summary.

Submission + - ISIS's Hunt For a Bogus Superweapon

schnell writes: The New York Times Magazine has a fascinating story about ISIS efforts to get their hands on a mysterious and powerful superweapon called Red Mercury. The problem is that by consensus among scientific authorities, Red Mercury doesn't exist. And yet that hasn't stopped the legend of Red Mercury, touted by sources from Nazi conspiracy theorists to former Manhattan Project scientists, as having magical properties. Middle East weapons traders have even spun elaborate stories for its properties (ranging from thermonuclear explosive properties to sexual enhancement) and origins and sources (from Soviet weapons labs to Roman graveyards). What can account for the enduring myth of Red Mercury — is it rampant scientific illiteracy, the power of urban legend and shared myth, or something else?

Comment Re:Another example (Score 4, Informative) 728

Hitler embraced the Catholic church and they embraced him back. Does "Gott Mitt Un" ring a bell?

I am taking no side on the current "religious assholes kill lots of people" vs. "atheist assholes kill lots of people" war. I just noticed the above statement, which I see a lot, and wanted to provide some historical context to it.

I have seen it frequently mentioned on the Internet that Hitler was Catholic and/or had a close relationship to the church. While Hitler may have been born to a Catholic family, he was never visibly religious throughout his life one way or another. Also, despite his Wagner fetish, he was not a devotee of the old Germanic paganism that mystic fringe elements of the SS seemed intent on reintroducing to German society. He never disavowed religion publicly, but it never played any role in his life either, at least according to modern Hitler scholarship.

Hitler's relationship to the Catholic church oscillated between uneasy truce and outright hostility throughout the time the Third Reich was in power. Germany was majority Protestant in the north, and majority Catholic in the south, and the Catholic church (which even had its own political party, the Center Party) was a useful ally at times. It disagreed with Hitler on many issues (primarily social), but Hitler showed no compunction about shutting down Protestant churches that preached against the excesses of its administration, and the Catholic hierarchy in Germany was perfectly willing to make a deal with the devil to avoid being shut down or expelled. There is also strong evidence (though not 100%) that the Pope (who had previously been Papal Legate in Germany) and his representatives made a deal with Hitler to turn a blind eye to Jews trying to flee the country in exchange for a continued presence in the country.

However, Hitler and the Catholic authorities in the Third Reich frequently clashed as well. Many Catholic priests spoke out against the human rights abuses of Hitler, and it was only through continued wrangling and negotiation with Hitler that priests weren't bundled off by the Gestapo en masse. Many politically active priests were nonetheless. And at times Hitler talked about putting the whole church on his "enemies" list and shutting it down for stirring up anti-government feeling (which wasn't hard to come by from 1942 onwards).

Long story short: Hitler wasn't a Catholic, and they weren't really allies. But the Catholic church did make deals with Hitler to preserve their power and legitimacy which are shameful in retrospect. If you're interested in more details, read the first volume of Ian Kershaw's excellent Hitler or Richard Evans's The Coming of the Third Reich.

Comment Re:Can you liberals please wake the fuck up? (Score 1) 965

Who is "all of them"?

Let's see if we can find common ground in the following statements:

  1. Anyone who believes in violence as a solution to anything - other than in self defense or to protect imminent violence against another - is an asshole.
  2. The Christian Bible (mostly Old Testament) and the Quran both contain plenty of God/Allah endorsements of aggressive, unprovoked violence as a Good Thing. Plenty of Asshole Fuel.
  3. In some parts of the planet, violence is societally treated as an acceptable solution to religious disagreements. Most of these places but not all happen to be poor, lacking in a tradition of rule of law and/or democracy and/or aggrieved at having been kicked out of what they consider to be their rightful territory. More of these places happen to be where a lot of Muslims live (Syria, the Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Libya, etc.) vs. places where Christians live (Armenia, Ireland) or Jews live (Israel).
  4. There are crazy-ass fundamentalist Evangelical Protestant Christians who shoot abortion doctors, crazy-ass IRA Irish Catholics who blow up Irish Protestants, and crazy-ass Orange Irish Protestants who shoot up bars full of Irish Catholics. Some Christians be all crazy and shit. There are also quantitatively and comparatively a fuck-ton more of Muslims willing to blow up Jews, Muslims willing to blow up Christians, Muslims willing to blow up Infidel historical artifacts, Shia Muslims willing to blow up Sunni Muslims, Sunni Muslims willing to blow up Shia Muslims... you get the idea. Seemingly more Muslims be all crazy and shit.
  5. Islam is incredibly decentralized (other than Sunni/Shia) compared to Christianity. Most Christians belong to some denominational church that has central representation and are unused to the idea of religious people belonging to tiny, hyper-local churches whose beliefs can be almost any crazy-ass thing (well, unless you're an Evangelical in the American South). They can't understand why there isn't a "Muslim Pope" or the equivalent telling radical Muslims to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND STOP KILLING PEOPLE.

In conclusion: There are an overwhelming majority of Muslims who believe in peaceful coexistence and don't care about the bullshit parts of the Quran any more than most non-fundamentalist Christians mind the bullshit in Leviticus. But more Muslims than Christians live in shitty parts of the world where being a violent asshole is sometimes okay. Muslims have more assholes in total, although not necessarily per capita. And unfortunately, there are no massive moderate voice(s) of Islam to make the PR case to Western/Christian audiences that most Muslims are peaceful.

If you are afraid of all Muslims, it is pretty much the same as being an old white lady in the Bronx who is afraid of all black people because you think they are "more likely to commit a crime in your neighborhood." You may not be technically incorrect but you are still wrong about the vast majority of black people you see.

TL/DR: don't blame "Muslims" as a whole for the Asshole Muslim population.

Comment Re: It's a good idea, but shouldn't be on by defa (Score 1) 212

For them, having a variable cost they literally have no control over

That is literally the dumbest thing I have read today. Yes, your mobile phone usage is a random number selected from a hat each month by your wireless company and arbitrarily inserted into your bill for kicks, with no involvement from you.

think DDoS ... I'm just waiting for the first (desktop and/or server) malware that sends a steady stream of packets to random AT&T and Verizon mobile IPs

I'm not sure who your phone company is, but most wireless networks I know of assign dynamic non-routable IP addresses behind carrier grade NAT to their customers' mobile devices. So, you know, good luck with your DDoS there.

Think class-action, because you KNOW neither providers will block that traffic when they could bill for it instead.

Yes, wireless companies are just dying to have people flood their networks with junk packets so they have an excuse to overbill people. They certainly don't do anything already to prevent just that kind of thing. You uncovered the conspiracy! You should probably just go out and spend the money right now that you are planning to win from your class action lawsuit. I hear tinfoil hats are on sale, but you may not wish to prop up the widely known corrupt practices of Big Tinfoil.

Comment Re:SAR (Score 4, Informative) 127

I had that idea years ago. They could mount one in a chopper and once they get a ping, crank down the range to quickly narrow the search.

That's almost entirely unnecessary (and this article is almost total crap).

If your cellphone is turned on (and not out of battery), and within range of a cell tower, your provider will know about it. Your phone "checks in" every so often to make sure calls to it are being routed to the correct tower. Police can lawfully, with a warrant, subpoena this information from your provider, no Stingray required. If for some reason your phone was on but outside the range of any cell towers, your idea might make some sense. But in that case it wouldn't need to be a Stingray per se; a portable cell tower (like providers deploy for disasters/emergencies) would do the trick just the same.

Oh, and while I'm at it, college students have no way to access the information of cell phones pinging providers' cell towers. The closest you could reasonably get is if they have each others' iPhone "Find My Friends" or Android equivalent, which would actually pull a full GPS location off the phone. But that is available to every jackass in the world you choose to share your location with, no engineering prowess or ingenuity involved. And it has nothing to do with "tower pings."

TL/DR; Stingrays not necessary. College students have no legal access to the cellphone tower "ping" information and shouldn't. Slashdot editors should consider actually, you know, editing story submissions into being cogent rather than clickbait.

Comment Re:Are you a crypto masochist? (Score 2) 174

All of the medicine prior to the XX century, whether advanced or not, had one thing in common and it was pay-as-you-go-basis.

You know what else medicine had in common prior to the 20th century? People died early and often. As late as the 19th century in the US, surgery frequently involved a saw and they didn't even know to wash their hands before performing it. They had no concept of the role of sterilization or even cleaning wounds in preventing infection. No x-rays, no anesthesia (other than a slug of whiskey), no medications - no wonder it was cheap. The rural county doctor could make a 25 cent house call on you because he didn't do anything f---ing useful, and hoped you got better anyway. Or in earlier centuries he'd use some leeches on you before he left. Hospitals as such were places for people to be brought to die, rather than to be cured. So, yeah, it was cheap, and you got what you paid for. Also, you know what didn't exist before the 20th century? Malpractice lawsuits.

I think the modern healthcare industry is a clusterf--k and severely in need of reform, but to compare it to previous centuries is absurd. Comparing costs of today's healthcare, for all its deficiencies, is like comparing the cost of an airliner to an oxcart and saying "in the good old days, it cost a ha'penny to buy a vehicle to get around."

Comment Re:Alcoholics Anonymous (Score 2, Insightful) 373

Fine, but the fact that your government spied on you illegally (which honestly should have shocked no one who has been paying attention since J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI) doesn't justify unrelated and uninformed privacy invasion theories. And while I don't think I want to waste time reading TFA, if the summary is accurate, I am disappointed in The Atlantic, an otherwise reputable source of journalism.

For example, while I think Google is filled with smug, hypocritical bastards, I have never ever heard a serious accusation that they are selling search results to spammers. Or e-mail marketers of any stripe, actually. If the author genuinely believes that he started getting spam about art purchases because he searched for a gallery's address in Google, that is a HUGE accusation against Google - that they are selling spammers e-mail addresses of people who search for stuff. Fucking HUGE. There's some proof that this is why he's getting spam, right? He's absolutely sure he didn't, for example, sign in at the gallery and leave his e-mail, which was viewed and copied down by others? Or something else? Anything?

You're wise to watch your privacy, if that's something you care a lot about. But be very VERY careful when you start attributing where and how your privacy is being violated unless you can actually prove what is going on and not just making guesses. You can be right about the effects and still wear a monster tinfoil hat about the causes, which still discredits your reasoning.

Comment Re:NK and Iran (Score 2) 139

I'm not sure which is worse. You only have 1 example (NK) to show, but the US has toppled more than one leader and supported more than one brutal regime.

So what? The Russians have toppled more than one leader and supported more than one brutal regime as well. So have the Brits, the French, the Saudis, the Chinese, the Italians, the Japanese, the Venezuelans, the Pakistanis, and the... well, I pretty much dare you to find a country that had any significant degree of wealth or power and didn't exercise it in promoting or dethroning dubiously moral leaders in other countries. Oh, shut up Switzerland, nobody cares about you.

It's a sort of "risk/reward" equation. How does one balance years of tyranny under a brutal regime against the bad actors?

If you're positing that every ten-cent, tin-pot dictator in the world deserves to have nuclear weapons so that they can avoid being bossed around or dethroned by another country's influence, you can certainly make that argument. But it's an absolutely terrible argument in favor of nuclear proliferation, since it will result in nuclear wars. Unquestionably. Do you think that South Sudan would still exist if Sudan had nukes? That if Iran or Iraq had nukes in the 1980s that large parts of both their territories wouldn't today be large radioactive parking lots? Visualize what a dickhead Robert Mugabe is and honestly tell me that the world would be a better place if he was a nuclear-armed dickhead just so he could refuse international pressure to GTFO.

You can make cogent arguments that some currently non-nuclear powers (or non-declared nuclear powers) could be responsible with nukes. But treating nuclear proliferation as some kind of positive just because it might keep the big powers out of your backyard - no matter how batshit insane you are or your likelihood to sell those nukes to terrorists because you want another gold-plated Gulfstream V - is not a sane or serious argument.

Comment Re:No, just no. (Score 3, Interesting) 696

The idea that in every field, we must have 50/50 is simply stupid.

I completely agree with you on this. As a worker in the technology field, I believe this is an area that naturally suits a meritocracy (confession: this is also why I am not a big union supporter specifically in tech). With that being said, I think Slashdotters should consider that there are some potential upsides to "getting women into tech/coding" efforts:

1.) I believe that people have natural affinities to certain fields of endeavor. It's possible (probable?) that more women than men don't find tech attractive. However, it is undeniably true that there may be some females who would otherwise like tech but are discouraged by a culture that feels like it is discriminating against them. To throw out a counter-example: I see a disproportionate(?) number of Slashdot posters who express no interest in sports. (I am a huge nerd and huge NFL fan, BTW.) What percentage of those Slashdotters might otherwise have found that they really like (football, baseball, hockey, whatever) but were turned off by a middle/high school culture where the football players were dicks and picked on nerds? Had they had a different environment in which to acclimate themselves to the topic, would they have found something that they really enjoyed and are missing out on because of how they were introduced to it? I was introduced to sushi in the mid-90s by a group of rich douchebag semi-friends (I used to spend on food in a whole day what they spent on a single sashimi order) who insisted I throw a glob of wasabi on top of everything, and I hated it. It took me more than a decade to figure out it was something I really liked just because of the social context in which I first experienced it, and when I tried it "on my own terms" I found out I loved it.

2.) Racists are generally people who have never spent serious personal time with a large group (not just a few) of people they discriminate against. Most of their opinions are formed by inherited bias or media. Similarly, MOST (not all) misogynists are generally men who have had very limited SERIOUS interpersonal experience with women outside their family. (I want to note for the record that my 17-year-old, turned-down-by-every-girl-I-asked-out self would certainly have qualified as a misogynist; just like at that age I thought "fags" were perverts because I didn't actually "know" any, even though I knew several who were my friends but I didn't know they were gay). Just like I think the "cure" for racism is to actually get to know a LOT of people of other races (not just a few and in limited contexts), I think the "cure" for misogyny is to get to really know a LOT of women, as friends, bosses, subordinates, co-workers, whatever. It may not relieve your frustration with dating, but it will certainly change your opinion of "what women want/are." And having more women VOLUNTARILY in tech cannot possibly help but make that situation better.

TL/DR: it makes no sense to force women into tech or require a certain percentage of workers be women (or other minorities). But efforts that encourage females (but don't mandate them) to enter tech should be encouraged by every male tech worker.

Submission + - "First, Let's Get Rid of All the Bosses" - the Zappos Management Experiment

schnell writes: The New Republic is running an in-depth look at online shoe retailer Zappos.com's experiment in a new "boss-less" corporate structure. Three years ago the company introduced a management philosophy that came from the software development world called "Holacracy," in which there are no "people managers" and groups self-organize based on individual creativity and talents. (When the change was announced, 14% of the company's employees chose to leave; middle management openly rebelled, but perhaps surprisingly the tech organization was slowest to embrace the new idea). The article shows that in this radically employee-centric environment, many if not most employees are thrilled and fulfilled, while others worry that self-organization in practical terms means chaos and a Maoist culture of "coercive positivity." Is Zappos the future of the American workplace, a fringe experiment, or something in between?

Comment Re:Not competitive (Score 1) 92

Between CNN and Flipboard, I can read lots of news for free

People don't go to the NY Times for the same news they can read on CNN etc. (I say this as one of the million digital NYT customers referenced in the article). CNN and free news aggregators tend to just republish stories they licensed from the Associated Press or UPI. (True fact: you can be a "news site" without having a single reporter, just pay your AP license and publish recycled content all day long! viz. Breitbart)

"Premium" news outlets like NY Times, Wall Street Journal, FT, Economist, Washington Post, etc. spend the money required in many cases to actually send their own reporters out who can do original reporting and offer additional information, differing views, or focus on in-depth/investigative reporting and add some "why" to the "how" that most AP stories consist of. That's worthwhile reading to me, and why I am more than OK paying a subscription for it - I think supporting quality journalism is an important thing to do. Otherwise nothing will be left but the Breitbarts of the world.

Comment Re:Monopoly on what exactly (Score 2) 216

I can't believe you think that's what I am saying. I am not saying they ARE the same. I'm saying, legally, HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT.

Legally, if I take a girl out on a date and I pay for a nice dinner and we have sex afterwards, it's not prostitution. That's because - although she might not have had sex with me if I didn't pay for dinner - there was no expressed or implied contract (offer, acceptance, exchange of value) saying that she DEFINITELY would have sex with me SPECIFICALLY in exchange for free dinner. Likewise, if a friend drives me somewhere and I offer to pay for gas, my friend may or may not take me up on it but will still drive me. If my friend said "if you agree in advance to reimburse me for gas and pay me for my time, then I will drive you there," then yes you have a contract for transportation services.

When you catch an Uber ride, there is a legal, contractual exchange of money happening explicitly for performance of services. It's not a very gray area at all. Legally speaking.

Computers can figure out all kinds of problems, except the things in the world that just don't add up.