Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Comment: Re:How ghey (Score 1) 42

by MillionthMonkey (#48667375) Attached to: NuSTAR Takes Beautiful X-ray Image of Sol

If we start doing major exploration of deep space we're gonna need to use less ambiguous names for the sun and moon, as other planets may have a sun and moon.

We will never do major exploration of deep space where we get closer to another star than to this one. If we do, humanity can define two constants in file headers.

Comment: Re:The good outweights the bad (Score 5, Interesting) 191

by invid (#48666403) Attached to: The World Is Not Falling Apart
Economic inequality is just getting back to its historical levels. Starting with the Great Depression, the US government realized it had to do some serious wealth redistribution to avoid societal collapse. Then came World War II, another big wealth redistribution. After the war there was the GI bill and the Cold War, where the United States, in order to look good compared to Communism, tried to build the Great Society. After the Cold War there was no reason for those in power to reduce economic inequality, so now it's going back to the norm for history.

Comment: Re:from the what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this dep (Score 1) 290

by MillionthMonkey (#48655023) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens
My "Brainfuck for Dummies" book will have a lot of buggy sample code now that Amazon has decided I can only make 1 decrement per 10000 instructions. So I have to implement Brainfuck unit tests... and I just finished the chapter on how to write the code delinter and the JIT compiler!

Comment: Re:Like little children (Score 3, Insightful) 359

by invid (#48655015) Attached to: North Korean Internet Is Down
Um...politics and warmongering is the price we have to pay for not having a global dictatorship. If you have large groups of people who disagree with each other there needs to be a method of getting things done while allowing for the representation, at least to some degree, of these disparate groups. Would you prefer to have the world run by dictator who thinks like you (or perhaps you yourself would like to be the dictator) so you can advance to the world toward what you think is best, irregardless of what others want?

Comment: Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score 1) 290

by plover (#48653563) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

The screen readers for the blind emit nonsense words when fed typographically incorrect input. Be glad you're not blind, and don't have to deal with them.

And that character on your keyboard, above the equals sign? It's the right one to use, but the author didn't use it. Instead, he made 100 typos using the wrong symbol.

Comment: Re:LOL ... w00t? (Score 2) 290

by plover (#48652885) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

What's news then, is that Amazon can't deploy a simple perl script to fix common typography errors such as these.

There is nothing simple about typography, and a script such as you describe would cause more damage than it would fix. Any editor has to fully understand English, to know which word is the right choice, to understand syntax and grammar, and to know when a writer is deliberately or playfully bending the rules.

If you want to see what the state of the art in automated editing looks like, try using Word's grammar checker. If all of its advice is followed, it can make any interesting story read as blandly as an 8th grader's essay paper on the history of frogs.

Comment: Re:One number to breach them all (Score 4, Informative) 97

by plover (#48639961) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

I can only think the reason it hasn't been fixed is because fraud makes the banks money and they love seeing stories like this.

Well, you would be very wrong. Fraud costs both the retailers and the banks money. The real problem is that issuing new chip cards would cost the banks more than the fraud. Not only are the cards about a dollar more expensive each, and they still have to be re-issued about every three years, but the systems that inject encrypted keys into them, and store the keys on their databases, are very expensive. Banks are notoriously cheap when it comes to spending money that won't make them money.

The other reason EMV hasn't rolled out across the U.S. is that millions of retailers have about 12 million old credit card terminals spread across the country, and most are owned by cheap store owners who don't like being told they have to spend money to replace them. Most retailers have been dragging their feet, not wanting to make an expensive change. But the new members of the breach-of-the-month club are mad about the insecure systems they've been forced to use, and are now championing the rapid switch to EMV instead of fighting it. The smaller retailers are also impacted now, and are no longer resisting.

The irony is that EMV readers for the small retailers are far, far cheaper than the old terminals, and the rates for using new companies like Square, Intuit, and PayPal are much lower than the typical old bank rates for the old credit card readers.

Comment: Re:I think it's about time... (Score 4, Informative) 97

by plover (#48639775) Attached to: Staples: Breach May Have Affected 1.16 Million Customers' Cards

I think it's about time we implemented some sort of single use credit card system.

That's how Chip and PIN works. Your account number is still fixed, but your authorization to spend from it (your PIN) is encrypted by the chip, and is valid only for a single transaction. There are still kinks with non-electronic transactions, but those can be solved.

Look for it to be all over the US by October of next year.

Comment: Re:Marijuana is still illegal everwhere in the US (Score 1) 480

by plover (#48633007) Attached to: Colorado Sued By Neighboring States Over Legal Pot

Supply, demand, taxes, and regulations all combine to control the prices. If people are willing to pay X, and you're selling all your product, why would you reduce prices? All it would do is lower their profits; if they're even making any.

My guess is there are a lot of hidden factors, like big insurance costs. Most insurance policies have an exemption so they don't pay out if you're doing something illegal. This means they may have to self-insure, or find a company willing to take on the risk of a federal bust - and that likely isn't cheap. Maybe the state has a tax rate designed to keep the costs high to minimize chronic abuse. Maybe the costs of physical security are high. Likely all of the above will continue to keep prices very high.

Comment: Middle age starts at 45 (Score 1) 258

by invid (#48629143) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...
When I was 40 I still felt young. I could still exercise regularly without too many muscle pulls and I could still eat a lot without gaining weight. Then I hit 45. It was like hitting a wall. My back started aching and my belly started to grow. And that's when I started to look old. At forty I could pass for early thirties. At 45 I could pass for 45.

What the world *really* needs is a good Automatic Bicycle Sharpener.