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: Re: Why does this need a sequel? (Score 1) 298

by Samantha Wright (#48593013) Attached to: Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

...Not having any particular stake in this argument, are we quite sure that's Tyrell's intended meaning, something so mundane? I think Tyrell is more taking about stuff like this:

I have seen things you people wouldn't believe Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like [small cough] tears in rain. Time to die

...i.e., Roy's greatness and accomplishment as a person. At that point, Tyrell wants to sooth Roy and make him accept his place by calling him amazing. Simply saying "well, that's the cost of bein' so darn strong" conflicts with his next line: "And you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy."

Comment: Re:Free Enterprise (Score 2) 184

by sirlark (#48562127) Attached to: Swedish Police Raid the Pirate Bay Again

While I agree with most of what you say, including your conclusion that the complete removal of copyright will mean de facto replacement by a patronage system, you miss two crucial points. Firstly, the fundamental difference between the arts in before the 19th century and today is that the distribution costs are now negligible, especially if the distribution is digital, but even if the distribution is physical. It costs less to produce most art in physical form and more importantly to reproduce than ever before in human history, yet prices do not come down. There's also a clear divorce between production costs and retail costs. A new DVD from a block buster movie with a budget in the 100's of millions costs the same or less to buy than the latest top 10 CDs with production budgets in the 10's of millions. Consumers get this, they understand they're being screwed by the CD producers. They're being charged what the CD producers think the market will bear... except clearly the market won't bear it, because piracy is rampant. Music producers (especially) love to harp on about lost sales, but flat out refuse to consider piracy as market indicator. Let's assume there were a full proof way prevent piracy. Sales would stay pretty flat, or I suspect drop a fair bit. People pirate way more than they could ever afford to buy, and if suddenly forced to buy everything, they would pick and choose a lot more, like back in the 80's and early 90's when kids saved their pocket money to buy that one album they'd been eyeing for three months. Concert and performance revenue would probably fall off (except for really big, well publicised, acts, i.e. the guys who are already coining it) because of lack of exposure. CD prices would be forced down. Lack of exposure is why I think CD sales might actually drop in this scenario. The same argument holds for other types of digitally reproducible art.

Secondly, the content-creation (for want of a better term) industry is a lot like the the professional sports industry. We only really here about the super stars, who are 1% of all the attempts at success. The current copyright regime is already in effect a patronage system, except the "rich dudes" are rich corporations who decide who they will promote. Yes consumers can vote with their money, which only constrains who will be promoted to largely popular inoffensive artists, whereas in a true patronage system the individual tastes of the rich dudes funded a wider variety of creative efforts. There are also a lot more "rich dudes" now than ever before. They're called the middle class. They have a fair amount of disposable income. No single person in the middle class has the money to fund an artist in the same way as traditional patronage systems, but there are vastly more potential consumers for art than ever before in human history, and what's more is the skills required to reproduce a performance and the costs involved are way less than before too, allowing artists to either manage distribution themselves, or pay substantially less than previously to someone else to do it for them.

I view piracy as a form of civil disobedience protesting inflated prices. If digital content were reduced to 25% I'm pretty sure sales would more than quadruple. Also, considering the percentages the artists get paid, they're getting screwed the least by piracy. I know that there are plenty of other people involved in music and film production, but for the most part, they all get paid salaries, not royalties. So they're not getting screwed by piracy.

P.S. I'm viewing things from a South African perspective, where minimum wage is approximately $1 an hour and new release DVDs cost about $18 ~ $25, and a new CD will set you back around $20. E-books range widely from $1 to $15, and physical books are minimum of $25 hard cover, $12 paperback. At minimum wage South Africans have to work 2 and a half days to afford a DVD/CD/Ebook/book.

Robotics

Robots Put To Work On E-Waste 39

Posted by Soulskill
from the robots-disassembling-robots dept.
aesoteric writes: Australian researchers have programmed industrial robots to tackle the vast array of e-waste thrown out every year. The research shows robots can learn and memorize how various electronic products — such as LCD screens — are designed, enabling those products to be disassembled for recycling faster and faster. The end goal is less than five minutes to dismantle a product.

Comment: Re:Something we don't really need (Score 2) 30

Main advantage: I want a phone with everything... Best camera, biggest storage best screen. Right now, that cost's me bout $1000 in my country before the reverse subsidizations kick in. I say reverse, because in my country, buying a phone on plan costs more over time than buying the phone outright upfront for the more expensive phones, taking into account the costs of the plan without any phone. That's a BIG layout where I'm from, but if I can buy those components over time and upgrade according to my own priority list, I can assemble the phone within my budget. Better, after two years roll by, I only have to upgrade the components which are underpowered for me. The screen won't degrade over time, so I can keep that. The battery might need replacement, and the camera upgrading. Chances are a quad-core will still be sufficient in 2 years, if PC's are anything to go by. Wifi, bluetooth, NFC, qi charging, etc... once they're in, they won't need upgrading for a while.

Comment: Re: Oracle (Score 2) 146

by sirlark (#48109331) Attached to: Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

It does NOT require creativity. It requires logic. I do this for a living too, and have done so for 30 years. Two people trying to solve the same problem (developing a communications protocol, because that's what an API is) are almost always going to come up with the same solution. Even if they don't, the number of possible solutions is small, and it's NOT a creative choice picking one above the other, it's a technical choice.

Government

Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality 336

Posted by samzenpus
from the ignoring-you-is-easy dept.
walterbyrd writes The rulemaking process does not function like a popular democracy. In other words, you can't expect that the comment you submit opposing a particular regulation will function like a vote. Rulemaking is more akin to a court proceeding. Changes require systematic, reliable evidence, not emotional expressions . . . In the wake of more than 3 million comments in the present open Internet proceeding-which at first blush appear overwhelmingly in favor of network neutrality-the current Commission is poised to make history in two ways: its decision on net neutrality, and its acknowledgment of public perspectives. It can continue to shrink the comments of ordinary Americans to a summary count and thank-you for their participation. Or, it can opt for a different path.
Medicine

Ebola Has Made It To the United States 475

Posted by Soulskill
from the cdc-recommends-chaos-and-panic dept.
An anonymous reader sends news that the CDC has confirmed the first case of Ebola diagnosed on U.S. soil. An unnamed patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas was placed in isolation while awaiting test results for the dreaded virus. Apparently, the patient had traveled recently to a West African country, where the disease is spreading, and later developed symptoms that suggested Ebola. A blood specimen from the patient was sent to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, a testing process that can take 24 to 48 hours to confirm an Ebola infection — or not. The results came back about 3:32 p.m. In other Ebola news, outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal appear to be completely contained.

Comment: Charge for fixed costs (Score 1) 488

by sirlark (#48025819) Attached to: Energy Utilities Trying To Stifle Growth of Solar Power
Where I live, one pays a hefty deposit when your are connected to the grid in a residential property (refunded when you sell, paid when you buy). In addition, one is charged a flat monthly connection fee plus a usage based fee. It sound like the utilities just need to (a) start charging a monthly connection fee to cover their fixed costs, and (b) if they are already charging this, increase that fee accordingly as renewable power generation increases. If someone doesn't want to pay the connection fee, and feels they can get by on power generated by themselves alone, they can disconnect from the grid.

Comment: It's complicated (Score 1) 159

by sirlark (#48014439) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Software Issue Tracking Transparency - Good Or Bad?
First of all, if you are developing a proprietary software product, you're legal department might want to weigh in on the exposure of code via submitted patches on a public bugzilla database. Secondly, if you're developing an ERP system, you have a LOT of established, mature, and tested (which will be interpreted by the PHBs looking to buy your product as "bug free") competitors out there. in this case exposing the bug database HIGHLIGHTS your products immaturity, which is probably a bad thing for sales. That said sales should realise they are marketing an immature product. Presumably your product has other differentiating points that will help it gain market share, and I'm assuming lower price is probably one of the main selling points. Sales cannot hide the fact your product is immature, but they do have a point asking you not to go around highlighting it. The last thing, is to do an in depth analysis of the costs of running the public database, versus the costs of sanitizing reports on a regular basis plus the added burden of support staff to manage the bug database on behalf of clients. The bean counters are aware of the fact that there should be staff dedicated to shielding customers from the ugliness of the development process, and that those people shouldn't be developers, because developers cost more per hour... right? All in all, the gory details on your side will determine whether it's good business to continue in an open manner, or seal things up...

Comment: Re: finds little... (Score 1) 269

by Samantha Wright (#47894289) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little

The genes they identified were all proteins.

I'm not that much of an expert on microarrays, but I'm pretty sure most or all of the arrays they used predate the Encode project's results that made people re-evaluate the question of how much of the genome is really important. Here is a list of the arrays they used:

Illumina: HumanHap550, 318K, 350K, 610K, 660W Quad, HumanOmniExpressExome-8 v1.0, Human610 Quadv1, 370, 317, HumanOmniExpress-12v1 A

Affymetrix: GeneChip 6.0, 250K

This study was the keystone project of a consortium founded in early 2011. I think, given the size, it simply took this long to get the results. That, too, was a time before Encode publications had really started impacting the world. Whatever RNA genes they would have had at the time would be pathetic and paltry by comparison to what we consider worth studying now.

Comment: Re: finds little... (Score 1) 269

by Samantha Wright (#47882365) Attached to: Massive Study Searching For Genes Behind Intelligence Finds Little
We know that the most important distinctions between humans and other animals are in RNA genes, that most of the genome is transcribed as RNA genes and that the brain modifies itself using them and that malfunctions in them cause disease. This study ignored RNA genes entirely, AFAICT. Its mindset is about ten years out of date and simply reaffirms what everyone already assumed: proteins aren't everything. Intelligence probably still has a significant genetic component, this study just looks in the wrong place. (Psst: SNP studies are snake oil in almost all unsolved diseases.)

HELP!!!! I'm being held prisoner in /usr/games/lib!

Working...