Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

Comment wetware will have to do for now . . . (Score 2) 263

OK, so we're mostly software geeks here who have a vague idea how the underlying digital hardware works. It's not surprising that we think of 'uploading' a mind into our limited area of expertise. But why?

Is there something wrong with biology and existing brains? We can grow brains. We are learning the first steps toward interfacing with them. Let's do what we can with real brains while adventurous explorers probe the distant frontier of digital brains.

Comment echoes of a dark past . . . (Score 2) 281

Buyers should first consider the fate of Prince Prospero who hoped to avoid the death that awaited all the common people. You may have seen the movie "The Masque of the Red Death" starring Vincent Price. Or you may wish to read the very short story written by E. A. Poe in 1842 ... but with roots in the distant past:

Comment Re:give it a rest (Score 1) 767

So much hate here!

Classes of people are different from individuals. You may believe that a certain individual is deserving of respect or not. But when you refer to an entire class of people disrespectfully you are probably wrong and not deserving of respect yourself.

Please note the difference between individuals and categories of people. A category cannot whine. But it seems that a majority of slashdotters can hate. Have you forgotten that without women you would not be here? Do you refer to your mother the way you disdainfully speak of 'women' here? It boggles the mind that some smartass can refer to half the world's population as whiners.

Comment give it a rest (Score 1) 767

Looky here now; women, muslims, negroes, brown people, fat people, short people, homeless people, ugly people, retarded people, blind people and others frequently do have disadvantages. They become sensitive to certain words, gestures, behavior, innuendo...

It costs little to show a little respect. Maybe you are tall, wealthy and handsome. Maybe you don't fully understand others' perspective, but a small token of respect can be very important to them and might even come back to reward you. OK, probably not, but still...

Comment facts / beliefs (Score 1) 364

Teachers and parents instill 'facts' into children.

Literal facts are often greatly simplified for the convenience of the teacher and the level of a child's supposed understanding. Why does the light go on when you flip the switch? -- Because there is electricity. That answer will tide the child over for a while, after which a similar pablum will be offered. Questions about sex and thoughtless answers can be crippling to future adults.

Teachers and parents rarely have real facts, but they feel the need to impress the child nevertheless so they pretend to know. They don't understand electricity, or automobile mechanics or current nutritional discoveries or ANYTHING. They fake it. They lie. The child who is slow to realize that faces a lifetime of ignorance.

Perhaps worse is the oppression of beliefs paraded as facts

From Aesop's fables to legends about Hercules, Moses, Jesus, Tesla and Batman the minds of children are filled with a strange brew. Facts are hard to separate from beliefs. As children grow older, many develop a more sophisticated view of at least some of these 'facts'. But even (especially?) into old age many people believe what they hear from conservative hate mongers, persuasive preachers, advertising fantasies and other questionable sources.

The final problem along these lines is the binary solution to any issue.

A thing is either: true or false; up or down; on or off; left or right... Shades of grey, as one of our regulars likes to say, are not tolerated. Sadly, many polarized opinions on Slashdot indicate the insidious penetration of this concept into the highest realms of intellectual intercourse.(?)

It is supremely difficult for a parent or teacher to say:
"I don't know. Let's see if we can find the best answer to that question."
Every child suffers as a result.

Comment bomb . (Score 1) 186

Weapons are the universal language on earth. Throughout history they have been the harbinger of cultural intersections be they families, tribes or nations. They mark territories and religious domains. The desire for weapons stimulates progress in many other areas of life not the least of which is the economy of every significant culture. Weapons are the Lowest Common Denominator of life on earth and the distinguishing factor separating intelligent from other life forms.

Instead of the Voyager Golden Record, send them a big bad bomb to enlighten and warn them about us.

Comment a poor filtering system (Score 1) 112

The upside would be that the most skilled students would be admitted. The downside is that others will be disadvantaged not due to inability but to inexperience.

Two of my universities had a foreign language requirement. I attended and audited language classes on several occasions and in each case the classroom was full of native speakers of that language. My honors calculus class stunned me on the first day when the instructor discovered 3 advanced students and thereafter directed all his attention to them.

If these had been selection criteria, I would have failed; not because I was dumb or lazy but because others had a head start in some skill set. That is NOT a predictor of who will do well in school or in life.

Comment Re:The F-35 is having problems? (Score 1) 179

"IRAN managed to hijack a US drone."

I don't know the percentage of drone flights that are disabled. Is there a lot of that going on?

I also don't know the odds of a war against Russia, China or India. Are you suggesting we should arm ourselves for that? We haven't had any wars against such major powers in a very long time and our economic interdependence suggests we never will.

Our wars are less ambitious lately: war on drugs; war on terrorism; war on individual privacy ... Drones have been working for that, piloted craft not so much. The F-35 seems particularly useless.

Comment Re:The F-35 is having problems? (Score 0, Troll) 179

"And yet another bug in the slow-motion uber-expensive train-wreck that is the F-35 program."

Much of the expense of this boondoggle is due to accommodating a human on board. The tiny detail of ejector seat engineering is a fine example.

Why are we building such dinosaurs in this century? A similar pilotless craft could be faster, far more maneuverable, travel greater distances, and cost less. (Not to mention that no pilot would be at risk.)

Google could have a fully tested, state-of-the-art control system ready in 6 months (... or Lockheed could do it in 6 years at far greater cost). Use some of those remote pilots who work in comfortable quarters in Nebraska and you're ready to control the sky worldwide.

Comment Re:You don't understand art. (Score 1) 105

"It's interesting how someone's small waste of time can be snowballed into a collectively huge waste of time by so many others." - Will someone please mark the parent 'insightful'?

We've seen a great deal of bizarre 'art' since Warhol, etc. A great puzzle for me was Christo who would wrap shorelines with fabric, etc. ( ) but such eccentricities are becoming almost routine.

Whether or not it is art is not for me to say; but these things help stimulate a healthy imagination.

Comment john smith ? (Score 1) 447

Reviews for John Smith and Maria Rodriguez are likely to become cumbersome and useless. In fact, only those with a unique name will be readily discoverable at this site.

Unless the soulless site owner decides to include other personally identifiable information. That would be risky without the express permission of the person being reviewed. OTOH, if a reviewer happens to mention the address / phone # / sexual orientation of the reviewed individual, could the site owner be held responsible in your country?

Comment cooperation (Score 1) 57

We can't expect politicians, bureaucrats or international business to cooperate freely with others around the world. They perceive a world of competition, a world of scarcity in which winning requires others to lose.

But there is another way.

Scientists and engineers around the world have cooperated in the most important projects of our time: the International Space Station; the LHC; the Genome Project; Linux... Scientists often cooperate on medical, climate and other research. Engineers cooperate on Github, maker mobs and elsewhere.

Scientists and engineers are generally more interested in the fruits of their labor than the ebb and flow of political/military interests. They (we) can simply ignore their small minded governments and cooperate toward a free and safe internet for all.

Comment diamonds ! (Score 1) 47

Turn carbon to diamonds for the screens of iDevices, for Tesla windshields, for hyperdrive exhaust nozzles, for polychromicanderlids... For your girlfriend, for the soles of your shoes, for the poor and disenfranchised, for data storage. Diamond is a controlled substance currently and it would be beneficial to the economy and to industry to have an unlimited supply.

Comment politically correct causes for celebrities . (Score 2) 142

All these celebrities have their Public Relations advisers who tell them which are the politically correct causes of the moment. Diseases, for instance, should draw sympathy but not too much repulsion; thus you will not see oozing ebola corpses or other rotting flesh in their promotional advertisements. Yes, a hungry child or crutch-using victim of Glaubner's disease can make an interesting poster ad. Fashions come and go among charitable promoters and unfortunately few currently support malaria and other major killers because other causes make more headlines.

Celebrities have to strike a delicate balance between playing toward your sympathy, making them look heroic, and avoiding the impression of pandering and making them look arrogant. It's safe for them to promote puppies, breast cancer and internet-for-all.

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen