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Comment Re:Maintaining status quo... (Score 1) 71

Why is it a bad thing to *limit* the number of countries which have the ability to cause such destruction? Especially in the case where the major countries that *have* such weapons have shown great restraint for nearly as long as the weapons have existed.

When a country has nuclear weapons, the US stops meddling in its internal affairs and begins to treat it as an equal.

There are counterexamples both directions.

Comment Re:Computer science pretty much is a science (Score 1) 181

science |sns| noun the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

Information and computation are part of the physical and natural world. As we delve into the nature of subatomic particles, many are beginning to theorize that, in fact, reality is constructed of patterns, of data. Computer science, at heart, is the study of data and data transformation.

Also, one branch of computer science, artificial intelligence, is working to understand the structure and behavior of the most amazing part of nature... the brain. How does thinking work? And what is its essence, decoupled from the physical structure in which we see it? We don't know the answers to those questions, but it is computer science that will provide them.

Disclaimer: I'm a physicist, which makes me a REAL scientist.

I doubt that. I know a lot of physicists, and none of them are as blind and narrow-minded as you appear to be.

Comment Re:Author is not impressive. (Score 1) 279

I'm not keen on dying in a car accident as the result of a software glitch--because no manual override was included, because ON AVERAGE the software does much better than humans.

But you are keen on dying in a car accident as a result of driver fatigue, distraction, lack of skill or physical glitch (say, the guy in the oncoming lane has a heart attack), because ON AVERAGE human drivers do much worse than the software?

It's all a question of odds, and not choosing the option that maximizes the odds is stupid.

Comment Re:Not Right Away (Score 1) 279

By "keep going straight", I meant more "stay on the road in the current lane" than "generally go straight ahead." The latter we have today (assuming your car is properly aligned and you don't veer onto the sidewalk). The former would be a step towards self-driving cars.

There are several cars on the market that already do lane following. Have been for a few years now. So far they all try to require you to at least keep your hands on the wheel, in an effort to try to make you pay attention, but it turns out that at least some are pretty easy to fool:

So, yes, we already have this, though we try not to.

Comment Re:Absent sci-fi tech (Score 1) 641

And without calling Sir Issac Newton a liar, a bullet imparts significantly more energy onto the recipient than the shooter.

Nope, to say that you have to call Sir Isaac Newton a liar. A bullet imparts significantly less energy onto the recipient than the shooter. Recoil springs and slide rails don't absorb any of that energy, they just spread it over a longer period of time. Large muzzle brakes actually can some of the energy in the direction, but those only exist on very large-caliber weapons (mostly .50 BMG).

Comment Re:Absent sci-fi tech (Score 1) 641

Number three,and to a lesser extent two, are what people are referring to with the term "Stopping power". If a bullet is said to have more stopping power, they usually mean hydroshock temporarily interrupting nervous system function. It isn't just for the central nervous system however, it works everywhere. Think of it this way, have you ever been struck so hard or hit something so hard that part of your body went numb? Imagine that feeling applied with an order of magnitude more force through a bullet hit.

Actually, a bullet strike generally carries much less energy than many other forms of impact that you might receive, and be stunned by.

By your own admission stopping power isn't a myth, just firearms jargon you were not fully aware of.

It's a myth in handguns. And actually pretty rare even in rifles.

Comment Re:Absent sci-fi tech (Score 1) 641

The only practical solution currently is rubber bullets. The cops get to keep the ease of use and most of the stopping power of a gun but the lethality levels go way down.

"Stopping power" is a myth -- a rather obvious one if you think about the physics. The bullet can't carry any more energy than is imparted on the shooter, and actually carries less.

People who are shot stop for one of four reasons.

1. People stop because they know they're supposed to fall down when they get shot. That is, the bullet doesn't actually do any incapacitating damage, but they fall down anyway. Rubber bullets might be able to do this, but it doesn't work on everyone, and once everyone knows the police are carrying rubber bullets, it will work on even fewer people.

2. People stop because the bullet did structural damage that prevents them from being able to move. Mostly this means broken bones in strategic places. For example, if a bullet shatters an ankle or a knee, you're going to have a hard time walking. If a bullet shatters your pelvis, you will be completely unable to even stand. Rubber bullets can't do this reliably, and might not be able to do it at all.

3. People stop because the bullet severely traumatized their central nervous system. Shoot someone in the head and they'll (usually) switch off like a light. Rubber bullets might be able to do this, sometimes (e.g. penetrating through an eye socket, or through a thinned area of the skull), but not non-lethally. Very high-powered rounds can also achieve the same instant lights-out effect through hydrostatic shock. A large-caliber rifle round to the upper chest, for example, might not do lethal damage (assuming treatment is quickly available), but might generate a hydrostatic shock wave that slams into brain and/or brain stem with enough force to temporarily disable the target. Handguns cannot do this, it requires enough energy that it's really only feasible to get from a weapon with considerable recoil, enough that you almost certainly need a stock to transmit the recoil to the shooter's torso. Rubber bullets carrying that much energy would probably penetrate, assuming it was even feasible for police to regularly carry high-powered hunting rifles (note that mid-energy weapons like AR-15s can't do it).

4. People stop because they black out from blood loss. This is the primary goal of shooting someone with a handgun, to create a hole (or, more likely, holes) that open up large blood vessels, causing the target's blood pressure to drop dramatically, reducing blood flow to the brain and causing a blackout. It's most reliably achieved by several bullets into center mass, into the large mass of organs and blood vessels in the torso. Rubber bullets can't do this. And if they could they'd be no less lethal than lead bullets.

So, no, rubber bullets do not provide "stopping power". They're useful for harassing people who are willing to run away when faced with painful bruises, and they have the advantage (to the police) that the bruises can be delivered from a distance. But against someone you really want to stop? No way.

You've been Berkeley'ed!