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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: what about linking to comments? (Score 1) 252

One of the biggest complaints back in October was that the beta site was limited to a relatively narrow max width. I don't recall exactly what it was -- around 900px, perhaps. In response to feedback, we made it responsive up to a much wider limit. We've also been busily implementing features as we work toward full parity with the old site. ...

Does "full parity with the old site" mean ALL functionality w.r.t. commenting? In the current beta, an important case of apparently lost functionality is that we can't link to individual comments. Or bookmark them for later reference – my biggest complaint. I'm not the first to point this out.

Part of the value in the comments, for myself at least, is not only the immediate functionality but (to repeat myself) the ability to refer to particular "gems" later; for example a good example of a licensing issue. Or a better coding idiom. A clever adaptation of an algorithm. And any of countless "gotchas"... For me, slashdot's also been a technical reference.

Of course you got lots of feedback about layout; that's what's immediately in people's faces. But read between the outrage: peoples' complaints about losing most of the expected UNIQUE commenting functionality IS CENTRAL.

Will linking to comments be re-implemented?

Comment: OT repost: it's not mostly the look! (Score 0) 341

by terryk29 (#46186455) Attached to: California Bill Proposes Mandatory Kill-Switch On Phones and Tablets

To the overlords: you're not being so dense as to think this is mostly about the look, are you? Read between the outrage: peoples' complaints about losing most of the expected UNIQUE commenting functionality IS CENTRAL. Do you really think this will be just like any other awkward change, people will grumble but return?

Do you think we're just a minority you can do without?

HEY YOU: some INDIVIDUAL overlord: you're wondering "hey, maybe they're right?" Afraid to go against the groupthink? Better add this to your resume: "assisted in the destruction of slashdot, a unique online community".

As one example of lost functionality: we can't link to individual comments. Or bookmark them for later reference - my biggest complaint. I'm not the first to point this out.

Comment: bookmarking comments and threads? (Score 1) 2219

by terryk29 (#46182869) Attached to: Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!

How many of us bookmark comments (for their content, or the entire threads they start)?

As everyone's saying, we're here for the comments. Myself, it's more than just "oh, good thought"; quite often in a technical discussion I'll bookmark a high-quality comment or thread if I feel there's a good chance I'll value it later on, for example when learning more about the topic for a new project.

Or maybe someone had a good example of a licensing issue. Or a nifty command line idiom. Or any of countless "gotchas"...

So for me, slashdot's also been a technical reference.

On the beta, bookmarking comments does not appear to be possible. (For any given comment, there doesn't seem to be anything that shows as a unique link like the current http: // And I guess all the gems I've bookmarked will be dead links.)

Comment: Re:Privacy Issues (Score 1) 273

by terryk29 (#46108807) Attached to: UK Government May Switch from MS Office to Open Source
And I'll second that. Disclaimer: I've used OO->LO for years, and only use MSO when it's someone else's party. So FWIW (and without concrete examples right here right now), I don't find the new UI (ribbon + redesigned dialogs) all that "discoverable", and the editing quirks/bugs seem to be more inexplicable (i.e. conditions of occurrence less apparent).

Comment: Re:HAHAHAHAHAHAHA (Score 2) 234

by terryk29 (#46105297) Attached to: 3D Printing of Human Tissue To Spark Ethics Debate

Why do people...

A depressing question. Another example is: why would anyone buy a brand-name off-the-shelf drug (e.g. pain reliever) when 1 foot away there's a generic for half the price? Half the time you don't even have to do any math (re. milligrams & qty) to see that (if the shelf labels don't already give the unit price).

Comment: Re:Really? (Score 2) 185

by terryk29 (#46060453) Attached to: A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life

"England says his ideas pose no threat to Darwinian evolution."


* Why would the article, or England for that matter, feel the need to explicitly state this?

[opinion] I feel like the scientific community has so rabid about avoiding anything resembling creationism that they have to reassure themselves when new ideas come up, even if the ideas are no threat to their core beliefs. [/opinion]

For more context, from the article:

England’s theory is meant to underlie, rather than replace, Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, which provides a powerful description of life at the level of genes and populations. “I am certainly not saying that Darwinian ideas are wrong,” he explained. “On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.”

I think what you are calling "rabid" is merely a defensive reaction to the dialogue from the camp that can't accept the reality of Darwinian theory.

There are plenty of examples of Darwinian unbelievers ;-) either misunderstanding or misrepresenting accepted or hypothesized scientific ideas in order to sway others. I recall a blurb (handed to me at the door of the house) that attempted to shoot down the scientific picture of "creation", and it quoted Stephen J. Gould directly disagreeing with the gradual evolution of species. Anyone somewhat familiar with the finer points of evolutionary theory will notice what was done there: it was probably a quote of Gould defending his qualifying theory of Punctuated Equilibrium, but taken out of context to apparently support creationism! (It also says a lot about the intended audience's level of informedness and critical thinking...)

As for the article, all we know is that in explaining his work to the reporter, he felt he had to say "I am certainly not saying that Darwinian ideas are wrong." Given the syndrome I referred to above, CYA responses like this are understandable. (BTW, I'm not implying the reporter asked something silly like "So does this contradict Darwinian theory"; more than likely she's well aware of this "syndrome" and doesn't want to further enable it.)

Comment: Re:Spell it out the first time (Score 1) 279

by terryk29 (#46020539) Attached to: Linus Torvalds: Any CLA Is Fundamentally Broken

In case you didn't know, there are holding companies buying up forums, news sites, aggregators, etc. ...and that company milks the forums for advertising revenue without really policing the forums for abuse anymore.

I guess that may explain those forums that now have those annoying "imposed" hyperlinks on users' posts - i.e. where some word is emphasized by the hosting system (i.e. not the poster), and if you hover on it you get some popup link. Sure, it's pretty obvioius (esp. since they at least use a different look e.g. a dashed underline) but I still find it distracting and annoying (if not insulting).

Comment: orbital parameters (Score 5, Informative) 67

by terryk29 (#46005739) Attached to: Comet-Chasing Probe Wakes Up On Monday

I dug around ESA's pages and finally found details on the orbital parameters: on Comet Rendezvous, under "Comet mapping and characterisation (August 2014)" (halfway down) it says: "...the spacecraft is inserted into orbit around the nucleus at a distance of about 25 kilometres. Their [sic] relative speed is now down to a few centimetres per second. "

That slow orbital speed (OK, slow compared to what we're used to dealing with) is due to the small mass of the comet (again, compared to things like the Earth or Moon), which Wikipedia gives as about 3e12 kg. Checking the math, the equation for circular orbital velocity v[circ] = sqrt(GM/R) ~= sqrt( (7e-11)(3e12) / 25e3 ) = 0.09 m/s = 9 cm/s, cool. (Even if the quoted 25 km is to the surface rather than the centre, using that figure for R is OK since the comet's radius is only about 2 km.)

FWIW, at the surface, escape velocity sqrt(2)*v[circ] = sqrt( 2(7e-11)(3e12) / 2e3 ) = 0.5 m/s. You could easily jump off of that comet!

With your bare hands?!?