Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

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: Re:Oh Look, a Car Analogy for Last Week's Story! (Score 5, Informative) 299

by tnk1 (#49514321) Attached to: Automakers To Gearheads: Stop Repairing Cars

This has nothing to do with the free market. This is using government regulation to prevent the fair use of your own property.

Although I wouldn't be surprised if someone made that lame brained argument on the automaker's side. They're no more in favor of a free market than a communist is. It just so happens that when they have bought out the government, government regulation works for them, and not as a means of checking them.

Comment: Re:Great pic (Score 1) 112

by tnk1 (#49514259) Attached to: Astronaut Snaps Epic <em>Star Trek</em> Selfie In Space

To another planet? A straight shot would require velocity matching of the objects in question as well as matching the required velocities to enter and maintain orbit. Possible already especially if you're super wasteful like using nuclear bombs like Orion. Fusion or Antimatter ships would be better.

To another star? To get to a close one, you'd need all of the above that plus enough energy to get to a substantial fraction of the speed of light and then back down again. That's not just a big engine, it's also a lot of stored fuel and provisions.

To get to a far one... generation ships or FTL travel. As FTL is completely fictional right now... generation ships. Or upload ships where we are simply stored data on an extremely well designed craft that boots us back up when we get where we are going.

Bear in mind, if FTL is possible, it may not take as much energy to do FTL as it would to get to .9c. Or that energy could be deployed in a static location, making it much easier technologically and logistically than having to fit a space-time altering thingy with a ton of energy generation in the small space of a starship. Think a jump gate or inertial nullifier or something.

If FTL is possible, it isn't likely to be a brute force application of pure energy which will do the job. You need a principle which allows you to affect space-time in some manner to make it "easier" to get between two points. Wormholes, warp bubbles, hyperspace, etc.

Comment: Re:Happy Friday from The Golden Girls! (Score 1, Funny) 166

by tnk1 (#49495025) Attached to: Scientists Close To Solving the Mystery of Where Dogs Came From

Sophia: Picture this... 1969... Baikonur Cosmodrome. I was snuck into the country by the CIA to infiltrate the Soviet space program. I got close enough to get in the running for First Woman in Space. Valentina Tereshkova beat me out, but I think it was because I'd caught Khrushchev's eye and space and he didn't want me to get killed. Nikita... what a guy.

Comment: Re: I thought we were trying to end sexism? (Score 2) 595

I'm also personally not against gender segregated high schools, although they do need to be equal in their resources and what they offer. The very idea that there might be a high school full of tech goodies that I wouldn't allowed to go to just because I was a boy is just torture.

I don't like the idea that girls might be kept from CS, but at the same time, I think the forces that are discouraging them don't actually come about because they lack opportunity of this sort. If anything it is a social thing. I don't know how a high school of classes to teach them what they shied away from to begin with, is going to help them want to be in CS more. The lack of interest starts elsewhere.

If you want girls to have the best shot at wanting to go into CS, you need to provide the tools when they're young and hook them then. Follow that up by finding a way to ensure that their decision is supported socially, and you won't need an all-girl's school to make them want to get into CS.

On the other hand, when I think of girls that age, I just see people who are a lot more social than your average CS person is. Girls are all over using computers now, in the form of smartphones and game consoles and other things, but nothing about girls at that age makes me think that they'd (on average) be overly interested in coding, which can be pretty anti-social in a real human contact sort of way. I think that coding itself has to change or it is going to continue to lack something for many young girls.

Comment: Re:MS and its past anti-trust woes (Score 1) 192

by tnk1 (#49491657) Attached to: Microsoft's Role As Accuser In the Antitrust Suit Against Google

Spending millions of dollars on that is still great cost.

The cases turned out to be a nuisance to them, but don't underestimate the amount of effort that went into making them so. The most effort goes into something that ends up looking effortless. They threw a lot of money at that issue, and they also had to change their strategy.

There was serious talk of breaking Microsoft up. The Federal government and state governments all taking a whack at it. That's a combination you don't often defeat and they beat that. Ma Bell herself couldn't beat that, and you could have argued that the phone company was a natural monopoly.

Comment: Re:there's a strange bias on slashdot (Score 1) 192

by tnk1 (#49491637) Attached to: Microsoft's Role As Accuser In the Antitrust Suit Against Google

Microsoft ISN'T good. And it isn't pretending to be, really. It's just turning around the monopoly stuff used on them and pointing it Google. It's corporate tactics, nothing more, nothing less.

Google isn't a horrible company, but it is definitely in a position where I expected it to be at this point. No longer the Messiah, it is just trying to adeptly make money for their shareholders while still doing a few interesting things. If they can make some of their interesting things stick, I'm good with that, but we know they're going to keep playing hardball with search, because ultimately, that's still where Google makes all its money, and that's what it needs to protect.

Comment: Re:there's a strange bias on slashdot (Score 1) 192

by tnk1 (#49491623) Attached to: Microsoft's Role As Accuser In the Antitrust Suit Against Google

8 is annoying, but it's basically 7 with some stupid shit added in. I use Windows 8.1 every day and aside from the Start screen, it's not really all that much different. Yes, you do have to make sure you don't have any of those stupid Metro apps opening up, but that's about it. There are even one or two improvements over Windows 7, although nothing huge.

Comment: Re:Hasn't this been proven to be junk science? (Score 1) 310

by tnk1 (#49489193) Attached to: A 2-Year-Old Has Become the Youngest Person Ever To Be Cryonically Frozen

Hope is our understanding of quantum mechanics. The cat should be dead, but it doesn't actually have to be until we open that box. And sometimes it isn't.

It's an essential part of the human condition because it represents a useful, if frequently futile, understanding that unexpected things actually do happen to our benefit. Occasionally.

Comment: Re:Long View (Score 1) 479

by tnk1 (#49489151) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

It's not a crock, and you're missing the point.

Paying people some income number is pointless and expecting it to all just "work out" isn't borne out by reality. Inflation itself puts the lie to that, but even if you try some sort of "fair" income which is pinned to inflation, you're still going to have people who get themselves in a position where they will give themselves commitments in excess of their income. This doesn't happen immediately to everyone, but it eventually it does shake out that way.

We need to define what comfort entails and simply provide it. If you try to game the market with increasing salaries to provide comfort, you're not going make it work. As you said, we based our prosperity on the need for skilled workers who needed stuff Americans made in factories. We don't have that any more and we can't fake that prosperity by throwing mere fiat currency at people. You need a system that provides comfort to people efficiently in a manner that they cannot squander it, even if they try to.

Once you've provided for comfort, the numbers start becoming luxury. We need to look at what provides actual comfort rather than trying to take people down a notch. I just feel like the focus is on the "unfairness" and not on the real problem. I don't care if someone is rich, if I'm okay. We need to make sure everyone is okay, and that we are able to sustain it.

Comment: Re:Long View (Score 1) 479

by tnk1 (#49488131) Attached to: Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries

The reality is that people who make more will tend to value themselves at that monetary value, and live that lifestyle, instead of realizing they are making 70k a year for a 40k job.

In theory, people would understand that and take the extra money and invest it, or at the very least, understand that the basis of their current standard of living is unstable, and take precautions to ensure their financial security.

The reality is, even though people are entirely capable of doing the math themselves, when some banker tells them they can "afford" a 700k house or when their politicking or nice boss causes them to be paid above scale, the loss of that becomes equivalent to the loss of some sort of human right. They then expect to be compensated for their loss, even though the economics doesn't support that rate of pay.

So no, that's not a reason to deny someone a raise, but it doesn't necessarily provide a fix for the problem that there are people out there who don't have the skills needed or alternately, there are more people with that skillset than there is demand for that skillset out there.

There are two problems out there, and they are not actually directly related. The first is that people see large inequities in wages between the top and the bottom. The second is that some people have trouble making ends meet.

Although many people feel as if the 1% taking a drastic pay cut will solve the problem of poverty, the reality is that it will not necessarily. If Bill Gates has 90 billion dollars and I make say 50k a year, but I have everything I need to live comfortably, then is Bill Gates making 90 billion actually a problem? The answer is "no".

The actual problem is determining why people are not making enough to be comfortable. And for that, we do need to understand the issue of pay inequity, but we need to look away from what I'd consider simple envy, and look at solutions that actually get people out of poverty. You could shear away all 90 billion of Gates' money and dump it into a welfare fund for everyone in the USA. That's $300 per person. Once. Period. Shear away the earnings of the top 1% and you might increase that into a few thousand per person in a one time, lump sum. That wouldn't even be enough to pay for a semester of college at a state school.

The amount of money you get isn't actually a problem. We can manufacture money. The government prints it. But what happens when we give more of that money to your average person? I'd argue that a lot of people would suddenly become better off and more comfortable, but within a generation or two, you'd be sliding back to where you started. Why? Because some people make poor decisions about how to spend their money. While you can suggest that they get "tricked" or swindled out of it, most con men will tell you that their scams work basically because people get greedy and disengage their brain. They ignore good solid math to make risky decisions or take gambles which feel good to them, but cause long term disaster. You can't make that problem go away by simply giving them a raise, because bad decision-making is a black hole which can consume any amount of money you throw at it.

And on the other hand, you have people like your Gates' or Buffetts of the world. Some people are good at making cars, some people are good at being doctors. They are simply good at making *money*. Making money is a skill like anything else is, and some people have that skill. Those people will generate cash, because they are good at it, and they enjoy it. Just like you enjoy watching your favorite TV show. Those sorts of people will on average, always make more money than everyone else. Its a matter of focus, not criminality. If your tax laws allow a tax haven, they will use it, because it helps them be more profitable. Is it their responsibility to not take that completely legal break because you don't think they "need" it? Do they get to tell you that maybe you shouldn't buy a McMansion that you would know you can't afford if you simply added up your mortgage payments for 5/10/30 years and compared it to your take-home salary?

The market isn't wise, the market is simply us. It isn't this mythical thing that exists separately from humanity, it reflects what we ourselves do, both our good and bad decisions. It isn't the Messiah or a Prophet, it is simply the way things are. If you want to change how things are, you don't try and game the market, you listen to what it is telling you and you act on that. If people are poor, there is a reason they are poor and that reason is not always external to them, nor is it always out of their control.

If you want to end poverty, you don't simply redistribute money. You create an ongoing basis for providing people certain comforts despite their bad decision-making. The tricky part is how we set the level of comfort and then how we pay for it, and how we make sure people value it. Does everyone get a house? Sounds good, but how do we keep it from becoming "The Projects" where no one respects what they have been given. If they're renting a place, they'll never really fully believe it is theirs, but if we give them a house to own, how do we keep them from selling it to pay for their gambling debts?

I think that the talk about the 1% is a red herring. There are some asshole rich owners out there, but I think we need to focus on what causes those lower down the income line to be unable to maintain their standard of living over time. Giving people at that level a raise is not a permanent fix, it's a band-aid. It could provide an opportunity for some motivated person to make something of it, but most people will burn it up, just as surely as if they lit the bills and smoked them.

Comment: Re:FWIW (Score 1) 699

by tnk1 (#49478707) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Which is why we don't do that.

A sliding scale of taxes implies that we give a certain value, politically, to certain sized religions. It's almost like an establishment of small, unobtrusive churches that don't threaten anyone and are easy to control. Which is sort of the same goal, with different tactics, that the old time governments had in establishing their state churches.

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.