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Comment: Re:Rubbish (Score 1) 326

by westlake (#48677277) Attached to: Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day

I doubt it's going to change anything, because customers are too used to computers not working. That is the real damage that 30 years of Microsoft dominance have done to the world.

The truth of it is that significant outages are rare considering the size of the Microsoft ecosystem.

The geek posts his rant to Slashdot in the hope that his story will make the front page before service is restored.

Comment: Re:They're assholes. (Score 1) 326

by westlake (#48675883) Attached to: Why Lizard Squad Took Down PSN and Xbox Live On Christmas Day

Why do these systems need network access to play a game bought on a disk? That is the bigger question, sure I can understand only supporting multiplayer through a centralized service, my issue is with the activation and phone home crap.

Consoles have long since ceased to be video game players alone.

That is why Xbox Live Status posts a breakdown by services and apps.

It is perfectly possible for activation and content management services to be up while multiplayer gaming is down.

That way the scope of these little disasters would be limited.

The geek needs to remember that he pays a high price for these attacks.

"The Lizard Squad" is a perfect fit for the popular stereotype of the eternally-adolescent-and-irresponsible geek, aka the malicious practical joker, the hacker. Each hack chips away at the geek's credibility and political effectiveness where he needs it the most.

Comment: Slow down, cowboy. (Score 3, Insightful) 37

by westlake (#48672837) Attached to: 300 Million Year Old Fossil Fish Likely Had Color Vision

OK, early fish could see in colors. And clearly modern birds (and their dino ancestors) can see in color

The mineralized rods and cones in this fossil fish are the first to be found in any vertebrate fossil. The argument for color vision in dinosaurs is more or less based on the theory that if a sexually attractive feather-like structure was colored, a dino must have seen it in color.

+ - 300 Million Year Old Fossil Fish Likely Had Color Vision ->

Submitted by westlake
westlake (615356) writes "Nature is reporting the discovery of mineralized rods and cones in a 300 million year old fossil fish found in Kansas. The soft tissues of the eye and brain decay rapidly after death, within 64 days and 11 days, respectively, and are almost never preserved in the fossil record — making this is the first discovery of fossil rods and cones in general and the first evidence for color vision in a fossilized vertebrate eye."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Pierre de Coubertin (Score 1) 232

by westlake (#48671419) Attached to: Should Video Games Be In the Olympics?

Get rid of the sports that cannot measure the success of the competitors using the Olympic motto: higher, faster, stronger. That means no figure skating, no synchronized swimming, and, especially, no more rhythmic gymnastics. Essentially, nothing that requires assigning a number to a performance via a panel of judges.

The motto was proposed by Pierre de Coubertin on the creation of the International Olympic Committee in 1894."These three words represent a programme of moral beauty. The aesthetics of sport are intangible."

I take that as an explicit rejection of the notion that the human element can be taken out of the equation.

That "higher, faster, stronger" implies an aesthetically pleasing and moral achievement, not merely something which can be captured and understood by examining the clock and camera alone.

Coubertin would go on to say that "The most important thing is not to win but to take part!"

Olympic symbols

Comment: Re:WTF UK? (Score 1) 358

by westlake (#48670793) Attached to: UK Man Arrested Over "Offensive" Tweet

the prevailing opinion remains, that any speech should be allowed and countered only with one's own speech.

That is simply not true.

Free Speech in the states has never been interpreted as a right to libel. To shout "Fire!" in a crowded theater.

The roots of free speech in American law lie deep in the desire for open and civilized debate over public affairs without fear of governmental interference and reprisals. But there can be no debate if the other side is free to shout you down, take control of the mike, drive you off the stage, threaten your life, your family.

Comment: There ain't nothing inevitable but death. (Score 1, Interesting) 113

by westlake (#48668025) Attached to: How Laws Restricting Tech Actually Expose Us To Greater Harm

Cory Doctorow has an article in Wired explaining why crafting laws to restrict software is going to hurt us in the long run. The reason?
Because we're on an irreversible trajectory toward integrating technology with our cars and houses, bodies and brains. If we don't control the software, then at some point, we won't control parts of our homes and our selves.

The technocrat in every generation sees himself as the undisputed, never-to-be-questioned, master of an irresistible force of nature. It stings when law and society intrudes to set some boundaries of their own.

Comment: "Many brave hearts are asleep in the deep" (Score 1) 439

by westlake (#48655429) Attached to: How Venture Capitalist Peter Thiel Plans To Live 120 Years

Thiel also plans to launch a floating sovereign nation in international waters, freeing him and like-minded thinkers to live by libertarian ideals with no welfare, looser building codes, no minimum wage, and few restrictions on weapons.

Looser "building" codes?

Traditionally, the sailor's greatest fear has always been fire, not water, but there are countless ways a poorly designed and engineered boat can kill you. Not that drowning is a particularly easy way to go.

No welfare? No minimum wage?

The Potemkin School of Maritine Management:

Rampant incompetence at very top, Long hours. Hard Work. Low Pay. Bad food, Unforgiving and hazardous environments. Not a trace of concern for the sick, injured or aging.

No wonder all those upper-class libertarian idealists on board are packing a rod.

Comment: Re:Welcome to what happens.... (Score 1) 291

by westlake (#48652533) Attached to: Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens

Welcome to what happens when you host your content on someone else's systems.

Amazon isn't your host.

It's your printer and publisher --- and both have always had a say in grammar, style and formatting.

The subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, has taken a lot of flack because these mostly self-published (aka vanity press) books have been edited so sloppily they wouldn't pass muster with your high school English teacher.

Comment: Re:Neat (Score 1) 106

by westlake (#48647663) Attached to: Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

It would seem that all of their sets are based on the original set plans which were designed for the 4:3 aspect ratio.

I posted earlier about my own growing weariness with fan remakes of Star Trek: TOS.

This slavish obsession with recreating the original sets with all their flaws and limitations being one of the reasons.

Comment: Time for something new. (Score 1) 106

by westlake (#48644299) Attached to: Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

I can appreciate the energy and enthusiasm that goes into these projects.

But with 85 years of modern science fiction to explore, with excellent examples available to draw upon in from all media, you would think even the die-hard fan would have grown a little weary of gearing up to prduce yet another retread of Star Trek: TOS.

Comment: Dover Press Books (Score 2) 170

by westlake (#48641591) Attached to: Calculus Textbook Author James Stewart Has Died

Dover of course used to re-publish the out-of-copyright and out-of-print math and science classics. There was a time when a professor could have a rare out-of-print book, that nobody else could get, and teach an entire class out of that book. Dover put an end to that.

Of course the Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension Act put an end to Dover (or at least their reprint business) by extending the copyright to 100 years after the author's death.

Does anyone ever bother to fact-check their rants before posting them to Slashdot?

Biology and Medicine
Computer Science
Earth Science
General Science

Comment: Re:The right to be presumed innocent? (Score 1) 90

The police can set up a road-block and demand that drivers provide a breath test and proof of their license at any time. Isn't that a presumption of guilt rather than innocence?

The "presumption of innocence" is where you begin in a US criminal trial.

It does not define the geek's every encounter with the law.

Driving a car or truck on the public roads is not a right but a privilege. It has never been out-of-bounds to demand proof of your sobriety or a show of your license.

Our OS who art in CPU, UNIX be thy name. Thy programs run, thy syscalls done, In kernel as it is in user!