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


Forgot your password?
Last Chance - Get 15% off sitewide on Slashdot Deals with coupon code "BLACKFRIDAY" (some exclusions apply)". ×

Comment Re:Before a human walks on Mars... (Score 1) 285

Before a human walks on Mars, there ought to be some humans born in Antarctica — an environment much more welcoming to our species than the red planet.

There already have been humans born in Antarctica. Both Chile and Argentina operate year round settlements in Antarctica. The Chilean settlement, Villa Las Estrellas, has the status of a town, with a primary school, bank,church, hospital and post office. The settlement of Antarctica is already starting, although in a very small scale.

Comment Re:The real issue (Score 1) 363

I've had the new edition trick pulled in most textbooks I was assigned in university. In my calculus classes, the new edition would essentially consist of swapping around the homework assignment numbers and shuffling sections around to make it difficult for students to follow using older editions.

Fortunately, I had a calculus teacher who was sympathetic to students and at the beggining of every class would release a table showing what the equivalent page numbers were for each edition for that day's material, and a table with equivalent homework assignment numbers per edition at the end of class. This allowed students to use older, cheaper editions if they wished

The irony was that that course had the highest percentage students buying new textbooks of all the courses I took in university, because students felt the book maintained value by being re-usable year over year through the teacher's equivalency tables for each edition, and so could easily resell them at the course's end.

Comment Same roles, different names (Score 1) 327

So instead of having jobs, in Holacracy people have roles. Each role belongs to a circle rather than a department, and circles are guided not by managers but by lead links.

So it sounds like you still have the same hierarchical management structure as before, out of organizational necessity. Except you've renamed the roles and the managers / lead links have the same added responsibility but no extra pay

Comment The gradualist approach will prevail (Score 2) 247

Business and practical considerations will mean that BMW's and other automakers gradual approach to automation will prevail. A gradual approach allows automakers to recoup their investment immediately, and allows automakers to fine tune their technology as each aspect of automation is rolled out. It is also important to note that regulatory agencies will react and set the rules for new autonomous vehicles on the road based on the technology that is on the road, so those carmakers rolling out the technology first - those with a gradual approach - will have a greater input on the regulatory nature of that technology. The risk for Google as that as the other automakers will end up defining that regulatory environment, their technology will be obsolete from a regulatory standpoint by the time it is rolled out.

As much as I like Google's approach from an engineering standpoint, the truth is Google is already being left behind in autonomous car technology. Other auto makers are already introducing various aspects of self driving - from automatic emergency braking, lane assist, adaptive cruise control - so that by the time Google has their self-driving vehicles ready for the market, the major automakers will already have a road-test, established and entrenched set of technology they're working with.

Comment Petitions are meaningless (Score 2) 216

It could present a political conundrum of sorts for the Obama administration.

How naive... they will respond as they always do with almost all these petitions - with a generic form letter statement that will provide vague reassurances that they are "looking into the issue", give no concrete plan for addressing the core demands while mostly evading the question. Anybody who thinks these petitions are worth the paper they are signed on and that the White House actually pays attention to them is deluded.

Comment Re:Well, that's embarrassing (Score 5, Insightful) 622

Well, just like how conclusive carbon dating of the shroud of Turin to the medieval period completely eliminated the throngs of faithful who believed in its miraculous origins

Or how the discovery of the Tomb of Jesus, which would appear to completely invalidate the ressurection and divine origin of Jesus, caused Christian worldwide to renounce their faith.

The faithful will continue to believe, regardless of the scientific evidence. And in this case, as the summary itself mentions, there's a perfect reasonable explanation for the date - the parchment could have been an older parchment that was re-used, which happened often enough in that time period. This will change nothing.

Submission + - Ashley-Madison hack claims first victims (www.cbc.ca)

wired_parrot writes: Toronto police are reporting that 2 unconfirmed suicides have been linked to the data breach. This follows pleas from other users of the site for the hackers to not release the data before it was exposed- an anonymous gay Reddit user from Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is illegal, pleaded for the data to be kept private: "I am about to be killed, tortured, or exiled," he wrote. "And I did nothing". And when The Intercept published a piece condemning the puritanical glee over the data dump, one user whocommented on the article said she's been "a long term member" of the site because her spouse's medical condition has affected their intimate life. Her spouse knows she's engaged with other Ashley Madison members, she says, but now fears she will likely lose friends and have to find a new job now that her association with the site is out there.

Comment Re:Just starting now? (Score 3, Informative) 373

Yes, obese passengers have caused air crashes before. The most infamous one I can think of was a Cessna Caravan 208 that crashed in Pelee, Ontario. The findings of the report showed that the average passenger weight was 240lbs in that flight, whereas the airline was using an average weight for men of 188lbs at the time, which contributed to the aircraft being over 500lbs than estimated. This is a bigger issue with small aircraft, where your weight margin is much tighter.

Also note that passenger weight doesn't only include his body weight - it also includes all his carry-on belongings and clothings. Which is another reason a party of hunters with heavy winter clothing and hunting gear can weigh significantly above average as in the above crash

Comment Re:Yeah 22 seconds? (Score 1) 664

If it was above his property and below 500ft, the drone was trespassing. You own the airspace above your property, up to where FAA regulated airspace begins. Which is why New York property owners are able to sell the air above their property through air rights for millions of dollars.

Perhaps the property owner was reckless with firing a shotgun, but the drone operator should in the very least be charged with trespassing.

Comment Re:Brilliant! (Score 1) 465

Not to mention that most of the railway trackage that would have to be built, in both the Russian and the American sides, would be mostly going through permafrost. Permafrost is not the most stable foundation for a railway bed - when the Chinese built the Qinghai-Tibet railway they had to include passive cooling with ammonia refrigerant to keep the soil at a stable temperature, and avoid warping of the tracks. And even then, they are running the risks of having to reconstruct the permafrost section of the track due to unanticipated global warming effects. The chinese only had a short 500km section with which they had to contend with permafrost. The Russian-American railroad would have to contend with thousands of kilometers of permafrost.

And if there were really that much of a business case for a US to China railway connection, the same case could be argued for a China to Europe railway connection,which already exists. Yet despite being a more direct route to Europe than an ocean route, the existing Eurasian Land Bridge only carries 1% of the China-Europe trade. The vastly more expensive US to China connection would be an even more dubious business case.

Comment Re:Might want to reconsider paying the fine... (Score 1) 528

The difference is that you own the property rights including air rights above your property up to 500ft, so any aircraft flying below that altitude above your property is trespassing. Ownership of air rights is an old and established concept from as far back as medieval roman law - "Cuius est solum, eius est usque ad caelum et ad inferos", or "For whoever owns the soil, it is theirs up to Heaven and down to Hell". In modern times a practical limit of 500ft has been established by the US supreme court for air rights above your property, in urban areas extending to 1000ft. This has been sufficiently established that one's air rights above your property can be sold, and in places like New York City can command large sums of money.

So whether the drone was 50ft or 200ft is irrelevant - he was still trespassing on his property either way.

Comment Re:"...the same as trespassing." (Score 1) 1197

This was already decided by the US supreme court as 500ft above your property. See Griggs v. Allegheny County (1962). Air rights over your property are a clearly defined and old concept - it was already established in medieval roman law. They're an established form of property rights, so much so that in many locales air rights over one's property can be sold for substantial sums. NYC developers in particular have been keen in acquiring property air rights.

Comment Hydrofluidic computer from the 50s (Score 1) 620

I once assisted a university physics laboratory that was using a mechanical hydro-fluidics computer originally developed in the 1950s. Because it was used as a controller in a radiation environment which would have interfered with electronic computers, it was never replaced. To my knowledge, the computer is still used precisely because it fills such an important niche.

Comment Length of time doing a degree (Score 1) 306

The biggest problem is that there is large length of time between deciding on a degree and getting a job after graduation. A typical STEM degree will take 4-5 years, and another 2-3 to complete a master's degree, unfortunately a requirement for many positions. With the 7-year gap between entering a degree program and graduation, the employment market could fundamentally change. Degrees that pay well currently do so because there is a shortage of qualified people in those programs - if large number of people enter those programs, it is likely there will be a glut of people later on in those programs, and the wages will return to average levels.

My mother is a fish. - William Faulkner