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Good, Portable "Virtual" Linux Distro? 261

Prof. Nix writes "I have been given the opportunity to redesign the Linux course for the community college I work for. This course will be taking students from the 'What's Lee-nux?' stage to (hopefully) Linux+ Certifiable in about three to four months. However, one issue I haven't solved is finding a semi-stable, highly portable, and readily accessible platform the students may pound on, and have root access, independently of their peers. The powers-that-be have already vetoed any sort of server environment accessible from off campus. We've already tried live USB drives, but we ran into many issues with non-supported hardware on students' home computers. So I'm left with the idea of virtual machines run from flash drives. My ultimate goal is to have some sort of portable system that students can use with equal ease on lab systems and personal laptops — regardless of hardware. Preferably this system would be installable on a 4GB flash drive and run an Ubuntu- or Fedora-derived OS. So I ask the people who have been in the trenches a lot longer than I — what distros should I look at?"

Comment optimal control theory (Score 1) 116

Optimal control theory gives you a function (trajectory over time, or acceleration vector over time) which minimizes a given functional (a function of functions) in this case I imagine that the total amount of fuelt spent (with the constraint that it reaches the lifetime desired). Summary: find the trajectory x(t) such that Fuel(x(t)) is minimized. This algorithm is well developed, you can even use it in quantum mechanics (give the desired hamiltonian(t) such that the evolution of the state is such and such at the end of the evolution, with the minimum of $whatever achieved along time).

Comment life (Score 1) 141

I bet that in a thousand years from now we will consider life as anything having a)enough presence of nonequilibrium thermodynamics states, and b)the ability to perform universal computation (either classical or quantum, or maybe another yet undiscovered more general thing). This could include, as foreseen by Asimov, lakes of superconducting metals in remote planets. Will vegetarianism in the future include moral attitudes for superconducting helium inside high field magnets? Will we see an invasion of Earth by superconducting metal intelligent beings on a hunt-those-superconducting-torturers/bastards?

Maybe in Pluto there is a colony of intelligent robots (which communicate through gravity waves, i.e. civilizations withouth a theory of quantum gravity wouldn't detect their communications) and they are waiting for our civilization to build enough autonomous electronic components, so that at a given point they will send a signal/virus, take control of all our electronic infracstructure and take on planet's control. The threats of civilization always come from possibilities that we weren't able to imagine.

Comment Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 706

The fallacy lies in the fact that results are present at all levels of abstraction. Doing an effort is already a result, at least for sentient beings, who modify their own personality and virtues just by the mere "trying". The result of failure or success is another step in the results chain, which again modifies the personality of the person. This is why someone before said that this method could be dangerous: you have to evaluate the obvious effects but most importantly the effects on the personality after two decades of application of such methodology.

C Programming Language Back At Number 1 535

derrida writes "After more than 4 years C is back at position number 1 in the TIOBE index. The scores for C have been pretty constant through the years, varying between the 15% and 20% market share for almost 10 years. So the main reason for C's number 1 position is not C's uprise, but the decline of its competitor Java. Java has a long-term downward trend. It is losing ground to other languages running on the JVM. An example of such a language is JavaFX, which is now approaching the top 20."

Comment Re:Sensitivity is not Resolution (Score 1) 192

photons have size and mass

arrgggghh! I thought photons didn't have mass and this was the reason why they could travel at light's speed (apart from a small effective mass coming from virtual electron-positron pairs creation along propagation). When I heard the sentence, in the background there was a violin string breaking too.

Comment Re:Be careful what you wish for (Score 5, Interesting) 265

It's called social rebellion, coming from an anarchist extra lobe in spaniards' hearts. They fuck you, you fuck them. Once equilibrium is restored, we can go back and reopen discussion with media, to plan what the future should be like. At the moment we have to be pirates (soft pirates, we don't go around with a knife in the mouth assaulting SGAE yelling "for Tutatis") in order to compensate for revolutionary tax that they have imposed on CDs and other materials.

By the way, I don't see any real discussion of future plans on how the arts business should be managed in an ideal society. Example: have you ever heard anyone talking about a science-like management of artists? they would receive fellowships/short-term-contracts and fight for resources just like scientists do. Only the good ones survive this sieve, and end up having a merit-based stable job. People now will come with the argument that art cannot be judged on absolute values....bullshit. Talk to real understanders of arts and they will tell that good art can be distinguished from bad art.

Submission + - New Zealand's internet filter goes live (

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Internal Affairs' (DIA) internet filter is now operational and is being used by internet providers (ISPs) Maxnet and Watchdog.

Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for online freedom lobby Tech Liberty says he's "very disappointed that the filter is now running, it's a sad day for the New Zealand internet".

Submission + - Unlimited Detail - The End of the Geometry Race? 3

TeachingMachines writes: An interesting video is making the rounds, although its claims seem somewhat difficult to believe. In the video (also available here, at the developer's website), a graphics display technology demo is presented that seems to render (no pun intended) the current battle between graphics card makers ATI and NVidia somewhat pointless (again, sorry about the puns). This is because unlimited detail is exactly that: unlimited graphic detail, without polygons. Graphics are instead produced through search algorithms, similar in function to those used by search engines. Pixels presented on the screen, and based on the search algorithm, are based on points rather than polygons (the idea being that each point is equivalent to a screen's pixel, in terms of the colors that are presented to the user). The video demo itself is somewhat, well, alarming, considering that the demo is running in software...

Submission + - Switching from Perl to C++

An anonymous reader writes: I am a junior web application developer working on back office tools for an e-commerce business. I have a few years experience on the Linux/MySQL/Apache/Perl stack. I see myself as relatively well paid. However I notice that salaries at the top end of my field are approximately 60-50% of those offered to C++ developers. This is enough to make me consider switching and I would rather do this earlier than later to reduce any pay cut I may have to accept. Of course the problem is that its almost impossible to find jobs in C++ that do not require experience. And to make matters worse its normally experience of closed source, non-free products, Sybase, SQL Server, Visual Studio, etc. So I turn to slashdot for advice on how to improve my chances of getting my foot in the door.

Comment Re:Sounds Good To Me (Score 1) 404

Some people who see an animal experience pain tend to identify with, "empathize" with it, and commit anthropomorphic fallacies.

Substitute "animal" by "negro" in your sentence and much enlightenment will come to you (hopefully, otherwise go for easier mental goals).

While it is not logical to empathize with other beings (why should I suffer because of others?) it is "human" to do so. You can check the definition of psycopathy, for example.

Comment Re:Sounds Good To Me (Score 1) 404

In my experience with these creatures, I have not seen any evidence of sentience. They have no ability to behave outside of instinct, and insofar as I can tell, memory is only established through repetition.

I know a percentage of the population in my country can be classified according to that. Furthermore, ALL countries behave like that (macropsychology). Have you ever seen a human behaving outside of instinct? I very much doubt you can give me any example of that. I bet on it.

Now, seriously, it's a matter of sensitivity for other being's suffering. Yours doesn't reach the level where you imagine the suffering of cows/chicken. It's not something debatable, it's something you either are able to feel or not. I'm sorry for people like you.

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