Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Maybe stop making breeding ponds for mosquitos? (Score 1) 54

Often, ponds are put in for storm water control. They are often used to store the water until the drainage system downstream has enough capacity to take it away. There are also some potential environmental benefits to having swampy areas (otherwise known as "wetlands"). To top it off, there are all sorts of people who think, "look! a lake! cool!". Of course, they are also great breeding grounds for mosquitos, which is a downside.

Comment Re:Sabbath (Score 1) 224

I don't know which FA you read, but I saw nothing that suggested that this calendar had anything to say about days of the week. In fact, one part of TFA specifically mentions that it does not start on the same day of the week every year which obviously means that month zero counts in the day of the week progression.

Comment Bitcoin is a virtual commodity, not a currency (Score 4, Insightful) 704

This is not a failure of bitcoin. Suppose you had a stack of companies whose purpose is to store your physical gold and prevent it from being stolen and to serve as an exchange allowing customers to trade gold for currency. Then, it turns out that some of them had inadequate security or were outright crooked and the gold they were storing went missing. This would not be a failure of gold itself. Sure, if sufficient quantities of gold were affected, it would affect the price of gold, but it does not change gold itself. This is the same situation.

The real problem here is the notion that bitcoin is a currency. It really isn't. It's a virtual commodity much like gold, with similar properties save for the fact that gold is physical and bitcoin is not. (Sure, the odds that everyone suddenly decides to pack up their toys and ignore bitcoin are much higher, mostly because there are no "real" uses to bitcoin, unlike gold which has actual uses other than being somewhat "rare" and looking pretty.) The same things that make gold less than idea as an actual currency (or a backer to a currency) apply to bitcoin. Sure, you can use either one as a place holder in a transaction if both parties agree, but you could just as easily use a common fiat currency, chickens, or grains of sand.

Comment Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (Score 2) 329

Actually, ordinary loans from banks are exactly the same as loans from the Fed. When an ordinary commercial bank makes a loan, they are also effectively printing money digitally. By definition, with a reserve ratio of less than 100% and outstanding loans more than the total assets on reserve, money must have been created to make those loans. In short, "borrowing" from a commercial bank (loan, credit card, line of credit) is also not "real borrowing". Take a look at for one explanation of why that is the case (yes, that is a UK based site, but the central bank system is the same in the UK). There are plenty of others out there.

Comment Re:Why would they fund it in the first place? (Score 1) 329

Today it is perfectly legal to mint a $16 trillion coin, deposit it at the federal reserve, and use that to buy back all of our debt. That would cause massive amounts of inflation not seen since the days of the Weimar Republic, but it would not be bankruptcy.

That is not actually correct. Inflation is controlled by the money actually in circulation, however it came to be. Borrowing money under the "fractional reserve" system adds money to circulation for the duration of the loan. A certain amount of money needs to be in circulation to maintain liquidity and avoid deflation. Any more than that steady state, whether from borrowing or printing money, leads to inflation. Simply printing money to pay off existing debt does not increase the amount of money in circulation and, thus, has no impact on inflation. That assumes it will be used to pay off existing debt, of course, rather than making room to borrow even more.

It is a common misconception that just printing money at all leads to inflation. Printing too much leads to inflation. But so does borrowing too much.

Comment Re:"essentially useless" (Score 1) 44

Can't say I've had the distinction of driving in Boston. But I have driven in various areas in over 20 US states and 10 Canadian provinces and territories. The traffic lights are "red yellow green" (left to right) or "red yellow green" top to bottom. For other configurations (turn arrows and such), there are nearly universally consistent variations.

Of course, what's really fun is trying to figure out the lights at 6+ way intersections.

Comment Re:"essentially useless" (Score 4, Informative) 44

Just pointing out that green is not the problem for me (red/green colour blind) because the green traffic lights have a markedly different lightness. Green traffic lights look white to me and red ones don't. Rather, I can't tell the red and amber lights apart because the lightness of red and amber is too close. But don't let that confuse you too much. You have noticed that the lights are always in the same order, right? Guess why.

Comment Typewriters are the right answer (Score 1) 325

Limited supply or not, manual typewriters are the right answer for several reasons:

1. From the submission, it seems that everything else that is not in limited supply is too expensive in either cash terms or electricity usage.
2. High technology devices are more likely to fail, and if they fail, are much more difficult (or impossible) to fix.
3. Even if the limited electricity supply goes away, a manual typewriter still works.
4. A decently constructed manual typewriter will outlast any electronic device.

Comment Re:Imagine a world run by librarians... (Score 1) 454

Imagine a world run by librarians...all information is free and uncensored but we all have to speak in whisper voices and women have to wear their hair in buns and sensible shoes and tearing pages out of library books would punishable by a year in jail.

Women would have to wear their hair in sensible shoes? That would be interesting to see.

Slashdot Top Deals

Slowly and surely the unix crept up on the Nintendo user ...