Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Mental maps... (Score 1) 289

"Men, on the other hand, rarely use anything but a map. If I changed a street sign outside my apartment, my male friends probably wouldn't be able to find the place anymore."

Maybe I'm an exception, but I don't think that's true at all. I navigate entirely by landmarks. I don't even know the names of half the streets I travel on regularly. Furthermore, my mental map of the city is framed by our light rail system, major bus lines, and bike throughfares, not by the major roads carrying automobile traffic.

Or MAYBE you're just not a REAL MAN!

I jest, of course. Exceptions, rules and all that.

Comment Another nail in the coffin (Score 5, Insightful) 267

These large media companies better learn quick that they are not going to save their industry by making it harder to access their media. As it is now, to get media I have to buy equipment, have it installed, get the dish pointed correctly... it cuts out during storms. Cables isn't much better. The force me to order channels in "Packages" so 90% of the channels I get are either espn (dont want) or home shopping network. I have absolutely no option to get rid of these channels. When I want a DVD they delay the release for months, but will release it in other country's first. I can't order it from those countrys becuase of my DVD players country code. Then they release 1 version of the movie... wait 6 months and release an extended version of the movie... then wait another 6 months and release a directors cut and then even a "Series" pack where you can get all the sequels. OR... I can go to a torrent site... click on the movie. 8hrs later I have the full, directors cut, with all the extra features, in english and I don't have to drive anywhere. Talk about a service I'd be willing to pay for. Oh wait, they wont let me pay for it. Morons.

Comment Re:Eye of the Beholder (Score 1) 210

I'm willing to believe it's possible, with a caveat. In many artistic disciplines, the master may die without imparting all his knowledge to a student. When the student becomes the new master, he too later dies without passing on everything he knows. Thus, the knowledge base eventually dwindles.

This is one theory of knowledge transmission, and it deserves to be taken seriously; however, we're at the head of a four-thousand-year-long counterexample in our current technological progress. Many students learn things that their masters never knew, and the overall state of the art advances. So while I think it's possible that Stradivarius knew more about violin-making than his students, it also seems very unlikely to me that we've never recovered his knowledge.

If the difference is in materials (as is usually claimed), well that's certainly more plausible.

Comment Re:The comet's shape (Score 1) 108

Every prime number is a natural number, and every natural number is a positive/non-negative (depending on which definition you choose) integer. "Positive prime" is redundant.

The "positive" part is not the redundant part... it is the "nonzero" part that is. You have started with "every prime number is a natural number", which is a false premise... you can't rely on wikipedia for everything.

More precisely, that definition taken from wikipedia is closer to that for an irreducible, not a prime.

A nonzero element p in a ring is a prime if when p divides a product "ab", then p must divide one of the factors "a" or "b". A nonzero element p is irreducible if whenever you write p = st then either s or t must be a unit (in the case of integers, 1 or -1).

It just so happens that in the case of integers, the concepts of prime and irreducible turn out to be equivalent, which results in endless confusion. This means that "definition" of primes that people usually give is more correctly a "theorem". Anyhow, in the ring of integers, we have both positive *and* negative primes (i.e. 2 and -2 are both primes). In common speech though, we restrict ourselves to natural numbers (as the wikipedia article appears to do, sacrificing mathematical correctness for vulgarity).

So as I said to start with, the "positive" part isn't redundant; it's just being more precise than people normally bother to be. However yes, the "nonzero" part is redundant.

Comment Re:There is no way an AI can build a cleverer AI. (Score 1) 482

You're taking it to the extreme ignoring all real world factors.

Yes, as a thought experiment, the human brain, because it is able to, although extremely inefficiently, perform basic arithmetic and logic operations, could emulate any infinitely complex hardware running any infinitely complex software if all information about the hardware was available and correct and humanly understandable and if the software was available in human readable form and if there was an unlimited means to manually store data and unlimited time to compute and perfect computation accuracy and unlimited ability to focus on said task.

But the converse is true as well I'm afraid. Not only can humans """THEORETICALLY""" emulate computers, but computers can right now in real life accurately emulate a portion of a mammal brain.

By the way, the idea you are describing is called the church-turing thesis. Sure any computational device can theoretically emulate any other, but it's theoretical for a reason. All external factors can not be reproduced. If a computer does calculations based on yesterday's weather, if I don't have yesterday's weather, then those computations can not be emulated.

From the Wikipedia article on Emulation: In a theoretical sense, the Church-Turing thesis implies that any operating environment can be emulated within any other. However, in practice, it can be quite difficult, particularly when the exact behavior of the system to be emulated is not documented and has to be deduced through reverse engineering. It also says nothing about timing constraints; if the emulator does not perform as quickly as the original hardware, the emulated software may run much more slowly than it would have on the original hardware, possibly triggering time interrupts to alter performance.

Comment Re:465 Million $ loan?? (Score 1) 248

That depends on your point of view. Ford turned down the loan from the TARP program, which most people are referring to as bailout money.

But Ford did accept a $5.9 billion dollar loan from the Department of Energy and has asked for another $5.1 billion.

Some people argue that the DOE money is not bailout money because it is part of a program to get automakers to build cars that are 25% more fuel efficient. Some people say that this view is bullshit and it is all bailout money.
The Courts

Internet Astroturfer Fined $300,000 245

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that Lifestyle Lift, a cosmetic surgery company who posted fake reviews of their services on various websites, will have to pay $300,000 to the state of New York. Cuomo's office says this is the first US case to specifically target astroturfing on the internet. "Internal emails discovered by Attorney General Cuomo's investigation show that Lifestyle Lift employees were given specific instructions to engage in this illegal activity. One e-mail to employees said: 'Friday is going to be a slow day — I need you to devote the day to doing more postings on the web as a satisfied client.' Another internal email directed a Lifestyle Lift employee to 'Put your wig and skirt on and tell them about the great experience you had.' In addition to posting on various Internet message board services, Lifestyle Lift also registered and created stand-alone Web sites, such as, designed to appear as if they were created by independent and satisfied customers of Lifestyle Lift. The sites offered positive narratives about the Lifestyle Lift experience. Some of these sites purported to offer forums for users to add their own comments about Lifestyle Lift. In reality, however, Lifestyle Lift either provided all the 'user comments' themselves, or closely monitored and edited third-party comments to skew the discussion in favor of Lifestyle Lift."
The Internet

New Service Converts Torrents Into PNG Images 297

jamie points out that a new web service,, will encode a torrent into a PNG image file, allowing it to be shared easily through forums or image hosting sites. Quoting TorrentFreak: "We have to admit that the usefulness of the service escaped us when we first discovered the project. So, we contacted Michael Nutt, one of the people running the project to find out what it's all about. 'It is an attempt to make torrents more resilient,' Michael told [us]. 'The difference is that you no longer need an indexing site to host your torrent file. Many forums will allow uploading images but not other types of files.' Hiding a torrent file inside an image is easy enough. Just select a torrent file stored on your local hard drive and will take care the rest. The only limit to the service is that the size of the torrent file cannot exceed 250KB. ... People on the receiving end can decode the images and get the original .torrent file through a Firefox extension or bookmarklet. The code is entirely open source and Michael Nutt told us that they are hoping for people to contribute to it by creating additional decoders supported by other browsers."

Australia Considering P2P 'Three Strikes' Law 101

caitsith01 writes "ITNews reports that Australia's ever-unpopular Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, has foreshadowed new action by the Australian Government to crack down on illegal file sharing under the guise of promoting the digital economy. Options apparently being considered include the controversial and previously reported French three-strikes approach and an approach which sounds suspiciously like New Zealand's even more dubious guilty-upon-accusation approach to filesharing. Needless to say, although the Government is consulting with 'representatives of both copyright owners and the Internet industry in an effort to reach an industry-led consensus on an effective solution,' arguably the most significant group — ordinary Internet users — are not being consulted. Senator Conroy is the man behind the crusade to 'protect' Australians from the horrors of the Internet with a mandatory, government-run blacklist, an effort which recently earned him the title of Internet Villain of the Year for 2009."
GNU is Not Unix

Launch of First International FOSS Law Review 30

Graeme West writes "A group of tech lawyers has announced the release of the inaugural issue of the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev.) — a place for high-level discussion of issues and best practice in the implementation of FOSS. You can view the announcement, or skip straight to Volume 1, Issue 1. A downloadable PDF file is also available. The journal is open access, and articles are CC licensed."

Repulsive Force Discovered In Light 176

Aurispector writes in with news that the Yale team that recently discovered an attractive force between two light beams in waveguides has now found a corresponding repulsive force. "'This completes the picture,' [team lead Hong] Tang said. 'We've shown that this is indeed a bipolar light force with both an attractive and repulsive component.' The attractive and repulsive light forces Tang's team discovered are separate from the force created by light's radiation pressure, which pushes against an object as light shines on it. Instead, they push out or pull in sideways from the direction the light travels. Previously, the engineers used the attractive force they discovered to move components on the silicon chip in one direction, such as pulling on a nanoscale switch to open it, but were unable to push it in the opposite direction. Using both forces means they can now have complete control and can manipulate components in both directions. 'We've demonstrated that these are tunable forces we can engineer,' Tang said."

Slashdot Top Deals

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?