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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Kudos belongs to John Graham-Cumming (Score 1) 415

If you really think that's what is happening with a government apology then I can't be bothered trying to educate you. Step away from the computer screen and go talk to the victims of such abuse, as I said elsewhere it's very important to them (and the health of society) that society formally acknowledges they were treated badly. To do otherwise is universally seen by victims as tacit approval of the notion that "they deserved it".

Comment Re:Right On (Score 2) 312

Obviously anyone who thinks US politics is "immutable" was born yesterday. From what I've seen of US politics the politicians are more beholden to their own "causes" rather than the stated policies of their party. It appears to me that US politicians "cross the isle" far more often than they do here in Oz. Disagreements within the party are aired more publicly in the US, in Oz they hide their "disunity" behind close doors in the caucus meetings.

The only place a Westminster party normally offers it's members this much voting freedom is when it's a moral question such as abortion, members are then allowed a "conscience" vote. (ie: the party is deliberately unwilling to define morality for it's members). Normally however they work out policy in private and agree to support it in public (even if they disagree with it personally). A member who does not tow the party line in public and chamber is at first public corrected by the party leader and then thrown out by party vote if the behaviour continues. The member does not lose his seat in parliament he loses the support of his party and becomes an independent sitting on the "cross-benches".

A high tolerance for "disloyalty" in a political party makes it difficult for a party to form a clear and consistent policy on anything. Enforcing party loyalty means the public is less certain what individual party members think but more certain about how they will vote in the house.

Comment Kudos belongs to John Graham-Cumming (Score 2, Insightful) 415

Governments as an organisation should reflect on the decisions made by people sitting in the same seats around the time they were born. The "right thing to do" is often diametrically opposed to the "popular thing to do". An official apology is a good thing, it's much more important to a large proportion of victims than you seem to think. Especially when the "problem" is something innate to the individual such as skin colour, sex or sexual preference. An apology is akin to official acceptance (back) into society. I know for a fact that the nationally broadcast apology to the native population here in Oz meant a lot to my aboriginal friends from the NW, particularly those in my age bracket (50-something).

So here's the thing, Turing's was an extraordinary man and their is no dodging the fact he was betrayed by society and his government. So my question is was the previous (Gordon Brown) apology addressed to Turing or did it include the other 100,000 anonymous victims of that barbaric policy, has anyone said sorry to the survivors? - Yes I've googled it to confirm my recollection, and you should too.

John Graham-Cumming: On behalf of all decent slashdotter's I wish you a very merry xmas.

Comment Re:Not enough, (Score 1) 415

The politicians were way too late with the apology and were more than willing to let Bletchley park rot less than a decade ago. Arseholes are just jumping on a grass roots bandwagon, desperately trying to convince people they were in the drivers seat the whole time..

Comment Re:Way to state the obvious (Score 5, Informative) 552

Agree that the Sun is the source of all the energy in the climate. The composition of the earth's Atmosphere, oceans and crust, have been likened to the "thermostat" in that they can absorb or reflect that energy to varying degrees.

CO2 has been a major factor in climate for a looooong time, at least as far back as the Cambrian explosion since CO2 is what melted "snowball" earth prior to the Cambrian explosion. CO2 can be both a "feedback" (melting permafrost) or a "forcing" (volcanos, human emissions). When acting as a feedback it always amplifies the direction of the change. We have known about CO2's major role since the 1950's when improved spectrometers finally pinned down it's role in the ice ages, ( Milankovich cycles alone cannot account for the magnitude of the changes observed in the ice ages).

Our best estimates of an important metric called "climate sensitivity" come from Fourier's formula and paleoclimatology (aka-geology). Fourier's formula alone gives ~1.5C rise for a doubling of CO2 but that assumes Earth is an ideal black body, which it is not. Adding geological evidence to estimate the feedback component brings it up to ~3.0C, the error bars are between 1.5c and 4.5C for a doubling of CO2, with the upper limit being far less certain then the lower. The uncertainty at the upper end is due to the lack of knowledge on things like frozen methane in deep ocean beds. The recent IPCC report downgraded the risk from sudden "tipping points" so the current high end estimate of climate sensitivity (whatever it is exactly) has a smidge more certainty than the previous report.

Disclaimer, IANACS, just a layman with a 30yr interest in the subject, don't rely on what my aging neurons tell you, WP is your friend for climate facts and trivia and I'm more than happy to be (politely) corrected.

Comment Re:Why spend on something for no extra value? (Score 1) 829

Again, why? They aren't providing anything new to us so why should we spend money on their new products?

The whole point of this article is that you *do* want something new: continued bug fixes and security patches. Which you apparently want forever, for free. I'm no MBA, but I'm not sure that works as a business model for Microsoft.

Comment "Customers" (Score 0, Troll) 829

In what sense are these people "customers"? They haven't bought a copy of Windows in six years, and let's be honest most of them never bought it in the first place. Microsoft doesn't have to care if they're mad.

Also, the reason given for their failure to switch, the disaster that was Vista, is idiotic. Windows 7 was a perfectly adequate OS -- and I say that as a Mac/Linux guy. They've had seven years to get over their grief and move on to 7, or switch to Mac or Linux.

The only reason for sticking with XP that I have any sympathy for is that your business is dependent on old hardware that doesn't support a modern OS. But once again, if your third-party vendor hasn't released a driver or software update in seven years, you're a moron for continuing to rely on them.

Comment Re:Why must you have their data? (Score 1) 189

... this is why others caused an uproar when "original data" went missing from EAU and CRU right around the time of "climategate". ... there was simply no way to evaluate the quality of CRU's work. access to the RAW DATA was NOT available. Only data that has already been "massaged" (to an unknown degree) was available before the "official" release, and that release was prompted by complaints about this very (and very valid) issue. ... access to original data is vital to verifying and reproducing results. ... CRU could have avoided the FOIA requests if they'd simply handled things in a professional, reasonable manner, as opposed to one that was blatantly arrogant and dismissive. They needlessly pissed a lot of people off. When you do that, you should not expect them to not piss you off in return. ... I'm not trying to say data was actually "missing", but it is true that some of it was not available. And CRU's documented attitude regarding requests about it contributed to an atmosphere of distrust. ...

Jane Q. Public, please use your feminine voice to tell Lonny Eachus that when he finds himself deep in a hole, he should use his masculine strength to... stop digging.

Comment Re:Near the waterfront? (Score 1) 339

Doesn't sound like anything a bit of dynamite couldn't handle.

You need to have something on top of the dynamite to direct the explosive forces into the boulder (presumed) [on this side of the Pond we call it "tamping the charge" ; probably the same word root as "tampon"]. Which you could achieve in various ways, but you need to get your big expensive machinery out of harms way first. By that point, you can probably do the job with a large construction drill, a 30mm drill bit, and a half-stick of "bang". If the first half-stick doesn't work, use your drill in the remainder of the drilled hole as a starter and repeat the performance.

Comment Re:Near the waterfront? (Score 1) 339

I didn't even bother to RTFA, because I see this every year or two when we're drilling big holes in glacial debris. It's about 50/50 between it being an artefact (anchor / piece of un-recorded piling / CIA Black Ops base) and a big boulder, because there are more artefacts in cities. but boulders are common enough.

Most of the time we drill through or round them, then cement the things in places ASAP. But sometimes they're more problematic because they tend to creep/ fall out of the walls and crush or trap later equipment at the most inconvenient possible time. Our normal response then, as a minimal cost / minimal risk strategy is to move location by 50 m and start again. On a tunnel-boring project, that could be much more of an issue.

But it's hardly unprecedented.

Ultimate solution : pull the TBM OOH (see, we have TLAs for this!), pump the cavity full of cement and let it set. Then drill ahead with a smaller probe drill (or several) to determine the extent of the problem. Apply sufficient quantity and placement of explosives to turn the big problem into lots of smaller problems. Tackle the small problems in sequence.

Comment Re:Why must you have their data? (Score 1) 189

Again: "Any independent researcher may freely obtain the primary station data. It is impossible for a third party to withhold access to the data. Regarding data availability, there is no basis for the allegations that CRU prevented access to raw data. It was impossible for them to have done so."

Your continued attempts to smear CRU while refusing to retract your latest misinformation are noted. Since you and Lonny Eachus keep spreading misinformation which threatens the future of our civilization, I have no choice but to keep debunking you and Lonny Eachus. Stay tuned.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 201

...which of itself has no value, as bus routes are publicly advertised.

True but irrelevant. The purpose of the GPS trackers (or the related ones that use short-range radios to trigger pickups in the bus stop shelters, which note the transit time of particular radios) is to document whether the bus company is achieving it's contractually required degree of punctuality. If the company fails to prove that it has good enough punctuality, then it could lose subsidy, or even suffer profit-destroying fines. (Note that for a long time use of GPS was considered too expensive and unreliable as it could have been switched off at any moment by a foreign government ; this issue has not been addressed fully yet, but it is being addressed.)

The trick is the widespread CCTV surveillance - if they want to know which bus you're taking, they can find out.

They could do that in the 1880s by the simple expedient of asking the driver (or conductor) if they saw someone carrying a bloody knife / head in a paper bag / blue jacket with "Wanker" written on it. Use of CCTV simply takes some of the vagaries out of the process. (Incidentally, the inside of a bus is the private property of the bus company ; they've as much right to video you there as if you were sitting in their office's waiting room. They don't even really need to inform you of the fact - though they probably do so to stay absolutely on the right side of the law.

By far and away the biggest use of on-bus cameras is to catch fare dodgers and people who assault staff.

Slashdot Top Deals

Remember Darwin; building a better mousetrap merely results in smarter mice.

Working...