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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Fucking Retarded (Score 1) 418

Use of the word "retarded" as a derogative term is demeaning (it's the 21st century!), as it's a medical term.

It's an early-to-mid 20th century medical term. It replaced "idiot", also a medical term.

Today, "mentally challenged" covers that same general area, with specifics going to individual maladies (cerebral palsy, down syndrome, etc.). Social workers are generally not to use the term "retarded" (at least in Oklahoma and surrounding states), since it's not considered derogatory.

In the 21st century, it's a mildly offensive word that means "stupid." Politicians and social workers should avoid using it, and everyone else should avoid using it in polite company, but it's not a medical term anymore.

Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

No. Common sense has to prevail here - imagine a world where any activity that has an element of risk requires a tax stamp. Rollerblading? Hiking? Painting your house? Crossing a busy street?

I feel that the rights of a person to do what he or she wants with his or her own property or person ends only where it affects other people, and in many places extends beyond that point (for instance, free speech even if it's offensive). Those rights do lead to a higher cost of government. I find that acceptable; without the right to self determination, you're no longer a citizen but a slave. That whole "freedom isn't free" bit isn't just about national defense; it's about the duty of every American to support the American ideals of freedom, and part of that is allowing people to be stupid if they wish to be.

Certain activities are riskier than others, and in those cases I do support a tax to recoup the costs. That's why I don't complain too much about tobacco taxes, even though I smoke (they are getting a bit unreasonable though) and I don't mind the idea of taxes on alcohol. Not wearing your seatbelt does make it more likely for you to die in an accident, but in reality it only raises your chance of death on any random trip in a car by a tiny amount. I don't feel that warrants a special tax.

Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

Freedom is largely where you decide to draw that line between social responsibility and individual autonomy.

For instance, you want to increase bike safety? Outlaw bicycling. It's a menace to drivers. I don't bike, so why should I care about that particular freedom?

Pedestrians get hit by cars. We can't outlaw cars, so let's make pedestrians wear flourescent jackets and helmets.

Get rid of the motorcycles. Oh, and noncommercial boats. All of those are dangerous, and if some uninsured person gets injured in them, it comes from my taxes. Oh, and without noncommercial boat traffic, we could cut Coast Guard/Lake Patrol staff and save even more money!

Mountain climbing? You could fall. Orienteering? You could get lost, and my taxes pay for park rangers. Swimming? Lots of people drown every year. Let's make it illegal to go within a mile of a river without wearing a life vest. Even though airplanes are safer than cars, we'll go ahead and ban them because they make some people nervous, oh, and terrorists.


My freedom to bike without a helmet is one I don't exercise, but it's one I defend, along with the stolen rights for me to not wear a seat belt (which I do not) or a motorcycle helmet. I'm perfectly happy with (very slightly) higher taxes to pay for that freedom. I feel that it's my social responsibility as an American to support the freedoms of my fellow citizens, even if they get their kicks bungee jumping naked. As long as those freedoms do not impinge on the rights of others*, then they're no business of yours or the government's.

* Your examples of drunk driving or second hand smoke are quite different animals from personal safety laws. I do not endanger your safety when I don't wear a seat belt.

Comment Re:But that's not the real problem. (Score 1) 1651

These are very different things, except for seat belts, which shouldn't be mandatory for adults.

Speed limits affect the safety of other people. If you tear around at 120mph, you're a danger to others.
Same with winter tires. I've seen plenty of incidents where one car losing control causes many other cars to crash.

I'm not sure what you mean by security mechanisms in cars. If you're talking about automatic door locks and the like, those aren't mandatory and are (generally) pretty worthless, except to stop GTA-style carjackers.

The only real argument is the financial responsibility one; if you're in an accident and have no insurance or money, the state ends up picking up the tab. I find that acceptable; freedom isn't free, and I'm willing to pay a few dollars a year extra on my taxes to have the freedom to determine my own safety.

Comment Re:NOT AT&T (Score 1) 375

I had two numbers on AT&T - one phone and one data. For data I had a cell modem card that was 3G capable.

One day, my data card screws up on me and won't connect anymore. I get weird light patterns on it. Oh well, time for a new data card, I think. So, I stop at an AT&T store to look into upgrades.

Turns out, I still had the "unlimited" plan, and had racked up 20GB of data. I knew there was no way I used that much data - for one, my laptop is usually hibernating in the sleeper of my truck. I figured maybe the card went jittery like NICs sometimes do. So AT&T cut me off. OK, fine, upgrade the plan to a 5GB plan, sign a new contract, and give me a new device.

Except... for daring to "download" too much, they cut me off for a month. Nothing could change that. Even getting a new plan wouldn't remove the block. They were punishing me.

I don't pay people to punish me (I'm not into that), so now I pay $20 less per month for 5GB plan with Verizon. Other than the stupid MiFi device being a piece of crap, I've had better coverage and better signal almost everywhere I go. Plus, when I talk to Verizon tech support, people actually seem to be helpful, which was certainly not the case with AT&T. I'm thinking of switching my phone over when the contract on it is up.

Comment Re:Touchless plumbing fixtures in the restrooms (Score 1) 422

Hang a piece of toilet paper over the sensor, or if you have a sensor that is flush (no pun intended) with the wall, spit on some toilet paper and stick it over the sensor.

A touchless paper towel machine is nice. Touchless soap dispensers are OK, but largely unnecessary (I mean, you only touch them before you wash your hands, after all). Touchless taps are good if they work, which oftentimes they're more annoying than useful. For a machine shop, really you want one of those large center-of-the-room circular sinks with the foot pedal and soap dispensers that dispense heavy-duty anti-grease pumice soap (I love that stuff). Oh, and whatever you do, don't buy one of those automatic sinks that wash, soap, and dry automatically (see Missouri rest areas for reference). They wouldn't clean pudding off your hand, much less grease.

Oh, and NO AC VENTS NEAR THE TOILETS! I know it's (mostly) unreasonable, but a lot of us put down paper on the toilet before sitting down, and it sucks if it blows off before you can sit. Exhast vents are fine.

Comment Re:The best documentation is the source (Score 1) 299

My brain is not a turing machine, and I don't have /usr/bin/cc installed in my cerebral cortex.

I'm not going to read the source code to sox to learn how to resample a wav file for an audio book I want to listen to. I am not a contributor to the sox program, and have no desire to dig through the source code. Fortunately, the docs are pretty good, and I found out how to do that in a few minutes.

I'm not going to read the source code to perl to learn the arguments for the sort function. It took me thirty seconds to find that out the other day, most of which was me walking over to my bookshelf to get my copy of Programming Perl.

I'm sure as hell not going to read the source code to Windows to turn off the annoying startup noise it makes even when you choose "no sounds" as your sound profile, since even if I was so masochistic to try it isn't available anyway. I blundered about and figured that out on my own, since I have no faith in the Microsoft help system (I don't use Windows enough to know where stuff is anymore, but boot it every now and again to run a program I can't run with Wine).

If you need to read the source code to figure out how to use a program, then that program is useless to 99.9% of computer users. Yes, it will tell you exactly what the program does, but in the real world your documentation needs to be more accessible.

Comment Re:Examples (Score 3, Informative) 299

JavaDocs are documentation that you include with java classes. They fill the same niche as sections 2 and 3 of the UNIX man pages.

If you've ever used perl POD documentation, they work kind of like that on a conceptual level.

This is all documentation aimed at programmers, of course, not application or system documentation. If you want to provide documentation for a java application, you generally don't do it with JavaDoc.

Comment Re:Turning food into electricity... (Score 1) 152

None of those qualify.

1) He's not starving, he wanted it for the novelty.
2) This works with refined sugar. This is raw sugar. Yes, you'd get some sugar out doing this, but it's not the same.
3) He's a truck driver, not a chemist, and raw sugar isn't evenly granulated.
4) That's not what he wanted the sugar for.

Comment Re:actually it's ::ffff:192168.0.1 (Score 1) 179

It's the same with IPv4, really. Stuff gets updated all the time.

Maybe not IP and TCP anymore, but there have been lots of changed to the basic protocols in recent years.

That particular change doesn't affect you anyway unless you're a programmer. The IPv4 in IPv6 address space was only meant for applications to use internally (so you could use the same data type for IPv4 and IPv6 addresses). Those addresses aren't valid over the wire.

Comment Re:I blame the ISPs (Score 1) 179

AT&T's new DSL requires you to change your router, and the new routers are IPv6 capable (in name, at least. I haven't actually tested it, but I did get an IPv6 address from one when I tried it).

Mobile devices don't last long enough to be a problem, and AT&T offers free phones when you renew your contract.

No idea about Verizon (my Mifi device I use in the truck doesn't get an IPv6 address, but that's the only Verizon service I use) or Comcast.

Also note that just because an ISP offers IPv6 doesn't mean you have to use it. IPv6 runs fine along IPv4.

Slashdot Top Deals

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.