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Submission + - Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate On February 12: Snowden Was Justified? (intelligencesquaredus.org)

An anonymous reader writes: The Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) debate on February 12th, 5:45 PM CST — "Snowden Was Justified," should be of considerable interest to the Slashdot community. Podcasts and streaming video will be available, and it will be carried on many NPR stations. From the site: "Has Edward Snowden done the U.S. a great service? There is no doubt that his release of highly classified stolen documents has sparked an important public debate, even forcing what could be a major presidential overhaul of the NSA’s surveillance programs. But have his actions—which include the downloading of an estimated 1.7 million files—tipped off our enemies and endangered national security? Is Snowden a whistleblower, or is he a criminal?"

Arguing For:
Daniel Ellsberg — Fmr. U.S. Military Analyst & Pentagon Papers Whistleblower
Ben Wizner — Legal Adviser to Edward Snowden & Attorney, ACLU

Arguing Against
Andrew C. McCarthy — Fmr. Federal Prosecutor & Contributing Editor, National Review
Ambassador R. James Woolsey — Fmr. Director, CIA & Chairman, Foundation for Defense of Democracies

Submission + - Mozilla will start showing ads in Firefox (muktware.com) 3

sfcrazy writes: Mozilla has taken a u-turn from their previous stand on online advertisement where they were blocking ad cookies by default. Now the organization is opting for showing ads on a user's home page which they call Directory Tiles. There is no doubt that Mozilla is in a tricky situation as it's multi-year deal with Google will end this year and it's uncertain if Google will renew it. So, ads may be their last resort. Still it's ironic.

Comment Re:Unitiy is "the" benchmark? (Score 1) 73

Oh dear oh dear lol

What on earth is a "pure IDE based engine"?

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/V...
eg: a engine which uses a IDE, either by .dll linkage, or, included .h .cpp files.

And what do you mean by "hashed job Java code"?

Shit code made in a shit language which runs like shit = Java.
Thats not to say all Java programmers are bad, but, the same code in C++ would run at least 10x faster.

Unity has Unityscript (which is like Javascript) and Boo (which is a little like Python),

Last time i checked, it supported Java or C#.

but I'd guess that most games are written in C#. And what does the language matter anyway?

No, most games are written in C++. For the performance (hence why the language matters).

Comment LOL. On Walmart laptop, wifi ONLY worked in Linux (Score 2) 322

> On some laptops, Ubuntu can even use the wireless card without all the typical struggle to get the driver into the kernel.

Funny you mentioned that. The last laptop I bought was from Walmart. Since Walmart only carries a couple of laptops in the store at any given time, I figure they must sell millions of those models.

I got it home and spent a few minutes checking to make sure everything worked with the factory disk image before I put an OS on it. Hmm, everything was fine except the wireless. Control panel said the driver wasn't installed. That's odd, why sell millions of units and not bother to install the wireless driver? So I go to download the driver, can't find one. I guess that explains why the driver wasn't installed - apparently there was no driver for that version of Windows. No big deal, we weren't going to use the wireless anyway. So I pop in the CentOS Linux installation stick with my kickstart file on it and walk away. An hour later I come back and I see it's downloading updates. What the heck? I haven't plugged it into the network yet. The Linux distro included the wifi drivers, drivers that weren't available for the new version of Windows.

Niche software, such as occupation-specific software, sometimes requires Windows XP or whatever specific version of a specific OS. Lately, I've had better luck with drivers on Linux than on Windows. My HP printer "just works" on the Linux devices. On Windows, the driver is bundled with a 150 MB download.

Comment Re:Better preserved than the Burgess Shale???? (Score 2) 108

Yeah... against a backdrop of 505 million years, 0.1 million years is 0.002% difference in the time scale. That's potentially significant for a handful of species, sure, but it's less time than modern humans have existed... which makes it a nearly-trivial eye-blink in evolutionary history. Not completely trivial, though, especially if the environment at the time was driving fairly rapid adaptation.

Comment Non-techies say Firefox great, unaware Linux under (Score 1) 322

I often install Linux for non-technical people. They USE Facebook. Some of them are aware that Firefox is how they get to Facebook.They don't _care_ what's running underneath Firefox. If I ask someone what version of Windows they are currently using and they aren't sure, they are likely a good candidate to upgrade to Linux. Android and ChromeOS are examples of this. How many people buying smartphones know that they are using Linux? How many care?

The people I don't suggest Linux for are the people who enjoy editing their registry and such, but are NOT interested in the far greater flexibility for customization that Linux has. Anyone who doesn't know what "the registry" is won't miss it on Linux. Those who love tweaking their registry or other more advanced OS tweaks are the ones who would be lost in Linux.

Comment Re:Is evolution a theory? (Score 1) 665

Bullshit. There are plenty of species that breed fast enough, in large enough numbers, that we can observe huge numbers of generations of them in a controlled environment. Typically insects are used, simply because they are easier to observe than bacteria, but we actually observe it in bacteria *all the time* in the wild; drug-resistant strains, or new variants of things like bird flu, or so on. It's also been observed in the lab, though; take a colony of insects (like fruit flies), separate them, apply an environmental pressure that selects for different traits, wait, observe adaptations. Eventually the adaptations lead to new, non-interfertile species.

It's those final points - the arising of adaptations and their spread throughout the population, and the speciation - that are the directly testable aspects of evolution by natural selection. There are others, of course; things like the ability to predict the presence of species bearing particular characteristics at certain chronological points in the fossil record (which we have later found), the presence of vestigial organs which are no longer used or needed but were in evolutionary ancestors, the parallel nature of the morphological classification trees (classifying life based on observable characteristics) and genetic classification trees (based on DNA), which was predicted, and found to be true, even when the species would have needed to diverge hundreds of millennia ago... So many things.

I think your problem is that you don't understand what a prediction means in this case. Genetic modifications to produce specific changes has nothing to do with evolution. That's just testing genetic theory in general, which nobody seems to have any problem with. Evolution doesn't predict the specific random mutation that will occur, and nobody who knows anything about it would suggest it does. In fact, the random nature of evolution by natural selection means that two different populations, both subjected to the same environmental stress, may adapt *differently* to it. This is observable even in human populations (which are only a few hundred thousands of years old), where different groups of humans that adapted to high-altitude environments (low oxygen) did so in different ways.

What the "theory of evolution by natural selection" predicts is that there *will* be mutations (directly observable and tested), that a mutation (not *the best mutation" because all it needs to be is good enough to increase the chance of successful reproduction) which better adapts the organism to the environment will become widespread within a population (also directly observed in the lab), that this process will continue over time as environments change and new, superior adaptations occur in the usual course of random mutation (observable from the fossil record, with predictions about what will be found in the "holes" in the fossil record also found to be accurate), and that over time this leads to speciation (also observed in the lab).

It is in every way a scientific theory, and one that has had its predictions tested and verified time and again. Comparing it to an Earth-centric universe model just further shows that you don't understand science at all; there was plenty of evidence which didn't fit that model, and the predictions that would have arisen from it (for example, that "anything which orbits the earth at different speeds, such as the sun and the planet Venus do, must at some point in their orbits come to be on opposite sides of the Earth") are easily observed, even with the instruments of the day, to be false. No scientist actually concerned with accuracy, rather than the importance of appearing to be accurate, would have seriously defended such a theory. In fact, this is much the same situation as concerns creationism today; people want to believe that they're important and special, and they have an old book that tells them so, and they therefore oppose anything which appears to conflict with the aforementioned book for the sake of upholding the appearance that the book is right (and therefore that they are right about their superiority in the other ways the book mentions) rather than concerning themselves with any form of scientific evidence.

Comment Re:Fight with numbers (Score 1) 253

No, but it should. That's the point. If the public paid for it, the public should have open access to it.

No, that isn't the point. The point is to have good peer-reviewed science that is available to anyone for a nominal fee. You seem to be confusing "open access" with "free as in beer."

There is no valid societal or ethical reason private publishers should have a stranglehold on publicly-funded research.

There is no strangle hold. That is a slashdot-ism. It costs journals money to review articles and publish them. Paying $15 for a scientific journal article isn't a strangle hold.

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