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


Forgot your password?

Comment Not fragile: Redundant. (Score 1) 33

This actually looks good to me. Most helicopters can be shot down with a rifle. They are huge engines with large fuel tanks and large, whirling blades, and it is not that difficult to get them to destroy themselves with their own momentum, height, or fuel.

I concur. Helicopters are a collection of single-points-of-failure, disasters waiting to happen. (Particularly the pilot - they have to be continuously controlled and crash almost instantly if anything incapacitates him.) Their vulnerability is justified only because their extreme usefulness oughtweighs it. With eight rotors I'd be surprised if this vehicle couldn't at least come to ground safely with at least two of them destroyed, and the multicopter approach has been under autonomous computer control from the start - made practical only by the automation.

I envision this thing's missions as being primarily extreme rough-country ground transport, with short hops to bypass otherwise impassible terrain, reach otherwise inaccessible destinations or targets, attack from above, or put on a burst of speed when time is of the essence. Think a truck-sized "super jeep" ala Superman. Being primarily a ground vehicle lets it perform longer missions and reduces its visibility and vulnerability compared to a helicopter.

Just because you CAN fly doesn't mean you DO fly all the time. As is pointed out in the webcomic Schlock Mercenary: "Do you know what they call flying soldiers on the battlefield?" ... "Skeet!"

Comment Re:Hardware requirements (Score 1) 641

A lot of that hardware does not have Linux drivers either.

So write one!

(Ba-dah-bing! Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.)

Seriously, though. If you're buying hardware with an embedded Windows OS as a necessary component, that's what you signed up for. Take that into account when negotiating with vendors for the replacement.

Comment Just at Microsoft (Score 1) 641

I never thought I'd see the day that anyone would claim Windows Vista was the pinnacle of OS innovation...

Looks to me like the claim was that XP was the pinacle of OS innovation AT MICROSOFT.

After that they jumped the shark with creeping featureitis and failure to support (or provide an adequte, clean, easy upgrade path for) important functionality.

Nothing was said about OS innovation OUTSIDE of Microsoft.

There's also the issue of whether OS innovation was even a Good Thing (TM) for the users of the functionality of the time. (It can still be enabling and yet be a net loss if its costs outweigh its benefits.)

Comment Mod parent up. Legal point for case against Sony (Score 1) 306

That is an explicit claim associated with Sony Pictures Movies & Shows. To get that, Sony had to upload content to the YouTube content system saying "I own this content. Anyone matching it is in copyright violation."

This is a very important legal argument to make in court. By submitting content to the system - or to YouTube in a way that would be interpreted as being "Copyright Sony, rights reserved" by the system - Sony knowingly made a claim of ownership.

This both disparaged BlenderFoudation's title and voided their license to distribute the content, making further distribution by Sony subject to the $150,000 statutory damages penalty.

Comment Worst idea I've heard in years. (Score -1, Troll) 175

And I've heard a LOT of REALLY BAD ideas.

Most of what has gotten worse in Unix/Linux over the last couple decades has been the progressive hiding of the system admimistration mechanisms - previously built on human-readable text configuratin files - behind GUI configuration interfaces and excessive complexity. (See upstart and systemd for examples of the latter.)

Now they want to bury the kernel error messages in a QR code? That REALLY takes the cake.

Comment Routers are supposed to be "dumb as rocks". (Score 1) 149

I do not see why TCP and IP could not have been created as single layer.

That was one of the major divergences from other networking schemes of the time that gave TCP/IP an advantage.

IP is a lower layer than TCP. It's about getting the packet from router to router, and is as deep into the packet that core routers have to look to do their jobs. Core routers are supposed to be "as dumb as rocks", putting as little effort as practical into forwarding each packet, in order to get as many of these "hot potatoes" moved on as quickly as possible and keep the cost of the routers down (and to drop any given packet if there's any problem forwarding it).

TCP is one of several choices for the next layer up. It runs only at the endpoints of a link. It does several things, which are all about building a reliable, persistent, end-to-end connection out of the UNreliable, "best effort", IP transport mechanism. Among these things are:
  - Breaking a stream up into packet-sized chunks.
  - Creating reliability by hanging error detection on packets and saving a copy of the data until the far end acknowledges successful reception, retransmitting if necessary to replace lost or corrupted packets.
  - Scheduling the launching of the packets so that the available bandwidth at bottlenecks is fairly divided among many TCP sessions, while as much of it is used as practical.
  - Adding an out-of-band "urgent data", channel to the connection (for things like sending interrupts and control information).
Some other networking schemes of the time did this on a hop-by-hop basis, requiring much more work by the routers. TCP put it at the endpoints only.

Comment Adopton would have been far slower, too. (Score 2) 149

If TCP/IP had included crypto, we'd all be using IPX now days...

The reason TCP/IP proliferated was because it was light-weight and easy to implement. Crypto would have killed that.

There would have been more resistance to adopting it, too.

As it was, there was substantial resistance among people and institutions sited outside the US, because the Internet was a DARPA project, i.e. U.S. Military. Other countries, organizations within them, and even some people in the US, were concerned about things like what the US might be building in - like interception and backdoors for espionage and sabotage - or just because "Military! Bad!". Including encryption from the then officially nonexistent, deepest secret, communications spy agency would have boosted that resistance substantially.

Comment Try reclaibrating your (Score 1) 129

.... the only group I can actively imagine making use of [2nd amendment] against the government is also the group I least want to see use it against the government.

Then perhaps you should read a little history and see who has actually used privately-owned guns against their own govrernments - and what has happened when privately owned weapons were banned and confiscated.

You should also consider that privately owned guns are "used" against governments by simply being there, rather than fired.

Example: Richard Nixon is on record, during the Vietnam conflict, as having asked a think tank what would happen if the elections were canceled and being told that this would be a likely trigger for an armed uprising to overthrow him.

You should also know that there is a certain amount of posturing involved. With using nukes to prevent nuclear war via the Mutually Assured Distruction doctrine, Presidents had to put on a show of being just crazy enough to actually USE them - whether they were or not. In the case of individuals with small arms it may not be "crazy" (as in "blow up the world") - just "dedicated". But for the threat to be effective at averting conflict it must appear to be real.

Think of gun in private hands as paying an insurance premium.

Comment With CEOs you're paying for connections, not work. (Score 1) 325

They can start with the CEO's, who are the most globally uncompetitive. ... go to Canada and get a CEO for about 5% the cost of a US one.

With US CDOs you're not paying for work. You're paying for being politically connected. This is mainly connections to financing sources - the closer to the FED, the more financing you can get and the less you pay for it. But it's also about being able to influence governnent policy and lawmaking. There's also being able to recruit people for other executive suite positions. Then there's managing news coverage: Setting stock market expectations so you can continually exceed them, not getting smeared, getting publicity that encoruages people to buy the product rather than trash the company, and so on.

Actually running the company comes in maybe fourth or lower.

Comment Re:Utterly misleading post. (Score 1) 99

If you place it in front of the eye lens - contact lenses count - then you need the output visible light to be going in the same direction as the input IR light.
There are no common physical processes that can do this.

Frequency-doubling crystals do this - combining two photons going in the same direction into one of twice the frequency. (That's how some green laser diodes work - bumping up infrared.) Not practical for a sensor, since you need a LOT of infrared that's IN PHASE to pull this off.

I, too, had seen the "contact lens" claim and read TFA to see if they had found some stimulated-emission phenomenon (say, one where they pumped the graphine to an excited state and got infrared photons to trigger the emission of a visible photon moving the same way). So I was very disappointed to find it was a FET with the gate stimulated by a graphene infrared-to-E-field transducer, suitable for a retina but not to convert flying photons.

Infrared is too long a wavelength for something like paving a contact lens with a fly's eye of micro-camera-display converters. So I don't see infra-vision contact lenses coming out of THIS breakthrough. Maybe a google-glass analog, or a two-way variant of the Israeli regular-glasses heads-up display with the imbedded refractive-index-change partial mirror that projects the little display near the hinge as if it were a screen in front of you at infinity or task-distance.

Comment Also: More than half of women have been diagnosed (Score 2) 558

Actual clinical depression is a serious disorder and of course has existed throughout history. However, currently about a quarter of women in the US between 40 and 50 are on antidepressant drugs at any one time, and about 10% of all Americans over 12.

In particular, (I've heard that) more than 50% of adult women in the US have been treated for depression at least once in their lives.

This is a source of one of the major pushbacks against gun control proposals that ban people who have seen a shrink from ever having guns: It would disarm the bulk of women (including especially those who are being stalked or attacked, who are likely to have a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder label hung on them.)

Interestingly, while severely clinically depressed patients may be suicide risks and thus a "danger to themselves", the depressed in general are much LESS likely to be a danger to others than the average of the population - even when treated with antidepressant drugs.

(The occasional person who goes on a crime spree when on antidepressants is the result of another phenomenon: People can be both psychopaths and clinically depressed. The depression debilitates them so they don't act out. Treat the depression and you have a fully-functional psychopath. There is some discussion in the psychiatric community, as a result, over whether it might be ethical to refuse to treat the depression of severe, uncompemsated, psychopaths/)

Comment Also: Incentives to diagnose. (Score 1) 558

as we get better at diagnosing conditions like this, naturally there will be a rise in the number of positive diagnoses.

With ADHD the educational system has several incentives - both administrative and financial - to hang the label on kids. The percentage diagnosed with this condition has also experienced substantial growth (and there is a substantial controversey of whether this is the result of the incentives rather than a rise in the condition). Perhaps a similar situation is present with the Autisim-Spectrum diagnosis.

If the school systems labeling nerdy kids with "autism sufferer" leads to them reducing the amount they try to force them to be standardized jocks, defending them more from bullies, and giving them a quiet environment to learn, I'd applaud and promote the increase in the practice. B-)

Slashdot Top Deals

FORTRAN rots the brain. -- John McQuillin