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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Comment Re:Which is what, exactly? (Score 4, Insightful) 2247

How are the people of North Dakota supposed to ship their wheat to China when a tsunami takes out a west coast shipping port?

Alright, I want every small-government proponent to make a list of 100 things they want to fund, personally? Take a moment, I'll wait. Was drought-proof wheat on your list? Probably not. Do you need drought-proof wheat? If you don't what to be buying your food from Siberia, you sure do. Is there incentive to develop drought-proof wheat? There sure is. Is anybody going to follow that incentive? No. Why? Because it wasn't on your list or anybody else's. You didn't think of it. Or you (wrongly) believe it's not important. Or that somebody else will do it. Who funds drought-proof wheat research? Department of Agriculture research programs.

Alright, now, I want you to make a time budget. How many hours in a day are you going to spend evaluating who should receive your private funding. And be sure you do your research, we don't want Solyndra fraudsters getting it. The DC bureaucrats do this all day, but now YOU have to do it. What's that, you want to delegate it? To a company that takes your money and decides for you, and keeps a chunk of it for itself? Sounds familiar?

Oh but your system is voluntary. Except you don't actually have time to do it.

Do you really WANT to pay the free-market cost of education? Do you want everybody else to? Just how many burger flippers and drug dealers do you think this society can support? Do you want your cancer operated on by somebody who learned from Khan Academy of Medicine on Youtube?

Do you want clean water? Do you think there are incentives for private companies to keep water clean? Environmental protection is expensive, it's true. Turns out making small settlements and dragging out legal cases with in-house council is a lot less. The true incentive is to not keep the water clean. You live in a free society, but your child is DEAD. Oh well.

Comment Re:CERN (Score 2) 119

I read the sad story of a bitter failure who's full of shit. Let's see you brute force yourself a 1m accuracy GPS system without Einstein. You can do it. You'd just be the latest in a long line of mule-headed engineers going back to Ptolemy. What, it's not accurate enough? Let's throw on another epicycle (correction fit to the residual). Still not accurate? Another epicycle (correction fit to the residual of the residual). Kepler and Einstein are full of shit, we'll just brute force it, right? You want a hand-held gps? Sure, we'll engineer it, and here's the battery in a backpack to power all those corrections. Please tell me your field and state so I can avoid whatever it is you engineer. P.S. OPERA is the first neutrino speed measurement. We've been measuring the speed of neutrinos for over 50 years, only one of them has error bars that don't include c. And THAT measurement is outside the error bars of all the other measurements. But you put all your faith in the outlier. P.P.S. I have the design for a gyroscopic perpetual energy machine. The 'scientists' say it can't work. But I'd be willing to part with the design and give it to your 'engineering' firm for $50k and an NDA.

Comment Re:My coupon! (Score 1) 378

Three things about that:

2. Security is relative. It can always be increased. Criminals have shown they can circumvent almost any security measure. You've cited zero facts to back up your claim that Sony's was negligent.

Uh, well, that's the point. To obtain facts as to whether Sony was negligent, we would have to conduct discovery. And to conduct discovery, we would have to sue. And if we've waived our right to sue, we would stand before the arbitration board empty handed. `

Comment Pareto Optimum (Score 1) 730

I hate to quote wikipedia, but at least it's got citations:
"Given an initial allocation of goods among a set of individuals, a change to a different allocation that makes at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement. An allocation is defined as "Pareto efficient" or "Pareto optimal" when no further Pareto improvements can be made."

"Pareto efficiency is a minimal notion of efficiency and does not necessarily result in a socially desirable distribution of resources: it makes no statement about equality, or the overall well-being of a society."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_efficiency

Comment This is not the modern power age (Score 1) 436

Fukushima was a 30 year old reactor that was scheduled to be taken offline in March of 2011, then had a life extension due to Japan's electricity demands. It was a TMI design that was operated to failure and it failed in the TMI way.*

I don't know about the anti-nuclear lobby in Japan, but as far as the US goes, all nuclear reactors are outdated designs because the anti-nuclear lobby has successfully blocked all attempts to build replacement reactors with modern designs. However, they've failed to get all the old reactors taken offline, because you can't have declining energy use with a growing population. Congratulations anti-nuke people. Instead of modern reactors that don't have a billion valves and don't need to be continuously cooled until shutdown+30 days, we have a fleet of aging TMI-type reactors with known flaws being operated until they fail.

I'm not saying pebble-beds in every town are the answer, but dammit, they have NO PUMPS AT ALL. It's like the anti-nukes want TMI reactors failing so they can kill nuclear completely. The reactors need to be replaced. LET IT HAPPEN.

*I am not saying they were identical scenarios so please don't point out the obvious.

Comment Re:Original Research? (Score 1) 385

Academics can contribute plenty of general subject knowledge that isn't original research. And they're unlikely to want to contribute original research, because they'd rather get it published in a journal, where it counts for boosting their career. Once it's published there, it can be cited, so it's fair game for Wikipedia.

I think this is absolutely the case. All this discussion about publish-or-perish or rewards is completely disngenuous. Sure, academics want their own work published, and they couldn't get past Wikipedia's original work prohibition, but academics want correct information out there just as much as anybody and hate seeing stubs or bad info and would happily contribute.

A much more plausible explanation is simply that academia moves slowly and ponderously, and won't really change to accommodate anything new until long after it's established in society at large. The generation that has grown up with the internet are still mostly undergrads and PhD students (like me). Come back in a decade or two, and I think there'll be a lot more experts contributing to Wikipedia.

I think just about all these people have retired.

No the real problem with wikipedia is that they have ALWAYS been hostile to contributions by experts, like Fox News repelling climatogists. TFA mentions Citizenpedia, remember Wikipedia had TWO founders, one of whom got so disgusted with the anti-expert atmosphere he forked the project. His project didn't become popular, probably because 1) Wikipedia is always at the top of Google's searches, 2) Wikipedia is full of the cruft the public demands, like Anime, American Idol, and the aforementioned professional wrestlers which even the editors want to get rid of but can't keep up, and 3) because of 2), see 1) again.

Citizenpedia failed, but Wikipedia's still broken. So we get Scholarpedia. And then it's still broken. So we get Knol. And Wikipedia is still broken, people know it's broken, but it's at the top of the searches. The only reliable way to get an expert to contribute to an article and have it not get reverted is for an editor to plaster a "This topic needs attention from an expert" which doesn't happen that often. And even then, the expert's contribution will be "fixed" and "improved" until it's as factually accurate as your typical newspaper's sci/med reporting i.e. wrong (see any reporting in the last month about radiation).

Wikipedia will never improve it's reliability until Jimmy Wales and his cabal of editors who treat it as their own personal sandbox are given the heave-ho. Which isn't going to happen, because it IS their own personal sandbox.

What, citation needed? Anything from Sanger will do. Here's one from the relevant era: http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/12/30/142458/25

Comment Re:What's the legal definition of substantial? (Score 1) 247

Then I should have been more specific. I'm not talking about optional components, but libraries always linked in at runtime when the program launches. Stallman, Moglen, and FSF have long taken the stance that dynamic linking to GPL'd libraries (GPL 2 or 3, not LGPL or GPL + linking exception) requires adherence to the GPL license. Here's a quote:

Eben:
The language or programming paradigm in use doesn't determine the rules of compliance, nor does whether the GPL'd code has been modified. The situation is no different than the one where your code depends on static or dynamic linking of a GPL'd library, say GNU readline. Your code, in order to operate, must be combined with the GPL'd code, forming a new combined work, which under GPL section 2(b) must be distributed under the terms of the GPL and only the GPL. If the author of the other code had chosen to release his JAR under the Lesser GPL, your contribution to the combined work could be released under any license of your choosing, but by releasing under GPL he or she chose to invoke the principle of "share and share alike."

They claim this, even if your code contains no text from GPL'd code, contains only unprotected API text from GPL'd header files, or is distributed only as a non-compilable package that requires end-user assembly with GPL sources obtained separately.

Slashdot Top Deals

Trap full -- please empty.

Working...