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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:READY OR NOT IS NOT THE ISSUE!!! (Score 1) 2219

Not just 6 digit IDs.

I've just had a look at the beta, and it's a bit bizarre. Pointless huge images. Lot more redundant white-space. No comment links. UIDs are not shown. The comment posting box is missing "Post anonymously". There doesn't seem to be any benefit to the redesign. It very much smacks of change merely for the sake of change, which is not good.

Comment Re:Secret meetings: (Score 4, Informative) 364

Note that this is taking place under the auspices of the Council of European Union, i.e. directly at the behest of the member state governments. The document mentions "Remote Stopping" just once:

Remote Stopping Vehicles
Cars on the run have proven to be dangerous for citizens. Criminal offenders (from robbery to a
simple theft) will take risks to escape after a crime. In most cases the police are unable to chase
the criminal due to the lack of efficient means to stop the vehicle safely. This project starts with the
knowledge that insufficient technology tools are available to be used as part of a proportionate
response. This project will work on a technological solution that can be a “build in standard” for all
cars that enter the European market.

So there's nothing agreed, there's nothing that is going to be imposed. The technology doesn't even exist. All they're doing is they're going to look to see what they could develop. Once they've done that, that doesn't mean it will be imposed. This working group doesn't have that power. If the public doesn't like it, the *member state* politicians (not EU politicians!) who make the decisions at the Council of the EU level would not put it forward. Even if these *state* politicians *did* want to impose this, they'd still need the agreement of the European Parliament (with its directly elected MEPs). The EP can delay and even block legislation (though, that requires a super-majority, ultimately).

tl;dr: the Dailymail are, as usual, blowing out their arse and making shit up about what's happening at the EU.

Comment Re:if you know how a polygraph works... (Score 1) 197

Polygraphs are unreliable generally in scientific tests, regardless of whether subjects know anything about how to circumvent them, for the simple reason that polygraphs are a load of bull.

The only way they produce reliable information is where the subject volunteers it, out of fear the polygraph actually works, or desire to please the interrogator.

Comment Re:Total Obedience is Required ! (Score 1) 197

FWIW, Chinese state TV is running news stories at the moment about the mass surveillance programmes that operate in the West. The Chinese state generally seems weaker in influence, than Western states like the US, UK, etc. Also, given that the US gaols a far greater number of its population than China, or pretty much any other country in the world, a random Chinese resident has a much better chance of being free than a US resident. To call the USA the land of the free smacks mildly of Orwellian double-think.

(Note: There are a good number of things I admire about the US, and things I don't).

Comment Dailymail story on EU: Guaranteed to be wrong (Score 4, Informative) 364

Dear Slashdot,

You've posted a story from the Dailymail that has the form "EU wants to do outrageous thing!". The Dailymail has a long track record of:

a) Hating the EU.

b) Printing utter falsehoods about supposed plans "the EU" has, at least in their headlines and leading text.

E.g., a previous instance, which I complained to the PCC about (who turn out to be toothless and/or cowards): http://paul.jakma.org/2011/11/... .

Please do not feed the Dailymail troll.

Comment Re:The article makes this an intriguing issue (Score 2) 197

The lie detector test is based on ignorance. Teaching people how to pass it amounts to telling them the scientific truth about the polygraph's efficacy: It has none, so don't worry about it, and don't volunteer information.

If it's a crime to tell the truth about pseudo-scientific quackery, then we're fucked.

Comment Re:Not the quantum mechanical multiverse (Score 1) 458

would particles have formed differently, or at all?

Many different outcomes are possible. It's not due to "energy vibrating at different frequencies" - energy does that anyway, every color of visible light you see is energy vibrating at a different frequency, for example. But during an event like the Big Bang, properties of the universe that we observe as constants or laws today could have turned out differently.

Victor Stenger describes it as follows near the end of his 1990 paper The Universe: the ultimate free lunch:

Rather than representing order, symmetry principles actually correspond to a state of high disorder; they describe situations where no particular axis is preferred and thus a system has no structure. Order is not symmetry - order is broken symmetry. It occurs as the result of a phase transition from more symmetric but less orderly states, as with the freezing of a cloud of water vapour into a six-pointed snow-flake. Force laws result from broken symmetry.

Those phase transitions as an early-stage universe cools could lead to different force laws, among other differences, in the resulting universe.

Comment Re:If you accept those things ... (Score 1) 458

The article is discussing a consequence of some of the most well-established scientific models in existence: general relativity, quantum field theory, and the Big Bang cosmological model. That knowledge is what allowed the computer you're using to be built, and what allows GPS satellites to work. Those models make predictions which have been tested over and over and found to be accurate. The article is describing another prediction of those models. Your argument from incredulity (a logical fallacy) is nothing but a reflection of your own ignorance.

Comment Re:multiverse != multiple observable regions in sp (Score 1) 458

There's no standard definition for the term "multiverse", because it's not a term that corresponds to any established physical theory. The theory described in the article has a good claim to the term multiverse, because it's much more than just separate regions.

The region of the universe we're in almost certainly extends beyond the limits that we observe, so there are already "separated observable regions" in the universe we know. The article is talking about a scenario in which multiple Big Bangs occur, so each region is not just separated by distance but also by the nature of the space in that region - how much it has inflated, how fast it is inflating. Each such inflating region is possibly also distinguished by different laws of physics in that region. There would also be non-inflating regions which would have properties different from anything we're familiar with.

Back when other galaxies were first discovered, they were originally referred to as "island universes". This eventually changed to "galaxy" as our understanding of the extent of the universe shifted. If the theory in the article were somehow confirmed (difficult!) then in future, we might indeed refer to that larger space as just "the Universe", and refer to the inflating bubble we're in as something less all-encompassing than "the Universe". For now, though, it would be very confusing if we started referring to speculative constructs way beyond our ability to observe as "the Universe". Multiverse is as good as a term as any.

Comment Re:My God... (Score 1) 458

I spent a good bit of time trying to explain this to laycreatures

Sounds like the blind leading the blind.

You can't naively apply Popper in this case (who in any case is by no means the last word on philosophy of science), because the situation is quite complex: the article describes a possible consequence of existing established theories, including quantum field theory, general relativity, and Big Bang cosmological models. As such, Popper's rules don't say anything about those theories not being science, or whatever.

While it's true that "the math does not lead only and exclusively to that conclusion", it's a valid possible conclusion. As such, given the status of the theories that it's based on, we can't avoid taking it seriously as a possible description of reality. The task then becomes to discover if there's any way to improve our certainty about its correctness or lack thereof, and that's why people like Linde write papers about this stuff. Rejecting this as "not science" or whatever based on one particular view of what science is, is terribly short-sighted, and it's lucky that actual scientists don't pay attention to such nonsense.

One of the interesting consequences of eternal inflation style theories is that in principle, it addresses questions of fine-tuning. One can take the "evidence of fine tuning" as an argument in favor of multiverses in some form. From that perspective, the idea that our observable universe that started with the Big Bang is the only universe is actually the more difficult theory to defend, since we don't know how some of the parameters managed to come out on the knife-edge of allowing the universe to expand to a useful size and have useful properties like the ability for matter to form.

Re Popper, you should look into Imre Lakatos, who pointed out various flaws with basing all of science on falsificationism. See e.g. The Methodology of Scientific Research Programmes.

Comment Re:You mean (Score 1) 458

The "big bang" is the flat earthers looking out at the horizon, the most distant photons they can see... "yep, that is as far as we can see, it must be the edge of everything!"

No cosmologist says that. The edge you're referring to is the edge of the observable universe, nothing more.

If you *heart* science but suck at it, be a troll.


Slashdot Top Deals

"Little else matters than to write good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer