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Comment Re:practicalities make it impossible.. (Score 1) 770

I have the same sympathy as the (thread!) parent. I feel in some ways we live in an age where traditional societal pressures about who one "should" be as an adult are deteriorating, and I'm personally glad for it.

Yes, but in this age of self-realization many people feel they're not accomplished enough, many of us chose to or are forced to be cogs in the machinery rather than chasing our dreams. It's not cool to be a burger flipper at McD and I don't think the social pressure is any easier than before, in the eyes of our peers it's fairly easy to fail at life and if you take that at face value you'd be pretty depressed. Choosing to avoid things to ignore how badly you suck at them is common, for example not exercising since that'd reveal just how poorly your shape is. In that sense I can in certain ways understand people who choose to recluse from life rather than deal with it, if you don't try nobody will see how badly you fail.

Submission + - Can the Slashdot effect save Ed Snowden? 1

NewtonsLaw writes: I read that Iceland has refused asylum and citizenship to whistleblower Ed Snowden.

In response to this, I wrote a very polite, email to the office of the Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson (details on this webpage) expressing my disappointment at the decision and my sympathy for a once-proud nation that seems to have lost its nerve when faced with the might of the USA.

If anyone else wants to do the same then perhaps it's not too late to alert the Icelandic government to the fact that they could win millions of new friends from all over the world if they were to show their courage and bravery by helping Snowden, as they have with others in the past.

Of course any such communication needs to be polite, concise and focused on showing Iceland that the internet community supports Ed Snowden and those who are prepared to help him.

Maybe the Slashdot community can help. Why not spend a few quick minutes firing off an email so we can find out for sure.

Comment Re:Great! (Score 1) 167

But this only deals with one specific instance, if you have a poster with a history of tinfoil hat posts say "Sure, I totally believe NSA has only my best interests at heart" then that has a lot higher probability of being irony than a poster that is fully in the "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" corner. Given all the defective sarcasm and irony detectors out there, the bar of out-detecting a human is pretty damn low.

Submission + - Google paid AdBlock Plus to get its ads whitelisted

recoiledsnake writes: German site Horizont Online reports that [translate link] Google paid AdBlock Plus to unblock it's own ads. According to their tests, Google's text ads show up with AdBlock Plus installed, but Bing's and Yahoo's are blocked even though they are similarly less intrusive. This creates a conflict of interest for AdBlock Plus since it encourages companies to pay them to get whitelisted. Note, Adblock Plus is not directly related to Adblock. We previously covered the FTC was making new rules to prevent search results from looking like ads and how 62% of folks didn't even realize there were ads on search result pages because of search engines reducing background contrast to increase ad clicks.

Comment Re:First post (Score 1) 259

The standard argument is that the engineering and physics challenges with long-distance space travel are so great that any entity that can solve them doesn't really care about the bugs on Earth or Earth itself, they can get what they want from any sun or planet they can find and feed into their matter/energy/matter systems.

Or they have perfected remote sensing that they don't travel at all.

Comment Uh, JPL (Score 5, Insightful) 59

Hey NASA, you heard of this place called JPL out by Cal Tech. They've been landing rovers on Mars for a while now which is WAY harder than landing one on the moon. Why don't you give them a call and stop being clueless and pathetic.


Elon, please launch Falcon Heavy so we can shut NASA down and put the money in to your actual space program instead of the empty shell that is NASA these days

Comment Re:War! (Score 2) 259

Colonizing Mars to protect against interstellar war would be like having your safe house on your patio. As for colonizing other planets we haven't got the technology for that any more than you could go to the moon with a horse carriage, just adding more horses won't help. It would be interesting to get started but I except a Mars colony to be dependent on Earth for centuries.

Comment Re:Harmless? (Score 1) 330

Also, you may not be looking at a big enough map to determine the threats against Europe. Europe's anti-missile defense is provided by the US

And any nation insane enough to initiate a ICBM attack on Europe would soon feel the full wrath of the European retaliation. You know that thing called mutual destruction which kept the world at relative peace during the cold war era.

Full wrath of what? The whole of EU has a few hundred nukes and no known ICBMs, Russia has many thousands of nukes and delivery capability. Many European nations - like my own - have heavily cut troop levels, training and starved them of all heavy equipment after the Cold War ended, we have a few special forces for places like Afghanistan but in major ground combat we'd fall faster than the Maginot line did to the Blitz. Everybody in Europe leans on everybody else and if not that they lean on the US, but if push comes to shove I think we'll find it's like the Lehman Brothers, everybody is leaning on thin air. The main real strong point is that we're rather massive, it'd take a ridiculously big army to occupy 500 million people's countries, but per capita Europe is weak.

Comment Re:Individual, not collective (Score 1) 467

That's the nice theory, but in practice it's more like a prisoner's dilemma because they usually have more prospective employees lined up than you have prospective employers. They offer you a low-ball wage, either you take it and is employed and underpaid or some other guy takes it while you're still unemployed. If you'd all refuse they'd offer more, but as long as one of you is more desperate than the rest they continue their race to the bottom and they know in every pool there's someone who has hit that "Screw it, I need a job and I need it now" limit and will sign up. To a lesser degree everyone else who wants out of their old job too. Even if you think you're an above average negotiator for your profession - which you probably aren't - they've dragged the baseline down so low they can pretend to be generous.

Collective bargaining as you say won't be a perfect fit for the individual, but you're making the unsaid and wholly unsupported assumption that what's negotiable is a fixed pool which you get either way. "Give me X, or I walk out that door" is more often than not met with "Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out" while "Give us X, or we all walk out that door" is met with "Whoa whoa whoa let's not be hasty here, let's discuss this". If you get more power and can negotiate a bigger piece of the cake that way, then a slice of that can still be bigger than what you managed to negotiate on your own. They're just very good at making you think you did a great deal, that's what everybody's supposed to think. I think many would change opinion if they saw the salary pay-outs.

Comment Re:Repeatedly gained and lost knowledge? (Score 2) 277

I'm not sure that I can really think of good examples of this happening - at least not on a global scale.

Well, for better or for worse the world has gotten smaller in many ways including this one. For example, all of Intel's CPUs that power most PCs in the world are made in 11 plants, 7 locations, 5 countries and if there's a WW3 I predict the countries involved would be "all of the above". Floodings in Thailand sent the whole world's HDD market skyrocketing. Assuming most of this is reduced to piles of rubble, key personnel lost, the whole supply chain of tools and purified silicon gone and there's post-war shortages on everything. None of this is anything you can make in your back yard, how long would you keep the computers running without replacements coming, 5 years? 10 years? 30 years is the estimated shelf life of a backup tape. Even if people in remote areas make it through by living a few decades with 1950s level of technology societies by then everything not put to paper will be gone.

These things are ridiculously asymptotic, what's the price of food now down at the grocery store when there is plenty? In the grand scheme of things very, very low. What happens if there's a famine and there's not enough food to go around? There's really no price high enough to starve. So I'm thinking yeah, today it might seem silly since processing power and storage space is plentiful but if shit really hits the fan? What's a working HDD worth to you if you're down to the last copy of something really important? What if there's none to be had no matter the price? It's harder to fail that hard with books, they're easy to print and there's a zillion printing presses around the world. Not so with high-end electronics.

Comment Re:Intel isn't a foundry (Score 1) 229

A little and only specialty chips that don't compete with anything Intel has, also of course for profit but equally much to deny the "real" foundries customers and profit. So when Intel is looking to push into smart phones/tablets/hybrids I'd be very surprised if they at the same time built CPUs for smart phones/tablets/hybrids for Apple at any price, really. If I was Microsoft and I was thinking long term I'd rather give a helluva good deal on x86 chips for the next iDevice instead.

Comment Re:Bullies and thugs ... (Score 1) 621

This would be impossible to do to Air Force One over European air spaces. Dozens of US fighters are capable of being scrambled from all over Europe to protect Air Force One, and this assumes there isn't a fighter escort all the time.

Even if for some weird reason AF1 would land, the secret service would never allow the plane to be searched or probably even approached by anything less than an armored company-size force.

Comment Display extension/mirroring (Score 1) 317

To me the simplest and most straightforward solution is enabling a phone's touch interface to be extended to the larger dash screen. This could happen wirelessly or via wired connector (USB or HDMI).

This puts the phone's features on the larger dash screen where they are presumably easier to interact with. For safety reasons, you could consider a restriction that prevents use of text and video apps display while the vehicle is in motion (but still make it easy to short that wire to ground for those of us who don't want to be limited like this).

To make this work, iOS and Android would both have to support touch interfaces external to their device as well as better external display formatting (ie, not just the rectangular phone screen, but matching the aspect/size of the car display). Ideally there would also be some kind of standard that would support tactile physical buttons mappable to touch functions.

At this point, the car maker only needs to provide basic infotainment controls for the car radio and amplifier and climate controls.

Comment Re:Uh, duh? (Score 1) 314

Wildly exaggerated, you say? Who would do such a thing?!

People. Remember y2k, when society would collapse overnight as all our fancy technology would be hit harder than a world-wide EMP burst? What we don't understand is blown hilariously out of proportion. And certain people seem to have an irrational belief in impending doom no matter how unlikely, I guess they're some kind of evolutionary emergency insurance policy. Personally I'm not afraid of people throwing bits and bytes at each other I'm afraid of those bits and bytes controlling far more traditional means of war.

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