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


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:aren't there laws against monopolistic practice (Score 5, Insightful) 202

Or they'd simply rather not spend time and money to solve someone else's problem?

You're looking at this the wrong way. The problem is their customer not being able to access the services they wish to in a reasonable manner.

It's not like rack space is free, or electricity is free, or ensuring that someone else's hardware isn't going to harm your network is free. If I were an ISP, Netflix would "get" to install hardware in my network over my dead body - simply because I DO NOT TRUST HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE I HAVEN'T VERIFIED.

You do realize that the whole point of the internet is to connect to servers, clients, and peers of an unverified nature, right? And if they co-locate for any of their clients, they already deal with this issue on a daily basis? Go ahead and google Verizon colocation services, just for fun.

What about the people who AREN'T Netflix customers and DON'T want to pay for someone else's service? Why should my ISP fees be used to help someone else stream movies I can't access?!

Well, the benefit to their other customers would be that their connection to other servers outside of Verizon's network wouldn't be impeded by the congestion of their customers who would like to stream said movies. Keep in mind, the customer who wants to watch movies on Netflix have exactly as many rights as the customer who wants to play MMOs, or the one who wants to send emails. This benefits all their customers - just not their RedBox business.

If Netflix wants to solve this, they can talk to Cogent and help Cogent come up with a solution that isn't making Verizon and their non-Netflix subscribing customers foot the bill. There's absolutely no reason I should be footing the bill for a service I have no intention of using.

It must be a source of relief to you to know that all those services that you use are vitally important to all the other Verizon customers. Or just maybe those other customers' service fees pay for those services they use, on average.

Comment Re:So long truckers (Score 1) 369

Who says they won't hit you. Or in the case of a robot truck, take you out. There may be times where a human driver can and would do everything possible to avoid an accident, even if it meant driving off the road. A robot truck with $500,000 inventory may be less gracious. It may stop as fast as prudently possible, but since the other guy is at fault, stay on the road and protect its cargo.

And then the company who developed the software will be sued for negligent homicide, and the trucking and software companies will be on the hook for a preventable accident with no risk of human life on their side of the scale. Any software that is designed to have a preference to save the cargo of an unmanned vehicle versus not hitting a potentially manned vehicle will likely be ruled as failing to take action to prevent an accident (which will also be provable from the video recordings). There will be plenty of lawyers and jurors who will be happy to say robots are evil and the faceless companies should pay.

The two more likely scenarios are that a) the software will not be able to prevent all accidents, and hence loss of life, and b) people who are recorded engaging in reckless behaviour which causes massive loss of cargo will be summarily sued out of existence (if they survived in the first place). Tthe combination of the two will mean that there will be a spate of people doing stupid things, and then being reasonably cautious around unmanned cargo vehicles, at much the same levels as today.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 476

So, a thief who steals as much as an HFT corporation is also fine? Without the metric of social value, there is little or no point to many of the laws we have, especially the ones we think of as 'good'. I'd posit that if the social value of HFT is on par with grand theft, it should be outlawed, and for the same reason.

Well, my point is that markets (and in particular capital markets) are fundamentally about profit and nothing else. If you want to impose some additional system of values, be it social, ethical, religious (yes, there is such a thing in capital markets) ones, it has to be done from outside the 'free market' mentality. Because of that it amounts to extra regulation, so whether it is good or bad becomes a hot button issue in the US in general and on /. in particular and I chose to refrain from expressing a preference in a post that was more about facts.

Well, I can't honestly say I'm worried about hot button issues, and I wouldn't say I strayed from facts, either.

You are correct, little things like ethics, and 'doing the right thing' often have a financial cost, however small it might be. Just as not 'doing the right thing' will have a social cost, which can be surprisingly large at times. This, coupled with the irrational belief that a free market is any better than communism, does lead to some ridiculous discussions. See, communism and the free market do have at least one thing in common: they're both models which look good on paper, but do not take human flaws into consideration. And if you don't take those flaws into consideration, they will show themselves, usually in the most horrible ways.

For a look at the failings of the free (or unregulated) market, take a moment to read about a little thing called phossy jaw. And in response to the comment "Ah, but that wasn't truly a free market - the consumers didn't have enough information or influence." First, the problem was known (and solved!) for at least 5 decades, with employees dying on a regular basis before changes were made to improve employee health. Second, when the problem was first addressed, the companies in question were making about 20% dividends, and the industry is still around a century after they stopped poisoning their employees (mainly due to regulation). Third, please find me a free market today that works the way the model predicts, and isn't literally destroying people in the process, merely to maximize profits.

Models are wonderful things, even bad (or incomplete) models. But using models with known flaws doesn't lead to happy endings.

Comment Re:Good (Score 1) 476

Indeed, profit is the key word. Social value is incidental, if at all.

So, a thief who steals as much as an HFT corporation is also fine? Without the metric of social value, there is little or no point to many of the laws we have, especially the ones we think of as 'good'. I'd posit that if the social value of HFT is on par with grand theft, it should be outlawed, and for the same reason.

Comment Re:"Neuroadaptation" and the Pleasure Trap (Score 1) 311

Depression can be cured, or let's call it remission if you want.

This is a big lie promoted by psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry for their own profit

Sadly, a lot of the treatment plans for depression seem to be keep throwing things at it and see if something sticks.

Or you keep throwing things at it until it gets better by itself and the psychiatrist takes credit for it.

Okay, you really gotta pick one. Use whatever term you like, but either you can be depressed and then no longer be depressed, or once you get depressed you will remain depressed for the rest of your life.

I agree, far too many pharmaceuticals are made with the primary (or sole) intention of making profits, which probably includes using them where they shouldn't be. But as you said, they can be effective in extreme cases.

Nothing psychiatry has to offer can be clinically shown to make depressives feel normal. They only make the extremely depressed feel marginally less shitty, if they're lucky.

Well, having been extremely depressed, if this is, "marginally less shitty", I'll take it. I believe I feel pretty damned good (but what basis do I have to make that distinction on). As for normal, that's not something I was ever aiming for. ;)

What it comes down to for me is, if you have a problem, deal with it. Pharmaceuticals may be the solution for some people. If it isn't working, stop taking it! If it's done its job, stop taking it! If you still need it to function normally (or what passes for it), keep taking it! That can be applied to any situation you can find yourself in. "If you act like an ass whenever you drink, maybe you should stop drinking." "If you can't stand the pain without a having a joint, maybe you should have one." "If that anti-depressant isn't making standing in front of a bus look like a bad idea, maybe you need to do something else (but don't stand in front of a bus!)."

For the record, I find most psychologists and psychiatrists to be a waste of time. My anti-depressant was prescribed by my GP. The other things I had to help deal with my depression was coping mechanisms I had developed for myself over decades of undiagnosed major clinical depression (the label my doctor gave me on our second discussion).

P.S. The poorest test for depression is asking "How often do you think about suicide?" and taking anything but a number over a time span as an answer. Depressed people often have no idea how often is normal, so "Not very" doesn't mean very much at all.

Comment Re:"Neuroadaptation" and the Pleasure Trap (Score 1) 311

BTW, if you feel you normally have a consistent low level of mood otherwise, look hard at what you eat (artificial colors, sugar, refined starch, caffeine?) and what you don't eat (vegetables, omega 3s and other healthy fats, B complex, vitamin D, etc.). See Dr. Andrew Weil and Dr. Joel Fuhrman as places to start with that.

Please. There's even less reason to believe that diet can improve depression than there is to believe that antidepressants can. Depression is complex and multifactorial, and no one anywhere has demonstrated any unambiguously effective treatment for it. Nor should we expect them to. Depression isn't a disease, it's a rational reaction to living in an unbearable society.

Society has been pretty much unbearable since more than one person has been in a group. Before that, loneliness was unbearable. And yet, most people aren't clinically depressed.

Depression can be cured, or let's call it remission if you want. Maybe not for everyone, maybe not forever, but life is pretty malleable, and no single state seems to last a lifetime.

As you said, depression is a very multifaceted condition, which makes it very hard to determine what treatments are effective. One of the biggest problems in this area is that we still have very little idea how the brain works. Sadly, a lot of the treatment plans for depression seem to be keep throwing things at it and see if something sticks. Sometimes a combination of things helps synergistically, other times nothing short of drastic measures seems to have any effect at all. I remember a documentary about a guy who had to go for quarterly electro-shock therapy to treat his depression. He found that somewhat more desirable than committing suicide. Until we have a better picture of what's really happening, what's causing depression in a given circumstance, any treatment is going to be very ineffective in general. That doesn't mean it won't be effective for everyone.

Comment Re:Why the hell are people accepting this? (Score 1) 622

I'm not an expert, but I'm pretty sure it's because less than 3,547 of those traffic accidents were intentional, and less than 3,547 of those handgun deaths were not self-inflicted (sorry, double negative). Answer without the snide tone: combating terrorism, both foreign and domestic, is a goal worthy of our time and talents.

First, the 3547 were terrorist attacks, not traffic accidents. Second, If you want to compare intentional attacks of terrorism versus intentional attacks of car accidents, the number to beat is 5 or 6, not the number of deaths by terrorist attack. Third, presuming combating terrorism is worthy of our time and efforts, the next step would be to determine how best to do that. So far, the two most effective things that are done with respect to airplanes are to lock the cockpit and for the passengers to not sit on their hands if someone tries to hijack or blow up the plane. Patting down children seems to be a little lower on the scale of effectiveness. Another thing that is known to be effective is to have a known agent on the plane to subdue any hijackers or bombers. Air marshals seem to once again be pretty much a thing of the past, presumably due to cost. Given that having an air marshal on every plane would require no more than 10000 (there are apparently 5000 flights at any given time, with 1/3 being passenger flights, which means there would be 2 air marshals for every flight), and assuming these people get paid a hefty wage of $50k, we're looking at $500M per year. Given the DHS budget of $60B, and the relative ineffectiveness of some of their operations, this seems far more reasonable than almost all the other efforts they engage in (with the exception of non-invasive scanning of passengers, and perhaps some others I haven't heard of).

Comment Re:Try to avoid 9 billion (Score 2) 293

right now we have very talented (and intelligent) women not giving birth due to not wanting to deal with the problems of being pregnant.

Good. Fewer people is fewer people. Don't worry, we've a long way to go before there are so many people refraining from breeding that we can't find "talented (and intelligent)" offspring anywhere.

So actively dropping the median is okay, then. Gotcha.

Comment Re:But is it permanent? (Score 1) 160

not the same.

Make anyone change glasses every day and it will be natural for them. I doubt you can unlearn something that became a "skill".

While I suspect Wayne Gretzky is still a better hockey player than I am, I doubt he's anything like he was 20 years ago. Skills fade. Unused skills fade faster.

Slashdot Top Deals

If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.