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Journal Journal: I wonder what happened to all my mod points 1

For a while over the summer it seemed like I was getting 15 mod points every week or two. Sometimes I didn't use them all up before the next batch came in. Then around September they all stopped. I don't think I've had any for three months. Were my mod abilities suddenly considered to be not up to snuff? Did a bunch of other Slashdotters come back from vacation, eager to moderate? Did my half-hearted stabs at meta-moderation work against me? (I *much* preferred the old metamod system and was


When Your Company Remote-Wipes Your Personal Phone 446

Xenographic writes "NPR has a story about someone whose personal iPhone got remotely wiped by their employer. It was actually a mistake, but it was something of a surprise because they didn't believe they had given their employer any kind of access to do that. This may already be very familiar to Microsoft Exchange admins, but the problem was her iPhone's integration with MS Exchange automatically gives the server admin access to do remote wipes. All you have to do is configure the phone to receive email from an MS Exchange server and the server admin can wipe your phone at will. The phone wasn't bricked, even though absolutely all of its data was wiped, because the data could be restored from backup, assuming that someone had remembered to make one. But this also works on other devices like iPads, Blackberry phones, and other smartphones that integrate with MS Exchange. So if you read your work email on your personal phone or tablet, you might want to make sure that you keep backups, just in case."

One Giant Cargo Ship Pollutes As Much As 50M Cars 595

thecarchik writes "One giant container ship pollutes the air as much as 50 million cars. Which means that just 15 of the huge ships emit as much as today's entire global 'car park' of roughly 750 million vehicles. Among the bad stuff: sulfur, soot, and other particulate matter that embeds itself in human lungs to cause a variety of cardiopulmonary illnesses. Since the mid-1970s, developed countries have imposed increasingly stringent regulations on auto emissions. In three decades, precise electronic engine controls, new high-pressure injectors, and sophisticated catalytic converters have cut emissions of nitrous oxides, carbon dioxides, and hydrocarbons by more than 98 percent. New regulations will further reduce these already minute limits. But ships today are where cars were in 1965: utterly uncontrolled, free to emit whatever they like." According to Wikipedia, 57 giant container ships (rated from 9,200 to 15,200 twenty-foot equivalent units) are plying the world's oceans.

Comment Hell's Angels (1930) (Score 1) 295

I think a "long shot" can also be relative: not necessarily long, but it seems that way because it's longer than you expect. In Hell's Angels (1930) there's a wonderful shot during a bombing raid on a munitions dump. Shot straight down from the plane, we see the bomb shrink as it drops, meet its shadow at the target and blow it up, and then the debris spreading out and (perhaps the coolest part) some debris coming back up towards the plane, and getting rather close.

The whole shot is probably far less than a minute long, but it's absolutely riveting and even seems "too long" because the shot ends long after you expect. Of course, you expect more cuts and angles because such scenes are basically always filmed that way. (A partial exception is Major Kong riding the bomb at the end of Dr. Strangelove, but even then the camera partially moves down with Kong and the bomb.) There's always at least one shot of the bombs dropping from the side, and several cuts from the ground of explosions, often with fast editing and different angles to "add drama," I suppose, but it's 100% predictable.

The shot in Hell's Angels also works well because it keeps us in the point of view of our protagonists in the bomber, as if we are actually there, which makes it feel much more realistic than the same action would with multiple changes of camera position.

Comment Re:Get rid of the artifact? (Score 1) 538

The difficulty is precisely counting the number of atoms in a macroscopic object

Then why not count the precise number of atoms in a microscopic object and make the International System of Units work for us here? Just define the yoctogram as a certain number of atoms, then multiply it by 10^27 to get a kilogram.

Comment Re:Not good enough. (Score 1) 182

I have no problem at all believing that Apple has serious problems, in general, identifying functional problems produced by styling decisions

Bingo. And I can guess the dynamic: Jobs wants things to look a certain way, and pushes the engineers hard. This produces some great designs, but occasional fails when Jobs overrode the warnings he got. Thus the beautiful Cube case that tended to grow cracks, the notorious round mouse, the iPhone 4 antenna, and maybe a few more.

Comment Re:Don't worry (Score 2, Interesting) 123

This initiative is especially amusing coming shortly after this innovation from Obama's Organizing for America. Click the link and (unless you get an error) you'll get a page based on your location, with the phone number of a voter to call. You get the name, age, gender, city, and party ID. You're supposed to read a short push-poll from a script, get their opinions of the President and his policies, and report on the person's response. No potential for abuse there, having political opinions linked to individuals in a central database run by the President's organization!

Comment Some past engineering challenges (Score 1) 205

Compare the time it's taking to finalize HTML5 with some past engineering challenges:

  • The first prototype Jeep was designed and built and delivered for testing in about two months by the tiny and bankrupt American Bantam Car Company, which had to hire a freelance engineer for the job because they no longer had an engineering staff.
  • The first P-51 Mustang, which eventually became the best all-round fighter of the war, was designed and built in 117 days.
  • The Empire State Building was built in about 18 months.

Is HTML5 really so much more complicated?

Comment Re:Not news (Score 5, Insightful) 484

Real news would be if somebody actually found a way to counteract their deeds.

No, the solution is well-known, just unpalatable to many people: stop having the government attempting to micromanage the economy. Every time Congress decides to treat one segment of the economy differently than another, through special taxes, regulations, subsidies, privileges, etc., the lobbyists will appear. Note that I am not arguing against all taxes and such, just pointing out that all such interference produces lobbyists.

Besides, if you want Congress to (e.g.) redesign the health care system, do you think they would actually do a better job if doctors, hospitals, and drug companies weren't consulted at all? I don't. I think they'd end up with legislation that was even more clueless. Just because lobbyists are arguing for a particular group doesn't mean they're always wrong.

If you want to minimize lobbyists, advocate against all special tax breaks and subsidies and for making taxes and regulation as uniform, sensible, and simple as possible.

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