Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Trust the World's Fastest VPN with Your Internet Security & Freedom - A Lifetime Subscription of PureVPN at 88% off. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:Thrilling? (Score 1) 211

Finding that many Earth-sized rocky bodies orbiting a star just 39 lightyears away, with the possibility that some of them may be able to have liquid water on their surface doesn't excite you?

It seems that nearby rocky exoplanets are all over the place so no this doesn't get me all that excited except as more evidence that many or even most stars have them. Gliese 581 is half the distance and even our companion system Proxima Centauri probably has one or more of them.

This does not mean that it isn't worth sending them an RF or laser message though to see if we get a reply in 80 years because well you never know. Although there are certainly more compelling targets in a 40 ly radius.

Comment Re:What makes this special? (Score 1) 211

Need I continue? Is it too much work for you to take an extra 1-3 seconds to google before you make an ignorant statement like that? Actually it seems that most and perhaps even all stars have planets including rocky ones. What this really shows is the variability possible and that rocky planets are probably ubiquitous and can just be assumed to exist in most cases.

One of the most important changes I've seen in my lifetime has been this shift from pessimistically assuming that there were relatively few rocky planets in the galaxy and that many if not most stars lacked them to what we are actually seeing now: that they are in fact almost everywhere we look carefully enough to the point that it might be more useful to search for stars that don't have any rocky planets. There are plenty of systems where we haven't detected any but the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Small rocky planets are very difficult to detect.

When I first saw the 40 ly figure I thought of Zeta Reticulum which Betty Hill and Marjorie Fish made famous in the 60s. Zeta Reticulum may be one of those few systems that don't have any planets at all: not even gas giants.

Another star with some mythology behind it, Sirius (made famous by the Dogons) appears to lack planets, although again it's difficult for us to be sure of that. We have looked though.

Comment Re:Sterile and shattered. (Score 1) 211

Our most efficient drive system to date (in terms of how much acceleration you get for the amount of propellant used) are plasma/ion engines.

Has anyone actually proposed using those for even short interstellar missions? Since no one has actually even tried to build a craft for an interstellar mission no one has done the full engineering required but nuclear pulse (Orion) or fission fragment / dusty plasma fission engines could likely make Alpha Centauri in less than a century reaching speeds of .05 - .08c.

The ships could not be launched from earth and so would have to be constructed either from orbit, at a Lagrange point station, or on a moon base with nuclear power plants and mostly automated robotic mining/smelting/casting/milling capabilities. Just building the infrastructure to build such a rocket would probably take a century or two, but it's probably doable to build something like that with current tech. Just some (a lot of) engineering problems to work out. No fundamental advances necessary. Just a lot of money. I think Orion has been more fully engineered (by Freeman Dyson) than fission fragment. So might be more doable. Needless to say it would be expensive, but I'm guessing you'd be for it even if you had to sacrifice say an extra 10-15% of your income am I right? I'm sure we can all agree on 'anything to reach the stars'.

Comment Re:Ways around this (Score 1) 508

Are there any other countries where this sort of thing goes on?

Paris-CDG for flights to the US. I was treated worse there than I have ever been in the US and I've been treated very badly in the US (randomly chosen almost every time I fly for search/interrogations and multi-hour interrogations etc).

TSA does not generally fondle your cock-n-ball package. I mean aside from a few pervs they don't usually get in there with their fingers and fully explore the frank-n-beans and it has never happened to me there. They just get very close by slightly touching your balls with the back of their hands while they touch 'where the leg meets the torso' as they put it and this only happens if something goes wrong with the scanners etc. It isn't routine. However the TSA did not seem to tell the French security people about this subtle distinction and presumably the instructions are sufficiently vague that those guys seem to think that a full on prison search is what the US wants. Happened to me. Never had a dude actually grab or squeeze my dick before and I wasn't happy about it. I freaked and pushed the guy down and almost missed my flight. They refused to let me on the plane at first because I didn't want some guy fondling my package and no I am not exaggerating. He was really doing that. As if he was slowly and carefully searching for something that might be hidden under my dick or balls. I tried to explain to them that in the US they don't do that unless checking you into prison or something, but of course they didn't particularly care what I had to say.

I honestly don't know if that guy was gay. While he and I were arguing about his sexual assault on me he claimed not to be, but he would probably say the same even if he were. I don't see how a straight guy could do that job though, but whatever. Whether he actually wanted to do what he did, whether he enjoyed it, was not the point. I felt almost physically sick. I think it gave me a slight taste of what it must be like to get raped. I did not expect to be having some novel homosexual experience with some French airport security guy and I really felt violated and disgusted for days or even weeks afterward.

I actually begged them to let the very pretty French airport security chick standing right there finish the search That would have been fine. Hell I would have payed something for that. She smiled when I asked, but of course they refused. Why I don't understand. I mean they claim it isn't sexual so what difference does it make if the pretty female 'searches' me? Hell it's not like I would have asked her to touch my dick. I just wanted to get on the plane.

Luckily this was France where people do tend to be better/nicer than in the US and another one of the security guys took pity on me (and maybe risked his job) by searching me without touching my genitals at all. What was weird was that he could not promise me in advance that he wouldn't grab my dick. He made me understand that he understood what I wanted and that I shouldn't worry, but he apparently was not allowed to actually promise me in advance that he wouldn't sex me up. I decided to trust him and indeed he didn't get anywhere near. My experience makes me wonder why they don't insert gloved fingers into females to make sure they aren't hiding anything up there. Seems unfair. If they are going to fully explore every millimeter of male genitals they should be doing the same to the females. Of course they really shouldn't be doing any of this. The vast majority of countries in the world don't and I'm pretty sure France only does this ritual (male only) sexual molestation for flights to the US.

Comment Re:== vs =, | vs ||, variable/pointer dereference (Score 1) 88

to anyone who doesn't know C-isms

Non-programmers you mean? Seriously what kind of programmer doesn't expect a single '=' to be an assignment operator? C/C++ isn't the only language where that is the case. I have never made the error you mention even once in my entire life. In c/c++ == is the comparison operator and = is the assignment operator. I don't see how that is unclear.

Comment Re:Great. (Score 1) 225

I use Chrome too of course, but every time I do I think about how unpleasant the world will become if Google manages to exterminate all its rivals, both proprietary and open.

I like that Ãf course'. No need to exterminate them if you can get their product to be a clone of your own. Then there is no real reason for anyone to use their product over yours. With Mozilla killing customization or at least customization that is better than what Chrome already has, they have in every way become indistinguishable from Google's browser. Choosing one over the other becomes a hair splitting exercise.

Actually for a while Chrome will probably have better customization just because they have a huge head start in their extension ecosystem. Whether Firefox will eventually catch up is questionable but it may not. So one reason to use Chrome over Firefox may be that it is more customizable and that may never change.

Comment Re:Great. (Score 4, Interesting) 225

Yes, i too would like to keep all the add-ons, but between a fast browser with fewer add-ons and a slow one with many outdated add-ons, i prefer the first one.

Doesn't a fast browser with fewer addons basically describe Google Chrome? Why don't you just switch to that if speed trumps customization for you? Do you really think the mozdevs can compete with the massive GoogleCorp at what they do best? You think they are going to outGoogle Google?

You can not complain about firefox being slow and also complain about keeping old add-ons.

I haven't seen a lot of people complaining about speed for any browser. I don't think speed is much of an issue for browsers. They have been fast enough for a very long time. Trying to make them faster is fixing a nonproblem. Finding a browser that will do what you want it to do if you want more than what Chrome can do otoh...that's about to be nontrivial.

Comment Re:Stop "improving" it (Score 1) 225

I think its possible that killing the extension ecosystem may have a positive effect on the memory leak problem because at the very least the mozdevs will not be able to blame the extension devs for the leaks anymore. AFAIK the mozdevs don't recognize that there is a memory leak problem. I think they think they fixed it sometime in 3.x or earlier.

Comment Re:A Painful But Necessary Transition (Score 1) 225

Well for me Firefox has never been about performance. It was about customization (and because IE has always sucked). When Chrome came along it was certainly an improvement on IE but it still could not do many of the things that Firefox + XUL extensions could do. It just did not have the same feature set. For me Firefox is fast enough as it is and I don't think a browser needs to use more than a single core or even more than a single thread. Well unless its only point is to compete in benchmarks. The only performance problem that I see Firefox having is memory leaks. That has always been its Achilles heel. Especially since the devs always blame the extensions. Now that they are killing the extensions maybe they will finally be able to fix the leaks. But whatever. I can just restart the browser as often as possible.

I use the browser because with XUL extensions it does what I want it to do and with those extensions it can do things that no other browser can. Whatever Mozilla does in the future it will have to be able to compete with FrozenFox/XULFox (nonupgraded Firefox) and Pale Moon or whatever the Pale Moon project becomes. In terms of competing with a XUL extension boosted feature set I don't think they have much of a chance and they definitely don't care. Their only goal seems to be being the best Chrome clone they can be and at that they are certainly going to be successful I think: to the point that they may eventually find it easier just to switch entirely to the Chrome codebase and put a slightly modified FireChrome UI on top of it.

There may be people who are disappointed with Firefox and want to switch to say Chrome because it is faster or more efficient at benchmarking or whatever but I am not one of those people. Nor do I care whether or not the browser functions as its own standalone operating system which I regard as a silly idea. I don't have a problem with tabs 'taking over' my browser, but maybe that's because I use noscript so that javascript cannot bend me over and have its way with me so easily. Perhaps the biggest problem with killing the more powerful (and they are) XUL extension standard is that Firefox will be no better than Chrome when it comes to extensions. So what is the point of using it then? Brand loyalty? Fuck that. After this Firefox will be Chrome. There will be no reason at all not to use Chrome at that point. The UIs are already almost identical. Now the extensions will be identical as well. So please tell me what is the point of Firefox even existing at that point?

Comment Re:Not updating (Score 1) 225

Well I think the important thing is whether you can archive existing .xpi files from AMO now to use as part of the installation of FrozenFox until/unless a practical non Chrome clone exists or for the next decade or so whichever comes first. Presumably signatures won't be a problem if the .xpi files were originally sourced from AMO.

Comment Re:What does this mean, exactly? (Score 2) 225

Ultimately, this will affect almost no one. Planning for this change has been happening for a long time now. Your favorite add-ons will continue to work.

Compared with XUL/XPCOM extensions, WebExtensions provide much more limited options for the add-on's UI, and a much more limited set of privileged JavaScript APIs.

WebExtensions can only access web content by injecting separate scripts into web pages and communicating with them using a messaging API (note, though, that this is also true of XUL/XPCOM extensions that expect to work with multiprocess Firefox).

Those are the facts. That is right from the horse's mouth. Not all extensions are going to be ported. Period. Maybe a few of the most popular, but it's basically going to be like porting your extension to Chrome. FF basically will be Chrome as far as extensions are concerned.

Comment Re:Great. (Score 3, Interesting) 225

Pale Moon? This would be a perfect alternative for them to snatch up the alienated Firefox users by starting a new fork of the code base from the last version to support XUL extensions. Unfortunately, they're so insistent on NOT USING AUSTRALIS that they'll never do this, despite the fact that their current code base is old enough that it doesn't support a lot of the best Firefox extensions either.

It doesn't support the most recent versions of the best extensions,but if you go back to older versions you will probably find one that works. If you are referring to newer post-FF24 only extensions then yes that would be a problem, but... the palemoon team is probably going to end up doing exactly what you would like to see.

The idea would be to rebase their core codebase on a more recent version and just factor out Australis. Apparently the Australis UI is not so tightly integrated as to make this not doable. From what I can see Pale Moon or whatever they end up calling the newer refork is going to be the *only* alternative to The Google Browser and its clones. Well aside from just disabling autoupdate on FF52 and living with that which is what I plan to do for the time being. That will probably work for the next 2-3 years. If I have time maybe I can help with the Pale Moon project now that FF has finally pounded a stake through its own heart. Customization is Firefox and once Mozilla kills that it really is dead and there is no reason to use it.

Comment Re:Actual Post (Score 1) 225

No new legacy add-ons will be accepted on (AMO). Updates to existing legacy add-ons will still be accepted.

On April 18th. That's huge. Although to be fair you'd have to be the king of bad timing to be releasing a new firefox addon right before Mozilla is pounding a stake through the heart of them. I wonder how long Mozilla will even keep addons available. I'm guessing not very long after they have been deprecated in the current version. Mozilla clearly wants to do whatever it can to get and keep users on their newest and shiniest version and killing extensions on past versions will be a scorched earth way to do that.

Those of us who like Firefox should be archiving all of our favorite extensions soon. I want to archive versions that work with Pale Moon as well although that is much more difficult because I think they will all claim to be incompatible and have to actually be tested to see if they work. I am also going to do a major search for more extensions that I don't know about. So that I can archive those as well. Soon they will all be gone, and as with past Complete Themes, probably forever.

If I am being optimistic I could hope that this move to make Firefox much less customizable and feature poor (in the name of speed, stability, and simplicity for the developers) will push some extension developers to develop specifically for Pale Moon. Maybe someone will fork the last XUL compatible version of Firefox as well. I'm not completely clear on which version that will be. Maybe 52 since 53 starts disabling extensions that don't set the multiprocess flag, basically a start of the War on XUL.

Comment Re:Pale Moon is very nice (Score 1) 225

The problem with Pale Moon is extension compatibility. It's the extensions that make Firefox worth using. As with Firefox it seems like extension archiving of most recent working versions is a necessity, but I don't know which versions of each extension I use will be compatible with Pale Moon and it's a bit of a research project to figure that out.

Nevertheless I guess I am going to have to do exactly that for Firefox itself soon while the mozilla addons site still works. Pretty soon Firefox itself will be a kind of Pale Moon: a browser frozen in time. Any extensions will have to be frozen along with it.

Slashdot Top Deals

Writing software is more fun than working.