Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Pot calling the kettle black (Score 1) 531

Dmitry: Boss our election was rigged!
Putin: Excellent, I'll make sure you get a medal for th...
Dmitry: But boss no it wasn't our rigging.
Putin: Wasn't our... what do you mean Dmitry?!
Dmitry: I'm sorry boss, please don't shoot me or poison me with polonium but the next Russian president is...
Putin: Spit it out Dmitry.
Dmitry: Donald J. Trump
Putin: (Smiles and pats Dmitry on the back): Well done Dmitry, I'll make sure you get a medal for this.
Dmitri: You're not going to kill me?
Putin: (Laughs loudly) Don't be silly Dmitri. He's one of ours. (winks)

Submission + - Petition to keep mass surveillence data away from Trump and Flynn

An dochasac writes: Trump has fulfilled his promise of bringing back McCarthyism by picking conspiracy theorist General Michael Flynn for national security advisor (responsible for all of the three letter agencies and more.) General Flynn tweeted that he believes it is RATIONAL to fear Muslims and he helped spread a mad theory that Podesta and Clinton were involved with a pizzaria child pornography ring.

At the end of January 2017, post-truth Trump and his conspiracy theory fanatics including General Flynn will have access to the data illegally collected on U.S. citizens. This new McCarthyism is a grave danger to U.S. national security. Petition President Obama to purge these records before they fall into the wrong hands!

Comment Trumptection vs 1980s chip offshoring - No Apple (Score 1) 471

Imagine if Trump's protectionism had been used against chip offshoring in the 1970s-1980s. Upwards of 100,000 U.S. jobs would have been saved from low-skill to highly specialized electronic and microprocessor engineering jobs. IChip manufacturing would have never been set up in places such as Mexico and El Salvador. These countries would have to figure out another path to economic survival. With the Soviets having a regional interest, maybe the cold war wouldn't have ended, saving another half a million U.S. technology jobs. With Mexico aligned with Soviet interests, there very well might be a wall built by Mexico to keep its own citizens in.

Single core CPUs would remain upwards $1000 and the costs of FPGAs and ASICs certainly wouldn't have spiraled down to where microelectronics do not add significantly to the cost of anything from toys to toaster ovens to cars. An iPhone might cost $10,000 (as 1980s Apple Macintosh computers did.) People like Donald Trump would still be able to afford $10,000 iPhones, $15,000 iPads, $20,000 laptops. Of course, the microcomputer, gaming, smartphone and tablet App software industry would be a shadow of what it is today. There are only so many apps required by billionaires and millionaires. With such a limited market I'm underestimating the cost of Apple products and overestimating how viable Apple would be as a company serving a market of only a few thousand millionaires and billionaires.

Look at how well Trump-style protectionism has worked elsewhere. To save a handful of low-tech legacy U.S. jobs in the steel industry, we've sacrificed hundreds of thousands of jobs in our domestic auto industry. To save competitive domestic oil, coal and solar industry jobs, we've made thousands of U.S. companies uncompetitive with the rest of the world who are rapidly taking advantage of China's

Comment Re:Yeah, don't worry about this (Score 2) 146

The immigrants..

(yada yada...)

...But supposedly it's a good joke and if you're not in then you're a racist fascist anti-democrat.>

(yada yada)

No, it's not a joke. It's not a joke that millions of immigrants are blamed worldwide if one commits a crime somewhere in the world but hundreds of crimes by racist, fascist anti-democrats are too common to be news anywhere. How many people know about the 64 arson attacks on refugee centres in Sweden and numerous similar attacks in Germany, Denmark and daily incidents of violence against immigrants in Ireland, the UK and elsewhere? How many know of the Afghan refugee driven to suicide in Sweden this week?

It's funny that here in Ireland, people shun the immigrants in the local repair shops but happily send hundreds of Euro to multinational sweatshops overseas where 90% of the money leaves the EU, never to return. The repair tax break is a good start but I can see right now that this is a small problem. We really need to repair our society so that we don't have so much shit for people like you to shovel onto the backs of immigrants and refugees.

Comment Re:Not so sure (Score 1) 165

As an American, I think that describing the UK or Ireland as having "a lack of language barriers" to be hopelessly naive.

"The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language." -- George Bernard Shaw

I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Germany had a higher percentage of people who are fluent in American English than the UK or Ireland. :)

Kudos for quoting an Irish poet to make your point. But language variations within the UK and Ireland are broader than between Ireland and the U.S. And if you think there are no cultural variations within the US, you need to broaden your circle of friends. A New Yorker is far more likely to understand an Dubliner than a creole from the rural Louisiana. Culturally Ireland is nearer to the US than the UK is, more cliques than classism. Politically Ireland is also nearer to the NorthEastern US and even Silicon Valley than either is to the rural south or Midwest. Germany may have more cultural similarity to the upper Midwest.

Anyway, according to the EU, Ireland speaks Irish Gaelic, and when the UK leaves, there will no longer be any officially-English-speaking countries in the EU. That's going to have some interesting repercussions! (Unless Scotland manages to wrangle a way to stay when the rest of the UK leaves. Which I know they desperately want to do.)

But yeah, Brexit could be a real boon for Ireland. Possibly enough to make up for the fact that their current biggest trading partner is planning to leave the union. I'd certainly be looking at Dublin as a strong alternative to London. If I were the Irish government, I'd be out pitching "we're not leaving!" to all sorts of companies!

I wish this were true but Dublin is currently a very poor alternative to London. Its planning laws restrict development both vertically and horizontally. Decent architectural firms might be able to raize or remodel the thousands of derelict buildings but nothing happens overnight here and the transportation infrastructure is abysmal. Another of a series of planned strikes by Dublin Bus tomorrow will bring an already clogged city to a screeching halt. Ireland's real-estate bubble was the worst in the world and its government has been trying to reinflate it since 2007. As a result rent to wage ratios are about as bad as London with the caveat that the properties here are kips (look it up, if it's not an American word, it should be.) Ireland's government-owned "bad bank" NAMA may have organized some sweetheart deals on foreclosed properties with foreign REIT firms including one managed by former US VP Dan Quayle. Where the military-industrial complex and agribusiness own the US, the property industry seems to own the Irish government.

As for "not leaving the E.U.",Britain's Brexit Minister David Davis seems to have forgotten that Ireland isn't part of the UK. In fact several EU diplomats and nearly all US corporations and websites treat the Republic of Ireland as a part of the UK, now 100 years after the 1916 Easter Rising eventually led to this terrible beauty that we call Ireland.

Comment XOR cursor blink kills Amiga, (Score 1) 115

Given access to the pixels in a bit-mapped character, how would you blink a cursor? You'd XOR the pixels in the cursor. It's trivial. Give a kid access to the logical operations available on 8-bit microprocessors and she'll probably reinvent this within a week. But cadtrack was granted U.S. Patent 4,197,590. They filed a lawsuit against Commodore computers. A US judge filed an injunction against Commodore blocking its sale of the Amiga CD32. This cemented Microsoft's virtual monopoly on desktop computers, setting back the PC industry a decade. (Amiga had unix-like pre-emptive multi-tasking, Windows 95 color windowed desktop, multimedia capabilities, stereo sound, built in speech synthesizer.. in 1985 when you were still looking at the A:\> prompt and that ugly green blinking cursor.)

Comment Re: Don't Panic (Score 4, Interesting) 535

I'm claiming Irish citizenship through a reverse agreement. Anyone born on the island before 2005 can claim it. On a darker note, I didn't say it would bring peace. If anything it will inflame tensions in NI. Source : From NI

You'd better check your sources. Ireland's Citizenship referendum ended Irish citizenship by birth in 2005 after a campaign reminiscent of UKIP's xenophobic frothing at the mouth. Tax-funded RTE and the Irish newspapers played up rumors of hundreds of "non-national" anchor babies being born in Dublin airport every day, just as state media, BBC decided to report scary UK immigration statistics on election day. Contrary to popular belief, public funding of broadcasting doesn't magically make it less biased than the US corporate-owned media, the BBC used TV licenses from white and non-white British citizens to fund shows such as George Mitchell's Black and White Minstrel show until the late 1970s.

Ireland's citizenship referendum didn't do as much damage as the Brexit vote because sensible heads in Dáil Éireann interpreted that populist vote as slightly less tyranny of the majority than the majority would have preferred. A grandfather rule allowed parents of Irish born children born before 2005 to have the equivalent of a dodgy green card, with expensive renewals every three years via a chaotic and draconian bureaucracy, proof that we are supporting ourselves and proof that we had not committed ANY crimes (we had to submit documentation of any parking tickets and speeding fines.) This was not citizenship, it was limbo and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. If you've found a short-cut to Irish citizenship, don't tell the others who've wasted years, spent thousands of Euro and presented their first born child (I kid you not.) They will tell you to get to the back of the queue.

Let's hope Britain's parliament has as much courage to do the right thing despite what mob democracy prescribes. Referendums would have kept institutionalized slavery and segregation well into the 21st century.

Submission + - Essex, Brexit art and control theory

An dochasac writes: I can't help but notice when governments and economies behave like buggy code in a PID controller or wildly unstable oscillators in a high voltage circuit. As in the physical world, problem with political and economic theory can often be solved via corrections in the feedback loop. Artists perform a valuable role in helping us build stories around and visualize the abstract results of actions such as damaging the environment, turning our backs on refugees, Brexiting the EU or voting for a populist xenophobe.

Essex, Brexit, art and fear explores the role of artists in control theory.

Comment Re:Who's affected? (Score 4, Insightful) 26

The attack code exploits vulnerabilities in older versions of applications such as Flash, Java, Internet Explorer, and Silverlight. At this point, it isn't clear exactly how many users are affected.

So, only the stupid users then.

And your arrogance ^ my friend, is the root of the problem. If we in the IT community are so much smarter than end users, why was telnet, ftp, smtp, http, Microsoft Windows, IoT... all designed without even the most basic considerations for security? Shouldn't an information appliance be designed so that a child, grandmother, astronaut or household pet be able to "click on" or view anything without damaging the information appliance, leaking personal details, joining a botnet.

The scum and script kiddies who write the ransomware are not rocket scientists. They're simply vandalizing a cyber-society where front and back doors are left unlocked. If we built cities as we build software, the first woodpecker would destroy civilization.

Comment Dandelion Wine - Ray Bradbury (Score 1) 244

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury is more of a poetic look at the topic of youth, ageing and death. I vaguely remember a short story which touched on the specific topic of what eternal youth was possible by drinking a potion made out of something cheap and ubiquitous, like a dandelion. How would a person decide when to stop taking this elixir? I don't remember the name of that story but it might have been in the book Dandelion Wine.

Comment Re:Penny (Score 1) 702

So, America should just follow Canada and do whatever it does? Where did that idea even come from?

What do people say when Canada slavishly follows America? "Screw those foreigners, they have nothing to do with us, we will make our own decisions, and if those foreigners think we've made the wrong decision, then they can go screw themselves." What an interesting sentiment indeed.

Hey hey, be nice, the national niceness datamining results for Slashdot have not yet been released. The US may yet have a f*~&ng chance against those *&)@# Canuks! -- Oh $(*#, Damn!

If only his evil genius had been used for niceness. -- Maxwell Smart

Comment Gun idolatry vs DNA, Y-Chromosomes and SQUID fMRI. (Score 1) 935

So your hypothetical choices would be to die by the shooter or die trying to save yourself from the shooter should your DNA lock idea become a reality. And No, this isn't some strawman remark...

Why not? The shooter in Newtown stole the guns from his mother after killing her. His DNA would most likely have been in the database. The guy in Washington state purchased them legally, and the recent ones in California all were purchased by a neighbor and given to them..

It's more than likely that in any of those situations the gun's master database would have allowed the mass shootings.

Those who practice the religion of Gun Idolatry have a peculiarly anachronistic worldview. They apply 17th century law in-situ to 21st century killing technology but reject 250 years of advancement in safety technology. They remind me of the motorcyclists who come up with all sorts of strawmen arguments against helmets or drivers who rejected seatbelts and airbags.

Beyond the obvious improvements such as RFID/fingerprinting (already used by hundreds of millions of people to preserve money but not yet to preserve life). We could have a DNA whitelist a no-fire blacklist and something inspired by Frank Herbert's The White Plague, a device to detect whether the trigger finger has an XX chromosome (female) or XY (male.) While this is a disturbing idea to western minds, imagine what an equalizer it would be in parts of the world dominated by violent people with Y chromosomes. Yet another possibility is SQUID fMRI or face emotional recognition to detect the patterns associated with psychopathy.

While we're constructing straw-men situations for the exceedingly rare situations where guns save lives, let's imagine what would have happened if the guns left behind in Iraq and Afghanistan had been useless to anyone with a Y chromosome. It might not have saved the world but it's difficult to imagine that things would be any worse.

Comment Overload == operator, moderate, optimize for +, &a (Score 2, Insightful) 786

Even before Bruce wrote this timely article, I wondered whether more women in open source might be a cause or an effect of better moderation. My brief time working with the late Telsa Gwynn at GUADEC 2003 suggested that moderation was one of her under-appreciated roles. But she was attacked by the misogynistic mob (AKA the open source community.) Were it not for Telsa's thick skin and an overdeveloped sense of forgiveness, none of us would have benefited from her work. Many other women and others outside of a particularly narrow age/race/religion/gender profile have experienced similar when attempting to contribute and most gave up. We tolerate Linus's rantings and ignore that only timing and humility separated Linus from countless other early *nix hackers. We tolerate Gangolf Jobb's racist license and Trumpish rantings because he is a good coder. My family and remote team members met at GUADEC Istanbul where a very well-known opensource developer spewed misogynistic rantings that embarrassed and offended me, projected a terrible impression of Christians and Euro/American society to my global team who were experiencing western society for the first time. He came very near to inspiring at least one person to push him into the Bosporus. Why does this happen? Part of it is the same reason Whitney Houston and other rock , movie and sports superstars are bat shit insane. Society should be a counterbalance to the Id, but when we worship people as superstars, there is no counterbalance and Id rules. The defence mechanism takes over when the inner demons unleashed by bad decisions are externalized, possibly as police brutality. Similar forces were at play when Hans Reiser became our OJ Simpson.

In the past that role of moderation was performed by a central government (e.g. the FCC), a tight group of highly educated individuals, a class/caste system. Twitter and Facebook use something close to a democracy but the S/N ratio can quickly fall to the level of CB radio, AOL and usenet. The more sophisticated merit-based moderation system used by Slashdot, some opensource projects and creative sites such as worth1000 works well, at least above a certain threshold. But these systems must be designed to prevent individuals or small groups from becoming immune to criticism. Within government legal frameworks the censor or impeachment is a mechanism for moderation. We could do something within opensource communities where an individual's ethics could taint their contributions. Each of us would be able to choose whether we want to contribute or use ethically-tainted patches.

Back in the 1980s when I may have been the last male to wirewrap a PDP-11 core memory board, a friend commented, "Did you ever notice that men in the comp-sci program are (80s equivalent of "Meh") but the women are brilliant?" Yes, I did notice that. But whatever happened to Karen Norwood, Maureen T, Kathy Christiansen, Norah K, and the sole woman in our Physics program?

This is where overloading the == operator comes in. Equality is an overloaded word. Here in Ireland, the word was a slogan for LBGT marriage rights which passed referendum with an overwhelming majority. But the word "equality" doesn't apply to gender, race, religion or immigration issues here. But do we really want women to become equal to 20-something males who live in their parent's basement who have the moral and emotional depth of comic book and video game heros? I don't. Let's take the best woman have to offer and not try to force them into our broken mold.

Slashdot Top Deals

Technology is dominated by those who manage what they do not understand.