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Comment This isn't a victory for Behring-Breivik. (Score 3, Insightful) 491

Someone once pointed out that hoping a rapist gets raped in prison isn't a victory for his victim(s), because it somehow gives him what he had coming to him, but it's actually a victory for rape and violence. I wish I could remember who said that, because they are right. The score doesn't go Rapist: 1 World: 1. It goes Rape: 2.

What this man did is unspeakable, and he absolutely deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison. If he needs to be kept away from other prisoners as a safety issue, there are ways to do that without keeping him in solitary confinement, which has been shown conclusively to be profoundly cruel and harmful.

Putting him in solitary confinement, as a punitive measure, is not a victory for the good people in the world. It's a victory for inhumane treatment of human beings. This ruling is, in my opinion, very good and very strong for human rights, *precisely* because it was brought by such a despicable and horrible person. It affirms that all of us have basic human rights, even the absolute worst of us on this planet.

Comment Re:For those, like me, reading this and saying wtf (Score 1) 351

We know what happens when a currency undergoes massive deflation - Germany in the 1930's or, more recently, Zimbabwe happens.

FWIW, my view is it's probably best viewed from a distance with an air of morbid curiosity.

Um... those are examples of massive inflation, not deflation. You have that backwards. Inflation/deflation relates to the ratio of the amount of currency to the amount of valuable goods in an economy. In Germany and Zimbabwe, the respective governments printed masses of extra money. With more money chasing the same amount of goods, the nominal price of goods increases. (This doesn't really change how functionally wealthy you are... unless you're not the one receiving all this extra cash. If you're not, then you're screwed.) People need more Marks or Z$ in order to buy stuff. Deflation is just the opposite: the money supply decreases with respect to the supply of valuable goods. This can happen when the money supply stays constant while the supply of good increases (via more productivity, trade, etc). In Bitcoin's case, the money supply is ultimately finite, unlike any fiat currency like the US Dollar. It's growing now because the miners haven't mined all the possible BitCoins, but eventually they will, and mining becomes gradually harder over time. (BitCoin was explicitly designed this way.) If Bitcoins become a more accepted currency (ie: demand for them rises as they are exchanged for more valuable goods, including other currencies), and they do this faster than their supply increases, then they will experience a deflationary effect. Things will will cost fewer BitCoins over time. What happens when we have massive deflation? We're not really sure, because it doesn't happen very often (most economies are inflationary, and most rapid changes in money supply happen to be inflationary). The general fear is that, if the currency is increasing in value all on its own, that people will horde them rather than circulate them. This defeats the purpose of a currency (they're exchange vehicles, not investment vehicles). Here's what Wikipedia says on the topic.

Comment DSLR vs MILC (Score 2) 402

but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR

Don't let your own knowledge & skill level be your reason to choose a MILC over a DSLR. The two kinds of camera are very similar in terms of their capabilities.

The major difference in the two is the way you view your scene prior to taking a picture. The "single lens reflex" in "SLR" means that you get an optical view of your scene through the lens you're using. As a result, what you see is extremely detailed (ie: almost as good as your eyes themselves). This is great for manual focusing. It doesn't suck any battery either.

The "M" in "MILC" (typically) means that you don't get this optical viewpath for composing your shots. Instead, you see your scene on an electronic LCD. This can be easier to view in some situations, but is far less detailed (ie: limited by the resolution of your LCD), so manual focusing is harder. Also, you need to drain your battery in order to see anything.

However, without the physical mirror & prism for the optical viewfinder a MILC can be much smaller and lighter than a corresponding DSLR. Typically, they also use smaller sensors, which in turn require smaller lenses. This further reduces size & weight, at the expense of image quality and optical performance.

That tradeoff is a fair one to consider. Let that be your decision factor, not your own knowledge. The techniques you use with each kind of camera will still be mostly the same.

User Journal

Journal Journal: in which i am a noob all over again 17

I haven't posted a journal here in almost three years, because I couldn't find the button to start a new entry. ...yeah, it turns out that it's at the bottom of the page.

So... hi, Slashdot. I used to be really active here, but now I mostly lurk and read. I've missed you.

Education

Quantum Physics For Everybody 145

fiziko writes in with a self-described "blatant self-promotion" of a worthwhile service for those wishing to go beyond Khan Academy physics: namely Bureau 42's Summer School. "As those who subscribe to the 'Sci-Fi News' slashbox may know, Bureau 42 has launched its first Summer School. This year we're doing a nine-part series (every Monday in July and August) taking readers from high school physics to graduate level physics, with no particular mathematical background required. Follow the link for part 1."

Comment Re:Same Lights Common in Migraineurs, too (Score 1) 269

I'll second this; it pretty much matches my experience too. My auras are an interesting experience (or would be if they didn't signify several hours worth of misery). It feels like a portion of my vision simply "isn't there"... not "blacked out" or anything, but just gone. I'm wondering if there's any relationship to the sensation of blindness.

Comment Power & Heat (Score 2, Interesting) 53

It's funny... when the tech industry first started talking about switching to light instead of electricity for the chip insides, the biggest motivating factor was speed. How much faster (usually determined in "clock" speed even) can we make a chip if we can use photons instead of electrons? These days, I'm more interested in other factors:
  • How much electricity (per unit of performance) does it use?
  • How much heat does it put out?
  • How much smaller can we make the chip and its supporting components?

This is a result of the highly-clustered, highly-mobile computing age we live in today. A single fast chip isn't as applicable any more. Give us tiny and low-power.

Earth

Submission + - Why Asexual Organisms Are on Their Last Legs

Hugh Pickens writes: "The NY Times reports that asexual organisms are extremely rare but bdelloid rotifers reproduce asexually and seem to have speciated as extensively as sexually reproducing organisms. Now researchers say they can explain how the tiny freshwater invertebrates have been able to reproduce without sex for over 30 million years. Rotifers dwell in the most ephemeral of freshwater habitats. Not just in small puddles, but in the transient layer of moisture sometimes found on moss or lichens—even on mushrooms where dessication is a routine occurrence providing the key to how bdelloids evade the constraints of the Red Queen Hypothesis — the theory that asexual lineages are quickly ended by coevolving parasites and pathogens. The researchers raised populations of the rotifers in a lab, and observed that the asexual invertebrates could rid themselves of a deadly fungal parasite by drying themselves up completely and blowing away with the wind to new territory. By doing so, the rotifers became so desiccated that their parasites could not survive the punishing conditions. The rotifers were then able to ride the breeze and start afresh in new, presumably parasite-free pastures proving that there can be advantages to reproducing without sex: "You don't have to find a mate," says Johns Logsdon, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Iowa. "If you find a mate you don't have to worry about things like venereal disease, you don't have to worry about getting attacked in the process of a sex act.""

Comment Re:Contract breaking? (Score 1) 238

You and I might see the logic in the argument, but I doubt there's much legal leg to stand on even if you cared to try and fight it. They're not "refusing to provide service", they're "requiring an update" for a problem which happens to (somehow) conflict with an essential (911) service. Install the fix, and you're back in action, so they're not denying you much at all. All of this will be covered under the Terms of Service I'm sure. I doubt any judge will go for the "they should be doing better than they are" argument.

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