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: It has its uses (Score 1) 334

It is a first class object. I passed an argument to it but there are all the usual methods on that method object. You absolutely can do something like:


its valid and you'd get back its original name in this case. You could even define new methods on the object! It is a first class object in every way but how you happen to access it syntactically.

Comment Re:Like what? (Score 1) 167

Right this is what the UBI folks don't see to get. I plays out in one of two ways.

1) You still end up with a large group of disaffected people who are unhappy with their lot in life because they have nothing to do but watch TV all day and see fancy people doing fancy thing they don't get income to support and have no path to get there. Hard work won't help them, there are no jobs left suitable for their talents. They get their check and their soviet style block apartment and that is their life and all their is to it. Humans even those who are not in on the leading portion of out intellectual bell curve won't be satisfied living that way. People *need* goals, they have to have some hope of improvement, and for most people that is improvement with respect to their peers, not "I feel good about myself because I sat and read all the classics" and not "I made this art for me, and I don't care if everyone else just sees it as garbage." some people are like that but the vast majority are not so self actualized.

2) We literally destroy the planet! Robotic workforce with unlimited cheap labor or not other resources remain limited. You will have the people on basic income asking why they should not get a bigger house, a faster car, travel to the other-side the world at super sonic speeds. After determining that there exists no path to earning these things, they will declare them to be entitlements. "Its not fair I was not born a winner of the genetic lottery, who can still find work in an automated world" and to some extent, I might be inclined to agree if man made economics as you say severs to cut them off from the things others have rather than provide any path to getting them. Earth can't sustain 9Billion people each living the life style of the say top 30% of what is considered middle class in the United States enjoy. There isn't probably enough land to build that many suburban houses and while a lot of people like and will choose cities enough will want their own little private patch of ground to lay out in the sun shine on. It just won't work.

Technology has always and will always allow more of us to have more, but physics will never allow all of us to have everything. No economic policy can change human nature. Either the population rebels against it, or if you look at say Chinese or Soviet communism human nature is corrosive of it until it starts to look like sadder, capricious, lawless forms of capitalism or fascism.

Comment Re:Like what? (Score 1) 167

But machines shouldn't replace what humans can do

If that was adhered to there would have been no progress in the last two thousand years!

Humans can clear and plant fields by hand! If we still did the bulk of our agriculture that way most of us would be over worked and badly nourished; and as far as art, culture, and entertainment go most of us would be lucky to see an EVERYMAN play on Sunday afternoon, having worked every other waking hour of the week.

Comment Re: Overpopulation in Africa, the Middle East, Ind (Score 1) 254

Nuclear isn't viable. Nobody has figured out how to deal with the waste.

Umm, no.

We know perfectly well how to deal with the waste. Alas, the anti-nuclear types have fought for 50 years now to keep us from doing anything with the waste other than putting it into storage ponds.

Which is insanely stupid, since nuclear fuel is poisoned by its own wastes long before the fissionables are actually used up in the reactor. So there's a LOT of potentially usable nuclear fuel sitting in those storage ponds. Hell, we'd hardly have to mine uranium for a century or so if we actually reprocessed that "spent" fuel....

And that's without even considering breeder reactors, which turn all that U238 that we've mined (and which is basically useless as fuel) into usable fissionables....

Comment Re:That's going to be tought to prosecute (Score 1) 368

Not only that, our political philosophy, and arguably the only correct one, is to presume the rights exist inherent in your being a human being, preceding any government and independent of it (indeed, often opposed to it), and the government is created by those people, who grant it limited, listed powers over those rights, and no others.

For a high US official to not understand this and claim non-US citizens don't have these rights, these rights we presume pre-exist government in our core political philosophy, is utterly shameful.

Comment Re:It has its uses (Score 1) 334

You can do this just fine in Ruby, using the method method, ie to get foo you'd do method :foo. You could do something like

myhash[f:oo] = method :foo
myhash[:foo].call arg1

so you can build the same structure you are describing in Ruby without much difficultly, although admittedly this might be one of the few places where Python might actually be syntactically superior.

Submission + - How 'Settled Science' Helped Create A Massive Public Health Crisis (

An anonymous reader writes: Anyone who thinks it's enough to rest an argument on "settled science" or a "scientific consensus" ought to read about John Yudkin.

Yudkin was a British professor of nutrition who, in 1972, sounded the alarm about sugar in diets, saying that if sugar were treated like any other food additive "that material would be promptly banned." He said sugar, not fat, was the more likely cause of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

For his efforts, Yudkin was branded a shill for the meat and dairy industries. His work was dismissed as "emotional assertions," "science fiction" and "a mountain of nonsense." Journals refused to publish his papers. He was uninvited from nutrition conferences and was ridiculed by the scientific community.

"Prominent nutritionists combined with the food industry to destroy his reputation, and his career never recovered," writes Ian Leslie in a lengthy piece titled "The Sugar Conspiracy" that was published recently in The Guardian.

Nutritionists, Leslie explains, had decided that dietary fat was the enemy of good health, based in large part on a huge Seven Countries Study, published in 1970, which looked at 12,770 middle-aged men in countries ranging from the U.S. to Yugoslavia.

"The Seven Countries study had become canonical, and the fat hypothesis was enshrined in official advice," Leslie writes. By 1980, the U.S. government issued its first Dietary Guidelines telling the country to cut back on saturated fats and cholesterol, and Americans dutifully complied.

That's precisely when the nation's obesity rate started to skyrocket. While the obesity rate barely changed from 1960 to 1980 — going from 13% to 15% — over the following two decades – 1980-2000 – the rate jumped to 35%.

"At best, we can conclude that the official guidelines did not achieve their objective; at worse, they led to a decades-long health catastrophe," Leslie writes.

Comment Re:Hubris Much? (Score 1, Flamebait) 87

So your proposal is... do nothing?

Since coral polyps are one of the hardiest creatures on the planet, having survived over millions of years through both tropical and ice ages, yes. "Nothing" is the logical and scientifically-sound action to be taken.

Of course, "nothing" doesn't get scientists and universities grants, get corporations government contracts, nor gain politicians more money and power, so expect a massive government-funded program that wastes obscene amounts of people's tax money while accomplishing little, possibly even causing additional problems that the government and scientists can spend even more of your money on.


Comment Re:People hate each other more (Score 0) 261

And how is that consistent with it expiring after 90 days? And only including a small minority of Muslims? And changing to allow travel from previously-banned Iraq? Did Iraq stop being a Muslim country during those 2 weeks?

Probably it's the president's stated desire to ban Muslim immigrants that makes people think it's hateful bigotry.

Or maybe we shouldn't take him at his word?

Perhaps you'd like to furnish a direct, in context quotation of those words to support this?

Trump says lots of dumb stuff. Trump opponents also exaggerate.

Comment Re:People hate each other more (Score 3, Interesting) 261

I have no problem with hating racists.

Lots of haters have no problem hating whoever, because [reasons]. They should all stop being haters. Including you.

There's no point in singing kumbaya when half the country cheers ethnic "cleansing", meaning mass deportation and police-state harassment regular people.

If you're talking about the US, there's no "ethnic cleansing " in the US. Perhaps some of this hatred is because people like you make up or repeat false stories like this? There's also no "mass deportation" of "regular people".

Unfortunately, there is government harassment -- which is one reason why I support a smaller government with less power over people.

Comment C++ should be the introductory language (Score 1) 602

I did my own research on this, and went through the top 10 computer science universities and looked at what they taught in their introductory CS classes. Python and Java made up 100% of them, with only one (Stanford) having a C++ option.

Personally, I think C++ should be the introductory language for computer science majors. (Non-CS majors? Sure, teach them Python or Javascript.) Why? Because CS majors all have to learn computer architecture and usually assembly programming is part of learning architecture. It's way, way easier for people to go from C++ to ASM than it is to go Python to ASM or Java to ASM. So a lot of assembly classes I've gone through have backed away from teaching ASM and instead teach C with a touch of ASM in it, which means that their education gets compromised by an attempt to make the introductory class easier.

But research in computer science education shows that you can learn basic computer science principles pretty much equally well regardless of language taught, so we're sacrificing educational quality for no real benefit.

I think most opposition to C++ came from people that learned it back in the day with square bracket arrays and char* strings, none of which really should be used any more now that we have vectors and strings. (And have had for a very long time, really.) Modern C++ is a very enjoyable language to code in.

Slashdot Top Deals

I just need enough to tide me over until I need more. -- Bill Hoest