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Comment Re:US Post Office always secure. (Score 5, Insightful) 454

Oddly, the party known for vote fraud seems to do quite well in Oregon.

There is no party "known for vote fraud". All studies and investigations have shown voter fraud to be virtually non-existent.

There is, on the other hand, a party that continually tries to restrict voting and disenfranchise voters while raising the specter of that non-existent voter fraud.

Comment Re:I wonder how the USA would rate... (Score 3, Informative) 88

You do realize that the EPA was brought into existence by the uberRepublican, Richard Nixon, right?

Yes - absolutely. George H.W. Bush's administration got the 1990 extensions to the clean air act passed that were very successful. Environmental protections used to be bipartisan.

Then one party (I'll let you guess which) abandoned any pretense of care for the environment and have actively pushed back against any environmental protections (and not just regarding climate change). That isn't to say under the democrats it has been perfect either. The Flint water crisis was primarily due to Michigan but the Feds (EPA) were asleep at the wheel too.

Comment Re:Bruce Schneier says (Score 1) 285

The best solution I've seen so far, from right here on Slashdot, is to have future firmware updates require the phone to be unlocked. IOW, the user is presented with an alert, and the user must type in the passcode before the update is applied.

This would seem to solve the problem for future releases, Apple could legitimately say that there's no way to unlock the phone.

I think this is a great idea, but I don't think they can do it now until this situation is settled in the court. Not doing what the government has taken them to court on is one thing, but making what they are wanting harder while it isn't settled is obstruction of justice (I'm not a lawyer so the charge may not be exact but you get the idea).

Submission + - Small asteroid burns up over Atlantic Ocean

The Bad Astronomer writes: On Feb. 6, an asteroid roughly 6 meters across burned up over the Atlantic Ocean, exploding like a 10 kiloton bomb. Although this was the largest event since the Chelyabinsk superbolide in 2013 (which injured 1000+ people), there were no witnesses. It happened 1000 km off the coast of Brazil, and was reported by the military, though it's unclear how they detected it.

Comment Let's not let the legitimate uses be ignored (Score 3, Insightful) 275

These laser pointers are being used by a relatively small number of idiots/criminals, but being used by many for legitimate uses. They're fantastic for astronomy - many amateur astronomers use them to point out stars, constellations, nebulae, etc.

They're a great tool for astronomy education and outreach and that use is far more common than the criminal ones.

Comment Re:Which string theory? (Score 1) 148

There may be 40 things called string theory, but they all boil down to a few things:
  - point particles are actually vibrating strings
  - there are extra spatial dimensions
  - there isn't much in terms of specific testable predictions made by string theory

The LHC tests may show things that hint at extra dimensions (of small but testable size, not planck length). This in and of itself wouldn't prove any of the individual string theories. But showing nothing that could indicate super symmetry or extra dimensions or other 'stringy' things would be an issue for strong theory.

Disclaimer, I am not a physicist (string or otherwise).

Comment Remote opening? (Score 0) 385

Seems like the easiest thing in this situation is to have the ability for someone on the ground (flight control, the airline, etc.) to be able to override any locks on the cockpit and open the door. Just put some sort of satellite communication device outside, near the door of the cabin.

This would be available in a situation like the Germanwings flight, or if the pilot became legitimately incapacitated.

Comment Re:More than curious, (Score 1) 188

Their management tools are transitioning, slowly to web based. There are tasks that ONLY work in the web client now but there are also tasks that ONLY exist in the Windows only desktop client.

If you're only running guests, then you can get away with the slow web client. If you're managing the hosts you need to use both, for different things now.

Comment Barrier will reduce over next couple years (Score 1) 186

The biggest challenge however is one that both Apple and Google face: Only a small fraction of the 10 million or so retail outlets in the U.S.â"220,000 at last countâ"have checkout readers that can accept payments from either system.

That is definitely true, but most credit card readers in the US that do not support EMV (aka Chip & Pin or Chip & Signature) have to be replaced if the merchant doesn't want to bear the liability for fraudulent transactions.

The liability for compromised cards is shifting in October of this year (aside from some unattended systems like gas pumps which happen later). If a merchant does not support EMV and an EMV card is compromised or used fraudulently, the merchant is liable.

Many of the new EMV capable terminals are also capable of NFC/contactless transactions. It will get a lot more of the physical readers out there. Whether the payment processors/acquirers support it is a different question.

Comment Customer-centric? (Score 2) 419

I don't see them as customer-centric as much as self-serving. There is definitely a trend of non-US companies moving or thinking of moving their data off US servers. Moving them off US company/subsidiary servers in other countries is a huge threat to Nadella's cloud-focused Microsoft.

It is a rational self-interested decision that may be good for consumers.

Submission + - Dragon Quest X Can Now be Played Outside of Japan 2

Yew2 writes: From Hardcore Gamer:

It’s safe to assume that the gaming community in North America wants to play Dragon Quest X. After all, it combines the joy of MMORPGs with the awesomeness that is Dragon Quest. Add to that the pent of demand we have for a new Dragon Quest and you have a recipe for a frenzy.

Online petitions begging for localization have been springing up everywhere since the game first released in Japan on the Wii in August 2012. As the first MMORPG in the series, Square-Enix has since added support for the WiiU, PC, Android, iPhone, iPad and very recently Nintendo 3DS. As actual translations and platform porting may not be so pricey, a release outside Japan would likely require adding server and network infrastructure which requires capital and operating funds Square-Enix or a partner has yet to lay out.

In the mean time there is quick start login guide for the English speaking world here with corresponding pictures here to help enthusiasts get the PC version installed and logged in via a yahoo.co.jp account to play the free trial version. Controller and keyboard settings are here and Chrome gives a decent translation. Ingame translations are summarized here for the Wii version but are generally the same in the PC version. Enjoy!

Comment Re:Weren't they trying to merge with Comcast? (Score 4, Funny) 70

Yes, Time Warner, Inc (what this story is referring to) is a different company from Time Warner Cable (which Comcast is looking to acquire).

Its also different from TW Telecom (formerly Time Warner Telecom, which is being acquired by Level 3.

Its a complicated mess of mergers and spinoffs...

Comment Re:Tenure should be available but not inviolable (Score 1) 519

Therein lies the problem. What should it be based on? How many students pass? Standardized test scores? How about teachers that are good but get a job at a school whose students are generally poorer-performing vs teachers that aren't as good but work at a school with a higher caliber of students?

Oh - I completely understand that it is a difficult question. Many of the evaluation options thrown out by people involve more standardize testing (which will favor students, and in turn teachers in better socioeconomic classes and with less English language learners).

I'm not an educator myself, but I think an honest review for tenure purposes would have to consist of a comparison of student results from year-to-year, not just comparisons between students district/state/nation-wide. Then you could possibly see how a teacher has had a negative or positive (or net-zero) effect on student progress in their subject area.

But again, this is my own layman's guess.

Comment Tenure should be available but not inviolable (Score 4, Interesting) 519

There are important reasons for tenure in K-12 education, especially in this era. K-12 schools (and in turn teachers) in many areas receive incredible pressure from parents. It used to be if a child got poor grades the teacher wasn't the one blamed. Now there are many parents who have spoiled brats who they believe can do no wrong.

That being said, tenure's protections should exist but should make teacher's positions far less invincible than they are in many areas now. There should be a process of discipline and removal for poor teachers. It should be as objective as possible so as to avoid undue parental pressure.

Otherwise it creates a perverse incentive for teachers to inflate grades of their students.

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