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Comment Re:Remember, it's because people aren't marrying (Score 1) 531

...harmless urges...

At the risk of sounding like a far-out social conservative crossed with a radical feminist, do you have any evidence to support your assertion that viewing porn satisfies a 'harmless urge'?

I think you raise an interesting question, especially if we focus on the outlet of the urges and not the urges themselves.

Just like in (my) software development, there is an ideal solution and then there are the solutions we can complete given time, money, and person-power constraints. Of course, we may not be able to agree on any of these.

I look at the abortion issue this way too. In an ideal world there would be little need for abortions except for medical reasons. Unfortunately our world is very far from ideal, especially around many of the situations where an abortion seems like a good option for someone.

I think it is essential to look at porn in the same way. IMO in an ideal world there would be very little need or demand for it because almost everyone would be getting their urges met with other consenting adults. But just like a high demand for abortions indicates a world that is far from ideal, so does a high demand for pornography. It is not useful to ask if viewing pornography is harmless or not. The useful question to ask is if it is more or less harmless than the alternatives.

Some people maintain that sexual repression in the West is tied to its exploitive, capitalistic structure. I'm not saying they are necessarily right but it is hard to deny that sexual repression is deeply ingrained in our society. I also think the high demand for porn is linked to this systemic sexual repression.

YMMVG but IMO the ideal solution involves getting rid of the sexual repression so people in general get laid more often. I really thing this would have a huge impact and make the world a much better place. For example, I wonder if the mass shootings (or shootings in general) would be diminished if the would-be shooters were getting laid more often.

Unfortunately, sexual repression is deeply ingrained in our society so we are not going to get the (my) ideal solution anytime soon. If it is true that pent up sexual frustration causes some people to lash out violently against strangers then of the many non-ideal solutions to wide-spread pent up sexual urges, it could well be that making porn widely available is the least harmful of the lot.

Comment Re:Does it work better than a tree? (Score 1) 195

Except, what would you do with gas on Mars? It's handy here because the other half of the reaction, oxygen, is abundant everywhere. On Mars, you'd have to also haul massive tanks of compressed oxygen around to react with your gas.

If only there were some way to make a solar cell to strip off the carbon from C02 in order to free up some oxygen. Seriously though, the missing ingredient here is hydrogen, not oxygen. Perhaps water in the soil could provide both oxygen and hydrogen.

Submission + - antiX: a Debian-based Linux distro without systemd

DrJimbo writes: AntiX-Linux and its sister distro MX-Linux are both Debian-based and neither one uses systemd. The release of antiX-16 was just announced. It comes in three different sizes: core, base, and full. Even the largest still fits on a CD. It has extensive LiveUSB features including easy customization of the legacy bootloader and the UEFI bootloader. On fast hardware it can boot to Bash in as little as 5 seconds and to an X-Windows desktop in less than 10. YMMVG. Details are available in the links above. A quick overview is provided in this promo video. Disclaimer: I'm one of the devs.

Comment Re:Standard Operating Practice (Score 1) 634

If people treated their vote as a joke, then they don't deserve a re-vote. Simple as that.

That's not the way it works even if it is the way you want it to work. They deserve a re-vote if they are able to get a re-vote by going through the proper procedures.

The idea that a decision once made is locked in for ever and ever just because StillAnonymous happens to like it is absurd.

Comment This problem is 100% due to the music labels (Score 2, Insightful) 288

As has been obvious for over a decade, consumers overwhelmingly want to be able to use recent technological breakthroughs so then can listening music easily and conveniently. Most are willing to pay for this and most probably want to support the artist.

The music labels have been fighting this tooth and nail pretty ever since it was possible to download music via the internet. This is slightly bizarre since part of the service they are supposed to be providing to society is to streamline the distribution of music (hence the RIAA curve, etc). Instead, perhaps due to somewhat sociopathic CEOs, they try to cripple distribution of music in order to create false scarcity which harms society and harms the artists and only benefits the labels.

The only reason a 3rd-party can make money from this is because the labels are totally failing at the task of distributing music in the best and easiest way possible. The answer is not to close off 3rd parties who are doing the job the record labels are supposed to be doing. The answer is for the record labels to do their damned job and distribute music in a reasonable way given current technologies. The tighter the labels grip, the more revenue will slip through their fingers. There is no way consumers are going back to buying a vinyl album and then a cassette and then a cd of the same music.

The actual cost for distributing music has plummeted to near zero. If the record labels are not going to take advantage of this and distribute music in a reasonable way then good for Google and for anyone else who steps up and removes the artificial scarcity and artificial inefficiency create by the music labels.

While we're at it let's shorten the length of time copyright stays in effect. That way these rock stars won't be lumping their recent music together with music that was made back in the 30s and 40s by people who have long been dead.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder why anti police sentiment exists (Score 1) 621

Okay. Fair enough. Thanks for clearing that up. I agree with you that the summary is wrong to lump bank accounts in with prepaid cards. On the other hand it was clear to me that UnknowingFool was talking about an account associated with a prepaid card. If UF had used "prepaid card" instead of just "card" then they would have been even more clear. Your post was misleading because it makes it seem like nothing has changed regarding seizing money.

I think we all agree that they can now seize money from prepaid cards and they weren't able to do this before. I thought that was the point UnknowingFool was making and you seemed to be refuting it.

Comment Re:Gee, I wonder why anti police sentiment exists (Score 1) 621

Now they are seizing the money in the account.

No, they're not. The summary is wrong.

The fine article also says the police are seizing money from accounts.

If a trooper suspects a person may have money tied to some type of crime, the highway patrol can scan and seize money from prepaid cards.
...
Troopers insist this isn't just about seizing cash.

Saying that the police are using this to seize money accurately reflects what is said in the fine article. If you think the summary and the article are both wrong on this point then please provide a link to evidence that refutes it.

Comment An *Oracle* win would have killed off FOSS (Score 2) 357

The Oracle lawyer has it completely backwards. If APIs could be protected by copyright then FOSS could be easily locked out of making compatible implementations. Oracle is not in this battle to get a few billion dollars from Google. They are in this battle to kill off all independent software development. As bad as software patents are, changing the ground rules so APIs can be protected by copyright would be much much worse.

Comment Re:The REAL Takeaway from this... (Score 1) 532

...is that the EM drive's thrust has been reproduced by several independent institutions. So now where are all the pedantic Slashdot experts that just recently were absolutely sure that the EM drive was bunk?

I agree with you, that was a key claim of the article. It made me extremely skeptical of anything else they had to say because the experimental results have absolutely not been reproducible. The results varied by orders of magnitude and even by direction! The results were always down near the noise threshold. It is true that many experiments got non-zero results that could not be fully explained by their analysis of all the sources of noise. The fact that the magnitude of the non-zero result scaled with the magnitude of the noise over orders of magnitude should be tip off that these claims are extremely fishy. Getting non-zero results right at the noise floor that vary over orders of magnitude and vary in direction is pretty much the exact opposite of reproducible results.

Whenever a new anomalous result is found it is always possible that it will upend established physics but in 999,999 cases out of a million, the cause is experimental error (incomplete analysis of all potential sources of noise). That is certainly what seems to be happening here. It appears that this is yet another entry in the Nobel Prize lottery -- and it has about as much chance of paying off as a lottery ticket.

But for the sake of argument, let's say that despite all of the experimental results to the contrary, the effect is real and this is the correct explanation for the effect. Two points:

1) It directly contradicts the previous "theoretical explanation".

2) The effect does not scale well and would be useless for any practical applications such as space-flight. The effect only occurs because the size of the acceleration is very small compared to the size of the apparatus (the units of size and acceleration are related through certain natural constants such as the speed of light).

Comment Re:Three words (Score 1) 460

Can anyone explain why the verbose arguments require 2 dashes?

It is to prevent name-space collisions when you "stack" short options as in "-rf" (which means the same thing as "-r -f"). The convention often used is that multiple letters after a single dash are stacked single character options while multiple letters after two dashes is a single verbose option. This convention makes things easier for the user and the designer because neither one has to worry about being able to spell out a verbose option with single character options.

Comment Re:somewhat deceiving numbers.... (Score 1) 128

Now with floating point 0.5*0.5 = 0.25 which is a smaller number as expected. If you multiply two positive integers like 50*50 you get 2500, so a larger value which requires further operations on it for it to be useful.

The only "further operation" needed is to look at the higher word of the result which takes zero extra effort. For example, if you multiply two 16-bit words then you get a 32-bit result. The "extra effort" is taking the upper 16-bits of the result and ignoring the lower 16-bits.

There may well be good reasons for FP16 to preferred over using integers but scaling the result of multiplications isn't one of them.

Comment Re:recently, we've just scaled down existing metho (Score 1) 124

I fully agree with you that if we are at the end of Moore's Law then it is because of physical limitations and not economics. As for no preceding tech breakthroughs, Intel's first CTO said (in 2008):

I compare Moore's Law to driving down the road on a foggy night, how far can you see? Does the road stop after 100 metres? How far can you go?

[...] That's what it's been like with Moore's Law. We thought there were physical limits and [now] we casually speak about going to 10 nanometres. We have work going on different transistor structures. Silicon has become scaffolding for the rest of the periodic table. We're putting these other structures into the materials. We see no end in sight and we've had 10 years of visibility for the last 30 years.

I think it is quite possible he is wrong about Moore's Law extending out to 2028 but I find it very hard to believe he is wrong about the history of Moore's Law leading up to 2008. He was in a position to see the tech breakthroughs first-hand. I don't see why he would lie about it.

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