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Comment What is your scientific background? (Score 1) 769

I agree that if I were to see nothing but that graph and then those two predictions, I'd say that the more conservative one seems more likely. However, the fact that most of the scientific community doesn't agree with me sounds like pretty convincing indication that there is something more complicated going on and that I - having no expertise in this subject - shouldn't give much weight to my own guesses over the predictions of those who study the subject for living.

So... do you happen to have any actual expertise in this field, so that it would make sense for me to care about your thoughts here?

Comment What's your point? (Score 1) 267

I've read your post several times over and can't figure out whether you're trying to contradict something I said or not. In any case...

All economic systems are attempts to deal with scarcity of resources

Communism is precisely the post-scarcity utopia, which requires abundance of resources to exist first.

there isn't suddenly an abundance of resources because a certain system was adopted

Yes... And that's why no country tried to jump directly to communism, as none of them had the required abundance and all knew that they wouldn't reach that abundance simply by changing the system. Rather, they acknowledged that they would first need to reach the over abundance and believed that socialism would be more ethical and efficient system for the transitional period.

Furthermore, you're confusing resources with materials. Labor, capital and materials are the three equally needed resources for economic activity.

I can't figure out what in my post would make you think that. When talking about abundance of resources in relation to communism, the question is "Can everyone be delivered whatever they need?" and obviously that requires more than just the materials. (You can't deliver needed medical treatment without doctors and so on).

Comment In theory... it *is* a bit like *communism* (Score 5, Interesting) 267

Many Americans don't seem to know (or perhaps care about) distinctions between communism (the form of utopia which countries like the Soviet Union supposedly wanted to achieve) and socialism (the system they intended to use in the transitional phase). Oversimplifying a bit... Communism is supposed to be a state where there is such an abundance of resources that everyone can get whatever they need and the motive to work would come not from material goods but from the social status that good workers receive, the idealistic desire to work for the good of mankind and stuff like that. Socialism is the idea that when a government takes control of the means of production and puts them to good use, the results are in some way (be it productivity, philosphical differences or whatever) better than than what capitalistic society can achieve... and if the difference in productivity is great enough, it could some day result in the overabundance of resources needed for communism.

So... When a CEO decides that he wants to give away huge sums of money (for social status and/or idealistic reasons... in a situation where he must have overabundance of resources for himself, because he is able to give away millions) and that the best receiver for the money are the workers that have produced the said wealth, I think that one could argue that it's - in small scale - very similar to how communist utopia was supposed to work.

Naturally this is all just a mixture of being pedantic and some form of thought experiments... but then again, what could you expect in a thread like this.

Comment That sounds like a pretty good idea, actually (Score 1) 131

That sounds like a good idea. Give me a moment and I'll patent it.

Seriously though, that idea is mostly good but I think that the passing of time might be a problem. Deus Ex was awesome game when it came out, but if it were to come out today it wouldn't be all that good because the video games have taken huge leap forward in the last 12 years. So, should I vote it worse than nearly all new games and completely ignore the context, how much it influenced the genre, etc.? In general, it's very hard to compare older games to newer one because even if you make a decision on how to deal with the context, your memory might not be accurate (I remember having liked many games years ago but I can't remember how good they actually were compared to new ones).

You could of course only allow people to rate games they've played recently... or you could analyze that user A tends to think that older games aren't much worse than newer ones but B thinks that they are, see how much of B's ratings can be explained through the age of the game and correct that when showing his ratings to A... but it'd still be complex.

Comment How should it depend on that? (Score 1) 314

I live in a population center so my monthly data use is very cheap to provide. It can't be "fair" that I pay as much as those who live in the countryside, thus subsidizing their data plans. However, my choice of operator was influenced by my research on which one had the best network coverage (I want to be able to use the data if I visit countryside, though I rarely do). It can't be "fair" that those who live in the countryside have to pay the full cost of having a network there.

Cost per customer for operators also includes cost of acquiring the customer, which includes marketing. I would have went with the same operator (due to the previously mentioned network coverage) with or without marketing, so it can't be "fair" that I pay more to subsidize the marketing to acquire other customers. Then again, operator acquiring and profiting from those customers allows it to invest in improving the service, which I benefit from, so is it "fair" if I don't participate in the cost to acquire them?

It's really difficult to determine fairness based on how much you cost to the operator and how much you must pay.

Comment Bell curve doesn't work that well either... (Score 5, Insightful) 131

One reviewer might only rate highly hyped games which he expects to be good (nearly all fall to 60-100 range) and other reviewer tries out pretty much everything he encounters to find out those lone gems among less well-known indie games, etc. (let's say ranging from 20 to 95). We can't just take a bell curve of each and say "Game A is slightly above average on first reviewer's scale and Game B is slightly above average on the second reviewer's scale... so they're probably about equally good!". Sure, with large number of reviewers, you can still see which games do well and which won't but you have lost at least as much precision as you would have if you hadn't taken the bell curve in the first place.

That said, I don't know if reviews are that relevant anymore. I am active gamer but don't remember when was the last time I read a full review... There have been two times recently when I bought newer games from series I had played years ago (Cossacks and Anno 1602). I just wanted to take a quick peek on whether the games were considered about equally good, better or worse than the ones I had liked and whether they were very similar with just better graphics etc. or if some major concept had changed. That consisted mostly of looking the games up on Wikipedia and quickly glancing the first reviews I found using Google. I think I also checked the metascore, but it was more among the lines of "I'll buy it unless it turns out to have metascore under 60 or something". I didn't use that as exact metric.

Most games I buy are ones recommended to me by my friends, those recommended by blogs I follow (e.g., the Penny Arcade guys' news feed... you could consider those reviews, but they don't mention the games they hated, don't give scores, etc., just mention "Hey, that was pretty good. Try it out.") or those that just seem fun and don't cost much (When I noticed Orcs Must Die on Steam for under 5 euros, I didn't start doing extensive research on the critical acclaim of the game.)

Comment Not stealing if I agree to give you the item (Score 1) 606

From TFA:

Dragon agreed to pay Goldman a flat fee of $5 million

To my understanding a mutually agreed business deal is not stealing, even if one party does a shoddy job. If I pay you to write me a piece of software and when deadline flies past, the software isn't complete, you have not fulfilled your side of the contract and I might be able to sue you, but I don't think that the term stealing is usually used in that context.

I might be flat out wrong there, as this isn't my first language, but my understanding of the term is that you take something from me without me agreeing to give it to you. If you simply fool me into paying you much more than what your service is worth, it sounds more like false advertising, contract breaking, fraud or something.

Comment Trading is not stealing (Score 4, Insightful) 606

I lean left on local standards (those of European social democracy) so I'd probably be something like "extreme left" on American standards (if we consider Democrats a left-wing party). I have no love for either Goldman Sachs or the whole sector they operate in... that said, you can hardly call what they did "stealing".

Are they unethical? Sure. Have they broken some laws by deceiving regulators? Probably. Misleading advertising? Might be. Fraud? Depends on the contracts they've used... but stealing? No. They've simply not cared about the fate of their clients - or the society - except where they had the economic incentive to do so. That kind of stuff happens when you have free markets.

For any given amount of freedom in the markets, you get some good and some bad sides. You thus choose a level where the good sides outweigh the bad ones... and acknowledge that the decision also leads to some undesired results. What doesn't work is choosing one level, at first ignoring undesired results and then, when they become too apparent, call them stealing, etc. without making an argument for choosing another level of freedom in general.

Comment Yes, it would (Score 5, Informative) 138

According to quick Google, average depth of oceans is about 4km, surface area of earth is about 510'072'000 km2 and water covers about 70% of earths surface.

5.1E8 km2 * 4km * 0.7 = 1.428 billion km3. Sphere of that volume is about 1396 km across.

The GP's graph says "1390 kilometres across and has a volume of 1.4 billion cubic kilometres", which is very close to that quick approximation.

My approximation is very quick and dirty (I didn't take into account that surface of earth is less 4km below the surface than on the surface, which would reduce the sphere... but I also didn't take into account glaciers, etc. which would increase the sphere... Obviously the surface of sea isn't exactly 70% and the depth isn't exactly 4km...) but I feel very confident that the scale of the number is about right and it happens to perfectly match the graph.

Comment Expectation of privacy also during business hours (Score 1) 358

I would say that everyone has - by default - a reasonable expectation of privacy whenever nobody else is around. Sure, if you are in a park, you can't do certain things that you could in the privacy of your home even if you don't see anyone, because you might not just have noticed someone and so on. However, in a half-public place, such as a store with no customers inside, you should be able to call your family/doctor/etc. or whatever without having to wonder whether someone is monitoring you in secret. (You may say "You shouldn't do that at work anyways" but that's to be settled between the employee and employer)

That all said, yeah... Involving the local cops? Sure. FBI? Maybe. Secret service? It does sound like an overkill.

Comment That depends on the topic, though (Score 1) 193

The proof is in really hotly debated topics - you can see arguments from BOTH sides of a hot issue being moderated to +5, even if a lot of down-moderation is also applied. That's the key that tells you the system is working to keep people on all sides of an issue engaged, and makes the reading much more interesting as you have more of a real debate and much less a "pulpit" as you said.

It is true that you often see arguments from both sides modded up but I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from that. There are many topics that aren't debated essentially at all because the consensus / group think has already been reached. That isn't bad thing in itself (Not every topic should be debated. We should have consensus not to support genocides, for example...) but the point is that for any hot topic we debate there is a consensus about a dozen more that we don't debate and thus us having some debated issues doesn't prove much about variation.

Honestly though, I think that the biggest problem with /. moderation system is that mods use "-1 Redundant" and "-1 Offtopic" mods far too little. The most heated topics, like the one about constitutionality of Obamacare, have something like 2.5k messages. There is absolutely no way that most of those messages added to the discussion but most were just repeating the same arguments that others had already made... but weren't modded redundant. Part of the problem is that the same exact things were debated in many places, which is due to mods not being willing to use the offtopic mod when one thread of posts strays away from the topic of that thread. You can look at nearly any /. story and in the first thread there are many people who "reply" to the first poster or two just to get their comment higher even though they in no way relate to what the parent had said. This all forces people to spend a lot more time reading the same arguments over and over again and potentially missing some good ones due to the whole discussion about the subtopic not being in the same place.

Comment "Worst in X years" could indicate a trend change (Score 1) 409

While I mostly agree with you, I wouldn't dismiss relative terms completely in this short of cases. For example, if outbreaks have been in very steady decline for several decades and then we suddenly get worst outbreak in twenty years, it might tell us something very important (Is the trend turning? Has someone/-thing just made a very serious fuckup that caused it? How likely is it that it's just a statistical anomaly?) even if it doesn't tell us how worried we should feel about acute problems.

Comment Still winning, as expected (Score 1) 374

I'm a software developer with nearly finished degree (I expect that I'll graduate within a year despite doing more work than studying). They pay me 18 euros (=22 dollars) an hour, so assuming 22 days * 7.5 hours, that's 2970 euros or 3645 dollars a month (44k dollars a year), which I find pretty good for a 22-year old who hasn't yet graduated in this economic situation.

When I graduate, I expect to be able to negotiate about 10% immediate raise, so 10% isn't enough to get me change jobs for money. I'm treated decently (My boss isn't an idiot, I am not micromanaged, I can work from home part of the time as long as the job gets done, I have very flexible hours, etc.) and while some other job might have even more benefits, I'm not interested in taking the risk, so 20% wouldn't be enough. Actually, 30% wouldn't be enough if the new job wouldn't be flexible enough for me to finish my degree but assuming it'd be... I don't think I could ignore that significant jump in wage this early in my life. It'd probably open up a whole new range of career paths.

Comment No, it's well above 15% (Score 3, Informative) 423

First of all, it's closer to 17%. With the current rate of decrease we'll hit 15% in something like four months if nothing happens before that. More importantly...

(The statistics above are extracted from W3Schools' log-files, but we are also monitoring other sources around the Internet to assure the quality of these figures)

Audience of W3Schools is people who are trying to learn the basics of certain web-related technologies and don't yet know that W3Schools is hardly the best place for that. Whether you like W3Schools or not, it's hardly representative of general population.

Comment I don't see why you're modded troll (Score 2) 804

Marriage is both social and legal construct. In most areas gay marriage can be legalized by simply changing the words man, husband, wife and woman to person and that's more or less it. However, changing the marriage to a construct between 2...n people, we need to totally rethink many concepts such as divorce (does it break the whole group or can just one person leave? Also, can a new person later on just "join" existing marriage?) and widowhood. If a man and two women are married and the man dies, are the two women now considered widows and are they now gay married to each other? What if one of the women died instead, are the man and other woman now considered widows? Issues like this matter because many laws are built on them.

It makes sense to fix gay marriage first, because that's so quick and easy, compared to legalizing polygamy in marriages.

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