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Comment Re:the joker in the formula (Score 1) 686

You are ignoring the fact that it seems like one highly intelligent and technology-developing species could probably not evolve in coexistence with another one on the same planet, at some point one would win and kill off the other one.

I'm sure it's been proposed/discussed many times before, but I don't know if this concept has an "official" name or not.

Comment Re:Progenitors? (Score 4, Interesting) 686

Directionality is a mostly irrelevant consideration.

The fact that an antenna is 9db or 30db higher in one direction quickly becomes irrelevant with the vast distances of space. Antennas don't work like flashlights. They are more like a light bulb with a two-way mirror on one side that reflects 50% of the light and lets 50% of it through out the back. At VHF and above, things like mountains act like mirrors that reflect signals straight up (among other directions), as well.

You are somewhat wrong about AM... at least broadcast band AM is mostly only directional in the sense that there's dead zones straight off the ends of the dipole. They are shooting quite a bit of signal upward. Our ionosphere does strongly reflect and attenuate what would make it out to space in those bands though.

This goes toward your comment about the 50s and 60s... we have far more powerful transmitters in operation now (some VHF TV the better part of 1 megawatt!), and in bands that aren't reflected by the ionosphere. If anything we are getting louder and louder.

Unfortunately the first thing they might see of humanity is free-to-air broadcast TV, and just assume that we are all complete idiots.

Comment Copyright C+Ds aren't "trolling" (Score 3, Interesting) 98

A studio enforcing their copyright against personal-use downloads might be a somewhat crappy and ill-advised practice, but it's not "trolling". To me if you were going to call something "copyright trolling" it would be more like using copyright letters to silence people, aka SLAPP, not using copyright the way it was intended, to prevent people other than the owner from making copies of the entire media as a substitute to buying it from the media holder.

Comment Re:I saw faster screening at Orlando (Score 2, Interesting) 163

Ignoring the general stupidity of many TSA practices, and that this is an artificial market created by government inefficiency, what's so fundamentally wrong with paying more to get through faster?

If your money is worth more than your time, you'll wait, if your time is worth more than your money, you'll pay. That's a fundamental decision every time you say something like "I'll pay someone to change my oil because I don't want to spend 20 minutes and get dirty doing it myself", or "I'll eat out so I don't have to cook". Time/money/value decisions are something you make dozens of every day.

Comment TSA Speed (Score 2) 163

I was once at an airport, I think it was LAS... people were all piled up in a clusterfuck right after of the entrance to TSA where they check IDs, even though there was about a mile of Disneyland spiral queue that was not being used. A helpful TSA agent started to open up the spiral queue, and was actually rebuked by a superior because "that's not the way they do things", and everyone that went in the queue had to rejoin the mosh pit of people.

And then they closed two of the four open screening lanes because "it wasn't busy enough to justify having that many open". We had to literally jog across the airport to catch our flight after being stuck in that mess for 50+ minutes.

I'm not sure it would take new technology to fix the TSA, just some people running the show that don't have their head up their ass.

Comment Re:I suppose, but (Score 1) 149

Someone who knows PHP and Javascript really well is not a common thing. If you do go the web route, focus on the JS more than the server side, since that's where things are actually happening these days. Learn how to write JS that doesn't leak DOM nodes or memory (for god's sake, please). Half the JS libraries out there leak like a sieve.

Comment Re:Don't go to school for languages... (Score 1) 149

I take issue with the idea that a CS degree at most schools would give you the foundation to be a good programmer.

There's far too much emphasis on math, and far too little emphasis on what really matters in software. I will never ask one of my employees to solve a partial differential equation. But I will ask them to write maintainable code (even simple shit like don't copy and paste big blocks of code seems to not be taught at all) and to consider usability and UI at every step.

Comment Re:Not enough net capacity? Build more! (Score 3, Insightful) 361

If Slashdot were created today, I wonder if it would be some kind of homogenized youtube channel or twitter account.

The barriers of entry have come down, but inevitably, so has the quality of content. The white noise isn't a conspiracy, it's a consequence of commoditization of publishing. It just turns out that most people don't have anything worthwhile to say.

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