Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment For the Bank of Russia it's not even pocket change (Score 2) 32

It's just numbers on a spreadsheet. The Bank of Russia is Russia's central bank and there is literally no amount of money you can steal from a central bank that will harm it. That's because they're the people who issue the fiat in "fiat currency".

The harm is to the economy as a whole, in the form of inflation. In this case we're talking about the release of thirty one million spurious extra bucks into a two trillion dollar economy. Just a tiny bit of inflation, diluted to homeopathic concentrations and applied to everyone who uses rubles.

Of course the bank has to pursue this because it undermines confidence in the system, but this is as close to a victimless crime as any illegal way of obtaining thirty-one million dollars can be.

Comment I find this kind of depressing. (Score 1) 70

I'm all for things that go boom. I love weird, clever little gadgets. I admire a clever and subtle subversion of a system, even when I don't condone its use.

But geez; this thing is not exactly elegant. It uses a fairly basic circuit to exploit the completely unsurprising fact that the interface isn't designed to handle high voltages.

Comment Re:Dumbass (Score 1) 237

If Wheat was the problem, the US would be dropping food bags on the populace instead of TONS OF WEAPONS. GUNS DO NOT GROW OR WATER CROPS YOU FUCKING MORON!

Let me get this straight. Your argument is that the crisis must not be driven by a non-political cause because if it were the US would have solved it? Or, to put it another way, your're arguing that the US government is so perfectly effective at always addressing the root causes of problems in a timely manner, that the government's failure to address this one means it's not the root cause?

Dude, you must know a different US government than I do. The one I know occasionally does the right thing at the right time, but it's mostly by accident.

Comment Re:Not much. I do look at data which may upset you (Score 2) 237

Attempting to simplify the crises in Syria by pointing at climate change seriously under states all other factors. Hell, one of your own links (the usda one) clearly shows that Syria has been able to meet its needs IF allowed via imports

The USDA link shows no such thing; it shows Syria eating up its reserves as it fails to import enough wheat to make up the shortfall. Yes, Assad underwrote the price of bread, but there wasn't enough subsidized bread to meet demand, forcing people to buy non-subsidized bread which increased in price six-fold. The net bread expenditure went up by 20% in a country where many people spend half their income on food.

I'm not a reductionist; situations like this have multiple important factors. The Assad/Islamist thing had been simmering for decades -- generations really. Had that situation been different, the climate shock might not have destabilized the country. In point of fact bread prices were an issue throughout the Middle East and a major factor in the Arab Spring. Syria was arguably better positioned than most other Arab countries, but the stress of having 5% of your population displaced on top of the deep and old fault lines broke the country apart.

This is precisely how climate shock is going to work. It won't be like the proverbial frog in a pot of boiling water; it'll be formerly rare occurrences happening more frequently and stressing vulnerable populations. Take sea level rise; cities won't drown slpowly, but what was once a hundred year flood will become twenty year flood. That will stress coastal cities, and the results depend on how stable and wealthy a particular city is.

For example were sea level to rise almost a meter by 2100 (as is now within the scope of mainstream positions), the very wealthy coastal city I live in would go the Venice route and build a tidal barrier, which would conservatively cost at least ten billion dollars. Chittagong Bengladesh, however, will be screwed. My city has twice the GDP of Bengladesh as a whole even though it has 3% of the population.

Comment Re:Nope (Score 1) 254

Economy does not work that way, sorry. Hawking should read from a real economist, like Milton Friedman.

Although I generally respect economists within their domain of expertise, they do have a habit of blithely extrapolating from their models to the unknowable, or even the impossible. For example once I was at a symposium on limits to the Earth's carrying capacity. A physicist pointed out that since life is eventually sustained by solar energy, there are at least thermodynamic limits to the number of people you can support on a single planet. The economist on the panel contradicted him, claiming that the carrying capacity of the Earth was infinite. His justification was that all past attempts to put a Malthusian limit on population growth had run afoul of human innovation.

Now he's correct about summarizing the situation *thus far*, but that's only from a few centuries of economic experience that covers an insignificant fraction between the status quo and infinite population.

Now the real problem with futurism, aside from simply getting things wrong (e.g., the counter-intuitive link between higher wealth and lower birth rate), is judging precisely when something that's bound to happen is going happen. If we *do* continue to increase population, eventually we will reach the point where we won't be able to grow it any farther. But we won't know the precise moment we're going to hit the wall until we actually do.

Likewise unless you take a mystical view of thought, eventually computers are going to get better at it than we are. And when that day comes, we'll be obsolete as thought-workers. However we're very far from that now. What I think will happen is that the nature of work will change so rapidly people will find employment to be unstable. I believe what we'll see increasing levels of intractable structural unemployment: square pegs trying to fit themselves into round holes because the square holes have been filled in.

Comment Re:Milton Frieldman? (Score 1) 254

So.......we just had an article on Slashdot that showed there are more jobs in America now, at the end of the Obama administration, than there ever have been in the entire history of the US. More people working.

First, I'm not about to claim that Trump is going to improve anything for the common man. Having a populist revolt that emplaces a Billionare cabinet...

Yes, Obama got more people to work than anyone else ever. However, middle-class well-being has not correspondingly increased (meaning wages aren't great for a lot of those jobs) and the disparity between the most rich and everyone else has become much larger.

I haven't researched AI job reduction, but I think we could be no more than two decades away from the point where much menial labor is robotic and where professional drivers are for the most part replaced with machines.

Comment Re:Dumbass (Score 1) 237

If Wheat was the problem, the US would be dropping food bags on the populace instead of TONS OF WEAPONS.

You'd need a time machine capable of sending three million tons of wheat six years into the past.

As to why we didn't do it that the time, you may recall we had a financial crisis to deal with. Very few Americans were paying attention to what at the time was an internal crisis in Syria, and if they had they wouldn't be interested in spending a billion dollars addressing it ($350/ton * 3 million ton shortfall).

Comment Milton Frieldman? (Score 4, Interesting) 254

Both Brexit and Trump can be seen as the final stage of neoliberal economics: it ends in a populist revolt.

It's not as if labor is just now facing the threat of automation. But nobody in the US - not the unions, not the companies, not the government - is solving the education gap that might help future workers.

Comment Not much. I do look at data which may upset you. (Score 4, Interesting) 237

The refugee crisis you refer to is actually the second Syrian refugee crisis.

The first refugee was an internal displacement of 1.5 million people (out of a population of 20 million) over the period 2007-2011 during crops failed due to unprecedented drought. Over two hundred villages were completely depopulated, and 40% of Syria's agricultural workforce was lost. Domestic wheat production crashed, and prices skyrocketed as it was replaced by imports.

So you had over a million hungry, unemployed displaced people crowded into cities, when a bad harvest in Russia caused a spike in global wheat prices. Check out the graph in this link labelled "World Monthly Grains Price Index" and note the massive upswing in prices in 2010 - 2011. There was a similar price spike in 2007, but back then Syria produced essentially all the wheat it consumed. In 2010 Syria only produced 80% of what it needed, resulting in underconsumption -- aka "starvation". You can check out the figures here.

Finally note that the so-called "Day of Rage" which critically destabilized the regime took place on March 15, 2011. The timing was not coincidental.

Now you can talk to me about "political struggle" in Syria. The roots of that struggle are of course decades old. But the effects were exacerbated by the worst drought in 900 years.

Without the sarcasm, try to stay on topic lest you continue to be perceived as a shithead Troll.

I have stayed on topic. Shithead troll I guess is a matter of perspective. Syria is exactly the kind of scenario security planners are worried about. And one reason they are worried is that many in the public literally find the idea of climate-driven refugees unimaginable. People who've been paying attention find it all too easy to imagine.

Comment Apple maps searches still better (Score 1) 44

Searching for locations works the majority of the time. But it's still not uncommon to get results randomly across the country

That happens sometimes but it also happens in Google Maps.

Apple maps is still better for searching though. Try a search for "Arby's" - Apple maps zooms out to a view at city scale with the map taking up 3/4 of the screen, he two closest results in text at the bottom. Google maps zooms out to city scale too, but in a map that takes up the top 1/5 of the screen, basically unreadable - then has a list of arbors with distances and addresses, but you can't really tell which ones are nearby or which directions the ones on the list are unless you are familiar with the app...

Apple Maps traffic in Denver seems every bit as good as Google maps. Both are inferior to Waze though, which is pretty amusing since Waze is owned by Google...

I've never had an issue with Apple Maps giving me bad directions, across most the the US. (I've driven coast to coast).

Comment Re:Mozilla's 990 Form (Score 1) 103

MoCo could have paid as little as $1 for the license, along with an agreement to return profits, and that would be fair value. There's no question that the profits were returned.

However, there was never any possibility that any other entity would have been offered the license regardless of what they offered, and IMO had they considered that transaction based on the amount returned rather than achieving their purpose of a free internet, they would have disqualified themselves as a 501(c)3.

Slashdot Top Deals

Polymer physicists are into chains.

Working...