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Submission + - SPAM: Slashcott Feb 10 to Feb 17 2

An anonymous reader writes: Please post this to new articles if it hasn't been posted yet. (Copy-paste the html from here so links don't get mangled!)

On February 5, 2014, Slashdot announced through a javascript popup that they are starting to "move in to" the new Slashdot Beta design. Slashdot Beta is a trend-following attempt to give Slashdot a fresh look, an approach that has led to less space for text and an abandonment of the traditional Slashdot look. Much worse than that, Slashdot Beta fundamentally breaks the classic Slashdot discussion and moderation system.

If you haven't seen Slashdot Beta already, open this in a new tab. After seeing that, click here to return to classic Slashdot.

We should boycott stories and only discuss the abomination that is Slashdot Beta until Dice abandons the project.
We should boycott slashdot entirely during the week of Feb 10 to Feb 17 as part of the wider slashcott

Moderators — only spend mod points on comments that discuss Beta
Commentors — only discuss Beta
[spam URL stripped] — Vote up the Fuck Beta stories

Keep this up for a few days and we may finally get the PHBs attention. -----=====##### LINKS #####=====-----

Discussion of Beta: [spam URL stripped]
Discussion of where to go if Beta goes live: [spam URL stripped]
Alternative Slashdot: [spam URL stripped] (thanks Okian Warrior (537106))

Submission + - Regex Golf, XKCD And Peter Norvig (

mikejuk writes: A recent xkcd cartoon has started some deep academic thinking. When AI expert Peter Novig gets involved you know the algorithms are going to fly. Code Golf is a reasonably well known sport of trying to code an algorithm in the shortest possible code. Regex Golf is similar, but in general the aim is to create a regular expression that accepts the strings in one list and rejects the strings in a second list. The xkcd cartoon in question revealed that this is but the first step. Programmers like recursion and a regex is a string after all and a regex can process a string so a regex can process a regex and this means you can have meta-regex golf and meta-meta-regex golf.... Yes my friend, it's regexes all the way down!
The hover over text gives a regular expression that matches the last names of the elected US presidents, but not the losers. This started Peter Norvig, the well-known computer scientist, director of research at Google and wearer of brightly colored shirts, thinking about the problem. Is it possible to write a program that would create a regular expression to solve the xkcd problem? The result is an NP hard problem that needs AI like techniques to get an approximate answer.
To find out more read the complete description, including Python code, at Peter Norvig's blog post which ends with the challenge:
"I hope you found this interesting, and perhaps you can find ways to improve my algorithm, or more interesting lists to apply it to. I found it was fun to play with, and I hope this page gives you an idea of how to address problems like this."

Comment Re:Choice of Browsers is MS's Burden? (Score 5, Informative) 173

Have the standards for posting comments gotten so low that people don't even completely read the submission title? (I already know nobody reads the article or the whole summary even...)

Here's a quick (rough) overview for you and the mods who put you at +5:

1. Microsoft was accused of unfairly using its monopoly in the OS market to get people to use IE over Netscape.
2. Microsoft and the EU came to an agreement that Microsoft would offer a choice of browsers to users., or be punished.
3. Microsoft is now accused of breaking that agreement.

The fact that firefox, opera and safari are easily reachable with a Google search is completely irrelevant. Microsoft made an agreement with the EU and broke it.

And one more thing: No, most computer users do not go and download a browser. You can call them lazy and/or stupid all you want, but that doesn't change the fact that many people just don't care what browser they are using. They turn on the computer, and they start using the internet. The browser is completely irrelevant to them. In the context of Microsoft's OS monopoly in the 90s, it makes perfect sense for users to be asked what browser they want to use up front.

Comment Re:Political correctness in action (Score 5, Insightful) 409

The difference being that at least I can switch the company I'm dealing with but the government is the ultimate monopoly ...

Please do tell me how you plan to "switch the company" you're dealing with when said company is, for example, poisoning your well water through fracking, or polluting a river or the air around your house. A strict libertarian philosophy has no solution for externalities, other than hand-waving, i.e. everyone can form class-action lawsuits! Or the invisible hand will magically deal with it!

The solution is simple: You should be wary of both corporations and government and support checks and balances on both.

Comment Re:The problem is chicken little (Score 2) 1181

The problem is that there are NO accurate "models" of global climate. The models that we have can't predict the present given data from the past, and the results of the models, more and more, fail to match reality. Because Hansen and the Warmists are so firmly intertwined with their models that they refuse to accept the actual experimental data, real SCIENTISTS for whom the data is paramount are refusing to accept apocalyptic prescriptions that are based entirely on the MODELS.

This article was posted by someone else earlier, but it directly responds to your point about Hansen: In fact, Hansen's model seems to be holding up surprisingly well.

Comment Re:Laptops are not the problem (Score 1) 134

This! I was always annoyed by people watching videos on Youtube in the rows in front of me during undergrad...

However, I don't think removing electronics from the classroom entirely is a fair solution. I would propose that anyone who wishes to use electronics be seated at the back of the classroom/lecture hall unless they need to sit closer for a legitimate reason (medical issue, etc).

Comment Re:If libertarians had there way (Score 2) 388

Because.. yeah.. none of this stuff can be farmed out to other people.

What a brilliant idea! We could all get together and pay a small fee for a group of people to go after those polluters. It needs a good name though... How about the Environmental Protection Agency? That sounds like a good name. And we could pay for it out of our tax dollars so there are no free riders! Perfect!

Comment Not impressed. (Score 2) 2254

No, this is not a good layout. The javascript is lagging the crap out of my computer, and disabling it makes the site look even worse. Seriously, go back to version 1. Do you even understand who is still reading your site? We don't need or want fancy javascript. We are terminal monkeys, we want content, not bells and whistles.

Comment Re:Sudoku (Score 1) 206

Indeed, solving Sudoku is extremely simple. Break out your favorite constraint programming solver and a couple for loops and a bunch of all-different constraints later, you're done. This scales to any size sudoku puzzle and is rather fast.

Comment Two sides to laptops (Score 1) 804

My experience during undergrad was that at least half of the people with laptops were just using them to watch youtube or do something unrelated to class. Another ~10% or so were doing their homework/projects (possibly from other classes) during lectures. The rest were actively taking notes.

The students who were watching youtube/facebook, etc were indeed distracting. I usually tried to avoid sitting behind laptops to avoid this problem, but banning laptops just isn't fair to the students who want to use them legitimately. There have been times where laptops have really added to classes (looking up facts mainly).

Therefore I propose a solution: All laptop users should sit in the back rows of the class, unless there is a legitimate reason for someone to not sit back there (eyesight or hearing difficulties). This makes it less likely for the people who are just screwing around to distract other students.

Comment Re:Not like cowardly Westerners (Score 2, Insightful) 496

It must be nice having an ideology that is so clear cut. Blaming Israel for everything certainly seems like an easy way of rationalizing what happens in Gaza/the West Bank. But you are the one, after all, who suggested we pretend that we "come from another planet" earlier in this thread, and yet you blame Israel even for actions that are very obviously the choices of Hamas. Israel has nothing to do with Hamas's oppression of their own people.

You can criticize Israel for its blockade, for its demolition of houses, for its wall, and for a whole host of other abuses it has indeed committed, and should be ashamed of. But when it comes to Hamas oppressing people for trying to speak out freely and practice (or not practice) Islam in the way they wish, Israel has absolutely no say in this, and their occupation is entirely tangential to the issue at hand in this article.

Smiths, you are the one who needs to step back and realize that you have become entrenched by an ideology.
The Military

Mystery 'Missile' Identified As US Airways Flight 808 335

sean.peters writes "The mystery missile discussed on Slashdot Tuesday? It was US Airways 808 from Honolulu to Phoenix. An amateur sleuth checked the time against airline schedules, then the following day, checked out a webcam that was trained in the appropriate direction. He found the exact same contrail at the time AWE808 was coming over. The author deals persuasively with a number of objections to his argument."

Comment Re:Home Security Theater (Score 1) 633

That, my friends, is security.

That is also why only Jews (who are not subject to the same harassment after their religious credentials are established), those who have no other choice whatsoever and non-Jewish masochists fly to Israel.

There is also that wee problem that this procedure reeks of the worst days of the Soviet Union and the Nazi Germany, but then again those of us who remember this quaint concept of individual liberties and how wars were fought over what is now being given away on a mere remote possibility of harm, seem to be going extinct.

You just had to go and bring Godwin into this, didn't you..

In fact, establishing your religious credentials does NOT give you a free pass! I'm Jewish, and have flown to Israel. They do ask you some religion related questions, but those would be easy for anyone with an internet connection to fake. They always go further in depth. But thanks for spreading the rumor that Jews get special treatment. I'm not going to accuse you of antisemitism, but do try to take your head out of your ass.

Comment Re:This explains the political process (Score 1) 824

Your numbers for Social Security, Medicare and Medicare D are way off. Do you really expect anyone to take your post seriously when you suggest that social security is currently $14.7 trillion in debt, nearly the same as the entire GDP of the US? And moreover, that Medicare is currently $77 trillion in debt, which is $16 trillion more than the world GDP!.

Perhaps your numbers are over long periods of time, and if they are, then say that! Instead you just come off as someone who has absolutely no clue. Yes, SS/Medicare are doomed if we don't fix them, but keep the FUD numbers out of the discussion.

I'm not going to bother starting some whole thread on the merits of SS/Medicare, they are simultaneously incredibly successful, but broken programs. However, I do want to respond to one point of yours, which is the idea that you'll never get your SS/Medicare back. There is one extremely important component of Social Security that even young people sometimes benefit from: Disability benefits. If you suffer an injury that will keep you out of work for 12+ months, you can get compensation. This is, of course, assuming you've been paying into SS for long enough (which varies based on your age and a whole host of seemingly random factors)

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