Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Responsible dissent. (Score 2, Insightful) 689

Who gets to determine the difference between responsible dissent and irresponsible dissent? A Conservative might claim that comparing George Bush to Hitler is "irresponsible", while a Liberal might say that claiming Obama is not a U.S. Citizen is "irresponsible."

It's best just to let people who are wrong keep talking, and simply ignore them. Shutting them up with the power of the government is a bad idea - because those same powers could be used against people trying to bring attention to government misdeeds, like the people in Boston who were arrested for recording what they saw as police brutality.

Comment Discrete Math, For Sure (Score 1) 466

The first course will be far more useful to you than the second course. You need a solid background in discrete math to prove algorithms are correct and to prove things about their running times. The second course would be more useful to someone who will need advanced math for modeling things. Even if you eventually go on to take the second course, the first will definitely prove useful to you.

Comment Doesn't Speak to Climate Change Here on Earth (Score 3, Insightful) 114

The existence of natural climate change on Mars does not rule out anthropogenic climate change on Earth. The shifts in temperature on Mars happened over periods of hundreds of thousands of years. The climate change we're observing on earth has happened in less than 100 years. There's a huge difference between the two phenomena.

Comment Re:Why is this a surprise? (Score 5, Informative) 442

Fred Brooks put it best in 'The Mythical Man Month:'

"...when schedule slippage is recognized, the natural (and traditional) response is to add manpower. Like dousing a fire with gasoline, this makes matters worse, much worse. More fire requires more gasoline, and thus begins a regenerative cycle which ends in disaster."

Comment Obvious (Score 1) 259

Most likely, I'm missing something here, but this seems obvious to me, as a simple result of the fact that cellular Automata are Turing complete:

A model of the universe is nothing other than an algorithm for converting initial conditions into empirical measurements. Initial conditions and empirical measurements are both describable in terms of numbers. Therefore, any model of the universe is an algorithm for converting numbers into numbers, and thus expressible as a Turing machine. Since cellular automata are Turing complete, any model of the universe is expressible as some cellular automaton. QED, bitches.

As an aside note, the fact that some model (e.g. cellular automaton) is capable of predicting everythign we've experienced in no way implies that the model is 'real' - i.e. that the universe is really a finite automaton / Turing machine.

Comment Typical (Score 1) 122

The grad students do all the work, and the professor takes all the credit. Anyone can come up with ideas, the real work is in actually getting things done. This is the reason I stopped grad school with my MS even though I LOVE computer science, more than anyone i've ever met.

Comment My Crazy Idea (Score 2, Funny) 113

God is a computer programmer who made the many species by writing in some high level language which is ultimately compiled into DNA. The similarities in DNA among different species are a result of code re-use, and mammals are his (her?) "flagship product." He's currently refactoring the code, to make it more efficient.

Slashdot Top Deals

We don't know who it was that discovered water, but we're pretty sure that it wasn't a fish. -- Marshall McLuhan