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


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

Comment Re:Neither? (Score 1) 332

I *do* got to theaters. Once or twice a year, maybe.

Most of my movies are discs from Netflix, largely because the streaming selection is pretty limited. But I don't have a ton of time for TV or movies, so I don't get a lot watched, and I don't put a lot of priority on *recent*. Right now my Netflix queue is at about 5-7 years behind, and I'm just fine with that. Maybe I'll catch up after I retire -- or maybe not. Doesn't matter much.

In any case, I never put much stock in seeing movies the moment they came out, so this wouldn't be especially valuable to me.

Comment Re:Mandate reporting when antibiotics are prescrib (Score 1) 75

Yes. But we need to be aware that man is not the only source of antibiotics. They naturally occur. We get a good lot of them from plants and bacteria, starting of course with penicilin which we got from mold, and which was already present on salted food and damp environments. What we did was to make antibiotics present in organisms other than their natural sources.

Comment Everything Old is New Again (Score 2) 75

The Andromeda Strain was published in 1969.

The United States has some disease reporting, it started at least 75 years ago before the antibiotic bubble. This CDC Report summarizes the present state of disease reporting, in two pages. We need higher standards of reporting and legal penalties for failure to report.

Comment Re:Smokescreen? (Score 1) 88

The Russian economy contracts 0.6% and somehow Russia is insolvent? LJL. Sorry to break it to you but the Kremlin is still sitting on $390 billion in hard currency and a mere 3% budget deficit. Russia is in a mild recession but insolvent it is not.

I don't know where this 0.6% number is coming from, but it's not an annual figure.

Comment's fundamentally something else... (Score 2) 273

For Makerbot to assume that they would revolutionize the world by selling a 3D printer at a low cost point is like someone assuming that houses will suddenly become super-cheap because they teach widespread classes on how to nail 2x4s together with a hammer and nails.

Let's start with the first Suzy Homemaker buys a 3D printer and brings it home to her family. Now what? "oh, it can make stuff." How do you define that 'stuff?' You have to design it, using 3D software...ah, whoops. Hm, bit of a learning curve there...and even if their son Bobby is plenty good with computers, you end up with a child who has the technical knowledge and adults who own the use cases...and let's face it, in almost no family is anyone good at packaging either the knowledge or the use cases so that others could make use of them. So you end up with parents who have a vague idea of what they would like but can't communicate it, and a kid who can probably figure things out but doesn't know how to teach it. (This is the "knowing how to build framing doesn't mean you have a design for a house to work from" part of the analogy.)

Then, let's look at the limitations...the material can only do certain things. You can basically make little plastic widgets. (This is the "houses have a lot more than 2x4s in them" part of the analogy.) You can't replicate a broken part very easily're kind of focused down into a world where you're going to have to invent things for this to be useful. So add another necessary skill set to Suzy Homemaker's family for this whole thing to work.

I think MakerBot was a success...just not the kind of success they thought they would be. They helped put 3D printing on the map for Suzy Homemaker. People have gone into Home Depot and watched 3D printers at work, creating things...that's not a small accomplishment. The price of printing continues to come down, even for technologies that remain out of reach but are far more useful (being able to 3D print with metal is very important if you want to be real about this, because only toys are only made of plastic) and now the public is a bit better-prepared for a near future where they actually *can* print things. And now, there's an awareness that the printers are just the razor blade handles...and the designs are the razor blades. Once truly useful printing becomes accessible, there will be business activity that addresses that problem. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes the same kind of shift that Eli Whitney created when he began the manufacture of devices that had interchangeable parts.

The moral of the story: massive shifts in society resulting from singular technologies are, in essence, Black Swan events. You cannot reliably predict them, no matter how badly you want VCs to give you money so that you can become the next Apple/Google/Microsoft/Facebook billionaires. Aim for major increments of change, and your business plans will be more viable.

Submission + - How to View the SpaceX Falcon 9 Return to Flight at Vandenberg Air Force Base (

Bruce Perens writes: Silicon Valley folks should, sometime, take the opportunity to view a launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Lompoc is 4-5 hours from the Bay, 2.5 hours from LA if there's ever no traffic. An upcoming SpaceX launch is notable because it's their return to flight, months after their last attempt blew up on the pad during a pre-launch test. Read how to view the launch.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

Eich resigned because of external pressure on the Mozilla organization. I hear that one of the lobbying activities against him was when the dating site "OK Cupid" started informing Firefox users who accessed the site of Eich's activities and that they should download a browser made by people who don't nominate someone with gender discrimination issues to be their CEO. At the time, 8% of OK Cupid customers were there to arrange same-gender meetings.

They felt he was the public face of the company.

Russ Nelson published a piece on what he theorized was the economic motivation of Blacks to be lazy, and was booted off of the Open Source Initiative board. He wasn't thinking about how it would be perceived. A modified version of the piece is still online, but not the version that got him in trouble. In general, executives are seen as the public faces of their organizations even in the case of Nelson, who was not the chairman of the board, but was simply a member of the executive board. In Nelson's case, it wasn't that he made publicity appearances and press releases, it was that he was one of the people with the power to direct the company (and thus a more real face of the company than soneone who just does PR), and folks did not trust that someone who wrote what he did would behave as they would like in that position.

Comment Re:What's the big deal? (Score 2, Insightful) 250

Playboy departed the nude photo market due to the vast and unending supply of photos and video of all manner of naked people doing sexual things which one can access via the Internet.

However, one can make a case that a good deal of the past content of Playboy was about objectifying women and to some extent the publication still is about that.

It was a dumb decision. Several people just weren't thinking. They're embarrassed now. They learned, and won't do it again.

Comment Re: Less politics (Score 1) 110

It was only 1967 when the United States Supreme Court decided Loving v. Virginia, a miscegenation case. Preventing blacks and whites from marrying, as the State of Virginia (and many others) did with laws on its books until it was forced to remove them in 1967, is an issue of racism, nothing else. One doesn't have to be thin skinned to be disgusted by racism.

Why should I feel any different about gender discrminiation? Texas had a law on the book making homosexual relations illegal in 1998, and two men were arrested for it and similarly to Loving, helped to strike it down in the courts. Marriage discrimination is yet another legal wall erected by the prejudiced. Doesn't take a thin skin at all to oppose it and its supporters.

Slashdot Top Deals

Can anyone remember when the times were not hard, and money not scarce?