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Comment Re:meh, totally predictable plot lines (Score 1) 72

Yeah, I forgot a lot of good ones. Sharks, eels, piranhas, snakes, volcanoes, rising water on sinking ships, asteroids, robots, machines on the blink, doomsday devices, heat, cold, incompetent technicians, ghosts, time travellers, parties unknown, mad scientists, angry scientists, monsters created by mad/angry scientists, radiation monsters, diseases, ... It's kind of fun to think through the list.

And then there's the *real* villians: bad actors, bad directors, bad screenplays, bad ideas, ruining good books, bad soundtracks, theatres that set the sound too loud, people that talk during the movie, people that use electronics during the movie, people that talk to their electronics during the movie, spoilers, overpriced tickets, overpriced snacks, commercials, product placement deals, cameos by overrated actors, actors that are in too many movies, sequels, prequels, remakes, reboots, retcons.

Comment Re:meh, totally predictable plot lines (Score 4, Insightful) 72

If it's from Hollywood, post 1968, then:

1. The villain will be a US military agency, a US spy agency, a corporation/CEO, a gun company, a non-renewable energy company.

Wow, I must have misunderstood the plot on all those post-1968 movies where I thought the baddies were commies, nazis, drug lords, foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists, anarchists, poor people trying to get rich quick, rich people trying to get richer quick, crazy people trying to do incomprehensible things for incomprehensible reasons, wayward do-gooders, megalomoniacal supercrooks, pirates, pirate hunters, aliens, alien hunters, vampires, vampire hunters, zombies, orcs, dragons, ghosts, etc.

If you don't like the simulation you're living in, you can always rejoin us here in reality.

Comment Re:What danger ? (Score 1) 367

Legs are definitely better, more force. However, the biggest impediment to breaking a car window is improper form. Most aim for the center of the window. This is, unfortunately the wrong place to hit. The edges of the window are where it is easiest to break. The center is designed to be the most resilient to pressure and damage. I have seen car side windows endure multiple hammer hits in the center. I have also seen a small magnet tossed casually at the edge of a window and it shattered instantly.

Scoring the glass can help as well. Any sharp metal, or even a diamond/other hard gem stone in a ring, that can make marks on the glass will result in a window that is substantially easier to break. Also, if you have some ceramic on hand the deal is as good as done. Score an X mark, tap the center of the mark, exit the vehicle.

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:Thoughtcrime (Score 1) 414

Which of the socialisms was Orwell advocating?

The cited text (Lion & Unicorn) would explain better than I could hope.

From the point of view of Marxism (and I'm obviously not a Marxist) neither of the situations you describe are socialism. The first, I believe would be dismissed as "primitive communalism." The second seems to be a self-defeatingly histrionic* description welfare state ideology. It is a common these days to confuse the welfare state with socialism. Historically, however, the modern welfare state was the invention of conservatives (esp of Otto von Bismarck) and was explicitly an anti-socialist measure. It is an accident of history that the welfare state has become associated with nominally 'socialist' parties (long after the imminent threat of a socialist takeover faded, rendering the welfare state no longer necessary to conservative purposes).

Marxists view socialism as a "transitional state," as a the final form of state power on the path to their utopian (though Marxists would object strenuously to that term) vision of stateless communism. The famous motto "from each according to their ability, to each according to their need" which is meant to characterise communism is matched by the starker motto of socialism, "to each according to their contribution" (if memory serves me both come from Marx' Critique of the Gotha Programme). The idea was that the proletariat as the "universal class" (a imho mystical conception Marx inherited from the conservative philosopher Hegel who regard the bureaucracy as the universal class) would set up a self dissolving "dictatorship" in which the fruits of production would be shared only by those whose labour brought them into being. That is the owners of factories etc (the means of production) would be dispossed. Socialism then is most easily defined as the state ownership of the means of production as a path to the eventual state self-elimination which was to be communism. [Note that no country under Communist Party rule has ever claimed to be communist. They did claim to be socialist]

And that was their "scientific" socialism which they distinguished from "utopian" socialism!

But actually my main point was, notwithstanding the dig at the Soviet system, in 1984 Orwell was not so much describing a dictatorship of any political colour, but rather showing a state whose purpose served no ideological agenda at all, other than the exercise of power for powers sake. It is a very worthwhile read.

[*It is more persuasive to define a system first and then go on to show how aspects of that system ineluctably lead to poor outcomes rather than over-obviously writing the untoward outcomes into the very definition. Just an idea if ever you want a good essay mark.]

Comment Re:Well that's terrifying (Score 1) 414

To a free man it's not valid

To such a "free man" 7 need not be a prime number either.

... violates the first principle of human rights.

And the canonical example of what might constitute a "valid law" of the English Parliament, namely that "all blue-eyed babies be put to death" doesn't?! *

Prohibition was "duly enacted" in the US, too, but it was a stupid, ill-advised, and evil power trip.

It may well have been stupid, ill-advised and an evil power trip. It was nonetheless, as a matter of mere fact, a valid law. After all, Prohibition was repealed rather than being struck down.

[*Besides which, those so-called "human rights" which are actual rights rather than aspirations, are simply called "rights"]

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

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.

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