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Comment Competition isn't a problem; Mozilla must step in (Score 1) 456

The fact that there are many networks is not, by itself, the problem. It's a fun thing to joke about, but not truly bad.

The truly bad thing is that as of March 2017 there is not one network that is secure, reliable, and popular.

Non-free-software networks WhatsApp, Kik, Allo, Facebook, Line, KakaoTalk, WeChat, etc., are not secure by definition. I don't trust a word of what WhatsApp is saying about Signal-protocol security. It's not just about my safety from government surveillance—I am even more concerned about processing of my data by marketing companies who want to learn who I am to improve their sales (or political campaigns—it's quite the same thing).

Signal is Free software, and it's widely recognized as secure, but it's not reliable because many people complain that messages are delivered slowly or not at all, and it's not popular. Also, it doesn't have much of a bot API, and it's becoming important these days. Finally, its partnership with WhatsApp is truly puzzling.

Telegram is partly, but not completely, Free software, and it's more reliable and popular than Signal, but not very much so. Personally, I love it for the features, like channels, groups, bot API, and cloud storage, but I acknowledge it has problems. (Most of my friends are on WhatsApp, and those of them who tried Telegram all said that Telegram's features are better.)

Wire is kind-of curious, but very unpopular.

What I really wish is that Mozilla stopped all its activities except developing Firefox on desktop and Android (I'm talking about pointless stuff like the recent rebranding, Webmaker, overblown international conferences, etc.), and then acquired Telegram or Signal and focused all of its non-Firefox efforts on one of them. If it acquires Telegram, it should make it fully Free software. If it acquires Signal, it should invest in its reliability and popularity.

Comment Wikipedia is available in Odia (Score 1) 218

Wikipedia is available in Odia.

It's much smaller than the one in English, but it's there. The best part: you and your friends can improve it. It's a wiki, which means that you can improve it yourself - add as many articles as you want, as long as they are relevant to the encyclopedia, and edit the existing articles. You can even teach the children themselves to edit, thus making sure that they know that it's possible to type in Odia on computers.

I'm super-passionate about making the editions of Wikipedia in various languages better, so please contact me if you have more questions.

Comment How nice (Score 1) 419

How nice of him to take his children to the most peaceful country in the Middle East. To show them war he could take them to actual Syria, rather then "Occupied Syria", which is actually called Golan Heights. Though I readily admit that it's occupied somewhat illegally, it has been peaceful since 1967.

Of course, he is a responsible father, and he wouldn't take his children to a place that is actually dangerous. It's a shame that he'll probably tell them uninformed propaganda about Israel. Oh well.

Reality is even more interesting if you care to check facts on the ground.

Submission + - An Israeli pop singer publishes a song translated from Hebrew to Perl

Noiser writes: The Israeli pop singer Aya Korem published her new song "Computer Engineer" as a website that shows translation to the Perl programming language along with the lyrics. Perl is quite a good match, given that the Perl community has a long tradition of publishing "Perl poetry", and this song proves that this tradition is very much alive. No Flash is required to view the website, so if you are an HTML5 geek, have no worries.

Submission + - Microsoft's most profitable mobile operating system: Android (zdnet.com)

puddingebola writes: Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has a piece of commentary discussing Microsoft's profit from their patent claims on Android. From the article, "To some, Windows 8 is a marketplace failure. But its flop has been nothing compared to Microsoft's problems in getting anyone to use its Windows Phone operating systems. You don't need to worry about Microsoft's bottom line though. Thanks to its Android patent agreements, Microsoft may be making as much as $8 per Android device. This could give Microsoft as much as $3.4 billion in 2013 from Android sales."

Comment The Golden Rule (Score 1) 1142


Atheists are frequently accused of having no moral code to live by. This hardly holds water - many atheists are essentially moral people even if they don't live by a religious book. Furthermore, religious morals are frequently contradictory and hurtful to many, so their worth is dubious.

That said, there is a moral rule on which all religious and secular cultures and systems of thought seem to agree, at least nominally: "One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated".

Do you accept this rule as a good basis for a common human moral code? Would you collaborate with religious leaders in promoting this idea?


Submission + - Murderer with 'aggression genes' gets sentence cut (newscientist.com)

Noiser writes: New Scientists reports: 'In 2007, Abdelmalek Bayout admitted to stabbing and killing a man and received a sentenced of 9 years and 2 months. An appeal court judge in Trieste, Italy, cut Bayout's sentence by a year after finding out he has gene variants linked to aggression.' It would make more sense to me if this would get him jailed for life to prevent further violence, but i am not a lawyer.

Submission + - Colleges Secretly Test Music-Industry Project (chronicle.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The music industry is still pushing Choruss, a controversial blanket-licensing scheme, but it is far less innovative than first described. Six colleges are setting it up now, but they refuse to have their name released because the issue is a political landmine — and who wants to be associated with the recording industry?
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - What Should I Do With All My Money?

An anonymous reader writes: As a software engineering student about to graduate and enter the workplace, I am faced for the first time with the prospect of having a significant amount of money to call my own. My question, for all those undoubtedly fiscally savvy Slashdotters out there, is what do I do with it? I am hoping to escape the cliché of being a coder living in my parents house soon, so any investments that require over a year or two are not ideal right now (although they will be later on). Surely there must be something better than just getting the best bank account I can?

Submission + - Why a high IQ doesn't mean you're smart (newscientist.com)

D1gital_Prob3 writes: "...how can a "smart" person act foolishly? Keith Stanovich, professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, has grappled with this apparent incongruity for 15 years. He says it applies to more people than you might think. To Stanovich, however, there is nothing incongruous about it. IQ tests are very good at measuring certain mental faculties, he says, including logic, abstract reasoning, learning ability and working-memory capacity — how much information you can hold in mind."

Submission + - Critical Thinking for Kids

dsbracer writes: My 12 year old daughter is very smart, but is not exactly following in her dad's nerdy footsteps. She is good at math and science but also is entranced by ghost stories, psychic anecdotes, and the like. How do I ensure she is learning critical thinking? I certainly don't want to depend on the school system (which evidently has failed at least 50% of the American population). I have discussed it with her on several occasions, but she has been...well...skeptical of being skeptical. I am considering having her watch Nova's "Secrets of the Psychics" (which is surprisingly hard to find — amazon has the VHS for $299.99). Richard Dawkins might be a little too hard core. Slashdot is a community of critical thinkers (and smart asses...) What do they recommend?

Submission + - What happens to your webmail when you die? (news.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: Remember that time you poured your heart out in an email to your best friend? Or that sexy message from an old lover that made you blush at work? Well, when you die, your family and others could end up reading them. Web email services Gmail and Hotmail have a policy of keeping your data after you die and letting your next of kin or the executor of your estate access it. There is no way for users to flag that they don't want this to happen and no recourse under Australia's existing privacy laws.

Comment consider some Soviet science fiction (Score 1) 1021

For variety, consider some Soviet science fiction.

The author with the most neutral and universal appeal, especially to young people, is probably Kir Bulychev.

The brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are more brainy. They are immensely popular among Russian-speaking geeks and hackers. You may have heard about the film "Stalker" and "The Inhabited Island", which are based on their novels.

The more communist authors are Alexander Belyayev and Ivan Yefremov. Despite the political angle of many of their works they were translated into English and other languages and well-regarded outside of the USSR. They honestly imagined that the future would be communist - this is an important point that you should consider telling your students.

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"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_