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Comment And what about Naiomi? (Score -1, Offtopic) 128

Is there oil off the coast of Mar-a-Lago? Trump pitched a fit about a wind farm off the coast of Scotland near his golf course there. Wonder how he'd feel about a few oil drilling platforms or a spill?

Has the DNC E-mail leaker been found yet? Hillary was inconsolable after the election, and you know how people who cross her tend to end up dead. Wonder how she would react if the DNC leaker's name were made public?

Comment Racists or nazis? (Score 1) 195

Didn't take long for the "internet racist" to show their ugly faces. I almost feel sorry for them. They have to live their lives never being able to openly express who they are, for fear of being exposed. They have to live and work around "dirty" minorities and can never tell them what truly think of them. Their world gets smaller and smaller everyday until the internet is all they will have left.

Why is it that businesses are only required to enforce certain rights?

Equal and fair commerce for all races and religions I can understand.

I can even understand how corner cases crop up where opposing rights come into conflict - not having to make a wedding cake for gay people, for instance. It wasn't entirely clear which right had precedence before the courts sorted it out.

But businesses are allowed to curtail freedom of speech in any way they want. Facebook bans conservatives more than liberals, Google implements a "fake news" filter that's specific to Breitbart, twitter shadowbans people so that they can't be certain they're being suppressed, Berkeley effectively bans conservative speakers, the list goes on...

I'm not talking about speech generated by the companies, such as CNN or Fox or HuffPo. They're employees are paid to produce speech with a specific slant - I get that.

I'm talking about companies giving average people a forum for their speech, but then imposing rules about insults and impolite speech. And then enforcing the rules one-sidedly to promote a political agenda.

The nazis used to have book burnings, and the situation at Berkeley sounds a lot like what the nazis used to do in the beginning. People at the riots seem to think that beating people is OK, although I haven't heard of anyone being beaten to death yet...

Why do we force people to give commerce without regard to race (or religion, or a handful of other characteristics)

...but not freedom of speech?

Comment What to talk about (Score 0) 201

Yeah everyone's Netflix, Amazon, Apple and/or other internet costs are going to go up. Because ISP's are going to force them to pay more for the same bandwidth.

But this will somehow increase competition, because a lot more internet providers are about to come into your area. Because somehow this was holding them back...

Ajit Pai was an Obama appointee, the law was a standout of overreaching jurisdiction, roundly criticised, and should have been the responsibility of a different department. The same article appeared on Slashdot weeks ago, it's nothing new today, and the opposition is showing no leadership on the issue - no proposals for change, no references to studies or data, nothing.

Also, it's important to talk about this issue and not, for example tax overhaul which is happening *right now*.

Comment Aircraft carriers (Score 1) 272

The US currently has 10 aircraft carriers in service, and are building 2 more.

How about we reduce that number from 12 to 5?

That way we could fight a war on 2 fronts with 2 carriers each (like Japan and Germany were), and have one left over for relief aid and support, like we did with Haiti.

Comment Update: Testing EnergyStar by GAO resulted in: (Score 5, Insightful) 272

GAO submitted a few non-existant products to test the EnergyStar program. Some notable results:

Gas-Powered Alarm Clock:
Product description indicated the clock is the size of a small generator and is powered by gasoline.

Product was approved by Energy Star without a review of the company Web site or questions of the claimed efficiencies.

Geothermal Heat Pump:
Energy use data reported was more efficient than any product listed as certified on the Energy Star Web site at the time of submission.

High-energy efficiency data was not questioned by Energy Star.

Product is eligible for federal tax credits and state rebate programs.

Computer Monitor

Product was approved by Energy Star within 30 minutes of submission.

Private firms contacted GAO’s fictitious firm to purchase products based on participation in the Energy Star program.


Self-certified product was submitted, qualified, and listed on the Energy Star Web site within 24 hours.

Product is eligible for federal tax credits and state rebates.

Comment Another outrage article (Score -1, Troll) 272

Every other "outrage" article on Slashdot has had a reasonable explanation.

It's happened so many times that we shouldn't even bother looking into them any more - they are so often wrong and too trivial to worry about.

Perhaps the EnergyStar program didn't actually do anything, but took up federal money. (Like that axed Obama-era justice standards group that didn't do anything useful.)

Perhaps it was being run by the wrong agency, and was perceived as overreach outside of the agency's jurisdiction (like that net-neutrality law).

Perhaps it held virtually no value to the consumer, by adjusting the standards to meet the industry products instead of the other way around (such as the drive to give more of America access to "broadband" internet).

Perhaps there were better and cheaper alternatives in the free market.

Historically speaking, this is almost certainly a non-issue.

It's most likely fake news intended to provoke outrage in the reader.

Comment FORTRAN, Adventure and adventures in hacking (Score 1) 630

Aside from BASIC and 8080/Z80, FORTRAN.

FORTRAN was -- for some still is-- the 'Perl' of scientific computing. Get it in and get it done... and it doesn't always compile down very tight, but always fast because for mainframe developers getting this language optimized for a new architecture was first priority.

At 15, the first real structured program I ever de-constructed completely while teaching myself the language, was the FORTRAN IV source for Crowther and Woods Colossal Cave Adventure, widely regarded as 'the' original interactive text adventure, a genre which would later go multi-user to become the MUD. Read about it here, or play it in Javascript.

FORTRAN IV and Dartmouth BASIC (I'll toss in RPG II also) were the 'flat' GOTO-based languages, an era of explicit rather than implicit nesting -- a time in which high level functions were available to use or define but humans needed to plan and implement the actual structure in programs mentally by using conditional statements and labels to JUMP over blocks of code. Sort of "assembly language with benefits".

Crowther's PDP-11 Adventure version was running on the 36-bit GE-600 mainframes of GEISCO (General Electric Information Services) Mark III Foreground timesharing system... this is in the golden age of timesharing and no one did it better than GE. It took HOURS at 300bps and two rolls of thermal paper to print out the source and data files, and I the Adventure code and data out on the floor and traced the program mentally, keeping a notebook of what was stored in what variable... I had far more fun doing this than playing the game itself.

Then the "real life" adventure began. I started poking around on the Mark III timesharing system, and found a way to jump out of my partitioned access and explore. What really helped was a collection of FORTRAN/77 system utilities written by an engineer working at GEISCO (this is General Electric, no relation to GEICO and the year is ~1980). Their development environment as well as the commercial systems were controlled by password protected accounts, each with file/user areas... BUT there was also this command line debugger that was able to write to memory regions beyond your own job, and if you were able to parse out memory structures (reading source for the utilities helped) you could "punch yourself in" to any user number (location), effectively changing identity to that of another user and seeing their files. Or examine the buffers containing character streams of other users' terminals in real time. It was fascinating and I soon had developed a suite of tools in F77 to assist in exploration of the system, leap-frogging onto the commercial file systems too. I kept the source encrypted by the F77 'SCRAM' function, decrypting it only to edit and compile. My cache of tools was stored "in" a user number that did not exist, you can think of it as a unpointed-to lost cluster of sorts. I was totally white hat about it, never prying into customer files (McDonald's etc.) and even wrote a summary of vulnerabilities and dropped it into one of their secure areas. I just wanted to be hired. Cat 'n mouse games ensued, even a trace and FBI phone tap. GEISCO originally thought I was a rogue employee but when they learned I was just a kid the heat was off, they were afraid of public embarrassment. They bought me a plane ticket to Rockville MD so they could pick my brain, and the matter was closed soon after. I was not hired.

Lots of people have played Colossal Cave Adventure over the years, but in my mind the game is synonymous with the Mark III timesharing system itself, that was the biggest cave of all.

I had write access to their entire network. What did I do with my "superpower"? Well for one thing, I scanned to find ALL copies of Colossal Cave Adventure on their system, there were about a dozen that had been copied by various engineers. In each one I patched the text file to add a line to the description of the Orange Stone Room:

You are in a splendid chamber thirty feet high. The walls are frozen rivers of orange stone.
A recently carved inscription on the South wall reads, "ARTOO DETOO WAS HERE."

Comment Re:I thought we were in love (Score 1) 109

History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues
I'm just the oily slick
On the windup world of the nervous tick
In a very fashionable hovel

~Elvis Costello, Beyond Belief

Silicon Valley, more entertaining than any novel

Submission + - Second parchment manuscript copy of Declaration of Independence found (

Okian Warrior writes: Two Harvard University researchers announced Friday that they have found a second parchment manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence in a tiny records office in southern England.

The only other parchment copy is maintained by the National Archives in Washington, D.C., researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen said in a statement.

The newly discovered document — which the two have dated to the 1780s — was found in the town of Chichester archives, and is believed to have originally belonged to Duke of Richmond who was known as the “Radical Duke,’’ for the support he gave to Americans during the Revolutionary War, the researchers said.

Comment I have to wonder (Score 2) 369

Well Trump is consistent in not doing any of the things he had campaigned to do.

Scott Adams notes out that people watch the same scenes and think they're viewing a different movie.

Looking at the anti-Trump rhetoric on this thread, I'm starting to wonder if that's literally true. It's gotten so blatantly obvious that I'm starting to wonder about the basic sanity of some people.

1) Bomb the shit out of ISIS
2) Build the wall (ongoing)
3) Withdraw from TPP
4) Suspend immigration from terror-prone areas (ongoing)
5) Rework health care (ongoing, 2nd round coming up)
6) Rework the tax code (ongoing)
7) Require for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

I don't agree with everything he's done, but you have to allow that he's done or in the process of doing at least *some* of his campaign promises.

And he's been in office for just under 100 days and there's lots to be done, and he's getting some of it actually done while running the country.

How do people come up with these alternate scenarios?

Is cognitive dissonance so powerful and so real that people literally make scenes up out of whole cloth?

I am astonished.

Comment Hateful readers will abuse this. (Score 1) 146

I think there are two problems, not enough people are marking these as 'spam', and we as readers aren't submitting enough of the articles appropriate for the site.

The problem with this is that if you submit several articles that are marked as spam, slashdot will lock your account. Vicious readers use this effect to harass legitimate submitters.

This happened to me - I was locked out from having several legitimate articles marked as SPAM, but then Slashdot management reversed the lockout. Now I'm 'kinda jaded about submitting articles.

I have to wonder how many legitimate submitters have been locked out... and got disheartened or felt there was no way to appeal or were driven away by the bad users.

Comment "OK Google, why are digital utopians so stupid?" (Score 1) 606

"OK Google, why are digital utopians so stupid?"

"Digital utopians are stupid because they have deliberately dampened neuron activity in certain parts of the brain that help humans to assess basic risk. They willfully ignore any common sense or cultural references that trivially reveal the risk, and their acceptance of the 'new' is spiced with a sense of entitlement that any consequences of ignoring said risks would only open a treasure chest of legal pushback, where they can play the 'victim/dissatisfied customer' for cash and prizes."

"If the consequences are fatal, their heirs get the treasure."

"This is why people buy voice-activated gadgets."
"This is why people watch Harry Potter movies while their cars speed down the highway."

Ok Google, my Roomba has swelled 10x its original size and my wife is missing. What should I do?"

"Return it for a full refund."

Comment You're right (Score 1) 44

So that's like what, "up to" 0.000001% of them?

Also, if you're going to blatantly rip off Star Trek, at least rip off the good stuff. The ipads and the handheld communicators and the touchscreens every-fucking-where and the obtrusive diversity and social justice are great and all, but we've made practically zero progress toward warp drive or transporters, and the vague, fumbling gestures in the direction of holodecks are so far unimpressive at best.

You're right. This was an ill-advised project that didn't even *try* to duplicate anything interesting from the star trek universe.

Furthermore, it's practically useless because it only diagnoses common ailments, and not very many of those either.

It's not like self-driving cars: It'll never be improved upon - at least, not to the point where it diagnoses even a small fraction of the total number of diseases, and it will never be more accurate in the things it *does* diagnose than a real human doctor.

I don't know why people even bother trying these sorts of things.

They could have done so much more. I mean, warp drives would have been sooooo much more useful!

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