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. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:Rose tinted glasses (Score 4, Informative) 484

The health care system in Germany is not owned by the government. There are hospitals that are owned by the respective town, district or state, but it's no requirement. No one forbids you in Germany to open your own hospital, employ your own physicians and make your own contracts with the health insurers. All practitioners are privately owned businesses, and most of them have contracts with all health insurers. The health insurers themselves are not necessarily governmentally owned either. There are health insurers which in fact are governmentally owned (the Ortskrankenkassen, municipal health insurers). But there are also cooperative health insurers, health insurers owned by private companies for their own employees (called Betriebskrankenkassen, corporate health insurers), and private health insurance companies.

The main difference is that there is a group of health insurers called Gesetzliche Krankenkassen (health insurers according to law), which are heavily regulated and whose service offerings are governmentally controlled. If you earn less than a specified amount of money as an employee, you are required to get coverage from such an institution. Which institution is up to you, it just has to offer you the contract according to law. There are about 100 different health insurers in Germany, which offer coverage according to law, and most of them operate through the whole of Germany. You are free to buy additional insurance if you want more or better services. If you are on social security, you are automatically insured by a Gesetzliche Krankenkasse. If you are self employed, operate your own business or earn more than the limit, you are completely free in your choice of health insurance.

Comment Re: Android is Linux (Score 1) 224

The definition of an OS is that it controls all resources of a computer and shares them between the applications. A single task system would not be an OS, as in a single task system the running application has full control of all resources of a computer. Thus DOS is actually a program loader, not a computer operating system.

Comment Re:Death To All Jews (Score 2) 920

In the original sense, anti-Semitic actually meant anti-Jewish. Back in the 19th century, when Racism was still appearing to be scientific, people pointed out that they weren't against Jews because of them being Jews, they said that Jews belonged to an inferior race called the Semites. Thus they claimed to have a scientific foundation to be against Jews, not just anti-Jewish prejudices. As there weren't any Arabs to speak of living in Europe in the 19th century. this expansion of anti-Judaism to anti-Semitism didn't hurt in the general discussion, as there were no Arabs visible being targeted. And as many Arabian countries were conquered and colonized by France and Britain in Northern Africa, the expansion of anti-Judaism to anti-Semitism didn't hurt either. Germany tried to foster good relations to the Osman Empire, which in turn had colonialized most other arab territory, thus anti-Semitism didn't hurt either, as the Turks are no Semites.

After World War I, most arab territory was either a french or british colony, a League of Nations mandate for France or Britain, or it was ruled by the Hashemite and Ibn-Saud dynasties, thus anti-Judaism in Germany was continued to be used as a proxy for being anti-Jewish, as Germany had no direct contact with the Arab regions.

Comment Re:Algorithms or what? (Score 4, Interesting) 85

No, the author makes the point that algorithms don't exculpate anyone from making bad decision. "The computer said: No." is no excuse for mishandling someone. We had the example on Slashdot of the algorithm that tries to predict recidivism and thus recommend probation or prison. A deeper analysis showed that it was biased against black people because it predicted higher recidivism for them than they had in reality, and it was biased pro whites as it predicted lower recidivism rates than real. And it was not even factoring in the skin color of the people in question. But the way it weighed the socio-economic factors seems to be the problem. It was scoring high on recidivism when many socio-economic risk factors were slightly up, but gave low scores when only one or two risk factors were high, but all others were low. Thus it was overestimating the recidivism rates of poor people with a weak family background, but completely missing the recidivism risk of well off people from a stable family, but deep personal problems.

But because the program was actually used in judiary decisions in several States, it unnecessarily sent people to prison, while it recommended to set high risk people free on probation, and it did it with a strong racial bias that was contradicted by reality.

Comment Re:Worked with digital TV (Score 1) 194

While other countries were rolling out their own specs, the US held back and waited a couple of years. When we decided to switch the technology had grown more capable, new algorithms for compression and such were available, and ...we leapt ahead of everyone else in the world.

That's probably why I can get 1080p TV in Europe, but no one broadcasts 1080p in the U.S..

Comment Re:Um, no. (Score 1) 309

Of course concatenation is math. You do it all the time. You concatenate 3, period, 1, 4 and three other dots to create an approximate expression for pi: 3.14... It's called positional notation, and it was invented in India, and got refined by the Arabs, who added the important symbol 0, called a circlet or zifr in Arabian. Thus today, we still talk about ciphers and Arabic numberals when referring to positional notations.

Comment Maybe this judge didn't think things through. (Score 4, Insightful) 91

I wonder what happens if an E.U. court finds that the data transfer of personal data from an E.U. located server to the U.S. without E.U. judicary oversight is illegal. That was one of the arguments in the Microsoft case. If the U.S. judge then orders Google to ignore the E.U. court, he could be held in contempt of the E.U. court and face punitive measures.

Comment Re:Privacy Act Exemptions (Score 3, Informative) 952

But the Privacy Shield agreement between the E.U. and the U.S. demands similar protections as spelled out in the Privacy Act for E.U. citizens. And if the U.S. don't comply, the E.U. is forced by a court decision to forbid any processing of E.U. citizen data in the U.S., which means that Google, Facebook. Amazon and Microsoft are in a ton of shit.

Slashdot Top Deals

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work.