Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:The Invisible Unicorn Argument. (Score 2, Insightful) 238

Sorry to be pedantic, but the molecules aren't self replicating as part of their nature, but they're reacting to processes that they are subject to from an outside force which swung the whole thing into motion somewhere prior to that molecule being subject to other forces like gravity/energy/etc..

There's no transformation in a second molecule based on the first molecule sitting in some space nearby without some kind of impetus or outwards force creating that change. That change is caused by the system of physics/chemistry/relationships between matter, and so if reality (matter, stuff, etc) simply always was, then it still, philosophically, had a point where it was either always in stasis (outside of time) or some input mechanism starting the process. Unless there is a completely enclosed reality between each "moment" or interactive space that doesn't bear any influence or relation to the next "moment of time or space", there really does have to be some event/force that changed matter either INTO the dense clump of stuff that was the big bang, or started it with the big bang.

I understand I keep using language like "event", "start" and "process" but there is some real limitation on linguistics when talking about some of this stuff.

Just trying to say that those molecules in space wouldn't react to the force of gravity and therefore create the clouds without some kind of order or system being put into place ahead of their interaction that then dictates what is going on in a somewhat intelligible way.

I'm a law student and obviously not a scientist... much more interested in the theological and logical implications of the argument.

Comment Commercial Ring Tone (Score 5, Funny) 24

Who lives in a cavity under the skin?
Giving antibiotics in the cavity it's in?
Is accelerated healing something you wish?
Then wait for the studies to all get published!

Comment Re:Thank Jebus he can't see the US today (Score 2) 220

I did realize it was a Deistic term, thanks. :)

I was addressing the supposed issue of separation of church and state, not wondering on the actual views of Jefferson or Madison. They didn't conform to any "orthodox" or mainstream definition of Deism either, but believed the relationship with God to be between each man and the Creator, which was quite Protestant if anything. For some reason they still attended church regularly all their lives, participated in communion and worship services, etc. Perhaps that's just them bowing to the peer pressures of their day and age.

But they were pragmatic visionaries as well, and knew religion had a big piece to play in both society and political science, so they decided to address the issue directly by ensuring people could worship or exercise as they wished, and be free of government endorsement/establishment of one religion over the other, rather than a complete separation of all government and religious acts or intents.

I don't think either Madison or Jefferson would mind giving money to a religious charity if it served the same goals the government institution was trying to accomplish, but that would be unconstitutional in the modern jurisprudence because it would be granting one organization a benefit, even if it was just a lowest bidder type situation.

Comment I grew up with Slashdot (Score 1) 1521

I've been reading since at least 1997, when I was a High School Freshman and finally got a computer in my own room with an internet connection. I remember reading Slashdot daily, which eventually led to me trying Linux on my old 386/33 laptop and experimenting with other distros that were just no fun at all to install.

BUT, I learned so much from the different commentators that had an amazing breadth of backgrounds, whether it was an article about digital rights or some new finding by NASA. I loved that Rob and the others built this community of nerds, but that it encompassed so much more than just Linux or hard sciences, and became a real community. Heck, I even learned some HTML to make my few comments look better. SEE!?

Thanks for all the years and stories, Rob, and I pray the best for you.

Comment Re:Does not seem legal... (Score 1) 112

Article 2 of the UCC is for goods, not for services. If you want to argue that you bought a phone, the UCC determines whether a transaction is for goods or services based on the majority of the worth of the transaction. If I buy a $1000 water heater and installation is faulty, but installation is a service of $200 worth, then it's still considered a contract for goods. Cell phone carriers make much more money on the service side than by selling subsidized phones.

IANAL also, but I did just finish my second semester of Contracts in law school.

Comment Comments are about the wrong issue. (Score 1) 1486

Reading the higher moderated stuff, like 3+ on here, I don't see any people discussing the actual problem posed, which I repost below.

"How can we understand science, if we can't understand the language of science? 'We don't learn science by doing science, we learn science by reading and memorizing. The same way we learn history.'"

The larger problem is that there is a large dearth of explainable science in the world and a larger vacuum of people able to explain how these sciences work to the layman. That's what's important.

I'm somewhat educated having a bachelors and being in law school. I read a large range of material from scientific studies (if I can do it for free) to magazines, to text books, and occasionally have to learn the basics of something to be able to argue about the law on it since I plan on doing intellectual property law. According to census data, education and reading habit wise, I'm above normal. I mean, I figured out enough tags to make my paragraphs and add italics. You might not think that's great if you're reading Slashdot, but that's advanced coding to a lot of people using the Internet these days. But....

I know that there will never be increased funding for science unless there is some kind of popular understanding that can create a demand for it.

Ready for the car analogy? People will soon want affordable electric cars because gas, even in Texas, is getting closer and closer to $4 a gallon. But people understand the concept of batteries, transmissions, etc. Or, if they don't know how a gear box works, they at least know it's necessary to drive a car. These are things that impact them and are relevant, and are also things they can understand to a certain degree. If people can't understand it, they (in my anecdotal and statistically worthless experience) become curious (minority), apathetic (majority) or scared of it (many, but not majority).

If you tell the average person that Climatology is complex, and that they'll only understand it with 10 years of research even if they read the studies where this data is supposedly being presented, then people will not try to find out the details. Instead, they want easily handled chunks of information, which is why this specific issue is so politicized now. People don't have time, resources, and - most importantly - the desire to wade into the weeds and figure out what's going on.

It also doesn't help that there is a very real disdain for the plebes who don't have doctorates or who don't just trust the scientists' every word because they're scientists, damn you! That's possibly an exaggeration, but you can look at the comments for yourself. A good majority of the comments above in this slashdot article are nothing but very literate trolls, trotting out pithy statements about how Science is good, religion is Bad, and stupid people need to stop being stupid. No one is ever going to change their mind by being insulted.

Instead, people need to work, train, donate, and hope for a future where we have professionals that can explain their science in such a way that it becomes accessible. Discover and National Geographic usually do a good job of that, but are restrained by the commercial interests of needing to be interesting. If anything, scientists need to add advertising and marketing to their skills, or hire people who have those skills to drum up more resources for explaining and making science relevant to most people. It is impossible for someone to care how many great discoveries and modern luxuries came out of the space ship project if the person doesn't know that's how it came to be. People on Slashdot know this, but the average person, and especially the average high schooler, have no idea. (I substituted for a public school district for a year. There's history and science classes, but they don't ever talk about science and history in the same sentence.)

Make Science popular, then people will know enough to not have to accept the statements of Experts on faith. Make the science common sense.

Comment Re:Law Student Analysis (Score 1) 586

I lost gas mileage. That tracker in the pictures was of substantial size. Did you see how many Rare Earth Magnets they had on it?

I lost exclusive access to my property (if I put it in a garage). Then it's just trespass without a warrant. Sounds like the person in the story had it in an apartment parking lot, though.

For the time that they "held" me in my apartment I wasn't able to use my items if they didn't have a warrant, which they seemed to not have according to the story.

I think you're right about the conversion.

Comment Re:Law Student Analysis (Score 1) 586

Actually, I did refuse the governmental authorities all the time when I was in the Military. I worked in JAG (as a paralegal) and routinely told officers who outranked me, from Special Forces down to some supply Sergeant, to respectfully go stuff their orders in their ear because I knew my rights and what they were doing/requesting was wrong. I don't care how awesome some LTC in the Green Berets is, I'm not giving him blank, notarized documents. I'm not allowing that company commander to handcuff a soldier to the CQ desk and thereby make him AND me liable for some investigation.

Also, in Texas, I can record conversations people have with me without their notice. I am unfamiliar with other states, which is why I was vague.

Comment Law Student Analysis (Score 5, Interesting) 586

From the article: "The Obama administration asked the court to change its ruling, calling the decision "vague and unworkable" and arguing that investigators will lose access to a tool they now use "with great frequency." -This is not a reassuring trend. If the objection was that it was vague and unworkable, that'd be fine. But their objection seems to be that it disallows them from using the GPS without a warrant - which is not fine. Voting for change wasn't supposed to mean "Change my ideals back to what the previous people did."

Also: ". . . the agents who showed up to collect the device were "hostile," threatening to charge Afifi if he didn't immediately cooperate and refusing his request to have a lawyer present" and earlier stated, the agents "demanded their property back." I might just be a first year law student, but if you leave your property in my car, and make no claims to it and abandon it, then it could be mine. Also, the agents only "pulled him over as he drove away from his apartment" probably to avoid the whole warrant issue of collecting it from his apartment. Yet, any time law enforcement shows up, it is my understanding that you don't have to give them any information besides the identify statutes require, like name and maybe ID if your state says so. So I'd sit in the parking lot, and not invite them into my home and tell them I don't want them to search my car without some kind of pretense. Also, I'd turn my smart phone recorder on since we were having the discussions in public.

Perhaps they could have just followed him with a tail to get all the GPS type info, or put a drone over him. I don't think there's an expectation of privacy for the outside of your car, but if it was found in the engine compartment, that might be different. I don't like adding to the car with a device... that seems like some kind of alteration, or trespass to chattels (personal property). Government tort exemptions probably apply for this kind of thing, whether it's constitutional or not.

I'm much more concerned with the adding a device to the personal property than I am the expectation of privacy claim. IF I wanted to follow someone all day, I could collect all the information about their whereabouts.

Slashdot Top Deals

"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiosity?" -Ronald Reagan