Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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:Once more with feeling (Score 1) 389

Folks below who read the article say this headline is just not correct.

Let me take this opportunity to call the BING TV ad campaign the most repulsive since the one where Bill G wiggles his butt. (Ugh, shudder!)

The only thing they could have done to make it worse is have Billy Mays screeching the already irritating voice track.

(People who irritate millions for profit, like Mays and spammers, I exempt from the "Don't speak ill of the dead" social more.)

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 543

I have resisted giving my SSN for decades now, way longer than identity theft has made such resistance fashionable enough that even "normal" people worry about it.

Since it was often a hassle, I tried many tactics to try and persuade merchants, etc., to do without.

The one that worked best for me was to claim that the SSN was the MARK OF THE BEAST in the Bible. And that if they insisted on it they were helping SATAN and standing against JESUS.

Believe me, NOBODY wanted to continue THAT conversation! NOBODY!

So if there was any way in their procedures that they could get by without the SSN, they'd do it.

Credit bureaus insist SSNs are not required to get a credit report -- anyone try this with SPRINT?

Comment Re:Frost Posh (Score 1) 308

Video poker slot machines addict 5 times faster than other forms of gambling.

It takes about two years for those who become compulsive video poker machine players to
become hooked. Other forms of compulsive gambling, including conventional slot machines,
take about ten years.

According to various TV news investigations of legalized gambling over the years.

I'd guess that the increased amount of actual thinking involved in video poker playing
creates a greater illusion of control of the outcome, or simply involves more actual neurons
in the brain in the process of playing.

There's a useful clue here to what makes a game more addictive, since 5 times quicker is a very
big difference. But I can't say what it is.

Comment Re:Typical Hypocrisy (Score 3, Interesting) 387

Well, as I understand from Swedish friends, here is how they censor violence on TV in Sweden.

If the violence is real -- such as war atrocity or actual crime -- it can be depicted since to prohibit
it would be hiding the truth.

But if the violence is a work of fiction, it can't be depicted -- since that would be adding to the
ugliness of the world, and has the effect of deadening natural human empathy.

I'm not signing up for that position, but at least it's one logical place to draw a line.

And while I've never even seen a Manga comic book, I am signing up for the position that the judge who
said comic books have no artistic value is a "let's-put-drapes-on-the-naked-lady-statues" type of idiot.

Comment Re:Do you really expect help from Slashdot??? (Score 1) 987

| If you really think you can take on the pirates, good luck.
| If you figure out how, please don't tell the RIAA.

Here's a practical suggestion:

Enlist the assistance of an incredibly powerful lobbying group, whose identity may surprise you:
The nation's librarians.

I can't say if they'll agree with you and I'm not one myself. But they were able to achieve
a significant change to the Patriot Act even while Bush was still president. So if they do agree with you,
you've got a pretty relentless, principled, respected group on your side. I think even Google-the-Almighty
would listen to the librarians.

There's the side-benefit too that the MPAA and RIAA -- mass sewers, oops, I mean sue-ers, of totally innocent
people demanding thousands of dollars apiece from them (like the mafia: hello RICO except with the Federal Judiciary
acting as accessories) -- aren't likely to benefit in the slightest. But the little guy author I think would get
a fair hearing.

Comment Re:mod grand parent down (Score 3, Informative) 215

Moderators -- please bother to check if a link is valid. That may change over time. That initial one has varied today from -1 troll to +5 , but all I see is a one-page pdf that says the doc is sealed. Which the summary already says. Maybe it used to contain the actual sealed document. But it doesn't now. All clicking on it will do is make people feel stupid. Not +5 material. BTW, I use foxit not adobe for pdf reading, in case that matters.

However, an actual copy of the petition appears on ilrweb:


The best reason I can see for the court sealing it is that it lays out the whole case for how the RIAA has been screwing innocent people out of thousands of dollars for years (we knew that), and that the federal courts have been stupid patsies in letting themselves totally be the tools by which this is accomplished (we knew that too). But maybe for the first time a courts sees it clearly enough to be as horribly embarassed as they should be.

No inside knowledge; just cynicism about our "check your conscience at the door, merciful judge just means activist judge, the prosecution can deliberately fake evidence without affecting a jury verdict so no retrial for you, Martha" federal judiciary. Covering its exposed, very ugly, ass.

Wouldn't it be great if the RICO statute allowed for damages against the stupid judges who helped make this "several thousand dollars per innocent person" shakedown possible?

Comment Re:Opposing study (Score 1) 182

Ah, the general, multifactorial, "let's look at our sins a little" explanation. It becomes more appealing when we're frustrated in finding a single specific cause. If the bee problem ever reaches the point where shrinking food supplies result in significant human starvation you can bet that form of explanation will gain favor. That's certainly how things were with HIV/AIDS before the discovery of the very specific HIV virus. Feeling one's misfortunes are a form of punishment (by who or whatever) is a symptom of depression. So I am skeptical of this category of explanation.

The refuting articles are a year and half old, not including publication lag. But I think the most important thing in the article is that a specific anti-biotic restored two collapsing hives. Every single theory of these Spanish scientists could be completely incorrect, at the same time that their solution is correct.

Best of all, however, that solution is perfectly testable.

In fact, one good approach to solving the problem would be to just try every antibiotic known and see what happens empirically. We can't do that ethically with human illness but we can with bee colonies.

I suppose the bee researchers aren't plugged into the antibiotic biz, and the antibiotic researchers aren't plugged into the bee, uh, biz. Infrequently, someone less educated than the pros -- and thus less constrained by interdisciplinary boundaries -- can come up with something the pros have so far missed.

At the very least, I'd like to see flumagillin tested.

Comment Re:A right to do what? (Score 1) 419

If you google for "amazon banned" you'll find some pretty outrageous stories. Reading the original
article and responses to it, this customer has been incredibly polite, even when asked rude, accusatory
questions from other people posting. The latest info I've seen is that Amazon decided to grant him
"a one time exception" and re-enable his account. An "exception" to exactly what rule they don't say.

I don't approve of DRM period, but if I were to make an exception it certainly wouldn't be for
Amazon's kindle or Amazon's anything, especially considering that partial book-banning they pulled
earlier this week.

Wake up Amazon, several things you're doing are turning customers to enemies needlessly. Synergy can
bite you!

Slashdot Top Deals

I think there's a world market for about five computers. -- attr. Thomas J. Watson (Chairman of the Board, IBM), 1943