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Comment Ok, let me get this straight... (Score 1) 220

"YTMP3 rapidly and seamlessly removes the audio tracks contained in videos streamed from YouTube that YTMP3's users access, converts those audio tracks to an MP3 format, copies and stores them on YTMP3's servers, and then distributes copies of the MP3 audio files from its servers to its users in the United States, enabling its users to download those MP3 files to their computers, tablets, or smartphones,"

So, because something can be used to commit a crime, that is sufficient reason to assume that it is?

Guns can be used to commit a crime too. A lot of crime involves a gun. But we don't ban those, right?

Comment Why not both? (Score 1) 215

I'm all for safe nuclear. Pebble bed reactors for the win.

But when you say algae biodiesel isn't available today, I think we're discussing two different things. You're saying you can't buy it today, and that's true. I'm saying we have the technology to make it if we wanted, which is also true.

As for startup cost, yeah. That will happen. But remember the first transistor was about the size of a baseball and took Bell Labs years to make. Now look what we can do. It'll be the same with algae if we choose to do it. Read that paper I posted. We already have had trial ponds and the numbers that paper uses come from those trial runs. What I'm saying is that we don't have to wait for some breakthrough like we would need to make hydrogen viable. We have everything we need right now. Land, sun, water, algae, and petrochemical infrastructure. All the pieces are already in place, just waiting for the word "go".

Here, read this. It's exciting! We could be doing this today.

If we wanted home grown diesel/gasoline, we could have it. We could stop pulling oil out of the ground and simply grow what we want. Easily and simply. By all means we should pursue nuclear and wind farms and the rest, but we should be doing this too.

Comment Re: An excellent paper on that subject (Score 1) 215

Oh sure, it's not a sexy solution at all. I'd like to see a future with a Tesla in every garage and fusion plants dotting the landscape. And I do think we'll get there someday. But this approach does have the merit of being available today. It uses the petroleum infrastructure we already have in place, so no spin-up costs there. And it's 100% carbon neutral, which will become increasingly important in the next few decades.

Millions of years of evolution has already given us a pretty darn efficient solar energy battery in algae. Even in a future with wind farms everywhere or fusion or whatever, hydrocarbons are a hard to beat storage meduim in terms of energy density. A carbon neutral hydrocarbon solution would still have a place.

Comment An excellent paper on that subject (Score 3, Insightful) 215

I take this article to be good news. Renewable energy is finally contributing to the grid well enough to where emissions will drop below the carbon emitted from transportation. This is excellent progress and excellent news.

Now, here's how you fix the transportation part. A wonderful article you can only find on the Wayback Machine, from 2004. UNH Biodiesel Group, Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae, Michael Briggs, University of New Hampshire, Physics Department.

It's my favorite paper on the topic and I'll take any opportunity to post it.

TL;DR - if we really wanted to, we (meaning the USA) could utilize biodiesel entirely for our current transportation needs. It would be 100% renewable, carbon neutral, and all the money spent would stay inside our own borders. And any other country could easily do the same. There is absolutely NO need to haul oil out of the ground anymore.

Check the math in the paper. We really could do this.

Comment Look at it from this perspective then (Score 2) 218

Again, I'm not telling anyone what to do. I'd just like the question to be explored a bit more.

Morally it's quite clear, you simply don't consume the content. Justifying theft because of (supposed) shady business practices is not remotely moral.

Well, what if you don't think of it as theft? What if the movie is an advertisement, and the actual product is the merchandise? That's basically how it is, at least from the point of view of the creators of the content.

Let's say you love Star Wars. A safe assumption. And you want to reward George Lucas for putting something in your life that you love. Which makes more sense to do:

A) Buy the latest remastered blu ray. It'll set you back maybe $15, and George will see maybe a nickle of that. Corrupt Hollywood middlemen will see the other $14.95. They didn't have jack to do with the movie, they have just paid lawyers and positioned themselves in the middle as a barrier that must be crossed to get to the stuff you love.

B) Pirate it online, then buy a Jar Jar Binks figure. It'll set you back maybe $5, but George will see a dollar of that, and the corrupt assholes in the middle get bupkis.

Again, I'm not saying what you should do. Pirating movies is illegal and can get you in some serious hot water. I'm just asking people to think about the actual dynamics of the situation.

Comment Well, let's discuss ethics then (Score 5, Insightful) 218

So you have no ethical issues pirating content? Please no BS about sticking it to the media corporations--that is just rationalizing the fact you are just a cheap jerk with no morals.

Is it ethical to give your money to an organization that will do this sort of skullduggery with it?

I'm being serious.

It's theft if you download content and view it for free, sure, but you're not exactly morally in the clear if you do pay. Your money is lining the pockets of famously and spectacularly corrupt middle men, with only pennies on the dollar going to the artists you love.

The correct thing to do isn't as clear as you might suppose. Morally, it may be more correct to pirate their content then buy a t-shirt or something from them, because they'll see most of that money. Most notably George Lucas is wealthy because of merchandise, not movies.

I'm not saying what to do, what not to do, or what I do - I just want you to think about it a bit before tossing out moral absolutes.

Comment Not so! (Score 1) 138

The story of North Korea does indeed have some heroes to it!

Lee Soon-ok

Kang Chol-hwan

An Hyuk

And plenty other survivors and escapees. Imagine what it would take to plan an escape from North Korea, and actually carry it out. Soon-ok and Chol-hwan served time in labor camps where they saw executions and human experimentation, and still had the stones to manage an escape knowing what horrible fate failure would get them. If that doesn't merit the label of hero, I don't know what would.

Comment Dune (Score 2) 175

It's a unique work regarding tech because of its absence. The entire society could have incredible technology, but they choose not to. It's Amish, for lack of a better way of describing it. They know it exists, but they decided that they didn't want it. With only a few exceptions. Dibs and dabs of incredible tech such as interstellar travel and sheilding technology and poison snoopers, but for the most part they eschew the rest and try to develop people rather than machines. A totally unique approach to technology in the future. What if it gets bigger than we're comfortable with, and we simply decide to do away with it for our own good? I think Frank Herbert was the first person to really explore that question in depth.

Comment People do care about NK posturing (Score 1) 243

Given that no one seems to bat an eye, I assume that the general opinion from Russia, China, Japan, and the US (at minimum) is that NK meets this level of stability in some fashion.

Not necessarily.

IMHO, it's not so much that nobody bats an eye, it's that nobody wants to take on the expense/mess/loss of life/headaches that regime change in NK would entail. Think about the logistics involved. NK's infrastructure is notoriously weak to begin with. They just had a famine a decade or so ago that killed millions. In the best of times they have a hard time feeding themselves. The whole country is held together by duct tape as it is. It would take any militarily capable western country a week or two to dismantle, tops. It wouldn't have to be the USA that does it - I'd bet France could do it over a long weekend without breaking a sweat.

So, you add to that the entire population is brainwashed to think that the supreme command of NK are essentially living divinities, and the rest of the outside world are bloodthirsty savages out to get them. Humanitarian efforts to help the citizens post-regime change would be rejected. They would think the aid workers were there to kill everyone, since that's what they've all been told since birth. It would be similar to the mass suicides on Okinawa. But worse, because it would be an entire country instead of a single island. Millions of civilians would die.

It would be a humanitarian disaster of a scale not seen since WWII, and nobody wants that mess on their hands.

Comment Re:aggression inevitable? (Score 1) 243

Seoul may get nuked, it may not - for any chance of a nuke hitting Seoul, it would need to be either mounted on a rocket, or fired as an artillery shell, and both of those options require some serious technical ability which the NK's lack.

Currently.

That's why all the practice runs firing missiles into the sea of Japan are troubling. They are getting better at it.

Your statement is true - today - but it won't be here in a decade or so. And it's not likely NK will be less nuts ten years from now.

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