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Comment Re:Positive development (Score 1) 152

Means more room for humans. We're succeeding as a species. I suspect it wont end well for us though.

I don't see any reason to believe it will end badly, at least not for reasons related to this issue.

Homo Sapiens has proven to be an extraordinarily adaptable and successful species, a global superpredator, which has inevitably displaced many other species. The Holocene Extinction, which has been in progress for thousands of years, is the result. The rate of extinctions accelerated dramatically in the last few centuries, particularly as the human population has exploded.

However, in the last few decades humans have become aware of the issue and have begun to care about it. This isn't to say that we'll ever value other species as highly as our own, but we've begun to think that it's important to avoid destroying them. That coupled with the fact that human population is likely to peak within 30 years and then begin declining and the fact that new technology is enabling us to tread more lightly means that extinctions directly produced by human activity (e.g. habitat expansion) will slow and perhaps cease.

Indirectly-caused extinctions will likely continue for millenia, though. Global warming is going to do in a lot of species (though it may create a good number as well), as climate shifts exceed the ability of species to migrate. It may also provoke some more directly-caused extinctions as it causes humans to migrate. Not much, though, since we already live pretty much everywhere. The accommodation of human-transplanted "invasive" species is also going to take a lot of time, and transplantation is probably going to continue as much as we try to avoid it, so there's going to be a sort of homogenization effect across the globe which will wipe out a lot of species as more aggressive and capable species get moved into their area. If humans choose to begin engineering planetary climate and stabilize it, so that it stays permanently within a particular range, that large driver of new speciation will be eliminated which will also contribute to the establishment of an equilibrium that will likely contain many fewer species than the planet has had for most of life's history upon it. It's also possible that we'll begin engineering biodiversity as well. That's hard to say.

Or maybe we'll have a massive nuclear war, simultaneously removing ourselves from the picture, ending the Holocene extinction with a spike, and kicking off an explosive new round of speciation. I think that and similar humanity-caused, humanity-ending disasters are unlikely, but I am an inveterate optimist.

Comment Que surprise (Score 4, Insightful) 79

The company's hemorrhaging money.
And no company in their right mind would buy them at the artificially (insanely) inflated price they mistakenly think they're worth.
They've been getting negative press as a bastion of partisan censorship, further alienating users.
So they have to shore up the bottom line somehow..

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 982

That's indeed the kind of ideas that is now floating around. I rank it in the category of Iraq coming to kill us all, with the same combination of inflating the threat and at the same time regarding the opponent as a pushover. I think Colin Powell has made some sensible comments on that. Russia is paranoid about us, about NATO. We scare them. They are a small power, we're a big one that is surrounding them more and more, and then sabre rattling is a sensible response.

That doesn't explain why they weren't rattling their sabers a few years ago. The Economist has a recent article that does offer an explanation that covers that as well The thesis is basically that domestic troubles caused by a weak economy have motivated Putin to seek ways to distract his people from domestic concerns. Specifically, he's tried to recapture the superpower position of the Soviet Union. He can't, really, because Russia isn't the Soviet Union. Without the central planning structure to force the massive overproduction of military resources, the Soviet Union wouldn't have been the Soviet Union, either.

But his people don't really realize this and, frankly, the rest of the world tends not to realize it much, either. So Putin can rattle his rusted and broken saber and the rest of the world reacts as though he was the mighty Soviet Union. Except... there is one area in which is military isn't so rusted or broken: nuclear weapons. Oh, his nuclear armament is aging and dilapidated, but it's still very real and Russia has the technological wherewithal to build highly functional nukes and missiles to carry them. Russia can't afford to build very many of them, but it doesn't really take all that many.

So, as it becomes more and more apparent that Putin doesn't really have the conventional forces to make the world treat Russia with the fear and respect that the Soviet Union got, he's almost certainly going to be making more and more use of the nuclear threat that the world can't ignore. And that will help to keep his people feeling like they're a major world power again, which will keep him in power.

Is this true? I don't know. Makes sense to me.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 142

Hangouts used to have seamless SMS/Hangouts.

No, it was never seamless in the sense that iMessage is. The seams were harder to see, and that was exactly the problem that motivated the clear separation; the failure modes of the combined messaging were subtle, hard to understand and opaque to users. The upshot is that the combination made Hangouts messaging appear to be unreliable.

Actually, iMessage isn't really seamless either. It breaks badly if iMessage thinks the destination device is an iPhone but it isn't. It's very good in a pure-Apple world, though.

Comment Re:And project Ara was doomed to failure? (Score 1) 104

Back in The Old Days, every last somewhat-seedy mall kiosk carried a wide variety of 'shells' that were snap on replacements for the plastics of whatever Nokia was relevant at the time. As the number of phones that either have removable parts or are designed to survive without a case has declined, cases appear to have moved into filling a similar niche.

Comment Re:Unsure If Legal?!? (Score 1) 104

I suspect that the potential issue would be with replacement parts that are either copyright infringing knockoffs of iphone 7 components or provided with probably-not-trademark-approved logos and text designed to match the appearance of the iphone 7.

Any attempt to assert that fiddling with the hardware, in itself, is a crime would be overreaching bullshit of the highest order; but if the aim is to look as much like a different product as possible; it is pretty likely that some of the parts kits are on shaky ground in terms of copyright and trademark. Even then, though, it would be unusual for Apple to go after the end users for that; though a vendor offering cosmetic upgrades might well come under fire.

Comment Absurd hyperbole (Score 1) 982

The 50megaton Tsar Bomba:
"All buildings in the village of Severny (both wooden and brick), located 55 kilometres (34 mi) from ground zero within the Sukhoy Nos test range, were destroyed. In districts hundreds of kilometers from ground zero wooden houses were destroyed, stone ones lost their roofs, windows and doors, and radio communications were interrupted for almost one hour. One participant in the test saw a bright flash through dark goggles and felt the effects of a thermal pulse even at a distance of 270 kilometres (170 mi). The heat from the explosion could have caused third-degree burns 100 km (62 mi) away from ground zero. A shock wave was observed in the air at Dikson settlement 700 kilometres (430 mi) away; windowpanes were partially broken to distances of 900 kilometres (560 mi)."

TX is 660 mi wide, 800 mi long. A bomb with a burst-damage radius of 100 mi wouldn't "destroy" Texas - although it would certainly mess some shit up.

Comment Re:Am I missing something? (Score 1) 142

Hangouts does everything you describe. It's what I use all the time. It is seamless across my phone and table and my PC. And it is seamless across windows, linux and apple.

It is seamless between SMS and the internal delivery system, and the conversations are synced to my gmail account allowing me to search them.

I like Hangouts and use it constantly, both personally and for work (I work for Google, where it is arguably the primary means of communication), but it isn't quite as seamless as iMessage in one respect: SMS integration. In iMessage there is no distinction between SMS and iMessage messages; they're all just messages. If they can be delivered via Apple's infrastructure, they are, if not they're routed via SMS. With Hangouts, SMS and Hangouts chat messages are distinct. They look similar, but they're different in subtle ways.

Of course, Hangouts clearly is superior to iMessage if you or your friends use non-Apple devices, because Hangouts works on a much wider variety of platforms, and for those who understand the distinction it's *good* to know what is SMS and what is not, because SMS is inherently unreliable -- and in some parts of the world SMS is also ridiculously expensive while data is cheap.

So, although depending on your context Hangouts may be better than iMessage, it's definitely not as seamless in a pure-Apple world as iMessage is.

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