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Comment Re:Well there would be a lot of it (Score 1) 65

Chemical reactions slow down remarkably as the temperature drops. I could envision using this as a spore transportation system, but they'd need to pick an asteroid that was either headed out-system (towards another brown dwarf) or headed towards a plausible planet. And the success rate should be expected to be less than that of wind-pollened plants. If they land on a planet they'll be evolving in the kind of environment we know about subject to things like gravity, so they'll probably need to start in an ocean...and we're back where *we* started. (Obviously there are different kinds of planet, and some of them may work, but in each case the evolutionary adaptations required would take a long time and a lot of evolution away from the star-resident form.)

Comment They let the ban on propagandizing citizens expire (Score 4, Insightful) 156

Three and a half years ago the US government, under the Obama administration, let the ban on propagandizing US citizens expire - and immediately began writing and spreading "fake news".

From an FP article dated July 14, 2013:

U.S. Repeals Propaganda Ban, Spreads Government-Made News to Americans

For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. governmentâ(TM)s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts.

So the only thing new here is US citizens noticed one of the government's renewed, official, domestic propaganda operations.

Comment Re:Analyzing a car purchase over 1 year? (Score 1) 23

True. And the cost/arrest concept is broken too. Would the arrests have been made anyway? Could they have been made another way?

When people have a tool they use it, whether it is the use-case that was supposed to justify the purchase -- and that can be a good thing (because the widget is earning its keep) or a bad thing (using a tool that's overkill, to expensive to operate, or counterproductive). The real question is what did they specifically buy this for? If the cost justification was that it was going to allow them to make x arrests per year, it's probably a failure. If the cost justification is some other kind of scenario that doesn't necessarily happen every year (e.g. the Beltway Sniper), then the question is whether they're using this thing reasonably.

Comment immune system flanked (Score 1) 156

Who knew that fact checking was an essential component of the human immune system?

Unbeknownst to him, all is not well in the harem. His wife and one of his mistresses are independently plotting his demise. The wife poisons the water in his canteen, while the mistress punctures the canteen so that the water slowly leaks out.

The Sheik sets out on the journey. After a few miles he feels parched. He unscrews the cap on his canteen and finds, much to his displeasure, that it is empty. He soon dies of dehydration.

Question: who caused the Utahan fracker's death, the wolf-calling media bias Republican or the relative-identity-politics Democrat?

Moral of the story: no time like the present to grease the squeaky wheels. And if that doesn't work, concrete shoes.

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

Yes, so much depends upon one yellowish-green wheel to muck the mules, situated at the goddamn factual (and spectral) midline.

Comment Re:!Revolution (Score 4, Funny) 192

The word revolution also contains the word evolution, and you might have noticed that we've evolved past the point of calling a paper printer a necessary component of computing today.

And the word "internet" contains the word "tern", so clearly it is built upon angry arctic birds with sharp beaks that dive bomb anyone who gets too close to their nesting grounds.

Comment Re:because (Score 2) 192

Indeed. I've ordered 3d prints online several times and as things stand there is no reason I'd ever do otherwise. The choice is, "have something produced using top notch hardware and finished by professionals", or "have something produced by crappy hardware, by you". The marginal cost may be lower if you do it yourself, but you have to plop down $1k first, so unless you 3d print a lot, you don't win even on that comparison. It's just not worth it.

If you run a business where you're 3d printing prototypes every day, that would be different. But regular for home users, I just can't see an argument for it.

Comment Re:It's always cost (Score 4, Interesting) 192

That's really a key issue. Most "standalone" things people want are not made of plastics, except for toys. There are a some things - for example, parts for a small homemade drone or whatnot, where strength is not important but lightness is. But most often, if you want something "standalone", you want it out of metal.

Being able to print replacement plastic parts for other things could be nice, mind you. For example, I've twice had to replace a plastic part on my refrigerator and it cost something like $50 each time with a nearly month delay, due to customs fees, shipping to where I am, etc. Having been able to print one out would have been great. Except, having a 3d printer alone wouldn't have been enough, because there's no "universal spare part database" that manufacturers upload to. A 3d scanner as well might have been able to enable reproducing the part from scanning its broken pieces, except that not only do you have to have one, the part was transparent, and many 3d scanners don't like transparent objects.

A "3d printing revolution" may come some day. But things are a lot more complicated than just making it possible to print something out of some material.

Comment use the Semantic Scholar, Luke (Score 2) 58

I've been waiting for a good opportunity to take this new toy out for a spin. Semantic Scholar claims to have brain science almost completely covered.

* author search

Not bad.

* topic search

Not blindingly great. But the third link down is a primary hit.

Theory of Connectivity: Nature and Nurture of Cell Assemblies and Cognitive Computation

There's not a lot of related material here that I'd have gone chasing after the hard way. Apparently, either this research result or this search engine is still too new.

Nevertheless, I retain high hopes.

Comment Re:another editor fail (Score 1) 81

I've always wanted a job that involved no physical labor and no mental labor and no oversight of performance.

Too bad others felt the same way, as we're getting exactly that. I've never wanted such a job. The job I've always wanted is the one where I'm in flow for six hours at a stretch (at least once per day), there are more feedback loops than you can shake a stick at, mainly anchored in equally competent peers who likewise wouldn't have it any other way.

NASA, during the Apollo program, had many pockets of competence where The Right Stuff stretched as far as the eye could see.

9 Project Management Lessons Learned from the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

Delegating to people who don't have experience with a certain task may seem counterintuitive, but it was something Apollo project managers actively encouraged — in fact, the average age of the entire Operations team was just 26, most fresh out of college. NASA gave someone a problem and the freedom to run with it, and the results speak for themselves.

Yes, parts of NASA on the ground basically looked like this.

Imagine the caliber of people you need to hire by default to make this strategy viable.

Gerald Weinberg's second rule of acquisition:

        (2) No matter how it looks at first, it's always a people problem.

Moral of the story: hire only those who dream for the stars, the kind of stars where Easy Street has no name.

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