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:Anthropometrics (Score 1) 819

Don't think we quite communicated. It is belligerent to cite a "right to recline". It is rude to recline. Two different actions, two different determinations. I'm guessing you are part of that minority that doesn't know that it is rude to recline and makes the person behind them miserable and uncomfortable. Being on the flying bus means doing your best to be polite.

Don't recline. Just don't.

Comment Re:Anthropometrics (Score 2, Insightful) 819

Trouble is, it socially unacceptable to recline your seat on the airline unless the person behind you is reclining. And when you do recline, you should so slowly, preferably checking if there is a laptop in use before you do. The vast majority of people recognize this, respect it and don't recline except on night flights. The people who don't recognize it, tend to get very belligerent about their "right to recline" and airlines defuse this usually by siding with them.

What's starting to happen is that the silent majority is realizing that if they don't resist, the airlines are going to keep siding with the more belligerent "reclining is my right" crowd.

Kind of telling that you summarized this issue as a "knee jerk" incident. Tall passengers are people too.

Comment Re:Someone help me out here. (Score 2) 613

Uh, no. First, lets touch upon the literal version of the claim: "did the USSR run out of money". Yes. The USSR traded with other countries in the world not under the soviet system. They had an imbalance of payments and little to no holdings of foreign currency.

Second, lets consider the statement as euphemism for economic devastation in the USSR. This how this idea is usually meant, and its not usually not expressed simply as "they ran out of money".

The USSR initially built a lot of "guns" and a lot of "food". There population was growing, and they needed to produce more "food". Meanwhile, the cold-war induced them to need to produce more "guns" too. What they didn't produce very much of was tools; they under-invested in capital goods. What this meant over time was that they could not make as many things per-capita as the US could. The total pie was smaller in Russia, it was growing more slowly, and much more of it was focused on "guns".

By the end of the 80s, massive shortages of consumer goods were common. No bread. No shoes. No razors. Quality was very bad and declining. This forced the political reforms.

By the time the USSR collapsed, its industrial base was in ruins and long starved for investment. The dissolution of the USSR couldn't fix this. So the people suffered greatly even afterward. The situation did start to improve--By being secure in their personal property, people had an incentive to invest. Eventually those investments have allowed the standard of living to go up in most post-socialist countries. This would not have been possible under the prior tyranny.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 162

They are rolling them out because it was part of the legal quid-pro-quo to rollback the protections that come with traditional signature based authorizations: the merchant carries the burden of proof.

What they sold the lawmakers on was that PINs were secure; if they weren't it was the customers fault, so the burden should shift to the consumer to prove that the charge was fraudulent.

That's the problem. Its the system: PIN + legal rules.

Those legal rules are never going to make sense because PINs are vulnerable. Once you knock out that support, Visa and Mastercard will have no interest in the chips either.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 3, Insightful) 162

You as a consumer should never use a pin-based card--doing so completely vitiates your protections under the law.

Consequently, PINs are almost never used in the US for credit card transactions. You have to go to Europe to encounter this oddity. What's crazy is that no one seems to realize that the best remedy is to just abandon the farce.

Farce? Yes, the incident of fraud does not go down with pin systems. This is one in a long stream of vulnerabilities; there have always been attacks against these fixed-pin systems that make them pointless: pin observation either visually or through man-in-middle compromise of the hardware. Basically there is always a moment when the pin is in the clear. This interacts badly with legal regimes that regard 'pin as proof' of identify, and ultimately consumers can and should reject to participate in these systems. period.

What does need to be more common--for online banking and e-commerce--are key fobs with rotating time-based pin displays. That would be a marked step forward.

Comment Re:Wait what? (Score 1) 799

No, you haven't. Not in the sense that you would do something 'on purpose'. They don't have the part of the brain that you would use to make such a decision. That's why we don't hold them accountable for those decisions in criminal courts.

Well, the legal system disagrees with you. In particular the case law says that its impossible for a child under the age of 4 to be negligent; however, a child can be held negligent after that age. That was the entire point of this ruling and this article.

In the opinion of court precedent, children of the age four do usually possess adequate facilities to judge that running into someone, especially someone old with a bicycle could cause serious harm.

Anyways, what the science says is that children as basically psychopaths. What they lack is not an awareness that they are choosing or a lack of awareness of the consequences of their choices. Its a lack of regard for others.

Our forbearance in these matters stems from knowing that children don't need to go to a correctional facility to be fixed. They'll grow out of it, but keep in mind that this is a civil suit. Civil cases, unlike criminal prosecution, are not about correcting errant behavior, they are about remuneration to the victim.

That children can be negligent is a very important element in civil case law. For instance if a child runs into the street and you hit him, are you liable for civil damages? The answer depends upon whether the child acted negligently. The contributory negligence of the victim counterbalances the negligence of the perpetrator.

Comment Photos from the same spot but not the same season (Score 4, Insightful) 895

So we have a few photographs and the conclusion that the ice loss is devastating--despite no investigation as to whether the photographs were taken during the same day of the year nor as to what the internal variability is. But still, the editors immediately jump to the ice loss is devastating and that the mid-century prediction of the AR4 is right after all.

Nonsense, the glaciers are monitored very closely and the loss-rates are calculated to be very slow. The AR4 prediction was, of course, the center of a big scandal because it was basically a fabrication, whereas the actual science is deep and gives several hundred years.

Comment Re:That's not even what this debate is about (Score 1) 872

Nonsense. Based the temperature records twenty years ago, it was not obvious that the 20th century had a warming trend. You think moving on and accepting new data is being opportunistic? Sorry, that's wrong. Its being scientific. Keep in mind that the period from 1980 to 2000 accounts for most of the 20th century warming.

Meanwhile, the prime highlight of the IPCCs AR3 was to "forget" the existence of climate change prior to the 19th century. Natural variation over the past thousand years was reduced to quiet gradual downtrend with an abrupt surge upward in the 1800s. In so doing they discarded thousands of studies and work of thousands who previously carefully documented periods of great warming and cooling throughout the history of man. That work is precisely the work implicated by these inquiries, and which the climategate archives now shows that the literature was manipulated to fit a desired narrative.

I suggest comparing comparing the IPCC-1990 report, which concisely shows the consensus of an old guard (now largely dead) with AR3. A very warm, much warmer period during the middle ages (shown in red) is visible. The IPCC AR3 and AR4 replaced this with the blue curve. Shown a flat-changeless temperature history with a slight downtrend, suddenly accelerating upward.

But their claim was bespectacled from the start by way of special pleading they had explained away each interruption in warming that occurred during the 20th century, but then after the report was published, yet another unexpected cooling period emerged.

Suddenly the meme switched from being about "Global Warming" to being "Climate Change". The focus shifted from temperatures to sea-levels and hurricanes. Yet this turned out to be an even more tenuous footing. Its already no longer considered reputable among intellectual circles to discuss such extravagances. Eventually the talking point was settled upon: weather is not climate. The recent cooling is just weather.

Indeed, weather is not climate. Climate is the expectation of weather--and so yes, it surely does matter when year after year goes by somewhat cooler than had been predicted by the IPCCs latest report.

Meanwhile, the very people who had steadfastly refused to deny climate-change are now labeled the climate change deniers. This stemmed from an Orwellian campaign to redefine terminology. Suddenly believing in climate-change meant believing in anthropogenic climate change. The language literally twisted to be an embodiment of the "one true belief"--no need for that pesky modifier anthropogenic, and all the better to co-opt what everyone knows: climate changes.

Several very cogent critiques of the AR3 temperature series have been published which eviscerated that graph (Mann's work) as a product of flawed statistical methods and bad data. Yet a loud cadre continues to deny any problem exists, and banks on the lack of specialized knowledge among the public and other scientists to trade on their word alone.

And, no, the claim is no not that there is no contribution from Man. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but its effect on temperature depends on poorly understood feedback effects. These effects are in part also responsible for the long history of natural temperature variation that the IPCC otherwise ignores. Ultimately, what it comes down to is this: The IPCC claims a temperature rise of 2C/century. To arrive at this number they assume almost all strong feedbacks are amplifying rather moderating the C02 driven warming. Why does this matter? Much of the impetus for "ACTION NOW!" stems from the notion of a climate tipping point, but if the feedback effects are more moderating than the IPCC claims, this is highly unlikely.

Comment Re:The damage has already been done (Score 1) 872

Yes, the damage has been done by the audacious framing and whitewash undertaken by this panel and its kin. If you read the panels report you can find this nugget from Lindzen, one of the panel's expert witnesses:

On May 5 20 I 0, the RA-I 0 Investigatory Committee (Assmann, Irwin, Jablonski, Vondracek; Dr. Castleman was not available) and Candice Yekel interviewed Dr. Richard Lindzen, Professor, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Investigatory Committee had four prepared questions, but Investigatory Committee members were free to ask additional questions as well as follow-up questions as they saw fit.

Before the Investigatory Committee's questioning began, Dr. Lindzen was given some general background information regarding the process of inquiry and investigation into allegations concerning Dr. Mann, with a focus on the particular allegation that is the subject of the current review by the Investigatory Committee. Dr. Lindzen then requested, and was provided with, a brief summary of the three allegations previously reviewed. When told that the first three allegations against Dr. Mann were dismissed at the inquiry stage of the RA-lO process, Dr. Lindzen's response was: "It's thoroughly amazing. I mean these are issues that he explicitly stated in the emails. I'm wondering what's going on?"

The Investigatory Committee members did not respond to Dr. Lindzen's statement. Instead, Dr. Lindzen's attention was directed to the fourth allegation, and it was explained to him that this is the allegation which the Investigatory Committee is charged to address.

Unfortunately, and contrary to the summary of this article on slashdot, nothing of substance has been resolved.

Comment Re:This isn't so strange. (Score 3, Interesting) 636

This whole story is strange. Courts have always recognized that Cops can ticket you based on "passing markers"--yes they need only count off the seconds between those little reflectors on the side of the road.

This is considered indisputable if the officer has passed a certification test.

Officers will routinely write, "passing markers" because its subjects them to the least review by the courts.

Other backwards ideas: if Cops use 'stationary radar' they need to do a bunch of work to ascertain whether it is working correctly--it takes two patrol units: the stationary one and the reference vehicle. But, none of this is necessary if they use moving radar!

But moving radar is next to meaningless (cosin error) without careful regulation of the setting which is only required... for stationary radar.

Slashdot Top Deals

Like punning, programming is a play on words.