Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. ×

Comment Re:O RLY? (Score 1) 59

I understand what copyright is intended to do, but I see little evidence that a 90+ year term and other onerous terms are means to this goal. Patents give us a good example of actual stuff being created with 1/4 the term - it's hard to imagine that artists would significantly change their motivation given a 15, 50, or 90 year window. It's very hard to argue that a law which prevents you from building upon another creative work for an entire human lifetime is advancing the useful arts. Rather, it seems like an abuse of government power by an elite.

And of course, as Google points out, the search index could not have occurred under such a regime. I shouldn't have to sell you on the usefulness of internet search on society vs the promise of more Rihanna songs or Transformer movies.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 1) 331

I don't follow the logic. If no one is buying stuff, then it is true that the robots aren't needed. But if people are buying stuff, then the cheapest way to do it would be the robots, so they would be used. They may or may not "put themselves out of business", but there's still no room for humans.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 1) 331

You're already dependent on the government, it's just a matter of degree.

I completely agree. With that said, the acid test is what will happen to you if the government disappears for a day... a week... a month? If the answer is "I'll die" or "I'll beg on the street", then you probably meet the standard that I'm talking about. Yeah, we all use government roads. But the fact is that if the government took a month-long nap, we'd still use the roads and local bands of us would even make short term repairs. If the government stopped running the sewers, it would be a major public health problem in the long term, but in the short term people would dump bed pans into the street sewers like they did for hundreds of years. I'm talking about a totally different level of dependence, and one that is incredibly demoralizing.

People don't get depressed because they depend on the government. People with untreated mental health problems are less likely to hold a job, and therefore more likely to end up on welfare. And our society equates worth with work, and that affects people. People need (to find for themselves) a purpose, not independence from the government.

That does not square with studies showing that people living in formerly prosperous middle class areas suffering mental health problems after the jobs disappear. I agree that correlation does not equal causation, but I don't think you are giving enough weight to the effects of stress on mental health.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 1) 331

I think we largely agree, though we'd probably spend a lot of time on the details. With that said:

they would probably un-ghettoize their ghettos.

I actually suspect that a lot of people would move to where opportunity was. People stick around in places where opportunity once existed in large part due to the government subsidies being available. If there was no government welfare, I suspect Detroit would have been largely abandoned once the industry fled. I disagree that capitalism produces ghettos... raw capitalism produces shanty towns - poor urban centers that spring up organically as people pursue opportunity. These are not ideal, either, but they are a separate problem from the modern US urban ghetto where most of the people have no opportunity and are dependent on government assistance. I also recognize that the US has a historical problem with race and ghettos are historically associated with the oppression of blacks - much of our current situation does indeed stem from that, but I believe one contribution to their persistence in modern times is government assistance.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 4, Interesting) 331

I have no problem with a safety net in principle. The thing is, humans have a knack for being douchebags ^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h^h using systems for a purpose other than designed, resulting in an outcome that is other than desired. Unless the desired outcome is long-term total government dependence, safety nets need to be very carefully designed and implemented.

In case you can't pick up on it, I definitely do not favor government dependence. People seem to be depressed as hell when they are dependent. In a few cases, we see where dependence leads to total helplessness in the face of government failure, like in Katrina. Ghettos are also nice little teapots of dependence and misery.

Comment Re:Well yeah (Score 3, Interesting) 331

Here's the thing: it doesn't matter.

If robots can take my job, then they will take my job. Sure, you can push for some local protectionism. Maybe even slow things down so that the transition happens after I retire or die. But at the end of the day, some society somewhere in the world will go with the more competitive option and my job will be history. Avoiding technical progress is working great for the Amish, but not everyone is so lucky to be ensconced by a benevolent, protective society.

Comment bad study (Score 5, Informative) 241

Sorry, tracking until age 18 isn't long enough. Schizophrenia will show up a bit later if it does. Also, *having* a cat in the house is one thing - how many kids are cleaning the litterbox? Because that's the danger zone.

For those who are unaware, Toxoplasma gondii has a life cycle that relies on cats and their prey - typically rats or mice. In cats, it reproduces in the digestive system and gets crapped out. In rodents who come into contact with the cat crap, it infects their brain and makes them less afraid of cats, which benefits the parasite because it wants to end up in a cat's digestive system again.

In humans, it definitely causes miscarriages. There have been studies suggesting a link to schizophrenia, but I don't believe that's the current consensus. Something like 50% of all humans have been exposed to it, so it would be scary if so. But it might also depend on other factors.

It's conceivable that a parasite that has evolved to control host behavior could have adverse psychological effects on human hosts, thus the research into it.

Slashdot Top Deals

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan