Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


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:Much like the Holocaust (Score 1) 474

It's easy to see why they abandoned that series, though -- it was jinxed. I heard it was supposed to be a trilogy, plus either six or nine subsequent movies, but apparently no one dared attempt a third film after George Lucas was run over by a speeding cheeseburger-mobile in 1979, and Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan were both killed in a freak Tauntaun accident...

Comment Re:Obligatory 1984 Reference (Score 1) 311

As someone who's read Theodore Dalrymple, PC "David Copperfield," and so on, I'd say that even when they complete it, it won't help. The English government (and the Scottish one, from what I understand) is desperate to restore some form of order, but doesn't have the will to shred some of its bureaucracy and increase police patrols in the orthodox Giuliani fashion. Stuffing the country to the gills with thoughtscreens hasn't been an adequate substitute for that, so I doubt that stuffing it with war droids will be either -- although in both of these cases, countries both more cruel and more competent than Great Britain will probably take to the new technologies with abandon. (I'm looking at China, of course...)

Comment Re:priorities (Score 1) 1343

Defining religion as believing in things and science as examining things is a misleading approach. By your logic, Behaviorism, Communism, and Fascism are religions, and Catholicism is a science. (Catholic theology includes a number of conditions which, if true, refute the Catholic religion -- two contradictory infallible statements being the most obvious case.) I would agree with all of these propositions, as it happens, but I don't think that's what you intended people to come away from your post with. I agree that thinking doesn't have much of a lobby; but those who are not part of the rational-thought lobby include the people who most energetically assert that they are.

Also remember that "religion" is a very big word, with very blurry borders. Is Nietzche a religion? Is atheism? Is Buddhism? (Some of the greatest Indian Buddhists would say that it is not.) If being a religion requires being mutually exclusive with other religions, Greek paganism was not a religion (most of the time), China and Japan have never had religions (not even Mahayana Buddhism or State Shinto would qualify), and even Christianity's status as a religion is somewhat dubious -- look up the beliefs of the Taiping sometime.

Comment Re:Universities can't keep up (Score 1) 1343

This is the kind of thing that gives the formal study of English grammar a bad name. I don't know (or particularly care) what Strunk and White say on the subject, but I had no problem understanding that the modifier attached to the most recent noun; indeed, I can't imagine why anyone would ever have thought otherwise. From what I remember of Latin (two years in high school, one in college, plus amateur familiarity with medieval and early-modern Latin materials), modifying clauses of this sort generally attach to the nearest noun there, too. I think it's sometimes different in the stylized Latin of the late Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, but surely no one imagines that a somewhat creolized Germanic language obeys the grammatical rules of a highly stylized version of an Italic language with recognizable non-Indo-European influences?

(Yes, I sometimes like to pretend that the 18th Century never happened.)

Comment Re:Why is ":)" less valid than "!"? (Score 1) 1343

And for a particularly good illustration of that problem: just try to understand the more complex arguments on this page. (The kitty-pidgin Nicene Creed is too painful to link to.) No, no one's writing term papers in Kitty Pidgin; but what Kitty Pidgin is to IRC-speak (SMS?), IRC-speak is to formal English.

To continue the theme of sounding Orwellian: All languages are expressive, but some are more expressive than others.

Comment Re:Language evolves with how people use it... (Score 1) 1343

Additionally, consider that languages and dialects differ in their expressiveness, and IRC-speak (or whatever they're calling it these days) is not among the most expressive. You have to leave that idiom to express ideas like this post's or its parent's; so someone who can't leave the idiom can't vocalize certain kinds of thoughts short of the Greenspun's Tenth Rule case.

Anyone who's tried to do philosophy in formal Modern English appreciates how terrible of a language it is for the purpose compared with Greek or German; and IRC-speak is a language that makes Modern English look expressive...

Comment Discrete structures. (Score 1) 466

In my experience, math is almost completely irrelevant to computers; logic is what you need to know. Speaking personally, my one year of undergraduate-level Catholic theology and Aristotelian logic has been more useful to me in computer programming than anything in my four years of undergraduate-level mathematics, with the sole exception of set theory.

Comment Are we sure they went away? (Score 1) 568

The Boskop skull shown in the Discover article is strongly dolichocephalic with a high forehead and no significant jaw protrusion, similar to the East African (Ethiopian, Somali) / Iberian (pre-Roman Iberian; Basque; Georgian (Caucasus, not United States); Classical Greek; Welsh) type of skull. I'd be interested to see whether any DNA analysis of Boskop remains revealed Y-haplogroup R1b and mtDNA haplogroup H...

Slashdot Top Deals

Like punning, programming is a play on words.