Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


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:Crap report (Score 1) 236

If someone starts off inside a plane, passes through a hole and ends up on the outside of the plane screaming as they plunge to their doom, does it really matter whether they're blown or sucked?

The point is, why should we care? If the bomb only kills a couple of people but fails to bring down the plane, then it is no worse than the mayhem a lone gunman could cause on the ground. In fact he could probably cause more death and economic chaos by blowing himself up in an airport choke point.

The reality is that well-funded, competent terrorists who are knowledgeable enough to plan a mission like this and suicidal enough to carry it out are really, really rare. Rare enough that I would be happy if we reverted to 1999 level passenger screening as my chances of sitting next to a laptop/shoe/underwear bomber would still be less than the probability of getting stung to death by bees on the way to the airport.

Comment Re:So backwards... (Score 1) 225

The problem with acetaminophen is that the toxic dose is surprisingly close to the therapeutic dose -- much closer than other over the counter analgesics like aspirin or ibuprofen. This property is in fact leveraged in some prescription painkillers to discourage abuse - the opioid will be doped with a stupid amount of acetaminophen, way more than is necessary for pain relief, so that it will poison you before it gets you high. The problem is that someone doesn't know that and is taking a Vicodin for back pain may then take some NyQuil for an unrelated cold and wind up in the hospital with liver failure.

Comment Re:Water use... (Score 2) 331

The whole water thing is a dumb argument environmentalists dreamed up to make us feel bad about being alive. It's not like water from a stream in Minnesota is being diverted to livestock instead of irrigating poor farmers in the Sahara.

For the most part the water isn't coming out of a stream in Minnesota either. It's being pumped out of an aquifer in Kansas to irrigate the alfalfa and corn that we are feeding to the livestock. Those aquifers were built up over millions of years and are being drained over the course of decades. Just like we need to get off of fossilized fuels for our energy supply, we need to stop or reduce our reliance on fossil water for our agriculture. We can do this either by eating lower on the food chain, or finding ways to produce animal protein more efficiently.

Comment Re:The federal government must be made to choose (Score 1) 70

Agree with everything you said except this:

(with key exceptions for the identity of human sources; for example, their disclosure may be only to the judge hearing the case, etc.).

This denies the defendant's right to face their accuser and prevents the defense from cross examining. There are very limited exceptions to this, such as dying declarations, but they should be few and far between, and event then the witness's identity isn't concealed.

But yeah, absolutely, if the method of acquiring evidence can't be disclosed because it is too valuable to national security or whatever, then you obviously value the method over the conviction and the evidence should be thrown out. That also serves as an incentive to keep a strict firewall between our intelligence agencies/military and domestic law enforcement.

Comment Re:WTF!!! (Score 4, Insightful) 513

We need to start treat workers as humans and stop thinking private corporations have the right to anything and everything. They take advantage of the stable society we all provide for them. It should come with a responsibility to treat employees humanely.

I think it is telling that we call the people management department of our corporations human resources. It used to be the personnel department. Persons you relate to. Resources are things you exploit.

Comment Whay should I? (Score 1) 308

Is it a shock that our covert HUMINT foreign intelligence agency has a pile of tools for covertly gathering human intelligence? No. I'd be more surprised if they didn't have stuff like this. These tools are useful for the kind of targeted, one-off, POI-focused surveillance that we want our spies to be doing, rather than the sweeping, rights-trampling dragnets we've been seeing from the FBI and NSA.

I'm mostly upset that this stuff was mishandled and leaked, not that it exists.

So am I upset that our spies are spying? No, no I'm not.

Comment Re:Only $73,500? (Score 2) 227

If I where in the same situation and would not have lost my job or anything else, but pushing back, I would be happy with it.

Obviously I would be happier if it were 10 Brazillian, but that would be, I think, not reasonable. As it was settled outside court, it means he was compensated for his loss in time and not their fault in it.

What about when you are looking for you next job (assuming you didn't lose your current one that is), and no one calls you back because the top hit on Google is an article about you being arrested for pedophilia. What about losing your home because you are now essentially unemployable? Will you have the resources to be able to "push back" each time you are discriminated against due to this false black mark that will follow you around forever and be compensated each time?

Comment Re:Reversion to the mean (Score 5, Insightful) 391

If those manufacturing companies destroy all the wealth of the middle class by outsourcing all the jobs, they'll have nobody left to sell their shit too. This is why globalization is a loser's game. The "invisible hand" and free market only work if both labor and capital are mobile. But in the global economy, capital is infinitely mobile, while people are still mostly restricted to finding work in their own countries. This allows globalized corporations to play countries off each other in a game of international labor arbitrage to the detriment of every single human being on the planet.

Comment Re: What should happen and what will happen (Score 1) 143

There's a straightforward reason why lots of web apps continued to use MD5 *long* after it was deprecated: MySQL had a function for md5() almost from the start, but didn't have an inline function for SHA() until 4.0.2...

What sane person does their hashing inside their RDBMS? You hash it in code before you store it.

Comment You still need completely specified algorithms (Score 1) 338

Given a list of inputs and outputs for each code fragment, DeepCoder learned which pieces of code were needed to achieve the desired result overall.

Maybe if you work for NASA, are building life and safety critical industrial software, or writing firmware for a pacemaker you get requirements that are this specific. In the other 99% of use cases a developer will be writing to, forget about it. The cost of specifying a problem to that level of detail is astronomical and also multiplies the cost of any changes you might have to make.

Also, who is writing these detailed specs for the AI to follow? Software engineers. This thing is a threat to code monkeys churned out of 6-month certificate programs, not experienced developers. And if my job in 10 years is to interpret hand wavy customer specs into Lojban for an AI to interpret and then hand the results to some interns to groom into something maintainable, then I'll adapt. It's not that different than what I'm doing today.

Comment Re:Well, duh! (Score 1) 144

Now tell me how to stop a friend or acquaintance from uploading something about me (video, image, or text) and having Facebook have the rights to that.

Depending on where you live and whether anyone is making a profit off of it, you might be able to claim a violation of your likeness rights. I doubt your friend got a model release from you before posting to Facebook. I don't know if something like that has ever been tried though.

Comment Re:I'll never understand (Score 2) 144

"Partner" is a generic way to refer to someone's primary romantic relation in a gender and relationship neutral manner. In this case, maybe the woman was his wife, maybe she wasn't. When talking to a group of people, saying "feel free to bring you partner to the party," is way less awkward than saying "girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, or domestic partner".

Slashdot Top Deals

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson