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Comment Re:Weird definition (Score 1) 201

Well, if you've ever been an expert at something, you no doubt use certain words in ways that confuse non-experts, because you have need of more precision than they do.

I have no idea what the technical epidemiological standard is for being something- "free", but it can't be the utter absence of that something (which is the non-specialist's definition) because you can't prove a negative. So there must be some criteria short of absence.

Comment Re:Fear is a good thing for business (Score 1) 251

It's been tried before, on an impressive scale. Humans haven't figured out absolutely how to keep rats, cockroaches and bedbugs out of their domiciles, much less most persistent and clever pest of all: other humans.

It'd probably be worthwhile for the rich to consider what being rich actually means. It's not having a lot of gold. Gold through the ages has only been useful as specie because (a) it's pretty and (b) it didn't have much practical use other than being pretty.

What being rich means is having the ability to command the cooperation and compliance of other human beings.

So a bunker is only good for a couple of weeks or at most months of disorder. It's a place to go while someone on the outside is struggling to re-establish the status quo ante. So it makes no sense to build one unless you also invest in the stability of the status quo, because if those people trying to preserve society fail you're actually in a worse situation than other survivors when you come out of your bunker. The vast majority of your money will become only scare-quotes "money" if the legal framework in which debts and ownership exist ceases to function.

Comment It's the marginal hedonic value of money, folks. (Score 3, Informative) 251

Scenario: You discover to your surprise that you can have your fill of every pleasure money can buy, and then you notice you've still got a mountain of that stuff lying around.

What to do?

(1) Pursue power. This never gets old, because there's other guys with mountains of money doing the same thing. No amount of power.is ever enough, because it's relative power that brings satisfaction.

(2) Serve humanity. The ability to amass money on this scale is a function of the scale of society, and that means that society's problems scale proportionately. The material resources you command could have solved all humanity's problems -- five thousand years ago. Today they're just a drop in a bucket, and that's a challenge.

(3) Build yourself a lavish Armageddon bunker.

(4) Any combination of the above.

Comment I'd like to hear a coherent argument (Score 1, Interesting) 258

That our authority over DNS is legally US government property in any sense the framers would have agreed upon, even stretching that concept of property to include intangible property.

Even if you can argue that DNS is American government property, it's pretty useless property. Since it is largely administered in a decentralized fashion, if the rest of the world wants it can set up its own DNS system and have people in their country point to their preferred root servers.

Comment Re:Star of David used by Neo Nazis... (Score 1) 391

My position is that anyone can have any opinion they want, and that the significance of that opinion to others depends on whatever level of trust the claimer can command. This puts some people in a de facto privileged position. This can be rational (e.g. privileging an oncologist's opinions on cancer over a layman's) and in other cases not (privileging a fellow mom's opinions about vaccines over an immunologist or toxicologist).

So my point is that you CAN make any of the claims you suggested, but your authority won't carry much weight because you're just a random bloke on the Internet. You would have to make a convincing argument. However even then there are lots of very credible-sounding arguments out there that don't sound credible to someone who has actual knowledge.

The bottom line is knowing the truth of any claim is quite difficult, particularly when it involves jargon. In general the judgment of someone who has spent some time studying an issue is more be trusted than what "stands to reason" in your own judgment. Even so, an expert should still be able to give a coherent defense of his positions.

So in the case of this frog meme, I have no particular reason to doubt ADL; however if it were important to me I would look at the evidence ADL puts forward in justification of their position. I do not necessarily agree with ADL on everything (e.g. on Muslims displaying tokens bearing the Shahada), but they have more than any other group tracked violent extremist groups and their affiliates and therefore are in at least a position to compare and contrast the symbols used. If, however, it were an organization like Kahane Chai, I would feel no particular reason to look into their reasoning because they're a racist group. Life is simply to short to treat a source that is consistently nonsense as if it might be credible.

Comment Re:Star of David used by Neo Nazis... (Score 1) 391

Well, actually technically speaking you're the one begging the question: you haven't established that either you or I enjoy some kind of privileged position in which we get to condemn other people for condemning language they don't like.

So by all means condemn them for calling things "hate speech", it's your right; but it's also their right.

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