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Comment La Jetée (Score 2) 1222

The best science fiction movie of all time is a short (half-hour) black/white French film called "La Jetée" [translates as the airport's observation deck]. It is in the format of scanned photos with narration, like Ken Burns' PBS documentaries.

    A child sees a man crumble and die while visiting Paris Orly airport's observation deck in 1962. Shortly after there is total nuclear war. Because he is obsessed with this image of a man's death, he is selected to be a guinea pig in an experiment to send him time traveling into the future in order to get an energy source to restart civilization. He succeeds in moving in time, but always ends up in the pre-war era. There, he meets a beautiful woman and falls in love.

    It doesn't sound like much, but it is a true masterpiece. MIT even published a coffee-table book detailing every scene.

    It is super low-budget. One scene that shows the Arc of Triumph in Paris with a huge chunk blown out of it actually has a pin hole from a thumbtack displayed in it.

    David Bowie did a homage to it in video for a song from his Black Tie/White Noise album in the early 1990s.

    It is available on DVD from most big-city library systems.

Comment F*ucking idiot (Score 0) 518

See the comment subject. Lindsay, girl, this is really ill-advised. Not only to you make yourself look like a f*ucking idiot, but you are insulting religion. Which is a dumb thing to do considering how many -millions- of people take this stuff seriously. Like maybe the cop who pulls you over for a busted tail-light and decides to throw in an extra $300 speeding ticket (37 in a 35 zone) just because she goes to Mass every week and doesn't get the joke that you're a Pastafarian.

Plus this driver's license is a legal document. It's not the proper place for this shit.

Grow up, girl, Get a cute boyfriend to hump your brains out on a regular basis and you won't feel the need to go around with a fucking pot on your head.

Comment Missing the point here (Score 1) 189

The endless discussion on the advantages of analog over digital recording always gloss over the fact that a customer has to pay $10-20 for EACH album purchased in the vinyl analog format, while a $10-$20 64Gb SD card stores 1200 albums (@12 songs; @ 5Mb per song in 256BPS MP3 format) for the same price. Plus 1200 albums fills the wall of a house and weighs 100+ kilos, while a 64GB SD card is the size of a thumbnail.

The question of preserving sound quality on different media is like being concerned that a Mozart symphony would disappear if the paper that Mozart himself wrote the symphony on crumbled. Instead we just get a new symphony orchestra to play the same notes that Mozart wrote down with the same instruments. And the symphony sounds the same 250 years later without using any recording technology.

It's the musical experience that is important, not the recording of the musical experience.

Comment the primal fundamental reason boys do computers (Score 1) 779

Boys have an inherent fascination with the concept of using symbol manipulation to change the functionality of physical machinery. By changing how machines work by typing words and code. Boys are absolutely obsessed with the concept that you can create machines that do what you tell them to do by changing mere symbols (which is what source code is). It is a way of creating life from dead objects by using 'magic' symbols. Religions are based on this. Programming is a type of religion. Boys are very much into this.

Girls, on the other hand, are absolutely fascinated by their ability to create actual living, thinking, unique human beings with their own bodies. They don't need magic symbol manipulation to create artificial life from physical objects. Their bodies create life from their interactions with other life. The lives that girls create can't be controlled like the robots or machinery that boys create, but their human-life creations are infinitely more complicated than what the boys can do.

This is the basic primal fundamental reason why boys are much more attracted to computers and science. Boys spend their lives and careers trying to gain and master the life-creating abilities that girls are endowed with at birth.

Comment Get real, my friend (Score 1) 153

Get real, my friend. Stuxnet was designed to prevent psychotic religious fanatics from developing nuclear bombs. There is no real question as to whether the Iranians would use any nuclear bomb under their control to murder 100,000s of Jews in Israel. They have said that they will do it in so many words over and over again in their internal religious sermons. To the foreigners they're a little more diplomatic.

    The American-Ashkanzim alliance is the most productive alliance between peoples in all of history. We, as Americans, will never just sit back and watch fascist demented assholes like the Iranian mullahs murder thousands of Jewish people as we did in the early 1940s.

    There is no comparison between using hacking to destroy nuclear proliferation and using hacking to suppress an embarrassing Hollywood comedy movie. Anyone who thinks that the two are equal is a fool.

    You're a smart person if you're on Slashdot. Don't be a fool.

Comment Old Castro fan calls B.S! on Cuban internet (Score 3, Interesting) 115

I'm an old Castro and Che fan from the 1960s. . After having met and talked with many Cuban exiles of my own age who have arrived in my city over the years, I now realize that the entire Cuban revolution was bullshit Things suck there. They are always getting worse. I call bullshit on Cuban government's proposal to 'allow' internet access to its citizens. That country is run by fascist assholes. They will never all access to the internet to ordinary citizens. Only Cuban 'stasi' goon-squad assholes and their trusted weasels will be allowed to view Huff Post or Slashdot.

Comment Subtitle Sunglasses (Score 1) 71

This speech translator is trés cool.

For a while I've been bugging techies with my conception of 'subtitle sunglasses'. These would be 'ordinary' glasses that would have microphones and nano-technology CPUs inside the frame. The microphones would hear the speech of the person that you are looking at (who is speaking a foreign language), translate that speech into English, and display the text of the translation onto the bottom of the user's frame. Like subtitles in a foreign movie for those of you who have ever seen a subtitled foreign movie. Many Germans haven't. The power to operate these 'subtitle sunglasses' would come from the generators creating electricity from the movement's of the user's head.

I challenge teckies to approximate how long in the future it will be before this kind of product is available for purchase in the $500 range.

One unusually aspect of Moore's Law is that we can project when a product like this will be actually available. We take the cost of making any science fiction concept using today's technology and use future-value calculations of accounting to project a future price time-frame given that the price of the technology will fall by half every 18 months.

Another trick is to use this example as a crude intelligence IQ test. Claim that the Japanese have actually developed 'subtitle sunglasses' but they only translate English into Japanese. Claim that you have been able to obtain a secret advanced prototype of such glasses. Give an ordinary pair of reading glasses to a person and claim that these are actual real 'subtitle sunglasses' that have tiny speakers that create synthetic spoken sound inside the ears. Invite them to try them on. When they put on the glasses, start speaking in Japanese (learn a few phrases well beforehand). The time that it takes them to realize that you are completely bulllshitting them is an indication of how intelligent they are. Hope that they don't get violent.

Comment My toenail holds my music collection (Score 1) 433

I have a 64G SD card that holds 8000 songs that are about 4 minutes each at 250KBPS MP3. This SD card is the size of my toenail. It costs about $15. The same amount of recorded sound on vinyl records would take up about 140 cubic feet of space.
Did I forget to mention that I can plug my 8000 song music collection into your computer and a few hours later, my music collection is my any your music collection and it costs you $15, should you decide to store said collection on a medium the size of a toenail. An 800 album vinyl music collection would cost about $12000.

There are idiots out there who would argue that the nearly in-perceivable audio difference between a 250KBPS MP3 music collection and a vinyl collection is worth $12000. They are trustafarians with young perfect ears who don't have to worry about paying rent, food, and childcare on a $40000 salary.

Unless you actually are one of them, you should never take anything that these people say seriously.

Comment To hell with taxis... (Score 2, Interesting) 295

I had to pay $60 for an eight mile (12 km) taxi ride from the Portland Oregon airport to downtown because the idiot public transit system there stopped running from the airport at 11:25pm. All the flights from the East coast and Midwest USA leave in the late early evening and arrive between 11:30pm and 1:00am. The local public transport system (TriMet) spends millions of dollars each year telling people how wonderful they are, but they can't even get one single bus an hour on this most important route of the city: the airport to the downtown.

To hell with taxis, and especially to hell with Tri-Met!

Anything that improves the basic transport needs of any 21st-century city is welcome!

Comment Space Loonies (Score 1, Informative) 219

Manned space flight was a government program that has been determined to be
too expensive and too limited in returns to be continued at its former funding
levels. We have serious problems now that we didn't have then, and few people
believe that throwing hundreds of billions of dollars into space will solve
them. Grown-up people who have to make hard and realistic decisions about our
public funds and resources have decided this. NASA and Tom Swift-space buffs
can't accept it. Sorry, guys, but it's time to get real.

      Sure, politicians will continue announce great new projects like manned Mars
missions. But then they will quietly de-fund them to nearly nothing a year
later. They don't have any choice. Money that would have been spent on these
projects has already been spent; and it's gone. Get used to it because it is the
way that things will be from now on.
    The permanent, endless war and 100 million obese, stupid Baby-Boomers are all
that we got for it this massive misallocation of resources. It's all that we're
going to get. This is the great tragedy that is America and what it could have
been, but isn't and now never will be.

    People born into 20th-century America are prone to economic fantasy because
they have lived their whole lives inside one. What they don't realize is that
their country and their government is broke. There is no trillion dollars for
space exploration. There is no trillion dollars for anything left anywhere in
the USA.

    Money is not a physical good. Money is basically created out of nothing. If
this conjured money doesn't in turn create real wealth, it disappears back to
nothing by means of inflation. Space exploration does not create wealth by
itself. It is a combination of heavily-subsidized unfocused research and
technological stunts done for national prestige. NASA engineers never
understand this. They don't study economics, and they don't understand

    There won't be hundreds of billions of dollars spent on space in the coming
years because there was already a trillion dollars spent on a Iraq-Afghanistan
war that accomplished nothing. There was a trillion dollars spent on
maintaining the fantasy that some Wall Street banks and investment firms are too
big to fail. There was a trillion dollars spent giving $600,000 mortgages to
janitors. There were many trillions of dollars spent on federal government
budget deficits.

    All these trillion-dollar misadventures didn't create any wealth. And
therefore, the money disappeared. America was rich in the past, now it's not.
There were great sums of money in the past for funding giant government
projects, but there aren't going to be any giant projects in the future. The
trillions of dollars that space enthusiasts believe could and should be spent on
the glorious future in space and its endless possibilities for the betterment of
humanity don't exist anymore.

      Space-cadets love to talk about the need to venture beyond the moon in order
to save humanity from a soon-to-be dying Earth. But this is not science
talking, it's a personality disorder. These guys assume that because their
scientific prowess has created tools and techniques that can destroy the Earth,
then they have a right, and even an obligation, to do so. They confuse rockets
with penises and hydrogen bombs with testicles.

      These guys are not clear-eyed, sober engineers; they are death-worshiping
fascists. They are transparently insane, and you shouldn't pay serious attention
to them. They are left-over 'Dr. Strangelove' techno-psychopaths from mid-20th
century. They're pissed because 'little-minded people' wouldn't let them burn
the Earth and rule the ashes. Fortunately, their time has gone and they don't
have the political power that they did fifty years ago.

    We live in a different age now. This is the era of limits. Understand this
and we will prosper in new and unexpected ways. Learn to differenciate fact
from fantasy and leave the fantasies to the Hollywood movie-makers. Space
Exploration is a 20th-century quasi-religion that has begun to manifest itself
as a mental disease among those people who continue to believe it too strongly.
Don't let that happen to you.

Comment Better password (Score 1) 549

I suggest that you use the initials of all the people that you had crushes on when you were in middle school. You won't forget them, and brute-force cracking software is unlikely to detect your password.

  For example, if you had crushes on Carly, Janis, Gina, Wanda, Jane, Janet, Joan, Julie, Sally, Cindy, Alice, and Farah, then your general password would be: cjgwjjjjscaf. Which is a wonderful password. [You can't help it: you're a hopeless romantic.]

Unfortunately, nitwit system admins are requiring people use passwords with numbers and "special characters".
Which brings us to the number one rule of passwords: Always Let The User Pick Their Own Password!
Rule number two: Never force anyone to change their password if they don't want to!

If you are serious about having unbreakable passwords, then forget all this number and special character nonsense and allow backspace to be a character in the password that your user chooses.

One more thing. If you're not guarding hydrogen bombs, then you don't really need hydrogen-bomb-level password security. You don't minimum 10 unique_characters_plus_numbers_and_special_character passwords for your kitten video website.

Comment Primal difference between Man and Woman (Score 1) 342

There is a primal difference between men and women that is applicable to software engineering.
Software writing is basically the manipulation of symbols to change the operation of physical machinery. This definition can be extended to mean that software creates functional machinery through the manipulation of symbols (text typed on editors that is compiled into machine-controlling patterns of 1s and 0s).

Men get a primal Promethean thrill and ego boost from creating machines from symbols.

Women get the same thrill and primal sense-of-purpose from creating new living human beings (i.e. babies), instead of machinery.

This, I believe, is the subliminal reason that so few women go into the software development field.

Comment a solution in search of a problem (Score 1) 75

Until such time that the tech community of the world can and will effectively deal with (i.e. either convince to stop misbehaving or just kill 'em) all the brilliant psychopathic programmers in their mist that create malware and viruses that defraud millions of people, then it is plain madness and criminal negligence to encourage people to entrust their data to some unknown and unmonitored external entity such as the 'cloud'.

Until that time, safe and productive cloud computing is just a fantasy. It's a solution in search of problem. Avoid it.

Comment JJ meets his Waterloo attacking high tech (Score 0) 514

JJ meets his Waterloo when he barges into the electronics lab. Even the black people in the electronics/high tech biz are about as far away from being black as you can be. All fifty of them.

For 400 years, the Afro-american community has been desperately breeding a certain type of individual. A type of person who can survive slave work and still pass their inherent africaness into the next generation. After 20 solid generations, they created the 'African-American'.

The technology industry is almost as old (if you see the industrial revolution and beginning of science as part of the tech industry). It too has created a certain individual type: the nerd.

The A-As and the nerds are about as far apart as people can be. All the characteristics bred into one group were bred out of the other group. They can barely talk to each other, even when they speak the same language.

The tech industry hires two types of people: nerds and people who support the needs of nerds. And since the tech industry is one of the most important industries in the world today, (along with food production and high finance) , they get to choose who they will pay to work for them.

The only reason the nerds will hire black people is as office pets. And then only the ones who know the difference between flux and a capacitor. And the ones "just know" without being specifically taught that you can type "ST7735R" into Google when you want to get the 250 page manual of a thin-flat-transistor screen. And who would never bring up the subject of "mah dih'que" in the workplace. Not too many people like this around, and the ones that are, are already working in the high tech biz.

So let's just redirect our conversation to the vast legacy of great JJ jokes that have written over the past half century. Old standards like:

Q: What's this? fee foh fii - fii fee foh foh A: JJ's telephone number (from 1977)

-or, the more esoteric,

JJ visited the Middle East and met with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat. After the meeting, JJ was overheard saying to himself: "...been a long time since I said 'Yah, sir' to anyone".

Comment Not exactly needed (Score 1, Interesting) 62

A 700 frame per second camera really isn't needed by very many people. It doesn't matter if a new design reduces its price by an order of magnitude.

What we need is the opposite: a very cheap camera with very high resolution and a very low price. Then we can put them on light poles and get good high-resolution courts-evidence-quality images of the people who are running out of nowhere to attack you, beat you senseless, and stealing your $500 bicycle when neighborhood is quite 100% gentrified yet.

At the present we have low-res video of "people" doing this, but they are rarely have enough resolution to positively identify the attackers.

Same with 'Flash mobs' that come into a store in groups of dozens, grab handfuls of stuff off the shelves, and just walk out in a large group.

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Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas