Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 389

Emphatically YES! Smarts in one narrow field doesn't guarantee smarts in every field: John Podesta is a Smart Guy, but he was stupid enough to fall for a phishing attack.

Yeah, the lesson I took from that is pretty simple and clear: DO NOT READ EMAIL AT 4 AM WHEN YOU ARE NOWHERE NEAR IN CHARGE OF YOUR FULL FACULTIES. Not sure why Podesta hadn't already figured that one out.

Comment Re:Primary factor (Score 1) 455

Let's understand the REAL issue here; the PATENT prevented everyone else from implementing a safety.

(Hyperbolic emphasis removed.)

I presume you mean "safety feature." In that case, you need to also understand that the fellow was using Apple's products and functionality, so their electing to implement or not implement the feature and thus blocking anyone else from developing the same has no bearing. You might also want to look at other instances where one company has patented some feature or product and that did not block other companies from producing highly similar features or products based on alternate implementations. There are many, many instances and examples of such cases. At the same time, we don't know that Apple, electing to not implement the patent, had not been approached to license the IP by manufacturers who wanted to implement the feature on their hardware. The argument you are proposing is that having a patent irrevocably blocks any development along a given line of inquiry, and that assumption is not exactly correct. Rather not, in fact.

Apple is being sued in this case, we might readily presume, because they have deeper pockets than anyone else, certainly deeper than the driver who so unfortunately caused the accident by his negligence to the task at hand of keeping his attention to the road. I suspect the suit will not succeed, and hope that the family can be brought some solace by owning all future wages ever earned by the liable driver.

Comment Re:Legal reference (Score 2) 163

Whether the amount the company is charging is an accurate reflection of their costs, or whether they are able to make a profit at it are irrelevant considerations. Whether the business model is a potentially successful one is not a legal question. And the simple counter-argument is that many, many, many businesses offer below-cost services in order to seed growth, especially early on in their existence. Even mature businesses offer so-called loss-leader specials that are intended to attract customers, even if they are not strictly money-making in an of themselves.

Whether the $1 final cost to the customer is sustainable by VidAngel is irrelevant: they could change their prices tomorrow, and for all we know, already have a price increase path plotted for the future.

Comment Re:Dear Developers... (Score 1) 173

Agreed. The only instance I can think of where a major UI change was definitively for the better was when GIMP tossed that horrible multi-window idiocy for the unified window presentation. That was a clear win (and one that users were clamouring for extensively). Other than that, though, it's all been for-the-worse. The basic menu is a great structure, but what makes it super-duper is having a help system that allows you to search for functionality without having to resort to Google.

Comment Re:Credible study? (Score 3, Informative) 279

you need to measure all mammals or a decent cross section.

Did you read the scientific article? They measured a large number of species, but limited their study to primates and carnivores, as it says in the title of the study:

Postcopulatory sexual selection influences baculum evolution in primates and carnivores

within the scientific article they give the details as to how many:

A supertree phylogeny of 5020 extant mammals was used to reconstruct the ancestral states of baculum presence across the mammalian order.

That sounds like a decent cross-section. Five thousand species.

Secondly, I am not sure how they came to their monogamy theory.

Did you read the scientific article? It's pretty well explained there. They correlated the mating strategy of each species with baculum length. The homo erectus link was done by the Guardian article reporter, though.

Primates in polygamous mating systems were found to have significantly longer bacula than those in other mating systems (n = 65, p = 0.032).

and later

Two more phylogenetic t-tests showed that primates in polygamous mating systems and seasonally breeding primates had significantly longer bacula than primates in other mating systems and those without a seasonal breeding pattern, highlighting the importance of postcopulatory sexual selection as a driver of bacular evolution.

Comment Re:Credible study? (Score 1) 279

chimpanzees do have a baculum, so the correlation is simply not there between longer intercourse and existence of a baculum.

For an otherwise cogent and reasoned posting, you kind of lost it there. Correlation is not causation, or in this case, the correlation may not be perfect since you have identified an exception. Or, perhaps, the correlation is indeed graduated such that the larger the baculum, the longer the intromission (as just a wild-assed guess). Correlation does not need to be 100% in order to observe a valid link.

Indeed, if you read the article's abstract (despite the broken link in the summary), you'd find that the authors are EXACTLY correlating baculum length with intromission duration (emphasis added):

The extreme morphological variability of the baculum across mammals is thought to be the result of sexual selection (particularly, high levels of postcopulatory selection). However, the evolutionary trajectory of the mammalian baculum is little studied and evidence for the adaptive function of the baculum has so far been elusive. Here, we use Markov chain Monte Carlo methods implemented in a Bayesian phylogenetic framework to reconstruct baculum evolution across the mammalian class and investigate the rate of baculum length evolution within the primate order. We then test the effects of testes mass (postcopulatory sexual selection), polygamy, seasonal breeding and intromission duration on the baculum in primates and carnivores. The ancestral mammal did not have a baculum, but both ancestral primates and carnivores did. No relationship was found between testes mass and baculum length in either primates or carnivores. Intromission duration correlated with baculum presence over the course of primate evolution, and prolonged intromission predicts significantly longer bacula in extant primates and carnivores. Both polygamous and seasonal breeding systems predict significantly longer bacula in primates. These results suggest the baculum plays an important role in facilitating reproductive strategies in populations with high levels of postcopulatory sexual selection.

And in case the terminology used here seems odd, "predicts" in this context means they have fitted a model (that's the Markov chain, Bayesian framework stuff) that uses various parameters to understand underlying structure in the noisy data, and that if you vary a given parameter, like baculum length, the model will predict a values for another parameter, say intromission duration, with good correspondence to the actual data, suggesting the model has captured a link of some sort. The key to understanding this is that the data will of necessity be noisy (all biological data are noisy), and the model, if it's a good one, will reject that noise and capture the underlying structure, thus there will likely be deviations from perfection.

For me, educated as an engineer and trained as a biologist, it was a shock to discover that a model in biology was considered to be very good fit when it was only 30% off the mark, whereas in engineering a model was called good when it was only 1% off the mark. Engineering is a far more refined discipline than biology.

Comment Re:Reason for caution: mechanisms not understood (Score 2) 293

... use resources more efficiently ...

A wise person to whom I'm distantly related argued for in front of a small european parliment for that government to put its effort into efficiency thus: energy conservation provides temporary relief that disappears once economic conditions improve, whereas advances in energy efficiency have indefinite payoff.

Comment two stacked LCDs? (Score 3, Insightful) 103

Reading between the lines, it sure sounds like they just stacked two LCDs and bumped the brightness of the light source. Mind you, that's a very good idea. The new underneath layer probably only needs single R/G/B group resolution in order to achieve the claimed specs, making it somewhat easier to manufacture, although alignment is still going to be important to get right, as will appropriately close bonding of the two planes to control leakage from one luminance cell (for want of a better word) to the neighboring RGB cells in the color layer.

A highly-motivated enthusiast might be able to get close to the same results by merging two existing IPS monitors and bumping the light source brightness.

Comment Re:Init alternatives (Score 3, Insightful) 338

The biggest improvement over antique boot systems ...

That there is the heart of the problem, an attitude that anything old is necessarily bad. That your otherwise calm and reasoned presentation allowed this pejorative to slip in belies the psychological bias that underlies the wide arguments on the subject.

Lest we forget, Linux as a whole turned 25 recently. That's antique. Are you giving up the entirety because it's old? Your favorite editor is probably (just based on popularity) is either emacs or vi / vim. They are very, very old (heck, I've been using emacs since the early 1980s!). Are you dumping them because they are old? I hope you see why calling something "antique" is ill-conceived.

Now to make sure that my point is being made clear, allow me to be explicit: old does not necessarily mean bad, but it does not necessarily mean good, either. Things that are old now were once shiny and new, and weren't necessarily an improvement when they were introduced. But change merely for the sake of change -- which seems to be what was behind debacles in KDE, Gnome, systemd, and Wayland to name a handful -- is wasted effort. For systemd in particular, the primary argument for using it seems to be parallel init, something that as many others have pointed out really isn't much of an issue these days since (a) Linux is generally stable enough that reboots are rare (although there are specific use-cases that benefit, like demand-based VM creation), and (b) computers have become generally fast enough that reboots are inherently speedy.

Comment But, why? (Score 1) 243

Yes, sure, an interesting thought experiment, I suppose. Maybe. If you're the sort of psychopath who likes to pull legs off of small insects and animals just to watch them die. And, if that's the case, well, you need to be removed from direct contact with society and should be seeking treatment, possibly including protection from yourself. There is no legitimate use that comes to mind for a USB-killer other than to intentionally destroy property (unlike, say, a firearm which has legitimate uses beyond the raw ability to kill or maim). Moreover, it would seem to be targeted toward public-facing USB ports which are, in general, a public good, and destroying a public good brings us back to the psychopath issue.

For everyone else, well, that sort of creative energy is useful put to more positive efforts.

Comment Re:Can you see Google's Code? (Score 1) 385

Do not ascribe to malice that which can be explained by ineptitude. Or something like that.

My understanding is that the result on Google, both displayed search results and auto-completion suggestions, are based on a large number of factors including (wait for it) your personal past history of typing, and the most popular results.

Assuming that a "voting for ..." search would autocomplete with both main candidates equally assumes that there are as many people typing one candidate as the other. That is an unfounded assumption that is likely false. I searched a few times for a third-party candidate and lo! my autocomplete changed. The horror! Bias! Lynch them! Or, wait, maybe if I were searching for widgets that might be a good idea. Maybe if I were looking for somewhere to vacation, that might be a good idea. Maybe under circumstances that are not so emotionally incendiary, we might want exactly this behavior because it works very well.

Any evaluation that demonstrates bias and is shocked by the results (or merely reports them) must prove unequivocally that the assumption of a lack of fundamental underlying bias in the data exists. A fundamental equality of data (e.g. the same number of web sites for the two candidates, the same number of twitter posts, etc.) is unlikely to be true in any of the cases being discussed in this thread.

In other words, the original posting is not news. It is, to use the current vogue terminology, fake news. Lying with statistics. Click bait. Something to be ignored.

Comment Re:yes they should (Score 1) 1081

I'd also say guys like Nate Silver and Sam Wang may want to find something else to do, because this, even though I didn't believe, did end up being a Brexit-style vote, where traditional demographic models failed utterly and the pollsters and aggregators by and large got it wrong.

Just because the models missed one election does not mean the models are useless, nor that they can't be improved. I'm sure that there is going to be a ton of analysis -- and rightly so -- to revise the models to the point that they would have accurately predicted the outcome. You don't abandon a solid, useful mechanism just because you encountered an exceptional case.

Comment Re:Casimir effect (Score 1) 711

The assumptions, from Noether's theorem stating that symmetries imply conservation laws, are that the universe is smooth, in the mathematical sense of smooth being that space is infinitely divisible. We know that last part isn't true: you cannot measure position to an arbitrary precision in the universe.

Last I understood, the experiments that wanted to prove space to be quantized have not produced positive results as of yet.

Slashdot Top Deals

The earth is like a tiny grain of sand, only much, much heavier.