Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


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 I Agree But... (Score 1) 529

I totally agree that US should fast-track high performers. The rest of the world does it. Because we do not appropriately reward performance, unemployment is increasing. That said, I can understand why some feel no love for the gifted. Successful kids turn into successful adults. The top 0.1% make bundles of money which does not trickle down enough. We need to put big taxes on the rich, not to punish them, but to keep our society functioning. The alternative will be social breakdown, which could get very ugly.

Comment This Is What You Chose? (Score 2) 184

The science is clear: Climate crisis is coming; We're making it happen; Onset may take only decades from now. Desertification, devastation to agriculture, habitat loss, ocean damage, increasing competition for resources, violence (and quite possibly wars), and billions of human fatalities. We choose to put CO2 and methane into the atmosphere. We superstitiously reject the technology which has the most power to save us: nuclear energy. Nuclear energy emits no greenhouse gas. Nuclear "waste" is a fallacy; current reactors burn their fuel only 4%; the rest can be burned by fast reactors. And if you think nuclear is expensive, think about about a carbon tax, and stop NIMBY litigation. A vote against nuclear is a vote for climate crisis.

Firefighters Let House Burn Because Owner Didn't Pay Fee 2058

Dthief writes "From MSNBC: 'Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat. "They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.'"

Pope's Astronomer Would Love To Baptize an Alien 308

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The Guardian reports that Guy Consolmagno, curator of the pope's meteorite collection and a trained astronomer and planetary scientist, says he would be 'delighted' if intelligent life was found among the stars. 'But the odds of us finding it, of it being intelligent and us being able to communicate with it — when you add them up it's probably not a practical question.' Consolmagno adds that the traditional definition of a soul was to have intelligence, free will, freedom to love and freedom to make decisions. 'Any entity — no matter how many tentacles it has — has a soul.' Would he baptize an alien? 'Only if they asked.' Consolmagno dismisses the ideas of intelligent design as a pseudo-scientific version of creationism. 'The word has been hijacked by a narrow group of creationist fundamentalists in America to mean something it didn't originally mean at all. It's another form of the God of the gaps. It's bad theology in that it turns God once again into the pagan god of thunder and lightning.'"

Comment We Depend on Automation (Score 1) 385

Jared Diamond, in "Guns, Germs and Steel" argues that an "advanced" society makes its individuals weaker re: performing on their own without the coddling of society. If you were released alone in the remote wild, how long would you survive? What would happen if the electrical grid in North America suddenly terminally failed? By the way, I used this page's built-in spelling correction to write this.

Comment Am I Supposed to Be Happy? (Score 1) 772

What about regions of the world where almost nobody make $75K? Is everybody sad there? For example: India. Anyone there could be poor but could belong to a loving family with reasonable health but earn "only" $20K. Maybe all they can afford to do in the evenings is go for a walk, tell stories, or sing songs. But what's so bad about that? Many kinds of goods are cheaper now that they were historically. What % of Americans have indoor plumbing? What fraction of people had indoor plumbing 500 years ago? Don't people with indoor plumbing have a reason to be happier? Back then you couldn't buy good dental services for any price. Even poor Americans now in many ways live more comfortable lives than royalty did a thousand years ago. I suspect that 99% of humanity have no real identity of their own. They are not capable of focusing on their own lives, doing what they can do to improve, and enjoying what they have. Instead, people judge themselves by comparing to those around them, "Keeping up with the Jonses". There's no surer way to make yourself unhappy.

Russian Scholar Warns Of US Climate Change Weapon 415

According to Russian political scientist, and conspiracy aficionado Andrei Areshev the high heat, and poor crop yields of Russia, and other Central Asian countries may be the result of a climate weapon created by the US military. From the article: "... Areshev voiced suspicions about the High-Frequency Active Aural Research Program (HAARP), funded by the US Defense Department and the University of Alaska. HAARP, which has long been the target of conspiracy theorists, analyzes the ionosphere and seeks to develop technologies to improve radio communications, surveillance, and missile detection. Areshev writes, however, that its true aim is to create new weapons of mass destruction 'in order to destabilize environmental and agricultural systems in local countries.'"

Comment More Obese Cars? (Score 2, Insightful) 509

So we'll cocoon ourselves in masses of materials designed to make us safe? You can talk about light materials but the overall trend is the opposite. Cars used to be under 2000 pounds and now they are 3500+ pounds, even with the materials technology gains we've had. Weight is the number one factor in determining fuel mileage. So we may avoid crashes, but then we will die from air pollution and other environmental footprint due to cars. We will feel safe driving air conditioned cars through globally-warmed deserts. Until gas is $30 per gallon, people (Americans especially) will slurp gas like there's no tomorrow.

What the Google-ITA Deal Really Portends 77

Much of the discussion about Google's bid to buy ITA Software, including here, has been limited by the lack of understanding all around about how airline search and reservations actually work now, and what it is exactly that ITA Software does. Travel expert Edward Hasbrouck wrote a detailed 3-part piece on his blog explaining the back story, what ITA Software does, and what it means for travelers. "...because CRS/GDS [Computerized Reservation Systems or Global Distribution Systems] companies are generally invisible in their intermediary role (and currently all owned by groups of private equity investors, so they need not report publicly on their finances or operations), few analysts outside the travel tech industry know how to interpret the implications of Google's decision to invest $700 million in this sector. Frankly, I'm not at all sure Google itself understands what ITA Software does (and doesn't) do, and what they are getting for their money. ... What will this deal mean for travelers? The short answer is that it is likely to be a bad thing for travelers ... because it is likely to exacerbate the trend toward personalized and less transparent pricing of airline tickets (and other travel services) and the de facto disappearance of key consumer protection principles embodied in the definition of a common carrier and the requirement for a published tariff applicable equally to all would-be customers complying with the same rules."

ESA Releases Lutetia Flyby Images 48

The European Space Agency has released images from yesterday's close approach of asteroid 21 Lutetia by the Rosetta probe. At its closest, the probe was a mere 3,162 km from the asteroid, passing at 15 km/s and snapping photos sharp enough to make out features as small as 60 meters. "Rosetta operated a full suite of sensors at the encounter, including remote sensing and in-situ measurements. Some of the payload of its Philae lander were also switched on. Together they looked for evidence of a highly tenuous atmosphere, magnetic effects, and studied the surface composition as well as the asteroid’s density. ... The flyby marks the attainment of one of Rosetta's main scientific objectives. The spacecraft will now continue to a 2014 rendezvous with its primary target, comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It will then accompany the comet for months, from near the orbit of Jupiter down to its closest approach to the Sun. In November 2014, Rosetta will release Philae to land on the comet nucleus." There is also a replay of the media event webcast on the ESA's website.

1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online 54

ElectricSteve writes "Astronomers in Hawaii have announced they've successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope. Working from dusk to dawn every night, Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track all moving objects, calculate their orbits, and identify any potential threats to Earth. There are four Pan-STARRS cameras in total, each capable of capturing around 1.4 billion pixels over a sensor measuring 40 centimeters square. The focal plane of each camera contains an almost complete 64x64 array of CCD devices, each containing approximately 600x600 pixels, for a total resolution of 1.4 gigapixels."

Comment We will get used to it (Score 1) 241

Tastes and cultures change over time. As more advertisers practice targeted advertising, the more we will get used to it. I'll bet at some point, we'll even start to get offended by ads that should be targeted but aren't. You can say now that you abhor these ads, but all things change with time. Not too long ago, americans weren't comfortable with top-level athletes wearing logos. We used to think rock music was edgy. We used to think NPR was ad-free.

Slashdot Top Deals

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!