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Comment Re:So you slag Trump by objectifying his wife? (Score 1) 143

There's a bit of difference between using pictures a person had taken voluntarily for sexual gratification and actually objectifying the person themselves.

Or, in another way of putting it, just because someone posed for explicit pictures does not mean that's the sum total of their value as a person, which is what "sexual objectification" is usually taken to mean - they aren't a person, but an object that has no value other than to be used for sexual gratification.

Given what I've read from you in the past, I'm pretty sure you'd agree she's still a human being, even if she is married to a walking bottle of spray tan with a shitty hairpiece.

Comment Re:You keep saying that word... (Score 1) 954

Only a moron thinks the world I'm talking is hypothetical - it's the world we live in today.

Look at food production. It used to consume huge amounts of human labor, proportional to the population, and yet now it takes vastly less, in part due to tooling and automation. Do you seriously think that trend won't continue?

Look at construction. It's a hugely labor intensive industry... Except where robots are working on putting together (and in some cases making) pre-fab components. Do you seriously think that this trend won't also continue?

Look at the cost of obtaining raw materials and how it has vastly decreased over time. Do you think that trend won't also continue? Imagine herds of bots and bacterium going through landfills and converting yesterday's trash into today's materials. Oh wait, you don't have to - this is already being done, on a very small scale, in labs today.

It's actually more expensive - and dehumanizing and demeaning - to provide social services today in the way that we do rather than it would be to just give those who can't afford it a basic (and by no means luxurious) standard of living.

The majority of people ALREADY don't do a damn thing to ensure that we have the basic essentials of life, and the vast majority of people ALREADY do work that can (and most certainly will) be easily and more effectively done by machines.

It's amusing - and a little sad - that you seem to lack the ability to think of humans at leisure as anything other than "loafing around." Why should only a select few be allowed to focus on pursuits that interest them rather than just survival?

What makes them so special that they should be spared from toil? Look at someone who slaves away in a sweat shop 16 hours a day for scraps and tell me - with a straight face - that they aren't working as hard as some IBanker who just shuffles money around and creates nothing. Yet one of them would die in a month if they lost their job, and the other will make enough money by 40 to live like a god until the end of their days.

It's people like you who are exactly what I'm referring to when I talk about people with their heads in their asses.

The sooner we all come to realize that the very fundamentals of human survival have changed, the sooner we can embrace what's already happened and the less disruptive it will be.

Our economy is ALREADY in the shitter, by the way: we have children who go hungry, despite the fact that we make enough food to feed the entire planet several times over. We have mothers and daughters and sisters and fathers and sons and brothers who die to easily preventable diseases and easily treatable illnesses just because they can't afford to pay for it, despite the fact that the necessary vaccines and treatments are actually very inexpensive. We have young minds going into crippling debt to obtain a college education because they HAVE to in order to get a low paying job that will never make use of that education or risk starving amidst plenty.

If you don't think THAT is a description of an economy in the shitter, then I pity you.

Comment Re:You keep saying that word... (Score 0) 954

What happens is that we finally pull our collective heads out of our collective asses and realize that maybe there should be more to "being human" than slaving away for 40+ hours a week doing busywork just to scrape by.

We give everyone a minimum level of housing, food, clothing and access to services, and quit worrying about what they do to earn it. Maybe most will just fuck off and watch endless Law & Order reruns, but who cares? It isn't like they're taking anything away from anyone else. But we might also see an explosion in people turning towards more creative pursuits because now they aren't so bone weary from putting up with some bullshit McJob and can actually focus on something with a bit more meaning than flipping burgers or cleaning grills.

We could do this *now* except we're too fucking up our own asses with the whole protestant work ethic thing that we're acting against our own best interest.

Comment Re:American people should have a voice (Score 1) 629

How is this insightful?

The American people had a voice: They re-elected President Obama in 2012. Either he's President or he isn't, and either it's the President's job to submit nominees, or it isn't. The only temporal limits are the date's the President is in office, period, full stop.

The American people had a voice: They elected every member of the Senate. Either they're the Senate or their not, and either it's their job to consider and confirm/deny nominees, or it isn't. I don't care if they vote down any nominee outright, but refusing to do their jobs is bullshit.

If the American people want more direct say in such matters, then they should vote for officials who will vote for constitutional amendments that will make this a direct democracy. It's the dumbest fucking idea I can imagine (in this context), but that's how they have a voice.

Don't like it? Then either work to change it or fuck right off.

Comment Re:interesting (Score 1) 187

With kids especially, since they tend to developmentally lack certain structures that are essential to abstract thinking. You have to be practical because nothing else will work (except in extremely rare cases).

After D&D, we got a modem and I totally lost my mind when I realized that there were other human beings out there who also had computers and wanted to talk, so I started using a really simple chat program on The Source to bug people who were on line (with appropriate parental supervision).

Then someone mentioned BBSs, and after that I wanted to make my own BBS software, so learned a bit about that; I wound up writing a basic wardialer (didn't know things like that existed but I got curious to see if anyone else had a modem). Then after I saw a bunch of different BBSs, I wanted to run my own. I learned how to write a program that would have the modem answer the phone and try to handshake with a caller, then I made a user system, and then a simple menu system, then messaging, and then games, etc. Every time I learned one thing, I saw another feature out there that I wanted to add, so I just kept on learning more since I had a never ending series of problems to solve.

At some point, around 14 or so, I lost interest (or gained an interest in dating and seeing the sun and the outdoors). I didn't start writing software again until years later in grad school (for public health) and had to create a response & notification system for disaster first responders; we were supposed to just make process manual, but I thought hey, maybe this would be less prone to error or panic or human factors if there were software that could tell you what you needed to do, step by step, and how that might make it a LOT easier to train dispatchers.

My faculty advisor said hey, would you take a look at this other thing I've been working on and I'm like oh, hey, you know, we could have a system to do this, that ant the other thing... And years later, despite totally changing fields 2x, I'm pretty much doing that same thing all the time.

Who knew my brother being a dick would lead to this career?

Comment Re:interesting (Score 2) 187

When I was very young, my older brother would have friends over and they would play D&D. Being the pesky kid sister, I wanted to play with them, and my folks insisted they let me play. So I made a character (a very time consuming process) and triumphantly joined their game and... my character was immediately killed by a dragon swooping down from the sky who then flew off, job done.

So I took a couple of hours to make another character and... killed by a random passing ogre. My brother and his friends were laughing their asses off about it, and figured they had gotten me to stop wanting to play, because it took me like an hour or so to make a character and if they kept dying...

I told my dad what was going on and, rather than tell my brother and his friends to knock that shit off, he said hey, let's see if we can make it so you can make a new character faster than they can kill it off. We spent about 3 weeks building a character creation program on our Apple ][; it just HAPPENED to also teach me the basics of programming.

Next time I gamed with them, they predictably killed my character right away. So I ran off, printed out a new one and came back. They killed her, too. Came back a minute later with another, then came back with a stack of them and at some point they said fuck it and actually let me play.

Give a person a problem they actually CARE about solving and that is amenable to an engineered solution and some support while they're surmounting the learning curve, and they'll probably pick stuff up really well. Necessity first, THEN abstraction.

Comment Re:interesting (Score 1) 187

I don't mean to intrude on a good rant, but if you *really* want to improve things, you need to re-examine this statement. Do you truly believe that your elementary school maths teachers did not know elementary school math?

Yes, I truly believe my elementary school maths teachers did not KNOW elementary school math.

I believe they could DO elementary school math - as in, they had, as most people do, the processes down and could arrive at a correct answer when presented with an arithmetic problem.

But they did not KNOW elementary school math. They didn't understand why those processes worked and weren't able to do anything but shrug and say "that's just how it is" when a student would ask the why, rather than the how. They weren't able to present multiple different approaches to solving the same problem and use that to get at larger concepts like critical thinking.

When I was in those classes, I did NOT learn elementary school math. I learned very specific processes to obtain "correct" results, but not WHY those results were correct, why the processes worked, or even if there were other processes for getting those same results. Unless one wants to argue that rote memorization IS elementary school math, in which case I say, what a fucking waste of 4-5 years of prime learning time.

I agree that there is a ton of ancillary, non-subject related skill and knowledge that teachers must have; we put a huge burden on teachers, treat them like shit, and pay them as little as we can get away with. We set things up so that people who actually do have subject mastery wouldn't be willing to put up with the bullshit they have to in order to be teachers, except in very rare cases.

Comment Re:interesting (Score 4, Insightful) 187

That's ridiculous. Many, many people come to things later in life that they were initially turned off of by truly horrid teachers.

When I was in elementary I *HATED* maths and science because the way my teachers taught it was aggressively boring. It was all rote memorization of formulae and processes, and there was zero joy or excitement - they taught it like people who didn't actually know the material and were just reading from a teacher's guide, because that's exactly what they were.

We moved and I went to a better school, and I was STUNNED at how interesting the teachers were able to make subjects I previously hated and dreaded.

Flash forward to now and I've had a long career as both an engineer and a research scientist. Given my successful career, I'd say I definitely have a mind for it, which I might never have come to realize if I'd had to continue staying with shitty teachers who seemed to go out of their way to make it boring.

And I know a LOT of people who have had similar experiences. Dismissing a huge swath of people as somehow unworthy or incapable simply because they don't immediately become fascinated by a subject is absurd. Funny enough though, it's a pretty common attitude by people in tech.

Comment Re:Removal of 'gay / lesbian' is controversial?? (Score 2) 197

Because there exist a number of very vocal idiots who think their belief in contradictory morals dictated by invisible sky wizard gives them some kind of say in what consenting adults who are not them are allowed to do in private.

Said vocal idiots are really fucking bothered by the idea that other people who aren't like them might be considered equal in the eyes of the law, so they go out of their way to try and come up with special terms to describe the relationships that have not a single fucking thing to do with them. They really need to make sure that "people not like them" aren't allowed to be "married" because somehow that lessens the meaning of their "marriage" despite the fact that "people who are like them" often do a perfectly fine job of making a mockery of "marriage" just fine. Hence the "special label" you seem so puzzled by.

Comment Re:Removal of 'gay / lesbian' is controversial?? (Score 1) 197

I agree that this is probably their reasoning, and yes, it's extremely fucking stupid, with potentially tragic consequences. All too often people equate "typical" with "normal" and "normal" with "good" and it's pretty dumb.

Maybe I'm weird, but what I want is for my kids to be healthy, happy, kind and capable. Who they love, as long as it's consensual and doesn't interfere with their health, happiness, kindness and capabilities, is fine by me.

Comment Re:Removal of 'gay / lesbian' is controversial?? (Score 1) 197

You think kids aren't exposed to sexual preferences all the time?

"Oh, so cute - you're 3 years old and playing with Molly; is she your girlfriend?"

"Timmy only pulled your hair because he likes you! You're gonna marry him someday!"

Parents or partners kissing or showing physical affection in front of their kids. Literally everything in mainstream media. Kids are bombarded with this stuff from the get-go; it's only when it's not heteronormative that people seem to have a problem with it.

Comment "I forgot" (Score 5, Insightful) 500

"I forgot" as an excuse for bringing a firearm on a plane should mean you are instantly put on a no-buy and no-fly list, and that any other guns you own must be turned over to authorities.

If you're so irresponsible that you can't remember that you're carrying a firearm, let alone a loaded one, onto a plane, then you're far, far, far too irresponsible to be trusted with a firearm under any circumstances. It very likely means you "forget" to put the guns properly in a safe or "forget" rules of responsible use, or "forget" who the hell knows what.

If you're so paranoid about terrorists that you'll try and sneak a firearm onto a plane "just in case" (and then cowardly enough to lie about why you did it, to boot) then you're probably not mentally stable enough to be a responsible firearm owner and the same rules should apply - no-buy, no-fly and your guns are confiscated.

I don't have a problem with responsible, sane gun ownership, but in no way, shape, or form does bringing a firearm onto a plane in your carry-on unless you're an air marshal, intersect with either "responsible" or "sane."

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