Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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

Comment Re:Unreachable? (Score 2) 106

TBH, the headline should be 26 Cases of Samsung Note Fires Have No Evidence Of Being Caused By Faulty Phones. But that's long and not very click-baity so nobody would read it.

TBH, the headline should be "I'm not saying it was aliens, but it was aliens." Look at the beginning of the article:

Lately, a lot of behind the scene conversations have been suggesting that perhaps the Note 7 battery explosion fiasco has been blown out of the (sic) proportion. There's no evidence of any of that, so we won't discuss it any further, but

Then goes on to discuss it. At length.

Makes you think doesn't it?

Really? You went there? Manishs should just had the balls to have written a headline saying "Samsung Note 7s Actually Had No Problems, Everybody Look Over There" then gone back to trawling the dark corners of the web to find a post on a forum in Crimea where the user claimed that his iPhone 7 gave him cancer and post that story to Slashdot as a proven fact.

Comment Re:The U.S. ain't perfect, but... (Score 4, Interesting) 526

How about just fixing where they live?

Because the law of unintended consequences is nowhere stronger, more visible or more impactful than it is in foreign relations.

I think the Obama administration's foreign policy in the Middle East has been feckless at best. But it's earnestly debatable whether that is worse than nothing at all.

Think about it - the George W. Bush invasion of Iraq in 2003 was an attempt to "fix where they live." For some people, it made their lives better. For most others, it made it far worse. I think arguments that "how" it was done made the difference are largely specious - to quote the apocryphal Colin Powell "Pottery Barn Rule," we (the US) broke it and we bought it. We took on all the problems of a region divided by sectarian religious and ethnic divisions more than a millennium old that make the US Republican/Democrat divide look like an intramural volleyball game. There was just not going to be a happy ending there.

So we go and get involved in Libya. Did that help or hurt? Probably hurt. So we don't really get involved in Syria. Did that help or hurt? Probably hurt.

That's the thing, there is no unambiguously good or right answer to getting involved in areas where the fundamental tension is too big, too old and/or too "foreign" for you to solve. Was the Republican approach in 2003 bad? Yes. Was the Democratic approach in 2011 bad? Yes. There is no clear right approach and the end result is more dependent on luck and externalities than anything else.

And by the way, this is no endorsement of Trump - rather the opposite. I think the above is proof that anyone who thinks there are simple answers to questions that thousands of smart and informed people have struggled for decades to solve is an idiot. Easy answers sound good, but in situations like these there is simply no such thing as any easy answer. Anything you do will almost invariably have unintended consequences. Getting involved has them, as does not getting involved. Dealing with toxic areas of the world has only "least bad options" at best. "And when you sup with the devil, you should bring a long spoon."

Comment Re:No Such Things As Off The Record (Score 4, Informative) 413

There is no such thing as "off the record". Anyone working PR knows this.

Then you pretty clearly don't work in PR. "Off the record," "on background," "not for attribution" and other deals between sources and reporters are real and specific things and are used frequently every day in "grownup" journalism. These concepts "work" because of mutual self-interest: the journalist doesn't want to burn the source/PR rep/whatever and vice versa because they (or at least their respective organizations) will continue to have to work together in the future.

Dealing with bloggers from sites nobody has heard of and hence have no reputation to uphold by adhering to agreements? Not so much. The PR rep should have known better than to treat a random blogger whining about speaking time/genitals/skin color ratios like a grownup, but that doesn't mean those concepts don't exist and aren't employed frequently.

Comment Re:iPhone = high status? (Score 1) 180

Really? II do not think it is a status thing. The iPhone is for followers, Android is for leaders.

Ooh, this seems like a fun game. I'll spot you a few more that all have an equal amount of substance as your suggestion:

  • "Fords are for terrorists. Chevys are for carnival workers."
  • "Coke is for librarians. Pepsi is for eunuchs."
  • "Panasonic microwave ovens are for Nobel prize winning physicists. GE microwave ovens are for goat sodomites."

Or maybe I'll just go with the more obvious "making sweeping generalizations about people based on products they buy is for assholes."

Submission + - The Unsettling Relationship Between Russia and Wikileaks

schnell writes: The New York Times (may be paywalled) is reporting on the informal but seemingly symbiotic relationship between Russian hackers attacking American targets and Wikileaks as their favorite spot for disseminating the embarrassing results. From the article: "American officials say Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But the agendas of WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have often dovetailed." When it comes to embarrassing the US government, Russia and Wikileaks' Julian Assange doubtlessly have common interests. But the reporters' analysis of leaks over the past several years raises a question of whether this is just a natural alliance of a source for incriminating documents and a motivated publisher, or does Wikileaks focus on the US and downplay revelations about authoritarian regimes like Russia's as a result of the cozy relationship?

Comment Re:Pisses me off (Score 1) 162

Sick of seeing profitable companies laying people off like this ...Had a great quarter then the next day after earnings released "By the way we need to lay off 3% of staff to position us better for next quarter."

This used to mystify me as well until I actually went to work for a really, really big company. The false assumption here is that all employees/divisions/lines of business are contributing equally to the company's profitability. I will take my own giant, soulless mega-corporation as an example. Each quarter the wireless division cranks out a profit, and the legacy wireline division takes a loss. The wireline division loses customers, too. So - even though we made a profit overall, why doesn't it make sense to cut jobs in the areas that are losing business and have less demand?

I'm sure the response will be "you should invest in training for your employees," which theoretically is a very fair statement. But - at least in my company's case - I have seen the situation at first hand. No amount of training is going to make a dip-chewing unionized redneck who has been climbing telephone poles in rural Alabama for 30 years (who we don't need anymore) into a LTE network architect in Seattle (who we do need). It just doesn't work that way.

I guess my point is that you might reasonably hope that a company would look at its workers paternalistically and say "Well, division X is shrinking and we don't need all these people anymore, but we will subsidize their business so we can keep people in jobs." But that's not the case. And in any highly competitive market where your reducing your operating costs can help you improve your pricing and gain customers, I don't think you can really blame the companies for taking this approach.

Comment Re:well well well (Score 4, Insightful) 769

The US elections are ran and decided by the ultra-rich.

Sorry to sound confrontational, but that's bullshit. It just is. And ironically Donald Trump is the one that proves it.

Yes, his election to GOP nominee isn't an election for office, but he was detested and denigrated by pretty much every single Republican establishment "ultra rich" figure. He won because the Joe Sixpacks of the GOP - their wisdom in doing so is a separate discussion topic - actually voted for him more than anyone else. Despite all the best efforts of the "rich" and the "establishment" in the party, the demagogue with popular support ACTUALLY WON.

If the fact that the Republican Party - the REPUBLICAN FUCKING PARTY - can be taken over by popular votes against the fervent wishes of the Koch Brothers, the Bushes, the Cruz Evangelicals and everyone else who hated them, then nothing will. The rich did not get their way. And spare me any "false flag" bullshit. The Republican Powers That Be did not conspire to sink their own party. Joe and Jane Sixpack voted for somebody else, and they had to suck it up.

Saying that the rich own elections is a cop-out. Yes, the US is a democratic republic. Yes, the elections for the two highest offices in the land are mediated through an Electoral College. But by and large, the US is absolutely a functional democracy. It's easy to claim it's not because you don't like who got elected... but really you should think about the idea that the people in power are really there because 51% of the voting public wanted them there, even if they disagree with you. Not liking the results of democracy is its great hazard.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 519

This would be good for startup owners who no longer have to worry about where their next meal is coming from.

I understand your intent but that fundamentally misunderstands the nature of startups and funding. Nobody is going to be able to create a startup they otherwise wouldn't have because they are getting a $10K UBI instead of working at a job. Start-ups cost money - usually a lot of it - because they need resources and people who require actual money to get paid for. (If your startup employees were going to work for less than $10K/year or UBI income anyway, then they didn't need this incentive.) Most software startups generally require - depending on scope - anywhere from $100K to $250K just to get started in the first year, and that is far beyond what UBI can provide. If your startup is in hardware, expect your first year to require an order of magnitude more startup funding.

The point being that UBI does nothing to encourage new startups. Entrepreneurs need capital - which (at least for non-billionaires, who are only a tiny percentage of investors in startups) arguably might be lessened if potential investors were paying the increased taxes necessary for the government to dole out UBIs.

Comment Re:Question (Score 1) 519

There is no fundamental reason why people should have to work more than a few hours a week, as this is all that is really required to maintain society.

I do a job which requires me to work 50-60 hours a week because it requires a relatively (within my field) unique combination of skills and knowledge, plus there needs to be one person making a consistent set of decisions for the people underneath me in the organization structure. Much like getting nine women pregnant won't produce a child in a month, having more people do my job won't decrease the amount of work I have to do, and having multiple managers giving out potentially contradictory instructions would potentially make it far far worse.

The real/sad truth is that if your job is fungible - if literally almost anyone else could pick it up and do the same thing, like working on an assembly line - then yes there is no "need" for you to work much. That's because you can be replaced at whim with pretty much anyone, and there is a large supply of "pretty much anyone." And no offense, but in a capitalist economy, your job is going to be the first to go.

Communism - at least in theory - does a great job at protecting people who have few differentiated skills and fungible jobs. It does an absolutely fucking dreadful job at incentivizing those who have differentiated skills or ambitions. Which of these systems you prefer, as the old saying goes, follows the dictum that "where you stand depends on where you sit."

Comment Re:Anything incriminating? (Score 5, Insightful) 461

I was going to ask the same thing. To be a "whistleblower" organization (as described in the summary) is to call attention to illegal activities that have been suppressed. If there is no evidence of wrongdoing here, all Wikileaks is doing is violating people's privacy. While it might be interesting to read the internal e-mails of politicians, executives or celebrities, if there is nothing illegal going on then it's ultimately just voyeurism that doesn't justify distribution from a dodgily (probably illegally) obtained source.

Comment Re:Unlimited. You keep using that word. (Score 2) 422

What does unlimited mean? And why do you get penalized if you actually use it as such?

"Unlimited" means the exact same thing as "all you can eat." Which is to say that it is unlimited relative to a reasonably expected degree of consumption and within the bounds of what the provider considers to be the constraints of sharing a fixed amount of resources among multiple paying customers. If you go to the buffet and grab all the food before anyone else can eat it, and continue to do so until the restaurant's food is all gone, you can be pretty sure they are going to kick you out, regardless of how many times you protest that the language says "all you can eat."

Comment Re:I'm totally shocked... (Score 2, Informative) 614

The only social nets I can spot currently are keeping banks and other "important" entities propped up. Can't identify any normal people in there.

I'm pretty sure it's not the banks who are signed up for Obamacare. Or GW Bush's prescription drug benefit expansion. Companies pay into Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance, not receive money from them.

I know it's cool and hip to say that the US government helps nobody except banks or something - usually not a charge leveled at Democratic administrations, but whatever - but it's not true and contributes nothing positive to the discussion. In the 2015 US Federal budget including discretionary and nondiscretionary spending, 53% of all spending goes to Health and Human Services or Social Security. (Education accounts for 3% and veterans spending accounts for another 4% if you want to consider those as part of the social safety net, which would bring the total to 60%.) By contrast, the military and homeland security receive 16%. So, yes, the "social safety net" is alive and bigger by percentage of spending than before.

Comment Re:The vote is on November 8th (Score 2) 101

Now that that pesky democracy thing has been nipped in the bud

People keep saying this and I really, really don't understand it. Donald Trump's nomination - in the face of implacable opposition from nearly every major Republican officeholder, megabucks donor and deep pocketed SuperPAC - is proof that democracy is alive and well, in the sense that the guy who got the most votes won. Against all the entrenched elites and gigabucks influencers, the guy who got the majority of votes from our assembled Joe Sixpacks actually got the nomination.

Personally, I believe he's a buffoon and would be a catastrophe as President. (I think Hillary would be awful too but for different reasons.) But how can you say that democracy has been replaced with the politics of oligarchs and moneyed interests has replaced "one person, one vote?" Republican voters voted and got who they asked for. Not liking the results of democracy is one of its hazards.

Oh, and FWIW, both Trump and Clinton oppose the TPP despite the "establishment" of both of their parties supporting it. So there's another reason not to suggest that the Powers That Be will always get their way...

Slashdot Top Deals

"You're a creature of the night, Michael. Wait'll Mom hears about this." -- from the movie "The Lost Boys"