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:If the point was ... (Score 4, Insightful) 295

There's no proof that it has anything to do with Wikileaks, but in a world of IoT devices with no thought toward security, anyone who cares to do so can mount DDOS with the power of a national entity.

What's the point of doing what Assange and Wikileaks have been doing without any moral position? He isn't helping his own case.

Comment Re:Legal? (Score 2) 210

No, of course it is not legal to set a trap to intentionally hurt someone, even if you expect that the trap could only be activated by the person committing property theft or vandalism. Otherwise, you'd see shotguns built into burglar alarms.

Fire alarm stations sometimes shoot a blue dye which is difficult to remove or one which only shows under UV. Never stand in front of one when pulling the lever! But they are not supposed to hurt you.

And of course these booby traps generally are not as reliable as the so-called "inventor" thinks and tend to hurt the innocent.

Comment Re:Is that all (Score 1) 542

It's inevitable that a certain fraction of people go off the deep edge. People are irrational, even (or perhaps mostly) people who are convinced they are entirely rational. Rationality is a fragile thing because emotion and confirmation bias are deeply woven into everyone's thinking.

For normal people are few more powerful emotional impulses than the urge to protect children. It should hardly be surprising that children come to harm from it.

Comment Re:DCMA Fair Use / Parody (Score 1) 215

Ah, but is it a parody of the copyrighted elements? That's the tack I'd take if I were Samsung's lawyer: this is not parodying Samsung's IP, it is quoting Samsung's IP in a literal, non-transformative way that is not actually parody.

Of course in my heart I'd hope to lose, but that argument is no more ridiculous than many others that have become established case law. Issues like privacy and IP are where fundamental values we have as a society cut against each other and generate innumerable weird corner cases.

Comment Re:So it appears . . . (Score 1) 180

It's not just how hard you check, but how incisively. It's easy to satisfy yourself that software's anticipated failure modes won't happen. What's tough is discovering ways of screwing up that have never happened before.

That's why there's no substitute for experience. This gets back to the very roots of rocket science: the path to success passes through many, many failures.

Comment Re: Election of 1968 (Score 1) 323

If that's your point, then I wholly agree with you. I thought that saying, "It's a disgrace to humanity as a whole," was you distancing yourself from from this monstrosity as if corruption was an American invention or as if the US has even exhibited corruption in its most perfect form.

This particular election (and nearly every other election in the US, at least in my lifetime) is a "shame on us" moment, but contemporary US politics don't represent the worst display of corruption in history or even in the modern world. I have no tolerance for it here, but don't make the mistake of pointing to our shit-show while letting your own fester, even if it isn't quite as bad at the moment.

Comment Re: Election of 1968 (Score 1) 323

It's almost as if the worst of your country represent you.

You must be new here (Earth). The top tiers of every government in every country are the worst of us, because the worst of us are attracted to the power and wealth that can be extracted from such positions and have no qualms about doing whatever it takes to get these positions. Where do you live where your politicians are angels (or even decent people)? Looking back through history, how many kings, emperors, presidents, and prime ministers can you name who were not monsters in one way or another?

Comment Re:Not to Sound iIke a Snowflake... (Score 4, Insightful) 227

It's not only that. The problem with most theories of eugenics is that they draw from experience with agricultural breeding of domesticated species. Humans are not domesticated; we're a wild species with massive genetic diversity compared to, say, purebred Arabian horses.

This means that with us sexual reproduction still does what it is supposed to do: generate genetic diversity in offspring. Look at large families. You get some who are tall and some who are short; some who have Grandpa Joe's nose and others that have Grandpa John's jaw, others who get both or neither. Even with litter of pedigreed puppies you'll get one total loser and if you're lucky one champion; and pedigreed dog litters are much more alike than any set of human siblings. And that's just physical traits; in terms of interests, talents, and success there is massive variability among siblings, although there is some correlation, in part due to economic circumstances, upbringing and education.

Nature works this way because variability is good for the species, and that variability comes from combinations of genes being shuffled. Add to that the massive behavioral plasticity of our gigantic brains, and the idea that you can sample some of, say, Steve Jobs DNA for successful CEO markers is ludicrous. If you'd raised Jobs in a different family and sent him to a different set of schools, and didn't get him luck out by ending up close friends with Woz, then while he may well have been quite successful in some other way, he wouldn't have been the Steve Jobs we knew.

Of course, willingness to go along with the DNA test is a good test for one phenotypical trait: the willingness to put up with pseudo-scientific baloney.

Comment Re:Here's the full menu (Score 1) 171

People who don't believe that VP picks have always been analyzed this way are naive. Lincoln picked Andrew Johnson because Johnson was from a border state (Tennessee) that could go either way. The primary goal of a VP pick is to help you win. Everything else is secondary.

The VP pick is all about picking up votes from electorate segments you might not otherwise get (Palin/women), or solidifying shaky part of your coalition (Biden/labor and left), or being young when you are old or vice versa (Quayle). Coming from a swing state or an adjacent state with major media market overlap (Edwards, Ryan, Pence, Kaine) puts you on the inside track. Naturally, sometimes those calculations go hilariously wrong.

It's safe to say that almost nobody ever picks the person they think would be the best president as their running mate; it's ways the person who would be the best running mate. The last time I think that anyone picked someone on the basis that they'd be the best president was when Bob Dole picked Jack Kemp -- who wouldn't be my choice for President, but I'm pretty sure he'd have been Dole's.

Comment Re: Hilarious (Score 2) 185

When you have a tablet, you can do things like punch in what defense the other team just used to provide statistical analysis of what the next best play is, or what kind of defense to run if your opponent is doing X often.

I'm guessing this is another case of a solution in search of a problem.

The reason this happens is that as a technologist faced with helping someone solve a problem you have no choice but to imagine what you would need to do that person's job. But if you want to have a better than random chance at success, you have to really understand the people who will use the system and what they would need.

I'm guessing Belichick of all people doesn't need a computer to give him a statistical analysis of what the best next play is or how to set up his defense -- although you or I sure as hell would. What sets Belichick apart from all the other ruthless, unprincipled, hyper-competitive control-freak coaches is that he's a smart bastard who is obsessive about research. If I had to take a wild stab at what kind of technical aids he needs during a game, the broad theme would be "communication", not "analysis".

By the way, does anyone else find it bizarre that the NFL provides stuff like computer tablets and headsets, but the teams are in charge of supplying the footballs?

Comment Re:because everyone carries a bag of 100 gift card (Score 1) 204

"If you click the link at the bottom of my post that's labeled 'Parent', you can actually READ the thread that you're replying to without jumping to the assumption that other people are idiots," is what I'd say if you weren't the exact person that I was replying to.

Seriously, did you forget the thread of the conversation? I was replying to your statement:

Then you should be able to provide evidence (receipt) that you bought those branded gift cards from a website instead of telling the police you bought it off from someone else?

In this case, the guy blabbed too much about his stupid scheme, but the AC upthread shouldn't have to provide any evidence at all if the police have no evidence that his hypothetical cards were involved in a crime.

Slashdot Top Deals

If you suspect a man, don't employ him.