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Comment Re:Good Idea! (Score 1) 34

Their minidisc stuff wasn't bad in the late 1990s. It had some DRM limits if you recorded digitally, but I don't remember it being a pain and it was way better than cassette for general reliability and analog recording.

I think they managed to screw this up when MP3 came along, bringing in more DRM and limitations while trying to stay relevant.

Comment Re:It's a start! (Score 1) 172

2) Force employers to pay a 10% tax on that salary

Isn't this the part where all the "free market" believers tell us that "companies never pay taxes, they just pass them on to their customers"?

So far, we've got Trump proposing a 35% tax on US companies that build products overseas and Slashdot fools telling us that raising taxes on companies will lead to greater employment.

Did something change with the Trump inauguration that's suddenly made believers in "economic liberty and small government" love taxes?

Comment Re:There are fatter phones out there, buy one. (Score 1) 80

those are your choices with pretty much every single product in the world.

No. There are more smartphones than cars in the world, but I can buy a Ford with an automatic transmission, a manual transmission, a big trunk, a small trunk, hatchback, truck bed or 20" rims that spin backward when I drive.

So where is my 2017 Samsung or Apple with a replaceable battery?

Comment SKIP THIS. Instead.... (Score 2) 50

what is needed is to require emails to be encrypted at the client side.
With each new client set-up, any new users should be required to get their encryption key, or enter in their current ones.
Then on the emails, by default, encrypt. If the user wants, they can turn it off on an individual one.

Comment Re:"developed an artificial intelligence(AI) progr (Score 1) 153

The only thing the 1950s needed to obtain recent results in convolutional neural networks, was the planar process of 1959 and a suitably accelerated coefficient of Moore's law. We can get there by applying the inverse Hackermann function.

When planning a project, increase the amount of time that you estimate it will take by doubling the number and going up to the next time unit.

Dividing 18 by 2 and shifting to a lower unit gives us a doubling time of nine weeks. Probably we're recognizing cats by 1967. Before the modern API was half fleshed out.

Seriously, have you looked at the sophistication of mathematics in the 1950s?

Ramanujan surprises again

The discovery came when Ono and fellow mathematician Andrew Granville were leafing through Ramanujan's manuscripts, kept at the Wren Library at Trinity College, Cambridge. "We were sitting right next to the librarian's desk, flipping page by page through the Ramanujan box," recalls Ono. "We came across this one page which had on it the two representations of 1729 [as the sum of cubes]. We started laughing immediately." ...

What the equation in Ramanujan's manuscript illustrates is that Ramanujan had found a whole family (in fact an infinite family) of positive whole number triples x, y and z that very nearly, but not quite, satisfy Fermat's famous equation for n=3.

Ono and Trebat-Leder found that Ramanujan had also delved into the theory of elliptic curves. He did not anticipate the path taken by Wiles, but instead discovered an object that is more complicated than elliptic curves. When objects of this kind were rediscovered around forty years later they were adorned with the name of K3 surfaces — in honour of the mathematicians Ernst Kummer, Erich Kahler and Kunihiko Kodaira, and the mountain K2, which is as difficult to climb as K3 surfaces are difficult to handle mathematically.

His work amounts to one box, kept at Trinity College, and three notebooks, kept at the University of Madras. That's not a lot. It's crazy that we are still figuring out what he had in mind. When is it going to end?"

The book is not even closed yet on the mathematics of the 1920s.

Comment Re:most of those reasons have in common (Score 1) 249

Restated as 32% of Americans admit they disagree with American copyright law. Passing laws that most people don't agree with causes the people to stop respecting all laws, leading to them not respecting the government. This is a road that eventually ends with the ruling class dying in a violent revolution.

I ask you this: was less leadership ever required? Has a smaller, easier, less bitterly swallowed step ever been contemplated in the annals of the human condition?

On the "eventually" question, do you think before or after the Second Coming? (Name your sect if you wish, bearing in mind that a diligent and exhaustive land-title-search on "eventually" will set you back a king's ransom.)

In the 18th century, mathematicians such as Euler succeeded in summing some divergent series by stopping at the right moment; they did not much care whether a limit existed, as long as it could be calculated.

Likewise, we are less concerned here with whether history repeats itself in practice, than whether we can by facile bloviation declaim it so.

Comment Re:Now lets see. (Score 4, Interesting) 1323

You might be interested in reading "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America", by Colin Woodard. The author argues that there are 11 distinct cultures in North America, which don't align neatly with state (or even national) boundaries, and that US politics is primarily a competition between two shifting coalitions of these 11 cultures, coalitions anchored in the Yankee culture (Democrats) and the Deep South culture (Republicans). One value that both of those cultures hold in common is authoritarianism, though of very different forms.

Yankeedom is built around and values a communitarian form of authoritarianism, derived largely from its Puritanical heritage. Even though the religious aspects of Yankee Puritanism have gone away, they've been replaced by a secular form of the same thing, which is the notion that while it's critical that the people as a whole have "independence", meaning they can form their own assemblies and regulate themselves, the individual should willingly subjugate his or her own will to that of the community. In Puritan days, this was severe; almost any form of disagreement with the community's religious and social values resulted in severe punishment. Individual freedom was not valued, and tolerance for alternative views was extremely low. Also, Yankeedom reveres education, and therefore the fruits of education, including progressiveness.

The Deep South is built around and values a hierarchical form of very strict authoritarianism, derived from that region's slaveholding culture, which enabled it to establish an essentially feudal model of lordly manors occupied by elegant idlers, supported by masses of lower classes. The southern planters placed tremendous value on "liberty" but it was the old Greek and Roman notion of liberty, which is available only to those at the top. The south took the "lower classes" notion a bit further than feudal lords with their serfs, but the southern class-based society wasn't just "planters" and "slaves", there was also a large underclass of what we might now call white trash, which was also expected to be subservient. What's perhaps odd about the old Deep Southern notions of hierarchy is that they were so deeply embedded in the society that although the underclasses chafed a bit, they also grew to expect a strong hierarchy and to respect their aristocratic leaders.

So, the two core cultures around which our political battles revolve are both authoritarians. Their allied cultures are less authoritarian, but it's the core cultures that hold the whip hand. In particular the left coast is very big on individual freedom and self-realization, but also has its roots in Yankeedom, including the trust in education and progress, which makes is a natural ally of the Yankee culture even though they disagree on individual freedom. Similarly, the far west culture is very libertarian but allies with the deep south because of its opposition to Yankeedom, rather than because it likes the southern authoritarianism.

Anyway, that's a flavor of what's in the book. You probably won't agree with all of it (I don't), but a lot of it makes a great deal of sense and I found that it really illuminates my understanding of the major political dynamics in the US, and has helped me understand why there is this strong streak of authoritarianism in a country that purportedly values freedom and independence.

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