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Comment Re:Is this the same "One Decade" we were promised. (Score 1) 225

Who cares about a single year ...

The people who argued that there was a global warming "hiatus" after 1998, evidently. That is assuming they aren't liars.

the climate models overestimated warming by nearly 2x for the average for the last two decades and 4x for the last 15 years

Which models are you speaking of? NASA's global instrumental record data is actually quite close to the IPCC 1990 FAR model runs that correspond to the actual greenhouse emissions. You have to allow for for La Niña (2000, 2001, 2008, 2010-2012) and El Niño (1997-1998, 2014-2016), of course which deviate below and above the model predictions.

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 1) 225

I'm sure if climate scientists were in charge of things they would "put up". But they're not; politicians are, and politicians naturally worry more about being b lamed for action more than being blamed for inacdtion. They'd rather be forced to spend a trillion dollars than choose to spend a hundred billion.

But even if you are willing to take the hit as a politician, you can't do it alone. You need to bring other politicians around, and the public around as well. If you can't take effective steps right away, you take what you can. This gets people working on CO2 reduction technologies and businesses, and builds a constituency for more steps. It's like stopping a cattle stampede. You can't make the entire herd stop and change direction at once, you get the lead cows heading in a slightly different direction.

Comment Re:DGW - Dinosaurogenic Global Warming (Score 3, Informative) 225

Of course, the problem with focusing exclusively on the costs of trying to stop or (more realistically) slow climate change implicitly assumes that inaction won't cost us anything. In fact we're looking at costs either way. We're in a minimax kind of situation: how do we minimize the maximum costs?

There's also another wrinkle to this, which is that costs (and indeed profits -- every misfortune profits someone) aren't distributed evenly. The key determinant of how much you have to pay for or profit from climate change is how mobile your capital is. If you're a Bengladeshi subsistence farmer you're going to take +2C right on the chin. If you're a Wall Street bank you take your investments out of farms which are going to lose productivity in the next ten years or so shift to underwriting the opening of new farms in newly favorable places. In other words you make money going and coming. Likewise if you own multiple homes your risk from local changes is spread out. If the lion's share of your nest egg is in a house that is in the new 20 year floodplain or in the range of a newly endemic zoonosis, you're screwed.

So even if you can't avoid +2C without climate engineering (which might not be such a bad thing), getting there in ten years instead of twenty or thirty makes a huge difference. And beyond 2C, there are other benchmarks beyond that we don't want to hit in a hurry.

This is not a black-and-white situation: that we had our chance to do something and now there is nothing we can do. We had our chance to avoid this situation and now we're talking about how much time we'll have to adapt.

Comment Re:Is this the same "One Decade" we were promised. (Score 2) 225

The "hiatus" in global warming was produced by choosing 1998 as the baseline year. Why was 1998 a good year to use as a baseline? Because it was, by far, the hottest year on record when it happened, shattering the previous record (1997) by 0.13C.

Now this is a news for nerds site, so I don't have to explain why cherrypicking an outlier as your baseline is dishonest. People who swallowed that are either dishonest or mathematical ignoramuses.

I will go out on a limb right now and say that since El Niño has passed an next year will be less warm, sometime around 2020 we'll be hearing "No significant warming since 2016."

Comment Re: Oh noes!!!!11111 (Score 1) 430

Well, you could argue that the reason you have to push women to enter coding as a career is that they're also being pushed to aim high on the career ladder.

That was the thing that made me laugh at the whole Barbie "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" fracas. Oh, it was sexist alright -- against men. Here's how I construe that story: Barbie is an entrepreneur who obtains free commodity coding and sysadmin labor from her male pals and yet retains total ownership of the resulting intellectual property. It's a cynical way of doing business, but that girl is going places.

Here is where they'll be in ten years:

Stephen -- works as a network admin where the pay is lousy and everyone treats him like shit. Despite the fact he hates his job, he's terrified that it will be outsourced.

Brian -- works as a coder. His pay looks pretty good, until you factor in the hours he puts in to meet deadlines management pulls out of its ass, the cost of his Bay Area apartment, and the time he spends commuting on the clogged freeway. He gets through the day with Adderall he scores of the neighbor's kid and comes down every night with booze. His apartment is full of expensive sports equipment he doesn't have time to use anymore. He's gained fifty pounds since he was in High School and will gain another fifty in the next five years. Brain can live with all this, but the thing that really bothers him is that when he does a great job, nobody cares.

Barbie -- Sold her girl-power themed indie computer game studio for millions, landing her on the cover of Time's "30 Entrepreneurs under 30" issue. She parlays this into a senior VP position at a hot social media startup, and after cashing out on the IPO joins an angel investor group. She's currently bankrolling research in parthenogenesis.

Comment Re:Technical OR legislative? (Score 2) 299

Then small companies can no longer make any IoT product.

Not necessarily. It depends on what your standards and rules are.

Sure, you could write the rules in such a way that only big companies can afford to comply with them. It doesn't mean you have to. What's more rules could actually ensure small companies could remain competitive by creating safe harbors if you do certain things. Believe me there are lawsuits coming in the future, whether there is legislative or regulatory action or no. It would go a long way toward keeping the little guy competitive if he could point to rules that he was supposed to follow and did. This would socialize the cost novel attack vectors evenly rather than distribute the costs stochastically.

Eliminating the low-hanging fruit could make IoT devices reasonably safe, and "reasonable" is a much more attainable goal than "absolutely". Everyone fails at "absolutely", but only big companies can afford to bear the cost of that failure.

As for stuff getting designed in China, it's the low prices, period. I actually evaluated some Chinese radio linked flow meters a few years ago -- they were intended for metering liquor being poured in casinos (where the "free drinks" paid for by the casinos are acdtually paid for by a subcontractor and poured by a bartender who lives on tips). We wanted to adapt them for pesticide flow metering. The guy we were working with was selling these gizmos at $200, but they arrived on his US loading dock from China all boxed and ready to ship out to customers at a wholesale price of about $3. I was astonished. That's why stuff like that doesn't get made in the first world anymore, it's the jaw-droppingly low wholesale prices. Quality wasn't great, but with a $197 margin you can afford to ship replacements out for free.
Adding regulatory compliance costs to a device like that actually favors domestic producers.

Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 1) 417

It's not "gun controllers bringing it up", it's manufacturers working on them. What do you have against manufacturers developing new products?

I have absolutely nothing against manufacturers developing new gun safety products and offering them on the market. The concern with these "smart" guns is that they'll be mandated by law. This has already happened in New Jersey. The 2002 Childproof Handgun Law says that three years after "smart" guns are available for sale in the US, all guns for sale in New Jersey must be "smart". The law doesn't require that the guns be in any way reliable or have obtained any significant market share, just that they've been available for sale. So if these actually make it to market people in NJ who want reliable guns are screwed. And if any other states, or Congress, passes a similar law, then all of us are screwed.

Actually, I'd have no problem with smart guns if they were really reliable. And there's a really simple reliability screening test we can use: offer them to military and law enforcement personnel. Cops in particular should see a lot of value in smart guns because cops occasionally get shot with their own guns. However, they also need their guns to be extremely reliable, and big departments and the FBI have the institutional resources and motivation to seriously test them. So, once the technology reaches a level where police are not only willing to use smart guns but actively want them then it's fine to mandate them for civilians.

Of course, thanks to the NJ law, civilians are going to fight like hell to keep these things off the shelves, which means that the years of refinement needed to make them reliable is never going to happen. Not in the US, anyway.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 504

We can get pretty much whatever we want where we work... provided whatever we want runs the software we're required to run. In other words, really not much choice in a lot of cases, and most people with Mac laptops run Windows on them anyway (and thus require just as much support as everyone else).

Comment Re:Account Recovery (Score 2) 105

Google no longer supports non-security questions for account recovery.

FTFY. Security questions are a joke. The answers are almost always easy for an attacker with a little bit of information about you to find, and a lot of the time the legitimate user can't remember them. Moreover, those two traits are strongly correlated: the harder it is for an attacker to find the answers, the more likely it is that the user won't be able to find them either.

Everyone should stop using them.

Comment Re:Reason (Score 1) 105

Google doesn't actually want your phone number for security. Google wants your phone number so that they can link the account in their database to other information that contains your phone number.

The number is to make account recovery possible in the event you've forgotten your password. The assumption is that attackers won't have access to your phone. That assumption is violated if your telco will transfer your number to the attacker's phone, of course.

If you prefer not to give your phone number to Google, don't. Just turn on two-factor auth using a non phone number-based auth method, either the Authenticator app or (better yet) a security key, or both. Then download and print out some backup 2FA codes and keep them somewhere safe. Google won't have your phone number and you won't be vulnerable to mistakes by dumb telco customer service reps.

Comment Re: Having a 'bad gene'... (Score 1) 627

This. It's not that (or not only that, at least) more people are dying of cancer, or even of specific cancers in this day and age; it's a combination of things like 'instead of having ten people dying of 'consumption' or 'old age' we now break it out into specific cancers' and 'well, a hundred years ago, they usually died of something else, first.'

And yeah, until very recently, kids were 'shy' or 'withdrawn' and would have undesirable traits beaten out of them; metaphorically or literally.

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