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

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Compare cell phone plans using Wirefly's innovative plan comparison tool ×

Comment Re:This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 1) 127

My client was an ex-special forces commando. He was working a modest-paying state job in the Department of Agriculture (he was an old time farm boy) for "vacation money" but after 9/11 he disappeared for a couple of years. Nobody knew where he was, but when he came back he had full-bird colonel's pension. Even though he now had plenty of "vacation money", he went back to his old Ag job, I think just to feel like he had something productive to do. His real passion, however, was painting wildlife. I wouldn't say his stuff was terribly original, but it was technically impressive. If I handed you one of his bird paintings and told you it was an original Audubon you'd probably believe me unless you were an art expert. This was a down-to-earth guy with a surprisingly sensitive side, and if he wanted to kill you with his bare hands you wouldn't have a prayer.

I know this sounds like BS, but there's really nothing like the Deep South for bizarre and colorful characters. And oddballs have a way of flocking together, which probably means I should worry about knowing so many of them.

Comment This reminds me of my visit to the "Fish Man" (Score 3, Interesting) 127

I once bummed a ride from Tallahassee to Tampa with a client, and he asked me if I minded if he took a detour to see the "Fish Man". I thought he meant a fish-monger, but then he turned his car off the highway an drove it through a gap in the chainlink fence. We went up a dirt track through the scrub pines to a glade with couple of trailers -- one of which had no sides and was outfitted as a living room. There were chicken wire pens scattered around the compound full of empty beer and paint cans.

The "Fish Man" turned out to be fat, shambling, hairy mountain of a man. He was almost naked, and monochromatically red-brown: shoulder-length frizzy red-brown hair, sunburned skin with strawberry-blond fur, and red-brown denim cargo shorts. You almost couldn't tell where the shorts ended and his body began, except that there was no fur on the shorts and when he turned around he showed about ten inches of ass crack. It was about 10:30 in the morning and he was drinking his breakfast from a gallon screw-top bottle. From out in the forest came the sound of trees being cut down.

We were here because the Fish Man was an artist my friend collected. The people cutting down trees were his apprentices. They'd moved thousands of miles from their city homes to live in a squatter's camp and study under him. My friend handed the Fish Man $250 and got a fish sculpture in return, which he later explained to me was a terrrific deal because that sculpture would have fetched $1000 in a gallery, easily.

I'm not an art person, but even I could see the thing was a masterpiece; it was breathtaking. It wasn't exactly representational, you might even have called it a little cartoonish, but somehow he'd captured a sense of movement; it looked alive.

The Fish Man invited watch him turn a curved blank from a hollow cypress into another one, a process that took only about ten minutes because he did it with a goddamn chainsaw.

There's a lesson in this about powerful tools. They can't make you into anything you aren't already. If you're a genius, they allow you to express your genius faster. If you're undisciplined and lazy, they make you unproductive on a grander scale.

Comment Re:see what the Union free work place get's you! (Score 5, Interesting) 295

Where independent unions are banned.

Basically when China and Russia gave up on socialism, they created a version of capitalism in the image of what they imagined capitalism to be; not the kind of liberal society you find in advanced Western democracies with their regulated market economies and worker's rights guarantees.

Comment Re:indigenous? (Score 2) 49

Indigenous means "originating where it is found", or "naturally occurring in a particular place". It can be used referring to individuals, groups of people, flora, fauna, minerals -- pretty much anything. It shares many of the same dictionary definitions as "native".

The word usage problem is using "indigenous" for an artificial, mobile invention, which is a bit unusual. You wouldn't say "indigenous airplane" because it's not something naturally found in a place or confined to a place. That would be an unusual usage, but people would understand what you meant -- you'd mean "domestically produced".

Comment Re:Eh, was this necessary? (Score 1) 175

Well, it depends on what your research objectives are. ISS is in some ways a better model, in some ways a worse one. It's better in that it's in space with microgravity, but ISS crew members rotate in and out. Even if individuals spend the equivalent time of a Mars mission on the ISS there will be new faces, a constantly changing research workload, and the ever-changing panorama of the Earth below.

So it's not a very accurate model of the social dynamics of a Mars mission where people are cooped up in a can with the same faces, same scenery, and nothing but busy-work to keep them occupied. Let's say we lick the radiation and microgravity problems; the question then becomes what kind of people can successfully negotiate the trip to Mars, arriving ready to work successfully there?

Comment Re:Extraordinary claims require ... (Score 1) 307

Indeed. But Occam's Razor only applies to a conclusion's relation to the information you have at hand. It is conceivable that if you collect enough information the same heuristic can lead you in a different direction.

It should be able to confirm his genetic relationship to his putative great-great-great grandchildren, and thus let a lower limit on his age. That and other documentary evidence of him and his descendants could make his age seem plausible. In a world with seven billion people, outliers can be very unusual indeed.

Comment Re:Oh boy. Another scam. (Score 3, Insightful) 70

1) The USA can just say "Give me that guy". And have his head handed over on a plate.

If he's handed over it will be after years of extradition proceedings, involving significant due process, which is the exact opposite of how you characterize it.

2) The nation of which you are national will not lift a finger to help you.

See above.

3) That a stupid copyright issue is the reason for all this. In this case.

He didn't burn a CD for his mom. He ran a huge organization with billions of visitors and tens of millions of dollars, with most of that coming from sharing copyrighted materials.

4) That and more means there is no place on Earth safe from the corporate greed propagated by the USA.

Yes, America invented greed. And copyright law.

Slashdot Top Deals

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

Working...