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Comment Tidal Forces (Score 5, Informative) 140

Interestingly, this also has an effect on the moon. The reason why the earth's rotation is slowing are the tidal forces. Part of the energy lost from the Earth's momentum goes into the Moon's own orbit. As a result, the moon is actually getting further and further away from us, at a rate of 38 mm (1.5 in) per year. Somewhat counter-intuitively, the Moon actually gets slower that way, despite the energy put in is in the prograde direction, i.e. increases its velocity. The reason is the higher orbit. Sources:
Tidal effects on the Moon
Earth's rotation

Comment Human missions = funding (Score 4, Insightful) 114

Before someone comments that we don't need humans on Mars if robots can do the same cheaper: that's beside the point. I mean, robots are no where near performing on the same level as humans when it comes to ingenuity and ability to come up with and implement ad hoc fixes to problems that no one could even imagine before launch of the mission. But putting that question aside, the problem with robotic missions is that they will never get the same sort of funding as human missions. A human mission automatically has to have a certain size, e.g. has to develop capabilities to land payloads in the ballpark of 10 tons or more on Mars. Once we have this capability, we can easily send lots of robotic and scientific payload along with humans -- it amounts to simply using the same payload delivery system that we are developing for humans anyway.

On the other side, if there is no ambition to fly humans to Mars, then no one will develop these capabilities. There is simply no funding for a system that delivers 10 tons of cargo onto the surface of Mars, unless it can also deliver humans, and bring them back safely. So we cannot send big robotic missions to Mars.

Human missions generate lots of excitement, lots of excitement leads to lots of funding. Robotic missions can never be on par with human missions in terms of how much excitement, and thus funding they can raise.

Comment HORNET, next gen Tor @ 93Gb/s (Score 3, Interesting) 89

It's worth looking at HORNET, which is at this point not much more than a research paper, but it could point in the right direction. Instead of having anonymity for very few people (because of disadvantages to using anonymity tools, e.g. speed and latency), increase the anonymity pool by making anonymous communication less disadvantagous. With HORNET high throughput is achieved by providing Tor-like routing at the network layer (something which is currently not possible in the internet, but it might come with SCION, a BGP replacement that's in the works). I'm not saying that this will be ready anytime soon, but I think it's certainly an interesting idea. [full disclosure: I'm a researcher working on SCION]

I also think that Tor still is the best thing we have. The rumors about Tor's death are greatly exaggerated.

Comment Re:No comparison (Score 1) 96

I know (or hope) you meant well, but what does it matter if the person shot in the back is a US citizen or an illegal immigrant?

A police officer shooting a person running away in the back is an act of police brutality regardless of the country of citizenship of said person.

When you make this about a police officer shooting a US citizen, you are (hopefully inadvertently) denying the brutality that is committed against non-US citizens by the same police, for the same absurd reasons.

Does it matter if the beheadings are done to US citizens or other-country citizens? No, it doesn't they are still as cruel, absurd and enraging.

Comment The suit being scam doesn't mean no discrimination (Score 0) 365

Many here have said that she was suing just to get money, and that is likely true.

However, as a woman in tech I can tell you that even though this lawsuit might have been a scam, it doesn't mean that there is no discrimination out there.

There's a lot of comments here saying that the pay gap is only due to women going out of the workforce during their child-bearing years. It is not just that. Sure, women that go on maternity leave may "lose time" and thus be paid less than their colleagues that didn't, but that's not the only reason. Men are promoted on expectations, whereas women are promoted on acomplishments. This means that a woman needs to go do more and prove herself more than a man in order to get the same promotion.

Several studies have shown that when faced with the SAME RESUME changing the name from a female to a male one will raise the intended salary. When faced with the same performance review, changing the name to male will raise the overall score and the monetary bonus. The gender of the person selecting the salary or bonus is irrelevant, women and men equally discriminate against women.

Some comments mentioned women not studying CS because they weren't interested or similar stuff. Sure, some women might not be interested. But a lot of women leave the tech industry every year, at all the stages (students, graduates, employees, managers, etc) due to the constant pressure to prove that they actually belong there. It's in the small stuff that accumulates over time, like a female conference attendee (or even speaker) being taken to be someone's girlfriend, a female programmer getting handed all the admin work for the team, a female engineer being told that she would understand a certain solution to a problem because it's too complex. It's in larger things like a new hire being told by her peers that she only got hired because she's a woman, in promotion processes that require assertiveness (a trait that most women find hard) even though the job itself doesn't call for that, and a culture that values hours in front of the monitor over actual results (in general, women value their free time more, and they will work harder in order to leave early, but this is not something the tech industry in general appreciates).

And all of this is without mentioning harassment. There's a lot of harassment towards women in the tech industry. And not only sexual harassment (of which there is plenty and hopefully you don't need examples of this), there's also plain anti-women harassment, i.e. people telling it to your face that you are not good enough because you are a woman, managers refusing to give their female employees big projects because they don't believe them capable, thus making them unable to prove that they are... And to top it all there's the GamerGate.

Most women leave quietly, there's plenty of those. For the few that don't, there's thousands of male voices eager to shut them down, claiming over and over that they are exaggerating or directly lying, and then threatening to swat them, rape them, kill them... No wonder most choose the silent path.

So, please, even if we agree that this suit was absurd and just a grab to get money, do not take this to mean that there is no discrimination. There is. A lot of it. And the vast majority of those discriminated just take it silently because they know that it's the safest route. And it will still be until we as a society do something to change this.

Comment Yes, and changing that is not an option (Score 4, Interesting) 115

You mean if one were to send an email from Munich to Paris, it'd cross the Atlantic and come back?

NSA aside, that's a pretty sucky setup.

It's how the Internet works. To quote directly from the experts: A target's phone call, e-mail or chat will take the cheapest path, not the physically most direct path.

Physical distance is not as important as congestion on the routes. So it might very well be that your data takes a much longer path that what you'd think, simply because it uses the fastest way, not the shortest.

Angela Merkel's approach is pretty idiotic, and it cannot fix the problems. First of all, most emails are routed through the US either because the sender or the recipient has an American email provider (Germans love Gmail, too). Secondly, even if that is not the case, can you be sure that the NSA doesn't spy on traffic in Frankfurt? It wouldn't surprise me.

Only true end-to-end encryption can be a solution. The government in Germany is currently pushing for DE-Mail, which relies on transport encryption only. So that means that your email provider can still snoop and so can the German government, which is probably the reason why they designed it like that in the first place. End-to-end encryption would have been possible, especially since the German government is spending much money rolling out their own PKI, with keys for every citizen right on their new national ID card.

There's a presentation about DE-Mail from last December's Chaos Communication Congress, it's worth watching (video also has an audio track with English translations).

Comment Re:The GPL is like the Slashdot Beta: Unwanted! (Score 0) 279

Well, the money is flowing along that highway. Hope you are willing to financially wither for your unrealistic and unsustainable ideals.

You could have said the same thing about slavery, child labor, anything OSHA regulates, etc. What's good for corporations is not the same as what's good for people.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Can some of us get together and rebuild this community? 21

wbr1 writes: It seems abundantly clear now that Dice and the SlashBeta designers do not care one whit about the community here. They do not care about rolling in crapware into sourceforge installers. In short, the only thing that talks to them is money and stupid ideas.

Granted, it takes cash to run sites like these, but they were fine before. The question is, do some of you here want to band together, get whatever is available of slashcode and rebuild this community somewhere else? We can try to make it as it once was, a haven of geeky knowledge and frosty piss, delivered free of charge in a clean community moderated format.

Submission + - Slashdot BETA Discussion (slashdot.org) 60

mugnyte writes: With Slashdot's recent restyled "BETA" slowly rolled to most users, there's been a lot of griping about the changes. This is nothing new, as past style changes have had similar effects. However, this pass there are significant usability changes: A narrower read pane, limited moderation filtering, and several color/size/font adjustments. BETA implies not yet complete, so taking that cue — please list your specific, detailed opinoins, one per comment, and let's use the best part of slashdot (the moderation system) to raise the attention to these. Change can be jarring, but let's focus on the true usability differences with the new style.

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