the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2014-Feb-04 today archive


  1. Greenland's Fastest Glacier Sets New Speed Record
  2. India To Build World's Largest Solar Plant
  3. John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There
  4. UK Council To Send Obese People 'Motivational' Texts Telling Them To Use Stairs
  5. Silk Road Founder Indicted In New York
  6. Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source
  7. How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections
  8. Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'
  9. Kansas Delays Municipal Broadband Ban
  10. Asus Announces Small Form Factor 'Chromebox' PCs
  11. US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality
  12. Firefox 27 Released: TLS 1.2 Support, SPDY 3.1, SocialAPI Improvements
  13. Will Microsoft IIS Overtake Apache?
  14. Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live
  15. Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication
  16. Who's Writing Linux These Days?
  17. Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain
  18. AMD Open-Sources Video Encode Engine
  19. Satya Nadella Named Microsoft CEO
  20. Now Published: Study Showing Pirate Bay Blockade Has No Effect
  21. NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats
  22. Layoffs At Now-Private Dell May Hit Over 15,000 Staffers
  23. Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July
  24. Microsoft's IE Is the Most Targeted Application By Security Researchers
  25. Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon
  26. EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion

Alterslash picks the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

Greenland's Fastest Glacier Sets New Speed Record

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
vinces99 writes "The latest observations of Jakobshavn Glacier show that Greenland's largest glacier is moving ice from land into the ocean at a speed that appears to be the fastest ever recorded. Researchers from the University of Washington and the German Space Agency measured the speed of the glacier in 2012 and 2013. The results were published Feb. 3 in The Cryosphere, an open access journal of the European Geosciences Union. Jakobshavn Glacier, which is widely believed to be the glacier that produced the large iceberg that sank the Titanic in 1912, drains the Greenland ice sheet into a deep-ocean fjord on the west coast of the island. This speedup of Jakobshavn means that the glacier is adding more and more ice to the ocean, contributing to sea-level rise. 'We are now seeing summer speeds more than four times what they were in the 1990s, on a glacier which at that time was believed to be one of the fastest, if not the fastest, glacier in Greenland,' said lead author Ian Joughin, a glaciologist at the UW's Polar Science Center. The new observations show that in summer of 2012 the glacier reached a record speed of more than 10 miles (17 km) per year, or more than 150 feet (46 m) per day. These appear to be the fastest flow rates recorded for any glacier or ice stream in Greenland or Antarctica, researchers said."

Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving!

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Fortunately, we don't have to deal in "suggestions". People have actually *gone* to the glacier and taken measurements. It is thinning dramatically since 1997 [1]. Nor do we have to deal in suggestions about the temperature of Greenland, because people have been measuring that too. It is warming, dramatically on the western coast, somewhat less so on the eastern. [2]

The glacier in question, by the way, is considerably less than 100 km long (as you an readily see), so the interior doesn't enter into the question of what this glacier is doing at all. However if you're interested, ice core data shows that the interior has warmed over the past several decades. [3]

I can certainly buy the argument that this event doesn't prove *global* warming, because it doesn't. But the argument that it proves *local cooling* doesn't hold water, because it we know *from measurements* that there hasn't been local cooling, especially in southwestern Greenland where this glacier is *entirely* located.

--- Citations ---
1: Liu, Lin, John Wahr, Ian Howat, Shfaqat Abbas Khan, Ian Joughin, and Masato Furuya. "Constraining ice mass loss from Jakobshavn Isbræ (Greenland) using InSARmeasured crustal uplift." Geophysical Journal International 188, no. 3 (2012): 994-1006.

2: Hanna, Edward, Sebastian H. Mernild, John Cappelen, and Konrad Steffen. "Recent warming in Greenland in a long-term instrumental (1881–2012) climatic context: I. Evaluation of surface air temperature records." Environmental Research Letters 7, no. 4 (2012): 045404.

3: Muto, Atsuhiro, Ted A. Scambos, Konrad Steffen, Andrew G. Slater, and Gary D. Clow. "Recent surface temperature trends in the interior of East Antarctica from borehole firn temperature measurements and geophysical inverse methods." Geophysical Research Letters 38, no. 15 (2011): L15502.

Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving!

By hey! • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

What you're talking about is 1.2 meters of new ice on top of *two kilometers* of primordial ice. If we scaled the ice sheet to 2 meters tall, the extra accumulation would be roughly the thickness of a piece of paper.

In any case, you're confusing the vast, 400,000 year-old interior ice sheet with a coastal glacier. It makes no difference that the interior ice sheet has thickened very slightly because measurements of the *glacier in question* show that *it* is thinning.

Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving!

By hey! • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You realize 1995 set a record for hottest year ever on record? So you've cherry picked a particularly hot year as your baseline (or somebody dishonest picked it for you). That's Ok, because that record has been exceeded ten times since then, starting with 1998 which was *also* the hottest year on record.

1995 was 0.4C hotter than the 20thC average. 2005 was 0.6C hotter than the baseline, and 2010 was just a smidgen hotter than 2005. So you could answer 0.2C to your question. But it's a lousy question, not just because it starts from a cherry-picked baseline, but because there's so much variation between years.

A better question is "How much hotter were the 00's hotter than the 90's?" The 1990s where 0.313 C hotter than the 1950-1980 baseline. The 00s were 0.513 C hotter than the baseline. So again the answer to the question is 0.2C.

Each of the past three decades set a record for the hottest on record.

Re:What will it cost?

By hey! • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It's not so simple as "10 cm/decade doesn't seem like much".

Imagine storm surges laid out on a bell curve, with height above mean high tide as the X axis. When you chose how close to build to the waterline, and the protections you put in, you probably wouldn't draw the line where you'd get one flood every thousand years. You might decide you can live with one flood every ten years. But shift the mean high tide by 20 cm over two decades, and that once a decade flood might happen eight or ten times a decade.

There's often a sharp line between a near miss and a disaster. A one foot rise over thirty years (roughly correponds to 1m/century) means that a seawall or levee that would have held back the flood get overtopped. A one foot rise means a place that never got flooded before could be in harms way. Some of the levees that failed in Katrina were overtopped by only a matter of inches. Others were overtopped by ten feet, but that's a different issue.

And in a lot of the world, the floodplain isn't chosen because it's a nice place to live. Bengladeshi subsistence farmers don't locate in low areas because of the beaches, but because that's the only land they can afford. These are people with very low levels of material consumption. They don't get much of the share of benefit from the carbon added to the atmosphere, but they bear a disproportionate share of the costs.

Re:More snow = more pressure = faster calving!

By riverat1 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Fourier's discovery that the Earth was warmer than it should be given its size and distance from the Sun was a major step forward in geoscience.. That he may not have had the mechanism right in no way detracts from the importance of that insight.

India To Build World's Largest Solar Plant

Posted by Soulskill in Hardware • View on SlashDotShareable Link
ananyo writes "India has pledged to build the world's most powerful solar plant. With a nominal capacity of 4,000 megawatts, comparable to that of four full-size nuclear reactors, the 'ultra mega' project will be more than ten times larger than any other solar project built so far, and it will spread over 77 square kilometres of land — greater than the island of Manhattan. Six state-owned companies have formed a joint venture to execute the project, which they say can be completed in seven years at a projected cost of US$4.4 billion. The proposed location is near Sambhar Salt Lake in the northern state of Rajasthan."

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic

By tp1024 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's cheaper.

There is a glut of photovoltaics on the world market ever since the european countries cut the subsidies. Most notably Spain and, more recently, Germany. Which is responsible for the sudden drop in prices. It is not better technology, despite what the propaganda claims (otherwise solar power companies wouldn't go bankrupt all over Germany).

And yes, solar thermal is more useful on paper. Unfortunately it takes up just as much space as PV and needs lots of water for it cooling towers. However, solar thermal depends on very stable weather patterns. It cannot tolerate cloudy days very well - so you'd best build it in a desert, where cooling water is kind of rare as you can imagine. You'd need 24 million cubic meters of cooling water per year for an equal sized solar-thermal power plant.

What would be needed for PV to work is storage. Hydrogen/methane seems to be the only plausible/scalable solution so far. Unfortunately, even with the best technology we have on the planet, you'll need at least 3kWh electricty to get 1kWh of electricity back out of storage. Thus the average power of the power plant will drop from 800MW down to about 500MW, assuming that at least some part of the power will be used directly. (The amount of storage that is necessary depends on a lot of factors, mostly what power is available from other sources and how variable the weather patterns and seasons are. So 500MW is just a ballpark figure.)

Re: 77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so

By arvindsg • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Aravali hills have Rajasthan on on Levard side, not even much rain there even during monsoons

Re:well that's a shame

By PPH • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

spider web that got caught in a hurricane.

No kidding.

Here's how it compares to 4 nuclear plants...

By KonoWatakushi • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"The solar photovoltaic power plant will have an estimated life of 25 years and is expected to supply 6.4 billion kilowatt-hours per year, according to official figures."

For reference, a single 1GWe nuclear plant operating at (a conservative) 0.85 capacity factor will produce 7.45 TW-hours/year of reliable power. So this solar plant isn't the equivalent of one reactor, much less four. Considering that nuclear plants typically last 60 years and AP1000s are near $2/W in China, the solar option costs five times as much over that time frame.

While this solar farm is idle at night and unreliable by day, the transmission infrastructure must be built to handle the full capacity of the equivalent four nuclear plants, and it will sit idle most of the time. The solar option makes no economic sense, when instead they could purchase two actual 1GWe nuclear plants, and have 15 TW-hours/year of reliable power for more than twice as long.

It just illustrates again

By Chrisq • Score: 3 • Thread
Pakistan and India had equal opportunities to develop after partition. They both took different directions.

Now one has its flag on the moon and the other has a moon on its flag.

John Carmack Left id Software Because He Couldn't Do VR Work There

Posted by Soulskill in Games • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes John Carmack left id Software last year, more than 20 years after he founded the company. There was a lot of speculation as to why, and now an interview at USA Today provides an explanation. Carmack had become Chief Technical Officer for Oculus VR a few months prior, and he was excited about bringing virtual reality gaming into the mainstream. Unfortunately, he couldn't get id Software's parent company, Zenimax, onboard. He'd hoped they would 'allow games he worked on to appear on the Oculus Rift headset. Had the deal been consummated, Wolfenstein: The New Order — an upcoming sequel to Wolfenstein 3D, an early id release — could have been part of the Oculus' tech demonstration that earned raves and awards at the recent Consumer Electronic Show.' Carmack said, 'But they couldn't come together on that which made me really sad. It was just unfortunate. When it became clear that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id software, I decided to not renew my contract.'"

Re:Timing Much ?

By EvilSS • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Am I the only one who finds interesting the fact that this article about why Carmack left a company 20 years ago, blaming Zenimax, comes out just at the moment the latest Zenimax game is ready to pre order ?


See, this is why I hate being a time traveler. I could have sworn I pre-ordered Wolfenstein: The New Order months ago but apparently it hasn't happened yet. This timey-wimey shit can be a real headache sometimes.

Re: Best of luck, John

By Teancum • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

My impression of Doom is more that the protagonist (aka "the player") was psychologically impaired and gradually losing touch with reality, while everybody he met and was "out to get him" was in fact people trying to save him or to protect the base from his destruction. As the player meets more exotic creatures, it is more proof he is just losing touch with reality and getting doped up even more from some experimental treatment gone bad.

At least that is a way to think about it. A sort of disturbing view as you could say the protagonist is actually killing his fellow marines and is the real enemy, but a different way to view the game.

Re:This was a good thing for gamers.

By _Shad0w_ • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I don't think Carmack was ever interested in games. He was interested in writing game engines. The games were kind of secondary demonstrations of what the engines could do.

Re: Best of luck, John

By girlintraining • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Demons come from another plain of existence. A parallel dimension of destruction, evil, and despair. While they are 'alien' to humanity, not so much in the classical sense of other worldly creatures that originate in our universe.

I think you've confused middle management with lovecraftian horror beasts. It's okay though, the differences are subtle. Middle management consists of risk-averse middle-aged people who wouldn't know a good idea if it fell on their left foot. Lovecraftian horror beasts, on the other hand, are intelligent hunting critters that know their head from their ass.

Re:Boo fucking hoo

By allcoolnameswheretak • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Maybe the hurdle was not Zenimax, but Occulus. It's obvious to me that Zenimax should profit from such a deal, as VR is clearly the future. But it's not so obvious why Occulus should tie itself to a single publisher when it's them who's got the "killer app".

And if for some reason the problem was on Zenimax' side...
If John Carmack tells you to do something, you do it, bitch!

UK Council To Send Obese People 'Motivational' Texts Telling Them To Use Stairs

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Qedward writes "Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sending texts to obese people in the area to help motivate them to lose weight. Examples of the texts sent include 'aim to eat a variety of fruit and vegetables each day,' 'aim to eat regular meals and keep a check on snacks and drinks' and 'maybe walk to the shops or use the stairs more often.' Over 100,000 people in the region are overweight or obese, the council said, and the texts are for those who are aged at least 18, have a body mass index of 25 or over and who have proactively signed up to receive the motivational messages."

Re:Council Money Well Spent

By dreamchaser • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Why, yes. Yes I am.

One possible problem

By techno-vampire • Score: 3 • Thread
I can just see an obese person chowing down on fish and chips, looking at a text message about eating more vegetables and commenting, "Potatoes are vegetables, aren't they?"

Re:i hate fat fucks as much as the next guy...

By Dodgy G33za • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Wish I had some mod points today.

Being fat is not a condition.It is a lifestyle choice that has impacts on others.Just the same as someone who smokes, doesn't shower, or doesn't clean their teeth.

I have sat next to quite a few fat people in my time on long haul flights.

"Touch your toes, Winston!"

By Nova Express • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

"Smith!" screamed the shrewish voice from the telescreen. "6079 Smith W.! Yes, YOU! Bend lower, please! You can do better than that. You’re not trying. Lower, please! THAT’S better, comrade."


By TranquilVoid • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

But if I used "mass" I could never lose it, just convert it into energy.

Silk Road Founder Indicted In New York

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader sends this report from Wired: "Federal authorities today announced a Grand Jury indictment against Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder and owner of the underground drug emporium Silk Road. The indictment (PDF), in New York, includes one count for narcotics conspiracy, one count of running a criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and one count of money laundering, according to the indictment. It's the second indictment for the the 29-year-old, who was arrested last October in San Francisco. Ulbricht was previously charged in New York at the time of his arrest, but authorities had until December to obtain an indictment against him based on new evidence seized. They sought an extension of that time and announced the indictment today. Ulbricht had been previously indicted in Maryland on charges of conspiring to have a former administrator of Silk Road murdered in exchange for $80,000."

Re:A website

By Ralph Wiggam • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

If you run a Nickleback fan forum, and someone posts child porn, you are not responsible for that.

If you create a web site expressly for anonymous selling, and you're well aware of people selling drugs on it, and taking a cut of those profits, then you are a conspirator to that crime.


By Ralph Wiggam • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The timeline does not support your theory. By the time the feds got involved, Silk Road was already a very popular marketplace. They got access to the servers, and watched the site operate for about 4 months. That's very standard in drug ring cases. It would be stupid to arrest everyone involved the moment you know about it. The goal is to collect a mountain of evidence so that they can charge people with a bunch of crimes and make rock solid cases in court.

Re:You're not alone.

By glavenoid • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's like it has been specifically designed to alienate as many existing users here as it possibly could.

Unless the overlords at Dice are so unfathomably, unbelievably incompetent, this is the only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn which poses another conundrum: without the users the domain has no value whatsoever. Rather than alienate the 15 years or so of slashdot users in an attempt to attract new users, Dice would have been much better off creating something new from scratch.

It's totally mind-boggling.


By Frosty Piss • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You're only directed to the Beta site if you're not logged in.

One would think that a Slashdot visitor with a half million ID would be smart enough to figure that out.


Next up - gov. contract!

By Rob_Bryerton • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
From the summary:

...includes one count for narcotics conspiracy, one count of running a criminal enterprise, one count of conspiracy to commit computer hacking and one count of money laundering,...

So, from that little snippet, it seems our man is qualified to work at the following government agencies:

Or, he could just run for congress. Scratch that, it seems he'd be under-qualified.

Getting Young Women Interested In Open Source

Posted by Soulskill in Developers • View on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Jason Baker writes "It seems like a perennial question: 'How do we get more women involved in tech?' The open source community, like any other part of the technology industry, is grappling with finding solutions that are more than just talking the talk of diversity, but actually make some demonstrable difference in the numbers. While there have been numerous success stories, the gender gap is still rampant. The answer, at least to one freelance entrepreneur, is providing strong role models of women using open source to have fun and make money. But is that enough to make a difference?"

Re:I'm male but...

By phantomfive • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
Supporting your point, the nurses I've known face sexual harassment far beyond anything female programmers endure. But there are still plenty of female nurses.

Re:I'm male but...

By boristdog • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Back in my youth I was the young, single, male computer support guy in a large gov't office that was about 80% females. About 50% of those were single divorcees. I was harassed...well, hit on constantly, a lot, and I began to see why females don't like working in a place with a similar reversed gender ratio.

Though I did go on a lot of dates.

And ended up married...To a young temp who is now a divorcee working in a different state office. Wow, I just realized that.

Re:I'm male but...

By TapeCutter • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
When I was a kid in the 60's we had specific "library classes" where we learnt how to research an arbitrary topic using a library. This class has been largely replaced by the "computer class", in both cases the important lessons are about "how to research", the specific tools you use in school will likely be largely forgotten by society when you're an adult. Dewey decimal anyone?

Modern life demands a certain level of computer literacy, public schools should provide that and offer a path to more advanced levels. Faimiliarity with the "big four" (word processors, spreadsheets, databases, browsers) comes under basic computer literacy in my book.

As a degree qulified software developer with 20+yrs in the industry I say with all sincerity that if you know how to use formulas in a spreadsheet, then you already know "how to code", like playing a piano the rest is mostly style and practice.

Re:I'm male but...

By Jiro • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Better than that, many religions are *blatantly* sexist, and yet more women go to church than men.

women in tech

By whistlingtony • Score: 3 • Thread

I used to know when there was a new woman hired. There'd be ten guys standing around a cube beating their chest... I'm exaggerating, but not by much.

A lot of the comments here are pretty foul. A lot of "There's no sexism!" A lot of "Oh yeah, well they do it too!". Oh, there's a "our brains are wired differently!" That's an old standby. There's the old "They just fake interest to get dates." There's a rant against feminists.

Notice that most of the comments are from dudes, and they're derogatory or dismissive......

One day I will have a daughter. I don't want her listening to you assholes. Of the posts I read, ONE was supportive and suggested actually listening to women. The rest of you denied the problem, cracked crude jokes, or blamed it on physiological differences. No. The problem is you.

My daughter will not get any pink shit. No princess shit. She'll be told from day one that she's good at math, and I don't care if she grows up to be a ..... glassblow, whatever, i picked something at random, but she'll have CHOICES and won't be shuttled to the back of the intellectual bus by the likes of you people. You should be ashamed of yourselves. The problem is YOU, you social skill lacking, self problem denying, asshats.

Little girls get told to be princesses. They grow up watching crappy disney films where the princess gets passively rescued by the prince. They get passed over and thought less competant. They get pushed and force fed images from day one. If they are forceful, strong, self reliant? They get labeled bossy, bitchy, pushy. This pervades every field. But tech IS terrible, and you should all be intelligent enough to know this. But that would require looking at your own part in it.

My own personal story? We had an opening. For weeks the jokes flew, "man, I hope we don't get a chick, we'd have to stop swearing and telling jokes." Well, we got a dude. My coworkers were discussing this very topic later, and denying it ever existed when I stopped them and asked them if they thought our boss had overheard us (of course he had) and if it had swayed his opinion, even unconsciously. They were silent. Of course it had, how could it not have? At least they had the good graces to show some remorse and take some responsibility.

How Voter Shortsightedness Skews Elections

Posted by Soulskill in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
sciencehabit writes "'Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?' Ronald Reagan's famous question in the U.S. presidential election of 1980 is generally a good yardstick for picking a candidate, or at least for judging a leader's economic policies. But few voters follow it. Instead, they are swayed by economic swings in the months leading up to the election, often ignoring the larger trends. Why are we so shortsighted? A psychological study of voting behavior suggests an answer and points to a simple fix. ... Healy and Lenz challenged their subjects to evaluate hypothetical governments based on slightly varying information. For example, some received information expressed as yearly income while others received the same information expressed as a yearly growth rate. The same information in a plot of steadily increasing average personal income over 3 years—$32,400, $33,100, $33,800—can also be expressed as a steadily decreasing rate of growth—3%, 2.3%, 2.1%. That did the trick. Just changing the units of the data was enough to cure voter fickleness. When economic trends were expressed as yearly income rather than rates of change, the subjects made accurate judgments. But if the same information was expressed as a change over time—the bias reappeared."

Re:Not quite that

By damn_registrars • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In the US, there is no choice.

You have choices, and some of them are third parties. You (and people like you) just choose to make your own prophecies become a reality

We have had presidents from only two parties for more than 150 years. One thing they have done an exquisite job of over those years is preventing anyone from any other party from being able to make a credible run at the white house.

However, even more significant is the fact that both parties have tacked hard to the right over the past several decades. Our current president comes from what is allegedly the "liberal" party yet he is further to the right than any president before him. Meanwhile the republicans are out in outer effin' space with their hard-right ideology. While this should make an opportunity for someone from the center or (gasp!) the left to rise to power, it really just leaves the lower economic classes with a choice of how badly they want to be screwed.

For me, the choice is pretty easy. The republicans want me to lose my job and then work at something else for pennies a day while they get rich. The democrats at best will allow me to continue in my chosen line of work, with no real hope for a meaningful chance at career advancement. A vote for a third party is a vote taken away from the democrats, which only improves my chance of ending up unemployed.

Don't get me wrong. I don't like what the democratic party has become. I just prefer it over the punishment the republicans have in mind for me.

Re:Are you earning more since Reagan was elected?

By crunchygranola • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Informative? Seriously?

LynnwoodRooster seems to have been betting that by stating a lie while providing a couple of links (that refute the lie) most people will assume that that the links actually support it.

If you follow the GINI link you will find that the both the pre-tax and after-tax GINI DID NOT INCREASE AT ALL during the Clinton years! The rise under Reagan went flat, then resumed its rise again under Bush.

Also actually look at that median HOUSEHOLD (not individual) curve LR links to. By the end of the Reagan-Bush era it was down to $48K (from 45.5K at the start), a far less impressive 5.5% over 12 years, and the whole reason for the rise was due to the second adult in the household going to work - since actual wages were flat.

**still** dont blame the voters

By globaljustin • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

People don't expect the news to lie

Then they're stupid.

Then where **do** they get their information?

Let's hear it. List it out. Explain an alternative.

I am open to what you have to say but I know that whatever you say will most likely have the government, a private corporation, and/or the 'news media' involved in how you obtain it in some way.

All 3 of those would get the standard trolling response on /. of, " trust X? your an idiot"

(X being govt, biz, or media)

So stop the nonstop counterpoint that for Nye/ would someone get reliable information, say, for Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts and if any corruption has turned up???

Hurricane Sandy would i get that the 'non-idiot' way?

Re:**still** dont blame the voters

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Since it is virtually impossible to get unbiased news, do what I do: Listen to both sides. For example, concerning the Ukrainian protests, it's usually quite healthy to take a western news source and then compare it to reports from a Russian source. It's amazing how different the stories are.

In the end, in today's news, you're a bit like a judge sitting in a trial. You know that both sides somehow lie to you and it's your job to find out what really happened. Kinda sad that you're now supposed to do the job the reporter was originally tasked with.

Re:**still** dont blame the voters

By Opportunist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That's not what I said.

Just like a judge can't make a fair (as in: impartial but right) judgement by simply meeting the two parties in middle ground (else I'll sue my neighbor for all he got and get half of his junk, a pretty sweet deal if I have no case at all), you can't simply mesh everything together and assume that the truth is by definition where the lies "cancel each other out".

But it gives you two point of view and then you, as an intelligent being with a halfway decent education (yes, I know, I expect a lot, but then again, I think someone who at least goes to the length of finding two conflicting sources has that intelligence in the first place or he would have been happy with a single source telling him "the truth") have to weigh them. You have to judge whose "story" is more credible, who you think tells you more of the truth, or maybe even all of it. Personally, I think the cases where one side told the unblemished truth and the other side nothing but propaganda lies are rather few.

But you're right, you can't simply dump them together and extract "the truth" out of it. You can only hope to learn it by doing the judging yourself, that's not an automated process. And yes, it will be biased.

But at least it will be your bias.

Audience Jeers Contestant Who Uses Game Theory To Win At 'Jeopardy'

Posted by Soulskill in Entertainment • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "USA Today reports that Arthur Chu, an insurance compliance analyst and aspiring actor, has won $102,800 in four Jeopardy! appearances using a strategy — jumping around the board instead of running categories straight down, betting odd amounts on Daily Doubles and doing a final wager to tie — that has fans calling him a 'villain' and 'smug.' It's Arthur's in-game strategy of searching for the Daily Double that has made him such a target. Typically, contestants choose a single category and progressively move from the lowest amount up to the highest, giving viewers an easy-to-understand escalation of difficulty. But Arthur has his sights solely set on finding those hidden Daily Doubles, which are usually located on the three highest-paying rungs in the categories (the category itself is random). That means, rather than building up in difficulty, he begins at the most difficult questions. Once the two most difficult questions have been taken off the board in one column, he quickly jumps to another category. It's a grating experience for the viewer, who isn't given enough to time to get in a rhythm or fully comprehend the new subject area. 'The more unpredictable you are, the more you put your opponents off-balance, the longer you can keep an initial advantage,' says Chu. 'It greatly increases your chance of winning the game if you can pull it off, and I saw no reason not to do it.' Another contra-intuitive move Chu has made is playing for a tie rather than to win in 'Final Jeopardy' because that allows you advance to the next round which is the most important thing, not the amount of money you win in one game. 'In terms of influence on the game,Arthur looks like a trendsetter of things to come,' says Eric Levenson. 'Hopefully that has more to do with his game theory than with his aggressive button-pressing.'"

Re:He's winning b/c he gets the right answers

By tlhIngan • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

because it makes it harder for them to play along at home

And that's the big issue. Because guess who pays his prize money? The people watching it on TV!

Jeopardy is pretty popular (so it's not a question of being "too smart"), and most viewers know the people on the show are damned smart. But one thing people love to do is try to answer the question themselves, but being more "normal", they have to take time to understand the category and the answer.

And the writers of Jeopardy often have fun - not just puns, but put a lot of effort making "fun" categories where things are totally oddball. Follow it top down and everyone gets a laugh at the end. Do it randomly and it's just a sucky experience for everyone.

It's like people who complain about movies - the movie's goal is not to entertain you, but to put asses in seats. Now, entertainment generally makes it easier to do so, hence special effects laden summer blockbusters. Jeopardy is the same - the writers have a little fun because the point is to entertain the home viewers so they return night after night to watch it.

What this guy does is probably "right" and "correct", but it makes for a boring and annoying game.

It's a case of where the "product" is at risk (viewer's eyeballs) in the eyes of the customer (advertisers) because viewers are turned off by what they see and it's not entertaining. In other words, this guy, by playing "smart", he makes the whole thing boring for everyone.

Re:3 Day Old News

By Anonymous Psychopath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

He's getting booed because he's taking all the fun out of the game for the viewers. It's not the freaking Olympics. It's a tv show, meant to entertain. He's not being entertaining.

The network, I'm sure, is ok with people being angry as long as they're getting angry by watching.

Re:Stupid people confused

By onkelonkel • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
110 Million people tuned in to watch the Superbowl. Is that not at least similar?

How to play for the tie

By KingSkippus • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I'm sorry, I didn't realize that folks weren't more familiar with Jeopardy!.

Normally if a player is in the lead by more than twice as much as the next closest person (that is, a guaranteed win), he will bet an amount that, if he misses the question and the second-place person answers it correctly, will leave him or her in the lead by a dollar. For example, if Alice has $15,000, Bob has $7,000, and Carol as $4,000, Alice will bet $999. If Alice misses the question and Bob gets it correct, Alice will end up with $14,001 and Bob will end up with $14,000, thus securing Alice the win.

To play for the tie instead, Alice would bet $1,000. Thus if she answers incorrectly and Bob answers correctly, they will both have $14,000. Both win the cash prize instead of the consolation prize(s), and both come back on tomorrow's show. If Alice is hardcore nice, she might even miss the question deliberately (yes, that means she'll be foregoing $2,000 extra in prize money) since that will net Bob $14,000 and she'll be bringing someone into the game tomorrow that she's relatively confident she can beat.

If Alice does not have the game locked up, then normally she would bet just enough so that, if she and Bob both answer correctly, she would end up one dollar ahead. For example, if Alice has $15,000, Bob has $10,000, and Carol has $3,000, Alice would bet $5,001, assuming that Bob will bet the entire amount. If both answer the question correctly, then Alice will end up with $20,001 and Bob with $20,000. If both answer incorrectly, Bob will likely end up with something close to $0, and Alice will end up with $9,999. If Alice answers incorrectly and Bob answers correctly, then unless Bob really screwed the pooch on his betting strategy, he will win and there's nothing Alice can do about it. (Which, incidentally, I have seen before.)

However, if Alice is playing for the tie, she will bet $5,000. That way, if she and Bob both answer correctly, they will both win $20,000, and again, she will carry a player she's likely to beat into the next game.

Obviously, that's not the whole story, because you might adjust your betting strategy based on where the third place person is to ensure that you capture at least second place, and sometimes you tweak the amount so that if everyone blows it, you come out ahead. Or sometimes you might do something irrational if you have some ulterior reason for it; for example, Alice might bet more on the question if it is about 18th Century Authors and she happens to be a literature professor with extensive knowledge in that field. But still, hopefully that paints a good enough picture to understand what "betting for the tie" means, versus trying to win outright.

Re:3 Day Old News

By Dahan • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Maybe he should behead his opponent and then shout, "Are you not entertained?"

For those who don't believe in reading TFA, it includes a relevant image :)

Kansas Delays Municipal Broadband Ban

Posted by Soulskill in Technology • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Mokurai writes with an update to a story from last week about legislation in Kansas that would have banned most municipal broadband, including the expansion of Google Fiber. Now, after the public backlash that erupted online, government officials have postponed the legislation's hearings, putting it on hold indefinitely. From the article: "Senate Bill 304 would prohibit cities and counties from building public broadband networks. The Commerce Committee, which [Sen. Julia Lynn] chairs, was scheduled to have a hearing Tuesday, but Lynn released a statement that hearings have been postponed indefinitely. 'Based on the concerns I heard last week, I visited with industry representatives and they have agreed to spend some time gathering input before we move forward with a public hearing,' Lynn said in a statement. 'We'll revisit the topic when some of these initial concerns have been addressed.' Lynn elaborated while exiting a Senate Judiciary hearing. The senator said she has instructed 'the parties' involved with the bill to address the public’s concerns. The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist."


By grmoc • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

The low hanging fruit is where the regulations allow them to deploy the most quickly to the largest number of customers.


By Zaelath • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

When did Google become a charity again? At best their move into fiber is a highly capitalized risk venture, and your suggestion is they should "create markets" by providing incredibly expensive data runs to people the rest of the industry can't be bothered servicing because there's not enough of them to make a profit on.

Traditionally that kind of folly is a role for government, perhaps you should be lobbying them to create a public network to compete with the privates. /laugh

Re:Citizens Unite?

By rsborg • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

This is the USA. Corporate interests own the legislatures.

The bill was introduced by John Federico, a cable industry lobbyist.

What do you expect? Who let this asshat in the door?

What do you think corporate funding of campaigns are going to result it? These corps aren't stupid, they're in it for returns. A congresscritter pet better earn it's keep or it's off the payroll.

Thank Citizens United and rollback of campaign finance reform (won't anyone thing of those $$?)


By jxander • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I think that the introduction of ANY competition would make the system cheaper and higher quality.

The only thing preventing progress is collusion. Cox, Time Warner, Comcast, etc have agreed not to step on each others toes. Only 1 provider available in most markets means a functional monopoly.

I think the government would be hard pressed to provide something WORSE than the current offerings. Seriously, they'd have to make a valiant effort to fuck it up that badly. And even a marginally better solution would cause a pretty large exodus from the current companies. Forcing them to improve their product (or lower their prices)


By xtronics • Score: 2, Interesting • Thread

As a non believer that actually lives in Kansas - I find my Christian neighbors to have more respect for my beliefs than the socialist leftists have. Tolerance needs to work in all directions.

In the end - I have the choice of 4 ISP providers in my town - setting up cartels would prevent that. Life is good here - we don't need bigots here - stay on the coasts.

Asus Announces Small Form Factor 'Chromebox' PCs

Posted by Soulskill in Hardware • View on SlashDotShareable Link
MojoKid writes "Asus stepped out this morning with something new for the Chrome OS powered hardware crowd, called a "Chromebox" small form factor PC. Just as Google has been evangelizing with its Chromebook notebook initiative, the pitch for these Chromebox systems is that they're capable of doing everything you need to do in today's connected world. While not everyone will totally agree with that marketing pitch — gaming, 3D modeling, and a host of specialized tasks are better suited for a PC with higher specs — there's certainly a market for these types of devices. They're low cost, fairly well equipped, and able to handle a wide variety of daily computing chores. There are two SKUs being released in the U.S. The first starts at $179 and sports an Intel Celeron 2955U processor, and the second features an Intel Core i3 4010U CPU (no mention of price just yet), both of which are based on Intel's 4th generation Haswell CPU architecture. Beyond the processor, these fan-less boxes come with two SO-DIMM memory slots with 2GB or 4GB of DDR3-1600 RAM, a 16GB SSD, a GbE LAN port, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, 2-in-1 memory card reader, four USB 3.0 ports, HDMI output, a DisplayPort, an audio jack, and a Kensington Lock. ASUS also includes a VESA mount kit with each Chromebox, and Google tosses in 100GB of Google Drive space free for two years."

FU Microsoft

By xtal • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

"Thanks for Windows 8!"

Heh heh.

Cheap hardware. No MS tax. Noms.

Re:So... Linux?

By The MAZZTer • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Chrome OS uses a special bootloader and some other stuff, but you can install a Linux-based OS on a separate partition (after resizing the partitions) and dual boot it, as long as you can enable "developer mode" on the box so it will boot unsigned code (there's a switch for it on my Chromebook behind the battery). Or you can install one right inside Chrome OS with a chroot, if that's sufficient, again it requires developer mode turned on.

You could probably just blow everything away and put Linux on it alone, but I dunno how you'd go about doing that.


By goombah99 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

This or a chromebook is the ideal computer for grandma who just needs to check her e-mail and surf a bit. I know because I got one for myself then when I could not stand Chrome-OS's annoying limitations I transferred to an elderly relative. CHromeOS is a wonderful concept and I thought it would be a panacea but it just blows for anyone but the most primitive user.

things you can't do without pain:
1) this network OS can't actually do any local networking.
2) can't mount a local network disk
3) can't print to a local printer by itself
4) can't run any other OS practically. Oh sure you can install linux, but then the whole machine goes to crap. It won't autoupdate chomeos any longer once you install linux. And it will erase the linux partition if you touch the wrong key at boot time. Some nut jobs have told "just reflash your roms so doesn't do that". Which sort of proves my point.
6) you can't run most software without an internet connection.
7) all the chromebooks I've used don't handle many common external screens properly.
8) there's no granularity of security. your username and password is your login. you can't sever the connection. You can't tell what exactly APPS do with the permissions you give them.
9) virtually no documentation and fickle SDK capabilities at googles pleasure.

Re:So... Linux?

By Tough Love • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You set developer mode in bios and poof, you own your device again. So far, no chromeos vender has locked that out, if they ever do then the devices just become training wheels for the internet.

Been wanting a BeagleBone Black...

By aaarrrgggh • Score: 3 • Thread

If this type of box was under $100, I would jump on it. At $65 I would buy several. Currently trying to get a BeagleBone Black (when they get stock again) for the same general purpose, but being able to drive a 4k display would be worth a little extra.

US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality

Posted by Soulskill in Politics • View on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter litehacksaur111 writes "Lawmakers are introducing the Open Internet Preservation Act (PDF) which aims to restore net neutrality rules enforced by the FCC before being struck down by the DC appeals court. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) said, 'The Internet is an engine of economic growth because it has always been an open platform for competition and innovation. Our bill very simply ensures that consumers can continue to access the content and applications of their choosing online.' Unfortunately, it looks unlikely the bill will make it through Congress. 'Republicans are almost entirely united in opposition to the Internet rules, meaning the bill is unlikely to ever receive a vote in the GOP-controlled House.'"

Ambassador Bridge

By Valdrax • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

After all, we don't allow corporations to own real bridges to important places.

I know that a lot of people diss both Detroit and Canada, but I think any bridge that transports 25% of all merchandise trade between two first-world nations is pretty important.

Now, the Ambassador Bridge is a good illustration of your point in spite of this, since it's a good example of why we shouldn't. While it has some competition from a tunnel which is owned (via a shared LLC) by the two city governments that it connects, that hasn't stopped it from fighting tooth and nail to prevent any other, better bridges from being built to compete with it.

The owners have poured money into the hands of legislators and opposition candidates and into ballot initiatives to try to stop the bridge, have run political scare ads, and have tried to tie up the project in the courts for years -- to the point that the head of the company was put in jail for a short while for contempt of court for failing to obey court orders related to the construction contracts. All to protect a bridge that ends in surface streets on the Canadian side over a bridge that would directly link two highways.

Just a modern day baron trying to protect his inefficient little fief at the expense of the public.

Re:It's incredibly frustrating...

By CosaNostra Pizza Inc • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The fundamental problem is, Comcast wants to charge Netflix et. al. for carrying content on their network, simply because Netflix eats all their bandwidth.

No. technology innovation over time results in more bandwidth for less money. Netflix et al do not eat "all their bandwidth". However, Netflix, Amazon Prime, et al are competing services for Comcast's movies on demand and specifically, Streampix. The real fix is to prevent ISPs from also being content service providers.

Read the bill

By kenh • Score: 3 • Thread

All it does is restore the rules the court struck down until such time as the current appeals process completes...

In other words, the things the district court struck down will be re-instated until the Supreme Court determines the the district court was right, and the 'net neutrality' laws will be struck down again.

This bill is just an example of stupid politicians pandering to the electorate - relief from the court's decision is easy, and it was even described in the district court's decision (which everyone, on both sides of the case expected)... The FCC simply needs to decide that broadband carriers are 'common carriers' not 'information services' and then their attempts to force net neutrality will become legal/enforceable. The court said that since the FCC ruled that broadband carriers were not common carriers, they could not be regulated like common carriers.

The Democrats simply want to legislate that the FCC ignore the District Court's decision until such time as the Supreme Court rules on this case's ultimate appeal.

Re:It's incredibly frustrating...

By Bob9113 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Your post is interesting and I don't want to detract from your interesting solution, but just to clarify:

Comcast wants to charge Netflix et. al. for carrying content on their network, simply because Netflix eats all their bandwidth.

Netflix doesn't push anything down Comcast's network. I pull it. I eat all of Comcast's bandwidth. Whether I do it with Netflix or Youtube or Linux distro torrents is none of Comcast's business. I pay Comcast for carriage, like when I pay UPS to transport a package; it's none of UPS's business (or liability) what I put in the box. They charge me by weight and/or size and distance, not what I'm sending or who the recipient is.


By Bob9113 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

For example, Netflix creates up to a third of internet traffic in the evening hours.

Netflix does not create any traffic. ISP customers create the traffic by telling the Netflix servers to send them a stream.

Firefox 27 Released: TLS 1.2 Support, SPDY 3.1, SocialAPI Improvements

Posted by Soulskill in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
jones_supa writes "Mozilla has released Firefox 27 for Linux, Android, Mac, and Windows (download). One of the big changes is enabling support for TLS 1.1 and 1.2 by default. Firefox 27 also supports the SPDY 3.1 protocol. Developers got some new toys: support was added for ES6 generators in SpiderMonkey, the debugger will de-obfuscate JavaScript, and style sheets can be reset by using all:unset. Mozilla also announced some new social integration options. In addition to all these changes, the Android version got some UI improvements and font readability upgrades. For a future release, Mozilla is currently testing a new approach for Firefox Sync in Nightly builds. They recognized the headaches involved with how it works, and they're now opting to use a simple e-mail and password combination like Google Chrome does. In the old system, users were forced to store an auto-generated authorization code, which, if lost, would render their bookmarks, passwords and browsing history inaccessible. "

Re:Too late, switched to Chrome

By archen • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'm not sure a "Classic" version would help much, it's the Internet itself that's bloated. You can have the fastest browser ever, but you're still downloading all that social media crap with Javascript pulled from all corners of the globe. The fastest web browsing experience? Firefox with Adblock and NoScript.

Re:Too late, switched to Chrome

By UltraZelda64 • Score: 4 • Thread

The browser could at least help, by not automatically assuming that everyone wants JavaScript support and re-enabling it even for anyone who willfully turned it off in the first place, while at the same time removing the GUI, requiring digging through the bowels of the hell that is about:config just to find the option to re-enable. The first step to cutting web bloat is to disable JavaScript, but ironically Mozilla seems to be directly against this idea.

Re: Sync

By c0l0 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Yeah, I knew about that possibility before, but since the data to be stored on Mozilla servers was being properly encrypted on my device and in my client, I opted out of the usual "maintain my own infrastructure" chores that one time. Now, the "old" (read: current) Firefox Sync system is going away completely in the not too distant future, and you'll probably have to install some kind of add-on to keep your existing, self-hosted infrastructure functional. Meanwhile, I asked some Mozilla people/developers what the change was about, and how the new system is supposed to keep users' data confidential. The transcript of the IRC session is available here, on Debian's inofficial pastebin - enjoy! :)

Re:Do not want ...

By complete loony • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
It's called "about:memory" and it shows you memory allocation in all kinds of fine or coarse grained ways. And it's been almost continually improved for the past couple of years, while the big issues this page has revealed have been fixed.

Re: Sync

By c0l0 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The new server code/service building blocks are already (at least in part) available: - there's probably more, but mozila shares so much on github I don't really know what to look for.

Will Microsoft IIS Overtake Apache?

Posted by timothy in Technology • View on SlashDotShareable Link
First time accepted submitter jcdr writes "February's 2014 Web Server Survey by Netcraft shows a massive increase [in the share of] Microsoft's web server since 2013. Microsoft's market share is now only 5.4 percentage points lower than Apache's, which is the closest it has ever been. If recent trends continue, Microsoft could overtake Apache within the next few months, ending Apache's 17+ year reign as the most common web server."

Re: why not?

By petermgreen • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

mmm, the "active sites" graph looks far more stable, apache is showing a slight downward trend recently but the market share it's losing doesn't seem to be going to MS

Re: why not?

By petermgreen • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

At this point, I'm not 100% sure what in any reasonable configuration Apache would offer over nginx.

A couple of things i've noticed

1: The combination of nginx and php can be a pain. It's easy enough to make it work for the root of a hostname but if you then add a subdirectory of the domain that is mapped to a different local directory it breaks because nginx passes the wrong path to php. I belive it's possible to make things work again with a sufficiantly complex configuration but I haven't figured out how yet. In my case I just worked arround it by using subdomains.
2: Some more specialist stuff may rely on specific apache modules that afaict don't have an nginx equivilent. For example mod_dav_svn or mod_mirrorbrain.

In part it's lies, here's a true story

By goruka • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Someone I know runs a hosting provider in Latin America, they sell virtualization, dedicated servers and housing. I don't remember exactly how the deal was (this was about 2 years ago). Microsoft talks to everyone here to route their traffic through Window Server devices and IIS or fake server agents in exchange of money, hardware and licenses. I don't have proof and can't obviously point to specific providers, but i've seen the devices myself.

Re:Very different when ...

By nitehawk214 • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Much more different if you sort the words by letter.


Re: why not?

By Jane Q. Public • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

"I don't know if Microsoft paid them, but GoDaddy did move all of their parked sites to IIS by default instead of Apache, which caused a major percentage change for Microsoft."

And why not, especially if Microsoft is paying them to do it? Those parked sites only represent a miniscule fraction of bandwidth, but as you say, make a big percentage difference in perceived market share.

Smooth move, Microsoft. You bring "lying with statistics" to a whole new level.

Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

Posted by timothy in Science • View on SlashDotShareable Link
New submitter Max McDaniel writes to point out this live stream of the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham concerning the viability of creationism in a scientific age taking place at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky (of which Ham is the founder). Note: the presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern; the live feed is likely to remain less interesting until then.

Re:Not worthless

By netsavior • Score: 4 • Thread
Both sides will remain unchanged by the debate; but somewhere in Ken Ham's intended audience there is a child just hungry enough to latch on to a morsel of truth and doubt. This will be the child's foundation for escape from that crippling dogmatic world.

This is those children's first and maybe only opportunity for scientific education.

I hope every new earth denialist logs in and lets their children watch as Ken Ham "wins."

no matter what happens, this is a victory for rationality

Re:Can a creationist explain me?

By Voyager529 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

A few answers here, starting with the foundational ones...

First off, there is a lot of confusion about what "creationists" actually believe. We have our fundies like everybody else, but the fact of the matter is that even the more rational creationists will disagree about creationism. From a Christian standpoint, we've got two parts - primary doctrine, and secondary doctrine. Genesis 1:1 is primary doctrine: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth". This is agreed upon by basically everyone in the creationist camp - that everything in the known universe was created by God.

Everything else, regarding God's implementation, and the methods He used to actually perform the act of creation...that's secondary doctrine, and in any room of ten creationists, you'll have a dozen answers. This is an important distinction to make, because, if I may get on my soapbox for a quick moment, Slashdot seems to correlate "creationist" with "6000 years, fossils-meant-to-test-us, God gives 'Murica the right to bear arms" fundies, as opposed to "an individual who believes that there is a Supreme Deity in charge of causing the universe to exist". Simply because Biblical creationists don't have every single answer regarding God's implementation as to how He constructed the universe, and because we don't all 100% agree on the possible ways that God could have done it...doesn't mean that everyone who believes Genesis 1:1 is a completely irrational fundie...okay I'll get back off my soap box and actually get on with answering the question...

Biblical creationism based on Genesis 1 leaves a few avenues of possibility. First, the word "day" is frequently pointed to as being suspect in the first, second, and third "days" of the creation account...because the earth didn't exist until the fourth day. The argument that the term 'day' is not a literal 24 hour period is substantiated by the fact that the original Hebrew language used for the first day doesn't use the term "first day", but "day one", indicating that it was not compared to the other days in those terms. It's entirely possible that the first three days were entirely different units of time. Additional questions raised in this regard is the fact that the Bible repeatedly refers to God as an Entity that is not bound by time, and thus time itself being a creation...yet 'time' is not listed as one of the things that God created, nor gravity, magnetism, or the forces of Newtonian physics, or quantum physics. Since we understand that all of these laws manipulate time given sufficient amounts of these forces, there's plenty of reasons to believe that the notion of a 'day' was not a 24 hour period. Those on the 6-literal-day side of the debate point to the fact that the word 'day', even in the Hebrew, is used solely for the 24-hour time span, and never for an 'age' or any other indiscriminate span of time, so the authors of the Bible could have used the word 'age' if so directed by God, but did not. Whether human error, 'poetic license', or because God builds universes in a amongst the points of secondary doctrine about which Ken Ham and Kent Hovind have gone back and forth about repeatedly.

With regards to the question about the ~6,000 light-year range of light we'd expect to see, the best answers I can personally give is two fold:
1. If we're assuming that 24 hour days are correct, then one could argue that it's no more difficult for God to make photons-in-transit from stars than it would be for Him to create the stars themselves. For bonus points, consider that 'light' was the very first thing created. To answer the question of "why would He do that", all I can say is "I'm trying to figure out the whole lice thing myself..."
2. If we're assuming 6 'ages' of significant time, then one could argue that there would be plenty of time between the formation of the stars and the creation of mankind, so the light-in-transit could easily have a few million year head start to work with.

The "why" is still my personal speculation

Re:Can a creationist explain me?

By Hatta • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

First off, there is a lot of confusion about what "creationists" actually believe.

If you tried believing only in what there is evidence to support there would be a lot less confusion.

From a Christian standpoint, we've got two parts - primary doctrine, and secondary doctrine.

See, you've got this entirely backwards here. If creation is fact, you should be able to infer the Christian doctrine from observations made in the real world. Forget about what's in the book, and just look at the world. Do your observations lead you to the same conclusion the book does?

Everything else, regarding God's implementation, and the methods He used to actually perform the act of creation...that's secondary doctrine, and in any room of ten creationists, you'll have a dozen answers.

That's because they're all making it up. If you ask a room of biologists about the actual method by which speciation occured, you'll get one answer. Evolution by natural selection. That's because that's where the evidence actually leads.

Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here

By martinux • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

While I agree with the general concept that everything should be examined and not taken at face value I would stress that this is not equivalent to "my non-fact based theory deserves as much time and attention as your evidence-based theory."

Ken Ham cannot provide a reasonable point-counterpoint because all he can do is make assertions that sound like science but are in fact not. It doesn't matter how polite and well spoken he is.

As Issac Asimov stated:
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

The only value that this 'debate' will have is it will further reinforce exactly how delusional creationism is.

Re:Went over my head.

By Sique • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
Actually, Galileo Galilei had the explicit permission from the Pope to explore and to research a heliocentric view of the sky, provided he didn't call his own results the absolute truth and any other view false. Also, Galileo Galileis works were never listed in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, thus the Catholic church never viewed his worldview as heretical. On the other hand, they had to be published with a comment regarding their validity, basicly a disclaimer that this book contains the view of the author, which is not necessarily the accepted doctrine of the Catholic church.

In the 17th century, the Catholic church was very interested in new astronomic research and results, because this was the Age of Discovery, and astronomy was important for the explorers to navigate and to cartograph the world. Everything that improved upon the results of the Ptolemaic view of the solar system was welcome. Recalculating of the Equinoxe lead to the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582 in all Catholic states. The results of Copernicus, of Kepler and Tycho Brahe were considered pretty interesting, provided they allowed for a better way to calculate the stellar and planetary positions. When Ole Rømer in 1676 was able to show and calculate, that light has an finite speed using the Galilean Moons, he didn't get any ban from the Catholic church - this was three decades after Galilei's conviction.

Government To Require Vehicle-to-vehicle Communication

Posted by timothy in Technology • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes "For decades, the focus of auto safety has primarily been on surviving the traumatic impact of crashes through features like air bags and seat belts. But now the focus has shifted to avoiding crashes by developing technology to make future vehicles 'smart' enough to detect and respond to threats, such as an oncoming vehicle. The technology, known as 'vehicle-to-vehicle,' or "V2V," lets cars 'talk' to each other and exchange safety data, such as speed and position. If a nearby car abruptly changes lanes and moves into another car's blind spot, the car would be alerted. Federal transportation officials did not announce when the new regulations would go into effect but said they hope to propose the new V2V rules before President Barack Obama leaves office in January 2017." Combine this with remote kill-switches or pulse guns, Amber-alert scrolling signs, proliferating cameras, automatic plate recognition and unstoppable text messages from on high for some not-so-distant driving dystopia.

Re:Liking my old cars more and more.

By HornWumpus • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

That's what the cab driver told you? She had a a sybian installed in her seat.

V2V Developer

By apharmdq • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

So I'm actually working on this technology, and every time I see an article about this, there's inevitably some concern about safety, security, government spying, etc.

First off, the reason this technology would be required in all vehicles is that it essentially consists of in-car wifi routers that send their GPS location to other cars. In order for the technology to work properly, all cars would need it, so they can all see each other. Obviously it's a big transition, but it has to be done eventually. New cars would come with the devices built in, and older cars would have after-market devices that can be purchased and installed. However, once in place, vehicle awareness will greatly reduce accidents and increase roadside efficiency. (Think of it this way; The traffic signals are almost always green when you approach an intersection.)

But wouldn't all that be pretty expensive? Not really. The core technology is pretty basic stuff. It's just gps and wifi, really. The fancy stuff, like in-car radar, video cameras, and so forth that you find in some of the luxury cars today isn't really necessary, though from what I gather, it could be plugged in to augment the system. For the most part, consumers won't notice a price change, and in the worst case, they'd have to spend a couple hundred to retrofit their old cars.

All fine and dandy, but what about hackers and people that would abuse the tech? Well, the system is being designed from the ground up to be heavily encrypted and secure. One of the government requirements for the companies developing this is that it meet certain security standards, and since this stuff is used to keep people from dying, you can bet testing will involve trying to exploit every aspect of it. The only issue I can see is malicious signal jamming, though since it requires a unique frequency, people doing this would be caught pretty easily.

Finally, we get to the issue of government spying. Since every vehicle is transmitting its location, doesn't this mean that the government could track everybody, or gather other information about them? This is actually very unlikely. The development of V2V tech has been fairly hands-off on the government's part. Their primary contribution has been to lay down certain standards and requirements for the tech, and then let the commercial companies implement it. One of their requirements has been that none of the data can be used to identify any vehicle in any way, which has certainly been a challenge to implement from the development side.
And to add my own anecdotal evidence, I've looked through all of the code used, from the firmware to the utilities, and I've seen nothing that could be used as a backdoor to get the information. Likewise, I've worked extensively with the hardware and done all kinds of signal analysis, and as far as I can see, there's nothing illicit on the hardware end either.

And don't forget, the V2V tech isn't only being implemented in the US, but Japan, Europe, and China as well. (To the best of my knowledge.) A lot of the hardware and software is shared between the companies working on it and they all have to fit a certain standard.

In any case, I'm sure few people will be placated by my explanation, but I myself would not be averse to having this system installed in my own car.

Re:To require?

By dcooper_db9 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Indeed, this is in the pre-rule stage. The NHTSA will soon publish a report and submit it for public comment. We won't know if they have the authority under existing law until they publish their proposed rule. They may have to go to Congress and request additional authority. It will be years before any regulations actually change.

Here is is an overview of how the regulatory process works in US federal agencies.

Here's an excerpt from the NHTSA announcement:

NHTSA is currently finalizing its analysis of the data gathered as part of its year-long pilot program and will publish a research report on V2V communication technology for public comment in the coming weeks. The report will include analysis of the Department's research findings in several key areas including technical feasibility, privacy and security, and preliminary estimates on costs and safety benefits. NHTSA will then begin working on a regulatory proposal that would require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year, consistent with applicable legal requirements, Executive Orders, and guidance. DOT believes that the signal this announcement sends to the market will significantly enhance development of this technology and pave the way for market penetration of V2V safety applications.


By mmell • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Like back in the seventies - L.A.P.D. got a fleet of fifty brand new vehicles, I forget which model of Ford they were. First cop to catch a speeder in one of the new souped up cruisers stomps the gas, accelerates almost instantly to the vehicles maximum governed speed of 55mph, and watches his quota for the month go bye-bye. But the officer was safe at all times, the vehicle prevented him from placing himself in unnecessary danger by enforcing his compliance with the very laws he was supposed to be enforcing. That's good, right?

Re:Liking my old cars more and more.

By Ravaldy • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Maybe but I'll tell you what. I'd love my car to be able to tell me there's an accident ahead. I just had to wait 3 hours due to a 50 car pileup. It wasn't pretty. According to the fireman I spoke to, it started with only 2 cars, quickly turned ugly as more cars arrived at high speed no knowing about the stoppage ahead due to limited visibility. Luckilly, I don't think anybody died but 10 rigs were left on the side of the road overnight along with many cars. It could have been much worst.

One could say slow down but you and me both know it's not going to happen. "Human nature". When you can't change the driver you put measured in place to protect the drivers. In this case communication between vehicles could enable notifications to avoid crazy accidents like the one I witnessed.

As for your comment about drivers paying attention. I though I read something about Android developing technology to prevent the use of the phone while driving unless commands are performed via voice. Would be cool if someone linked the article.

Who's Writing Linux These Days?

Posted by timothy in Linux • View on SlashDotShareable Link
cold fjord writes "IEEE Spectrum reports, "About once a year, the Linux Foundation analyzes the online repository that holds the source code of the kernel, or core, of the Linux operating system. As well as tracking the increasing complexity of the ever-evolving kernel over a series of releases from versions 3.0 to 3.10, the report also reveals who is contributing code, and the dominant role corporations now play in what began as an all-volunteer project in 1991. While volunteer contributors still represent a plurality among developers, over 80 percent of code is contributed by people who are paid for their work. ""


By RabidReindeer • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

While volunteer contributors still represent a plurality among developers, over 80 percent of code is contributed by people who are paid for their work.

This. I've said it before and will say it again. The open source projects with most bugs and slowest development time are the ones without proper sponsors. That's why I also use a lot of commercial closed-source software myself, but do not have any particular grudge against OSS either. Just pay the developers properly, because complex, properly quality-assured modern software is impossible without that.

Before you get too comfortable with that assertion, recall that Linux Torvalds wasn't being paid to develop Linux in the beginning nor for long after. Nor were his earliest assistants.

It's certainly easier to develop good-quality software if you aren't distracted by the need to earn a living doing something else, but it's not essential.


By NatasRevol • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

There's a saying.

"He's the exception that proves the rule."


By RabidReindeer • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Before you get too comfortable with that assertion, recall that Linux Torvalds wasn't being paid to develop Linux in the beginning nor for long after. Nor were his earliest assistants.

I'm still mostly comfortable with my assertion. :) I am talking about modern software, which is significantly more complex than early Linux. Indeed, it is the complexity and lines of code which makes it day by day harder to make meaningful software without it being a full-time paid commitment.

I'm pretty sure that if software had gained some sort of magical properties in the last 30 years I'd have noticed it.

Yes, the codebase contains more components than it used to - although having smarter and more standardized hardware has reduced the number of unique drivers. But Torvalds is still "Penguin-in-Chief". He just delegates a lot now since there are more components to ride herd on. And now it's his primary job.

The fact that a lot of the components have full-time professional teams working on them is generally an indication that they can see a benefit from having control over an item on their personal agenda and on their own schedule instead of waiting for someone to come along on their own time and in their own way. Which is natural, since the essential systems were worked out 2 decades ago. Since then, we've seen the addition of virtualization support (in large part created by academic, rather than commercial developers), abstractions in block I/O, new network features and filesystems, clustering and other things that are typically of commercial interest.

Along the way, a lot of these items were originally developed by unpaid developers who then leveraged what they had done into careers for themselves. Even Red Hat itself wasn't a major commercial endeavor at first.

Not to say that IBM and Oracle haven't been major contributors, but Linux has many roots and many parts and they each have their own characteristics.


By Tough Love • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The open source projects with most bugs and slowest development time are the ones without proper sponsors.

I know, right? Take Samba for example... oh wait.


By icebike • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Before you get too comfortable with that assertion, recall that Linux Torvalds wasn't being paid to develop Linux in the beginning nor for long after. Nor were his earliest assistants.

It's certainly easier to develop good-quality software if you aren't distracted by the need to earn a living doing something else, but it's not essential.

Linux moved very slowly (Glacially) while Linus was working for a living and building linux evenings and weekends. He was still in the University at the time if the initial release in 1991. He graduated in 1996 and took work with Transmeta, (Crusoe) which lasted till 2003. Transmeta gave him wide scope to spend significant time on Linux on the company clock.

From 2003 on, he has been essentially paid, allowed, and encouraged to work on Linux with a free hand.

So he spent 8 years at University (interrupted by a year of military service). How those years were financed is not public knowledge, but I suspect his Parents and the Finnish government played a part.

From graduation in 1997 on, he was on the payroll of companies that had the good sense to let him do pretty much as he wanted.

And that's not unusual. A lot of these early contributors were in the employment of companies that allowed and encouraged them to work on linux. You need only dig through early archives to see the email addresses used.

Why Games Should Be In the Public Domain

Posted by timothy in Games • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Robotron23 writes "Rock, Paper, Shotgun writer John Walker shook a hornet's nest by suggesting old videogames should enter the public domain during GOG's Time Machine sale. George Broussard of Duke Nukem fame took to Twitter, saying the author should be fired. In response to these comments RPS commissioned an editorial arguing why games and other media should enter the public domain much more rapidly than at present. 'I would no more steal a car than I would tolerate a company telling me that they had the exclusive rights to the idea of cars themselves.' says Walker, paraphrasing a notorious anti-piracy ad (video). 'However, there are things I'm very happy to "steal," like knowledge, inspiration, or good ideas...It was until incredibly recently that amongst such things as knowledge, inspiration and good ideas were the likes of literature and music.'"

Re:And A Rebuttal

By Jason Levine • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The problem with saying "Public Domain isn't the answer" is that Public Domain is the essential trade-off for copyright. The only reason people are given copyrights is that they are allowed a temporary monopoly on a work they created before it falls into the Public Domain. The Public Domain then helps feed the next round of creators who make works that copyright protects before they, in turn, fall into the Public Domain.

What we have today is works that essentially never leave copyright. If I released a book/movie/game/etc today, it would be covered by copyright until 2109 (assuming no law changes between now and then - a big assumption). The logic behind the copyright extension was that it would encourage the creator to make more books/movies/games/etc. The only problem is that I'd be 134 in the year 2109. If I'm even still alive then, I doubt I'll be in any shape to create many more works. If I'm not alive, then what is my copyright encouraging me to do? I doubt I'll rise zombie-like from the dead to pen a book about the after-life. ("It's Cold In The Ground" by Zombie Jason. But it before I eat your BRAAAIINNNSSS!!!!)

If the copyright expires on your work, you don't get any say in what people do with it. Were Shakespeare to come back to life today, he wouldn't have any say over some movie company making a modern musical version of Romeo and Juliet. Da Vinci wouldn't have a say in someone taking an image of the Mona Lisa and selling it on a postcard. If your work goes Public Domain and someone makes a "remix" version of it, that doesn't reflect poorly on you, but on the remix maker.

Copyrights NEED to expire at some point. It's hard enough trying to find out who owns the rights to Random Game From The 80s. Imagine trying to track down the rights holder for A Mid-Summer Night's Dream to make a movie based on it. It's not a question of SHOULD copyrights expire, but WHEN should they. I, and I'd wager most people here, think that copyright term length has been extended way past its usefulness and should be seriously trimmed back. (Personally, I'd go back to 14 years plus a one-time 14 year renewal, but at this point I'd take one 50 year copyright term as an improvement.)

Re:And A Rebuttal

By wisnoskij • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

That said, not all films/video games are made the same; And I am not just talking better/worse/more popular.

Their are loads of films and games, both glaring failures and explosive successes, that make 50% of their money on opening week (and the following 49.99% the following four months).
Their are other longform media that were never meant to make any noticeable amount of money the whole first year.

Dwarf Fortress for example was released 8 years ago, and is making more than ever. And the creators have turned it into his full time career, meaning we might have 4-+ years left of development. Additionally, this income is necessary for this very worthy addition to our culture to continue to flourish.

Abandoned works

By darkwing_bmf • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

As long as the game is actively for sale, I don't see anything wrong with the copyright holder continuing to make money from it. The problem is when games and other works can no longer be found for sale. For other works the copyright ownership might be unknowable. For these works, they should be in the public domain. To me this strikes the right balance. If someone cares enough to keep the game working on current hardware, they can keep the copyright. If they no longer care about the game, then the public can have it.


By Phernost • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

You cannot create anything in a vacuum. Your time and resources may be of your own but, your effort is build upon the effort of those who came before you. Asking for repayment of your time and resources is reasonable. Asking for indefinite repayment on all similar creations, while holding to the naive idea that all effort was yours alone, is disingenuous if not fraudulent. If you have enhanced society with your contributed effort then, society should reward you.

The only debate is the terms of that reward, nothing more, nothing less. The false notion that effort entitles one to complete dominion over similar effort is new, relatively speaking, and not universally agreed upon as being reasonable. I would argue that, monetary rewards be the only reward, and that false dominion is for those who are selfish and lack awareness.

An honest man borrows and stands on the shoulders of others. A dishonest man claims he alone is the progenitor. See original quote.

From your previous statements, it would seem you are dishonest, if not selfish ... or I'm reading into this too much.


By meta-monkey • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

So you see the difference? You're acting like you have a fundamental, natural right to your idea/story/song/whatever, but you don't.

It's called "property rights", and yes, he does.

No, he doesn't. Intellectual "property" is not property.

I have the natural, unalienable free speech right to repeat your idea/story/song/whatever.

No, you don't.

Yes, I do.

AMD Open-Sources Video Encode Engine

Posted by timothy in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader writes "AMD's latest feature added to their open-source Radeon DRM graphics driver is VCE video encoding via a large code drop that happened this morning. A patched kernel and Mesa will now allow the Radeon driver with their latest-generation hardware to provide low-latency H.264 video encoding on the GPU rather than CPU. The support is still being tuned and it only supports the VCE2 engine but the patches can be found on the mailing list until they land in the trunk in the coming months."

Satya Nadella Named Microsoft CEO

Posted by timothyView on SlashDotShareable Link
Nerval's Lobster writes "As widely expected after last week's rumors, Satya Nadella has been named the new CEO of Microsoft. Nadella is Microsoft's third CEO, after co-founder Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer. He's been with the company for more than twenty years, eventually becoming executive vice president of its Cloud and Enterprise division; Nadella and his team were responsible for the creation of 'Cloud OS,' the platform that powers Microsoft's large-scale cloud services such as SkyDrive, Azure, and Office 365. Under his guidance, Microsoft's revenue from cloud services has grown by several billion dollars over the past few years. In his email to employees, Nadella said that he was 'humbled' by his appointment, and that he had asked Bill Gates to act as a close adviser in the months and years ahead." He devoted much of the rest of the email "to explaining his philosophy of technology, and how that will ultimately influence his leadership. 'The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past for a mobile and cloud-first world, and do new things,' he added. 'We are the only ones who can harness the power of software and deliver it through devices and services that truly empower every individual and every organization.' A lot of tech companies would disagree the assertion that Microsoft is the 'only' company capable of merging hardware and software into forms that businesses and consumers find appealing, but Nadella must do his best to reassert his company's position as a technology leader. Nadella indicated near the end of his email that he would follow through on the 'One Microsoft' strategy formulated under Ballmer, which includes a massive reorganization currently underway." Reader rjmarvin notes that "Nadella will take over as CEO immediately, allowing Steve Ballmer to retire early," and reader SmartAboutThings says that "John Thompson, a lead independent director for the Board of Directors, will take over the role of Chairman of the Board of Directors that Gates held."

Re:Office 365

By DarthVain • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

OK before you even start kicking the cloud.

Talk about the idea of storing your information in a propitiatory format using a subscription based software that you do not own.

"Oh your millions of documents are all in our closed source format now? It would be a shame of our subscription service quadrupled in price... Then again the stand alone versions are even more expensive... That's OK however, you will only have to pay us monthly... for forever."

Once you get by that stupid part, then you can go on to the stupid part about cloud based services... Also note that 99.99% of all those services are hosted in the USA where the NSA and every other government agency will be helping themselves to all your private data for whatever purposes they deem fit,

SO yeah, very quickly 3 good reasons never to use, and that is before you even look at the actual price, software features, etc...

Re:Your tinfoil hat is on too tight

By jkrise • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

> If someone at NSA want's to look at those
Is that a plural? So why the apostrophe, moron?

You are the moron I think. Consider: The NSA is so bloody possessive; the apostrophe is warranted in my book!

Re:Office 365

By EvilSS • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The whole concept of running a text processor on a remote server when you have a super computer from 20 years ago inside your pocket is just so stupid it prompts for decapitation. Also well deserved slavery.

WTF are you talking about? Office 365 is subscription office for individuals (with other perks like some cloud storage and Skype credits) as well as hosted server products for businesses.

Spoken like a true shill. In that you completely blew off the GP's point about the entire concept of running a text processor on a remote server being patently absurd and instead just drove straight on forward with the marketing spiel. Well-done, EvilSS! Your bonus will be signed by Mr. Nadella himself this month!

And again I find myself asking: WTF are you talking about? In what way does "running a text processor on a remote server" have ANYTHING to do with Office 365?

Re:Give him a chance

By nine-times • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Honestly, I think it's really a mixed bag. Microsoft is of course continuing to make money, and some of their recent products have shown noteworthy improvement. On the other hand, it's been clear that they've been floundering a bit for years. They've had several major blunders and screw-ups that would have buried any company that didn't start out with a monopoly in a lucrative market. That is, if they hadn't had a steady income from Windows/Office/Exchange, from customers who pretty well have to buy those products whether they like it or not, then they wouldn't be able to stay in business selling their other products. And even those products have been mishandled.

But you're right, yes, they continue to make massive amounts of money from those products in spite of the mishandling. But "doing quite well"? I would say that if they were doing quite well, they wouldn't have dropped Ballmer.

MS logo-icon

By markhb • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Does anyone else miss the old BillG-as-a-borg icon? Using the former corporate logo is so... corporate.

Now Published: Study Showing Pirate Bay Blockade Has No Effect

Posted by timothy in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
First time accepted submitter Neelix21 writes "Last week a Dutch court decided that the blockade of the Pirate Bay website was ineffective and disproportionate. The academic study that measured this effect has now been published: 'This paper studies the effectiveness of this approach towards online copyright enforcement, using both a consumer survey and a newly developed non-infringing technology for BitTorrent monitoring. While a small group of respondents download less from illegal sources or claim to have stopped doing so, no impact is found on the percentage of the Dutch population downloading from illegal sources.' The torrent monitoring technique also shows that if you are downloading a public torrent, anyone can find out." Happily, the linked paper is not paywalled.

Re:Non News

By geekoid • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's not theft, please stop.
It is a violation of copyright law. i.e. infringement.

Nothing was taken from anyone. You are buying into the PR of organization that are well known for abusing the law.

Re:Non News

By BasilBrush • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Ripping off some lone artist that's self publishing - that's pretty low.

Ripping off a multinational media company that has used lobbying to extend copyright periods and penalties to ridiculous proportions, and uses to DMCA to take down videos from YouTube that they don't even own the rights to - no sympathy.


By dcollins117 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

There is no such thing as an "illegal download". Downloading files is perfectly legal. I have no idea what the term "illegal sources" in TFS means either. No law has been passed saying it is against the law to download from a particular site.

Whenever I see terms like these being bandied about I know someone is using deliberately vague and manipulative terms in an effort to con me.

Re:Non News

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

But something was taken. A copy was taken.

No, something was *created*. A copy was *made*.

Re:Non News

By mcgrew • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Stealing? Are you a MAFIAA shill, or just someone stupid enough to swallow their "truthy" nonsense? Let me attempt to get you to understand the difference.

Stealing: You walk into Barnes and Noble and shoplift a copy of my book. I've lost nothing, but B&N have, they're out the cost of that stolen book. If you're caught and convicted, it's a misdemeanor and a few hundred dollars fine.

Copyright infringement: You buy an ebook version of my novel, and give a copy to your friend, who may have never heard of me, like the book, and buy a different one of my books. I am out nothing; nobody is, except perhaps the "thief" who received the copy, since he may be later out the cost of my other book. If caught, you will be out thousands of dollars, no conviction necessary.

Do you call rapists "murderers?" Do you call burglars "dope dealers?"

You MAFIAA whores are using a word about a bad thing, theft, and trying to apply it to a good thing, sharing, to make the good thing look bad. Sorry, shill, to twist Shakespear's words, calling a rose "shit" doesn't make it stink. The evil-doers are liars like you who insist roses stink, not those who would do me the favor of sharing my work and helping get my name out.

NZ Govt May Gut Privacy Laws For US Citizens and Ex-Pats

Posted by timothy in YRO • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Master Moose writes with an excerpt from indicating that New Zealand's government "wants to override privacy laws to supply the U.S. Government with private details about Americans living in New Zealand. As part of a global tax-dodging crackdown, the U.S. is forcing banks and other financial institutions to hand over the private financial details of U.S. 'persons' and companies based overseas. From July this year, Kiwi banks and insurers will be required to provide U.S. tax authorities with American customers' contact details, bank account numbers and transaction history. The move comes amid continuing criticism of New Zealand's participation in Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement talks, aimed at securing a wider-reaching free trade deal with the U.S. and other countries. Critics say the secretive talks could restrict New Zealand's ability to make its own laws on everything from the environment to employment."


By New Breeze • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

They do. That the US is spreading their net wider and wider is troubling. How much longer before the more middle of the road ex-pat countries get roped into this. Say Mexico, Belize or Costa Rica? Right now our retirees are welcomed down there, but I wonder if that will be the case if this happens.

Basically it's becoming more and more evident that US citizens are being viewed as property by the government. And they want a piece of everything that property makes, no matter where it is.

Effects on all Americans overseas, not just NZ

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I am an American living and working overseas for over half my life. My ties to the U.S. are almost none-existent. My use of U.S. goods and services is possibly even less than many foreigners around the World. Occasionally I might buy a U.S. made product, but that is even rare given the poor quality.

Here are the real effects, and this is just a short list I have time to type.

1. Assumption that all Americans overseas are criminals by definition, even if we did not owe any taxes. The IRS, by their own calculations, says the basic forms will take over 72 hours a year for an American Expat to prepare to properly report their taxes. Most expat tax experts, can not figure them out.

2. Foreign banks are closing or will refuse to open accounts for Americans. I know dozens of real cases already among friends. It is not just American citizens. It is anyone with a U.S. mail address, green card, or any payments transiting the United States to foreign banks. So, yes, many, many none Americans are caught up in this sweep of private information, the majority of which has nothing to do with tax money.

3. The country I live in also has banking secrecy and privacy laws, and as a full resident, it even goes further because in the country where I live it is a constitutional right extended to both residents and foreigners.

4. It also includes any company where an American might be a 10% owner or more, or might have signature authority over the company accounts or other assets. Just think what most international companies are going to do when making a choice between an American employee or CEO vs. a foreigner, as far as disclosing private company information to the U.S. government simply because they have an American working there.

5. It includes disclosing foreign none-citizen none-resident private information to the U.S. government that are family members of an American citizen abroad. For example, a wife or kids account, investments, or pretty much anywhere the American might (you have to prove the negative) have authority over the money . Partnerships of all forms, of all sorts of complexity, are also subject to it. Imagine as a foreigner entering in to a contract with an American citizen, and having to report to the U.S. IRS your private information and dealings. Guess what most foreigners will do from now on to avoid such problems.

6. This includes not only bank accounts, but investments, pensions, insurance policies, various types of contracts. I am not even sure how many insurance policies I have, let alone what would need to be reported. If you are a foreign insurance company, just think how happy they will be to issue a policy to an American client living overseas.

In short, I am forced to obtain citizenship in my country of residency, and give up my citizenship in the United States. It is either that, or say good-bye to my entire life work and return to the United States to starve at some bullshit minimum wage job (I own my own company outside the United States).

Forget the Berlin Wall, what they are building in the United States is far, far more dangerous.

Re:If I am overseas as an American...

By smutt • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The United States and Eritrea are the only two countries in the world that require their non-resident citizens to file tax returns.

Extraterritorial jurisdiction

By dskoll • Score: 3 • Thread

This is affecting Canada as well, and according to one article, this may affect Canadian citizens as well even if they have never been US residents or citizens.

Could you imagine the uproar if (say) Iran threatened to trawl through US bank records for details on Iranian Americans? Totally disgusting. And yet the US can get away with it.

Re:If I am overseas as an American...

By AlphaWolf_HK • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

You misunderstand. You don't have to sell your assets or anything; they tax you on what you have as if you have sold it right then and there, even without you actually doing so. They could very well be taxing you on money that you don't even have. Suppose you owned a house in France that was worth $500,000 at the time you expatriated (not even necessarily have it paid off, just had a loan on it and *technically* it was yours) that's about $150,000 you now owe the IRS. Don't have the cash to pay that off? Then you must sell something quick, because if you don't pay it off right away then the US will have you extradited and sent to prison, because that law assumes that if you have X amount of assets and renounce your citizenship, then you did it for the purpose of evading taxes.

They quite literally tax you for money or even income that you may not even have. Furthermore, you're also subject to US taxation for a full TEN YEARS after you've renounced your citizenship.

Layoffs At Now-Private Dell May Hit Over 15,000 Staffers

Posted by timothy in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
schwit1 writes "Curious why Michael Dell was so eager to take the company he founded private? So he could do stuff like this without attracting too much attention. According to the Channel Register, the recently LBOed company is 'starting the expected huge layoff program this week, claiming numbers will be north of 15,000.' Of course, with a private sponsor in charge of the recently public company, the only thing that matters now is maximizing cash flows in an environment of falling PC sales, a commoditisation of the server market and a perceived need to better serve enterprises with their ever-increasing mobile and cloud-focused IT requirements — things that do not bode well for Dell's EBITDA — and the result is perhaps the largest axing round in the company's history. But at least the shareholders cashed out while they could."

Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA

By ebno-10db • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I was laid off a couple of years ago from an employer which had a high average age

A charming aspect of our for-profit health insurance system is that this is a concern for employers, which leads to age discrimination. Even under Obamacare you can have a 3:1 range depending on age. If we're going to have that kind of crap, why not go back to the old system where insurance would cost a fortune if you had existing health problems. How is that any more discriminatory? No other country does it this way. In Germany for example, where insurance is mostly handled by non-profit insurance companies, you can only vary premium costs depending on where you live. Like other countries, the per capita health care expenses are at least a third less than the US (as a %/GDP - the difference is greater if you use exchange rate or PPP).

Yes, I'm in my 50's. If I have to go back to COBRA or "open market", that will cream me. It's ok to screw me because of my age, but the fact that I'm in good health doesn't buy me anything. Basically I spent decades subsidizing the health care of those who were older or less healthy than me. I'd be fine with that, except now that I'm older it's a big "SCREW YOU".

Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA

By ebno-10db • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Health care ended up being tied to employment because everybody worked.

You're ignorant of history. Health care ended up being tied to employment because there was a wage freeze during WWII, but a loophole let employers add benefits.

It was our grandparents who made this nation the greatest in the world.

And it was our grandparents who fought (sometimes literally) for better wages and working conditions, Social Security, and a host of other evil things. If it hadn't been for the employer based health insurance in WWII, we'd likely have gotten UHC in the late 40's. We also would have saved trillions of dollars because of it.

Universal Healthcare will be part of that after Obamacare fails

Let's hope we don't become a socialist hellhole like Canada, Australia or Japan.

Just join the Occupy Wallstreet crowd and stand in line for a government handout.

If you want a handout you'd be better off on Wall Street. The banks got handouts that are beyond the wildest dreams of anybody in the OWS crowd.

Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA

By pnutjam • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
There are so many variables when you buy insurance. I'm blessed with good health myself, but I have seen it happen to people.

I had a friend who had a brain tumor which meant he lost his job (truck driver). So, of course he lost his insurance and you can bet that insurance companies weren't jumping out of the wood work to cover him. Even Cobra is little help in a situation like that.

It's really stupid for insurance to be tied to employment. Only a single payer system makes sense. I would much rather pay taxes today to insure I am covered when I need it, vs our current system of paying premiums so 2 or 3 middlemen have a job and when you need the insurance you can't have it.

Come on

By Workaphobia • Score: 3 • Thread

Jesus, the summary's written like an indictment of capitalism. "The only thing that matters now is money", as if that weren't the stated purpose of every company. Dell's not a charity created for its employees. And even if it were, can you argue that this wouldn't be in the best interest of the remaining ones, so that the company still exists a few years from now?

I get the whole Let's-hate-on-private-capital bent. Sure, Mitt Romney was a tool. But you're really not helping your credibility with this Corporations-are-evil hippyism.

Re:I'm sure they're grateful for COBRA

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's really stupid for insurance to be tied to employment.

Indeed. During the communist era in China, each factory ran a school for the children of their workers. If someone changed jobs, their children had to change schools. Americans laugh at how insane that was, but the way we run our healthcare system is just as stupid. It is absurd for your employer to be involved in your healthcare.

Here is a complete, exhaustive list of everything that an employer should provide to their workers in exchange for their labor:

1. Money

Everything else (healthcare, pension, etc.) should be obtained elsewhere.

Adobe's New Ebook DRM Will Leave Existing Users Out In the Cold Come July

Posted by Unknown Lamer in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Nate the greatest writes "Whether it's EA and SimCity, the Sony rootkit scandal, or Ubisoft, we've all read numerous stories about companies using DRM in stupid ways that harm their customers, and now we can add Adobe to the list. Adobe has just announced a new timeline for adoption of their recently launched 'hardened' DRM, and it's going to take your breath away. In a video posted to Youtube, Adobe reps have stated that Adobe expects all of their ebook partners to start adopting the new DRM in March. This is the same DRM that was launched only a few weeks ago and is already causing problems, but that hasn't stopped Adobe. They also expect all the stores that use Adobe's DRM to sell ebooks (as well as the ebook app and ebook reader developers) to have fully adopted the new ebook DRM by July 2014. That's when Adobe plans to end support for the old DRM (which everyone is using now). Given the dozens and dozens of different ebook readers released over the past few years, including models from companies that have gone under, this is going to present a significant problem for a lot of readers. Few, if any, will be updated in time to meet Adobe's deadline, and that's going to leave many readers unable to buy DRMed ebooks."

Re:good riddance

By Sponge Bath • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

The point is Amazon can delete books you purchased from devices you own, for whatever reason, without your consent. That you think the deletion in this case was justified does not make people more trusting of this Orwellian ability to make publications disappear.


By tompaulco • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Never, ever pirate anything. It spurs their belief that people really want their product, but just aren't willing to pay for it. Instead, avoid the product altogether and encourage others to avoid it.

Re:good riddance

By tlhIngan • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Apple can do the same thing. In a similar situation they didn't delete any books from users' devices but paid a fine of over $100,000 to the copyright owners. (Some poster here used that in an FSF vs. Apple thread to make claims how evil Apple is, by allowing itself being tricked by criminals, and then facing the cost instead of making the customers pay).

  I'd expect them to delete software from my device if they reasonably know that the software will hurt _me_.

Strangely enough, Apple is probably the only company that HASN'T removed content from users. Content has been removed, and if no local copy exists, that content is gone, but if a local copy is available, it still works.

The only known ability is Apple can disable an app through CoreLocation (i.e., the app uses location services), but they haven't demonstrated that ability, either.

Google, Valve (Steam), Amazon, etc., have shown they can remove apps and content from user's devices and computers.

It's strange, really. You'd think Apple would've pulled the trigger by now. Google has, many times.


By PsychoSlashDot • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Never, ever pirate anything. It spurs their belief that people really want their product, but just aren't willing to pay for it. Instead, avoid the product altogether and encourage others to avoid it.

You're missing that people do want their product. Avoiding the product altogether sends a false message that the product isn't wanted. What we don't want is the packaging.

The closest equivalent to buying a physical product and throwing its packaging away is buying a DRM product and pirating the content. Once I've paid for the content, it's mine morally, ethically, and logically. It's just the law that needs work.

Throw away the packaging and tell the manufacturer why.

Re:good riddance

By taustin • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

You don't remember the fiasco all that well, either. The books (there were two, not one) was uploaded legally in the country in which it was uploaded (Canada, IIRC), as it was in the public domain there. It was offered for sale in the US (where it was still under copyright) by mistake - whose mistake, nobody knows - and deleted when the US copyright holder objected.

The real point is that Amazon initially responded to criticism about Kindles being a book rental system, not a purchase system, by saying that they couldn't delete stuff remotely without your permission, then demonstrated that simply wasn't true by deleting stuff remotely without permission.

This is, of course, a completely different situation, since this will apparently not affect books already bought on existing devices. What it will do, if this editorial rant is accurate, and we don't know that it is, is kill ebook sales until publishers agree to either go DRM free or switch to something else. And they will, when someone like Barnes & Noble says, "You know, we don't really make any money off of ebook sales anyway, so we'll just stop selling anything with DRM on it and rely on brick & mortar sales instead. That's where our profits are anyway."

Microsoft's IE Is the Most Targeted Application By Security Researchers

Posted by Unknown Lamer in Technology • View on SlashDotShareable Link
darthcamaro writes "Though Microsoft hasn't yet patched its Internet Explorer web browser in 2014, it did patch IE at least once every month in 2013. According to HP's 2013 Cyber Risk Report, more researchers tried to sell IE vulnerabilities than any other product vulnerability. 'IE is the most prevalent browser on the systems that attackers want to compromise' said Jacob West, CTO of HP's Enterprise Security Group."

Re:Bear in mind

By RabidReindeer • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

IE is - so Microsoft alleged in the anti-trust trials - "An Integral Part of Microsoft Windows".

There is absolutely no (technical) reason why this should be, based on the success of competing browsers, but the mere act of close-coupling it with the OS means that there are more ways that exploits to the browser can be converted into exploits for the OS.

And, since it does come bundled directly with Windows, you can depend on people who either aren't technically-savvy enough or are simply too lazy to take the extra effort needed to secure their systems as IE users.

So in many ways, IE is the ideal target.

Sell Xbox unit???

By Viol8 • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yeah , great idea - sell one of the units making a profit!

Typical short term hedgefund approach to companies - earn us some money now by selling off collateral then we'll dump your shares before they tank. Fucking parasites.

Re:Bear in mind

By gigne • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Hey, thanks. what you did there is the browser equivilant of leaving a bag of burning dogshit on my doorstep.

Opera took a serious wrong turn recently

Other shock revalations.....

By BestNicksRTaken • Score: 3 • Thread

...from the feckingobvious department, that yellow disc in the sky is the sun. Slow news day or something guys?

Re:Give credit where its due

By ibwolf • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Atleast from IE9 onwards (OK and IE8 a bit) they started to notice that standards are a good thing

No, they just stopped being able to ignore standards due to their shrinking market share.

Many Lasers Become One In Lockheed Martin's 30 kW Laser Weapon

Posted by Unknown Lamer in News • View on SlashDotShareable Link
Zothecula writes "In another step forward for laser weapons that brings to mind the Death Star's superlaser, Lockheed Martin has demonstrated a 30-kilowatt fiber laser produced by combining many lasers into a single beam of light. According to the company, this is the highest power laser yet that was still able to maintain beam quality and electrical efficiency, paving the way for a laser weapon system suitable, if not for a Death Star, for a wide range of air, land, and sea military platforms."

Re:Excuse me... Excuse me?!!!

By peragrin • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

shh the Earth is flat. Kentucky schools told him so.

Re:Newtonian physics and ballistics don't apply!

By Sockatume • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

So your example of a nice, predictable weapon is a stream of bullets subject to gravity and wind, or a self-guided package of explosives, while your idea of unpredictability is a collimated beam of photons.

Sweet deus.

Re:Excuse me... Excuse me?!!!

By dreamchaser • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Laser weapons as they are being developed just don't work that way. The pulse is actually quite short when applied, and the target goes boom. You've watched way too many science fiction movies.

They are also far more accurate than kinetic energy delivery weapons (big bullets).

Re: Excuse me... Excuse me?!!!

By Chris Mattern • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

They dissipate due to defocusing and interaction with the atmosphere. It's not a problem.


By SirGarlon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread
The real-world application of this system is to siphon taxpayer dollars into the pockets of Lockheed Martin shareholders, and it seems to be working fine so far, thank you very much!

EU Commission: Corruption Across EU Costs €120 Billion

Posted by Unknown LamerView on SlashDotShareable Link
cold fjord writes with news that the EU has completed its first report on corruption in member states, and the results aren't looking too good. From the article: "'The extent of corruption in Europe is 'breathtaking' and it costs the EU economy at least 120bn euros (£99bn) annually, the European Commission says. EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem has presented a full report on the problem. She said the true cost of corruption was 'probably much higher' than € 120bn. Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased. 'The extent of the problem in Europe is breathtaking, although Sweden is among the countries with the least problems,' Ms Malmstroem wrote in Sweden's Goeteborgs-Posten daily. The cost to the EU economy is equivalent to the bloc's annual budget. For the report the Commission studied corruption in all 28 EU member states. The Commission says it is the first time it has done such a survey. "

Re:Relation to Debt Crisis?

By Eunuchswear • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

BTW, in socialist countries, welfare is a kind of bribe, it keeps the poor masses living on those welfare payment in line, making sure they keep voting for the political parties who keep promising them the best short-term deal.

Because Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Sweden are well known for their "poor masses".

Re:Too much inclusion

By Xest • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

But it's not a constant, it's changing over time. Many of the Eastern European nations have seen healthy declines in corruption towards the Western European and Scandinavian standards which is my point. There are still problem countries i.e. Greece and Italy but the financial crisis brought those glaring exceptions to the forefront of scrutiny such that even they can no longer get away with it and are being forced to deal with it.

Income differences are continuously decreasing too as new entrants become more prosperous over time from having their cheap starting base opened up to the demands of the wealthier nations creating jobs.

It isn't going to happen overnight, but it most definitely is happening. It's not like things are stagnant, it's not as if all EU nations are in the same place they were when they joined and nothing has improved or changed, that view is very much wrong.

Re:... meanwhile in USA ...

By daem0n1x • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Don't worry, the biggest difference is that corruption is legal in the US, while it's illegal in the EU. Apart from that detail, it's business as usual.

It's funny that it's the European Commission talking about corruption. All top-level politicians in Europe are in bed with the business world. They keep trying to pass corporate-friendly legislation and create new tax-evasion routes. Sometimes, it's so blatant that they have to retreat. Often, these legislations pass undetected. Politicians spend some time in public office acting as corporate moles. After that, they are given comfortable positions in corporations as a reward for their good services. This behaviour is publicly known and, honestly I can't see any way out of this shit. If someone tries to change anything, they'll come up with some "sexual scandal" to silence him. Just look at what happened to Hollande because of the tax raises on the rich.

Europe is fucked, just like the USA. The foxes took over the hen house.

Re:"probably" much higher?

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Keep in mind that for every Sweden there's an Italy.

As an Italian, I'd like to remind everyone that Italian corruption alone (60bn) accounts for half of the total of Europe losses.
So the average in Europe is actually much lower than you usually think if you exclude Italy.

Now we are also risking big fines if we do not pass laws that will fix the situation, but as you can guess, the politicians are not really inclined to do this...
Everyone is still following berlusconi, who is the father of our new election law (the previous one was ruled unconstitutional), even though he is not in the parliament anymore...

So actually, comparing the Italian corruption with any first-world country is actually laughable in any case...

Did I mention the proven interactions between the state and the mafia, or the convicted parliament memebers? Well, we can talk for hours on that...

Re:... meanwhile in USA ...

By daem0n1x • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Having a mistress is not a scandal. What people do in their private sexual lives is not my business. It's a shame that the American puritanism has managed to come across the pond and is being used as a political weapon here in Europe.

Maybe this is a strange concept for you Americans, but most Europeans don't give a fuck about politician's private lives. It's what they do at their work that matters. Anything else is just diversion used by the hidden powers for manipulation.