the unofficial Slashdot digest for 2017-Aug-12 today archive

28 Years Later, Pioneering Tech Magazine 'Mondo 2000' Relaunches Online

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
In 1989 Mondo 2000 magazine ran an editorial promising they'd cover "the leading edge in hyperculture...the latest in human/technological interactive mutational forms as they happen." 28 years later, they're now heckling that editorial as they relaunch into a web site. Slashdot reader DevNull127 quotes Motherboard's interview with R.U. Sirius, the founder of Mondo 2000 (as well as its predecessors High Frontiers and Reality Hackers): "It was my idea to merge psychedelics and emerging technologies, and the culture around technology," Sirius said, citing Timothy Leary, writer Robert Anton Wilson and counterculture magazine The Whole Earth Catalog among his inspirations... "I kind of found my way into that particular stream of bohemian culture. It was probably a minority, but there had always been that idea of letting robots replace human work." Soon High Frontiers evolved into a glossy magazine, Reality Hackers ("Some distributors at the time thought it was about hacking people up, and put it on the shelf next to murder mystery magazines"), and later Mondo 2000, which ran from 1989 till 1998...

"We really had to work to convince people that technology was defining the future. Nobody really got it. Doug Rushkoff wrote his book Cyberia, and his first book company cancelled its publication because they said the internet was a fad and that it would be over by the time the book came out"... While he uses Facebook and Twitter, Sirius is critical of their role in colonising what was once a more democratic and open space. "People are being herded into little buildings -- or huge ones -- in what was supposed to be a wide open space in which everybody created their own sites. It's a complete corporate takeover of the net, Facebook in particular... It's definitely not what we were expecting."

Mondo 2000's new online relaunch includes audio of a conversation between William Gibson and Timothy Leary about a Neuromancer game to accompany a proposed film back in 1989. (Gibson complained "That was no interview! That was a drunken business meeting!" when first informed of the magazine's plans to publish it, though he eventually "became friendly.") There's also a 1987 discussion about mind technologies with 73-year-old William S. Burroughs (who was also "an advocate of high technology, and the 'brain machine'"), plus an unpublished John Shirley essay titled "The Next Fifty Years: Why I'm Optimistic Because Everything Will Be Terrible" and new pieces by Paul Krassner (" Alternative Facts") and M.Christian (" La Petite Mort: The Death Of Sex").

No Cultural Home

By rtb61 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Problem with that kind of magazine is it needs a cultural home, a place where readers interact directly with each other and digital technology. It's a cafe culture with the cafe. To work it needs to create the real world space where it would actually exist, different, yet inclusive. So a franchise within existing independent large cafe, where people stay, chat and share technological interaction, rather than drink and leave, a lan cafe and lounge, to share a culture expressed in the magazine.

I Remember Them

By Greyfox • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
You see, back in the day we didn't really have the internet yet, so all human knowledge was printed on paper and bound into "books." If you wanted a local cache of knowledge or reading entertainment, you would go to a "book store," which I know is a rather antiquated idea. There you would "buy" these "books", and they had no way to prevent you from doing whatever you wanted with them! It all seems terribly quaint now! Anyway if the "book store" were particularly "hip," as the kids said at the time, they might have on hand several choice publications, including Magical Blend, Heavy Metal Magazine, 2600 and Mondo 2000. Mondo 2000 was rather glitzy, but Magical Blend was grittier. There, you might find Timothy Leary speculating about the cleanliness of W Bush's asshole, or Robert Anton Wilson going on about... the federal reserve... or whatever it was he was usually going on about. I was always rather vague on the subject.

It was a more innocent time, back when W seemed like a pretty bad president, and we didn't have to worry about getting measles or whooping cough. Back then you didn't have people hooking up with pokemon in the streets, and if you wanted to call someone you actually had to go find a telephone. But that's why people call them the good ol' days. What's that? Mondo 2000 is coming back? Why, I shall have to fire up the old gyrocopter and find my way to the nearest book store, then, I suppose. I believe there's one in the antique store.

A New Amiga Will Go On Sale In Late 2017

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quote the Register: The world's getting a new Amiga for Christmas. Yes, that Amiga -- the seminal Commodore microcomputers that brought mouse-driven GUIs plus slick and speedy graphics to the masses from 1985 to 1996... The platform died when Commodore went bankrupt, but enthusiasm for the Amiga persisted and various clones and efforts to preserve AmigaOS continue to this day. One such effort, from Apollo Accelerators, emerged last week: the company's forthcoming "Vampire V4" can work as a standalone Amiga or an accelerator for older Amigas... There's also 512MB of RAM, 40-and-44-pin FastIDE connectors, Ethernet, a pair of USB ports and MicroSD for storage [PDF]. Micro USB gets power to the board.
A school in Michigan used the same Amiga for 30 years. Whenever it broke, they actually phoned up the high school student who original set it up in 1987 and had him come over to fix it.

Re:30 years of tech support.

By Doctor_Jest • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I think the point the AC was making was that people are still enthused about a computer that came out in 1985. (ish?) I still have my Amiga I bought used with the 512K expansion pack (with the battery removed of course.) Lots of overtime at the local car dealership washing cars for that one. :)

There is no such enthusiasm for the 8088's. Most of the support those old behemoths get are from the sheer number of them rotting in storage buildings and at the local Goodwill. The Amiga's like a vintage automobile. It's got a loyal following, a bunch of 3rd party support and enthusiasts, and a wealth of games and apps that were truly ahead of their time. Thanks to Commodore's board, the Amiga died prematurely, IMHO.

I admit, I only use Amiga through emulation these days, but I did all my college work on my A500 up until I found Slackware Linux my senior year. :)

Re:Slavertisement like always

By amiga3D • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

It's only a hobby, only a hobby, only a hobby, only a....

Re:My 3rd computer was an Amiga

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

680x0 Assembly was elegant, intuitive, and a crap-ton better than Intel's nonsense. :)

But there is a reason it is no longer used much. A single instruction could generate up to six page faults. The 68k put the C in CISC.


By lucm • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

The thing about Amiga owners is you can't get them to shut up about their Amiga. It's like the guy who doesn't have a TV, or the guy who rides a bike to work.

A tornado just tore a path across your city, leveling buildings and splintering concrete structures. Your home is no longer safe, subjected to countless fires, seeping sewage, wild animals and violent looters that even the National Guard can't tame, so like hundreds - thousands - of other citizens, you find yourself waiting in line to get into an emergency shelter put together haphazardly in the mold-infested gymnasium of the nearby middle school.

The line doesn't move fast, and you're worried as you see the absurdly small crate of water bottles shrinking quickly as people ahead of you greedily grab two, three or even four bottles as they walk by. You try to do the math, half-guessing, half-dreading that there won't be any water left by the time you reach the gate. You already have a debilitating headache because of dehydration; the situation is dire, the future uncertain.

Then someone puts a hand on your shoulder.

"Friend," says an older gentleman, his voice so soft, so quiet, like a cool summer breeze. "Friend," he says, "are you okay?"

There's something in his eye. A glint, a shadow, a whisper of past experiences so painful that they left a permanent mark on his soul.

"I'm okay," you reply, weakly, with a voice crackling like a pane of glass shattered by the axe of a firefighter. "I'm okay."

The kind man nods, although you can tell he's still worried.

"I'm okay," you repeat. "I just wish I could go back home, to my Amiga computer."

Re:My 3rd computer was an Amiga

By Megane • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

The real, real reason that 68k isn't used anymore is that Motorola fell for the PowerPC meme. 88K was supposedly a pretty decent architecture, and they killed both at the same time. Coldfire was just the scraps of 68K for the embedded market. Apple switched architectures twice because Motorola couldn't stay interested in making high-end desktop CPUs.

The x86 instruction set was horrible, and Motorola could have used the same tricks on 68K that kept x86 going so long.

But really, the root cause reason that 68k isn't used anymore happened in 1981 or so when IBM picked the 8088. There are various legends about what happened, but the most coherent intersection of them that I have been able to deduce is that Intel wanted the 68008 (because the 8-bit bus would let them make a cheaper system), Motorola didn't want to commit to their deadline, Intel went with the 8088, and then Motorola had the 68008 out by the deadline anyhow. It surely didn't help any that at the time (as related in the DTACK-Grounded newsletter), Motorola's marketing group really only wanted to sell the 68K for $10,000+ Unix systems, and couldn't be bothered with embedded or consumer customers. Test-Drives Linux Distros From 1993 To 2003

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes A unique trait of open source is that it's never truly EOL (End of Life). The disc images mostly remain online, and their licenses don't expire, so going back and installing an old version of Linux in a virtual machine and getting a precise picture of what progress Linux has made over the years is relatively simple... Whether you're new to Linux, or whether you're such an old hand that most of these screenshots have been more biographical than historical, it's good to be able to look back at how one of the largest open source projects in the world has developed. More importantly, it's exciting to think of where Linux is headed and how we can all be a part of that, starting now, and for years to come.
The article looks at seven distros -- Slackware 1.01 (1993), Debian 0.91 (1994), Jurix/S.u.S.E. (1996), SUSE 5.1 (1998), Red Hat 6.0 (1999), Mandrake 8.0 (2001), and Fedora 1 (2003). Click through for some of the highlights.

My takeaway

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 3 • Thread

It's really sad that Ximian Gnome, circa 2001-2002, seems more user friendly than the 2017 version of Gnome.

F-22 Countermeasures developed on Slackware kinda

By asicsolutions • Score: 3, Interesting • Thread
Worked on ASIC development for F-22 back in the 90's. Management had stupid idea of putting us all in a big room where we had to share Sun IPX's to work on ASIC design. I got permission to build linux PCs so we could work from our desks. I used slackware for X windows terminals. In true defense contractor fashion the PC people bought us the SVGA graphics cards I asked for, but VGA monitors. Luckily I was able to return them and get state of the art 17" 1024x768 ones :)

Re:Debian Sarge

By El Cubano • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

This wasn't until a few years after 2003, but after trying to install Mandrake Whatever and Red Hat 9.0, I remember installing Debian Sarge. It wasn't magic, but I remember thinking, "So this is what an easy install feel like." No crashes or anything, it just installed easily, 1 step at a time.

I had a somewhat different experience. I started with RedHat 8.0 around 2001, since the school Linux cluster on which I was doing a class assignment ran RedHat (6.x or 7.x). A friend from class (who also worked tech support in the CS department) told me that I would be better off with Debian but that I would probably need some help to get through the installation. That was Debian Woody. I remember thinking that I would not have made it through the install without the hand holding.

That said, after some months of using RedHat, the Debian way just made so much more sense to me. It seemed far more natural than the way RedHat approached so many things. I liked so much that I start getting involved, contributing bug reports, writing documentation, and after a couple of years becoming a Debian developer. I think Debian has come such a long way that when I look back I am surprised at how far we have come, both in the sense on how Debian has been able to build on the work of others and how Debian itself has formed an incredible platform from which so many derivatives have sprung forth.

No Yggdrasil?

By GerryGilmore • Score: 3 • Thread
That was my first Linux install, soon to be followed by Slackware, then Mandrake. At that time Mandrake (and SuSE) had the absolute BEST interfaces going, though - in true Linux/UNIX fashion - they were entirely incompatible. :-) Think AIX's SMIT vs SCO's or Sun's UI experience.

Re:2001 was the year

By unixisc • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

In that era, I tried a number of Linux distros - Mandrake, Corel Linux, Storm Linux, Turbo Linux (before it went Japanese), Caldera. All of them had the same freaking problem - couldn't recognize my ethernet & so wouldn't connect to the internet. Otherwise, most of them were pretty good.

Today, I work on PC-BSD/TrueOS, which recognizes an RJ45 connection, but not WiFi. Hopefully, one day...

'I'm a Teapot' Error Code Saved From Extinction By Public Outcry

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: It started back in 1998 as an April Fool's Day gag. Written up by Larry Masinter of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), error code 418 -- "I'm a teapot" -- was nothing more than a poke at the "many bad HTTP extensions that had been proposed". Despite its existence as a joke, a number of major software projects, including Node.js, ASP.NET and Google's Go language, implemented it as an Easter egg. A recent attempt to excise the fictitious code from these projects ended up doing the opposite, cementing it as a "reserved" error by the IETF...

Australian programmer Mark Nottingham flagged the code's removal as an "issue" for Google's Go language, the Node.js Javascript runtime and Microsoft's ASP.NET... Nottingham's argument was that 418 was "polluting [the] core protocol" of these projects... It didn't take long for a "Save 418" website to go live and through the efforts of interested internet historians (and jokers), all three of the aforementioned projects have decided to keep the code as it is, though Google will "revisit" the situation with the next major version of Go.

The Save 418 site argued that "the application of such an status code is boundless. Its utility, quite simply, is astonishingly unparalleled. It's a reminder that the underlying processes of computers are still made by humans. It'd be a real shame to see 418 go."

Re: Let us have our fun.

By 93 Escort Wagon • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

2000 wasted bytes in every Rust executable disagree with you, millennial.

His Slashdot UID indicates he joined this site significantly earlier than me - and I was here in 2003. Are you suggesting he signed up in utero?

Re:Let us have our fun.

By The Evil Atheist • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Given that 418's purpose was to make fun of the sheer amount of bad proposals, it's actually a good idea for it to remain to remind people to actually think more about their crappy proposals. Those crappy proposals, because they weren't jokes, would have actually needed to be supported with development effort. Sometimes shame and ridicule goes a long way than some rule book no one reads.

Re:Let us have our fun.

By JaredOfEuropa • Score: 4, Funny • Thread
We're posting about it instead of doing something useful...

On a related note of having sense of humor

By seoras • Score: 3 • Thread

Seeing ICBM in a web page header, giving the geolocation of the website/server, always made me chuckle.

Re:Perfect for the latest IoT

By shanen • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

"It appears that you are trying to get mod points. Would you like help in writing a funny or insightful comment?"

Thank gawd Clippy is dead, eh?

Seriously, your basic premise was good, but you got it backwards. Your IOT teapot is supposed to have a built in webserver for configuration and comments. The 418 error is for cases when you try to send it commands that are not appropriate for an IOT teapot. Easy to understand how the 418 mistake will occur, because the commodity chips that include the webserver will be used in all kinds of things, not just teapots.

Study Finds Vaccine Science Outreach Only Reinforced Myths

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Ars Technica reports on a study suggesting that "Striking at a myth with facts may only shore it up." Applehu Akbar writes: Researchers at the University of Edinburgh studied public attitudes toward vaccination in a group whose opinions on the subject were polled before and after being shown three different kinds of explanatory material that used settled scientific facts about vaccines to explain the pro-vaccination side of the debate. Not only was the anti-vax cohort not convinced by any of the three campaigns, but their attitudes hardened when another poll was taken a week later.

What seems to have happened was that the pro-vax campaign was taken by anti-vaxers as just another attempt to lie to them, and as reinforcement for their already made-up minds on the subject. A previous study at Dartmouth College in 2014 used similar methodology and except for the 'hardening' effect elicited similar results. What's really scary about this is that while the Dartmouth subjects were taken from a large general population, the Edinburgh subjects were college students.

"The researchers speculate that the mere repetition of a myth during the process of debunking may be enough to entrench the myth in a believer's mind," writes Ars Technica, with one of the study's authors attributing this to the "illusory truth" effect.

"People tend to mistake repetition for truth."

Re:More complicated that ignorance or "psychology"

By rahvin112 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

No one makes money on Vaccines. They are subsidized by the government because drug companies can't produce them at a cost high enough to make a profit. Almost every vaccine sold is subsidized by the government. So your argument about profit kinds falls on it's face in such a scenario, after all the drug companies would much prefer to give you a pill to treat the symptoms of the disease than a shot that prevents it.

Why wouldn't you want to get a vaccine for a disease that could kill you? Even if it is rare in your current age group? I've yet to encounter a vaccine for something that doesn't kill people, and even the ones that rarely kill can often do significant damage even if you survive it. And most of the ones that are rare in the US are rare because people are vaccinated.

Re:What's said is that scientists discredited scie

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

A big mistake was making Al Gore the spokesman for climate change. That unnecessarily politicized the issue. Back in 2007, most Republican presidential candidates agreed that climate change was a serious issue that need to be addressed. That would never happen today. They don't want to be accused of "agreeing with Al Gore". For Republican politicians, it is a toxic issue, and has become an ideological litmus test, so facts and evidence no longer matter.

In other news...

By Kjella • Score: 3 • Thread

...more evidence of evolution doesn't change the opinion of people who don't believe in evolution. More evidence of Holocaust doesn't change the opinion of Holocaust deniers. Some people refuse the axioms of the scientific method, they've decided what the truth is and will ignore or alter the facts to preserve their belief. To the paranoid, everybody is out to get you and only pretending otherwise. To the conspiracy theorists, if it contradicts the theory it's part of the conspiracy. Also if it's not working, you're not doing it right or it's not a proper implementation of your ideology or religion. And if nothing else works call it fake news and muddy the waters as best you can, if the signal doesn't support your case bury it in noise.

Re:What's said is that scientists discredited scie

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
As someone who grew up in the 1970s, I can assure you the climatology talk which filtered out to the general public back then was about whether or not we'd enter another ice age.

The explanation given in your link (that the mass media was hyping global cooling, but climate scientists were publishing papers about global warming) doesn't really help. It just confirms the belief that the mass media will hype whatever they want rather than report accurately.

Re:Higher quality of truth

By serviscope_minor • Score: 4 • Thread

2) He wrote prejudiced opinions not based in fact (Countered with "He cited references for each position he took")

I read the thing and no he didn't. He cited references for some of the positions he took, and make a bunch of rather large extrapolations on the remainder. Not that citations are magic indicators of truth mind you.

He also had no references and didn't really make any reasonable attempt to actually support the central thesis, which was: "a. biological differences exist. b. differences exist in representation. c. a a causes b". Kind of a tricky one to argue since things have changes so much in the last 60 years or so, a far far faster timescale than could be explained by innate biological differences.

There are many much more detailed takedowns that have been written in the comments on this very site. The TL;DR of them is that the arguments are pretty much all ones which have been hashed over many times before (here included). Even the supposed "4 supporting scientists" can be more or less categorised about "ignored the content, complained about the comments", "broadly disagreed", "broadly agreed" and "nothing relevant or support either way, probably did not read", which is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Oh and what's the thing with the fetishisation of a partly[*] finished PhD in systems biology being taken as an almost magical talisman of credibility on an unrelated area of biology by many posters here?

What we have had is that anyone pointing out that rather inconvenient fact is modded down, called a liar or accused of simply not reading it. So, rather than getting the "logical" discussion that the supporters claim to be so keen on, any dissent is met with a solid wall of screeching. I welcome downmods to prove me right on this one too!

[*] Nothing wrong with bailing, more people ought to, frankly.

Elon Musk + AI + Microsoft = Awesome Dota 2 Player

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes the Verge: Tonight during Valve's yearly Dota 2 tournament, a surprise segment introduced what could be the best new player in the world -- a bot from Elon Musk-backed startup OpenAI. Engineers from the nonprofit say the bot learned enough to beat Dota 2 pros in just two weeks of real-time learning, though in that training period they say it amassed "lifetimes" of experience, likely using a neural network judging by the company's prior efforts. Musk is hailing the achievement as the first time artificial intelligence has been able to beat pros in competitive e-sports... Elon Musk founded OpenAI as a nonprofit venture to prevent AI from destroying the world -- something Musk has been beating the drum about for years.
"Nobody likes being regulated," Musk wrote on Twitter Friday, "but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc) that's a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too."

Musk also thanked Microsoft on Twitter "for use of their Azure cloud computing platform. This required massive processing power."

With all this mindless AI hype...

By gweihir • Score: 3 • Thread

...I am beginning to ask myself, whether weak AI like this (no actual intelligence or understanding) may not actually be on-par with many humans, which fare not much better at understanding things.

Everything that's dangerous should be regulated..

By h33t l4x0r • Score: 5, Funny • Thread
Ok, Elon. How about if we start with "don't teach your AI that it's primary objective is to destroy every other creature on the map".

Re:Not AI

By Dutch Gun • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

As game developers, we call our automated agents "AI" in a long tradition of overloading and bastardizing words from other fields, but we all understand it's not actually real "AI" of any sort. I mean, even pathfinding goes under the term "AI" for our purposes. So, yeah, this is deep learning, but no more "AI" than what we do inside the games. Very often, we actually have to work to make our opponents *less* effective, because computers have so many advantages over players, especially in any game at all where reflexes count, or broad analysis of lots of details is important.

But more to the point, Elon keeps talking about regulating AI to prevent it from destroying the world. Every time he talks about this, he sounds like an unhinged lunatic that has some irrational fears about something he doesn't deeply understand. I still haven't heard a realistic scenario about how AI is going to go about doing this. And let's be honest... the perception of his capacity for rational thought on matters outside his domain of expertise was NOT helped by his declaration that he's 99.9% certain we're living in a computer simulation.

Besides which, how exactly would one "regulate" this, short of simply banning AI development by private enterprises? Massive governmental oversight requiring a programmer to pinky swear or sign in blood that they'll use those neural networks for good instead of evil? I honestly don't get it.

Re:Not AI

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
It's no "weak AI". It's just AI. AI people can't be blamed for other people constantly moving goalposts ever since the thing was conceptualized half a century ago.

Rent seeking?

By bool2 • Score: 3 • Thread
I think the question must always be asked when people call for regulation is can they profit from it? I can't help but wonder if Musk is actually not doing good here but setting in motion the slow train of regulation so that when he's ready with some uber-AI he'll be in the position to get the rules of the game altered to his advantage with bureaucracy, regulation and licensing.

iOS 10 Quietly Deprecated A Crucial API For VoIP and Communication Apps

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
neutrino38 warns that iOS 10 includes a significant change "overlooked by the general public": It deprecates an API that is crucial for VoIP and other instant messaging applications that enable keeping one socket active despite the fact that the application would run in the background. As a replacement, developers need to use PushKit: when an incoming call is to be forwarded to an iOS VoIP client, the VoIP infrastructure needs to:

- withold the call
- contact Apple push infrastructure using a proprietary protocol to wake up the client app remotely
- wait for the application to reconnect to the infrastructure and release the call when it is ready

This "I know better than you" approach is meant to further optimize battery life on iOS devices by avoiding the use of resources by apps running in background. It has also the positive effect of forcing developers to switch to a push model and remove all periodic pollings that ultimately use mobile data and clog the Internet. However, the decision to use an Apple infrastructure has many consequences for VoIP providers:

- the reliability of serving incoming calls is directly bound to Apple service
- Apple may revoke the PushKit certificate. It thus has life and death decision power over third-party communication infrastructures
- organizations wanting to setup IPBX and use iOS client have no option but to open access for the push services of Apple in their firewall
- It is not possible to have iOS VoIP or communication clients in network disconnected from the Internet - Pure standard SIP clients are now broken on iOS

The original submission argues that Apple is creating "the perfect walled garden," adding that "Ironically, the only VoIP 'app' that is not affected is the (future?) VoLTE client that will be added to iOS one day."

This is great!

By Gravis Zero • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Now the next iPhone can be even thinner! I can't wait to call 911 and tell them I accidently cut myself with my new razor thin iPhone 12! -_-

Apple Has Planned This For A While

By alancronin • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Apple has let developers know that this change was coming for about a year and a half now. We develop a VoIP application and have been making changes well in advance of Apple fully deprecating the older socket mechanism. It does have the downside of giving Apple more control but Apple already has full control over whether you can publish to the App Store, how your UI should look (within reason based on guidelines), not duplicating system functionality, etc. However if this improves battery life and creates applications that are designed in a better fashion then it is positive change.

Re: It's needed to preserve the battery

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It just shows you who Apple thinks itâ(TM)s customer is. Theyâ(TM)re choosing to favour their user experience over their app developers wish to be lazy and to potentially do neferious things tracking the user constantly.

Not that surprising considering which of those pays Apple to buy a price of hardware. And not the kind of move google would do given that the app developer is their true customer.

Re: Meh

By Zone-MR • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

What an amazing world we live in, that a state of the art device featuring communication radios, cameras, a display, and phonomenal processing power is available for the same price as a chunk of metal.

Re: Meh

By Rockoon • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Yet the the people who make these things need suicide nets around the buildings because..

...because they are considered to be worth more than a college student in America, that have significantly higher suicide rates.

The 2017 Hugo Awards

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Dave Knott writes: The Hugo Awards, the most prestigious awards in science fiction, had their 2017 ceremony today, at WorldCon 75 in Helsinki, Finland.
The winners are:

Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin
Best Novella: "Every Heart a Doorway" by Seanan McGuire
Best Novelette: "The Tomato Thief" by Ursula Vernon
Best Short Story: "Seasons of Glass and Iron", by Amal El-Mohtar
Best Related Work: Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 by Ursula K Le Guin
Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening , written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Arrival , screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): The Expanse: Leviathan Wakes , written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough
Best Series: The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Ada Palmer

This year's slate of nominees, unlike the drama surrounding the 2016 and 2015 Hugos, was less impacted by the ballot-stuffing tactics of the "Rabid Puppies", thanks to a change in the way nominees were voted for this year (including the fact no work could appear in more than one category) in an attempt to avoid tactical slate picks.

bad solution to real problem

By globaljustin • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

This whole Hugo Awards flap is so hilarious yet so sad. It's the perfect case of a bad solution to a real problem.

I agree the scifi status quo was sexist, puerile, over-dense, plotless garbage. Something needed to change.


I also agree that there has been an over-correction almost as extreme as the original problem!

Both are true.

The original problem was sexist garbage scifi but the solution is not to promote insipid non-scifi fluff.

Description fail

By rossz • Score: 3, Insightful • Thread

The Hugo is not the most prestigious award for Sci Fi. I would put the Nebula Award way ahead of it. In fact, over the last few years the Hugo Award has become meaningless.

Re:The Hugos Have Always Honored Fantasy

By arth1 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Your comment shows that you don't know much about the Hugo Awards. They have been awarded to works of science fiction and fantasy since their inception in 1953. Go read the WSFS Constitution (the rules for the awards). It makes this crystal clear.

Your comment shows a lack of reading comprehension. Read my post again and tell me where I say anything about fantasy.

It's formula dreck vetted for social acceptability that I object to, whether it's fantasy or science fiction. I want the radical stuff. The "out there" stuff. Ignoring borders. Going out there, because it's speculative fiction, not a party handbook in prose form.

I wondered about the voting.

By John.Banister • Score: 3 • Thread
First I looked here, and learned that one has to join a Worldcon. Then I looked here and learned that minimum price of entry is $50. The money is apparently the only requirement. I also read this about the voting system. Any member can nominate five works for every category. The six of these nominees in each category with the most nominations are the ones voted on to win via instant runoff voting. So if you feel frustrated about the resulting choices, consider that this is how they got that way, and also, it never hurts to remember that Sturgeon's Law applies as well to opinions as it does everywhere else.

Since everyone will have a different opinion about what is crap, what would probably work better than having an award system is something like what Booklamp attempted to be. Perhaps a search tool for book related social media could help.

Re:Ghostbusters bested Rogue One and Stranger Thin

By indytx • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Yay! Arrival won! Let's hear it for deus ex machina time travel/knowledge, garbage sci-fi!

Intel Unveils One-Petabyte Storage Servers For Data Centers

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
Slashdot reader #9,219 Guy Smiley shared this report on a new breed of high-density flash storage. The Inquirer reports: Intel has unveiled a brand new form factor for solid state disc drives (SSDs)... Intel Optane's new "ruler" format will allow up to a petabyte of storage on a single 1U server rack... By using 3D-NAND, the ruler crams in even more data and will provide more stability with less chance of catastrophic failure with data loss. The company has promised that the Ruler will have more bandwidth, input/output operations per second and lower latency than SAS... As part of the announcement, Intel also announced a range of "hard drive replacement" SSDs -- the S4500 and S4600 0 which are said to have the highest density 32-layer 3D NAND on the market, and are specifically aimed at data centres that want to move to solid state simply and if necessary, in stages.

will they use SAS/SATA or pci-e or some intel only

By Joe_Dragon • Score: 3 • Thread

will they use SAS/SATA or pci-e or some intel only thing??

But I may need to get an AMD EPYC system to get the PCI-e lanes to make the most of it unless you can get 4 cpus into an 1U box.

Re: Old Hat

By Jason1729 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
At 50 cents per gig, the flash is worth about $500,000 for this PB. Spinning platters are under 5 cents per gig. $50,000 for this PB.

For most datacenter storage purposes, the spinning platters are not a bottleneck. The new product is cool and will be very useful in a few specific applications, but it is not going to change much for datacenters. The flash SSD will also save power as well as space, but not enough to justify 10x the upfront cost. Maybe next generation.

Still not reliable yet for server use

By Billly Gates • Score: 3 • Thread

Many industrial controls with SSDs seem to always fail and one of the projects I worked on was replacing the SSDs that come with them with a hard disk as they never seem to have problems like the SSDs do.

I have seen other slashdotters on here who work in the enterprise who have loads of failed ssds on their desks, but their hard drives while slower are always less in quantity in comparison. It doesn't matter the brand. They all fail and when they do they go hard.

Should Workplaces Be Re-Defined To Retain Older Tech Workers?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
rgh02 submitted this article from Backchannel which argues companies "need to work harder and more persistently to attract, retain, and recognize talent" -- especially older talent: We "elders" know perfectly well that our workplaces are by and large not about us. We don't drive how roles, functions, advancement, and success are seen. Career development options and the hierarchical career ladders everyone is expected to climb are designed for the majority: younger workers. What can be done? There has to be a systems overhaul...
The article suggests restructuring workplaces with "individual contributor tracks" which reward people who don't go on to become managers, as well as things like paid mentoring positions and "phased retirement" programs that create part-time positions to allow a more gradual transition into retirement.

Wrong problem

By rsilvergun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
with automation and productivity improvements it's going to get hard to find enough work to go around. For example, with Trump & co blocking farm immigration farmers are finally implementing the kinds of labor saving practices (like growing food at waist height so it's easier to pick) that Europe's had for 20 years.

That IT shortage is a lie. I've got a guy at my job with a CS degree from a public University who's doing crap IT work instead of programming for a living. 20 years ago he would have been snapped up a day after graduation. But 20 years ago the H1-B program was in it's infancy.

There's plenty of money to go around. You're being lied to so a small group of lucky assholes can take everything. Not that I know what to do about it.

I saw the writing on the wall

By Hasaf • Score: 3 • Thread

I looked around and realized that there were no older workers in my position. There are always ways to push people out the door, and they were being used. I even looked at other companies and saw the same.

I decided to get my teachers license (I already had a Masters; so it was a pretty easy process). Yes, I have to deal with middle school kids; but I look at my friends who tried to stick it out and they are doing things like delivering pizzas.

Personal responsibility

By Snufu • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

These people chose to be old. Nobody forced them. Hold people responsible for their decisions.

Damn nanny state.

The problem is obvious

By MpVpRb • Score: 3 • Thread

Older workers aren't obsolete, they're just more expensive

Managers need to re-calibrate their measurements

Young managers who fail to do this, or who care more about culture than results, are missing out on a vast talent pool

Re:The problem is obvious

By zifn4b • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Older workers aren't obsolete, they're just more expensive

Managers need to re-calibrate their measurements

Young managers who fail to do this, or who care more about culture than results, are missing out on a vast talent pool

You get what you pay for. I've seen quite a few companies go under with software platforms written almost exclusively by recent college grads and H1B visas. As soon as they put any real load on the system, it buckles. When this situation occurs, the people who created the problem due to incompetence and inexperience just jump ship and go do it all over again somewhere else.

Canonical Needs Your Help Transitioning Ubuntu Linux From Unity To GNOME

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
BrianFagioli quotes BetaNews: On August 24 and 25, the Ubuntu Desktop team will be holding a "Fit and Finish Sprint," where they will aggressively test GNOME. Canonical is also asking the Ubuntu community to help with this process. In other words, you might be able to assist with making Artful Aardvark even better.

What makes this particularly cool, however, is that Canonical will be selecting some community members to visit its London office on August 24 between 4 pm and 9 pm. "Over the two days we'll be scrutinizing the new GNOME Shell desktop experience, looking for anything jarring/glitchy or out of place," says Alan Pope, Community Manager. "We'll be working on the GTK, GDM and desktop theme alike, to fix inconsistencies, performance, behavioral or visual issues. We'll also be looking at the default key bindings, panel color schemes and anything else we discover along the way."

A few caveats: Canonical won't pay anyone's travel expenses to London, and "Ideally we're looking for people who are experienced in identifying (and fixing) theme issues, CSS experts and GNOME Shell / GTK themers."

Re:"This is not a democracy"

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Unity may be broken, gnome3 isn't a fix.

Re:Great Process

By unixisc • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

"Ideally we're looking for people who are experienced in identifying (and fixing) theme issues, CSS experts and GNOME Shell / GTK themers."

So they're not specifically looking for input from actual users, the people who have to change all the idiotic defaults designers and themers chose in their endless wisdom? And all this is going to happen over the course of two days? I expect great things and will stick with Xubuntu. :-)

Which begs the question: why are they doing this? If Unity has failed, why not fall back to the existing and established sub-distros, like Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu (yeah, I know another organization now owns it), or just let users pick from miscellaneous distros, such as Trinity, Mate, Razor/qt, LX/QT, et al?

Mate desktop - yes, Gnome 3 - no

By Alain Williams • Score: 3 • Thread

I have tried Gnome 3 several times, I also run it on a virtual machine .... but I just find it unusable; way too dumbed down, essential (to me) features removed; Mate (Aka Gnome 2) has them - so I stay there.

Re:Clean up your own mess, douchebags

By Dutch Gun • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

That's one part. The second critical part is that "modern" apps (formerly "metro") used to be full screen only, which was ridiculous on PCs. The third was the elimination of the on-by-default screen hotspots, which were a disaster for normal mouse users. I generally don't mind using Windows 10 with those major issues fixed. I still think Metro apps look ridiculous on PCs, but at least they're reasonably functional now.

It's so strange to me how this looked so completely obvious to many of us looking from the outside in: that desktop PCs and touch devices have radically different interface needs, and any attempt to merge them is going to end up being a serious compromise for the PC users, making them unhappy.

I suspect this was largely a fearful reaction by those entrenched in PC tech as they saw mobile OSes eating PC's lunch in terms of general market share. So instead of focusing on making their core users happy, they tried to desperately grab at the emerging mobile market, only to lose their core constituency even faster.

Re:"This is not a democracy"

By Chris Katko • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I keep saying this: Unity isn't half bad.

It makes excellent use of screen space on netbooks, and overloads almost every combination of arrow keys and meta keys to do something nifty like merge window into half the screen, or move it to another workspace, or switch viewing workspaces. It uses fairly low RAM, and CPU resources. I use a 2 GB RAM (1 GB is ZRAM'd) laptop with a CELERON processor and until I fill up the RAM, it's snappy. I run apache. I do development work in C/C++/D/Python and more. I take business notes and do recordings. I play old windows games like Fallout 1 and 2 with Wine. All from my crappy little laptop.

I FINALLY get used to this damn thing after Canonical is like "fuck what you want, you'll use Unity, you bitch, because IT'S BETTER." and now we find out that "better" means "whatever I like today (and maybe not tomorrow)." By switching back to GNOME they've basically lost any good faith that they knew what they were doing when they selected Unity.

Whoever is making decisions at Canonical, they're complete morons. They have no real plans. And they don't understand their users at all. (Like their insane Ubuntu-integrated Amazon adsense debacle.)

Chrome Extension Developers Under a Barrage of Phishing Attacks

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes Bleeping Computer: Google's security team has sent out warnings via email to Chrome extension developers after many of them have been the targets of phishing attacks, some of which have been successful and resulted in crooks taking over extensions. These phishing attacks have come into the limelight this past week when phishers managed to compromise the developer accounts for two very popular Chrome extensions -- Copyfish and Web Developer. The phishers used access to these developer accounts to insert adware code inside the extensions and push out a malicious update that overlaid ads on top of web pages users were navigating.

According to new information obtained by Bleeping Computer, these attacks started over two months ago and had been silently going on without anyone noticing. All phishing emails contained the same lure -- someone posing as Google was informing extension developers that their add-on broke Chrome Web Store rules and needed to be updated. The extension developer was lured onto a site to view what was the problem and possibly update the extension. Before seeing the alert, the site asked extension developers to log in with their Google developer account, a natural step when accessing a secure backend.

Plain text

By simplypeachy • Score: 3 • Thread
I have yet to see a single phishing email that, when viewed in plain text mode, is remotely convincing. I still don't understand why people compromise so heavily for prettiness instead of privacy and security.

Re:Isn't the link always bogus?

By Solandri • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
The problem is the phishers only have to succeed once. I've been using email since 1987. In that time I've identified and deleted hundreds if not thousands of phishing emails. But I fell for one - it was a phishing email claiming to be from eBay about a problem with my recent winning bid. It just so happened that I had won a bid earlier in the day. So I clicked on it and logged into my eBay account.

I realized what I'd done within 30 seconds. Logged out, logged into eBay in another browser, and immediately changed my password. But it made me realize that even if you're 99.9% successful at avoiding phishing emails, that still means you'll slip up every now and then.

I understand now why those phishing emails claiming that there's a problem with your FedEx package aren't as stupid as I always thought ("How dumb are these guys - I'm not even expecting a package via FedEx"). They're just spamming it to tens of millions of people. A few hundred thousand of them are expecting a FedEx package, and the phishers are gambling that a few hundred or a few thousand of them will click-through on the phishing email. It's a one-shot variant of the perfect prediction scam, leveraging the huge scalability of spamming to eliminate the multiple iterations normally needed to run the con. If it's "obvious" the email is a phishing email, it just means you fell into the 99% or so of people who by random chance didn't fall within the parameters to successfully pull off the con.

Re:Plain text

By fermion • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
A big problem is that some mobile platforms do not display in plain text, some won't even give the email address used.

A bigger problem is that due to the need to commercialize the web, it has become standard to push HTML emails, and standard for most email clients to automatically render the HTML. Before this, creating an effective phasing email was harder. It was harder to hide URLs. This is like banks adding interstitials to their log in process. It is good to advertise to a captive audience, it is beyond stupid to add a security vulnerability to what is suppose to be a secure process. At the least all secure emails should be plain text.

I agree developers should not be so dumb as to click phishing emails. That some would really does speak to the incompetence of the people writing these plugins. On the other hand most people are not as paranoid as those of us who have been doing this for years and have taken our jobs seriously.

I do think that all the fault lies with the developers. I have had the one time pad turned on for my forward facing google account. I never click trust this computer. I have it set up to receive emails, but not to send emails. It could be that Google should force third factor sign ins, but as they clearly care more about ease of use than even the basic level of modernsecurity, that will not happen.


By denbesten • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
Google's 2-Step Verification should be mandatory for developer accounts. End of discussion.

Russian Group That Hacked DNC Used NSA Attack Code In Attack On Hotels

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: A Russian government-sponsored group accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee last year has likely been infecting other targets of interest with the help of a potent Windows exploit developed by, and later stolen from, the National Security Agency, researchers said Friday. Eternal Blue, as the exploit is code-named, is one of scores of advanced NSA attacks that have been released over the past year by a mysterious group calling itself the Shadow Brokers. It was published in April in the group's most damaging release to date. Its ability to spread from computer to computer without any user action was the engine that allowed the WCry ransomware worm, which appropriated the leaked exploit, to shut down computers worldwide in May. Eternal Blue also played a role in the spread of NotPetya, a follow-on worm that caused major disruptions in June. Now, researchers at security firm FireEye say they're moderately confident the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear, APT 28, and other names has also used Eternal Blue, this time in a campaign that targeted people of interest as they connected to hotel Wi-Fi networks. In July, the campaign started using Eternal Blue to spread from computer to computer inside various staff and guest networks, company researchers Lindsay Smith and Ben Read wrote in a blog post. While the researchers didn't directly observe those attacks being used to infect guest computers connected to the network, they said a related campaign from last year used the control of hotel Wi-Fi services to obtain login credentials from guest devices.

When the NSA can't keep it in their pants...

By burtosis • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
Lack of oversight and a complete inability to keep their own exploits out of the hands of criminals and foreign powers is the exact reason we should be shuttering the doors on this nonsense. Its far better for everyone in the long run to patch exploits instead of hoarding them and turning them into a tool to undermine the very safety and security of the nation they were "meant" to protect. This exact same issue applies to back doors on encryption or secure systems of any kind. No one will probably care until the entire economy crashes after a back door exploit leaks out on financial transactions.

Re:Demoncrats lost their sense of humor

By Rockoon • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

it has been determined that the "hackers" downloaded the DNC emails at a rate of 22 MEGABYTES per second. This sort of connection isnt available across the atlantic, and isnt available from any ISP in the States.

But such a connection IS available with a local area network, and further such a speed happens to coincide with the write speed of a large USB thumb drive.

Re:leak not hack

By Bartles • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Here is the analysis that that article is based on. Looks pretty legit.

Has Slashdot jumped the shark?

By dbreeze • Score: 3 • Thread

Fake news. Somebody here is feeding an agenda, not searching for the truth.

Propaganda Basics

By s.petry • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Your points are well taken. The fundamental facts of the whole Russia hacked the DNC narrative have never been questioned or put under scrutiny. There are many reasons for this, the primary one being that most of the media is a mouthpiece for the Democratic party. One can laugh at that, but this is the sort of shit that happens when a democracy does not have a free and fair press.

Actually the narrative is questioned, which is why you see the allegation come out and vanish almost as quickly. The narrative will be repeated and repeated until people get tired of pushing back and we end up with white washed history.

Repeat a lie long enough and loud enough and eventually the people will believe it. Not an exact quote of Goebbels, Mussolini, Stalin, Lenin, Pot, Mao, etc.. but the basic premise of their propaganda machines.

Uber and Lyft May Cause Lower Car Ownership In Big Cities, Says Report

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
A new study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute has shed light on what may turn out to be a growing trend: lower car ownership in cities where ride-sharing services are available. SlashGear reports: While Uber and Lyft have both deployed in a number of cities, they have, at times, had to abandon those cities due to local governments driving them out for one reason or another. That's what happened in Austin, Texas, opening the door for an interesting study on personal car ownership. Did the sudden absence of these two services cause increased car usage and/or ownership, or did things remain unaffected? The result, according to the study, was a big increase in personal car usage and a statistically significant increase in car ownership. The researchers surveyed a total of 1,200 people from the Austin region, and found that 41-percent of them started using their own car more often to make up for the lack of Uber and Lyft rides. As well, a total of 9-percent of those surveyed bought their own personal car to make up for the services' absences.

Re:You what else lowers ownership

By Applehu Akbar • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Decreased urban car ownership is an obvious first impact for ridesharing services, especially when they start using automated cars. Expensive, frequently-updated automated cars will fall into the hands of fleets, which will be better able to manage recharging of limited-range electrics than individuals are willing to be bothered with. Fleet operation of automated cars also eliminates the need for parking at the places where people are picked up and dropped off, freeing up whole square kilometers of pricey urban real estate.

And instead of replacing mass transit, car services can operate in conjunction with it. Your ride app will display the cost of a ride in one car from A to B in comparison with the option of A to some chosen subway station, followed by a pickup from another subway station to B. If it's date night, riders will take the more expensive one-car option; if you're just headed to the office, many riders will take the transit option, especially on routes they repeat a lot. Even if all ridesharing services accomplish is weaning commuters onto mass transit, that will be a huge accomplishment.

Anecdata: I had no car in the midwest

By trawg • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

I moved to Ohio from Australia a few years back and was pretty sure we'd need a car. But I worked from home and my partner was happy with the 30min walk to her work (something which blew the mind of almost every American we talked to). Even in the winter it was feasible for her.

We used Uber quite regularly to get around. The local buses were pretty average - mostly because they stopped like every 150m, wtf, Americans really hate walking!). But aside from being slow they were perfectly serviceable. They even added a free route up and down the main street - which was awesome, except it came online towards the end of our stay there.

The thing that made the biggest difference though wasn't Uber or Lyft, it was Car2go. The city did a great job of making Car2go available - we had free parking near us so could just dump the car anywhere, and of course could always pick one up.

I am now in London where haha as if you would own a car here - public transport is awesome. Whether or not cities have a Car2go-esque system in place will definitely play a role in my next move.

Re:You what else lowers ownership

By Solandri • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread
The problem with spatially planning a city is that the plan for a small city is different from the plan for a big city, but it's impossible to predict if a small city will become a big city. So short of reclaiming areas via eminent domain and re-purposing them (wasteful since you're demolishing established structures), you're left with an either/or choice. Either spatially plan for the size city you have today and get burned if the city becomes significantly larger in the future. Or spatially plan for future city growth, and get burned if the city doesn't increase in size or even shrinks.

Public transportation systems can also have the same problem of city not growing as expected (subways), although they can be slightly more flexible (buses). Taxis are even more flexible, since the number of taxis in service can be scaled up or down more quickly than buses. And Uber/Lyft vehicles are even more flexible yet since they're otherwise used as personal vehicles.

In other words, this isn't a problem with just One Correct Solution. It's a problem with multiple solutions - the more efficient solutions quickly drift out of their optimal range if city growth doesn't follow projections, the less efficient solutions are more flexible and can adapt more quickly to deviations in city growth from expectations.

Re:You what else lowers ownership

By PopeRatzo • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Agreed. When I have visited New York City (usually for work) I have been able to get by for a week by mostly walking around, taking the subway

I just came back from a visit to my hometown, Chicago. I went up there to visit some friends and take care of my daughter's dog while she went to an out-of-town wedding. She left me her (very nice) car, but I never took it out of the garage. Chicago has the finest public transportation system I've ever seen in a big old city. Airport to my daughter's house? Blue line and then a short walk. Ride down to see some friends and watch Muse at Lollapalooka? Blue line straight downtown. Drop in at my old martial arts school? Milwaukee Avenue bus. Everywhere else was a walk or bikeride away.

Here in Houston (I'm moving to California in a few weeks), I cannot go three miles without driving on a crowded, dangerous expressway. You cannot ride a bike from the Museum District to Midtown (3 miles) because they built highway 59 without allowing for any cross streets. No zoning laws whatsoever, a libertarian paradise, but if you want to go to the grocery store, you have to get on an expressway (and the grocery store is only about a mile away). Lots of expressways means that instead of neighborhoods, you get strip malls full of gun shops, pawnbrokers and Dollar Stores.

Public transportation and a little bit of smart urban planning is the way to go.

Re:Trump may cause lower IQ in Republicans

By ShanghaiBill • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

The numbers from this "study" are implausible. 9% of people in Austin bought new cars because Uber left town? I don't think so. First, only about 10% of people buy a car in each year, so this would be a DOUBLING of car sales. Second, only about 16% of people even have the Uber app installed, and many of those use it very infrequently. Third, after Uber and Lyft left town, several other local ride-sharing companies popped up, and have been popular. So there hasn't actually been a drop in ride-sharing options.

This was either a very flawed "study", or maybe the journalist just bungled the description of what it really says. No link to the study is provided in TFA, and it isn't clear that it has even been published yet.

NASA Looks At Reviving Atomic Rocket Program

Posted by BeauHDView on SlashDotShareable Link
Big Hairy Ian shares a report from New Atlas: When the first manned mission to Mars sets out, it may be on the tail of an atomic rocket engine. The Space Race vintage technology could have a renaissance at NASA after the space agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama signed a contract with BWXT Nuclear Energy to develop updated Nuclear Thermal Propulsion (NTP) concepts and new fuel elements to power them.

Today, with NASA once again considering the challenges of sending astronauts to Mars, the nuclear option is back on the table as part of the agency's Game Changing Development program. Under this, NASA has awarded BMXT, which supplies nuclear fuel to the U.S. Navy, a $18.8-million contract running through September 30, 2019 to look into the possibility of developing a new engine using a new type of fuel. Unlike previous designs using highly enriched uranium, BMXT will study the use of Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU), which has less than 20 percent of fissile uranium 235. This will provide a number of advantages. Not only is it safer than the highly enriched fuel, but the security arrangements are less burdensome, and the handling regulations are the same as those of a university research reactor. If NASA determines next month that the LEU engine is feasible, the project will conduct testing and refine the manufacturing process of the Cermet fuel elements over the course of a year, with testing of the full-length Cermet fuel rods to be conducted at Marshall.

Slashdot reader Big Hairy Ian adds: "At the very least it looks much more feasible than Project Orion."


By thesupraman • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Look at what a horrific disaster all those exploding reactors have been on navy ships and submarines!
When will people realize the horror of nuclear reactors! Radiation! Radiation!

Not to mention the ecological disaster that there would be if evil radiation were to leak in space!
Do people not realize it is the one truly pristine environment left?

Every single ONE of the radioactive RTGs that we have sent up on rockets has caused untold deaths! The chemical rockets on the other hand make rainbows brighter and butterflies more colourful!

The horror..

Re:What could possibly go wrong?

By someone1234 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Come on. You can die even if you strap yourself behind a horse. You remind me of people who said (about 2 centuries ago) that going over 40 km/hours kills a human.
Speed doesn't kill
Acceleration may kill (solution, don't accelerate beyond harmful limits).
Radiation may kill (shield yourself).

Re:Simple Question

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I'm replying as AC because I modded-up this and I think questions like this should be answered from time to time, even though I disagree with the apparent sentiments.

Firstly, "paying down the national debt" isn't necessarily as useful as one might think. Certainly, avoiding indebtedness to foreign powers may be of strategic importance, and rapid expansion of national debt for big spending programs might stoke high inflation that drives economic instability. However, most of the national debt (along with most money in the economy) is funded with money that has been created from thin-air by private-sector banks, and perhaps laundered through the economy to look more real than it is. Paying-off the original debts that created the money causes it to disappear with the debt but it provides profit in the form of interest for the banks that created the money in the first place. Very little actually goes to cover capital and interest for the deposits of any real investors, and even those originated mostly in debt to generate new assets that have been laundered and liquidated into cash for deposit. This is the world of fractional reserve banking, where almost all money in the system is born out of debt and inflation.

Now to the main point about why do this instead of "more worthwhile things we could be doing, such as curing cancer, solving world hunger, or reducing our impacts on climate change". Of course those are important and, quite rightly a good deal more money –many billions of dollars– already goes into those things than the 19 million dollars going into this project.

But blue-sky technology and pure science reap huge benefits in the long term and that simply can't be foreseen. Copernicus, Galileo, Tycho Brahe, Kepler and Newton were concerned with the motions of planetary bodies and the moon. They paved the way for the foundations of the science of mechanics which is one of the pillars of all of modern engineering and science. Franklin, Faraday and many others tinkered with electricity and magnetism, and Maxwell synthesised a theory from their experiments which gave another of pillar foundations of everything we have now. Even the highly abstract theories of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, formulated a century ago, now have a big impact on our everyday lives.

Everything I've described (albeit in a very brief and shallow manner) is the basis for things like MRI, CT and PET scanners, computational drug discovery, understanding climate change, GNSS/GPS and countless other technologies that have the power to benefit everyone. There are bigger political decisions to be made that will have more impact than anything gained by switching funding from atomic rockets to feeding the starving. Consider the cost of building a 2000-mile wall. And if you want another perspective, consider that, in the US alone, about $200 billion is spent each year on advertising.

Personally I have no desire to move to Mars; it's way more hostile than America would have been for early settlers, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't invest a relatively small amount. One can't imagine the long-term benefits that humanity might eventually reap from the effort.

I haven't bothered with references but if you're curious and if you really care you can easily find plenty to read about any of this.

Re:Get NASA out of rockets altogether

By Rei • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Even SpaceX admits that for more distant missions (far outer planet destinations, oort cloud, etc), scaling chemical rockets is not sufficient. Nuclear rockets are also interesting for Venus, delivering crew and payload between the habitable layer (~54km) where breathable air is a lifting gas that can loft a colony, and orbit. Some of Venus's great advantages, like having nearly Earthlike gravity and thus no concerns about wasting like exist for the moon and (to a lesser extent) Mars, are also disadvantages, in that it's also nearly Earthlike difficulty to get to orbit. Furthermore, unlike Mars where your rocket rests on the ground, with Venus you have to support its fully fueled mass. While it's possible to get out with two-stage chemical rockets and re-dock the returning stages, you get much better mass fractions with nuclear. Even though nuclear pretty much only works with hydrogen propellant (the ISP drops in linear proportion to the atomic mass of the propellant), and hydrogen is not particularly common on Venus, the low propellant requirements mean that a nuclear rocket can use less hydrogen than most low-hydrogen rocket propellants that could be used were the ascent vehicle a two-stage chemical rocket.

I'm sure lots of people are going to be discussing NERVA in this comments section. It's important to realize that NERVA is obsolete technology, and there are much better designs available at present. NERVA's biggest problem was its awful thrust to weight ratio. One of the first realizations since then was that you can make a nuclear rocket with a LOX "afterburner"; at liftoff, you use LOX to vastly augment the thrust (the resulting ISP, while nothing like pure hydrogen nuclear-thermal, is still well above that of normal hydrolox). Once the high liftoff thrust requirements are no longer needed, the rocket transitions to pure hydrogen thrust for much higher specific impulse.

A variety of airbreathing modes have also been investigated which can strongly increase thrust and/or specific impulse further - thrust augmentation, nuclear scramjets, nuclear-driven turbojets, etc. Also, there have been general improvements in nuclear technology to allow for transferring higher energies to the hydrogen steam since then, as well as a number of yet-to-be-proven concepts. For example a fission fragment reactor can theoretically get the hydrogen much hotter than the reactor itself; in such a system, the goal is to (as much as possible) capture only neutrons in the fuel and only thermalize fission fragments (which carry most of the energy) in the hydrogen. But you definitely wouldn't pursue a fission fragment reactor with LEU....

Re: Get NASA out of rockets altogether

By K. S. Kyosuke • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
For high-mass, Hohmann-transfer spacecrafts bound to Mars, nuclear really isn't the best propulsion option even in the long run. It's basic physics. At the low delta-Vs required for the flight, the mass ratios and volumes required are disadvantageous for nuclear, as is mined mass usage from all hydrogen sources with the exception of perhaps mining hydrogen directly from Saturn or one of the other smaller gas giants.