The original article is excellent, BTW. (Score: 1)

by in Fossilised Footprints Suggest Tyrannosaurus Hunted In Packs on 2014-07-25 21:36 (#2NA)

Very readable, unlike a lot of articles in specialized fields. And free, of course.

Re: This is an interesting study, but... (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Size and age of plants impact their productivity more than climate on 2014-07-24 03:32 (#2MQ)

unless you consider "indefinite further research studies for interested scientists" a public good
Considering that's pretty much how science has always worked, well, yes, it is. There will never come a time when science does not raise more questions than it answers, and given the results of that process so far, it's hard to see how it could be anything else.

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 1)

by in Soylent News Incorporates on 2014-07-09 23:09 (#2DR)

I can't speak for AC, but for myself there's no one big thing that makes SN difficult to use, just a bunch of little annoyances that add up. Basically, identify any look-and-feel difference between |. and SN, and if you want to make SN better, make it more |.-like. This is not to say I don't like SN. I do! It's just that on SN, I put up with the interface to get to the content, while on |. the interface is a pleasure in itself.

I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 5, Interesting)

by in Soylent News Incorporates on 2014-07-09 06:34 (#2CB)

The site is so much cleaner and faster than SN (or That Other Site) that there's no comparison. I understand and approve of |. and SN not trying to be the same kind of site and directly compete with each other, but I really hope |. keeps going as a good discussion site in general.

Re: Is this a joke? (Score: 1)

by in Elon Musk + Stephen Hawking + CBC = robot revolution on 2014-06-22 18:26 (#27V)

The third joke is that this was CBC, not CBS, and it's "American" media only in a specific sense which is not the way that word is usually used.

Re: Early development with excess hype (Score: 1)

by in Military Tech increasingly following sci-fi on 2014-06-19 05:43 (#262)

Here is one of the eternal truths of the infantryman's life: the brass always wants to load you down with more crap, and if you're smart (and you have a platoon sergeant who's not an ass-kisser) you get rid of as much of it as you possibly can as soon as you possibly can. Unfortunately, the REMFs keep shoveling it out just a little faster than you can get rid of it, which is why the total combat load has gone from ~40 lbs in WW2 and Korea, to ~80 lbs back when I was a grunt in the 1980s, to well over 100 lbs today. And I am deeply skeptical that any kind of power assist they come up with is going to make up for the increased weight and complexity.

We already have machines designed for battlefield use to do what human bodies can't: they're called tanks, and after almost a century of development they're pretty good at doing what they're supposed to do. You want more effective infantry? Take away the non-essentials, put the R&D effort into making the rest as light, simple, and durable as possible, and let the grunts do their job.

Re: Maths music love (Score: 1)

by in Anthropology and communicating with extraterrestrials on 2014-06-13 04:04 (#238)

The symbols we use for all of them matter an awful lot, though. Would we recognize an alien love song, or their expression of even the simplest equation?

Re: Termiraptors! Velocinators! (Score: 1)

by in Robot Velociraptor Now Fastest Thing on Two Legs on 2014-06-01 18:17 (#1ZY)

No doubt. :)

Termiraptors! Velocinators! (Score: 3, Funny)

by in Robot Velociraptor Now Fastest Thing on Two Legs on 2014-06-01 03:05 (#1ZP)

Everybody, it's been nice to know you.

Good news! (Score: 1)

by in Colorado River Delta on 2014-05-22 00:37 (#1TZ)

I'm amazed we haven't heard more howling about it from certain quarters, though. I mean ... BENGHAZI!

Re: civ3 and pacman (Score: 1)

by in WordStar and Old Software Too Good to Stop Using on 2014-05-15 13:56 (#1MT)

I'm addicted to an ancient DOS shareware game called Conquest, basically a Risk-alike, that I've had on every computer I've owned since 1992. On my current machine, a MBP running OS X 10.8, I run it on the curent version of Dosbox, but on my previous machine running 10.6, I ran it on an old PowerPC version of Dosbox (which I actually liked better than the current version, sigh) and it amused me that I was using an Intel machine to run a PowerPC emulator to run an Intel emulator.

As far as productivity software goes, if I could use either WordPerfect 5 for DOS or WP 3 for Mac on my current machine in a way that would integrate nicely with the rest of the OS (printers, copying and pasting, etc.) I'd be really happy.

Re: My method is not sophistiocated but it works (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in smxi Makes Setting Up Debian a Breeze on 2014-05-12 17:11 (#1HF)

I just use apt-get, yum, or pacman to install it. I don't grasp what the problem is.
"Possibly most important: expecting someone to look for an answer to a question they don't even know exists! This is a very common problem in advanced technical user circles, nobody remembers their own learning curve, and starts to think that highly specialized technical knowledge is somehow something that people should know."

Everyone has to start somewhere, and in the Unix(-alike) world, people who started a while back are justifiably notorious for treating people who started more recently like shit.

Re: Maybe this says more about journalists? (Score: 1)

by in Social Networking Enters the Age of Angst on 2014-05-05 21:45 (#1DG)

It's crazy - like, "let's create an app that helps people get raped and killed."
Anything that enables face-to-face social interaction could be described as "help[ing] people get raped and killed." It's kind of silly to see that as the most important thing about the app.

Re: internet law? (Score: 4, Interesting)

by in Stephen Hawking on the dangers of advanced AI on 2014-05-05 14:44 (#1CY)

Oh, you're probably right--I make pronouncements about all kinds of things all the time, and if I had the kind of platform Hawking does I'm sure my dumber statements would be blown up to cringe-inducing proportions. OTOH, a lot of people will give such statements by Hawking, or any eminent scientist, far more credit than they deserve, and that's a problem. And it does seem that physicists are particularly prone to this kind of thing, although scientists in other fields certainly aren't immune.

Gah! (Score: 1)

by in Social Networking Enters the Age of Angst on 2014-05-05 04:59 (#1CC)

There might be some good information buried in that Forbes article, but reading it is like trying to read someone Tweeting a novel.

internet law? (Score: 2, Interesting)

by in Stephen Hawking on the dangers of advanced AI on 2014-05-05 04:31 (#1CB)

Isn't there a Somebody-or-other's Law that says that all eminent physicists will eventually embarrass themselves and everyone else by making silly pronouncements about things wildly outside their area of expertise? Sadly, Hawking seems to have reached that point in his career.

Re: Anonymous Cow Herds Can't Vote (Score: 1)

by in Borda Count on 2014-04-29 00:49 (#18D)

I understood the process just fine, I just thought it was very poorly designed. There was no amount of explanation that was going to make "rank your preferences in order, with the largest integer for your first choice" a reasonable way to conduct a vote.

Re: Last is most important (Score: 1)

by in SpaceX CRS-3 on 2014-04-29 00:37 (#18C)

Fair enough. So if it's a warm-up for soft landing on land ... well, so much the better.

Re: Last is most important (Score: 1)

by in SpaceX CRS-3 on 2014-04-27 15:20 (#16V)


Last is most important (Score: 2, Informative)

by in SpaceX CRS-3 on 2014-04-27 15:20 (#16T)

Not to sell the other point short, but making a soft water landing (even if they had really lousy luck on the timing) strikes me as a Big Deal. Reusable spacecraft for far, far less than the Shuttle cost would be revolutionary.

Re: Correlation, causation, and all that. (Score: 2, Funny)

by in Spotting Bad Science on 2014-04-27 15:17 (#16S)

Or less gently, as my Slashdot .sig used to say, "The correlation between ignorance of statistics and using 'correlation is not causation' as an argument is close to 1."

Correlation, causation, and all that. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Spotting Bad Science on 2014-04-27 15:16 (#16R)

At this point the meme has so thoroughly permeated the culture that I really wish every mention of "correlation is not causation" (or "correlation does not imply causation," or any of its variants) came with a warning label explaining that in most cases, there's a whole lot more to the analysis than that.

Re: I'm glad to see this kind of criticism (Score: 1)

by in The Fallacies of Big Data on 2014-03-31 09:01 (#W7)

Maybe Big Data is just the reincarnation of data mining?

Yeah, I think that's pretty much it.

I'm glad to see this kind of criticism (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in The Fallacies of Big Data on 2014-03-30 20:12 (#W2)

As a biostatistician working in bioinformatics, I'm well aware of both how powerful and how dangerous "big data" can be--powerful because it can tell you things you couldn't discover any other way, dangerous because it will tell you all kinds of things that aren't true unless you're very, very careful with your analysis. A lot of the people talking about "big data" and "data science" and all the rest of it are sound like teenagers who have just got their drivers' licenses.

Devil and the deep blue sea (Score: 5, Insightful)

by in Teen Girls Face Charges After Beating Video Shared Online on 2014-03-30 20:07 (#W1)

Boys in this situation have no good choices. If they fight back, they'll be crucified for "hitting a girl." If they don't, they're wimps who got "beat up by a girl." The main difference between this and the unknown number of similar cases is that the girls were dumb enough to publicize it.

Re: Good (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in Gunshot Victims Placed in Suspended Animation on 2014-03-28 17:31 (#VB)

At this point, it's a last-resort, "What the hell, this guy's probably going to die anyway" kind of thing, so not likely to catch on with the crystal-healing crowd. ;) Even if it does eventually become safe enough to be part of the surgical standard of care, I really doubt it's something people will do casually.

Re: Steady incremental changes good! (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Pipedot Status Update on 2014-03-25 09:26 (#SZ)

I like Soylent for what it is, but yeah, I have to agree. Of course, as the |. community grows, so inevitably will the politicking, but if this could remain the civil N4N site, that would be a wonderful thing.

Re: Not a big deal (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in NSA Spied on Chinese Government and Huawei on 2014-03-23 20:45 (#RT)

Everybody spies on everybody, and everybody knows it. Tough talk is one thing, but it's very rare for anyone to act on it.

Watch out ... (Score: 1)

by in Street Light Robots of Kinshasa on 2014-03-21 23:12 (#RF)

... when they start saying things like "By your command."

Re: there is something different (Score: 3, Interesting)

by in TransPose algorithm writes the soundtrack to novels on 2014-03-21 03:04 (#QN)

I think you're right, but I also think a lot of the people looking for soundtracks won't care. Big Hollywood studios will always be able to pay someone like John Williams to compose the score for feature films, but a TV producer on a tight budget who wants distinctive music for this week's episode might weclome software that would compose music from the script.

Presumably the algorithm can be altered as musical tastes change. It's interesting how a lot of movies and TV shows from, say thirty or more years ago don't look nearly as out-of-date as they sound .

Re: If only (Score: 2, Funny)

by in Planet Mercury is Slowly Shrinking on 2014-03-18 04:49 (#MY)

If we sucked away the water and atmosphere, it would be easy. Personally I consider a little difficulty in unraveling the geological record a worthwhile tradeoff. ;)

Re: keep it up (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Which features are the most important? on 2014-03-17 00:54 (#M0)

Thirded. ;)

Re: Notifications (Score: 4, Insightful)

by in Which features are the most important? on 2014-03-17 00:54 (#KZ)

This, and generally bringing the "my comments" page to (at least) feature-parity with /.

Re: Of course (Score: 1)

by in Game Developers and Unintentional Sexism on 2014-03-15 17:26 (#JZ)

I think everyone understands that "race" in this context means different groups within the same species.

Re: Radiant heat loss (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in How about an array of orbiting servers? on 2014-03-12 21:39 (#H7)

My intuition would expect that an object at 60 C in a room with air at 59 C would cool slower than an object at 60 C in the vacuum of space.

If your server room's at 60 C, you need to invest in better air conditioning.

Quite seriously, convective cooling is so much more efficient than radiative cooling that for any realistic setup, servers on the ground are going to be much easier to cool than those in space.

Re: False Dichotomy (Score: 5, Insightful)

by in Dianne Feinstein Charges CIA With Spying on US Senate on 2014-03-12 02:53 (#GQ)

I'm going with "yes" to both questions. So it's not only an "or", it's also an "and"!

Re: Nice work, (Score: 5, Funny)

by in Temporarily Offline? on 2014-03-11 18:50 (#FT)

Meanwhile, Pipedot seems to be relatively drama-free. How refreshing.

Does anyone want to talk about gun control?

Re: Price per GB and other stuff... (Score: 1)

by in Sony and Panasonic Teaming Up For New Optical Disk Format on 2014-03-11 13:53 (#EH)

Thumb drives for portability, RAID for reliability. Between the two of these, I don't see any need for this disk.

Re: Price per GB and other stuff... (Score: 1)

by in Sony and Panasonic Teaming Up For New Optical Disk Format on 2014-03-11 01:44 (#E4)

I was going to say, is this really much of an advance over Blu-Ray? Which I've long suspected is the last gasp of optical storage. I'm really not sure what the use case for "archival optical disks" is these days.

Elephants are smart. (Score: 4, Interesting)

by in Elephants Can Distinguish Human Voices by Ethnicity on 2014-03-11 01:43 (#E3)

Really, really smart. Probably as smart as us. If their trunks were just a little more dextrous (and they're already pretty impressive) we'd have some serious competition.

Re: Slipery Slope (Score: 1)

by in When someone near me says "Daylight Savings Time" instead of "Daylight Saving Time" I ... on 2014-03-09 23:45 (#BV)

As long as no one catches the HIV virus from an ATM machine, we're cool.

Re: Why pick on Win8? (Score: 3, Informative)

by in Windows Finally Gets a Shutdown Button on 2014-03-09 23:44 (#BT)

Apparently not.

Re: Why pick on Win8? (Score: 5, Funny)

by in Windows Finally Gets a Shutdown Button on 2014-03-09 23:44 (#BS)

[hey, does this site have a profanity filter?]

Fuck it, let's find out. If so, that shit's a bug, in my not so goddamn humble opinion.

Re: Usability (Score: 5, Insightful)

by in Windows Finally Gets a Shutdown Button on 2014-03-09 16:41 (#BJ)

It's not just MS, I have to say. Making shutdown hard to get to may have been a particularly boneheaded move, but it honestly seems like desktop UI design has gone to hell across the board the last couple of years. OS X, Gnome, KDE ... I can't think of a single major environment that isn't substantially worse than it used to be.

Re: insta-dupe (Score: 1)

by in The dawning of the age of genomic medicine, finally on 2014-03-09 16:38 (#BH)

Okay, thanks.

I'll be skipping it, but it seems like a good idea (Score: 3, Insightful)

by in Science TV Series Cosmos to Reboot on 2014-03-08 18:01 (#B5)

The cult of personality around Tyson irritates the hell out of me, just as the cult of personality are Sagan did then. Both of them deserve a lot of credit both for their science and their popularization of science; I just wish it were possible for people to do this without developing the kind of aura that causes people to treat everything they say, no matter how banal, as oracular wisdom. But this is a personal objection, and for those who don't share it, I hope the show is informative and entertaining.

insta-dupe (Score: 4, Interesting)

by in The dawning of the age of genomic medicine, finally on 2014-03-08 17:55 (#B4)

Over on Soylent, someone pointed out that this story was published almost simultaneously there and on Slashdot as well as here, and didn't seem particularly happy about it. Guilty; I submitted the story to each site because I think it's an interesting and important topic, and I honestly didn't expect it to be published in all three places. Do people object to this? If so, I won't do it any more, but I'd like to know what our evolving community's standard will be.

Re: Like the sliders! (Score: 1)

by in Expandable Comments on 2014-03-07 17:44 (#AT)

True. I think most users do, though.

Re: About time, because this one is getting screwed (Score: 2, Insightful)

by in Kepler finds 4 potentially habitable worlds on 2014-03-06 22:56 (#A6)

Hold your fire on that one just yet, we know where they are but actually getting to them is going to be the tricky bit...

Yeah. As a biomedical researcher, I'm uncomfortably aware of how wide the gap is between what we do in the lab and what we can actually hope to bring to patients, but at least we don't have any overarching theory comparable to general relativity telling us NO, YOU CAN'T DO THAT.

Re: Like the sliders! (Score: 5, Informative)

by in Expandable Comments on 2014-03-06 22:46 (#A5)

The Slashdot standard is logged-in registered users at +1, Anonymous Cowards at 0. Registered users' posts also get modified by karma, of course, with good karma granting an additional +1, for a total of +2. Which isn't to say you should be bound by /. conventions, of course!