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Comments

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Should NASA Send Astronauts On Voluntary One-Way Missions?

Defenestrar Re:Yes, for any mission (307 comments)

I disagree, at least in the extent to which survival at the end of the trip (be it one way or not) is not a reasonable probability. It's not as simple as "do you want to take that risk?" Risk implies probability, but planning for a one-way trip is a certainty.

An organization does not have the ethical right to ask for this certainty, especially when there is no chance that the asking could be done without some form of coercion (i.e. implicit do it for your country/honor/science/show you're not a coward/etc...). We don't even ask this of our armed forces. When people join, they know there's a risk (i.e. probability) that they may die - and in fact that they may later be ordered into a very bad situation - but those are situations (often in the heat) where plans went very wrong, or situations involving the kind of math where you spend infinity to gain infinity. And even in that example, the action was voluntary by situation, not by designed plan. We have no such pressing desperation in scientific exploration.

We can design exploration plans that allow for something other than suffocation or starvation as an end point. I would say that exploration with pioneering and settlement are ethically reasonable places to solicit volunteers. Even sustained exploration where limited resources are not an assurance of death (i.e. "an ongoing mission to seek out...") could be reasonable. But I think any mission which involves planting a flag, running a few experiments, and then opening one's helmet is ethically flawed - especially when patience will let us solve the intrinsic survival problems.

about two weeks ago
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How Do You Backup 20TB of Data?

Defenestrar Re:Hmmm... (983 comments)

Meh - doubling capacity is so last century. Look at optical media - just by punching a hole in the middle you go from zero useful storage to a lot!

P.S. Ok, so I punched a hole in my Bards Tale character disk so my sister could have her own side (and not screw up my stuff).

about a month ago
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Estimate: Academic Labs 11 Times More Dangerous Than Industrial Counterparts

Defenestrar Re:Depends on what they are doing (153 comments)

Nah - there's a process called a hazard analysis that should reveal the potential hazards of what somebody is doing. Why these aren't performed at an academic institution is a separate problem. The problem in academic institutions which doesn't exist in either corporate or government research labs is a lack of line management responsibility. The university culture generally allows for throwing a professor (or even a department) under the bus when something goes wrong and OSHA has allowed them to get away with it. In other areas it's been pretty clearly demonstrated that line management is responsible for safety.

For example look at NIST Boulder's plutonium incident - the director of the entire facility is who lost the job because it was his responsibility to have a lab safety program that was sufficient and effective. What is only just starting to wake up academic institutions is the fatal UCLA lab fire which the university was able to plead out of criminal charges, but the professor in charge has not. While the university had some pretty stiff penalties as part of the plea bargain - all of the accountability has come down on the professor and not the university management chain (i.e. with the criminal charges against the university, it should have landed at least at the VP level). I don't think universities will actually foster a safety culture until core administration accepts that the responsibility for doing so is theirs - and this is not likely to happen as long as a professor can be thrown under the bus (whether or not he or she deserves it) and administration escapes major personal (as opposed to institutional) penalties.

about a month and a half ago
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Financing College With a Tax On All Graduates

Defenestrar Re:Lifers? (597 comments)

Hmm... I think the most important part of funding education in this manner is to link programs or schools (possibly even the college level) to the degree taxed. This would have the intrinsic effect for limiting the degree program to the employment base that will be able to utilize those jobs. The reciprocal funding should then be able to manage gradual changes in employment demand - and large demand shifts could be funded through government or corporate "scholarships" which would be in effect a future tax credit. You could also allow for traditional payment for those who wish to make it through school without future tax burdens (i.e. I had zero debt at the end of my degrees - a combination of scholarship and work).

As a more critical immediate reform for education funding/loans, I think there should be a loan cap based on some multiple of the average yearly income expected for that degree (and that multiple shouldn't necessarily be greater than one). I think it's borderline criminal to allow young kids to pursue a degree while simultaneously loaning them money that you know will be many times their expected annual income - and then making sure that there's no way out of that debt - not even bankruptcy.

about 2 months ago
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Watch Bill Nye and Ken Ham Clash Over Creationism Live

Defenestrar Re:I am reminded of pigs and engineers here (593 comments)

Not every Biblical scholar agrees in a global interpretation of the flood. Here's a pretty decent site put up by a Christian geologist if you'd like to see. He also has a section taking apart young earth speculations from a scientific basis.

about 2 months ago
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Device Mines Precious Phosphorus From Sewage

Defenestrar Re:Every utopian prediction (96 comments)

Some of the dystopian ones too... Soylent Green anyone?

about 3 months ago
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Device Mines Precious Phosphorus From Sewage

Defenestrar Re:Subject goes here (96 comments)

We should limit entropy too. That will stop all of those useful chemicals from being "converted". Reconversion to the true faith of "useful chemicals" is an expense the heretics love making us pay.

about 3 months ago
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Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support

Defenestrar Re: Dont do anyone any favors (644 comments)

It appears that using Google can be harder than you thought. It seems that you have to ask a question to get an answer - such as "what is the average cost of adoption?". It's about $30K for a domestic US adoption BTW, and that doesn't include the "false starts" where an adoption falls through part way through the process. Or providing siblings. I guess these guys didn't think to ask Google (or a lawyer) "would the state override what seems to us a perfectly legal and sensible contract"? Should there have been a lawyer, well I guess that depends on your perspective for interpreting "should".

You appear to have found one of the government solutions to the problem of matching kids who really really need parents to parents who really really want a kid - they give a loan for 10% of the cost. Classic. (Yes I know there's sometimes other benefits from other sources to help out - but they don't always pan out either and the process is long, hard, and usually involves a few heartbreaks along the way).

about 3 months ago
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Private Mars One Mission Contracts Lockheed For Exploratory Mission

Defenestrar Re:Can you imagine.. (35 comments)

Personally I always thought Mars Direct was a much better plan. I heard Zubrin talk about it once - seemed reasonable, not dependent on TV ratings, and you already had some proof of concept and a base of operations before you ever launched people at the big red rock. Of course the details is where you keep the devils and I think Murphy would be all over this one.

I can see a place for heroic leaps for science - including the possibility of a one way trip off the planet, but I'd have my doubts about the sort of people who would sign up for less than even a one cheek effort just to walk around a bit before needing a rescue which would never happen on time

What's worse is the precedent. Sure, as a culture we may be willing to put in a moon-shot effort if some legitimate (but corporate) Mars colony suffered disaster (which could be corrected by prompt Earth action). It's far less likely that we'd mobilize the effort if we're already practiced at letting "space junkies" die on their own recognizance.

about 4 months ago
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Sex Offender Gets New Hearing After Hearing Officer Rants Against Arial Font

Defenestrar Re:Ranting against Arial is just insane... (312 comments)

Doesn't even qualify for a fair trial. No need to find the average weight of a duck (or very small rocks) in this case.

about 5 months ago
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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools

Defenestrar Re:Creationism = religion, not science. At all. (710 comments)

This is bullshit taught to children with tax dollars in a secular environment. Kill it with fire.

I think you'll find that the sentiment is pretty equally shared by Christians who are willing to actually study and think about their scriptures. After all, it makes it pretty hard to talk to someone about what one finds important (i.e. religion) when you're called by the same name as a vocal group which is (rightly) identified as deniers of reality. Augustine (an early church father and pretty universally acknowledged formalizer of Christian doctrine) wrote in AD 400:

If we think of these days which are marked by the rising and the setting of the sun, this was perhaps not the fourth but the first day, so that we may suppose the sun to have risen at the time it was made and to have set at the time the other luminaries were made. But those who understand that the sun is still shining somewhere else when it is night with us, and that it is night somewhere else when the sun is with us, will search out a more sublime manner of counting these days."

AUGUSTINE - UNFINISHED LITERAL COMMENTARY ON GENESIS 14 (43)

This literal 24 hour reading of Genesis is not a new phenomena, but it will continue because it is natural for people to either lazily read, or to avoid questions which may fundamentally challenge their faith (they would say: better a saved ignoramus than to face the dangers inherent in asking questions). The latter can be recognized as an attitude which is actually strongly criticized by the New Testament writer Paul.

about 5 months ago
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Affordable Blood Work In Four Hours Coming To Pharmacies

Defenestrar Re:Just like the new cancer test (282 comments)

Keep in mind, the cost of the pharmaceutical company's studys used to verify the accuracy of the test and gain FDA approval likely pushes the cost-per-test up quite a bit.

FTFY. Preclinical, phase 1, phase 2, and phase 3 at a minimum

about 4 months ago
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Robots: a Working Breed At the Dairy

Defenestrar Re:Stealing a dog's job (65 comments)

A simple dog? Dude, first of all have you ever tried to take apart and repair a dog? It's so tough that I've never seen one on iFixit - but it'd probably get a score worse than a MS device. Secondly, they require a complex biological fueling system; the waste stream? Bio---hazard!

about 5 months ago
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Robots: a Working Breed At the Dairy

Defenestrar Did someone say zero? (65 comments)

0101100101100101011001010010000001101000011000010111011100100001

about 5 months ago
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Silent Circle, Lavabit Unite For 'Dark Mail' Encrypted Email Project

Defenestrar Did the NSA just kill SMTP? (195 comments)

It's been around for what, 40 years? Working, (relatively) anonymous, and totally insecure mail transfer with tons of inertia. Never thought I'd see the day where there might be a small sliver of opportunity for another protocol to actually happen. Ars has a nice article about it too.

about 6 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

Defenestrar Re:What? (435 comments)

Well, IMAP lacks some of the features you find in Exchange (but picks up a few over POP3), but that's not client side. I remember Pine worked okay with IMAP and I suspect that any clients developed later than that should be able to handle it fine (i.e. anything that's a viable client).

about 6 months ago
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The Case Against Gmail

Defenestrar Re:I'm weaning myself off of Gmail and Google (435 comments)

And how much work is keeping your own host updated and spam filtered? I've thought about doing it before on several occasions (the Raspberry Pi seems like a cheap solution), but I've heard that keeping things smooth for a single account is generally more trouble than it's worth. How much time would you say it takes?

about 6 months ago

Submissions

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Ask Slashdot: Automatically Logging Non-Computerized Equipment Use

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  about a month and a half ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "I've recently taken a job at a large state university where I manage the laboratories for a couple of departments. We have a good system to pro-rate costs for shared use of big ticket items, but don't have anything in place for small to medium expense pieces which don't require software control (i.e.AD user authentication logs). It is much more efficient to designate a common room for things like water purifiers and centrifuges. but log books have a history of poor compliance. Also, abuse or neglect of communal property has been an issue in the past (similar to the tragedy of the commons).

Do any of you know of good automatic systems to record user/group equipment usage which would allow for easy data processing down the line (i.e. I don't want to go through webcam archives). Systems which promote accountability and care are a bonus, but for safety reasons we don't want the room's door locked (i.e. no pin/badged access). Most of these systems also require continuous power — so electrical interlocks are not a good option either.

I call on you my fellow Slashdotters to your best and get quickly sidetracked while still including the occasional gem in the comments."
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Best device for handwriting recognition and simple sketching?

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  about 2 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "Schools may have stopped teaching cursive, but the tech crowd has long been asking about the obsolescence of typing. Digital note software is already here, as the increasing prevalence of OneNote and our old discussions of Unix software equivalencies demonstrate. But I, for one, would like to take notes and sketch diagrams without juggling input devices.

Touchscreens might be on their way, but graphic pads and pen mice are here today. What do my fellow readers use for their handwriting recognition and sketching needs? Are there any options of sufficient quality for a low enough cost to become standard office equipment issue? And does anyone remember which sci-fi author coined the phrase: light pen?"
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Hollywood Stops Financing Obama Campaign After Whi

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "Individuals and groups within the wealthy Hollywood circles have stopped their previously generous financial support for Obama's campaign after the White House responded to yesterday's blackouts, petitions, and protests with assurances that they “will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.”

In a telling response about pay-for-favor American politics, "the moguls are reminding Obama et al that, in the words of one studio chief, 'God knows how much money we’ve given to Obama and the Democrats and yet they’re not supporting our interests.'""

Link to Original Source
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Porn sites sue internet regulator over .xxx web ad

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "Solicit the industry or not, you may desire to know that some owners of pornographic websites have raised dirty allegations about the advent of the .xxx domain in what may turn into a legal battle touching the authority of ICANN in what could be a personal way."
Link to Original Source
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A voter mandate against Net neutrality?

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "CNN money is reporting that of 95 candidates who had pledged support for Net neutrality — not a one was elected. Trouble with the FCC proposed law met with trouble earlier this year when the House Democrats shelved the legislation in light of Republican opposition.

The existing legislation was attempting to classify broadband providers as Title II telecommunications — mandating the same neutral carrier regulations that are imposed upon telephone companies. Those against this Net neutrality plan claim that it prevents broadband providers from implementing so called neutral traffic shaping saying that Title II status "is a nuclear option, since it could potentially prevent broadband providers from implementing legitimate controls over their service, such as curbing massive downloads that swallow up bandwidth for users."



With congress failing to act, it is possible that the FCC will have to go it alone but this will likely lead to a series of lawsuits such as the one it lost last April."

Link to Original Source
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Congress leaves net-neutrality issue undecided

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "The AP reports that congress will not resolve the question of net-neutrality or clarify the internet regulatory role of the FCC at this time. The reason cited is the elevated attitude of no-compromise which permeates DC near mid-term elections.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., abandoned the effort late Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition to his proposed "network neutrality" rules. Those rules were intended to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers by playing favorites with traffic.

There is some thought that the failure of this legislation will allow for an alternate plan legislating internet service providers as telecommunication services subject to common carrier status, which the current proposal did not do.

With Congress making no progress to resolve this issue, several public interest groups on Wednesday called on Genachowski to move ahead with his proposal to reclassify broadband as a telecom service.

However, this plan would likely meet with stiffer opposition from broadband providers and political opponents

But Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the House Commerce Committee, said Genachowski's proposal would "stifle investment and create regulatory overhang in one of the most dynamic sectors of our economy."

"

Link to Original Source
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Net Neutrality Loses Firepower

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "The Hill reports that Gun Owners of America (GoA) have withdrawn their membership from the group Save the Internet of which they were a charter member. Originally joining to prevent the censorship of their views on the Second Amendment they have quit the group because they believe that "the issue has now become one of government control of the Internet, and we are 100 percent opposed to that." This was in response to criticism GoA had received in belonging to an association where membership was shared by groups such as the ACLU and ACORN.

The GoA retreat reduces the efficacy of Net Neutrality's argument that it is a bipartisan issue. This year's the extra-partisan midterm election seems to be forcing the left and right to take sides on an issue which is increasingly in the national focus."

Link to Original Source
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Hopes for net neutrality dies in court

Defenestrar Defenestrar writes  |  about 4 years ago

Defenestrar (1773808) writes "A federal appellate court has decided that the FCC has no congressional authority to regulate net neutrality, and as such; companies such as Comcast are free to shape traffic as they see fit until the United States Congress empowers the FCC with regulatory power over internet traffic within the United States (and consumer protection from ISP intentional data corruption for the sake of traffic shaping)."
Link to Original Source

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