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Comments

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OpenSSL Cleanup: Hundreds of Commits In a Week

DutchUncle Re:I would think (372 comments)

Premise: when there are many eyes looking at open source, it leads to more bugs getting fixed.
Faulty reasoning (of too many people): this project didn't have many eyes, therefore the premise is false.
Correct reasoning: when the condition of "many eyes" was met, the premise is shown to be true.

Faulty common inference from the true premise: When source is open, many eyes will be looking at it.

It seems the reverse occurs: People start to trust the *small* group actually doing work on any particular project, and since it is nobody's assigned responsibility to review it, nobody does. Yes, when a fire occurs there are many volunteer firemen; but that's a little late.

2 days ago
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

DutchUncle Re:Great, now all we need to do... (239 comments)

Well, yes, I'm not suggesting we'll *never* have the technology, just that we're not ready to send a ship off into the darkness at the moment. Especially one that has enough people for enough genetic diversity that they're not having children by their half-siblings within a few generations. (Can't remember the 1950s or 60s story that was considered shocking at the time, about people needing to have children by a carefully-selected roster of not-their-spouses, and whether couples changed partners or stayed together ... and of course there was some of both and a full spectrum in between.)

If the ability to update and maintain *anything* is lost, the ship is in trouble. So there had better be people trained for many things all the time - they're stuck in the ship, there's not much else to do - which is what I meant about a "cultish" society, like a learned monastic order (though obviously not celibate or there are no more generations and it stops being a generation ship). I would think you have to expect loss of contact simply because of signal strength at some point; the long delays are no problem for TCP/IP (as demonstrated by previous discussions of TCP over carrier pigeon).

4 days ago
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

DutchUncle Re:Great, now all we need to do... (239 comments)

"Starlost", a badly-done early-1970s TV show that wasted a promising premise (by Harlan Ellison): The multiple bio-domes of a generation ship have been sealed off from each other for hundreds of years after an accident damaged the ship's bridge. The people in each have long forgotten that they are on a ship at all; they only know their little world, like medieval peasants. A handful of people try to escape their own little community and discover that there are other humans - and, after contacting the ship's half-disintegrating AI, that the ship is in danger and *someone* must figure out how to get to the reserve bridge.

5 days ago
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

DutchUncle Re:Great, now all we need to do... (239 comments)

Oh, of course, their full-time job - in fact, their *lives* - will be dedicated to maintaining, repairing, and improving the ship, not to mention growing their food (easiest way to recycle). We already have some of that technology - I just read an article in this week's New Yorker about people working on a US Navy air craft carrier, with many people in tight space, no privacy, hazards everywhere, etc. But even a carrier expects supplies and spare parts delivered in port, or in emergency by air. Submarines stay out for six months at a time, and are a lot closer to the spaceship situation, but still get oxygen out of the water around them. Right now, we have no way to travel in space, with no support whatever, without stockpiling a lot of spare parts and spare materials at the beginning. As nice as it would be to scavenge materials from space as the ship travels, we don't have the technology, so the ship won't have it available. The list of science fiction things we DON'T have is endless. Add to that the random danger of a rock zipping through the hull . . .

Their nav and control systems had better be open source, because as you point out, they may need to work on *everything* as they're traveling.

If they last long enough, they may forget why they're traveling, or that there is anything real outside the ship. That's an SF staple. In fact it might be *useful* to develop a cultish atmosphere about the work of supporting The Trip; after all, it's not as if there is any economy supporting any other line of work. They'll need cooks, and maybe entertainers, and maybe writers . . . though what they will imagine after five or six generations in the ship is an interesting thought.

Robert Heinlein, "Orphans of the sky". Alexi Panshin, "Rite of Passage". Just look up "Generation Ship" and there are lots of articles about lots and lots of classic SF.

5 days ago
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Kepler-186f: Most 'Earth-Like' Alien World Discovered

DutchUncle Re:Great, now all we need to do... (239 comments)

No, it would be OK to send a generation ship, where people live their lifespans on board raising their children. Assuming we could build something that lasts long enough without a BSOD.

5 days ago
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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

DutchUncle Re:Snowden, that's why it's relevant to /.ers. (193 comments)

It's called "reductio ad absurdum" - in math, proof by contradiction. Take the apparently reasonable premises to their extremes and show that they contradict themselves.

about two weeks ago
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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

DutchUncle Re:WTF? (193 comments)

I think he's be in line with Europe; the current events and public issues he discusses, being American, are what's to the right.

about two weeks ago
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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

DutchUncle Re:WTF? (193 comments)

Double down: Stewart seems *more* irritated by stupid lefty shit, in the tone of "Hey, why are you being as stupid as the other side, you're supposed to be the smart ones!!!"

about two weeks ago
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Stephen Colbert To Be Letterman's Successor

DutchUncle Re:Funny host (193 comments)

Will the same people who like the Top 10 lists understand "The Word"?

about two weeks ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

DutchUncle Re:Good! (1037 comments)

Early in the book, it says very specifically that people shouldn't do human sacrifice any more. Then, in the "sequel" portion, a particular human was created specifically to be sacrificed

You wouldn't accept that degree of illogic from a TV or movie writer; why should you accept it from something that's supposed to be important?

about two weeks ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

DutchUncle Re:Knowledge (1037 comments)

... switch from many gods to just one (who may not have started out as being almighty)

Note that early in the book it says "you shall have no other gods *before* me", and only later on does it emphasize the idea of a single god. And Jews know that nothing in the book is to be taken literally at this point; it's a human transcription of human memory of oral history, and bound to be full of errors and myth and embellishment.

about two weeks ago
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How the Internet Is Taking Away America's Religion

DutchUncle Re:Knowledge (1037 comments)

Internet zealots! Everyone must have broadband directly wired to their nervous system! . . . . oh, wait, Samuel R. Delaney did that in 1968, "Nova". Never mind.

about two weeks ago
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Why Are We Made of Matter?

DutchUncle Re:By definition... (393 comments)

I was going to title the same argument, "We aren't".

about two weeks ago
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UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

DutchUncle Re:Virtualization? (341 comments)

You mean, return from individual computers to dumb terminals with remote mainframes? Like in the 1960s?

about two weeks ago
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UK Government Pays Microsoft £5.5M For Extended Support of Windows XP

DutchUncle Re: TCO (341 comments)

No. I work for a division of a Fortune 500, and our division has never upgraded people from Office 2003 because of the "confusion and expenditure for little benefit". And for the most part, they're right. I have Office 2010 at home, and most of the difference I see is that it rearranges things on the menus enough to be confusing. Otherwise I use Thunderbird for email.

Making do with a consistent system that does the job is *exactly* what all of the anti-government-waste people would insist on. Why keep enriching Microsoft for "updates" that are mostly cosmetic and confusing? If they were going to move *forward* to anything *new*, it would be new standards anyway, and the conversion would be decried as an even bigger waste of money.

about two weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

DutchUncle Re:that's why China will do it and we won't. (402 comments)

You cut off the leading part of my sentence: " Humans demonstrate amazing dedication, endurance, and sacrifice to do totally impractical things *purely* to strive for a first-performance, or a record,..." I stand by that.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

DutchUncle Re:Exploration isn't safe (402 comments)

Ummmm . . . . I think we're in violent agreement here. All I know is, if I were working on a space mission, I would want to be absolutely sure that I had done my absolute best; otherwise I would have trouble living with myself if anything went wrong. But I'm not going. :-)

about three weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

DutchUncle Re:robots (402 comments)

Bummer, dude.

about three weeks ago
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NASA Can't Ethically Send Astronauts On One-Way Missions To Deep Space

DutchUncle Re:definition of "safe" (402 comments)

There is still a risk management decision to make. "People won't come back" is not the same as "People died because of equipment problems". I'm betting most of the Pacific Island settlers didn't go back, either.

about three weeks ago

Submissions

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Slashdot finds a way to keep me from bothering to check it today

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  1 year,21 days

DutchUncle (826473) writes "By making everything unreadable without lots of extra effort, Slashdot has found a way to keep me from wasting as much time today. Thanks!"
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Can you patent a steak?

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  about 2 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Someone at Oklahoma State University has "discovered" a new steak. By now I would have thought that every possible part of a cow was already discovered, not to mention used for something. I can understand trademarking a name for a particular cut of meat; I can understand copyrighting the published instructions on what to cut where; but can this be novel enough for a patent?"
Link to Original Source
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No termination fee if Verizon terminates *you*.

DutchUncle DutchUncle writes  |  more than 4 years ago

DutchUncle (826473) writes "Just received the following email announcement from Verizon. Nice to know that if they cut off my service, I won't have to pay extra:

"The following is an outline of an important change to the Verizon Online
Terms of Service, which is effective as of November 30, 2009. ...

1. If you are on a term plan and Verizon ceases offering service to
your location prior to the end of your term commitment, you will not
have to pay an Early Termination Fee.

Please take time to review the complete Verizon Online Terms of Service.
Thank you for being a Verizon Online customer."

To which I add: For now."

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