top Linus Chews Up Kernel Maintainer For Introducing Userspace Bug
"Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty." Job 5:17
about a year and a half ago
top Ask Slashdot: Mathematical Fiction?
"Division by Zero" by Ted Chiang. Can be found in the collection Stories of Your Life and Others (they're all great stories, actually).
The story "Luminous" by Greg Egan, from the collection of the same title. What happens when mathematicians discover that: (a) there is a flaw in the structure of mathematical truth; and (b) that mathematical truth can be altered by performing calculations around the flaw.
Someone has already collected a bunch of mathematical fiction
here. about a year and a half ago
top Cat Parasite May Increase Risk of Suicide In Humans
This topic was covered in a segment of
RadioLab a few years back.
top Navy To Auction Stealth Ship
So, I guess
Tomorrow Dies after all...
top Conservatives' Trust In Science Has Fallen Dramatically Since Mid-1970s
The difference between establishment, Eisenhower-style conservatism and today's variety, dominated by the South, is that conservatives of the Southern stripe tend to score much lower on openness to experience. This way of thinking tends to feel that it already knows what it needs to know, and that anyone who comes along proclaiming that, say, we need to put a price on carbon actually has some other agenda, like taking away your freedom because of how eeevil and librul they are. Since the fundamental tenet of science is empiricism (i.e. being committed to accepting what experience is telling you about reality, no matter how unintuitive), it's small wonder that science comes to be viewed with suspicion.
top Canada First Nation To Pull Out of Kyoto Accord
tl;dr version - emissions will go down when it's cheaper to produce green energy than to burn coal, and not one moment before.
Two words: Carbon tax.
Oh, did I say the dreaded "T" word? Please beat me senseless now, Mr. Norquist.
top The Myth of Renewable Energy
As I see it, the downside in moving to renewable energy (as we inevitably must and will do) is less to the environment and more to people's expectations. Our expectations about technology and the kind of society we can have were formed in a historically brief period of energy abundance, in the form of hundreds of millions of years of stored sunlight that comes down to us as an enormous, but finite, pool of highly energy-dense fossil fuel. In effect, we've been living off (in fact, spending profligately) our inheritance. When we switch to renewable sources, we will have to go back to living on an energy *income* instead. Cornucopians, or anyone who expects technology to make up the difference, are not reckoning with the fact that most of the benefits of technology are actually the benefits of energy. Technology is simply how we put the energy to use to achieve results that we like. There will be no technological singularity in a low-energy environment. A more realistic view of our future comes from the permaculture movement, who are a lot closer to dealing with reality in this respect. Get ready for less energy, lowered expectations, economic contraction, and a return to self-reliance for most.
top The Myth of Renewable Energy
On the contrary, I would argue that the problem with nuclear power is that, as is becoming increasingly clear, people's fears about it are *justified*. The current installed base of nuclear tech represents an enormous and unsolved long-term problem to produce what are, on a historical scale, very short-lived benefits. We should not be creating any additional problems for our posterity to deal with.
top Dutch Psychologist Faked Data In At Least 30 Scientific Papers
Thank God I never cited him.
Whew! Close call.
top Climate Change Driving War?
Gwynne Dyer has written a book that is an excellent starting point for this issue:
Climate Wars. He is a journalist and military historian who spent a year or two interviewing military planners who see exactly this issue on the horizon. Check out his website for a three-part radio series based on the book, for those who might not want to invest the time to read the entire book.
top Critic Pans Apple's New Campus As a Retrograde Cocoon
Downtown cores suck. It's called a concrete jungle for a reason.
Downtown cores suck because they're designed that way, by people who hate them because they've never experienced anything better. Older, highly dense city cores in Europe, on the other hand, don't suck -- because thought was put into their design. Read
James Howard Kunstler to find out more.
top Chemical Cocktail Turns Mice Clear
That's not the worst thing science has ever done to a mouse:
top Mideast Turmoil and the Push For Clean Energy
"2012 will be a rich year for equity capitalizations, giving energy entrepreneurs the capital they need to build infrastructure." Sounds great, but it's wrong. The financial system is sick and corrupt and the capital he's talking about is largely an illusion. The major financial institutions (Citibank, JPMorgan, etc.) only present a facade of solvency because mark-to-market rules have been suspended, so they have been allowed to hold toxic assets on their books at the values their models predict (the models that were proved devastatingly wrong in the collapse of 2008) instead of what they could actually fetch in the market. If it were ever brought in contact with reality, the world financial system would die instantly. Instead it's basically being strung along by the U.S. federal government (i.e., taxpayers) in the hope that this was a one-time thing and at some point, something like solvency will return.
The fact is we are in a deflation right now, with debt-based capital disappearing from the system at a prodigious rate, while the U.S. Federal Reserve is using quantitative easing (i.e. manufacturing more debt on its own balance sheet) to hold the process back and try to restore growth. The financial system is sick just when we desperately need capital to start rebuilding our energy infrastructure. I would refer anyone to
The Automatic Earth if they want to learn more about the energy and finance predicament that we're in.
top The CIA's Amazing RC Animals From the 70s
Those of us who are a certain age and were geeky enough to read Danny Dunn books know exactly where the CIA got this idea.
(Luckily Danny was able to destroy Professor Bullfinch's notes so the CIA wouldn't be able to replicate the much better dragonfly he'd invented, so they had to fall back on tiny, impractical gasoline engines instead.)
Boo, you got there first! If I couldn't post first about DD, I wish I had some moderator points so I could upvote. Just hearing the name Danny Dunn makes me feel like I'm ten years old again, curled up at Riverside Library. Ah, memories...
top WikiLeaks Publishes Afghan War Secrets
Yes, but the U.S. is the first country in the history of balance-of-power politics to think that the failure of its main enemy (the USSR) entitles it to something like control of the entire world, forever. That was the goal of the Project for a New American Century that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice tried to enact for eight years, at a price that may yet cost the U.S. its pre-eminent position. And yet neoconservatives like William Kristol continue to promote this as though it were a good idea and facts recognized by the 'reality-based community' simply don't matter.
top Superheroes vs. the Westboro Baptist Church
Link #1: http://kanewj.com/wbc/
"Phelps does not believe what he is doing. This is a scam." If you believe this guy (and he makes some telling observations), Phelps is in the business of pushing people's buttons so he can sue them for violating his rights. That's his and his family's living. Link #2: http://www.robertslevinson.com/gaylesissues/features/collect/phelps/bl_phelpscourt.htm Addicted to Hate: The Fred Phelps Story is an exposé written by Jon Bell for the Topeka Capital-Journal that was suppressed by the paper because they were too chickenshit to take on Phelps. Bell sued the paper to either publish it or, if they refused, let him have the rights to his work, but he got neither. Instead, the full text was entered in the court record so it is now a public document that anyone can read whether Phelps likes it or not. So it's kinda long, but if you want a portrait of what a twisted gruesome mofo Phelps really is, here's your chance. I pity his children -- they never really had a chance.
top Bethesda Releases
Daggerfall For Free
"-- for tomorrow, you sail for the kingdom... of
Many, many enjoyable hours I spent playing this game when I could (should) have been working on my thesis. Chief complaint: The repetitive dungeons, stitched together seemingly near-randomly from prefabbed bits and pieces that were repeated endlessly. Still, a great game.
top Early Review Calls New Indiana Jones Film Dreadful
Don't buy the media echo-chamber effect, especially when the thing being echoed is a fanboy "review" off AICN. Almost everyone who reads
/. already knows if they are going to see the new Indy Jones movie or not (I am), so why bother? But then again, my favourite Matrix movie was the second one, so what do I know... For what it's worth, Ebert agrees with me.
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