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Ask Slashdot: How Do I Engage 5th-8th Graders In Computing?

Etherwalk Vector Sum (146 comments)

So kind of like OP said: Your goal is to make the field marketable to the kid.

That's not what OP said. They want the kids to obtain marketable skills. And "marketable skills" are boring, while learning the fundamentals and instilling a lifelong passion for computing into young children is easier and more effective.

Not really, they're just exciting along different axes. The trick is to find the optimal vector sum between marketable and fun.

11 hours ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Etherwalk Re:Risk is part of the job last I checked (461 comments)

Police who commit misconduct of any kind is are the extreme minority.

Police who commit serious misconduct are in the extreme minority (5% of cops in NYC are responsible for 80%+ of the resisting arrest citations, for example). Police who commit things that should be misconduct may be in the minority, but not by much. (Getting tickets fixed--I've even heard of this for drunk driving.)

4 days ago
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Police Organization Wants Cop-Spotting Dropped From Waze App

Etherwalk Re:Who eats doughnuts with the doughnut men? (461 comments)

Just the download counter for the app could be read as a social barometer of public trust.

It's not a cop locating app, it's an app to suggest alternate routes of travel around congested areas. It just has a feature to show where police are, but that's not the purpose of it.

It's BS to say it's putting cops' lives at risk, for the most part. That being said, a lot of cops are feeling really under attack these days because of the public outrage over the last few months and the cops who were ambushed in NYC--like, their families are really worried about them, and I Can respect that.

The cop locator does two things for the ap. It lets people speed, I suppose. But the only situation where I've seen it used is really for fun, in a spot-the-cop kind of way.

That being said, people would be dumb not to check it before robbing a bank, I suppose. Of course, most people who rob banks are pretty dumb.

(It is not productive employment--it pays something like 30-60K/yr with a high likelihood of getting caught each year, IIRC).

4 days ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Etherwalk Something is wrong with the respondents! (476 comments)

Also, 5% of people picked Voyager. That's the only time I've ever felt someone should be banned from Slashdot.

I mean, I suppose someone could pick it based on one or two episodes, but as a whole the idea that it could be better than Babylon 5, DS9, TNG, and the X-files is really damn near unforgivable. I mean, it's not war crimes, but it's not good.

about a week ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Etherwalk Re:Something is wrong with the poll results! (476 comments)

I was thinking the same thing. Compared to DS9 TNG is cliche and simple, compared to B5 DS9 is simple.

TNG had an amazing actor and some really good ones. DS9 had a couple of good ones. DS9 had more involved story arcs, but most of the individual episodes were simply less profound--making the show too much about the story and less about exploring the human condition actually costs it something, even though it's a little more fun in some ways. That being said, it's not like TNG didn't have its major weak spots. I think Marina Sirtis had one good episode, for example--she was excellent in Face of the Enemy--and all of the other episodes she featured prominently in were really terrible.

about a week ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Etherwalk Re:X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (476 comments)

Gospel stories aren't a bad thing, but they're certainly not high literature.

Uh, what?

Great literature is nothing BUT morality plays in various guises.

This is the problem with English not being written in math. He said A is not contained in B, you said B is contained in C.

A (gospel stories) at least intersects with C (morality plays in various guises), but that doesn't mean that A (gospel stories) is contained in B (Great Literature or High Literature, and taking those to be the same thing which they arguably are not).

The Gospels were good for their time. Today we have better fiction, it's just that we have to be more discriminating to find it.

about a week ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Etherwalk Go write a global illumination algorithm (476 comments)

Considering the CGI of B5 - it was at the time good

LOL!

I'm guessing you didn't see much CGI back then because B5's always looked like crap. It was barely on par with children's Saturday morning cartoons like ReBoot and BattleTech. I had video games that looked better.

Thanks for the laugh though.

Get off my lawn! (And go write a ray-tracer! (on an 80486!))

about a week ago
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Best 1990s Sci-fi show?

Etherwalk Re:X-Files vs. Bab-5 - ouch! (476 comments)

ST:TNG worked better specifically because it was not serialized for the most part,

Nice try, but ST:TNG wasn't serialized because it wasn't something that was done at the time. When ST:TNG came out, sci-fi shows were simply not heavily serialized. X-files had a little bit, but only a little bit, and that was it.

TNG was part of the evolution in scifi shows in that it introduced more and more two-part episodes, which were OMG almost like having a movie! Serialization was much more of a product of Babylon 5, where JMS wanted to tell a particular story. DS9 grew in part in response to that competition--you not only had larger story arcs, but you also had more aliens, ship shots, more everything. (Except for how they shot a war with around a half-dozen actors.)

There was an explanation for O'Hare leaving, btw, that was planned in advance, although I agree it would have been better to keep him. JMS planned an exit strategy for every major character in case they left the show before the story was through. That being said, the fourth/fifth season thing sucked.

about a week ago
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China Cuts Off Some VPNs

Etherwalk Re:Well (216 comments)

Right. International business will be kept out of China because it's required to conform to local laws regarding internet access.

In other news, international business will be kept out of EU because of customer protection legislation and out of US because of danger posed by gun culture and gun laws.

Said no one with a clue, ever. On any of those points. Internationally ran businesses judge their presence in the target country based on profits and risks. Thing mentioned above are categorised as "risks", and as long as profits are greater than risks, which they will be in China for foreseeable future, risks will be mitigated through things like usage of local services that aren't blocked in China, providing the necessary support to users in EU and so on.

It depends on exactly what they are blocking. If they're blocking corporate VPNs, it will just make companies even less willing to trust the security of systems in China. Hint: they're not willing to trust that security now. Any major foreign corporation that keeps source code in China now is nuts.

about a week ago
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At Oxford, a Battery That's Lasted 175 Years -- So Far

Etherwalk Interstellar missions... (211 comments)

At the current estimated power draw, thats only (1 nanoampere) * 175 years = 0.00153401723 ampere hours. It's a long time: impressive durability, but not really amazing capacity. Laptop batteries are often ~1000 times that. I don't know the voltage here, so I can't do energy comparisons, just total amp hours.

Deep space exploration could benefit from that kind of durability. It's lasted longer than most governments...

about a week ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

Etherwalk Re:with permission, you are interacting with the r (228 comments)

It should pick whoever prefers the cooler temperature, because the other person can button up and then both are comfortable.

In practice it will pick the woman's, even though that makes the guy less comfortable most of the time, because of the way interpersonal dynamics play out between most couples.

about a week ago
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Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

Etherwalk Re:Absolutely fair.. (114 comments)

Here in America, we don't even audit our damn voting machines.

Because of, you know, whatever you vote, your slavery is totally determined by your EFFing "United States Electoral College".

Unless you're in one of the few states that either has proportional representation or is a swing state. I have seriously considered moving to a swing state for that reason.

about a week ago
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Should Disney Require Its Employees To Be Vaccinated?

Etherwalk Re:Hospitals require testing (663 comments)

So pretty much every retail job in the country should be required to be vaccinated? I'm just trying to clarify what level of "general public" interaction requires this vaccination oversight? Who's going to pay for it? The government or the employer?

If people shouldn't be forced then how do they work, given that 44% of the jobs in the US are in some form of retail, transportation, education, or healthcare and another ~10-15% are "professional and business services" or "government" that include some sort of regular customer interaction, how are they to have jobs and also choose not to be vaccinated?

Any job where a significant percentage of people will have a compromised immune system. If you work in estate planning, for example. An illness can be life-threatening for the elderly and if you put them in that position when it was easily preventable you should be liable at least for their funeral expenses.

about a week ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

Etherwalk Re:Changed the Universe? (76 comments)

> The camera only changed the universe if we are in a simulation with lazy evaluation

Pendantic much?

News for Nerds. Nerds like editing stuff.

about a week ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

Etherwalk Re:Changed the Universe? (76 comments)

I read it. It's pretty, exploratory, well worth a read.

about a week ago
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The Camera That Changed the Universe

Etherwalk Changed the Universe? (76 comments)

The camera only changed the universe if we are in a simulation with lazy evaluation (things are extrapolated and created to be as they should exist when we look at them) or or if something like quantum superposition applies on a macro-level (the observed matter's state is changed based on our observation of it).

The camera didn't change the universe, it changed the *known* universe--made us a little less ignorant. For millenia mankind expanded its knowledge of places by travelling to them. That has now become prohibitive for almost every place in the known universe.

The easiest stuff is done. We still need to explore the oceans and the solar system, where travel is quite inefficient but not utterly prohibitive.

We also need to develop defense against world-killers. Biological, nuclear, and simple kinetic energy.

And the big hump after that should be interstellar exploration. Multigenerational, multicentury.

We'll need to figure out relatively stable world government and economy before that happens, so give us another four to twelve centuries, I'd say.

about a week ago
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Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles

Etherwalk Amazing (171 comments)

The team they have working on this is excellent, the idea is promising, the reviews are great, and the advertising is good. Looks like a solid win. If they have good patents on it, they should be able to control a large and growing market 5-10 years out.

about two weeks ago
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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords

Etherwalk Re: Bullshit (323 comments)

Only the good ones.

There's a reason there's a two-tier university system in the UK. I suspect the US is pretty similar.

It's more of a continuum in the US. A student's history suing his school is only going to help him if he was suing them when they were doing something very wrong, the admissions committee at the school he applied to believes that, and the school he's applying to is rich enough that they can risk a small lawsuit or two.

So if you sue your high school because they wouldn't let you play on a men's sports team because you were gay, for example, Harvard and Yale and a few dozen of the top schools would definitely count that as a major plus, whereas many small private schools struggling to make ends might well count it as a risk they were unwilling to take.

about two weeks ago
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FBI Seeks To Legally Hack You If You're Connected To TOR Or a VPN

Etherwalk Re:What is actually happening (382 comments)

It will allow a judge to issue the warrant even if the FBI or police are not sure what judicial district it's happening in.

Sounds like it will also allow a judge to issue a warrant when all I am "guilty" of is telecommuting.

Yes, it *sounds* like that, if you don't remember the constitution and due process parts. This is about which judge is able to issue a search warrant, *not* about whether the police have met the requirements for a search warrant based on probable cause (or falling within a few exceptions, like border searches).

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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China Criticizes US For Making Weapons Plans Stealable, Alleges Attacks.

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Etherwalk (681268) writes "Huang Chengqing, director of the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center of China, alleged that United States cyber-attacks on China have been as serious as those on the United States. In response to the recent hacks of United States military designs, he replied with an observation whose obviousness is worthy of Captain Hammer: "Even following the general principle of secret-keeping, it should not have been linked to the Internet.""
Link to Original Source
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Manhattan, 1984

Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "The New York Times (and the usual suspects) are reporting on developments in the quest to charge driving fees for all vehicles headed below 86th Street in Manhattan. Notably absent from any part of the discussion? A record is made of every car or truck that enters, together with the vehicle ownership information and the date and time of travel — either as part of EZ-Pass or in license-plate photos taken for subsequent billing."
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Etherwalk Etherwalk writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Etherwalk writes "NY's Mayor Bloomberg announced today a series of green initiatives to reduce pollution in New York City, notably planting 1 million new trees and adding an $8 fee for all cars and $21 for commercial trucks driving below 86th Street from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekdays, the fee to be levied via EZ-Pass and license photos. The system's implementation effectively would make it a crime to enter lower Manhattan in your own vehicle without creating a record of your driving habits for the state."

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