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Ask Slashdot: How To Pick Up Astronomy and Physics As an Adult?

IPFreely Here's how (234 comments)

I've gone through this. Here's how you do it.

Start gathering a few popular science books on subjects directly on and also near to your goal. Some people reject popular science books as too light weight, but it does have value. This exposes you to the variety of subjects in and around your interest. You might not have been aware of some aspects of your topic and you are introduced to them here without too much effort. You also learn to associate detailed technical topics to the wider areas where they are used.

Read the whole book. Books are better than random google searches and videos because they will guide you into areas you might not have considered relevant. Broadening your base knowledge will allow you to make a more informed decision about your favorite topics. Once you have a broader and more informed understanding of the topics and areas involved, you are better able to identify your interests, or even switch interests.

That is when you start going into a more detailed dive into your target topic. Follow through and read the whole thing. Again, pick one or more text books or deeper science books. The purpose again is to guide you into areas you might not have considered before.

This time, you will hit lots of technical subjects that you might not know. That is when you go searching for online information, wikipedia, online course videos, Youtube content or other textbooks. For these, you will only need to cover enough to support your primary interest, and you will have a fairly good idea how much that is.

You are not going to go professional with this, but it will be more than enough to keep your interest up and curiosity satisfied.

about 4 months ago

Using Pulsars As GPS For Starships

IPFreely Visibility (103 comments)

Are the pulses from pulsars visible from all directions, or just from the plane of rotation? If you move far enough, will some disappear and others appear?

about a year and a half ago

Australian ISPs Asked To Cut Off Malware-Infected PCs

IPFreely Re:Don't be a policeman (286 comments)

No, "Sick" is not easy to define in humans. In fact it's even harder than it is on computers. Plenty of people get misdiagnosed and held when they don't need to. Plenty of people miss getting diagnosed and go out and spread it around. There are also plenty of cases of political manipulations for nationalistic purposes. (China deported a lot of foreign nationals during the swine flu scare when there was no evidence of flu.)

But all that does not mean that quarantine is not a good practice. It is usually the best practice available given the knowledge at hand. Don't confuse principle with implementation. If you don't like the implementation, then go fix that. But it would be a mistake to think that poor implementation invalidates the whole principle.

more than 5 years ago

Australian ISPs Asked To Cut Off Malware-Infected PCs

IPFreely Re:Don't be a policeman (286 comments)

You missed the point. It's not punishment.

It's quarantine. If a person gets sick with a contagious disease, it may not be their fault and you probably don't want to punish them. But for public safety, you do need to contain them until they are no longer dangerous to others.

The same applies to sick computers. If it is spewing viruses and malware then stop it, whether the person who owns it was doing it intentionally or not. You can forward all traffic to a local ISP web sight that informs them of the problem and directs them to appropriate ISP approved scanning software or other solutions available within the quarantine zone. If the user does not trust the ISP, fine. They can go clean their machine themselves.

Whether you trust the ISP/Government to have the right motive is a separate issue. But quarantine is an established procedure for humans, and it's not that different here.

more than 5 years ago

The Press Releases of the Damned

IPFreely Re:Not worth reading (176 comments)

If you are comparing AOL to the internet and modern ISPs, then you are completely correct.

The thing with AOL is that it was around *before* the internet and those other ISPs. AOL came around in the age of the BBS.
Everything was dial-up. Mail was tossed and copied around node to node. It was almost all local due to phone charges. What AOL did was make a national BBS, and put in local dial-up access points in most local calling areas. It was bigger than any other BBS of the time. It offered mail to any other AOL user, and mail bridges to most other networks (like compuserv). They had a GUI when everyone else was text based. You can't call them stupid for being the biggest provider in their market. Their problem was that the market changed.

When the internet finally did grow up, AOL was already big. The problem is that the internet changed the online equation. Access became commodity. AOL had to rely on content. (That's why the TW deal). But eventually, the internet had more content too. So AOL is a leftover giant.

I guess we could just expect them to rollover and die because they are outdated. But it's funny how many people don't want to do that, regardless of how outdated they are.

more than 5 years ago

Geoengineering To Cool the Earth Becoming Thinkable

IPFreely Re:Arrogance! (419 comments)

Hell yes.
Whenever we do anything on this large a scale, it's always completely by accident and totally without a plan and with no facts at all. How could anyone suggest that we actually start applying a few facts and a plan to something we are already doing?

more than 6 years ago


IPFreely hasn't submitted any stories.



Slashdot Search

IPFreely IPFreely writes  |  more than 9 years ago I'm always suprrised and amazed at the quantity and quality of information available in Slashdot's comments. Once you filter through the trolls, flames and flutter, there is more usefull information here than most encyclopedias. I can't count how many times I've come across an issue and thought "I read something related to this on slashdot last year but can't find it now". It was usually some hidden gem in a comment on a completely different topic. There has to be a way to tap into this. We need slashdot comment search capabilities.

We need to have the slashdot comment archives available through a good search engine. It should be able to identify comment topic, even if it does not match the article topic. It should be able to distinguish some amount of accuracy, most likely through moderation levels and types (though that has accuracy problems itself). The searcher can even search for funny vs informative (or even troll if they so desire).

Once results are returned, the searcher could browse through the comment tree normally and search out related comments, parent or child. It would allow the searcher one more layer to judge the usefullness or accuracy of the results.

This is a bit more in depth than just googling over slashdot. It needs to take slashdot comment relationships, user comments across articles, and moderation into account when grading results. Google alone cannot do that. It sounds like a tough job, but it would be a great resource for slashdots parent/owner. Maybe they could be convenced to take the plunge.

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