top Bugatti 100P Rebuilt: The Plane That Could've Turned the Battle of Britain
And the story of its origin is wonderful. In 1940 the British wanted North American Aviation to produce Curtiss P-40 Warhawks under license, but NAA thought they could make a better aircraft faster. And the first P-51 rolled out 102 days after the contract was signed, and first flew 47 days after that. It took a few years of upgrades and revsions to turn it into the best piston-engined fighter of the war, but compare that initial design and development cycle to the years and even decades it takes to get anything built these days.
Interesting tech note: the P-51's distinctive radiator/oil cooler actually added speed to the plane: cool air came in the front, and the hot air exiting the back added some jet-like thrust.
top Girl's Facebook Post Costs Her Dad $80,000
You don't seem to quite understand how the world works.
I don't think you do. A civil settlement is compromise, often in many parts. Neither side gets everything they want. A confidentiality agreement is one of those potential parts. If you remove that option, the parties will simply compromise in other ways. Most likely, it means a company would offer a smaller settlement, and be more willing to go to trial.
Also, you seem to assume that anyone suing a company is in the right, and every company in the wrong. Not so.
top Apple's Messages Offers Free Texting With a Side of iPhone Lock-In
When I got my iMac it converted my photos from my camera to some iPhoto library from which it was quite difficult to take it out in simple jpg files.
File -> Export works for me. If you want to access a bunch at a time, they're in [your user directory]/Pictures/iPhoto Library.
And for those who haven't followed link about the "obscure workaround":
To do this, simply tap and hold on the undelivered message and a “Send as Text Message” option should appear in the context menu. This works even when “Send as SMS” is disabled in your settings, allowing you to decide when you’d rather send a text message for expediency or simply leave it to wait until the recipient’s device is back online.
I'm not saying that Apple never does lock-in, but both those seem like pretty weak examples.
top Does Crime Leave a Genetic Trace?
On the one hand, nobody wants the poor to suffer, especially poor children. And nobody wants the government to decide who has the right to have kids. On the other hand, you get more of what you subsidize, and our society pays poor people to have children. How much crime, poverty, and general misery is caused by people who should never have children, and yet have children? (Often, lots of children?) People worry about "income inequality," but here's a not-insignificant source of at least part of it.
It's tempting to condition welfare on "no more kids" (sterilization), but that's never going to fly, and feels far too totalitarian. And yet, here we are trapped in a system of positive (the bad kind) feedback: Bad parents are paid to have kids, those kids (epigenetically or otherwise) transmit the same dysfunctional traits to their kids, and so society pays for more crime and poverty and misery. I don't have an answer, but I don't think enough people see the problem. They'll just blame their political opponents or capitalism or whatever.
top Windows 8 Metro: The Good Kind of Market Segmentation?
The joke here is that Win8 is
not discoverable, the gestures are rather hidden.
No kidding! I am a Mac person who has had to use a new Windows laptop for a project. When I am in Outlook, there seems to be a way that touching the trackpad kicks me into Bing News. (No, there are no news links in the emails.) And once there, there is no obvious way of getting back into Outlook. I have to hit the key to take me back to the desktop (or whatever they call the one with the tiles), and go back into Outlook from there. No wonder Windows 7 users are annoyed.
top Obama To Ask For $1 Billion Climate Change Fund
Obama's $1B will fund [...]
If it really were
billion dollars, who could object? But of course it's actually money borrowed by the government, to be paid back by future taxpayers. Well, Obama's supposedly paid back by future taxpayers, after they pay off the first $60-$100 trillion dollars in debt and unfunded public pension liabilities that they are already on the hook for. But I'm sure they'll be cool with it all.
top Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
Fine, then make "fairly significant structural changes." I think the payoff would be worth it. As for the back content, if the classic view is kept, I don't see how it would be hard to keep the back content for that. For the new views, is that important? Most people going to news sites don't care about old content.
top Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
If the backend code needs to be completely rewritten
But why would the backend need to be rewritten at all? I've only glanced at the page code, but I don't see any reason why they couldn't just write different style sheets that control what gets displayed and how. Don't like big pictures? Choose a style that doesn't display them. Etc. If they did that, they could pitch the new design(s) to the new audience, without alienating us old fogies.
top Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
We have work to do on four big areas: feature parity (especially for commenting); the overall UI, especially in terms of information density and headline scanning; plain old bugs; and, lastly, the need for a better framework for communicating about the How and the Why of this process
Those are exactly the problems I care about. Mainly information density; I want to see the same amount of information on the screen as I did before. Or at least 75%. It's more like 25% right now. Anyway, I'm glad someone is paying attention.
I agree. I am especially concerned with feature parity for viewing comments: I love the dual-doohickey slider that allows me to set comment visibility by rating, with the other comments shown as single lines. Great for modding.
But I am puzzled why, in this age of CSS, Slashdot needs to replace the classic look with a new design. Why not different style sheets? Show classic, new, and even other layouts, with the click of a link, whatever people prefer. Produce a half-dozen user-selectable layouts and make everyone happy.
top US Democrats Introduce Bill To Restore Net Neutrality
Thank you for an informed comment, which leads to my question. I constantly hear how we need net neutrality, otherwise all sorts of terrible things will happen. Well, why haven't they happened? If only net neutrality can prevent Comcast from extorting Netflix, and we don't have net neutrality now, then why isn't Comcast extorting Netflix right now, while there's no law against it? It seems like net neutrality is a solution to a non-existent problem.
(As a general rule, I prefer that laws and regulations deal with real problems, not ones that someone says might happen. Yes, an ounce of prevention and all that, but many of the worst laws and regulations have been aimed at non-existent problems.)
top When Cars Go Driverless, What Happens To the Honking?
I really wish I had the ability to make a more subdued honk sometimes, for alerting a pedestrian, or whatever. It seems like an obvious enhancement, and yet AFAIK such a thing has never been standard or even available, except maybe as an aftermarket item.
top Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind
There's "narrow" AI, where Kurzweil has major achievements: e.g. speech recognition. Artificial
general intelligence (AGI) is a whole 'nother ball game. The field is largely speculative, because it doesn't really exist yet. So it's not unfair to say Kurzweil is big in AI, even though we don't yet have AGI.
top Google Buys UK AI Startup Deep Mind
Incidentally, Ray Kurzweil is an incompetent hack. Google did itself no favor by hiring him. This person has grand visions but zero understanding of actual reality.
Oh, really? A quick visit to
Kurzweil was the principal inventor of the first CCD flatbed scanner, the first omni-font optical character recognition, the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first commercial text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer Kurzweil K250 capable of recreating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and the first commercially marketed large-vocabulary speech recognition. Kurzweil received the 1999 National Medal of Technology and Innovation, America's highest honor in technology, from President Clinton in a White House ceremony. He was the recipient of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT Prize for 2001, the world's largest for innovation. And in 2002 he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, established by the U.S. Patent Office.
I wish everyone was 1/10 that much of an "incompetent hack." If he thought Deep Mind was worth buying, that's the way I'd bet.
top VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage
That is a gross and inaccurate simplification. Read a bit of history yourself, maybe? The Nazis were definitely not socialists in the traditional sense.
They were a variation of socialism, as the similarities make clear:
– A modern, revolutionary movement, hostile to liberal democracy, with a desire to remake society in a more "efficient" and "fair" way? Check. – Opponents of the "wasteful competition" of capitalism, who believed in economic planning for the greater good? Check. – A belief in government welfare for the poor? Check. – A belief in massive public works projects? Check. – A disdain for traditional, non-governmental organizations such as churches, clubs, and other aspects of civil society, and a belief that government should intrude in all of them? Check. – A belief in the rights of the collective over the rights of "selfish" individuals? Check.
One can quibble that no single one of these is unique to socialism or fascism, but taken together, it's clearly not some sort of misdirection that the Nazis had the word "socialist" in their name, and that their early ranks were filled with ex-socialists and ex-communists.
top 20,000 Customers Have Pre-Ordered Over $2,000,000 of Soylent
Indeed. I think this might work as an emergency ration, or perhaps a diet regimen, but I'm not seeing the attraction otherwise.
It also makes me think about something I read decades ago. Supposedly a scientist extracted every known vitamin and nutrient from rat chow, and fed it to rats, leaving out the leftover "non-nutrients." Eventually the rats sickened and died. The lesson of this, as told by the nutrition types I heard it from, was that we have not identified all necessary vitamins and nutrients in foods, so it's risky to think you can make fully nutritious artificial food.
But I just finished a 12-hour work day, so I'll leave it to someone else to track down a reference.
about a month and a half ago
top Ball Lightning Caught On Video and Spectrograph
Warning: This is another of those annoying website articles that describe a visually fascinating thing, but
don't actually include any pictures or videos of said fascinating thing. Not even the the spectrograph, though that seems to be in the paper behind the paywall. The only picture is of some earlier lab-made ball lightning. about a month and a half ago
top Google Buys Home Automation Company Nest
Of all the great inventions of modern times the one that has given me most comfort and joy is one that is seldom heard of, to wit, the thermostat. I was amazed, some time ago, to hear that it was invented at least a generation ago. I first heard of it during the War of 1914-18, when some kind friend suggested that I throw out the coal furnace that was making steam in my house and put in a gas furnace. Naturally enough, I hesitated, for the human mind is so constituted. But the day I finally succumbed must remain ever memorable in my annals, for it saw me move at one leap from an inferno into a sort of paradise. Everyone will recall how bad the coal was in those heroic days. The patriotic anthracite men loaded their culm-piles on cars, and sold them to householders all over the East. Not a furnaceman was in practise in my neighborhood: all of them were working in the shipyards at $15 a day. So I had to shovel coal myself, and not only shovel coal, but sift ashes. It was a truly dreadful experience. Worse, my house was always either too hot or too cold. When a few pieces of actual coal appeared in the mass of slate the temperature leaped up to 85 degrees, but most of the time it was between 45 and 50.
The thermostat changed all that, and in an instant. I simply set it at 68 degrees, and then went about my business. Whenever the temperature in the house went up to 70 it automatically turned off the gas under the furnace in the cellar, and there was an immediate return to 68. And if the mercury, keeping on, dropped to 66, then the gas went on again, and the temperature was soon 68 once more. I began to feel like a man liberated from the death-house. I was never too hot or too cold. I had no coal to heave, no ashes to sift. My house became so clean that I could wear a shirt five days. I began to feel like work, and rapidly turned out a series of imperishable contributions to the national letters. My temper improved so vastly that my family began to suspect senile changes. Moreover, my cellar became as clean as the rest of the house, and as roomy as a barn. I enlarged my wine-room by 1000 cubic metres. I put in a cedar closet big enough to hold my whole wardrobe. I added a vault for papers, a carpenter shop, and a praying chamber.
The Boons of Civilization
From the American Mercury, Jan., 1931, pp. 33-35
top FBI Edits Mission Statement: Removes Law Enforcement As 'Primary' Purpose
I'm just thankful they didn't change it to "diversity."
top Edward Snowden Does Not Deserve Clemency
The argument here seems to be that to qualify as a bona fide whistleblower, one must take only the "pound of flesh nearest the heart" -- just the flesh, and not a drop of blood nor a grain of sinew or bone.
Well, it looks like Snowden took more than "a grain of sinew or bone." An awful lot of what he's revealed involves what I consider what the NSA
should be doing: spying on foreign bad guys, like the Taliban. That's what the NSA was founded for, and that's totally legal and Constitutional, AFAIK. Snowden revealed far more of that than he should have, and I don't see how the foreign snooping was so inextricably linked to the not-OK domestic snooping that it was all or nothing. (I believe the domestic stuff is largely illegal, an unconstitutional violation of the 4th Amendment's ban on general warrants. In between the two is snooping on allies like Germany: embarrassing, but legal and Constitutional, and probably par for all sides in the diplomatic world.)
But it does look like Snowden has been rather more careful about what he has leaked than Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of documents that he* had never read. (*To head off charges of deliberate misgendering, Manning was publicly and legally male at the time of the leak.)
top Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?
This should be required reading for everyone of junior high/high school age. It's basically a brief introduction to statistics, focusing on all the ways they are often misused. It's short, funny, and permanently changed the way I view news and politics. Once you know this stuff, you'll see examples everywhere, especially when partisans have an ax to grind. E.g., years ago I saw a group's study that purported to "prove" that California's taxes and regulations had no negative effects on businesses. Further investigation revealed that they studied only existing California businesses, not businesses that had closed down, or moved out of state, or never got off the ground. Um, sample bias?
top Mod points return!
After about five months without mod points, they came back right after the redesign. Coincidence or not? Who can say....
top I wonder what happened to all my mod points
For a while over the summer it seemed like I was getting 15 mod points every week or two. Sometimes I didn't use them all up before the next batch came in. Then around September they all stopped. I don't think I've had any for three months. Were my mod abilities suddenly considered to be not up to snuff? Did a bunch of other Slashdotters come back from vacation, eager to moderate? Did my half-hearted stabs at meta-moderation work against me? (I *much* preferred the old metamod system and was much better at doing it then.) Maybe someone out there knows....