Slashdot: News for Nerds


Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



Nature Vs. Nurture: Waging War Over the Soul of Science

Raffaello Re:This isn't a war within science (235 comments)

Practitioners of a scientific discipline know that the first mistake outsiders often make is a failure to familiarize ones self with the often quite large body of peer reviewed published research in that field. The economists who authored the original article have fallen into that common blunder here.

When two disciplines come into conflict it is often a good idea to pay heed to the discipline whose field of expertise and history of research best covers the bone of contention. The central conflict here is over two variables - genetic diversity, and population density at various times in history and prehistory. Anthropologists have a long established, peer reviewed record of research into genetic diversity and human migration; economists do not. Anthropologists (specifically, archaeologists) have a long established, peer reviewed record of research on population estimation throughout history and prehistory across the globe; economists do not.

As a result, the economists who wrote the original paper got both their genetic diversity AND population density estimates wrong, so their work is essentially worthless. The rebuttal by the anthropologists goes ino great detail on these errors often resulting from long outdated sources or complete lack of awareness of published literature in the relevant areas of research.

N.B. dupe since I unintentionally wasn't logged in originally

about a year and a half ago

Siri Gives Apple Two Year Advantage Over Android

Raffaello Re:I speak Spanish, you insensitive clod! (800 comments)

English is an indo-european language, a germanic/romance hybrid to be precise (old english is the germanic bit, norman french and latin are the romance parts).

It is common for non-native speakers of english to think that the relative paucity of inflected endings means that english grammar is "simple." This is why such people speak english so poorly. ;^)

There's a world of difference between being minimally intelligible in english (which is admittedly easy compared to other languages with more inflected word endings), and speaking english grammatically correctly. Deriving the correct meaning from colloquial english speech is harder still than speaking grammatically correctly, and this is what Siri manages to do remarkably well.

more than 2 years ago

Hidden Wi-Fi Diagnostics Application In OS X Lion

Raffaello Re:Hidden? (116 comments) is in the same directory so it's not exactly a hidden location to anyone who knows much about Mac OS X.

more than 2 years ago

Marx May Have Had a Point

Raffaello Re:Wrong (1271 comments)

Banks failing isn't the problem.

Actually firms failing, such as Lehman, is the problem because in a modern economy these financial institutions are all deeply interconnected. When one fails, it brings down the others like a house of cards.

So the usual naive pure free market booster solution of "just let it fail" only "works" if by "works" you mean the entire global financial system ceases to function and we are reduced to barter. Kind of a productivity and wealth killer though.

more than 2 years ago

Limits On Growth of Energy Use and Economies

Raffaello Re:No One (482 comments)

Only if zero energy using economic modes come to completely dominate the economy. Read tfa; if economic growth continues but energy use levels off (as it must eventually lest the 2nd law of thermodynamics mandated waste heat from energy use boil the oceans), then the non-energy consuming portion of the economy must eventually come to be far larger than the energy consuming part. This implies an economy where the overwhelming majority of wealth is generated by activities that consume no energy at all. That seems absurdly unlikely.

more than 2 years ago

Prosecuted For Critical Twittering

Raffaello Re:LOL (334 comments)

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

iow, "In God We Trust" is both an establishment of deist religion, and an establishment of monotheism, and makes atheists, non-deists, and polytheists, second class citizens - i.e., they are explicitly, and of necessity excluded from the "We" of "In God We Trust." That motto labels anyone who doesn't believe in the monotheist deist god effectively un-american.

more than 2 years ago

New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models

Raffaello Re:Dr. Roy Spencer... (954 comments)

I call BS. The falsifiable hypothesis is that if anthropogenic CO2 causes temperature rise there should be a direct relationship between anthropogenic CO2 levels on the one hand and global temperature on the other. Guess what - this falsifiable hypothesis has not been falsified. We can show that the increased CO2 is anthropogenic - it has the carbon isotopic signature of fossil plant material - it comes from fossil fuels, and global temperature rise directly tracks this recent increase in CO2 from our use of fossil fuels.

You think you can fool naive lay people by throwing around the word "alarmist." Real climate scientists eat, drink, and breathe falsifiable hypotheses - their entire careers are governed by them, and they can't get into peer reviewed journals unless they're both talking the talk, and walking the walk of falsifiable hypotheses. You just don't like the fact that the consensus falsifiable hypothesis - that we, by our use of fossil fuels, are causing significant rise in global temperature and the attendant climate change - is not falsified by the actual data.

more than 2 years ago

New NASA Data Casts Doubt On Global Warming Models

Raffaello Re:Dr. Roy Spencer... (954 comments)

We don't live in an ideal world where all scientists treat data objectively. We live in a world where some scientists have a religious and political agenda. In this real world, not all ad hominem arguments are ad hominem fallacies.

When someone has a history of publishing peer reviewed articles that do not make very bold or striking claims, and then making press releases that do make bold and unsubstantiated claims, it is necessary to point that history out, lest uninformed readers conclude that the unsubstantiated claims are what has been peer reviewed.

Any claim that CO2 is not causing global temperature increase is an unsubstantiated claim and is not what has been peer reviewed here.

more than 2 years ago

Is There a Formula For a Hit Song?

Raffaello Re:"...they all follow a I-III-IV chord progressio (243 comments)

Please mod AC parent up - I - IV - V (not I - III - IV) is and has been the standard pop/rock harmony progression since the 1950s, with roots that go back to turn of the 20th century 12 bar blues from the Mississippi delta.

I - III - IV is practically unknown among pop songs (though I - III - IV- IVminor is a common enough phrase in some songs, but rarely if ever the main progression)

about 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do I Scrub Pirated Music From My Collection?

Raffaello Re:I have the RIAA approved answer... (758 comments)

The standard for civil cases is "preponderance of evidence" which is a weaker standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt," but possession is still considered "preponderance of evidence." IOW, having something in your possession means that the burden of proof is on the other side to show that you possess it illegally. The burden of proof is not on you to show that it is in your possession legally.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Certifications To Get?

Raffaello Re:Depends on who is hiring (444 comments)

And a sufficiently complex railroad network is a turing complete programming system, but you can't ride a turing machine tape to work...

Just because we can show that programming languages have equivalences to mathematical formalisms (such as the lambda calculus, or a turing machine) does not mean these things are the same

To repeat "mathematically equivalent" /= "the same."

Programming is writing because programming languages exist for the purpose of communicating with other people not for the purpose of communicating with machines; ones and zeros would do just fine for the latter.

Machines do not care how they are communicated with - all mathematically equivalent means are identical to a machine; all mathematically equivalent means are not the same to people. We have cognitive strengths and weaknesses; we have existing domain concepts, terms, and solutions; being able to program easily in the existing domain language, concepts, and solutions is a huge win for programming.

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Best Certifications To Get?

Raffaello Re:Depends on who is hiring (444 comments)

My current theory is that programming is quite literally writing.

I agree to a very large extent.

A corollary of your insight is that programming languages should be designed more like natural languages and less like mathematical or logical formalisms. Programming languages are primarily for people to communicate with people, since machines don't care if we communicate with them in Java, brainf*ck, Haskel, or machine code. It is an argument for programming languages that allow the easy construction of domain specific languages, for programming languages that allow easy metaprogramming. This way, we write programs in the language of the problem domain, the language in which people already have experience solving the problem, usually for a number of person-years, rather than being forced to re-cast the problem in the concepts of the particular formalism beloved of the programming language's author.

more than 3 years ago

Could Apple Kill Off Mac OS X?

Raffaello Re:paranoid nonsense (577 comments)

That's precisely the analogy Jobs himself used at D8 in his interview with Walt Mossberg:

Mossberg: "Is the tablet going to eventually replace the laptop do you think? There's a lot of people who say 'you'll never do content creation on it' for instance. Tell us where you think the tablet is going, not just the iPad but the tablet itself."

Jobs: "Let me think of a good analogy. When we were an agrarian nation, all cars were trucks, because that’s what you needed on the farm. But as vehicles started to be used in the urban centers, and America started to move into those urban and then suburban centers, cars got more popular. Innovations like automatic transmission and power steering and things that you didn’t care about in a truck as much started to become paramount in cars. And now, probably, I don't know what the statistics are, probably one out of every 25 vehicles, 30 vehicles is a truck, where it used to be 100%. PCs are going to be like trucks. They’re still going to be around, they’re still going to have a lot of value, but they’re going to be used by one out of X people."

Mossberg: "Just to be clear, when you say PCs you mean PCs and Macs, and you're including laptops and desktops.

Jobs: "Yeah."

more than 3 years ago

Could Apple Kill Off Mac OS X?

Raffaello Re:Where's the DOJ (577 comments)

You need to read up on the legal definition of a monopoly. What MS was dinged for was using its monopoly in OS and Office software to drive out competition in the web browser software market. Apple doesn't have a monopoly in mobile OS software (iOS is actually losing ground to android); Apple doesn't have a monopoly in desktop/laptop OS software (Windows still accounts for 90+%); Apple doesn't have a monopoly in anything (no, "monopoly in software that runs on macs" is not a legal monopoly, otherwise every single company would have a "monopoly" in some arbitrarily defined, meaningless, sliver "market").

A monopoly is the market power to price your offerings without regard to the price of competitors offerings. Apple doesn't have one, so they can't be accused of leveraging a monopoly they don't have.

more than 3 years ago

Google/Facebook: Do-Not-Track Threatens CA Economy

Raffaello Re:Unconstitutional? (363 comments)

To be more precise, the usual argument made is that enacting such a law would constitute a barrier to interstate trade, and the US Constitution gives sole power to regulate interstate trade to the Federal Government.

IOW, such a law would likely be constitutional, but it may well require Congress and the President to enact it, not the California legislature and Governor Brown.

more than 3 years ago

Intel To Build Next Gen Processor For iOS Devices

Raffaello Re:Retribution (255 comments)

Apple isn't telling all the AppStore developers suddenly "port all your apps to x86 now!" for a very very good reason. If they did however, Google would be jumping up and down in joy: the biggest advantage of Apple gone! No more overwhelming amount of Apps, especially for tablets, compared to Android Market!

You have a misunderstanding of Apple's development tools. Adding a new CPU binary to an existing app for Apple developers is trivial - just a recompile. There would be no significant change in the number of iOS apps for either iPhone of iPad. This is one of the reasons that Apple has been at pains to ensure that iOS developers only use Apple's tool chain. It allows Apple to make significant changes to the underlying platform and/or CPU architecture, and have iOS developers' apps just work with a simple recompile.

The people a switch of iOS to intel it might screw is third parties who have developed tools to create iOS apps. Its not clear that apps created with these third party tools would recompile quite as smoothly for an intel iOS. For Apple this would be seen as a bonus. They'd get to mess with Adobe and others promoting cross-platform mobile development tools AND punish Samsung for what Apple sees as the Galaxy Tab betrayal.

more than 3 years ago

Intel To Build Next Gen Processor For iOS Devices

Raffaello Re:Dates in your link are false (255 comments)

You should read articles you cite and link to. From the very link you give:

In reality the data shown in the graphic are incorrect

In fact, the iPhone was first shown before the Samsung F700 was first shown, and the iPhone was released before the F700 was released.

IOW, the Samsung F700 was a copy of the original iPhone, and the dates on the graphic from the link you give are a lie.

Check your facts before making such accusations.

more than 3 years ago

Is Canonical the Next Apple?

Raffaello Re:No. (511 comments)

In the Linux community, we really don't care about market share

It shows.

more than 3 years ago

Is Canonical the Next Apple?

Raffaello Re:First thing they need to do (511 comments)

"Oneric Ocelot"

From a Mac OS X user's perspective, the next version of Ubuntu should be called "Otiose Ocelot."

more than 3 years ago

Is Canonical the Next Apple?

Raffaello Re:problem is, Unity is a disaster (511 comments)

Or as Tolstoy would say, "All newbie users are alike; each advanced user is advanced in his own way".

I hope you realize that that means:

newbie = happy
advanced user = unhappy

since the original Tolstoy quote is:
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

more than 3 years ago



Mac software gone from Apple Design Awards

Raffaello Raffaello writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Raffaello (230287) writes "When asked by email whether the equivalent of the App Store was coming for Mac software, Steve Jobs reportedly replied with a curt "nope." However, rather than indicating that the Mac platform is here to stay as-is, this may reveal that Apple is letting the Mac slip into oblivion. This year's Apple Design Awards will not include Macintosh Software."
Link to Original Source

Scientists spot oldest ever object in universe

Raffaello Raffaello writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Raffaello (230287) writes " CNN reports: Edo Berger got an alert early last Thursday morning when a satellite detected a 10-second blast of energy known as a gamma ray burst coming from outer space. Telescopes around the world swiveled to focus on the explosion, soon picking up infrared radiation, which travels more slowly than gamma rays. Berger waited for the visible light which he expected to come next. It never arrived. "We were kind of blown away. We immediately knew what that meant," Berger said. What it meant was that he was looking at the oldest thing ever spotted — an enormous star exploding 13 billion years ago."


Raffaello has no journal entries.

Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account