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!



Amazon's eBook Math

ShanghaiBill Re:Disengenous (208 comments)

If by Middlemen you are referring to Editors (who read the book, find grammatical errors, find plot errors, etc etc), typesetters ,Graphics illustrators then they will still be there.

There is no reason that any of these services need to be, or should be, bundled with "publishing". There are plenty of people offering these services, either per-page, or for an hourly rate. You can find them on any Freelancer website.

10 hours ago

The Problems With Drug Testing

ShanghaiBill Re:Er, that's a bit confusing (133 comments)

Your sampling is skewed towards the homeless population that is willing to go to a church.

They don't go to church. The church goes to them. My wife's mother works through her church to reach out to homeless people, give them food and blankets, and help them find day labor so they can earn both money and self-respect. She often asks me and my kids to go with her. We find people living in parks or under bridges, etc. My experience is that nearly all of the homeless have deep interrelated problems, including substance abuse, mental illness, alienation from family and friends, mistrust of authority (including people like me that are offering to help), etc. I can think of only two or three people where our efforts have made any lasting difference, but hey, even turning two or three lives around is an accomplishment, and I would rather be out with my kids and their grandmother doing that, than sitting at home watching TV.

10 hours ago

Amazon's eBook Math

ShanghaiBill Re:Disengenous (208 comments)

I'd rather not live in a world where the only places to shop are walmart, amazon, and maybe costco. using size and supply chain efficiency to force smaller guys out of business is not a good thing in the long run.

I disagree. Small bookstores were crap. They had the bestsellers, and a small random assortment of other books. Amazon has a better deal on the bestsellers, and has millions of other books. This is not only far better for customers, but better for niche authors as well. The small booksellers are gone, and good riddance. Now the publishers are getting squeezed. Good. The fewer middlemen between the customers and the authors, the better.



The Problems With Drug Testing

ShanghaiBill Re:Er, that's a bit confusing (133 comments)

You do realize that homelessness and drug additions do not go hand-in-hand, right?

You should get to know some actual homeless people. I have worked with quite a few through my mother-in-law's church. I would estimate that more than 90% of them have serious substance abuse problems.


Opportunity Rover Sets Off-World Driving Record

ShanghaiBill Re:So, 40 years and beeelions spent.. (46 comments)

Lunakhod was only on the moon, and was driven at relatively high speeds using live drivers looking at TV to see where to go.

Interesting trivia: At first the Soviets tried to use experienced drivers. But even to the moon and back is several light seconds, and this lag confused people experienced in driving cars. So they had to find people that had never driven before, with no expectations that the vehicle would respond instantly.


35% of American Adults Have Debt 'In Collections'

ShanghaiBill Re:The American Dream (528 comments)

its cute that you people can take a large and complex problem with many angles and reasons and boil it down to a simple catch phrase you heard on talk radio

This is especially silly considering that actual socialist countries don't have consumer credit at all. Do you think Cuba has people in collections? I lived in the People's Republic of China for several years (which is nominally socialist) and everything was based on cash. I paid cash for my cell phone (I was not even asked for my name or ID) and paid cash for the minutes. I would buy token cards for my electric meter, and feed them in to pre-pay for home electricity. The electricity company neither asked, nor cared, who was living in the apartment, and certainly had no need to do a "credit check". I had electricity five minutes after I moved in.

In America, I have been in collections several times. Usually when they send the bills to the wrong address, or I move and forget to shut off the trash service, but the bills still go to the old address. It was always for something that I would have preferred to pre-pay, if that option had been available.


Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

ShanghaiBill Re: Clever editors. (288 comments)

You are still thinking short term. It doesn't matter how much CO2 they emit today. It matters how much CO2 their children and grandchildren will emit when they grow up. Nigeria's economy is growing rapidly, as is the per capita CO2 emissions. More importantly, most Nigerian women have more children than they desire. So more convenient and available contraception will have a big effect.

3 days ago

Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

ShanghaiBill Re: Clever editors. (288 comments)

Here you go. Greenpeace exec commuting on commercial air every week between Amsterdam and Luxembourg.

That was not a "private jet". Adding yet-another-passenger to a commercial flight emits about as much CO2 as driving the same distance. How far is it from Amsterdam to Luxembourg anyway?

See, like most liberal assholes, it is do as i say not as I do.

That is a dumb standard. You should do what someone says, or not, depending on whether their argument makes sense. That they are hypocrites is irrelevant. In this case, Greenpeace's argument is silly. Electricity is fungible, and it doesn't really mean anything to say that the source of power for one particular use is "clean". All that really matters is the overall emissions. But even that is silly, since subsidizing clean energy is a pretty dumb way to combat global warming. A far better way to reduce CO2 emissions would be to buy condoms for Nigerians. People that are never born emit far less CO2 than those that are. Long term problems require long term solutions.

4 days ago

Social Security Administration Joins Other Agencies With $300M "IT Boondoggle"

ShanghaiBill Re:Legacy Systems. (142 comments)

It is also important to keep some perspective. Compared to many other government boondoggles, $300 million is not that much. The F-35 program burns through that much EVERY DAY.

about a week ago

Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

ShanghaiBill Re:This must be confusing to y'all (66 comments)

They're investing money in the idea that the stock is undervalued.

For every buyer who thinks the stock is undervalued, there is an equal and opposite seller who thinks it is overvalued. The current stock value is the market clearing price where supply equals demand.

about a week ago

Microsoft FY2014 Q4 Earnings: Revenues Up, Profits Down Slightly

ShanghaiBill Re:This must be confusing to y'all (66 comments)

If you are tracking a company's performance by its stock price it's kind of laughable

What do you suggest then? A Ouija board? The stock price is the consensus opinion of people investing real money. If you are so much smarter than the market, you should have made billions by now taking highly leveraged contrary positions. Please post a picture of your yacht.

unless you sacrifice your company for short term profits they really don't get excited. There is no long term outlook for companies any more

Sure. That is why companies that invested for the long term, like Amazon, Google, and even Microsoft in their early days, were unable to raise capital, and have all gone out of business.

about a week ago

Researchers Design Bot To Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews

ShanghaiBill Re:Brought to you by the same people (102 comments)

Surely you can point us to a double blind study to quantify lie detector effectiveness? They don't exist?

Yes they do. The Wikipedia page lists several. What they find is that polygraphs work better than chance, but below perfection. They certainly don't provide the level of "beyond a reasonable doubt" required in a criminal court, and they can be fooled by a someone trained to deceive them. But for most people, they work most of the time. That is good enough for their use as a first level screening device. You would be an idiot to blindly accept their results, but you would also be an idiot to ignore the results completely.

It is an effective prop. But only for the uninformed.

Wrong. It takes more than just being "informed". To trick a polygraph takes training. So how many moles hoping to infiltrate the FBI are going to respond to a Craigslist ad for "Polygraph Deception Training"? Guess who places those ads.

about a week ago

China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

ShanghaiBill Re:It's all about the input (58 comments)

The place it really becomes a problem (and this would be worse for Chinese than Japanese because Chinese is 100% kanji) is when you have a kanji that has an extremely common pronunciation.

You are doing it wrong. If you type in pinyin for a common character, sure, you will get a hundred choices. But you should just ignore those choices, and keep typing. After you type the pinyin for a string of characters, there is usually only one valid interpretation. For instance, if you type "qing" you will get a hundred choices. But if you type "qinggeiwoyigepingguo" (meaning "Please give me an apple") you will get ONE choice, and it will be the correct one.

about two weeks ago

Russian Government Edits Wikipedia On Flight MH17

ShanghaiBill Re:I don't see the problem. (667 comments)

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

True, until civilians are targed...

Just targeting civilians does not make it terrorism. The American fire bombing of Tokyo, and the British fire bombing of Dresden, targeted civilians on a massive scale, and neither is generally considered terrorism. On the other hand, the attack on the US Marine barracks in Beiruit is widely considered to be terrorism, although the target was military.

Wikipedia should strive for a neutral point of view, and should be using biased terms like "terrorist" only when quoting others, and never in their own voice.

about two weeks ago

"Intelligent" Avatars Poised To Manage Airline Check-In

ShanghaiBill Re:There's something touching about that comment (102 comments)

the solution of hiring more people will, of course, not be considered.

Nor should it be. The number of people that really care about a check-in terminal having a "human touch" is probably about 2%. The number willing to pay extra to have their ticket issued by a human is likely closer to 0%. Any airline hiring extra humans to deal with this will just lose business to their lower cost competitors.

about two weeks ago

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

ShanghaiBill Re:Local testing works? (778 comments)

JAIL TIME for those that hire the undocumented.

Jailing non-violent people is idiotic. America already imprisons more people than any other country. The solution to illegal immigration is to deal with the fundamental causes. Mexico is no longer a net source of immigration (as many Mexicans return home as arrive). The biggest net sources are Central American countries experiencing extreme drug gang violence, such as Honduras and El Salvador. Ending the drug violence will allow these countries to stabilize and create local jobs for their people. And the best way to do that is broad legalization, which is already successfully happening in Colorado and Washington. Other states will hold referendums on legalization this November. We should be jailing a lot less people, not more.

about two weeks ago

Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

ShanghaiBill Re:comments are now underway on just this issue (77 comments)

It would also be a big help to send a copy of your comments to your congressional representative. This is especially true if your representative serves on the Aviation Committee that oversees the FAA. These are the members:

Frank A. LoBiondo, New Jersey, Chairman
Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin
Howard Coble, North Carolina
John J. Duncan, Jr., Tennessee
Sam Graves, Missouri
Blake Farenthold, Texas
Larry Bucshon, Indiana
Patrick Meehan, Pennsylvania
Richard L. Hanna, New York
Daniel Webster, Florida
Jeff Denham, California
Reid J. Ribble, Wisconsin
Thomas Massie, Kentucky
Steve Daines, Montana
Roger Williams, Texas
Mark Meadows, North Carolina
Rodney Davis, Illinois, Vice Chair
Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania, (ex officio)

Rick Larsen, Washington, Ranking Member
Peter A. DeFazio, Oregon
Eddie Bernice Johnson, Texas
Michael E. Capuano, Massachusetts
Daniel Lipinski, Illinois
Steve Cohen, Tennessee
André Carson, Indiana
Richard M. Nolan, Minnesota
Dina Titus, Nevada
Sean Patrick Maloney, New York
Cheri Bustos, Illinois
Corrine Brown, Florida
Elizabeth H. Esty, Connecticut
Nick J. Rahall, II, West Virginia, (ex officio)

It will be much easier to stop these regulations, than it will be to repeal them later. The skies should belong to the people, not the government. The time to act is now.

about two weeks ago

Drone Search and Rescue Operation Wins Fight Against FAA

ShanghaiBill Re:both? (77 comments)

The FAA had made the current policies to prevent idiots who think they know everything who have more money than brains from getting a UAV and hurting people by dropping it on someones head, though their roof or flying it into another aircraft.

Nonsense. The current regulations don't do that. If they did, they would be based on drone weight, method of control, altitude, etc. rather than "commercial" vs "non-commercial". The polices appear to be designed solely to ensure that nobody creates any jobs for Americans, earns income to support their families, or offers useful services that other are willing to pay for.

about two weeks ago

Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

ShanghaiBill Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (156 comments)

... bring the manufacturing costs down enough to bring the price down enough that they are competitive

Per unit subsidies are the WRONG way to do this. Much better is for the government to subsidize R&D into better manufacturing techniques. Look at windmills. They were subsidized for years. Now they are mostly cost competitive, so the subsidies worked, right? WRONG! The modern cost effective windmills are completely different (and much bigger) than the windmills that were subsidized, and are mostly made by different companies. So the subsidies were mostly wasted backing the wrong horse, and making it harder for the eventual winners to emerge.

I'm not saying we should have permanent government incentives to consumers to buy electric vehicles

Yes you are, whether that is your intention or not. Subsidies lead to uncompetitive companies, sheltered from the market, with inferior products. Once the subsidies start, they soon become entitlements, with blocks of voters and buckets of campaign donations to sustain them.

about two weeks ago

Japan To Offer $20,000 Subsidy For Fuel-Cell Cars

ShanghaiBill Re:Why isn't the U.S. doing things like this? (156 comments)

I wished /. had a feature to filter out comments of people you have marked as an enemy ...

Just go to and add a negative score modifier to push your foes below your viewing threshold. But, according to my "friend/foe" page, you don't have me listed as an enemy, so you need to do that first.

about two weeks ago


ShanghaiBill hasn't submitted any stories.


ShanghaiBill has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

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>