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Google's Mapping Contest Draws Ire From Indian Government

SoftwareArtist Re:How much more? (90 comments)

No, we didn't.

Prior to the first gulf war (the one in the early 90s), Iraq had a chemical weapons program. After the war, that was shut down and most of their stocks destroyed. When the inspectors came through after the second gulf war (the one in the early 2000s), they came across old shells on which they found residue of chemical weapons, indicating that a decade earlier they had once contained chemical weapons. They found no evidence that Iraq had actually restarted its chemical weapons program, or had any significant stock of chemical weapons.

If you claim they found anything more than that, please provide a citation.

10 hours ago

For Half, Degrees In Computing, Math, Or Stats Lead To Other Jobs

SoftwareArtist So what? (173 comments)

Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Why? This post seems to imply that your entire career should be determined by your major in college. Thank goodness that isn't true. How many people really know what they want to do at age 20? Lots of people change fields several times over their careers.

4 days ago

My most recent energy-saving bulbs last ...

SoftwareArtist Re:Incandescent will be best for the environment. (278 comments)

Hard to beat a plain glass globe with a metal wire for clean recyclable environmentally friendly materials.

The mercury released into the atmosphere by using an incandescent is more than what's released by using a CFL. Incandescents don't contain mercury, but coal does, and a lot of the world's electricity comes from burning coal. Then of course, if you recycle your CFLs instead of putting them in the garbage, that means even less mercury in the environment.

about two weeks ago

Asteroid Mining Bill Introduced In Congress To Protect Private Property Rights

SoftwareArtist Re:Absurd (181 comments)

It would at least prevent another American company from challenging them. Presumably the eventual goal would be to get other countries to sign on too. Since it's likely to be several years before any actual mining takes place, there's still time to deal with that.

about two weeks ago
top, Mensa Create Dating Site For Geniuses

SoftwareArtist Mensa is for wannabes (561 comments)

Seriously. If there is one thing most smart people have in common, it's that they are not in Mensa.

I went to an Ivy League college. I work in an elite university. There are two Nobel laureates on my floor. I spend my days surrounded by certifiably Very Smart People.

I don't know a single person who belongs to Mensa. Most of the people I know would laugh at the idea of joining Mensa. They don't need to join an organization to show off how smart they are. Everyone already knows they're smart. They don't need to join an organization to find other smart people. They spend their days surrounded by smart people, because they work in fields that require intelligence.

about a month ago

U.S. Democrats Propose Legislation To Ban Internet Fast Lanes

SoftwareArtist Re:Market (190 comments)

You only have one ISP, but you have tons of video streaming services to choose from. This bill is about protecting competition in that latter market, not the former one. It won't create new ISPs, but it means your existing ISP can't block or downgrade service from internet companies that haven't paid it enough, or that compete with its own in-house services.

about a month and a half ago

Canadian Court Orders Google To Remove Websites From Its Global Index

SoftwareArtist Why is this Google's responsibility? (248 comments)

Google is just an index to information that's on the web. If you object to something that's on the web, go after the person who put it there and demand they remove it. I could totally understand that. But instead of demanding it be removed, they're demanding that an unrelated party stop telling anyone, anywhere in the world, that it exists. That makes no sense to me.

about a month and a half ago

Are US Hybrid Sales Peaking Already?

SoftwareArtist Huh??? (377 comments)

It seems some hybrid early adopters are now switching to plug-in hybrids or electric cars

Plug-in hybrids are hybrids. "We find that if we exclude many of the more recent models of hybrids from our analysis, the number of people buying hybrids isn't increasing."

Well duh...

about a month and a half ago

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

SoftwareArtist Re:Why should we care? (206 comments)

(2) it gets us out of low earth orbit

But that's exactly the problem: it doesn't get us out of low earth orbit. Or rather, it gets precisely one ship out of low earth orbit, but the next one we send out will have to start all over from ground level. Sending anything from the earth's surface into space is incredibly expensive. As long as we have to rely on that, we will never be able to do more than a handful of one-off missions involving a handful of people.

I want to see humans colonizing space. I want to see permanent habitats where people live for years at a time. And not just a few people, but millions. Sending a few people to Mars doesn't get us closer to that. Developing asteroid mining facilities does get us closer.

about 2 months ago

NRC Human Spaceflight Report Says NASA Strategy Can't Get Humans To Mars

SoftwareArtist Why should we care? (206 comments)

Why is sending humans to Mars supposed to be such a great thing? It's incredibly expensive, incredibly dangerous, and doesn't accomplish much of anything useful. Once you've sent them, the next trip will be almost as expensive as the first one.

I'm much more interested in building up a meaningful, sustainable space program. That means building up an industrial base in space. We need to be able to manufacture things in space out of raw materials that were mined in space. That's the only way that human space travel will ever be economically sustainable. So that asteroid mission sounds like exactly the right approach to be taking.

about 2 months ago

Study: Earthlings Not Ready For Alien Encounters, Yet

SoftwareArtist Re:next 50 to 100 years? (453 comments)

Or maybe they're using exactly the types of communication we're steadily moving toward: fiber optics for long distances, lots of low power transmitters for short distances. If they've expanded beyond their home planet, interplanetary communication would probably use lasers, so very very highly directional. All of these signals would of course be digital, not analog.

Anyone in a distant star system listening for messages would hear absolutely nothing.

about 3 months ago

Let Spouses of H-1B Visa Holders Work In US, Says White House

SoftwareArtist Complete nonsense (566 comments)

'Fifty million working-age Americans aren't working,' Sessions said in a statement

Even the simplest calculation shows how absurd that claim is. The U.S. population is a bit over 300 million. Let's say 200 million are "working age". 50 million being out of work would be an unemployment rate of 25%. Ok, some people "aren't working" because they don't want to work. Perhaps they're staying home raising their children, while their spouse supports them. Though I'd argue being a full time homemaker is "working", especially if you're caring for children.

In any case, his number is clearly nonsensical. It has nothing to do with actual unemployment, the sort he's arguing this would make worse.

about 3 months ago

Kerry Says US Is On the "Right Side of History" When It Comes To Online Freedom

SoftwareArtist Exactly! (261 comments)

I also hope that you won't let the world forget the places where those like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who hold their government to standards go to jail rather than win prizes.

Exactly! Couldn't have said it better myself.

about 3 months ago

C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

SoftwareArtist Re:STL is painful to use (435 comments)

Are you suggesting I should instead write something like any_of(c.begin(), c.end(), [&e](int i){return i==e;})? (I'm not sure if I got the syntax exactly right. I haven't used lambdas yet.) That's even worse to type, harder to read, and more likely to contain errors.

about 3 months ago

C++ and the STL 12 Years Later: What Do You Think Now?

SoftwareArtist STL is painful to use (435 comments)

Speaking just about STL, I'd have to say it's one of the worst designed container APIs I've worked with. It just goes out of its way to make your code painful to write and hard to read.

Suppose you want to determine if a collection c contains an element e. In any other language, you'd write something like c.contains(e). But the STL designers, in their infinite wisdom, decided instead you should write c.find(e) != c.end(). Because that's just so much more readable. Suppose you want to determine if a string s ends with some suffix t. In any other language you would write something like s.endswith(t). But in C++ you write s.rfind(t) == s.size()-t.size(). I think? I'm not 100% sure I didn't make a mistake in there.

C++11 tried to fix some of the worst aspects of STL, but they didn't redesign it from scratch, which is what it really needs.

about 3 months ago

I expect to retire ...

SoftwareArtist How about "I'm already retired"? (341 comments)

Really interesting prejudices on display here. Why is there no option for "I'm already retired"? Whoever wrote this poll, it never even occurred to them any retired people might be reading slashdot.

about 3 months ago

Study Finds US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy

SoftwareArtist Re:Terrible summary of an interesting paper (818 comments)

No, that is not at all what the study found. Let me quote directly from the abstract:

"Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence."

Let me state that again: the only interest groups with substantial influence are those representing business interests. All other interest groups have "little or no independent influence". Organizing a grassroots movement is not an effective strategy.

about 3 months ago

This 1981 BYTE Magazine Cover Explains Why We're So Bad At Tech Predictions

SoftwareArtist Re:It was a "joke" back then (276 comments)

And the whole point of this cover is to be a joke - showing a "future" computer that is clearly completely impractical, because you would need a magnifying glass to read the tiny text on it, and because it would be completely impossible to actually type on a keyboard that small. The artist was having fun by pretending computers would just get smaller without changing in any other way, when this clearly couldn't happen in real life.

about 3 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

SoftwareArtist Re: Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (612 comments)

It doesn't exist in anything. That's the point: mathematics is independent of any context. When we say a piece of mathematics "exists", what we really mean is that certain consequences follow from certain definitions. It doesn't matter whether anyone has yet derived those consequences, or whether anyone has written down those definitions, or even whether there exists a person who could write them down or a surface on which to write them. It still remains true that certain consequences follow from certain definitions. And "the universe", according to the MUH, is the consequence that follows from some (currently unknown) definition.

Here's the Wikipedia page on it: I tried to include that in my first post, but it looks like Slashdot beta has changed how you specify links. :(

about 4 months ago

Mathematical Proof That the Cosmos Could Have Formed Spontaneously From Nothing

SoftwareArtist Mathematical Universe Hypothesis (612 comments)

The best, and really only, answer I know for that question is the Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. It says the universe is a purely mathematical structure that exists in an abstract, logical sense because by definition, it must exist. That's a hard concept to wrap your brain around, but it's the only approach I know of with even a hint of being able to answer your question. It gives you existence without needing God, quantum fluctuations, or anything else to bootstrap it. And so far, it's the only game in town.

about 4 months ago



Petition to Reduce the Term of Copyrights

SoftwareArtist SoftwareArtist writes  |  more than 2 years ago

SoftwareArtist (1472499) writes "There's a petition up at to restore the term of copyrights back to what they were in 1976: a max of 58 years. We all love to complain about copyright law, so let's do something about it and complain to the people with power to change it. It needs 25,000 signatures by Feb. 20 to be guaranteed a response. For the Slashdot community, that should be easy! One petition won't change the law, but if we don't tell our elected representatives what we think, it will never change."


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