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Is Germany Raising a Generation of Illiterates?

Toad-san Re:Is something being casually elided here? (425 comments)

I watched part of "12 Years A Slave" last night.

The difference between the vocabulary and grammar of the uneducated slaves and that of the character Solomon Northup was striking.

Neither grammar nor spelling will be "picked up by exposure." Both are a discipline, and a discipline takes work.

Sorry, "teachers", we aren't giving you a slide on this one. Do your job, make the kids do their job. Teach, learn.


NSA Allegedly Exploited Heartbleed

Toad-san Finally! (149 comments)

"and today's xkcd has the "for dummies" depiction of how it works."

Thank you, thank you, thank you! At last I get it. So simple. So fiendishly simple.

3 days ago

Algorithm Challenge: Burning Man Vehicle Exodus

Toad-san Re:Enforcement (273 comments)

I'd personally recommend Molotov cocktails.

But then everyone would want to slow down and stare at the burning vehicles, and that would just compound the problem.

about two weeks ago

Why Darmok Is a Good Star Trek: TNG Episode

Toad-san Re:Troi (512 comments)

I was wondering about that too. Are they overly fixated on Troi? Or hugely disappointed about What Might Have Been?

about two weeks ago

Tesla Model S Gets Titanium Underbody Shield, Aluminum Deflector Plates

Toad-san Re:That *is* funny! (314 comments)

Agreed, kind of funny. Looking at the videos at the link, it's obvious to me though: that large metal screw that pops out is a critical weak link in the entire vehicle. Why, armadillos could DIE if they were hit by a screw being ejected like that!

I wonder if film of a Tesla running over an antitank mine is next.

about three weeks ago

What Fire and Leakage At WIPP Means For Nuclear Waste Disposal

Toad-san Re:Fucking NIMBYs (154 comments)

Depends on what you consider damage. I submit that the tank and vehicle tracks left in desert areas during WW II exercises 70 bloody years ago might still be visible .. but I hardly consider them damage. You'll have to prove the value of "desert pavement" to me first. And your claim that deserts are "extremely valuable to the planet" is questionable too. I submit that the Gobi Desert was a lot more useful to the dinosaurs fossilized there when it was green and lovely than it's been for the past dozens of millions of years.

about three weeks ago

AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

Toad-san You Pay For What You Use (466 comments)

They're all missing the main point, the bottom line, the simple solution:

The customer (that's you, the Internet user) pays for what he uses. Bandwidth, total gigabytes, whatever. You wanna watch Netflix? No problem, Bunky: pay for it. ALL of it, including the bandwidth you gobble while viewing.

Your subscription to Netflix pays them for their procurement, storage and upload costs. Your subscription to AT&T (or whoever your ISP is) pays for your download bandwidth.

Simple. I don't know why they're making this so hard.

about three weeks ago

It Was the Worst Industrial Disaster In US History, and We Learned Nothing

Toad-san Re:Don't forget Duke Energy (290 comments)

Maybe not. The complaints and hugely embarrassing (too obvious?) political fixes have finally drawn in a Federal grand jury .. for what that's worth.


I'm in Nawth Ca'lina; hope something works out. I wonder if anyone has a clue as to how to clean a river once it's been polluted by sludge like this? Vacuum the bottom?

about a month ago

Cameras On Cops: Coming To a Town Near You

Toad-san Re:Just try to do the same (264 comments)

Actually, a lot of laws are being changed to permit just this. And a lot of police departments, officials, etc. are losing their jobs when they interfere with this.

It's not perfect, not by a long shot, but it IS getting better. And a good thing too, IMHO.

about 1 month ago

How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole

Toad-san Re:The answer? (108 comments)

An RTG wouldn't produce any waste, being completely self-contained. The Soviets used them for years to power lighthouses and other remote sites, as did the USAF.


The objection might be price, since I have no idea how much a 100W or 200W RTG would cost. But you'd save all the manpower costs and risks of having to build something, they're quite tough and immune to most meteorological conditions, and easily replaced at the end of their life cycles (10 years in the case of the most common Soviet ones).

As I understand it, no one says you can't have a nuclear power plant (especially an RTG) in Antarctica. McMurdo had one for a decade (albeit with problems).


So these RTG's should do just fine .. if they can afford it.

about a month ago

Japan Marks 3rd Anniversary of Tsunami Disaster

Toad-san The Japanese Invasion? Better Do Your Homework (77 comments)

Study what you know nothing about.


"Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan; the number exceeded that of all American military casualties of the 65 years following the end of World War II, including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock."

That's right: we're STILL awarding Purple Heart medals manufactured for that invasion.

about a month ago

NASA Forgets How To Talk To ICE/ISEE-3 Spacecraft

Toad-san No funding? No problem! (166 comments)

A friend suggested they just make the specs open source. Someone will build it :-)

about a month and a half ago

Inside Chris Anderson's Open-Source Drone Factory

Toad-san But For Practical Jokes ... (56 comments)

Perhaps it wouldn't be completely infeasible to consider a large fixed-wing model aircraft (like a C-130 model?) programmed to autonomously land on an aircraft carrier? One nice and stable and stationary, like in Norfolk Naval Yard? With an onboard video camera transmitting to an external recorder of course, since the Navy probably wouldn't have much of a sense of humor about this sort of thing and you might not want to ask for it back.

Sure would make for a hell of a Youtube video though :-)

Not that I'm suggesting anyone try anything like that, of course, having no wish to visit Guantanamo (despite the friendly moose).

about a month and a half ago

Doctors Say New Pain Pill Is "Genuinely Frightening"

Toad-san Yep, A Real Ethical Problem (294 comments)

IF you're one dead-set on controlling others and their lives. Me, I'm a firm believer in "Darwin Rules". Make sure the truth is out there (e.g., if it's addictive like other medications that one horror story above describes). But if some damned fool is set on destroying his life (and possibly his liver, teeth, eyes, brain, etc.) with drug abuse .. hey .. I'm not standing in his way, not for a minute.

about a month and a half ago

Scientists Study Permian Mass Extinction Event As Lesson For 21st Century

Toad-san Re:Has anyone noticed... (235 comments)

I fully agree. And, whatever you do, don't start any damned mass extinctions, okay?

about 2 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Games Are You Playing?

Toad-san World of Warcraft (669 comments)

Yes, still .. for 4-5 years now, and still enjoying it.

Years ago I used to enjoy the various "giant walking machine" sorts of games (MechWarrior and the like), the multi-user online MMOG ones. But the hackers and cheats spoiled them for me. I played Warbirds (a fairly realistic MMOG WW II flight sim) for years, until game changes and a loss of other users made it too boring. Battleground Europe, another MMOG (you see the pattern now?) was fun for a year, me and my trusty German antitank gun :-) But the game became non-fun for a solo player like myself and I dropped out of it too. Tried Star Wars: The Old Republic, too rigid and structured despite interesting graphics. Played World of Tanks for a while because of its highly realistic tank models and interesting terrain .. but the player interaction and totally silly "tactics" drove me away. Just couldn't get into Eve, despite its huge popularity.

Although I play solo in almost all my games (I'm not very social), I enjoy having other players around, the unexpected things that happen, even the occasional social intercourse. So I prefer the online multiplayer games rather than solo console games on my PC. However I'm not young and my reflexes are not as they once were, so these "twitch" shooter games are right out: no way I'm going to compete or even survive with the 14-year-old players. And if the game is a bloody trivia contest of things you must memorize, hugely complicated User Interfaces and keyboard commands .. fageddaboudit. I'm not spending my bloody LIFE on this thing, you know.

So I'm sticking with World of Warcraft. Thanks, Blizzard: you done good. And nothing in the game's turned me off yet.

about 2 months ago

Britain's Eastern Coast Yields Oldest Human Footprints Outside Africa

Toad-san Shennanigans? (120 comments)

I haven't walked the seashore. I haven't examined the sediments (and never will now, apparently). I'm certainly not the bearer of an archeology sheepskin from some exalted university.

But ...



Does anyone see more than two prints in any sort of logical and likely walking pattern? You know, one in front of the other, left foot, right foot? No, I didn't think so.

"Of the 50 or so examples recorded, only around a dozen were reasonably complete - and only two showed the toes in detail. Tragically, although a full photogrammetric and photographic record has been made, all but one of the prints were rapidly destroyed by incoming tides before they could be physically lifted."

That's odd: EVERY bare foot print I've ever seen clearly showed the toes (even Bigfoot's!). And how curious, that "footprints" cast in rock-hard sediment that has survived for a million years beside a seaside that's repeatedly changed depth over the milleniums .. suddenly are totally and almost completely destroyed by the very next incoming tide? How .. unfortunate.

The Happisburgh geology (readily available with the most trivial search) also does not support this. The beach surfaces and their underlying sedimentary structure are NOT a million years old.


No, I'm sorry, I'm not buying this. Someone was seeing what they wanted to see.

about 2 months ago

Snowden Used Software Scraper, Say NSA Officials

Toad-san Re:Wow... (227 comments)

Yep, that's how I'd do it, if I had access to those kinds of networks and an overwhelming curiousity (or suspicion). Not that I'd ever do anything like that of course [glances over shoulder] .. or even think of harming one of our most valuable national assets [glances at black helicopter over trees and discounts] ...

Excuse me, there's someone at the ...

about 2 months ago



SciFi Author Frederick Pohl Dies At 93

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  about 7 months ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "From the New York Times (and my local paper):

"Frederik Pohl, whose passion for science fiction while growing up in Brooklyn led to a distinguished career as one of its most literate and politically sophisticated practitioners, though one who was skeptical about attempts to perfect society through scientific means, died on Monday. He was 93.""

Link to Original Source

Harry Harrison, the Stainless Steel Rat: Sayonara

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  about a year and a half ago

Toad-san (64810) writes ""R.I.P. Harry Harrison, creator of the Stainless Steel Rat, Bill the Galactic Hero, and Soylent Green
Charlie Jane Anders

If Harry Harrison had only created "Slippery" Jim DiGriz, the roguish hero of the Stainless Steel Rat books, he would deserve a high place in science fiction history. But he also wrote dozens of other novels, including the hilarious Bill the Galactic Hero saga, the proto-Steampunk classic A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!, and the novel that became the movie Soylent Green, Make Room! Make Room!.

Amazingly, Harrison kept writing great novels, with the last Stainless Steel Rat book coming out just two years ago. He died today, aged 87, according to his official website. No details are yet known.""

Link to Original Source

Google Safety Feature Breaks Google!

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "Happening now: Search Google for anything, anything at all. Like "readyboost". Click on any of the Google selections (something nice and safe, like wikipedia): http://www.google.com/interstitial?url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReadyBoost See that "interstitial" part? That's Google screening the site for dangers. And guess what? Yeah, every single steenking site in the Known Universe is now a threat. And the Google warning page won't let you go on! What you do is edit the first part (through "interstitial?url=" off, leaving just the actual second HTTP: URL, the actual search target. Silly bastiges. I've sent off a rocket to Google, for what that's worth."

Why No Legal Action Against Smitfraud

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "We have to wipe and restore perhaps a dozen PCs a week after they've been infected with Smitfraud (or one of its clones). And dozens more have various infections and malware (mostly "blackmailware" or "extortionware", where the user has been fooled by a popup on the web somewhere (usually warning him that his computer is infected and vulnerable), has clicked on a window to "download the best possible fix to your computer infection", and has now infected his previously clean system.

It's obvious who's doing it; the money trail would be simple to follow. (They all want money, of course.) And indeed EVERY pop-up ad and piece of spam has a sponsor, someone who's paying the gangsters to do it.

So why aren't the authorities doing anything about it? These PC owners are suffering real losses, real costs, I'm sure amounting to millions of dollars annually. Yet the FBI and others aren't interested?

Seems strange to me. I really would rather not make money like this.


NY Times Fooled by Syria Attack Photoshopping?

Toad-san Toad-san writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Toad-san (64810) writes "Remember the NY Times photos of the supposed Syrian nuclear plant site the Israelis were supposed to have bombed? Article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/27/world/middleeast/27syria.html?_r=1&oref=slogin Well, our boys at AGW (a Warbirds forum) discussed, investigated, and wondered. And one of the boys did a great overlay, comparing the two (pre-strike and post-strike) images. And guess what? Yep .. same image, apparently photoshopped. Gotta love it. Discussion thread is here (hope it doesn't get slashdotted): http://agw.bombs-away.net/showthread.php?t=69581 And the animated overlay graphic is here: http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c161/Naja — /lesson-gif.gif Now to see how humble the NY Times becomes, when some bleedin' amateurs outdo the serious analysts. Toad-san (who's looked at a few aerial and satellite photos in his time)"


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