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Comments

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How Our Botched Understanding of "Science" Ruins Everything

Torodung Re:We like to feel smart (795 comments)

Watch his worshipful reboot of Cosmos, and you'll see plenty of it. Hero worship does not belong in a science class, even though that was the purpose of establishing Newton (and others) as an authority for the modern science movement (authority was a requirement for any field of study to be taken seriously in universities at the time.) This is where the concept of "scientific laws" comes from. The antiquated need for authority to please 19th century universities.

And why people who don't understand science, and that the whole "law" thing is mostly an anachronism, spout that, say evolution, is "just a theory." It's all a theory, and some of them are very well developed! There are no laws in science. None. It's baggage from the birth pains of the 19th century.

Science is ultimately anti-authoritarian, anti-heroic, or it doesn't work. Turning a "scientific genius" into a superman is right out. Science has no heroes, and hero worship has no place in science. Respect for the elegance of a theoretical framework is the closest we should come.

about a month ago
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Microsoft Tip Leads To Child Porn Arrest In Pennsylvania

Torodung Re:Really? (353 comments)

I always thought of "witch hunt" not as referring to the actual pursuit of those engaged in witchcraft (which is not imaginary, btw, only the idea that it works is imaginary, IMHO), but rather as referring to the drive to utterly crucify the subject of the hunt. BURN THEM, do not treat them as a human being, subject them to cruel and unusual punishment.

YMMV.

about 2 months ago
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Protesters Launch a 135-Foot Blimp Over the NSA's Utah Data Center

Torodung R.I.P. (104 comments)

Better that it should read "U.S. commerce R.I.P. No one will use our products again."

But that would mean one of those scrolly signs and a big-ass battery.

about 4 months ago
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How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

Torodung Re:Lets not rewrite history here (209 comments)

Could it have been the state of capacitive touch-screens at the time, and the failure to recognize the leaps those devices made since the release of the iPad.

It's possible they tested bleeding edge tech, and at the time the displays really weren't up to snuff yet for a smaller form factor.

I'm just speculating. Maybe someone who knows will reply. Touch has gotten a lot better, very quickly in my opinion.

about 4 months ago
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How Tim Cook Is Filling Steve Jobs's Shoes

Torodung Re:He's not filling Steve Jobs' shoes ... (209 comments)

Jobs made one good decision. His genius was in co-opting the music distribution business, when the traditional publishers had refused to budge on their outdated business models. He even served them a little DRM sandwich, knowing full well that the approach was doomed. Apple's entire success is based upon the well-established success of popular music, built by others, and the hidebound, half-witted way traditional music publishing approached it. The iPod was the gateway device. It lead directly to the iPhone's success, and through a superior iTunes performance, helped as a wedge to get people to buy Apple's overpriced computers. Without the iPod, iLife doesn't happen. Without its strength amongst actual musicians, and the knowledge that came from dealing with them, Apple's turnaround doesn't happen.

As an analogy, he's Bill Gates and IBM. He provided a market solution for a huge market someone else built, when the traditional industries were too inflexible to read the obvious writing on the wall. Just like IBM, and the PC clone revolution. And he was the only one with the insight to pursue it.

Was it genius? You decide. I think what he did was to beat out Microsoft, which actually believed in DRM solutions for content. They too, were affected by the music industry's stupid assumptions about the distribution of content in a digital age, and the ability to control it. Jobs realized DRM was doomed from the get-go.

He also got lucky with the timing, as mp3 players went from 32MB affairs to 2GB+ devices. Without that leap, the iPod would have been doomed.

Jobs knew music aficionados and producers (the real creative talent, not publishers) and acted upon that knowledge. He got lucky with the timing. That's about all he did. In my mind, everything else is fluff. Especially the bits about his brilliance in design. They're not very big shoes to fill.

about 4 months ago
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America 'Has Become a War Zone'

Torodung Excellent (875 comments)

I really want to see the new Blues Brothers movie that comes from this, where they combine the Illinois Nazi scene with the police chase, all set in Indiana!

Better yet, I want to see Elwood get one of these on police surplus.

about 4 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Inspired You To Start Hacking?

Torodung FORTRAN Super Star Trek (153 comments)

I had a green bar LPT printout of Super Star Trek in mf-ing FORTRAN that ran on a Prime minicomputer. I went to sleep studying that stack of paper.

Later on I got a C=64.

Modular grid based electronic sets, too. The kind where you could make your own radio by plugging in component cubes. I don't know what you'd actually call them so I made up a name.

about 5 months ago
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NSA Surveillance Reform Bill Passes House 303 Votes To 121

Torodung Deja Vu (208 comments)

This reminds me of the CAN SPAM act. Can our congress do nothing to control the smoke filled room policy making? I'm disgusted.

about 5 months ago
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The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

Torodung Re:Glad to hear ... (373 comments)

I think that statement would get through legal.

about 5 months ago
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The 69 Words GM Employees Can Never Say

Torodung Re:Common sense in email (373 comments)

Bring on the "right way." Please.

- Your Personal Injury Attorney

about 5 months ago
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What Was the Greatest Age For Indie Games?

Torodung Re:"Game as Art" (92 comments)

Osmos? That was a fascinating game based on fluid dynamics and orbits.

about 5 months ago
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XP Systems Getting Emergency IE Zero Day Patch

Torodung Re:WTF (179 comments)

Windows XP: Zombie Edition lives! IT'S ALIVE!

Either that or it's only "mostly dead" and MS is giving it a miracle pill.

about 6 months ago
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Zenimax Accuses John Carmack of Stealing VR Tech

Torodung This is how we lost "force feedback" (148 comments)

This is exactly the way "Force Feedback" products got thrown to the wolves. I hope it isn't a similar ending for VR headsets. This stuff has been tried for over a decade.

about 6 months ago
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Why Are We Made of Matter?

Torodung Re:Ah, antimatter (393 comments)

That brings to mind an idea: Maybe dark matter is antimatter, and the universe isn't as inscrutable as we think.

about 6 months ago
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NSA Confirms It Has Been Searching US Citizens' Data Without a Warrant

Torodung Re:This is (274 comments)

I think it's hilarious, because it's someone reading in a robot voice, not a robot voice. I am gleeful imagining the staff recording every single submission for a dopey 401 joke.

Somebody submit a manifesto, or something similarly huge.

about 7 months ago
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OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights

Torodung Re:April Fools stories are gay (1482 comments)

"Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions or beliefs, especially religious beliefs."

The American Heritage Dictionary

I'll see your dictionary, and raise you a politically motivated reference volume decided by fiat. The original "intolerance" was religious intolerance. Easy to forget, I suppose.

If you believe words have only one definition and you command it in a given discussion, you may be gravely mistaken. You are certainly not a useless human being, because there is no such thing outside of the confines of utter bigotry.

about 7 months ago
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Windows 9 Already? Apparently, Yes.

Torodung Re:Vista/7 (1009 comments)

Basically, they brought back the "Program Manager" with icons that require a lot more mouse movement on a desktop system. They undid an interface (start menu) that was going on 20 years old in order to bring back the paradigms of Windows 3.0.

about 9 months ago
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Bitcoin Inventor Satoshi Nakamoto Could Actually Be Group From Europe

Torodung Bitcoin story every day (186 comments)

Even when there's nothing to talk about, you can have a Bitcoin story on the Slashdot front page every day.

This isn't even "news for nerds," it's Usenet-style speculation for the terminally bored.

about 10 months ago
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Employee Morale Is Suffering At the NSA

Torodung Re:problem is (841 comments)

Even more fundamentally obvious, the number of toys and troops, and their vast overarching deployments, creates an atmosphere that inevitably leads to wars. This is opportunity presenting itself to the military, and wars of opportunity. Let alone how it benefits the military industrial complex to have our military in such positions of opportunity.

If we have troops deployed globally, as we do now, the likelihood of elective war, even global war, goes up exponentially. It's what keeps such military geopolitics sustainable. In short: Weapons have a tendency to go off. It's what defines them as weapons. The idea of a deterrent force is an oxymoron and a myth.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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Duke University leaves Usenet for good

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "

On May 20, Duke will shut down its Usenet server, which provides access to a worldwide electronic discussion network of newsgroups started in 1979 by two Duke graduate students, Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis.

Given the size and scope of Usenet, this is more of a footnote, but the article at Duke Today online has all sorts of interesting trivia, pictures, and an homage to this vibrant but ailing medium, including a brief trivia quiz about the Usenet."
Link to Original Source

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'EULA-like' Issues Extended To Medical Forms

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "In his InfoWorld 'Gripelog,' Ed Foster tells an interesting story about medical privacy. A colonoscopy patient is given a form with fine print that implies a contractual agreement, which Foster compares to click-agreement EULA's. 'The [patient] decided not to submit the form.'

'The more the reader thought about the form (along with all the worries and stresses of prepping for a colonosocpy) (sic), the less he liked it. "Why would they need my Social Security number?" he wondered. "Is this a genuine request for medical information or some kind of marketing thing or even an identity theft scam? To have my SSN, date of birth and all this other information on a form that will be passed from hand to hand around a hospital and who knows what other organizations is VERY questionable."

To summarize: The only reason the patient knew there was a privacy concern at all was because the HIPAA act required boilerplate text stating that he was entering an agreement, but the terms of his agreement, and indeed that it was not mandatory, was left ambiguous."
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Comcast takes high road - proposes self regulation

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "In a recent move, Comcast has proposed a 'P2P Bill of Rights,' joining the ranks of every great monopoly when threatened by government regulation for alleged misbehavior. They have instead proposed comprehensive industry self-regulation and cooperation with major P2P software vendors as a lesser evil:

Comcast is looking to further position itself as proactively — and responsibly — addressing the issue of managing peer-to-peer traffic that traverses its network, announcing Tuesday it will lead an industry-wide effort to create a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" for users and Internet service providers.
It will be interesting to see how this story develops."
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Warning: Vista gadgets a potential malware vector

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "This in, from the Microsoft Technet Flash newsletter:

A final security note: If you are running Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets, they are subject to cross-site scripting style bugs. These bugs are extremely serious because script in the Sidebar is capable of running arbitrary code in the context of the locally logged-on user. This article outlines some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets. Check out Inspect Your Gadget for some of the secure programming best practices that should be considered when building Windows Vista Sidebar Gadgets.
In summary, badly coded Gadgets are a potential spyware/malware vector in the Windows operating system, as ActiveX and BHO's were previously, and Gadget input needs to be scrubbed for the same URI problems that Firefox recently fixed in v2.0.0.6, amongst other pitfalls. If you use Vista, you need to keep a careful eye on your Gadgets, and if you code a Gadget, the linked article gives some "best practices" to avoid becoming part of the problem."
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Crewmen 3 Sheets To the Wind Before Entering Orbit

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung (31985) writes "The BBC (and many others) reports that, on at least two separate occasions, astronauts were cleared for shuttle launch while "so intoxicated... that flight surgeons and-or fellow astronauts raised concerns... regarding flight safety." Not good.

In other news, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton's applications to NASA were flatly rebuffed. Sorry, it's a cheap joke, but NASA coverage is starting to look less like the science page and more like the entertainment page these days."
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Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung writes "Well, some more grist for the mill in the Apple iPod/Vista story. ComputerWorld reports that Microsoft just released a patch to keep Windows Vista from scrambling users' iPods and addressed some similar issues with Cannon cameras as well. From the article:

Earlier this month, Apple updated iTunes to Version 7.1.1 to patch several Vista-related problems, but left others — including the Safely Remove Hardware bug — unfixed. At the time, Apple said it was "actively working with Microsoft to resolve a few remaining known issues." It had also recommended that users select the Eject iPod option on the iTunes Controls menu to remove an iPod from a Vista PC's USB port.
(Be the first to tag this "defectivebydesign" and win a free lollipop!)"
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Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Torodung writes "*NOT FOR PUBLICATION* 6:26GMT 11/08/06 IE Tab extension is suddenly running very slowly on my computer for no apparent reason on every site. I downloaded an update as a result (v1.20.20061106). Same issue. When I use the function to launch IE in its own browser from Firefox, it is quick as ever. It only happens when I launch it in embedded in Firefox 1.5.0.8. Embedded IE works *fine* elsewhere, in my Weatherbug window, for instance. I suspect Microsoft is at the heart of this (in fact, I was wondering when they'd get around to it) and am wondering if anyone else has reported this issue, or if someone has a link to an article about it. Didn't know how to get in touch with you guys otherwise, but it's definitely a scoop if my suspicions are correct. I'm sorry I don't have a link or anything substantive to add. Consider this a "tip" instead of an article. If there's a good email addy I can use to get in touch with the community to report such things, rather than the story submission channel, please accept my apologies for being a moron and direct my tired eyes to the appropriate place. Thanks. — Toro"

Journals

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Virtual Law - Common Law Does Not Apply On Your Computer

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 6 years ago

IANAL, but I know a lot about copyright law, because I am an avid PC gamer. I'm no expert, but it's more than I want to know. Perhaps I'm too inquiring, but it seems to me that it's impossible to be a computer gamer these days, whilst remaining a thinking, independent American (I'm a citizen), without running up against this aspect of law every day.

The problem is, it isn't U.S. law that's reflected on my machine. It is virtual law, and the legislation comes in the form of whatever arbitrary certification and copy control software publishers and software makers choose to saddle me with. I don't have a choice, nor representation (unless I buy their stock), and it doesn't conform to consumer law in the real world in the slightest.

[this is a stub for an article I'm working on]

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What does Torodung mean?

Torodung Torodung writes  |  more than 7 years ago

What does Torodung mean? Ostensibly, it means "bullshit." It was a joke god I had invented for Dungeons and Dragons, but I never sent it off to Dragon magazine.

Torodung was the god of bullshit, and his clerics could cast great boons like "Check shit out," "Pinch Loaves and Water," "Crap, 10' radius," "Brownstorm," "Hit the fan" or the ominous "Powerful shit." They were all Chaotic Neutral, and behaving like you were bonkers was a requirement of the Cult of Torodung. It was low brow humor to be sure, and more quirky than funny.

I took the name, because I was creating a sample account, but somehow wound up actually using it. The avatar I choose when I am Torodung is the nether half of a cow.

I am a technologist and an operator, a person who couldn't stand the idea of poring over pages of code just to find the semi-colon that was out of place. I decided to work on making computer software work , even though I was a promising coder. I just couldn't deal with debugging. Too much fine print.

I am an amateur linguist, and describe myself politically as a "liberal conservative." If you consider that an oxymoron, you should consider looking at a dictionary, because the two are not mutually exclusive. For most intents and purposes, the simpler description is that I am a libertarian, with no particular party affiliation, though I loathe the Republicans more than I loathe the Democrats. That is faint but damning praise. I don't think either party represents anything but their own interests any more.

Oh, and yes, I'm an arrogant American who didn't think of mentioning that until this point. I reside in the Chicagoland area (Illinois).

Greets.

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