Beta
×

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!

Comments

top

Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (581 comments)

Ah! Good, you do know how to qualify your statements. I like the way you have backed off from declaring that parallel evolution is impossible, and now say it is extremely unlikely. Good for you. Now learn to say it the correct way the first time.

There are always alternative hypotheses that may be true. Any theory is never more than a best guess, that could be wrong. If you are totally sure about something, you are not doing science, you are doing belief.

Healthy belief systems are valuable and need at least as much pruning and nurturing as scientific theories. But do not conflate the two: they are different.

yesterday
top

Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (581 comments)

There is nothing so absurd as the phrase "science denier". So sorry my earlier post rattled your cage. Go back to sleep, comfortable in your belief in Science and that everything proposed as a theory must be true, because everybody-- except the real scientists-- say it is.

yesterday
top

Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Only YEC denies it (581 comments)

I'll grant that the Pope is stepping away from the old doctrine that the Creator was like some guy in a toy shop putting together the Universe like a kid with a giant set of Legos putting together something a little bit complex. That's a big step. It begins the process of healing the rift between the Catholic churches (and all the Protestant and evangelical spin-offs) and the Gnostics and other panentheists (with their understanding that Deity might reside within the Creation, rather than there being some kind of barrier between us lowly earthern creatures and the heavenly beings).

But the Big Bang of science is not understood as something that happened separately from some heavenly realm that exists independent of it. The Big Bang states that the Universe gave birth to itself, and by implication gave birth to any gods or other form of Deity that may be around today. It is going to take a great many more steps before the Roman Catholic Church will be able to accept that premise. And it will have to apologize for persecuting a lot of the heretics it has created, starting with the Gnostics, on its way to that acceptance. However there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus or in that covenant that conflicts with a Big Bang approach to spirituality. The understanding of Jesus would shift a little-- Big Bang Christianity would necessarily become more tolerant for one thing-- but it is not unreasonable to think that institutions, including religions, should evolve along with the rest of the Universe.

yesterday
top

Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (581 comments)

The Bible explains nothing in nature and no amount of re-interpreting changes that fact.

Except of course the book of Ezekiel and Erich von Daniken.

Not saying the Pope should begin the beatification process for von Daniken. But von Daniken was right in recognizing that the limitations of the language and mental maps of the bible's writers needs to be taken into account when trying to process biblical books within a contemporary frame of thought.

Plus, von Daniken was the first to describe a quadcopter. That's got to be worth something.

If only the Time Lords had imposed a ban against visiting the Middle East during the biblical period, there would be a lot fewer miracles for us to fret over. Blame all this Creationism hoohahrah on Doctor Who.

yesterday
top

Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right

Will.Woodhull Re:Tip of the iceberg (581 comments)

Unless they populated Earth with every single lifeform, that wouldn't be possible, since all lifeforms have a single family tree.

There is nothing quite like watching someone argue against a belief system with a piece of an opposing belief.

yesterday
top

Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Will.Woodhull Re:Bennett on e-commerce (275 comments)

The success that MS attained in the server market was pretty much entirely due to their closed ecosystem and the need for any institution whose secretaries were using Windows to use MS servers as well. In short, MS was able to leverage its GUI interface in a way that limited any of its customers from using a non-MS server OS.

In contrast to this, in areas where the Windows interface had no influence (think web page servers and HTTP protocol), Linux distros emerged quickly as the front runners, and are clearly the dominate force by any measure other than sales dollars.

MS' revenues going from $25b to $60b under Ballmer was mostly due to the stranglehold monopolistic closed ecosystem that Gates built, before he gave Microsoft as a plaything to Ballmer, his buddy.

4 days ago
top

Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Will.Woodhull Re:Bennett on e-commerce (275 comments)

True enough, MS was profitable under Ballmer.

But more to the point, all that profit came from positive inertia of business decisions made before Ballmer became the Lord High Mukkimuck of the Evil Empire. It is hard to identify any strategy that the potty-mouthed, chair-throwing, murder-threatening monkey dancer initiated that was successful on its own merits. Very hard. The guy was given the reins of the most potent fire breathing profit-making dragon that ever stomped through the free marketplace and he rode it down until it was on its knees, out of steam, exuding only smoke and no more fire. He never fed the beast, nor did he steer it toward new lands to conquer. Nothing Ballmer initiated contributed a significant percentage to MS' profits.

Coming back to the point of this TFA, I don't see where a failed CEO's opinion of Amazon's business model has much value.

4 days ago
top

Ballmer Says Amazon Isn't a "Real Business"

Will.Woodhull Re:The US tech industry (275 comments)

.

Trouble is that Ballmer is just a dicksplat dickhead tosser with a gob that is itching to be filled with concrete along with very fetching matching wellies :-) ..

.

Really?

I thought he was the potty-mouthed, chair-throwing, murder-threatening monkey dancer.

Oh wait... I guess those two descriptions are not mutually exclusive...

.

.

4 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

Will.Woodhull Re:in favor of "space suits" (367 comments)

The makeshift ebola suits currently in use are epic fail. Persons highly trained in their use have come down with ebola. Probably because the protocols for getting in and out of the suits are so difficult that the protocols themselves are broken, they simply do not work.

Paul Allen-- bless him!-- has just donated $100 million to the ebola effort. But more significantly, he is spearheading the development of a medevac system that will handle medical personnel in Africa who may have been exposed to ebola.

What we need is someone of Paul Allen's stature to design and deploy an effective ebola suit. This would probably be a spacesuit that would protect its occupant from an environment so hostile to life that any ebola on its surface would not survive. It would be used in conjunction with that hostile environment. For example, a suit that would allow a health worker to stand in a bonfire for 15 minutes, or walk through a deadly chemical fog chamber. It needs to be built and used in such a way that getting into and out of it can be done easily, while assuring that any ebola virus on its surface is 100% destroyed.

There is no government agency or institution that could take this on. This is on the scale of a Manhattan Project-- except much worse since we don't have years to do the work. We need something useable in months. So we need someone with the resources and know-how to develop this new technology on a fast track. Burt Rutan. Bill Gates. Maybe Warren Buffett. Someone of that caliber.

I hope someone is stepping up to take this on. Developing an effective ebola suit would be a magnificent legacy. It would put one in company with medical greats like Pasteur, Lister, Fleming, and Salk.

5 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

Will.Woodhull Re:in favor of "space suits" (367 comments)

Very true. However places where beams might drop on you are also places where somebody's hammer, spanner, or bucket of bolts might drop on you. A hard hat makes a lot sense in those places.

5 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

Will.Woodhull Re:my thoughts (367 comments)

Parent post has done an excellent job of summarizing the WHO and CDC statements about the ebola risk. Let me now take this to the next step and put it into terms that are more commonly used on slashdot, the streets, and just about everywhere else in the real world:

If there is no one around you who has ebola, then you are not at risk of being infected. If there is someone around you who has ebola, then you should wear a space suit. If within the last couple of hours no one with ebola has been on the subway platform or the elevator or the taxi, or has handled the coins you are getting as change for your Starbucks frappacino, then you don't have to worry about getting infected.

So it all comes down to simply making sure that you know the status and history of every person and object you come into contact with. Not such a big deal, eh?

5 days ago
top

NY Doctor Recently Back From West Africa Tests Positive For Ebola

Will.Woodhull Re:Bennett Haselton on the Ebola outbreak (367 comments)

So we are now living in a Lewis Carroll world: "I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true."

If indeed there was no risk to anyone until the good doctor decided he was beginning to show symptoms, then why is so much money (and other, more valuable than money, resources) being used to trace down all who might have had contact with him? It would seem that the authorities are not as confident about the risks of transmission during the silent incubation period as they would want the public to believe.

5 days ago
top

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Will.Woodhull Re:All that money... (167 comments)

Of course horseshit is just the thing to attract more people to your point of view.

Your slashdot id is low enough to suggest that you are older than 15. So perhaps it is time to learn to argue like an adult.

about a week ago
top

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Will.Woodhull Re:Oooh ... formally promised ... (167 comments)

Wait. You're trusting investors and stockholders... to ensure that the company sticks to their profitibility-limiting "benefit corp" goals?

Yes, that seems to be the case.

...investors and stockholders, whose primary goal is to make money...

No, that qualifying phrase does not fit. Investors and stockholders whose primary goal is to make money should be doing something else than involving themselves in a benefit corporation. They also shouldn't be putting a lot of money into Friends Of Trees, endowments of the arts, historical preservation societies, etc.

Benefit corporations are not a part of capitalism. They are not free market entities. Like the FOSS movement that has provided you with the benefits of Linux (which runs the servers of most of the websites you visit), benefit corporations are part of the emerging post-capitalist gift economy.

But I fear that now I may have given some of my readers headaches by jamming into their heads a couple of concepts that are too big for their skulls to contain.

about a week ago
top

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Will.Woodhull Re:Oooh ... formally promised ... (167 comments)

That might be a concern. But I am not addressing that.

Your original comment neglected to mention one pertinent fact: that there is a form of monitoring and control of benefit corporations. My earlier comment only addressed that deficiency.

Whether benefit corporations could actually work as intended is an entirely different issue. I don't have an answer to that. Neither do you. There are not enough data available yet to make any kind of reasoned judgment.

But that does not excuse the deliberate withholding of information just so you can make noise for your opinion. This is slashdot. It is not yet a backroom of Fox News. A modest suggestion: when attempting to push your point of view, find someone else to emulate rather than Rush Limbaugh.

about a week ago
top

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Will.Woodhull Re:Oooh ... formally promised ... (167 comments)

Either poster of parent did not bother to read further, or he is deliberately withholding information (a very nasty form of trolling).

Benefit corporations are required in their Annual Report to stockholders to address their progress toward their stated goals, and their conformance with stated restrictions on activities. These reports are audited the same way any corporation's annual reports are audited.

It is up to the stockholders to use this information to decide whether the corporation's board of directors needs to be replaced, or the company be dissolved, etc. So there is as much control on benefit corporations as on any other corporation, with that control in the hands of the stockholders.

I can't see any other way this could be done. The concept is too new to say whether it will actually work, but the theory looks sound.

about a week ago
top

Ello Formally Promises To Remain Ad-Free, Raises $5.5M

Will.Woodhull Re:All that money... (167 comments)

Any typesetter will tell you that the choice of font is important to getting your message across.

Ello's choice of a mono sans-serif font is significant for indicating that their message is a simple but powerful one. And that they are significantly different from their competitors.

Volkswagen in the 1970s used the same approach to emphasize that their vehicles were so different from USA cars that you could not measure their performance using the same yardstick. Volkswagen was all about mpg and economy when USA car makings were competing on creature comforts and acceleration. Ello's choice of font is emphasizing that its product should not be judged with the same criteria that Facebook wants you to use.

The danger with Ello's choice of font is that if used in conveying any message that is not simple, like instructions or an argument about the evils of advertising, many readers may feel like they are being treated as grade schoolers, and be turned off by the typesetting. Time will tell whether Ello will avoid that pitfall. Hopefully they have already chosen a proportional font for lengthier prose.

about a week ago
top

The Physics of Why Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Will.Woodhull Re:Why Cold Fusion (or something like it) Is Real (350 comments)

So there can be no such thing as climate science then?

If reproducibility is a criterion of science in one field, then you must apply it to every other "scientific" field. So you would be wise to evaluate the semantics of your statements.

Cold fusion seems improbable. But to say it is impossible is to step beyond the limitations of science.

about two weeks ago
top

White House Wants Ideas For "Bootstrapping a Solar System Civilization"

Will.Woodhull Re:How about... (352 comments)

Republicans.

Tell them the space program is an effort to protect the one percent from ebola, and to get away from all them do-gooder, pesky Democrats. And all them immigrants. That would shake the money tree.

about two weeks ago
top

Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Will.Woodhull Re:Just tell me (463 comments)

Yes, you are expressing an alternative view, and you are certainly welcome to do that. I do not welcome your attempt to shout down any disagreement with your personal world view, but I recognize that is a not uncommon irrational response when something about your world view is important, and you cannot think of a rational response. There is a four year old in each of us.

The "facts" you cite are disputable. Some of them are just plain wrong. For instance, this is not the same virus as "what has been around since the 70s"; this is a new variant.

You demonstrate a lot more faith in the first world's ability to meet a possible global pandemic than I personally think is reasonable. How much of that faith is hubris? No need to answer; hubris is one of those labels that can only be applied after a disaster. By its very nature, hubris is blind to itself.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

top

Wanted: ebola-proof suits and/or terrestrial robots

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  about two weeks ago

Will.Woodhull (1038600) writes "An open letter to the greatest philanthropists of our time:

Ebola is going to be an increasingly important thing in our lives for at least a couple of decades. An infection with a +70% mortality rate that is on an exponential growth curve is not going to be contained and eradicated any time soon. We are going to live with it, and some of us are likely to die from it, for years to come

We need something similar to a spacesuit to replace the protective garments that care givers are currently wearing. The suit needs to be immune to agents that can be used to assure disinfection of all its exposed surfaces. For instance, the wearer might need to be able to walk through an intense microwave chamber, or a massive bon fire, and probably through fog chambers of antivirus chemicals without being affected, and without destroying the suit's re-useability. The suit would also need to provide a good interior environment, including cooling, sip tubes for hydration and feeding, etc. Last, it should be bullet proof, since in many environments where it would be used there would be persons who would be willing to kill for the apparent advantages the suit might seem to provide. Finally, it needs to be mass produced: everyone involved in healthcare delivery should have one at hand.

Any well built ebola proof suit is likely to be a good basis for designing a spacesuit. Even in the unlikely event that we find some way to get rid of ebola in the next few months, the work done on the ebola suit would be of benefit.

Would someone like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, or Warren Buffet take this project on? We need these suits-- like literally yesterday when you think of the number of health care providers who have died from ebola, and some of those deaths have even been among persons who have the best possible gear now available, and the very best training in how to use it."
top

A weighty comic: xkcd on gravity wells

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Will.Woodhull writes "xkcd's comic for today is a wonderful description of the solar system in terms of gravity wells. Don't miss it!

It does raise a couple of questions: how accurate are the numbers (can we trust our comics in this day and age)? should this be incorporated into K-12 schooling? And what's with those Titanics: it seems like like they are singing a Frank Sinatra lyric with their lungs full of helium?"

Link to Original Source

Journals

top

First Entry

Will.Woodhull Will.Woodhull writes  |  more than 5 years ago

I was active on Slashdot from June, 2002 to about a month ago as MysticGoat, account #582871.

I am continuing from this time forward with this account, under a nickname that is very close to my name in real life.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?