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Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

argStyopa Re:This means ice is melting (593 comments)

Last I heard, the catastrophe FUD from the AGW ecomarxists was that mostly everyone's going to die from it anyway.

So really, most of them won't.

6 hours ago

ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

argStyopa Re:they will defeat themselves (729 comments)

You link one paper from Harvard on "why terrorism doesn't work".
I'll refute that by pointing to:
1) 8 guys sneaking onto planes with boxcutters and crashing them into buildings is terrorism
2) 15000 psychos taking over chunks of country with astonishing brutality is not terrorism (as referenced in that paper), and 'thousands of psychos taking crap over' HAS worked* repeatedly through human history; from the "Barbarian invasions" of Roman times, to the Huns, the Mongols)

*maybe not in the longest scales, but certainly enough to enmiserate a generation or three.

6 hours ago

Ask Slashdot: Have You Experienced Fear Driven Development?

argStyopa it's not a coding thing (205 comments)

Fdd isn't a coding thing, it's a shitty-manager thing.

And that's in every business everywhere.

I might have said that as coding drops down the labor ladder (ie the margins become tighter, profits less, that such muggy be more common...but at least in my case, some of the tiniest post little companies I worked for had some great managers, and the great wealthy ones had more assholes....So no, I'd guess that it's universal.

13 hours ago

Extent of Antarctic Sea Ice Reaches Record Levels

argStyopa Re:This means ice is melting (593 comments)

So just to be clear, then:

Ice Forms: global warming
Ice Melts: global warming
Dog crapped on my sidewalk: global warming
My shoe is untied: global warming

2 days ago

Ask Slashdot: What To Do After Digitizing VHS Tapes?

argStyopa There is no "safe" solution, only "safer" (263 comments)

Any medium will ultimately fail, over long enough spans of time.
Further, just the transcribing process itself has chances of introducing errors.

- back them up to the cloud. That's about the closest thing you're going to get to "permanent" storage, as you're outsourcing your (individual) chance of hardware failure to some online entity that (at least allegedly) backs up things redundantly across multiple methods, and/or
- just stop being OCD about it. At a certain point, trying to 'preserve' things forever just becomes silly. If you have the only unique recording of some substantial historical event, that's one thing. If it's your child's first steps, understand that while that might be important to you and maybe even to them, nobody else cares about it. Really. While losing it would be sad, it wouldn't be tragic. After all, there are billions of person-years of lives that have vanished, unrecorded, and life goes on.

2 days ago

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

argStyopa So essentially (290 comments)

Google can comply with the ruling by simply un-checking the 'automated response'.

So your emails vanish into a black hole, *never to be responded to*, rather than you getting something confirming (what you suspect) that nobody will ever read it.

Is that really better?
Having dealt with "customer service" (seriously, I can barely say that with a straight face) with German companies for years, suddenly things make a lot more sense, however.

5 days ago

Link Between Salt and High Blood Pressure 'Overstated'

argStyopa Re:Eat real foods, mostly veg, not too much (291 comments)

This would be sort of a que sera sera thing except for the pervasive role of government today coupled with the speed of information. The impact of a fad-belief on a single population will normally be along a distribution curve, probably directly relateable to how much it contradicts 'current' or 'conventional' wisdom:
  - some will believe it wholeheartedly and take it as gospel
- some will guardedly believe it
- some will reject it ...with the end result being a distribution of results. If over time it seems to be beneficial, it becomes universalized.

Vaccines "might" be dangerous? An uninformed (but pretty) celebrity makes a public statement and the next day thousands follow it like unthinking sheep.
Eggs are (believed to be in the fad of the moment) bad? Some bureaucrat swipes a pen and eggs are expunged from every school meal program and officially 'frowned on' across the public, leading to a decrease in consumption of what may be a perfectly healthy food, replaced by high-sugar, high-fat breakfast 'snacks'.

PERSONALLY (I am not a dietician) being alive since 1967, my observation of the (somewhat sudden) increase in obesity across American society seems to dovetail with the whole 'cholesterol' thing - the early-80s crusade drove out what seems to be to have been a relatively unprocessed staple of civilized human consumption. But I'm aware too that the latter-20thC saw the unprecedented industrialization of food production so there could be a host of chemicals at fault that happened at the same time.

about a week ago

China Targets 2022 For Space Station Completion

argStyopa Am I the only one hoping for another space race? (100 comments)

Seriously, I hope that this would be enough to make the US government take seriously its long-term strategic responsibilities in regards to securing the "high ground" at critical points in our gravity well.*,**

* like the Lagrange points & the north and south lunar poles. These will be as critical for the 21st century as coaling stations were in the L19/E20th centuries.
** Don't get me wrong, I don't expect this to happen. Politicians see a far better immediate funding return to favoring their giant-megacorp friends, or (in a longer view) vote-to-government-largesse RoI to dumping government money on the overbreeding underclass or swarming illegals. In short, space stations don't vote, and neither (today) do the US citizens in a century or two who'll have to live with the missed strategic missteps of today. (shrug)

about a week ago

Using Wearable Tech To Track Gun Use

argStyopa Cruel and Unusual Punishment, indeed (260 comments)

Accelerometers on parolee's wrists?

Sounds like - depending on how sadistic their parole officer is - it would at least force them to masturbate with the other hand.

about a week ago

UN Study Shows Record-High Increases For Atmospheric CO2 In 2013

argStyopa Re:Ocean acidification is scary (427 comments)

Which marine ecosystem are you talking about?

The one in which there are, indeed hundreds of hyper specialized species which have developed to take advantage and exploit a benign, optimal climate? Of course, their rise meant that they easily out-competed more generalized species, driving them to the otherwise marginal ecosystems.

Or the other one, the one with horseshoe crabs and jellyfish that are flourishing (again) because the fluctuating conditions favor the generalist over the specialist?

I'm not sure what to think on coral; on the one hand we are told how desperately fragile corals are to everything. It's clear that certain coral are stressed and dying. On the other hand, warmer seas would imply that their range would be much broader. Not to mention the fact that coral are some of the oldest life forms on the planet, having durably survived far more nasty conditions, both in extremes, and rate of change including multiple extinction events.

about a week ago

New DNA Analysis On Old Blood Pegs Aaron Kosminski As Jack the Ripper

argStyopa Re:forensic 'science' (135 comments)

Certainly it's easier to DISprove something with DNA than it is to prove something, but at a certain point reasonability MUST take a seat in the courtroom as well.

Are you actually asserting that
- his blood was proved to be on her shawl
- he happens to be insane, with homicidal tendencies ...yet that's just coincidental?

Is there a non-zero chance that these things could be true and him not be Jack the Ripper? Yes.
Is that chance infinitesimal and not really worth seriously considering? Also, yes.

about two weeks ago

Researchers Harness E. Coli To Produce Propane

argStyopa Well... (82 comments)

...let's be accurate: Fossil Fuels are NOT a "finite resource", just that replenishment takes a very long time.

about two weeks ago

Invasion of Ukraine Continues As Russia Begins Nuclear Weapons Sabre Rattling

argStyopa Hm. (789 comments)


Everyone who thought it was a good idea to hand the US presidency to a posturing lightweight, please enjoy your evening news.

about two weeks ago

New Computer Model Predicts Impact of Yellowstone Volcano Eruption

argStyopa Re:Here is a map that shows the ash coverage. (121 comments)

First, I'm not sure if you made that yourself, or what, but that's just a circle of X radius around Yellowstone - that might be useful if the Earth had no atmosphere, I guess?

Prevailing winds and jet stream guarantee a more distributed pattern downwind, significantly different than a simple circle.

BTW, the original article is missing pretty much anything of substance, and is written atrociously: "...In the Midwest, a few centimeters of ash is projected to be plummeted while coastal cities will have a few millimeter of ash buildup..."
" be plummeted..."?


And an actual article that explains that whole "sciencey" stuff:
Their slightly more substantive version of the above paragraph:
"...In the simulated modern-day eruption scenario, cities within 500 kilometers (311 miles) of Yellowstone like Billings, Montana, and Casper, Wyoming, would be covered by centimeters (inches) to more than a meter (more than three feet) of ash. Upper Midwestern cities, like Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Des Moines, Iowa, would receive centimeters (inches), and those on the East and Gulf coasts, like New York and Washington, D.C. would receive millimeters or less (fractions of an inch). California cities would receive millimeters to centimeters (less than an inch to less than two inches) of ash while Pacific Northwest cities like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, would receive up to a few centimeters (more than an inch)...."

about two weeks ago

Study: Antarctic Sea-Level Rising Faster Than Global Rate

argStyopa Re:What will it take? (302 comments)

I don't see it as a "climate problem" any more than I see aging as a "chronology problem".

It's climate.
It changes.
Adapt or die.

Building a city on a coastline might be incredibly convenient, but it is exactly like building it on the edge of a volcano. The only difference is a matter of scale.

about two weeks ago

Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

argStyopa Re:Trolling (382 comments)

That's pretty elaborate.
I just come on Slashdot and say stuff like:

"Climate change is just bullshit"
"Linux is dead"
"Ballmer's a brilliant executive" ...ok yeah, that last one was no good, too obvious, nobody could believe that's someone serious.

about three weeks ago

Anita Sarkeesian, Creator of "Tropes vs. Women," Driven From Home By Trolls

argStyopa Re:Apparently the trolls are out here, too (1262 comments)

I'm just still trying to keep up.

Is this week...
a) "women are as tough as men and can do anything men can do, and need no special favors because those deprecate her strength" or
b) "women are snowflakes that can't be expected to simply ignore hurtful comments to their delicate sensibilities"

I can never quite tell which one I'm supposed to ardently support today?

about three weeks ago



Antarctic Ice at Record Extent

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  2 days ago

argStyopa (232550) writes ""Scientists say the extent of Antarctic sea ice cover is at its highest level since records began. Satellite imagery reveals an area of about 20 million square kilometres covered by sea ice around the Antarctic continent. ... "This is an area covered by sea ice which we've never seen from space before," he said. "Thirty-five years ago the first satellites went up which were reliably telling us what area, two dimensional area, of sea ice was covered and we've never seen that before, that much area. "That is roughly double the size of the Antarctic continent and about three times the size of Australia."""
Link to Original Source

What use is a Math Major? What do they do?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 4 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "I have a college sophomore who has declared himself a Math major; what does that really mean for his future? I'm hoping Slashdotters can explain what they do in Real Life. With the rise of 'big data', and the growing importance of encryption, it appears to be a good, long-term career path. Is Math (alone) that valuable, or is it actually Math in conjunction with other fields? Math + CompSci, Math + Physics, or Math + Statistics, etc.? What sort of an internship would a not-yet-completed Math major even seek?"

So what do I really own?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 6 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "I had an ample collection of DVDs, CDs, etc that all were destroyed in an apartment fire. Now, as I understand, according to the MPAA/RIAA I didn't actually own that media (and was not entitled to make digital copies) but merely a permission 'license' to view/listen to it.
Now that the physical media is destroyed, does that mean I am legally within my rights to download a copy from some online source? It would seem a double-standard to assert that the 'physical media is meaningless'...unless its destroyed, at which point it means you lose your rights to what you purchased.
IANAL (and I know most of you aren't either) but I'm curious if anyone knows about established precedent in this circumstance?"

Target also lost personal data, emails, names, addresses

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 8 months ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel just sent out a letter advising Target customers:

Late last week, as part of our ongoing investigation, we learned that additional information, including name, mailing address, phone number or email address, was also taken. I am writing to make you aware that your name, mailing address, phone number or email address may have been taken during the intrusion.

So not only are CC# and PINs 'in the wild' but personal data as well. As the letter goes on to note: "...Here are some tips that will help protect you: Never share information with anyone over the phone, email or text, even if they claim to be someone you know or do business with. Instead, ask for a call-back number...." "Anyone" apparently including Target. I wonder if this will encourage Mr. Steinhafel to have his cashiers stop asking for email addresses etc. at the point of sale as well?"


MN town bans domestic drones for 2 years

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about a year and a half ago

argStyopa writes "Even small towns are beginning to resist government's creeping encroachment on its citizens: St. Bonifacius, a tiny 1-square-mile town of 2200 has taken the lead in MN, banning the use of drones for domestic information-gathering for 2 years, citing concerns to privacy and constitutional rights of US citizens. “We don’t want to exclude a lawful purpose (for use of drone technology), but we want to be aware when it happens.” Flying of a drone without a warrant will be considered a misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. (Charlotteville, Va., became the first city in the United States to pass anti-drone legislation on Jan. 28)"
Link to Original Source

Harry Harrison dies at 87

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 2 years ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Harry Harrison, famed Science Fiction author of such seminal genre series as the Deathworld Trilogy and the Stainless Steel Rat has passed away at the age of 87. He was also famed within the writing world for his friendliness and approachability, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Harrison's entertaining, engaging, and action-packed writing introduced many of us to a lifetime of science fiction reading. He will be missed."
Link to Original Source

Valve's Gabe Newell slams Win8, "catastrophe"

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

argStyopa (232550) writes "Newell claims Win8 will force developers to migrate to Linux and argues that MS is intending to close the OS to outside vendors, much like the Xbox.. "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space." Of course, Newell's Steam profits primarily from selling games to PC owners, so the idea of MS turning Win 8 into a walled-garden directly threatens his revenue stream."
Link to Original Source

Dutch firm plans Mars Colony by 2023

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

argStyopa writes "Dutch firm Mars One plans for ongoing habitation on the Martian Surface by 2023, including additional crews arriving every 2 years thereafter. Intro video at is flashy, almost suggesting a pending TV show. The fact that one of their stated suppliers is SpaceX — who recently announced their Red Dragon module as a Mars-destined vehicle — might suggest that they're totally serious."
Link to Original Source

Where to start with a game idea if you don't want to program it yourself?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "I have a mobile/flash game idea, but my own programming skills are of little relevance anymore. It seems like there are already tons of extremely talented indy game studios out there that might be interested in a well-developed game idea that's not just a re-hash of Farmville. Even if I was going to freshen my code-fu and do this myself, the publishing part is ground that seems to already have been well-trod; I'd rather devote my efforts to building the game than the distribution/marketing, etc.
I'm unsure how to proceed, or even where to start? How does one pitch an idea to a developer in a serious, thorough, and convincing way yet protect ideas and IP from being Zynga'd?"

Best Guides for a basic understanding of Practical Electricity?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Watching the interesting video (at!) about using old ATX powersupplies for a lab-bench powersupply, I realized that for years I've had an interest in DIY electrical experiments, but never tried them mainly out of sheer ignorance of all things electrical. Sure, I know what amps and volts, but what's the difference between +5V and -5V? 2-phase vs 3? What's a resistor, and how does it put a 'load' on a current? Why is this important?
With all the DIY tinkerers on /., can anyone suggest good books or sites for a good "grounding" (sorry) in the sorts of electrical basics that might help prevent me getting killed experimenting?"

Link to Original Source

What rights do I have to media I "buy"?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 2 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "I bought a video decades ago, and subsequently that video was corrupted/wrecked (but the original tape/box is available to provide proof of ownership, if needed). I recently got the DVD of this movie from Netflix and found that it's a direct-from-video transfer, no improvement in quality nor any 'special features' compared to the VHS tape. IANAML(bihwb) (I am not a media lawyer because I have warm blood), so could I legally burn a copy of that DVD? As I see it, if I actually owned the thing I bought, I'd be out of luck — as if I owned a book and it was destroyed. But I believe that the MPAA/RIAA asserts that buying media only allows the purchaser a right to view it, and grants no actual ownership. In this case (burning the DVD) I'm merely getting 'back' what I'd purchased...or no?"

The world ends tomorrow?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 3 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Patch 4.0.3a — the one that will radically and irreversibly change the face of Azeroth — is now expected to drop during the usual patch downtime 11/23. Massive changes to the game are already present in code since patch 4.0.1, this patch will simply activate many of them. What's in and what isn't:
Note — many of the most-awaited features (new races, archaeology, guild levels, flying in the old world, and new zones) remain locked until the release of the Cataclysm expansion slated for 12/7/2010, but this will be the patch that is expected to actually implement the world-shattering Cataclysm."

Link to Original Source

Passport RFID security

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 5 years ago

Styopa (232550) writes "So I've gotten the shiny new RFID passport issued by the US gov't. The government insists it's secure. Hypothesizing that perhaps the government might not be right in this case, is there any homebuilt method of shielding it? Would carrying it wrapped in a layer of alu-foil do anything except make me look like a paranoid at the airport (not that I mind, but I don't want to do that if it's not really going to improve security significantly)? Would the gauge of foil matter? My understanding is that the passport books already include this in their covers/spine, and examining the edge, it DOES seem that there are front/back cover plates laminated in there, but I don't see anything at the spine. I'd rather not have to go buy a Faraday-case of dubious efficacy from a commercial source. Thanks for any advice /. can offer."

Is more knowledge really a good thing?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 5 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "Seeing the recent Slashvertisment for twitter (How to supplement election coverage, that got me thinking — are we past the point of value in terms of information flow?

Understand, this would be a serious paradigm shift. Personally, I've lived my whole life with the concept that 'more information is better' — with admittedly a patronizing opinion of people who didn't have the same view. "You mean you DON'T know about (insert world event)?!?" "What do you mean, you don't care about (desperate current issue)?!?" The idea that we may have reached a point where more information is a negative thing, that's simply anathema to one of my core beliefs.

I'm even having trouble writing this, conceptualizing a world where there is some sort of limit on the knowledge I want to have. Does anyone else feel this way?

Reading a newspaper every day — what does that get me? Checking web news reports multiple times a day, 24-hour news feeds from TV, all of that devoted to burying the public under more and more news coverage...for what purpose? Aside from a general understanding of the world around us which one could get from a weekly newspaper, or even a monthly magazine, is there really a benefit? I'm not saying that I prefer my news edited, digested, and mashed into consumer-ready pap — not at all. But I can get by sufficiently for my daily life without the bombardment — an occasional, general summary is probably enough.

I certainly believe that having the information AVAILABLE is a good thing. If I had family members in some crisis area of the world, or ran a company whose interests were directly affected by some obscure events, I'd like to be able to delve into the data in as much detail as possible. But the firehose for the general public? Not so much. In the same sense that we all get by with a general weather forecast for the day, we'd be uselessly overwhelmed if we got new full reports with temperature, wind, barometer, and weather every 10 seconds.

I grew up in a rural Minnesota farm town, where most of the people followed world events but didn't care too much about them. A war? Sure, some boys would go off and wouldn't come back, and that would be tragic. Without a war, probably a similar number of teens would die in equally-tragic drunk-driving accidents. A big crash on Wall Street? Meh, interest rates will tighten, crop prices will continue to go up or down. Politics? Ha, no matter who wins, taxes will go up.

I don't WANT my election coverage supplemented. Why would I? I'll vote how I vote, I don't particularly care how my neighbors vote, and the result is whatever it's going to be. Why watch with bated breath to see people make meaningless prognostications JUST so they can get my eyeballs to sell more advertising?

For that matter, it's not just an academic question. Would the housing crisis have been as bad if people only heard about it once per week instead of a constant tocsin of impending, inevitable doom?

As a kid, I used to look at the farmers and adult townspeople in my town as irredeemable hicks, that they didn't care about politics, world events, or much outside their locality. Now, especially when I see the vitriol and energy people are putting into a political contest which will really have only a trivial impact on how this country actually runs either way, I'm starting to wonder if perhaps those irredeemable hicks had a good idea: pay attention only to what you need to, and don't waste energy on stuff that you really can't change anyway."

DTV is coming...I'm not ready.

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "As an 'early adopter', I have an HDTV-ready set WITHOUT an integrated tuner. Now the airwaves are full of voiced proclaiming the end of analog television next February. My suspicion is that the $40 set-top box at Walmart is the minimum functional to get by — ie. simply a digital-to-analog converter, and NOT an HDTV receiver.

Something like 2-3 years ago, I plunked down the money for a nice UHF superantenna (I'm about 40 mi from the towers, so not-quite-but-almost fringe reception) and searched for a HDTV converter to pull down HDTV OTA broadcasts. They were EXTREMELY hard to find — none at Radio Shack, Best Buy, Ciruit City, or Ultimate Electronics (all the local bigboxen).

I ended up buying a SIRT150 from ebay which never showed receiving a signal, despite confirmed reception (on the set's normal tuner) of both VHF and UHF channels.

So, now — any advice from the brilliant crowd at /. on what to look for in a set top box? Are they easier than they were to find, with the upcoming signal switch? Is it going to cost me an arm and a leg, or is it somewhere near the $40 Walmart special. Will Uncle Sam's $40 coupons count towards it?

I'd like very much to be able to find a physical store where I could go see the signal, before I decide if the HD signal is worth the upcharge, if any, over simple DTV.

Paradox to offer Europa ?

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 6 years ago

(arg!)Styopa (232550) writes "From their press release: "New York, USA (April 25, 2008) — Paradox Interactive today announced a unique agreement with leading PC download portal GamersGate to release its "Europa" engine to the gaming community worldwide. The "Europa" engine has been the basis of many award-winning games like the Hearts of Iron series and Europa Universalis II and has been the focus of significant financial investments over the years.

In an unprecedented deal, GamersGate will make room for these indie-developed products on the digital distribution platform and offer each team or individual the same financial deal given to established publishers on the platform.

"Through GamersGate, creative gamers worldwide will be given access to a development tool that will allow them to fulfill their game developer ambitions while getting access to a global distribution network without the costs and risks that are normally involved in game development and distribution, said CEO of Paradox Interactive Theodore Bergquist.

While Paradox Interactive plans to set a few minimum criteria, anyone interested will get a shot at using the technique to develop games and then sell them on GamersGate.

"This initiative is a way for us to give back to the gaming community by facilitating for game developers to turn their hobbies into lucrative projects, continued Mr Bergquist. "

The title of the press release is "Free engine for gamers released!" so presumably the code is available free, but commercial development of the products of the engine requires one to go through GG and probably some sort of license fee to Paradox if it sells."

Link to Original Source

argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  about 8 years ago

(arg!)Styopa writes "I'm curious what the current conventional wisdom is from the /. crowd about wiring a home for phone/data/sound. A previous /. post had once suggested PVC conduit for cable runs, accepting that obsolesence is inevitable and subsequent cable pulling should be as easy as possible, and we're probably going to do that. However, as I can see it, essentially we're going to have phone, data, and speaker-wire networks essentially running all the same places — could we conceivably use a single cable (Cat 5e?) and pull pairs for each various use? Or would phone traffic (it has a small voltage) induce noise in the data/stereo lines? Could a single pair of ethernet wires serve as speaker wires? For now, we're going to have a simple stereo pumping sound, but I can obviously see convergence with a home media system eventually, serving music to various rooms. I'm a novice, but I have the help of an experienced phone tech, although neither of us knows much about installing data cables beyond attaching connectors. Any recommended resources? Thanks"




argStyopa argStyopa writes  |  more than 5 years ago

So, there really is a journal function?
It'd be more useful if this would dovetail with a blog like facebook. If someone is such a narcissist that they think people care about their opinions, might as well keep it to a minimum and focused?

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