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

The Minecraft Parent

bluefoxlucid Re:More mental retardation (167 comments)

It's been happening forever. In the 1500s, a Catholic Priest dedicated his efforts to attacking the mnemonics techniques used to memorize scripture--and everything else--because they attached lewd and base images to ideas in the mind. This happened after one preacher admitted he used an image of a naked virgin girl in a not-so-puritan situation to help remember some odd line of the Catholic bible. Having such thoughts in peoples's heads was unacceptable, entirely.

2 days ago
top

'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

bluefoxlucid Re:It's the early morning people who are nuts (124 comments)

I've noticed about five people have responded, and some of them have user IDs in the millions. That's a pretty small cross-section; and I've had up to 50 responses to posts on Slashdot in under an hour, when I've really pissed the crowd off with some uncomfortable fact. I'm not taking much stock in the overwhelming rise of the majority rule of morning people here.

There is some evidence that 80% of the population awakens far too early, to detrimental effect on health. The idea has gained some traction slowly over the past decade or two; in the next 30-40 years, I expect we'll link circadian disruption by bastardized early-riser sleep culture to the high incidence of stupidity, depression, and psychosis leading to school shootings.

2 days ago
top

The Minecraft Parent

bluefoxlucid Re:More mental retardation (167 comments)

Sticking your child in front of a video game to parent for you is NOT engaging.

Children need independence. Independence doesn't mean mommy isn't around; it means they make decisions and mistakes on their own, and are able to move away from their parents and return by their own action--even if they're instructed when to do so. Such instruction is engagement, as is parents asking where you're going, where you've been, what you've done, and having food prepared for you when you get home.

We can extrapolate theoretically from here, but that's not the point. Above illustrates that parental engagement does not require your child to be chained to a desk with a single activity when not engaged by the parent. My argument was on this balance of time, and on the impact thereof in regards to independent social and environmental experience versus isolation with a single activity.

To compare: we could also talk about break time spent smoking versus break time spent walking around the building. If you bring a healthy diet into this discussion, you are babbling on about irrelevancies.

2 days ago
top

The Minecraft Parent

bluefoxlucid More mental retardation (167 comments)

This is 2014, and we're in the decade of reboots. This is the reboot of "sit your kids in front of the TV to watch the Children's Channel" thinking. The glowing, phosphorus parent of the 80s, now back with less Big Bird.

Put your kids outside. Don't put them on the bicycle of the Internet; put them on a *real* bicycle. I walked the 1/3 mile to school when I was 6; I could bicycle 1.2 miles in that time, a good 10 minutes walking by myself, well out of sight of my parents. When I was 8, I had a bicycle with a coaster brake, and would disappear outside for hours at a time--by myself, since I had no friends. Sometimes I came back home after the older 5th graders beat the shit out of me for some Freudian satisfaction related to their small penises (too impatient for puberty I guess), I'm sure; but, for all the baseball bats and tennis shoes they applied, they never managed to put a bruise on me, so I made out alright.

This is all a bunch of wanting your kids locked in a room doing a single thing, in a place you know, with the ability to look in and verify they're still doing that one thing and nothing else, so that you don't have to show any concern. My massive internal simulator predicts, via armchair child psychology, that this will not provide a robust set of varied experiences for the child, and so will slow their mental growth and reduce their ability to thrive. History will prove me correct--has proven me correct--but I'm sure nobody will listen and, when it's all well proven that this actually happened, will instead find the next substitute single activity and claim it's different, somehow, and fail to predict the same result.

2 days ago
top

'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

bluefoxlucid Re:It's the early morning people who are nuts (124 comments)

Protein. You want protein and fat to wake up. Even if sleep-deprived, whipping up a 3 egg omlette with bacon and sausage will get you back in shape. Massive stacks of flapjacks and biscuits are going to weigh on you and make you sleep (and make you fat, and give you heart disease).

2 days ago
top

'Why Banana Skins Are Slippery' Wins IgNobel

bluefoxlucid It's the early morning people who are nuts (124 comments)

Who the hell do you know is a morning person? That one dude at the office? How many people are awake like, "Ugh, fuck, too early for this shit, coffee..."?

They say it's DSPD. You won't sleep like a normal person, you stay up late, then you don't get up until 10 or 11. Yeah, right. And normal people enforce a bed time, drag their asses out of bed groggily, then come in and futz around for a few hours until about lunch, and suddenly become active.

Guess which behavior's normal?

2 days ago
top

Inside Shenzen's Grey-Market iPhone Mall

bluefoxlucid Re:Repair (53 comments)

Here in the United States, you could go to the peddler's market and have the chip in your Playstation replaced with an upgraded mod chip, with switch to toggle between mod chip and original BIOS.

2 days ago
top

Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

bluefoxlucid Re:The sad part is... (182 comments)

I'm pretty sure that nobody from the US National Security Agency is going to come and detonate a suicide vest while you are in a shopping mall or buying groceries whereas Isis will do that if they can.

No of course not. They'll just send a cruise missile into a populated coffee shop.

2 days ago
top

Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

bluefoxlucid Re:The sad part is... (182 comments)

That's stupid.

If the terrorists changed their tactics, and you state that they've changed their tactics, you're revealing that the terrorists took action in response to finding out you've been monitoring them. If their new tactics made them vanish, made them hard to read (encryption), or did nothing, you would still notice: you'd notice them disappear if they completely beat you, or you'd notice their tactics change if their new tactics were just as ineffective as the old ones. As you say, giving terrorists information which they act on does help them, even if their response doesn't gain them anything; so saying in public that the Snowden leak helped terrorists, in any situation where they responded to the leak by change, is both accurate and not revealing.

If you confirm that the leaks haven't helped the terrorists, then you're only confirming that the situation hasn't changed. This would only happen if the terrorists didn't gain enough information from the leaks to make any changes--useful or otherwise--and thus you would confirm exactly what the terrorists know: that they don't know if there are any leaks, what the extent of the leaks are, and where those leaks may be. This is, again, unhelpful.

3 days ago
top

Snowden's Leaks Didn't Help Terrorists

bluefoxlucid Re:The sad part is... (182 comments)

The report is a lie.

Terrorist groups have absolutely changed their behaviors and communications patterns to increase obfuscation and move attention away from their important operations. The United States National Security Agency, the US Military, and other terrorist operations have added increased layers of misdirection to better cover and draw attention away from their most critical activities.

3 days ago
top

Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

bluefoxlucid Re:Thank you apple! (325 comments)

Market share isn't growing slower; it's declining.

3 days ago
top

Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

bluefoxlucid Re:Nope they are clever (325 comments)

The liability shift from Visa's incredible marketing of the Visa Shield protecting you from identity theft with charge backs and banks calling you to tell you they're declining a suspicious gasoline charge in California after you've been using your card in Vermont all morning and since forever to "oh, someone else used your card? Well, sucks to be you. We can close the account and give you a new card number."

How do I turn this into a hot story to get the production crew salivating over running this on the evening news?

3 days ago
top

Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

bluefoxlucid Re:Nope they are clever (325 comments)

The US isn't the world.

The US is the third world.

3 days ago
top

Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC To Apple Pay Only

bluefoxlucid Re:Nope they are clever (325 comments)

I want chip-and-sign. I Have stupid chip-and-pin, but I solved that by writing the PIN on the back of the card.

3 days ago
top

Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise

bluefoxlucid Re:Too bad (195 comments)

Oh, and this absorption chiller seems to provide 76% efficiency, versus 320% for a regular AC; but the cost is comparable, such that a $1500 unit would supply the same cooling.

Where I live, gas (heat) powered air conditioners cost less during the season to operate than electric ones.

3 days ago
top

Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise

bluefoxlucid Re:Too bad (195 comments)

Really? Because the installation of an AC and heat pump here is expensive, and the heat pump is wildly inefficient in the winter. It's good for the temperate season in the spring and fall, a total of about 3 months per year; there's 4-5 solid months where a heat pump trying to heat my house is either ineffective or a huge energy hog pulling in tons of electricity per unit heating. My most efficient option has been using a space heater in whatever room I'm in, keeping the rest of the house at 62F; otherwise I spend $300+ per month on natural gas at 1,400,000 BTU for my 1300sqft house.

You fail to mention how much of that solar thermal energy would simply be wasted (shoulder seasons, summer overheating) because you have no use for it.

I did mention the use of more efficient (20%-30% vs 14%-19%) sterling heat engines for power generation, but figure you'd use most of the heat directly and get little benefit. Sure, with a dT of 600C, you can pull 38% or even as high as 42% on a sterling engine; but at 300C vs 10C, you're going to get 20%, maybe 25%.

Solar hot water systems tend to heat the 150L tank to a maximum 190F before shutting down, in the first 2-3 hours of the day; a thermostatic mixing valve provides 120F-130F off the tank. This allows for less hot water usage when the water is hot, and stable temperature as the water cools, as people take showers at night or in the morning. Residential evacuated tubes have boiled coolant at temperatures as high as 350C in unusual conditions, but are commonly accepted to run as hot as 300C, and typically don't exceed 285C. It's considerable that a system running less than 5L of water in a loop can heat 150L to almost 90C from tap cold (10C) in under 4 hours.

In practice, people have a single 1.2m^2 panel here, running their hot water at 160F in the winter with short days, not quite enough to use hydronic heat. 2-4 panels would do it, at $500 each, with proper insulation.

3 days ago
top

Wave Power Fails To Live Up To Promise

bluefoxlucid Re:Too bad (195 comments)

Ocean warming is a bigger opportunity. Jabbing a thermal collector into a volcanic vent, rolling it through a sterling engine as a cooling system, with the cold side submerged in the cold ocean.

A lot of new, green tech is ludicrous. People want solar farms in the desert because of all the arid heat and lack of clouds, but discount the fragile ecosystem. Wind farms take up much more space than nuclear plants for the same power output. Hydrogen is difficult to store without supercooling, and is only a storage scheme and not a generation scheme, and only operates at 50%-80% efficiency. Hydroelectric is an environmental disaster.

Direct heat applications from solar-thermal water heating are about the only thing that make sense. Their efficiency is high, and their cost is low. A small, 1.2 square meter collector provides 3000BTU/hr, about 85% of a kW; I can fit over 20 of these on my roof at a sun-receiving angle and spacing, giving over 65,000 BTU/hr average throughout the day. My roof can produce 19kW of heat output, while I only need 3kW to stay warm or cool--the AC breaker is 30A, providing about 3kW of cooling.

A hydronic coil off the water heater, an absorption cooler, or so on can harvest the heat collected by less than $2000 of tubes and a total of $3000 of equipment to provide for about $2500 annual air space and water heating and cooling in my house. Excess generated heat could theoretically drive a sterling engine to produce a small amount of electricity, but the investment for more tubes to generate a useful amount of electricity would be unjustifiable; I can buy 100% solar electricity for 12 cents per kWh.

Thus, in just over a year, I can recover my investment in solar water heating by incorporating space heating and cooling, assuming I was in the market for a new furnace and air conditioner anyway--the furnace would be an air handler with electric back-up, vastly cheaper than a new gas furnace, offsetting the expensive absorption chiller. A $900 pellet stove would serve as a back-up. Overall, the setup would save an immense amount of electricity and natural gas.

4 days ago
top

Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

bluefoxlucid Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (377 comments)

Because they manipulate each others's data directly, instead of passing messages, thus opening the potential for one functional unit to pass and integrate unvalidated data into the memory space of another functional unit; and because a systemic failure in one unit will bring down the entire system; and because the security contexts of various functional units differ, thus differing policies may apply; and because you may restart or reconfigure one functional unit without interrupting the others.

It's the same question as why not to make bash, sed, perl, X11, and Firefox kernel modules.

4 days ago
top

Torvalds: No Opinion On Systemd

bluefoxlucid Re:Simple set of pipelined utilties! (377 comments)

Pipeline intercommunication aside, most large programs of any quality *are* formed from a bunch of small "do one thing well" utilities. They're commonly called "libraries".

Hit it dead on.

People don't want the added work of making things work. It's like building a floor: you need to strip off the old finish, reenforce the subfloor, ensure the floor is level, pour thinset, roll ditra, pour more thinset, lay tile, clean, and grout. Some folks leave old linoleum or hardwood flooring, claiming it's stable, and then pour self-leveling compound or just screw down concrete board, then put tiles on top. Some just cement tile straight to the floor, or pour SLC and cement the tile to that.

A properly built tile floor has many interfacing components. Tiles don't delaminate due to deflection or material expansion. Expansion joints at walls and proper intervals prevent buckling and delamination or cracking. The floor holds heavy appliances and large live loads, handles vibrations, and even impact. By contrast, a poorly-built tile floor tends to delaminate when temperature or humidity change a few percent repeatedly over 2-3 years, or crack tiles, or have grout rapidly decay from deflection and vapor infiltration.

Modern Web browsers isolate plug-ins and separate rendering threads (tabs) in separate processes with IPC. A runaway page still freezes the entire Chrome browser until something kills it; a crash in a plug-in or page doesn't bring down anything else. Isolate contexts allow security context changes: a simple render process can drop all access outside of specific system calls (openGL, etc.), actions on open file handles at current access (i.e. open for read, read-only--allows for giving ownership of a network socket to a process), and IPC to the parent (through sockets, pipes, shared memory, and so on); most of this falls under system calls to affect open file handles (i.e. an OpenGL object, an open file, an open pipe or socket).

It would make sense to have an init system, like SystemD. It would make sense for SystemD to provide an init like SysVInit: a simple, small, very basic program to read the init configuration and start the system. It would make sense for the init process to start first an init manager that resolves dependencies and tracks running start-up daemons, which examines the system on initialization and starts the mount point manager if not started (to ensure the temporary and runtime directories are mounted), and then begins bringing up other init system components, hardware managers (udevd), and so on, as per the configuration of the init system.

It doesn't need to be a giant monolith. It can be a collection of utilities all dependent on each other, running 3 or 5 or 15 services all communicating with each other, all to bring up the system and supply system state management. This is the simplest and easiest way to make a complex system, aside from the overhead of writing a new program from scratch to surround the collection of functions you want to use. You'd have to put the IPC stuff into a library, and work out how each program communicates with its dependents and dependencies and how it reacts when they're not around. Each task, however, acts as a readily-verifiable utility or daemon, and so does not interfere with understanding of any other task by mixing their code together.

4 days ago
top

What To Expect With Windows 9

bluefoxlucid Re:Virtual Desktops (Workspaces) (541 comments)

People don't seem to get multi-desktop versus multi-screen. Nobody's figured out split desktop yet--I want two monitors with different desktops on each, changeable separately.

If I were a project manager for Microsoft, I would strongly push to port Gnome 3 onto Windows, folding the changes back into upstream. Gnome 3 on Windows, shipped as a standard option, would eliminate the usability issue between Windows and Linux: nobody would move to Linux after seeing the zoom-out view, application searching, and automatic virtual desktop features of Gnome 3. Windows on Explorer wouldn't be a crippling anchor to the 90s; Microsoft could just provide option for the next-generation Gnome 3 desktop.

The high productivity provided by Gnome 3's workflow--WinKey pulls up all your current desktop's windows, CTRL+ALT+[ARROW] moves you up and down, type to instantly search installed applications, drag-and-drop windows between desktops--is my major pitch for using Linux over Windows. That plus the Software Center (Pirate, Ubuntu Software Center, etc.) make Linux the top operating system in existence for people who actually want to use a fucking computer to get shit done.

I just wish Gnome 3's alt-tab swapped between windows, not application contexts (it's terrible, and doesn't swap back when you alt-tab twice); and that they hadn't made scroll wheel swap up and down between desktops, but rather left it as a zoom function on windows in the Activities view. If I want to scroll through desktops, I'll put the mouse over the desktop list and scroll; if I point at a window and scroll up, I want to zoom in. How is this difficult? Scroll wheel is a function of what at which you're pointing.

It's different when you're trying to argue with Apple, because you can't just download the Apple UI and tweak its source code. But Linux? You can port all those DEs to Windows (except Unity, which is a piece of shit). Marketing, boys.

4 days ago

Submissions

top

US Currency Finally Achieves Universal Suffrage

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 6 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "On April 2, precisely one day later than expected, SCOTUS voted 5-4 to eliminate the cap on individual donors political campaign contributions, finally granting universal suffrage to US currency. "Now, at long last, all U.S. money has a voice in Washington—a strong, loud, clear voice that can no longer be suppressed or silenced by anyone.”"
Link to Original Source
top

Retro-Bit's Retro Duo: Is It Worth Game Developers' Time?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 6 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Retro-Bit is serious about conquering the living room: the American technology firm has launched Retro Duo, a gaming console that not only allows 16-bit game play, but also 8-bit. That 8-and-16-bit capability makes Retro-Bit a threat to Nintendo, which rumors suggest is hard at work on a software implementation capable of doing the same things. In addition, Retro Duo puts the screws to other gaming hardware, including Sony and Microsoft's PS3 and XBOne, as well as smaller game consoles such as Ouya (a $99, Android-based device). Much of Retro-Bit's competitive muscle comes from its willingness to sell hardware for cheap (the Retro-Duo retails for $35) on the expectation that owners will use it to enjoy time with and without their friends, ultimately garnering further sales. Those players who've grown a library of NES and SNES games have an advantage when it comes to migrating software to Retro-Bit's new platform. While Retro Duo could represent yet another opportunity for game developers looking to make a buck, it also raises a pressing question: with so many platforms out there (iOS, PC, etc.), how's an indie developer or smaller firm supposed to allocate time and resources to cartridge manufacture?"
top

Speed reading apps for ebooks?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 6 months ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Speed reading has matured into technological solutions. Rapid Serial Visual Presentation, or RSVP, provides faster reading than the manual finger-following method, with retention on par with standard reading at 250 words per minute. Research shows most people can start at 400WPM, and reach 800WPM in an hour; and further advancements used in products such as Spritz and Sprint Reader claim 1000-1800 words per minute when practiced by offsetting and context pausing.

Thus far I have not found any software to read ebooks with these methods. Are there any open source applications, Nook or Kindle Fire applications, or otherwise to read ePub or Mobi or Kindle books via RSVP?"
top

Should we research new kinds of nuclear bombs?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The Orion Drive never got off the ground primarily because, essentially, blowing up a lot of nuclear material in atmosphere is a bad idea. That means a new kind of nuclear bomb--for example, clean-pumped fusion that uses a non-fissile source to initiate chain reaction hydrogen fusion into helium with only neutrino output and no ionizing radiation or fall-out--would provide a great enabler for space flight. Unfortunately, such an awesome bomb would also provide great opportunity for military uses--and associated politics. Infinitely scalable (notably smaller) nukes with no fall-out are just conventional bombs, right? Is the promise of effective launch and space flight worth the bitter in-fighting at the UN table that would occur just for implying new research into new nukes, as well as the moral implications of greater, more deadly warfare?"
top

Why are there no open printers?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "With Printer Steganography, we can trace any document printed on a modern color laser printer back to its printer. This is because the serial number and time of printing are encoded into the document as a series of small, yellow dots scattered about. With all the concerns about privacy flying about, we must ask the question: why no open printers? These could have multiple, RepRapable adapters for various manufacturers' drums and cartridges, avoiding the need to become an ink or toner supplier. They could also run Linux, BSD, or Minix internally, with a replaceable, open source OS. The implications of adaptability to various toner and ink cartridges is also interesting, especially for inkjets: a color inkjet that could select for Lexmark or hp cartridges with a cheap carriage replacement would foster price competition."
Link to Original Source
top

Why no 5.25 inch hard drives?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Back in the day when you kids weren't all up in my lawn, we had "Bigfoot" style hard drives--5.25" form factor hard drives. A 5.25" circular platter would be 2.25 times as big as a 3.25". The actual platters are smaller, making the difference less striking; but then there's a spindle in the middle too, cutting away at the space on a 3.25" but not diminishing the extra space added by widening the total diameter. With Seagate getting 1TB per platter and drives hanging in bays with plenty of space around them in all but the smallest form factors, why aren't we running 5.25" hard drives and doubling the disk size?"
top

Account of LAPD protestor's arrest

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "There is now this account of Patrick Meighan's arrest in LA. The LAPD were brutal and abusive. Protestors were held without bail--bail was set, but not accepted, and there was no access given to legal council. Physical violence was used by police to provoke reflexive reactions to pain, which was then reacted to with more violence. I must be missing something here, because the police seem to find peaceful protesters more dangerous than rapists and murderers."
Link to Original Source
top

JP Morgan Calls In a Bribe

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 2 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Well, it seems that JPMorgan threw $4.6M at the NYPD recently. In other news, the NYPD has arrested 700 people who were annoying JPMorgan. Just for the record, these people were blocking traffic and engaging in other dangerous stupidity on the Brooklyn Bridge; but also for the record, it seems the police guided them out there, then arrested them en masse. Most of these people got citations, so I guess $4.8M isn't a lot of money."
top

OnStar to Track You No Matter What

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article:

Navigation-and-emergency-services company OnStar is notifying its six million account holders that it will keep a complete accounting of the speed and location of OnStar-equipped vehicles, even for drivers who discontinue monthly service.

OnStar began e-mailing customers Monday about its update to the privacy policy, which grants OnStar the right to sell that GPS-derived data in an anonymized format.

Enjoy your Chevrolet."
Link to Original Source

top

Incandescents use less energy, CFLs an elaborate c

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "From the article, "BANNING the humble 60-watt light bulb to make way for so-called energy-saving ones and 'help save the planet' was last night exposed as an elaborate EU con." What justification could the have for such accusations? "The carbon footprint of manufacturing, distribution and disposal of a compact fluorescent bulb is far greater than the energy usage of a standard bulb." Imagine that. Complex electronics and mercury tubes are harder to make than an evacuated glass bulb with a wire in it; and reclaiming hazardous waste takes more energy than just chucking a harmless glass bulb in the standard recycling bin."
Link to Original Source
top

Cancer Cured by HIV

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Apparently cancer has been cured, by injecting people with HIV. From the article, "As the white cells killed the cancer cells, the patients experienced the fevers and aches and pains that one would expect when the body is fighting off an infection, but beyond that the side effects have been minimal." Nifty. Poorly edited run-on sentence, but nifty."
Link to Original Source
top

Terrorism, Money, and Oil

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "A recent submission about the cost of terrorism to the economy brought a few things to mind. This article looks like a repeat of an article Bruce Schneier linked to on his blog in November, 2010 which, among other things, explains how terrorists spend $1 for every $1,000,000 of economic damage done. The Rolling Stones blames Goldman Sachs primarily for the oil and food price hikes due to speculation on futures, although I also tend to blame Monsanto for raising seed license fees while lobbying heavily for biofuels--and selling even more corn and soy seeds for ethanol and biodiesel. We also can't forget the news media, a modern circus designed to grab attention so the networks can get sponsorship money; they have a huge incentive to create panic, which only over-hypes the low risk posed by the terrorist "threat" (more of a "minor annoyance"), allowing politicians to pull the Politician's Syllogism and strip us of our rights while derailing our economy further. Does anyone work in our favor anymore?"
Link to Original Source
top

Books and Audiobooks in Other Languages?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "I've been learning various languages and I want to get some deep exposure. Sans-$100k employment, multiple 2 week vacations every year to various countries is untenable; therefor I have found an excellent solution: audio books and dead tree books in German, Japanese, Urdu, Russian, and the like. The only problem: I can't find such a thing. Amazon doesn't sell audio books on Amazon.de that I can find; maybe this is because my German is poor and I just can't find it. Any idea where to get audio books in other languages?"
top

Why does the new slashdot look like ass?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Is anyone else quickly getting sick of staring at this fuzzy, overly-cartoony iteration of the Slashdot UI? The last one was fine; this one is starting to cause nausea. Overly softened, looks like a kid's site. Digg's aesthetics look much better now."
top

US to reduce fluoride in drinking water

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "The US is slated to reduce the amount of fluoride recommended for drinking water. According to WebMD, "The HHS is recommending that water supplies contain 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water, replacing the current recommended range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. [...] The new HHS recommendation, Messina says, makes sense because in recent years the population has gotten more fluoride from other sources, such as toothpaste and mouthwashes. [...] Some data suggest that excess fluoride may also be linked with skeletal bone damage, she says, and possibly hormone disruption. It has also been deemed an emerging neurotoxin." Fluoride supplements are sourced directly from industrial toxic waste, which cannot safely be dumped into the environment and so instead goes into the water supply. Conspiracy theorists and crazy generals obsessed with commie plots to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids are, of course, rejoicing."
Link to Original Source
top

9/11: Time to Forget

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "After almost a decade (it will be so in 9 months and some days), we still all remember 9/11. I can't for the life of me recall (or care about) the date for the Oklahoma City Bombing... in fact I can't recall anyone caring that much when it happened. Somebody blew stuff up, people died, it hit the news, there was a manhunt. It was time to demote 9/11 to this level of care back in 2005... beyond time. So why do we still remember it like a big important thing? Why do people still wave flags on September 11 of each year and claim it as a patriotic American holiday, a day of celebration, a day to applaud the stripping of our rights and the deaths of thousands? Is it time to move on? Must we actively antagonize people who make a big deal out of 9/11 until they feel foolish and give up on the whole thing?"
top

UK to vote on Doubling, Tripling Tuition

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "As per Wikinews, "The new policy on tuition fees will allow universities to double the current tuition fees from £3,290 per year to around £6,000 per year, as well as allowing some universities to get special approval from the Office For Fair Access (OFFA) to raise their fees to £9,000 per year." Apparently teachers were encouraging high school students to walk right out of class for this, too; I guess when you can't hope to afford college it doesn't much matter. The economics here are, of course, non-trivial; but this is a huge fee hike all at once. This has got to be the only useful thing I've actually seen televised news cover in the US in a long long int time."
Link to Original Source
top

Game review: Go

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 3 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Before Risk, before Axis and Allies, before Pentago and Polarity and Settlers of Catan, before Dungeons and Dragons, even before Chess, there was Weiqi. Weiqi appeared somewhere around 2200BC in China, and soon spread to Korea as Baduk and Japan as Go; over 4000 years later, the game is as well known in Asia as Chess is in the rest of the world. Played by taking turns placing single, non-moving stones on a grid of 19x19 lines, the rules of Go are extremely simple; the playing of Go, however, is uniquely complex and contemplative.

Breaking with traditions, an up-front listing of resources for Go would seem appropriate. First off, the absolute best way to learn Go is to find a Go teacher and study with him; this works about as well outside of Japan as ordering Haggis in a Denny's works outside Scotland. In the English speaking world, however, Janice Kim's book series, "Learn to Play Go," is widely considered the best resource for beginning students. Sensei's Library provides an online resource for Go players in the form of a Wiki. Finally, the Internet Go Server allows players to observe or play games against each other online and automatically calculates rank and handicaps.

With that out of the way, Go is a fantastically simple game. The aforementioned book or a YouTube tutorial would introduce the game more clearly than a wall of text; but the rules are brief. Two players elect to play either black or white; black plays first. Players play on a 19x19 grid, or for faster games on 13x13 or 9x9 grids, by placing stones on the intersections. Each open space on the four cardinal directions represents a liberty; if one player surrounds the other player's stone on all 4 sides, that stone is captured. Stones of the same color sitting on adjacent liberties become a connected group, and thus the whole group must be surrounded to be captured.

The final rule, as consequence of the above play, is the Ko rule. The Ko rule simply states that one play cannot put the board into the exact preceding position. The Ko rule results in "Ko Fighting," a phenomena where a player cannot play a stone to recapture a point immediately, and thus instead must play a stone in a position that produces disproportionate gains if not answered immediately. The opponent will either respond to this threat, allowing recapture of the taken point and capture of the attacking stone; or settle the Ko, ignoring the threat and losing something in exchange.

Based on these simple rules, players must move to make territory: controlled area surrounded by the borders of their own stones. Players can reduce each others' territory by taking control of areas inside the opponent's border. For example, if black controls a third of the board mainly around the lower right corner, white can reduce this territory by taking control of a fifth of the board including the lower right corner. White must do this by creating life in that area: a group of stones is alive if there is no possible way to capture it. At the end of the game, the rules of scoring give each player one point for each point of surrounded territory minus one point for each stone the opponent has captured.

Between all this, the simple game of Go gives rise to many, many concepts. The primary concept of Go is that of Life and Death. A group of stones that is impossible to capture by correct play is "Alive," while a group of stones that cannot avoid capture by any means is "Dead." Groups are otherwise "unsettled." Further, there exists the concept of seki or "Dual Life" by which two groups of stones are both alive only because whichever player plays first to kill the other group will instead kill his own group. The study of life and death greatly improves a player's skill at Go: players that recognize shape early and move to prevent life can more easily retain territory; players who recognize shape and move to create shape that leads more easily to life can more easily invade their opponent's territory. As a final consequence of Life and Death, by the way, dead stones are removed from the board and captured automatically during scoring; therefor there is no reason to waste moves capturing unless your opponent forces the issue.

Another concept in Go is Joseki, which indicates a "settled pattern" of moves that produces a balanced outcome. Joseki are usually played in the opening and represent optimal play by both players: the outcome is balanced because neither player has a sufficient advantage to overwhelm the other, and thus deviation from Joseki weakens the player who deviates. Proper joseki helps players avoid entering midgame at a disadvantage when hostilities break out during the opening.

Other studies in Go follow connections and basic moves to play. While groups are only formed with solid connections, players can eliminate the threat of cutting a connection by playing non-solid connections such as diagonals and bamboo joints, or even wider shapes that cannot be effectively cut. Often moves such as the Knight's Move, hane (Turn the Corner), or Monkey Jump represent complex play that turns what appears at a glance to be a somewhat scattered set of stones into a strong, solid shape during combat and capturing races. Thus the playing of Go relies on extremely distant abstract thinking in situations that can rapidly change and have many, many open options for play.

Go does not rely on fate (as in Backgammon and other dice games) or conflict (as with Chess). It can be said that Backgammon is a man versus fate game, where winning depends on pure chance; while Chess is a man versus man game, concentrating on the concrete goal of outmaneuvering your opponent to capture his king. One can consider Go, on the other hand, as a problem of man versus self: the playing of Go is only improved by judgment, balance, and understanding of play, and such conflict and capturing that arises between the players is often brief and only a minor part of play. Go is a matter of playing the position, not playing a calculated military strategy. This makes Go extremely challenging and enlightening, and very rewarding for players who spend a fair amount of time not only playing, but also studying."

Link to Original Source
top

Amazon.com handles passwords really freaking bad

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  about 4 years ago

bluefoxlucid (723572) writes "Got an Amazon.com account? When it asks for your password, you can tack on extra character at the end or mess with the case. If "password" works, then "PASSWORD" works, "PaSsWOrD" works, "password123" works, "PasswordOHMYGODMYEYES" works, and so on. Oops?"

Journals

top

What really causes global warming?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 5 years ago In trying to solve the world's energy problems on the back of a napkin (see blog), I think I figured this global warming thing out. Mind you, I don't believe in human-caused global warming; but this one's a little more generalized. Basically, the sun and the earth are the same; the earth's a lot dimmer, but it radiates thermal energy out into the universe, and has struck an equilibrium with input (from the sun) versus output. Plants store thermal energy; bacteria and animals eat plants and release thermal energy. Well, every machine running on electricity also releases thermal energy. Whether we burn biofuels or throw up solar panels, we're absorbing energy from the sun that's normally reflected wholesale back to space and/or releasing it faster into the ambient environment than useful (i.e. burning plants in 30 seconds, rather than letting them decay in 3 months). With all the extra absorbed and wholesale-released heat, the equilibrium point shifts upwards, and the earth maintains a higher temperature-- it gets hotter! It gets hotter with every man, animal, and machine that walks the surface of this damn planet!

top

Dynamic story rating?

bluefoxlucid bluefoxlucid writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Having a simple idea, I figured I'd write it into the journal as a first usage; and why not let them post it as a story too if they want? Anyway, the basic idea: users ranking stories, users accepting rankings. Why let armchair security experts and self-described IT experts rate your stories? Why not pick the users your think have a clue and only count their votes? Read on to see how this fleshes out in my mind.

The premise for this idea is that some Slashdot stories are good, some are bad, and some come from armchair experts who know nothing and can hype a good but inaccurate and relatively useless pile of FUD. The editors are not experts on everything either, and have let a few FUDs through in the past under the guise of breaking news. At the same time, we can't rely on armchair warriors to tell us whether or not stories are good.

The solution I've come up with is simple. Stories are rated by any user wishing to cast a rating. Users select other users they believe are knowledgeable, selecting which topics they believe the users are knowledgeable in. Each user then sees a story with a rating computed based on the opinions of users he's decided understand what they're talking about; other users are discarded.

At the simplest level, a user has other users he believes understand a topic. A more robust solution is also possible where users can go a certain depth into a web of trust. In order to accomplish this, the user sets whether or not he trusts those knowledgeable users to also recognize other knowledgeable users, and thus considers those users that the knowledgeable user considers knowledgeable as knowledgeable as well.

This trust model can be set to a specific depth, where this evaluation is followed down 1, 2, 5, or 10 steps deep. A full depth evaluation would also be possible; however it would require caching and triggering on modification of the full depth with loop detection, otherwise it would be very slow. Even with caching, a lack of loop detection will allow the system an easy route to an infinite loop. A mandatory maximum depth will prevent this, but will still bring the system to its knees for a short time.

Loop detection is important to avoid a DoS for anything more than even 1 step deep; 3000 users with all of each other trusted will otherwise cause the second step of evaluation to pass through 6,000,000 nodes, fully evaluating each node 3000 times. Simple loop detection will check if the node has been evaluated yet, and skip it if so.

Caching on changes may be the most CPU effective solution, where when any user changes his settings the changes are applied upwards through those users that depend on that setting, to avoid on-the-fly evaluation. On-the-fly evaluation may reach the 9000-node-evaluation problem at only a few steps, where users may trust 30 users who each trust 30 users, giving 9000 total users; building this list at each page view would be too expensive.

As a final measure, some users may just want to know what "the experts" think is hot. This is a low hanging fruit problem; users can simply allow the top 100 most popular, top 5%, or users accepted directly by over 1000 or 1% of Slashdot users in each topic. These selections would not be counted in these statistics; only users directly accepting individual users as knowledgeable would count. In this way, users can pull in ratings based on the users other users think are smart.

I believe this system would be useful in allowing users to weed out useless headlines and promote useful headlines because it would allow users control over who they are relying on to judge the articles. Those users not thought capable of making useful decisions are ignored in this system, giving every Slashdot user a personalized rating. Most appreciated Slashdot users are publicly known, allowing users to blanket accept the most knowledgeable users per topic. This should allow users to customize their Slashdot experience with high quality ratings of a personal value.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>