×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Verizon "End-to-End" Encrypted Calling Includes Law Enforcement Backdoor

jc42 Re:It's required (166 comments)

Your indignation should not be directed at Verizon - it should be directed at Washington, DC.

A fun part of this is that the government employees at ARPA back in the 1960s explained it all to us. They firmly rejected building any sort of encryption into the network itself, on the grounds that such software would always be controlled by the "middlemen" who supplied the physical connectivity, and they would always build what we now call backdoors into the encryption. They concluded that secure communication between two parties could only be done via encryption that they alone controlled. Any encryption at a lower level was a pure waste of computer time, and shouldn't even be attempted, because it will always be compromised.

This doesn't seem to have gotten through to many people today, though. We hear a lot about how "the Internet" should supply secure, encrypted connections. Sorry; that's never feasible, unless you own and control access to every piece of hardware along the data's route. And the ARPA guys didn't consider that, because that first 'A' stands for "Army", and they wanted a maximally-redundant, "mesh" type network that would be usable in battle conditions. They went with the approach that you use any kind of data equipment that's available, including the enemy's, and you build in sufficient error detection to ensure that the bits get through undamaged,. Then you use encryption that your team knows how to install on their machines and use. And you probably change the encryption software at irregular intervals.

Anyway, the real people to direct your anger at are the PR folks in both industry and government, who keep trying to convince you that they can supply encryption that's secure. Yeah, maybe they can do that, but they never have and they never will. And the odd chance that they've actually done so in some specific case doesn't change this. The next (silent, automatic;-) upgrade will introduce the backdoor.

Unless you have all the code, compile it yourself, and have people who can understand its inner workings, you don't have secure encryption; you have encryption that delivers your text to some unknown third parties. It's the US government's own security folks who explained this to us nearly half a century ago.

5 days ago
top

Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

jc42 Re:undocumented immigrant (440 comments)

Why does the fourth amendment apply? If he is not a citizen of the US, our laws shouldn't protect him.

So you think tourists shouldn't be protected by US law?

There are a lot of people and companies in the tourism industry who would strongly disagree with you. Not to mention the shipping industry, whose employees often make short visits to places where they aren't citizens, as part of their jobs.

If your suggestion were put into effect, it would be a disaster for a lot of valuable businesses. For that reason, it's not how the law works in the US or in any other country.

5 days ago
top

Federal Court Nixes Weeks of Warrantless Video Surveillance

jc42 Re:this is ridiculous (440 comments)

In that case, why not get a warrant ?

Because they didn't have any evidence against the guy.

Remember this when you hear (or use) the argument "If I'm doing nothing wrong, I have nothing to fear."

5 days ago
top

How Relevant is C in 2014?

jc42 Re:Si. (641 comments)

"ch" is not a digraph. It is a diphthong.

Well, I'd disagree. It certainly is a digraph, since all that means is that it's two letters that together represent a sound or sounds different from the usual sounds represented by each letter. Since 'c' rarely represents /t/ in English, and 'h' rarely represents what we usually write as 'sh', the sequence 'ch' represents a sound different from "tsh", and thus satisfies the definition of "digraph".

As for diphthong, I can see how one might stretch the term to cover it, but it's a real stretch. The term "diphthong" normally means a sequence of two sounds, typically a sequence that acts like a phoneme in the language. "ch" sorta does this, but the stretchiness comes from the fact that neither of those two sounds are usually represented by 'c' or 'h'. We accept "i" as a diphthong in words like "I" or "time", but it's partly because the phoneme /i/ is one of its two sounds; the initial /a/ is simply not written. Similarly, a "long O" in English typically means an /ou/ or /ow/ sequence, and again the main use of 'o' is included (but the second sound isn't written). The spelling "tsh" would qualify as a trigraph for the main "ch" sound in English, and with that spelling, it would represent a diphthong. But for "ch", it doesn't quite work. It's really an example of the other use of the letter 'h', meaning "a sound sorta like the previous letter's sound, but somewhat different. But this doesn't work, either, because what's the normal sound of 'c'? It's usual either /s/ or /k/, not /t/.

But my main objection is that, in a sense, we're both wrong. English spelling is insane and perverse, and no attempts to apply precise meanings to any written sequence can really be correct. If English had had spelling reforms like all the other European languages have had over the past couple of centuries, we could make meaningful statements about spelling. But this never happened, and any attempt to tie spelling to pronunciation in English is bound to merely make one look foolish. We're not only OT in this thread, but we're arguing about something that can never be analyzed sensibly in English.

My favorite suggestion re this situation (and I've forgotten who first suggested it) is that, since English has become much of the world's de facto international language, the roughly 95% who aren't native speakers should gang up on the English-speaking minority. An international conference for revising English spelling should be formed, or perhaps now it should be an organization built around a web site. That organization should work out a reasonable phonetic writing system for English. The supporting nations should declare that writing system to be their standard for English, with software to transliterate between it and the various "standard" English spellings used by native speakers in different countries. With time, they could overpower the insanity of current English spelling.

But it's clear that this ain't gonna happen any time soon.

(As a native speaker of English, I'd support such an effort. So if some victims of their English-as-a-second-language class want to organize it, I'd be willing to lend at least my moral support. But as a native speaker of English, I'm probably not qualified to organize it. ;-)

about two weeks ago
top

CIA Lied Over Brutal Interrogations

jc42 Re:Not even close (772 comments)

The waterboarding done by the Japanese involved putting a hose down peoples throats, filling their stomachs to the bursting point and then hitting the victims stomach with sticks until it actually did burst.

Not even close to the same thing.

But still cruel, ineffective at actually getting reliable information and likely used on people that didn't have the information they sought and we (US citizens) should be fucking ashamed of our government and ourselves by proxy.

Yeah, some of us are. But it's not clear how a mere citizen can do anything effective about it without becoming one of the victims ourselves.

about two weeks ago
top

How Relevant is C in 2014?

jc42 Re:Si. (641 comments)

I have gone out of my way to never use that letter. Notise that at first it kan be a bit diffikult but you get used to it.

In English, pretty much the only "real" use of 'c' rather than 's' or 'k' is in the digraph "ch", which represents a phoneme that has no other standard spelling. However, you kan replase it with "tsh", which produses the same phoneme bekause phonetikally "ch" really is just 't' + 'sh'. So with this tshoise of letters, you kan further approatsh the kommendable goal of replasing an utterly unnesessary English letter with a more phonetikally-korrekt ekwivalent. At the same time, we kan make kwik work of replasing that idiotik 'q' with a sensible replasement.

(Kyue the Mark Twain kwotes on the topik. ;-)

about two weeks ago
top

Alva Noe: Don't Worry About the Singularity, We Can't Even Copy an Amoeba

jc42 Re:AI researcher here (455 comments)

Agree, way too many people who should know better still conflate consciousness with intelligence. An ant's nest exhibits intelligent behaviour but it can't contemplate it's own existence, ...

So how exactly do we know this? I haven't read of any studies on the topic. Could you give us a link to a study showing what ant nests actually contemplate?

about a month ago
top

Blame America For Everything You Hate About "Internet Culture"

jc42 Re:that's because (376 comments)

The portion of the American population that actually does useful stuff like network computers is a tiny, tiny fraction that is pretty much considered a bunch of "weirdos" by the rest of society (and you know it). New technologies are almost all developed in universities which are mostly made up of immigrants. America is being propped up by immigrants and geeks, the very people everyone else hates. Wake up and realize that the country you're living in hates you and does not deserve your presence.

Yeah, as an American teenager who was repeatedly voted "smartest" in his class, I realized all that decades ago. That's why I've mostly lived in close proximity to academia for most of my life since then, and have associated mostly with a crowd that has a high proportion of "furriners". It also has a lot to do with my migration into the Internet-development field, where my professional connections tend to be the same sort of furriners.

Generalizations about the citizens of a country are generally nonsense. I have lots of friends in other countries that I've never met, and I personally don't consider that at all odd. It's one of the things that this Internet thing was more-or-less designed to encourage. The practice of categorizing people by the accident of where they were born is ultimately doomed, though I expect it to live on long after it has become nonsense. Sorta like categorizing people by their sex or age or race or religion or ... ;-)

about a month ago
top

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

jc42 Re:We've been doing it for a long time (367 comments)

Maybe two planets. I propose testing it on Mars first. Costs more but no people to kill.

Maybe someone already did....

Nah; it was Venus.

about 1 month ago
top

Harvard Scientists Say It's Time To Start Thinking About Engineering the Climate

jc42 Re:Global warming is bunk anyway. (367 comments)

Its ironic that one of the potential benefits of geoengineering research is that it will force many climate change deniers to admit that its possible for human activity to have major deleterious effects on Earth's climate.

Probably not. Consider the thoroughly-documented example of the evolutionary process at work in the modern world. This doesn't affect the belief systems of the religious folks, who still insist that evolution is bogus, and has nothing to do with our modern world. One of the major cases is with the over-use of antibiotics, especially in agriculture. This is forcing the evolution of resistance in most of our disease organisms, destroying the value of many of our medicines. The evidence of all this has no effect at all on the religious believers. They also put pressure on the school systems (especially here in the US) to eliminate evolution from the textbooks, so the people responsible for this evolutionary pressure (mostly in agriculture, but also in medicine) don't understand the issues, and continue to make frivolous or incorrect use of the antibiotics.

Historians have documented many such cases in which our ancestors had knowledge that their actions were leading to disasters, but they continued anyway. These are typically cases where short-term actions were profitable to the people doing them, but bad for society in the long run. History says that we humans don't respond logically to such situations. We continue to act for short-term profit, and ignore the long-term results. Our "leaders" also tend to take actions that encourage this, by hiding the information or denying the validity of knowledge that can't be hidden.

There's no reason to expect that we can organize on a global scale to fix such problems. Our political systems tend to be controlled by the wealthier people, who are the ones ultimately profiting from the short-term results of the problems. About all we can do is prepare for the predictable long-term results, when possible.

about 1 month ago
top

Report: Federal Workers, Contractors Behind Half of Government Cyber Breaches

jc42 Re:But but but th-the Chinese! (61 comments)

And the Russians! Aren't they the chief troublemakers? How can we push our pre-emptive cyberwarfare withouth a boogeyman foreigner?

Nah; today the term is "terrist". ;-) And them terrists can live nearly anywhere. There are lots of them in China, India, Malaysia, Nigeria, Brazil, and all those Muslim countries that are our current Enemies of Choice. And you can even find them in Canada.

In Russia, "cyberwarfare" (aka "hacking" to the MSM) is becoming a public, respectable industry. They're into it as a way to systematically make a lot of money, putting them in essentially the same class as most of management in the corporate world. But in other parts of the world, it's more often a case of causing trouble for your victim, rather than just making money off them.

about a month and a half ago
top

Why Scientists Think Completely Unclassifiable and Undiscovered Life Forms Exist

jc42 Re:Have we discovered all there is to discover? (221 comments)

Not quite. They're suggesting that there's a good chance that there's an entirely different domain (or more) of life other than eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea. That's a pretty radical proposition, ...

Um, not really. A bit of quick googling verified within a minute my memory that the "discovery" of the archaea only dates back to the 1970s. Before that, the few that were known were (mis)classified as bacteria. Then a few researchers looked into their details, and showed that they weren't bacteria at all. Biologists basically watched the discussions, and eventually recognized that those researchers were right, and since then we've had 3 "kingdoms" of Earthly life forms.

It's the idea that those 3 root classifications are all there is that's really radical. The default conjecture should really be that, if we discovered such a major root clade so recently, there are probably more waiting to be discovered. Assuming otherwise mostly just shows a lack of knowledge of the recent history of biological discovery.

In particular, someone else has already mentioned the fact that the various deep-drilling projects have found living things kilometers deep in the rocks, no matter where they've drilled. The folks working with this data have estimated that there's more biomass below the surface water+soil layer than there is above it. It's likely that the critters living their slow, warm lives down there are radically different from anything up here on the planet's thin skin. Learning about them is going to take time. (And we can hope that the rapid expansion of "fracking" won't cause a mass extinction due to the massive habitat destruction down there before we have a chance to study them. ;-)

about a month and a half ago
top

Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

jc42 Re:Not Planets (219 comments)

Perhaps that discover will put a stake in that silly redefinition of the word.

And, anyway, this always seemed like the obvious truth. I'd have been shocked if there weren't massive numbers of primary-less planets out there. If you plot star masses versus size, the quantity goes up and up as the mass goes down, to the point they stop radiating. At that point we can't really see them anymore, but there's no reason to doubt that the curve keeps extending.

Some years back (probably in the 1980s), I read an article by an astronomer who had collected lots of info on what was known of the distribution of mass of various sizes. It included a graph of mean size-vs-density, from monatomic H through various common small molecules, on to dust clouds, planets, and stars of various sizes, for our galaxy and a few others that had enough data to be useful. The graph had a long gap between planets (then known only for our solar system) and stars. The writer commented that there was no data at all in this gap, but the two ends did appear to extend to meet each other. So the obvious conjecture was that the distribution continued through the gap, and if so, it would come close to accounting for the "missing mass" needed to explain galaxy rotation.

This was pure conjecture, of course, and since little is actually known about planet formation outside our solar system, it wouldn't be surprising if the actual distribution has dips at various size ranges. But assuming that the gap has the value zero is not very sensible. The obvious approach would be to say that we don't actually know, and Further Research Is Needed.

I wonder if I could find that article again ...

about 2 months ago
top

Most Planets In the Universe Are Homeless

jc42 Re:Not Planets (219 comments)

The IAU definition only applies to objects in this solar system. It says nothing about objects outside this solar system. It is very clear about that.

So obviously there are no "planets" at all outside our solar system. ;-)

Maybe astronomers should just make up a new term for the concept. Or maybe several terms. After all, how useful is a term that includes both Mercury and Jupiter? Especially if it excludes Pluto, Titan and Sedna.

about 2 months ago
top

Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

jc42 Re:One sample (128 comments)

Does not conclusively prove. Mixing could have occurred at many times and locations. While useful, more data needed.

Yup. But the fossil record tends to be rather sketchy, and has little concern for what we consider our "needs".

about 2 months ago
top

Oldest Human Genome Reveals When Our Ancestors Mixed With Neanderthals

jc42 Re: Exinction (128 comments)

My guess is that the fact that no organisms exist with a Neanderthal genome defines them as extinct. Where one draws the line is more art than science I guess ... I know that there are some genetics in us (like the HMG group of proteins) that are ancient, but work so well that we still retain them. That doesn't mean the first species to have evolved them isn't extinct, it just means we evolved from them.

Well, I don't think that quite matches the scientific concept of "species". By your definition, almost all species who were alive 50,000 years ago would be considered extinct, but hardly any biologists would agree with that. It's true that no humans alive today have 100% Neanderthal genes, but it's also nearly certain that there are no living humans with 100% Cro-Magnon genes, either. What happened would be considered a mixing of several human sub-species after migrations of one or more African groups into Eurasia. The Cro-Magnon sub-species disappeared, too, and modern human Caucasian and Asian sub-species are the results of that mixing. This sort of thing happens in species all the time, when conditions allow such genetic mixing, and the result is rarely considered a new species.

The fact is that modern humans are all one species. We can and do interbreed when groups mingle, and there are no groups of modern humans that are genetically incompatible. If sub-species "disappear" by genetic mixing, that is usually not called an extinction event. It's just the routine and normal mingling of subspecies.

An interesting contrast is that most North American duck species are known to hybridize occasionally, and the offspring are usually fertile. Does this mean they're really all one species? No, because they all mingle a lot, but interbreeding is rare. They have "behavioral" species-separation features, mostly based on female mate choice. The females are mostly all mottled brown (protective coloring), and the males often approach females of other species (because they can't tell them apart either ;-). But the females usually only accept males that have the "right" color markings; the others are ugly to them. This suffices to keep the species separate, though there is probably a very low level of genetic interchange between many of the species.

But humans aren't like this. Even if we do generally prefer mates in our own subspecies, most of us do find many members of other subspecies physically attractive, and we'll mate with them given the opportunity. This means that we really are all the same species. We now have good evidence that the Neandertals were merely another subspecies, because when they had the opportunity, they did interbreed with those slender, dark-skinned folks who migrated into their territory. They did so often enough to produce a new subspecies that's physically distinct from either of the earlier two (or three or more).

about 2 months ago
top

Early Childhood Neglect Associated With Altered Brain Structure, ADHD

jc42 Re:ancient news (87 comments)

Decades ago there was an experiment with monkeys deprived of maternal support to varying degrees. Some not allowed to touch or see the mother. Autopsies showed that the deprived monkeys had massive (and obvious to any observer) brain deficiencies. These monkeys were never able to adjust to social settings with others of their kind. Their behavior was obviously abnormal. My impression was that every moment of their life was stressful for them. Sorry I can't recall the source of the video I saw.

This result would be the same for dogs, cats and humans. I can't comprehend why it would be news in the year 2014.

Hmmm ... You seem to have missed the even more "interesting" followup studies. I was a grad student working with some of those reasearchers, so I heard a bit about it. They took their adult solo-raised monkeys, who were highly asocial, and caged them for a while with infant monkeys. After a few months, they took those individuals and put them in the "social" cages with established groups of their own species -- and they behaved like normal, socialized monkeys.

So maybe we could try this with our "deprived" human children. Put them into a social setting (perhaps schools) with younger children, and watch their interactions. They aren't monkeys, of course, but we are all close relatives, so maybe it would work with them, and they'd become at least somewhat better-socialized humans after a while.

Or maybe humans are hopeless. We don't really know until we do such experiments on ourselves. But we do seem to have a population of good test subjects, and the results couldn't be much worse than what we've been doing. Imprisoning such young adults in response to minor mischief would seem to be exactly the wrong thing to do, if those monkey experiments apply to our species, too.

about 2 months ago
top

ISPs Violating Net Neutrality To Block Encryption

jc42 Re:No Carriers (149 comments)

They block encryption they are violating the telecommunication laws. And so they are not a carrier anymore.

If you mean "common carrier" then the truth is that they never where one.

Maybe we should be looking at the origins of the "common carrier" concept, and learn how they apply to the current situation. A number of historians have written on this topic, and the history definitely applies to our modern network.

Part of the explanation of how "common carrier" arose is in the well-known phrase "kill the messenger". Centuries ago, this was a very real problem. It wasn't unusual for a prince (or other powerful personage) to respond to the receipt of a message he didn't like by punishing the poor fellow who delivered it. The carrier services replied to this in about the only way they could: They opened and read the messages, and if they thought the recipient would react by harming their carrier, they would "edit" the message. And when dealing with a recipient who had a bad history, they'd often sell the message's content to the enemies of the sender or receiver.

Eventually the smarter princes figured out that a reliable message service was worth more than the temporary enjoyment they got from torturing or killing the messenger. So some of them got together with the message services, and worked out an agreement: If a sender and receiver had both signed on with a message company, they could send "sealed" messages, which the message carriers would promise to deliver unopened. But this would only apply if the sender and receiver had both promised not to damage the carriers employees or equipment, etc., etc.

This worked out to the advantage of the princes who joined in such agreements, so the practice spread, and became known (in English) by the phrase "common carrier".

It's easy to see how this all might apply to our current topic. The ISPs are "carriers", but not "common carriers". They have a record of opening and reading our communications, and selling the contents to "enemies" like marketers and government agencies. We're now engaged in collecting evidence about this behavior, and publishing it openly. We should make it clear that, as long as the ISPs continue acting in such perfidious ways, we will continue to work to expose their behavior to the general public, including people they views as their enemies (or "competitors";-).

The parallels to the original situation aren't exact, but we might benefit by knowing the history and trying to find a similar solution that can work today.

about 2 months ago
top

PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

jc42 Re:What about the environment? (367 comments)

Yeah exactly! I feel PETA is saying, blah blah blah - use petrol and kill off the animals.

Wait - the "slow food" movement would say "go local."

I'm so confused. Is global warming coming or not?!

Nah; it's not coming at all. It's here. And we're not gonna do a thing about it, so we'll just have to adapt. And migrate inland as our coastal areas slowly flood out.

Here in New England, one of the running jokes for the past decade or so has been for one person to ask what time the robins arrived this year, and another person says "They didn't return; they never left."

Actually, it is a bit more complicated than that. They're one of the many semi-migratory birds now. Part of the population heads south when it gets too cold. But we've seen robins in our yard (in a western suburb of Boston) every month of the year for about 10 years now, while before that, they were almost never seen in December, January or February. This was never exact, though, since their normal winter range did extend to around New York (and southern Nova Scotia ;-), and they were reported around Boston occasionally during warm winters. If you look in older bird books, you can see the robins' winter range ending somewhere south of us, depending on the book, while the current books show it extending to around the New Hampshire border.

But still, they're a locally obvious sign that the climate has shifted north by a hundred miles or so. And a casual search of the topic will make it clear that the US government and most of the population have no intention of doing anything serious to change the trend. The scientists have clearly pinned the blame on human activity, and the engineers point out that this means we now know how to control the climate if we want to. But we (collectively) don't want to.

(Then there's the local joke about all the folks in New Hampshire and Maine who think global warming sounds like a fine idea. Myself, I intend to plant a palm tree in our yard as soon as they become available in the nurseries, which may happen soon. ;-)

about 2 months ago
top

PETA Is Not Happy That Google Used a Camel To Get a Desert "StreetView"

jc42 Re:Let's get our priorities straight here! (367 comments)

Heh. The example I like to use is to point out that killing one cow (or steer) means around 100 meals for a human, while eating a single slice of bread means you're responsible for the death of around 100 baby wheat plants (and probably a thousand living, breathing yeasts). Or: When you eat a hamburger, the meat part is entails less than .01 deaths, while the bread part caused the death of 100 to 1000 living creatures. So it's the vegetarians that are doing the real mass killing of prey.

Of course, this is a bit disingenuous, since the animal was probably fed on grains. But you can confuse this issue a bit by pointing out that cattle actually evolved as grazers mostly on the vegetative parts of their grassy "prey", not the seeds, and the plants can quickly regrow their leaves. Our feedlots are responsible for lots of deaths of little baby grains, true, but naturally-raised beef wouldn't do this. They do ingest at least a few of the seeds, so the issue isn't quite so clear, but it's basically accurate.

For some reason, people with ethical concerns about eating animals never seem to consider that plants are also living creatures. They seem to think that killing a single animal is something horrible, while there's nothing wrong with mass murder of baby grain plants. But you can confuse them a bit by talking about the plants as living creatures. Produce the image of an animal thousands of times our size, collecting our babies and tossing them alive into large hoppers, to be ground to a paste for the next meal. That's what we do to wheat plants. Hiding it in a grain mill doesn't change the fact.

Unfortunately, we're animals, and we can't get our food from the sun, air and dirt. To live, we must kill other living things and eat them. There are marginal cases, such as fruits that were evolved as animal food (to trick animals into transporting the seeds). But we humans can't live on fruit alone; we do have to kill other species for most of our food. This slightly complicates the moral and ethical issues.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

top

Neanderthal nuclear genome sequenced

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The first successful sequencing of the Neandert(h)al genome has been published in Science, by a team led by Svante Päbo of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Among their conclusions is that the Neandertals most likely did interbreed with the Cro Magnon invaders from Africa. There were a number of gene variants shared with modern Europeans but not with several other groups in Africa. The article states that "Modern humans and Neanderthals are so closely related that a comparison of their genomes must take into account the fact that for any particular part of the genome, a single modern human and a single Neandertal could be more similar to each other than two modern humans would be." So it looks like we'll have to look for a different hominid for the split that produced Homo sapiens. And, of course, further research is needed."
Link to Original Source
top

That nice format of the past few days reverted

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jc42 writes "For several days, slashdot's main page showed on my screen (in several browsers) in a very nice format: Just the stories. That left column which is mostly just white space was missing, and that silly right column that took up half the screen and just listed a few of my recent messages was also missing. I could make the window about 1/3 the width of my 1920x1200 screen and see 4 or 5 summaries at a time. It was a real pleasure to be able to read /. without wasting most of the screen space. Today, it reverted to the old format, with mostly wasted space and a narrow column for the stories, one at a time. If I want to get more than one summary on my 1920x1200 screen, I again have to make the browser window full screen, and most of the screen is blank. Is there some reliable way to get the simple format again? It'd be nice to be able to read /. in a format that doesn't waste 2/3 of the window with stuff that I don't read. (And is there some better way to ask such questions? I've long wished there were a /. "place to ask dumb questions", but I've never seen one. Of course, there might be one that I don't about. If so, I'll go ask my dumb questions there. ;-)"
top

Latest Earth-crossing asteroid passes by tonight

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jc42 writes "Astronomers have been looking at the first images of asteroid 2007 TU24, the 250-meter asteroid that will pass 540,000 km from the Earth at 8:33 UTC (3:30 EST) Tuesday morning. So get your telescopes out; it's a 10th-magnitude object. Or just hold your breath as the time approaches. Maybe astronomers will get good enough numbers for its 2000-year orbit to calculate how long until it hits our planet. It might be sobering to consider that it was just discovered last October, and we know about maybe half of the objects like this in Earth-crossing orbits."
Link to Original Source
top

OLPC "Give One, Get One" offer extended to

jc42 jc42 writes  |  about 7 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The One Laptop Per Child program has extended its North American "Give One, Get One" program to the end of the year. It seems they've been deluged with orders, and are realizing that this thing could be very popular in the First World, too. My wife and I have ordered some as Xmas presents for children/grandchildren, since it seems to be the first computer aimed at kids that, as some reviewers comment, "isn't a toy". We're wondering if we should get some for ourselves, for our second childhood. We're both software developers who'd like to get our hands on this new GUI. Anyone else have any comments, pro or con? Have you ordered one? Why?"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "NPR, PCworld, and some 400 other news sources (according to Google News) are reporting on a new Google feature: Google Earth, in cooperation with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum now presents details of the growing disaster in Darfur. They give a virtual tour of the area, with details of events in many villages in the words of local residents. So in addition to their "Do no evil" motto, they apparently now have a policy of exposing evil. Needless to say, the Sudan government didn't exactly cooperate with this project."
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  about 8 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The latest skirmish in the ongoing escalation of "Intellection Property" rights to cover everything in our culture, a number of news sources are telling the story of James Worley, a "portly fellow with a full white beard" who was being mistaken for Santa Clause by children at Disney World in Florida. He was approached by Disney people and ordered to change his appearance, because "Santa is a Disney Character". Is there anything that Disney doesn't now claim to own?"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "A recent study published in Nature documents the accelerating release of methane from melting permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more "effective" than carbon dioxide, so this may signal more rapid warming in the near future. If you don't subscribe to Nature, the Guardian has a good summary. [Ed: What's an appropriate topic for this? I see nothing appropriate in the menu.]"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jc42 writes "Breaking news: The IAU has voted, and Pluto is now a "dwarf planet", not a "planet". Note the bit about an astronomer holding up a Walt Disney Pluto under an umbrella. Cue the endless debate on this vital topic ..."

Journals

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?