Research Finds Link Between Inflation and Laughter In Federal Reserve Meetings
Alternate explanation would be that usually economic downturn is linked with low inflation, whereas when economy is thriving, inflation is often a concern.
Could it just be that people tend to laugh more when things are going well in general (omitting inflation), and are in turn more somber at hard times?
A Conversation with Rob Malda - Part One of Three (Video)
I have to say I'm not certain why all these "Rob Malda gets a job" and "Rob Malda discusses Reddit" articles that have appeared since he resigned from Slashdot are relevant news for nerds. I've been following the site since the nineties, and with the exception of few posts (like the proposal mentioned earlier), the editors were never a focus in the posts, but the news instead.
I would assume the people who wanted to follow CmdrTaco more carefully could, like, follow his personal website or something. At least to me, the Slashdot culture has never centered around any figureheads, but the community and commenters (and of course Rob Malda was an integral part of both for a long time).
At least this three-part interview series could've been timed to occur more closely with the 15 year anniversary, now it just feels like free PR push.
Losing the Public Debate On Global Warming
I wonder what the unexplained "sine wave" is doing on the background of that image. When you replace it mentally with a linear best-fit line, you get an increasing trend. Using an arbitary non-linear function, especially the sine wave that implies "we're going down next" feels like deliberately pointing the viewer to a certain conclusion.
I haven't read Roy Spencer's arguments behind this graph, but I'm quite sure I could apply the sine wave to many statistical datasets that do actually increase over time to create the illusion that it's "just oscillating, not rising".
The Pirate Bay Plans Servers In the Sky
<quote><p>They can crash without crashing, although a serious crash might cause a crash.</p></quote>
Good point, I was already concerned that crash could cause downtime!
On a more serious note, I wonder how they are going to connect to internet from these servers - maybe a ground station serving as relay link? If so, how is this any better than having the whole server in that ground station?
Why People Don't Live Past 114
<quote><p>And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.</p></quote>
I loved it when in Terminator II Arnold explains to John Connor that he has internal battery which will last for 120 years. I don't think that amount is a coincidence. :)
Despite Media Confusion, Raspberry Pi Boards Still On Schedule
<quote>For values of "anyone" meaning the first 10000 people to get in before the server implodes.</quote>
I'm pretty sure they uphold their commitment to not taking orders before they have the actual units in stock, so once the first batch runs out, the store closes again and you won't be able to order until the second batch arrives. I can already see the Slashdot headlines: "Truck with 24th batch of R-Pi spotted on premises - expect the store to open once more in 30 minutes. Hurry because they'll run out of them again in 33 minutes!"
Point of sarcasm: I don't exactly understand why R-Pi is refusing to take orders just few days before they get the first batch - how is it different after they get 300 000 orders the first day and run out of units - I'm pretty sure they won't be sending emails to 290 000 people saying "thanks for ordering but sorry, you have to do it again when the second batch arrives, better luck then!".
As I see it, there's not much difference letting people fill the order forms today and wait for three months for supply to catch up with demand and waiting 10 more days, so people only need to wait two months and 20 days. Unless Paypal charge cannot be deferred to later point in time, in which case my horror scenario might just happen.
Why the Raspberry Pi Won't Ship In Kit Form
I find it really hard to understand all the people who are so obsessed about this. "Oh my, the pureness of this project has been tainted by the horrible non-OSS nature of GPU drivers and now I have to respond to every post about Rasp-Pi about this!!!". Come on people, it's a $25 computer, it is running Linux, you can do great stuff with it and unless you have an altar devoted to Richard M. Stallman in your home, you can hardly complain about the influence this small issue will have to your kids learning experience with the device.
I understand that the closed nature of this part of Rasp-Pi may be a personal letdown for some 1 % of geeks who are mainly interested to hack the graphics drivers, but I could bet that nine out of ten people who constantly whine about it when any possibility surfaces would not personally ever tinker with that part of Rasp-Pi even it were completely OSS - they just have the unrealistic world view where no compromises need to be made to provide a cheap learning platform with "sexy" graphics functionality for education.
To end with a car analogy, if there was a non-profit organization making a $100 electric DIY moped that could, thanks to a closed design of the battery circuit (everything else of course would be completely open), achieve a speed of 30 mph instead of 5 mph open designs, the same people would probably be here pointing out how their kids enthusiasm for DIY projects and the usability of the whole moped would be compromised because this one part was not open for everyone.
100/1 Odds On 'First Contact' Within a Year
iPads would probably be a huge hit with alien tourists, much like boomerangs are to us human tourists visiting Australia. For an alien, nothing would remind them of their primitive stone age roots more than a crude device such as the iPad.
Write Bits Directly Onto a Hard Drive Platter?
Actually, perhaps he really wants to create magnetic patterns to a medium (in this case, a hard drive platter). That would explain the need, and modern harddrive capacity would allow for some really intricate ones.
Other option is that the guy wants to do research on how long strings of ones and zeroes are really stable on modern hard drive platters, or some other such thing - it's hard to simulate this reliably, especially if you're more of a DIY type of guy than a physicist.
Write Bits Directly Onto a Hard Drive Platter?
Your story, sir, is just not plausible. You really had me going with the monastery stuff (monks need their ones and zeroes), but everyone knows printed zeroes weigh more than ones. See: 0, 1!
OTOH: On a hard drive, it's all digital so ones and zeroes generally have the same weight, the difference comes whether they are just random noise or contain valuable information - for example the entire library of congress stacked on one platter would need to be padded out with proper amount of useless stuff like slashdot comments and lolcats. This is consequently also why writing ones and zeros directly to the platter without having a hard drive controller circuitry handling error correction and lolcats is a really bad idea.
It all makes sense when you really think of it!
Deposit Checks By iPhone
You mean like a *receipt*?
I don't remember the time I last purchased something either over the web or counter that didn't come with printable receipt. Same goes with bills and online payment.
I'd also doubt that my bank would change the amount between me authorizing a payment and having the receipt available electronically, as their risks would most certainly outweigh the benefits.
Perhaps in countries where there's a history of banks systematically screwing with their customers and the justice system not helping that would be an issue, but at least here in Finland I would be worrying about alien abductions and government conspiracies against me personally as well, if I felt that checks would be the only way to have security.
And, I'm actually quite certain that checks can be forged more easily than you can build a banking system that automatically screws its customers, yet is not detected on the long run.
Orbit Your Own Satellite For $8,000
If they have a standardized satellite template, it would be a rather clever "hoax" to just launch one ~5 pound satellite that would have enough horsepower to emulate all the 1 pound ones, so people would think that their very own satellite was launched, when actually there's just one with many antennas. It would make a great Slashdot meme:
- Offer to send a beowulf cluster of DIY satellites to space
- Charge for them
- Only send one virtualized satellite
- ... (this point was intentionally left blank)
Hacking Hi-Def Graphics and Camerawork Into 4Kb
I've often thought the same. However...
Even those "old skool" 80s and 90s demos had their own "graphics libraries", just on lower level - BIOS routines to switch graphics modes, and if there was music, it was usually done using MIDI or GUS, which had hardware mixing routines. Add all DOS interrupts on top of that and you had plenty of "libraries" also available back then.
So while there is difference (back then you had to do your own polygon filling routines), even old-timers had some help, and you could even argue that it was quite an equal amount when compared to yesterday's standards (flat shaded polygons were great back then).
Heck, I'd even go as far as to say, that 4kb, even with DirectX and whatnot, is even more amazing when you consider that even basic OS install requires 20 GB disk space. In the 90s, the days of Commodore 64 were pretty close, and 4kb was just few orders of magnitude smaller than "the usual stuff" those days.
Google Buys Finnish Paper Mill
From Finnish viewpoint the news is very interesting, because these paper mill sites (Summa, Kemijarvi mill, and some others) have been continuously in the headlines for the last two years due to their closing down. Many of the cities these factories have resided in are in rather remote locations, and there aren't many companies who are interested in the facilities, meaning a significant share of the taxpayers suddenly become unemployed, without much hope for new companies appearing.
Now the headline where Google, a global superbrand, is buying an obscure paper mill and converting it to a datacenter truly raises eyebrows, I myself almost fell from my chair when a saw the headline. From US viewpoint and scale, it would equate to something like:
"Chinese government to acquire all car factories in Detroit and convert them for clothing production".
Except Google and paper mill makes up a somewhat more nerdy combination. But I agree, people not familiar with Summa paper mills and their history probably won't appreciate this getting to the Slashdot front page.
Ethical Killing Machines
As the somewhat trollish parent is modded insightful, allow me to deconstruct the article presented in it a bit.
Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or make me do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that's it.
Great, so we start with a little black-and-white to make the arguments that follow as clear-cut as the first paragraph, and possibly put the argumentors of a more toned thinking at slight disadvantage.
In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some.
Now we introduce generally accepted nice concepts "moral", "civilized" and non-violence, and link those to the obvious method of achieving them, the "personal firearm". This lays a nice "straw man" trap for people directly opposing, as they are seemingly also opposing the aforementioned concepts.
Also note that "some" may find this paradoxical, hinting that "most" see this inherent logic. Great, now some arguments!
When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force.
If you carry a gun, I should incapacitate you as soon as possible to prevent you from using that gun, right? So instead of "give me your money", I first hit you from behind and then state my request.
You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force.
How many arguments will become more "civil", as stated before, once the other party shows that he/she is carrying a gun? Isn't it actually reversing the balance of force, not negating it?
It may be true that if everyone were carrying guns, some crimes might be prevented as the physically strong would have less advantage over the weak. However, armed confrontations don't usually end up in balanced argumentation, so I sincerely doubt that there might be downsides in such state of matters, and they could even outweigh the advantages.
The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gang banger, and a single guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats.
Use of gun requires certain physical attributes such as aiming, reflexes and visual acuity, which will still remain unequal. Also, the ones who initially were armed with baseball bats are now armed with guns, and are more likely to use them, which still puts numbers and intent on advantage, not the "self-protection". If the unwillingness of gun use would be eliminated in whole population, I'd say we'd soon have more problems created than rape attempts solved.
The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender.
On the other hand we argument that everyone should carry a piece, and then we prove its usefulness by stating it's superior to several guys with baseball bats. For a level field, the argument should assume that the guys, too, have guns. The only weapon levelling the field here would be few kilograms of C4.
I see that guns transform the equation of "you're the only one likely to die" to "the other person is as likely to die, too". But this essentially only raises the stakes, much like nuclear weapons do to traditional warfare.
People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that's the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly.
Now we come back to claim we started with, and strengthen it by paraphrasing. To support this, we have had some half-truths in between, and as a fitting conclusion to the claim, we oversimplify it to be a matter of granting muggers a monopoly of force. By leaving the gray and/or inconvenient aspects outside, we have successfully built another straw man, and can safely continue to (brief) mention of some downsides of freely available weapons:
Then there's the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury.
Yes, like the husband who kills his cheating wife in a streak of jealosy, a teenager who ends his/her life with dad's pistol, old paranoid grandmother shooting the mail man in self defence, etc. And don't even start with the ones with mental and/or drug/alcohol problems.
This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser.
Oh, sorry, I didn't realize we were still in this clear-cut black-and-white world where weapons only play role in muggings, rapes and drunken gangs, and the sober citizens enjoy their rights to carry a weapon to level the playing field. My bad.
The gun is the only weapon that's as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weight lifter.
Again, I severely doubt that average citizen is as likely to pull the trigger as the mugger, and whether the increased risk of victim carrying a gun would only change the way these crimes are committed (hit first, ask later).
Yes it is all nice and good that YOU carry for it those great and noble reasons, and are prepared to kill whatever sorry mugger or gang that ends up on your way (I don't believe the gun without intent would suffice). If you gave nukes to every country, would you trust them to do the same? I don't know the crime rates in US, but my guess is that only few percent of the population would ever have the possibility to do something beneficial with their weapon, and even in those cases it could end up well or very badly.
So the greatest civilization is one where all citizens are equally armed and can only be persuaded, never forced.
(Stupid) Useful Emacs Tricks?
Now that this Emacs and Vi stuff is out of the system, could we please go on to ed?
After all, it's the standard!