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!



Complex Life May Be Possible In Only 10% of All Galaxies

morethanapapercert Drake equation... (307 comments)

Of course, all of us here are familiar with the Drake equation, something this article certainly applies to.

But I wonder, has anyone made a serious attempt at coming up with real numbers for the various variables to see what the final number was? Every attempt I've seen thus far at solving the equation either uses very loose figures or doesn't enumerate the variables at all.

What I'd like to see is someone take the most rigorous numbers we can come up with, narrowing the estimated ranges as best as we can with current knowledge and then combine that with the stellar distributions we already have mapped. The idea being come up with our very best guess at the number of systems which harbour life (preferably intelligent life) and how big of a sphere of space would we have to explore before we are mathematically probable likely to encounter/discover alien life. I've seen the Seager Equation, which inherently implies the number of possible life bearing planets within a certain radius sphere {our detection range for biosignature gases} but still doesn't try to plug in the best numbers we can come up with.

There is the Texas U calculator, for anyone who has estimated values for the variables at Drake Calculator But I don't have the data to plug into it, nor do I have the skill needed to evaluate the usefulness of numbers I can search for on my own.

about three weeks ago

First Detailed Data Analysis Shows Exactly How Comcast Jammed Netflix

morethanapapercert Re:Their answer to oversubscription as well (243 comments)

Given the way many broadband ISPs oversubscribe their services, I consider weasel words like "up to X speeds" in the fine print while all the headlines and banner texts say "Now surf at X*" or "Fastest Internet in Y county!*" with all those asterisk footnotes to be a form of corporate buggery.

about a month and a half ago

Mark Zuckerberg Speaks Mandarin At Tsinghua University In Beijing

morethanapapercert Re:Also notoriously difficult for westerners: (217 comments)

An amusing quote I read once:

English doesn't borrow from other languages. English follows other languages down dark alleys, knocks them over, and rummages through their pockets for loose grammar. - Paraphrase of a quote by James Davis Nicoll

about 2 months ago

No More Lee-Enfield: Canada's Rangers To Get a Tech Upgrade

morethanapapercert Re: a quick search (334 comments)

Except that Canadian Rangers do not use modern small unit tactics. They do not conduct what you'd think of as a military patrol, more like a border security and game warden patrol. The primary purpose of their rifles is self defence against wildlife or obtaining food while on patrol, not engaging a human enemy. This is also behind the rationale for the .303 cartridge rather than the more modern .308, 300 winmag and other rounds I've seen suggested. Canadian Rangers don't need long range accuracy, they need medium range stopping power using only the military ball rounds approved by international conventions. (the Hague Convention if memory serves correctly)

The conditions and primary mission of the Canadian Rangers also drives the choice of bolt action vs a semi-automatic. Compared to more modern firearms, the Lee-Enfield is built with fairly loose tolerances, so the barrel and action can expand and contract in response to the heat of firing and the extreme cold often found in the Arctic without failing. (when shooting an attacking polar bear at less than 200m, making sure the weapon works is far more important than obtaining sub-MOA accuracy.) The weapon also has to be easily field-stripped even when wearing gloves. Being a Commonwealth country, we still have lots and lots of WW1 issue rifles, making their use very cost effective. The only reason the Canadian Forces wants to replace it is because nobody has made parts for them in decades, so things like firing pins and trigger springs are becoming scarce.

about 2 months ago

Independent Researchers Test Rossi's Alleged Cold Fusion Device For 32 Days

morethanapapercert Re:Hoax (986 comments)

replying to undue mistaken moderation

about 2 months ago

Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group

morethanapapercert Re:I've never shorted a stock (99 comments)

The problem is; as I understand it, is that Microsoft (as well as Apple and Google) have such huge cash reserves that they could afford to operate in the red for YEARS if the board of directors thought it was useful to do so. If Microsoft decided to get really serious about cloud computing and the potential for trusted computing and DRM, they could afford to take really dramatic steps to drive the market in that direction. We've seen the success of Steam and other mandatory connection, micro-transaction business models. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Microsoft board wants to drive individual/consumer desktop use in that direction. I seem to recall that RIAA and MPAA slipped Microsoft a bunch of cash to support development of trusted computing. If MS rolls trusted computing and trustworthy computers into a cloud oriented scheme, I'm sure there is more money to be had from that direction.

[tinfoilhat] Then there is the fact that cloud oriented computing has some rather severe concerns about data integrity, privacy and so on. I'm sure the spooks would LOVE to have everyone store their data and run cloud applications or at least cloud "certified secure" applications where they can stick their digital fingers in. [/tinfoilhat]

about 3 months ago

Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory

morethanapapercert Re:Too Bad (106 comments)

You may be right about some people finding Sheldon's outing as autistic to be insulting. But for what it's worth, I wouldn't. I AM autistic (Aspergers) as is my two sons and the elder son of my best friend. Both my friends son and I find ourselves identifying with Sheldon because certain facets of his personality and interpersonal relationship skills resonate with us. There have been numerous times when Sheldon has said something virtually word for word that my friends son or I have actually said previously. For both him and I, it is a relief to see someone portraying an autistic individual that isn't "disabled".

What separates Sheldon from folks like my friends son and myself I think is humility. We know we're different. We may share Sheldons iron clad assumption of rightness on the emotional reaction level, but intellectually we know we're different and that we have to make constant efforts to adapt to the world instead of expecting the world to adapt to us. We've had to come to recognize, accept and even to some extent celebrate neuro-diversity in a way that Sheldon doesn't seem capable of doing. We don't have Sheldons towering intellect, but we are smart. Thus; we can be wrong, life has given us lessons in humility that Sheldon hasn't had and we have learned from them.

about 3 months ago

Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'

morethanapapercert Re:Too much good content is deleted at Wikipedia. (239 comments)

For what it's worth, I *have* heard the term used that way. In fact it's the only usage I've ever heard. I had vaguely known there was some other historical use, but like cretin , imbecile and moron, it's become a common derogatory word.

I suspect that it is a regional thing. English speaking nations all have their unique slang terms after all. And many English speaking countries are also large enough to have regional differences within them. I'm not likely to ever call a person a drongo, wombat, poof (Australian), berk, bint, chav or pikey (British) or wigger, jagoff, ratchet or ho (American)

Despite being Canadian, I'd never call someone "b'y" (Newfoundland), skookum or siwash (British Columbia)

about 4 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?

morethanapapercert Re:First World Problems (154 comments)

Click here for the easiest way to enhance your revenue!

The one weird trick basement dwelling slashdotters don't want you to know!

about 4 months ago

Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN

morethanapapercert From TFA (113 comments)

What happened exactly?

ICANN posted two letters regarding Brandon Gray today. One is the suspension notice, while the other is a detailed breach notice which explains it all.

Essentially Brandon Gray got finally caught out by a couple of clauses in the 2013 registrar contract with ICANN (RAA):

Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices, pursuant to Section 3.12.7 of the RAA and Section 3 of Domain Name Registrants’ Rights of the Registrants’ Benefits and Responsibilities Specification (“RBRS”).

ICANN would also like to know how they managed to mine whois data to send out all the letters to registrants without falling foul of the section 3.3.5 of the RAA, which states:

3.3.5 In providing query-based public access to registration data as required by Subsections 3.3.1 and 3.3.4, Registrar shall not impose terms and conditions on use of the data provided, except as permitted by any Specification or Policy established by ICANN. Unless and until ICANN establishes a different Consensus Policy, Registrar shall permit use of data it provides in response to queries for any lawful purposes except to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, postal mail, facsimile or other means of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient’s own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations.

For the rest of the article, including images of the actual letters, follow the link in the summary.

about 5 months ago

The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened

morethanapapercert Re:Helicopters (133 comments)

uhm,....sort of

What you're thinking of is the result of the Key West Agreement which basically says the Army can have air assets with a reconnaissance or medical evacuation role. If they have a need for a fixed wing aircraft, blimp, helicopter or whatever within those roles, they can have them. Combat aviation machines remain the purview of the Air Force, so the A-10 tank buster and the AC-130 gunship whose primary mission is a ground support role are NOT Army assets, but Air Force. In practical terms, this has limited the Army to "low and slow" unarmed fixed wing recon platforms and helos for medivac duties. However, after the Viet Nam War, the Army was able to expand on those roles and start using smaller turboprop and light jet fixed wing craft for cargo transport and armed helicopters such as the Apache.

The Navy (and Marines) was able to keep its own combat aircraft for several reasons. My own summary of those reasons are a) Navy often operates too far away from Airforce bases for the usual type of cross-service support and b) The navy had done an excellent job of proving in the recently ended WWII of how effective carrier based aircraft are. A capability the Navy was not going to give up without a serious fight...

*It is generally accepted in military circles that special/covert operations units are exempt from the agreement, but because of the nature and scope of their missions, they are usually limited to choppers and transport craft anyway.

about 6 months ago

Should We Eat Invasive Species?

morethanapapercert Not all are edible though... (290 comments)

The first two invasive species that I can think of, off the top of my head are kudzu and zebra mussels.

Kudzu : AKA "the devils ivy" and "the vine that ate The South" I used to work in the landscaping business and have actually sold this stuff as an indoor decorative plant. I'm pretty sure that people taking it home and putting it in their yard instead is why we're seeing it up in Canada now. Out of curiosity, I've actually tasted kudzu leaves and it's not something I'd ever want in a salad or stewed greens. (but other people enjoy the taste of say grape leaves, so that doesn't completely rule it out.) There are apparently uses for the starch derived from the roots, but I have no experience with that. The damned stuff grows faster than goats can eat it, which is saying a lot. It grows so fast that in ideal conditions you can SEE it growing, you'd almost swear it was capable of following you. I think the best use isn't as food, but as biomass stock. The problem with using it as biomass is that it exhausts the soil pretty quickly.

zebra mussels. As far as I know, in the areas infested by them, the mussels are not edible because of the various nasty things they filter out of the water and sequester in their tissues. I don't think ANY Great Lakes shellfish would be edible for that reason. It used to be you couldn't eat any fish caught in the Great Lakes, especially the lower lakes, because of industrial nasties like mercury and dioxin accumulation. I seem to recall that white fleshed fish species are safe now, as an occasional menu item only. Filter feeders from the Great Lakes, especially if eaten regularly like we'd have to do to keep them under control, is probably still a Bad Idea (TM Animaniacs)

Overall; my concern is that deciding to eat the invasive species is tantamount to an admission of defeat. It's certainly a step towards learning to simply accept that they are part of the local food chain. I am not an ecology and conservation expert by any means, but I think with at least some of the invasive species we may still have a shot at eradicating them if necessary. (if Monsanto or Dupont manage to come up with a kudzu specific herbicide that degrades elegantly/cleanly they'll make a mint down in the southern US)

about 7 months ago

The Linux Foundation and edX Team Up for Intoduction to Linux Class

morethanapapercert NOT taught by Linus? (74 comments)

Linus Torvalds appears to be endorsing this course, which is created by the Linux Foundation. He has a brief into clip on the course page, but in the section for course staff it only lists Jerry Cooperstein Phd who is also the Training Program Director for the Linux Foundation.

To me this seems like Linus approves of, even endorses this course, but that it is being taught by Dr. Cooperstein. I'll readily concede that the technical value of the course probably isn't hurt by this, but anyone looking to take this course for the chance to interact in any way with Mr. Torvalds is probably going to be disappointed.

about 7 months ago

Scientists Create Bacteria With Expanded DNA Code

morethanapapercert Re:Queue the Apocalyptic Predictions (85 comments)

God@Multiverse:~/$ cd /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ make postbigbang

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ you need to be root to perform this command

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ sudo make postbigbang

God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth# warning: overriding recipe for target 'postbigbang'

about 7 months ago

Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts

morethanapapercert aren't some of those businesses legal? (548 comments)

As far as I know, many of the business types listed are legal and perhaps a few are legal in certain areas or provided certain regulations or other criteria are satisfied. Some of them I know are vague enough industries that I think they are going to have a hard time deciding between shady operations and legit ones. Pay Day loans for example. Sure there are some pretty sleazy outfits out there, but the practice itself is legal. Money Transfer networks? I think Western Union might be worried about that grouping catching them in the sweep. Racist materials? As much as I disagree with the stuff, I have to say (as a foreigner) that I'm pretty sure that stuff has 1st Amendment protection. As for pornography, from what I've come across on other sites, they are not just shutting down the accounts of pornographic media companies, but the actresses/models personal accounts as well. (all of which makes little sense from a crime fighting perspective...)

This is looking like it will be a PR nightmare for the DoJ. It's going to look like an effort to impose morality and in a way that discriminates against the poor. There's all kinds of juicy hooks in a story like this to make sure it gets plenty of prime time news coverage.

My first question is: is the fundie element going to cheer because the gov't is cracking down on sinners? or freak because they are cracking down on god, guns and country?

my second question is : Can we get televangelists added to the list?

about 7 months ago

Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields

morethanapapercert Re:You mean Star Trek? (179 comments)

Of course he has a family tree, most of his closest relatives still live in theirs...

about 8 months ago

Graphene Could Be Dangerous To Humans and the Environment

morethanapapercert Re:A nuisance, really... (135 comments)

Having two such marks myself, I have to say that what you have is not a pencil lead stuck in your skin, not any more anyway. By now what you have is a graphite tattoo. Graphite is the most stable allotrope of carbon in most conditions, making it far more likely to remain within the dermis for years and years. As others have pointed out, graphene is the common name for many different forms of carbon atoms arranged in regular sheets. Many of these forms are far less stable/more reactive than common graphite, which is what makes them interesting to us. A form of graphene that sees use as a nano level sponge or reactive substrate is probably not going to be particularly stable within the human body, which is where the concern about toxicity comes in. Any really stable form of graphene, like the ones where its physical strength is the primary purpose, is also likely to be less reactive and hence, less of a danger.

tl;dr version: Any material, nano or otherwise, which would make a good tattoo ink (lightfast, relatively immobile in the dermis, non-oxidizing etc) is not likely to be very toxic, except perhaps in relatively large amounts.

about 8 months ago

Spinoffs From Spyland: How Some NSA Technology Is Making Its Way Into Industry

morethanapapercert break laws but not licenses? (44 comments)

Let me get this straight; the NSA (and the other three letter agencies it serves) are willing to blatantly and flagrantly violate the US Constitution, US law, international treaties, the trust of US allies and probably even the boy scout oath along the way, but it heeds the open source licensing model???

I think there are a few problems with this:

Like others have posted, the open source community is going to have to look at the released code very very carefully. The public has to assume that the NSA will include backdoors or obscure weaknesses if at all possible.

The other half of this is how in the hell this release of code passed any internal security review in order to have the release authorized. If *I* were in charge of an intelligence agency, I certainly would use Open Source code when and where practical, but I would NOT submit my code to any third party external to my nations intelligence community. My reasoning is that any code my organization released could be used as clues to figure out my agencies capabilities and current operations. Even something as seemingly innocuous as the code for mandatory access restrictions could be helpful to an enemy because analysis of it would at least allow the enemy to rule out certain forms of attack.

Oh sure, you could make the argument that releasing better code to the world makes everybody using that code base safer, depriving malicious agents of any existing exploits they have in their tool kits and that was probably among the reasons the NSA based its decision on. The problem I have with that argument is that, in other areas the NSA has proven that it is willing to deliberately weaken code that is in public use so as to add to their own tool kits. To fix existing weaknesses while also deliberately creating others seems illogical and self defeating to me...

about 9 months ago

Radar Expert Explains How To Cheaply Add Radar To Your Own Hardware Projects

morethanapapercert Re:My interest (69 comments)

I said "Polarized covers...prismatic covers...and so on" I did not explicitly say covers to defeat LIDAR I'll grant you. I did, however, implicitly include them in the "...and so on" part of my statement. There are companies which advertise sprays and covers intended to absorb or scatter the near IR wavelength laser light police LIDAR systems use.

Speeding isn't the crime I was referring to, since most places consider most traffic offences to be a civil, not criminal offence. However, use of a device or substance to deliberately obscure your licence plate may or may not be part of the traffic code where you live, but rather covered by the criminal code. If use of a cover plate is considered a criminal act where you live, then the car is being used in the commission of a criminal act even when it's safely parked in your driveway. Having a plate obscured on a dirty vehicle by mud or snow is plausibly neglect, there's no clear proof of intent to evade the law. Thus; most police officers will give you a warning or a "fix-it ticket". But purchasing and installing a device whose sole advertised purpose is to evade detection by police as you break traffic laws inherently displays intent to do exactly that.

Please note that I also said "...in the US". There have been numerous news stories about law abiding people being pulled over for no more reason than having a nice car with out of state plates, having their vehicles searched and cash confiscated as "proceeds of crime" even when there is NO other evidence of any crime. People who then try to protest this get beaten up and charged with resisting arrest. My reasoning is this: If certain officers and/or certain police departments are using any pretext at all to pull someone over and search for things they can confiscate to support their department financially, I certainly don't want to risk driving around with one of the license obscuring items on my car.

about 10 months ago

Radar Expert Explains How To Cheaply Add Radar To Your Own Hardware Projects

morethanapapercert Re:My interest (69 comments)

There are several companies which market license plate covers designed to obscure your plate when targeted by certain technologies. Polarized covers to defeat roadside speed cameras, prismatic covers to defeat overhead cameras from toll roads and so on.

Problem is; most places in North America and I imagine Europe as well, already have laws on the books covering illegible or obscured registration tags and these covers often fall on the wrong side of the law. Personally, I'd rather get the speeding ticket than a missing/illegible plate ticket and would really really like to avoid any possible "obstruction of a police officer in the performance of his duties" charge.

Something else to consider; based on what seems to be the growing trend in the US: Do you want to get a speeding ticket which usually isn't a criminal act and only nets you a fine Or do you want to use a device whose (arguably) sole purpose is to break the law with impunity, leading to your car being declared as property used in the commission of a crime and confiscated? (while you get beaten half to death and charged with resisting arrest) If you speed, you are only in violation when you speed, but if you put a contraband plate cover on, you are in violation just parked on the street

about 10 months ago


morethanapapercert hasn't submitted any stories.


morethanapapercert has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?