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Comments

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Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

pr0t0 Facts, history, perspective (154 comments)

I highly recommend to everyone reading this discussion to listen to this 16-minute NPR Money Matters story:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money...

Them if you have some time, This American Life tells the dealer's side of the story:
http://m.thisamericanlife.org/...

I'll warm you now that your blood may boil, and you may turn into a rage monster thinking about the sheer absurdity and stupidity of the car-buying process.

3 days ago
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London's Crime Hot Spots Predicted Using Mobile Phone Data

pr0t0 Milk (61 comments)

The "machine learning algorithm" is a euphemism for three hairless teenagers floating in pools of milk.

Watch out for the spiders.

4 days ago
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ISIS Bans Math and Social Studies For Children

pr0t0 Re:US is next? (950 comments)

Yes, it certainly sucks that a very ignorant but very vocal minority can cast a dark shadow upon a vast but comparatively silent majority. If you don't like the preconceived notions that are hung upon the religious (as perceived by the non-religious), you may want to encourage like-minded individuals to speak up on matters of science and scientific literacy. Right now the media is controlling the message that this is a two-sided debate, mostly because that's an easier sell. But it's also due to the fact that there is a HUGE contingent of people of faith who recognize a place for science in their lives, but are cowering in the corner. ISIS uses threats of violence to get the masses to bow to their whim. It's not a sword, so what is the far-right hanging over your head?

We all get and deserve the world we make.

5 days ago
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New Details About NSA's Exhaustive Search of Edward Snowden's Emails

pr0t0 Re:Have they Denied? (200 comments)

Agreed. He's an outside contractor working for the NSA. I think for a man in his position that's more of a water cooler kind of conversation, so he can use nuance and visual queues to establish casual concern. There's no way he's going to put his objections into writing where all of that is lost. He likely would have been fired, investigated, had his family members interrogated, and all of his credit cards would have mysteriously stopped working.

So I suppose the end result is the same, except that we probably wouldn't know the truth if he sent an email.

about a week ago
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U.S. Threatened Massive Fine To Force Yahoo To Release Data

pr0t0 Re:"Gave" (223 comments)

I think the OP's inference is justified. A rephrasing of the sentence should be used to describe an ongoing program. Also, the article clearly states that the program ended in 2011, lending some support to the inference.

I also do not believe for one New York second that the program is suspended, or if it is, it is only because it was replaced by an even more Orwellian (and dare I say, anti-American) program with a different name.

about two weeks ago
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How the Outdated TI-84 Plus Still Holds a Monopoly On Classrooms

pr0t0 Even older than that (359 comments)

It goes back even further for me. I had to buy a TI-81 in 1990 for freshman year in college. Then I had to take a class (Math 148), that despite its description, was really just to teach you how to use the TI-81. In the two subsequent classes (Math 150 and 151), we barely used the TI-81 for much more than basic calculator functions that I recall, although that was a long time ago. Of course, I never used the calculator again after that. I came away from the whole experience feeling like it was scheme cooked up between the university, TI, and the book publisher.

about three weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Best Games To Have In Your Collection?

pr0t0 Since many people are responding with board games (382 comments)

Board Games (broad-ish appeal, nothing heavy):
Cards Against Humanity
Zombie Dice
Settlers of Catan
Ticket to Ride
Pandemic
Dominion
A couple of Magic the Gathering starter sets
Plain old deck of cards

PC:
Diablo II - This is the only game I think I consistently install from one PC to the next. It usually involves one of my friends saying "Hey, we should start an old-school D2 night once a week!" Because of this, I think every PC I've had since 1997 has had Diablo on it at some point.

RPGs:
Pathfinder, or whatever your favorite flavor of D&D is
Shadowrun

Android/iPhone:
Clash of Clans

about three weeks ago
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Russian Military Forces Have Now Invaded Ukraine

pr0t0 Not exactly news for nerds (848 comments)

While it is news and it does matter, I don't feel Slashdot is the appropriate site for this article. There are plenty of the other online news aggregation and discussion sites where this would be entirely appropriate content.

As such, I'm afraid I must boycott this article by not posting!

about three weeks ago
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Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons Player's Handbook Released

pr0t0 Re:At GenCon... (203 comments)

Yeah, it's hard to miss that WotC had their events in the Sagamore Ballroom for years, but Paizo has had that space for the past two years and WotC has been relegated to a small corner of Hall C.

I've played most editions of D&D going back to 1984. My gaming group and I generally play the "living" campaigns. I didn't mind 4e so much, and LFR is a great campaign setting. We were often tapped to play-test 4e LFR's a few months before the cons. I just thought the combats in 4e could take too long if not properly designed. I like the way LordLucless above regards 4e as a "tactical skirmish" game; I think he's right. We play-tested Next a few times and I wasn't impressed. I just did a 5e this past Saturday at Gen Con and hated every second of it. I played a pre-gen archer and it was 2.5 hours before I loosed my first arrow. WAY too much RP. That's obviously module-specific, but a poor choice to introduce 5e at a con.

We left D&D for Pathfinder PFS a year ago when WotC/Baldman dropped LFRs from the Gen Con lineup without warning, and with nearly nothing to replace it. It's ok. I think what really needs to happen in tabletop RPG's, at least with living campaigns, is that modules need to have rating system for how they've been written. I'd like to know in advance if this module is geared more towards combat or role-playing so I can choose accordingly.

I've been getting into Shadowrun 5th edition lately and liking it more and more.

about a month ago
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3 Congressmen Trying To Tie Up SpaceX

pr0t0 Follow the funding (393 comments)

Thanks to the awesome new browser plug-in called Greenhouse (how has this not been on slashdot?), here's a little context.

Congressman Mo Brooks gets his biggest financial contributions from the aerospace industry. Among his top-10 contributors are Lockheed Martin (1), Northrup Grumman (2), Boeing (6), and Raytheon(10).

Both congressmen Coffman and Gardner have Koch Industries in their top-10 at 7 and 5 respectively. At first, this didn't mean much to me, but I found the coincidence intriguing so I dug deeper. Koch Industries purchased Molex, Inc. in December for $7.2 billion. Among other things, Molex makes wiring and connectors for defense and aerospace. Is that enough to push a couple of congress critters to voice concerns about Space X? I don't know, but following the money is usually a good first step in determining motive.

about a month ago
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Sniffing Out Billions In US Currency Smuggled Across the Border To Mexico

pr0t0 Re:Bitcoins? (158 comments)

I was thinking they smelled like a lost opportunity.

about a month ago
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Why the "NASA Tested Space Drive" Is Bad Science

pr0t0 Experiment not the problem (315 comments)

It's the reporting. This wasn't a peer reviewed scientific discovery, and it didn't claim to be. It was just a paper that laid out how the experiment was done, and what the results were, nothing more. Just because IFL Science, like every other tech/science site, picks up the story and hints at trips to Mars in a matter of weeks, doesn't mean that's what the experimenters were claiming.

This is how science works. You do experiments, you post your methods and results. Other scientists may do the same. If there is enough evidence that something may be at work, you do more. If you end up showing that everything we thought we knew about the universe was wrong, THEN YOU START CHANGING THE TEXTBOOKS.

The law of conservation of momentum, like all scientific laws, comes with the caveat that our understanding of how the universe works is correct. They are not immutable. Given reproduceability, predictability, and strong empirical evidence, it probably is correct; but that doesn't mean it may not need "tweaking" in the face of new evidence. It could also be that no scientific principles are being broken here, it's just there's something else at play we don't understand.

People who claim otherwise are really just religious zealots in a lab coat.

about a month and a half ago
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ExoLance: Shooting Darts At Mars To Find Life

pr0t0 But it's just a misunderstanding! (50 comments)

In the decades past, it was viewed as harmless...even cute when the little golf-cart like robots crawled across the surface doing their little experiments. But then in 2025, Earth attacked. It was without warning or provocation that the vicious spikes penetrated the community, and this action would not go without swift and formidable retribution. So the ships were fueled and armed, and a vast armada launched into the sky and made their way to seek...not revenge, but justice. The Earthlings, with their antiquated detection systems, didn't even notice the approaching fleet with weapons ready to unleash hell.

But alas, due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog, and no justice was served that day or any other.

Apologies to Douglas Adams.

about 2 months ago
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Researchers Develop New Way To Steal Passwords Using Google Glass

pr0t0 Sensationalistic title and duh! (116 comments)

As the video points out, this is not limited to Google Glass, any video capturing device will work. But beyond that, this is really kind of obvious. Yeah, video recording someone entering their password on a touch device will give you a fairly accurate idea of what that password is. Record, playback at 1/4 speed, password. I would bet that security camera footage might even be better to work with due to the angle. The custom software I suppose is a nice achievement, but I would guess it's not all that necessary.

about 2 months ago
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Draper Labs Develops Low Cost Probe To Orbit, Land On Europa For NASA

pr0t0 I find this approach unsettling (79 comments)

We've certainly left rovers and probes on other planets, and even intentionally crashed a couple on the moon. But raining hundreds of fingernail-sized chipsats on Europa kind of seems like cosmic littering. The debris from previous exploration missions have always felt large enough that we could go and pick it up if we were inclined (or capable) to do so. I know the truth is probably as bad or worse than this Europa mission, and I've probably subconsciously ignored that truth, but this just seems so willfully arrogant.

I feel like it plays into some of my worst fears about our species: arrogant, destructive, self-centered, lacking empathy, etc. As long as we exhibit those kinds of behaviors, we'll never get invited to the really good extra-terrestrial parties. You know, the ones where the all of the molecules of the hostess' undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left? Let's not do this mission. I want to go to that kind of party.

about 3 months ago
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New Federal Database Will Track Americans' Credit Ratings, Other Financial Info

pr0t0 Re:the Putin stage (294 comments)

Then you haven't put much thought into it. People with bad credit history (or good) are utterly incapable of forcing a bank to lend them money. The decision to lend money for a mortgage is at the sole discretion of the lender. They alone decide if the credit-worthiness of the borrower justifies the loan. They created the sub-prime packages for investors in hedge funds, and they alone then bet against those packages...YES, the very packages they created! The government didn't force them to make those loans. That whole thing was built as an investment vehicle by the banks, allowing wealthy Americans to purchase the debt owed on sub-primes with higher interest rates, thus higher ROI. And everyone ate it up: the investors, the lenders, and the least qualified to know what the hell was going on...the borrowers.

I witnessed this shady practice first-hand as a first-time home buyer (my credit was fine though). I went to a broker and told him what I could comfortably afford for a mortgage payment (including taxes, insurance, etc.). I asked, based on that figure how much can I offer on a house. He gave me an amount, and I went house shopping. I found a home, made an offer, and he came back with a mortgage payment that was 25% more than what I said I could afford. Needless to say, I was pissed and told him off. 25% isn't a lot when you are talking about dinner, but it's hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars when talking about a mortgage. When I stopped the deal, the real estate agent called the broker to find out what was going on. He told her that he didn't know what the problem was...I was approved, I just didn't like the price. That in itself is telling. They approved me for a loan that was well in excess of what I already told them I could comfortably afford. Then the real estate agent, a licensed realtor mind you, told me that since I made the offer I was legally bound to honor it (total bullshit).

It may be more cleaned up now, but back in 2007, I think everyone involved in real estate became a con artist drunk on the promise of easy riches. I of course cannot speak to the motives of every person who got a sub-prime mortgage loan, but blaming people with bad credit for that crisis feels a lot like blaming the victims. It's possible these people, knowing their financial straights, would have never even considered buying a home. But here comes a letter from First National Never Trust telling them, "Hey, it's not as bad as you think!. You can OWN your house for just a bit more than you're paying in rent." And they trot out spreadsheets and graphs to back up that claim. So the financially challenged are thinking, "Wow, I had no idea! Sure!". You can buy that mail list you know. Give me every person in the United States who pays rent and has a sub-650 credit rating (or whatever the number). They're ambulance chasers.

And you want to blame the borrower for that? Wow. That's just willful ignorance; a total lack of understanding that companies, like people, need to take responsibility for their actions; and a complete lack of empathy for people being emotionally prayed upon by those companies.

Please, get off my planet.

about 4 months ago
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NASA's Broken Planet-hunter Spacecraft Given Second Life

pr0t0 Re:Ithaco Space Systems made the wheels that faile (55 comments)

I think all the respondents to my comment missed the last line: "--The Arrival".

This is a quote from the movie The Arrival. It was meant as a joke to imply that whenever anything goes wrong with our remote-sensing spacecraft, it's because aliens have sabotaged the effort so they are not found.

about 4 months ago
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NASA's Broken Planet-hunter Spacecraft Given Second Life

pr0t0 Re:Ithaco Space Systems made the wheels that faile (55 comments)

Ask yourself why an antenna won't deploy on a deep-space probe. Or ask how they could launch a $6 billion telescope without testing its mirror.
--The Arrival

about 4 months ago

Submissions

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Best web framework or CMS for task automation

pr0t0 pr0t0 writes  |  more than 2 years ago

pr0t0 (216378) writes "I've been asked by a local non-profit organization to help with a web project they are planning that will provide a curriculum to teachers for conservation education. They have little in the way of manpower or technical capability, and need a site that can automate tasks like sub-site creation and management. The thinking is that the teacher can sign up and a sub site will be created to house their calendar, documents, and activities that the teacher would adminstrate. The students would also need to be able to sign in and upload project information, results and photos. The main site would need to be able to aggregate some of the data from the sub sites so that the schools can compare their progress against each other. I've worked with SquareSpace and Google Sites in the past. I'm a SharePoint admin in my real job and could possibly use SharePoint Online. I'm also aware of CMS packages like Joomla, Drupal, Wordpress, Concrete5, etc., but haven't used them personally. I don't mind volunteering the hours it will take to create the site, the sub-site templates, and all of the custom coding necessary; but I don't want to be a slave to the site's ongoing use. Does anyone have any recommendations for creating a turn-key package for users of varying technical abilities that you can walk away from when finished?"

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