Can Movies Inspire Kids To Be Future Scientists?
Watching the original "Star Trek" (ST) probably inspired more kids to become engineers than visiting the local science museum. A museum tells you what has been done by humankind, but a film like ST tells you all the possibilities that remain to be achieved. They include warp drive, natural-language computers, time travel, etc. Those possibilities capture the imagination of children, who tend to have active imaginations. Just look at all the kids who contribute to Slashdot!
Many Slashdotters have admitted, in various articles over the years, that Mr. Scot (the chief engineer of the "Enterprise") motivated them to become engineers. He out-engineered all the adversaries (of the Federation) by making the "Enterprise" nearly invincible.
Indeed, some of the engineers who were inspired by Mr. Scot participated in the construction of the first, non-functional, prototype of the space shuttle and gave it the insightful name: "Enterprise". This prototype was used to test the ability of the spacecraft to glide back to earth.
Russia To Help NATO Build Anti-Missile Network
A report by an Australian news organization notes, "Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed yesterday to involve technicians in development plans, but did not make a commitment if it became operational and warned that Russia might decide against joining the US-led effort if it were not treated as an equal partner." Though Russia is assisting NATO, Russia is not necessarily committing to using the system.
That response by Russia should have raised suspicions about the Kremlin's actually sabotaging the design of the missile system. After all, if the Kremlin is not committed to using the system, why would the Kremlin bother to ensure that the system can actually work?
Worse, "President" Medvedev has accused the Europeans of using the shield to neutralize Russian nuclear missiles. If the Kremlin were a true supporter of NATO, why would the Russian "president" still present Russia as an adversary of the West?
ARM-Based Servers Coming In 2011
ARM is almost like a fairy tale in which the underdog triumphs. ARM was developed on a shoestring budget by a small team of brilliant anti-establishment engineers. By contrast, the x86 processor was developed on a multi-million-dollar budget by a large team of disciplined slaves across 2 continents.
ARM is David. x86 is Goliath.
Most of us inherently favor David.
Israel's Supreme Court Says Yes To Internet Anonymity
The Israelis, yet again, demonstrate that their nation is part of the West. Israel is a Western democracy that safeguards civil rights and, in general, human rights. Wafa Sultan, a prominent American of Syrian ancestry, correctly and firmly praises the achievements of the Israelis.
Israel, not Turkey, deserves to be a member of the European Union (EU).
The Turks have long attacked human rights. In Turkey, suppressing free speech on and off the Internet is almost a national sport. You can be arrested and imprisoned for claiming that the Turks are responsible for the Armenian genocide.
After a Congressional committee approved a resolution ascribing responsibility for the genocide to the Turks, the Turks withdrew their ambassador from the USA.
This sort of behavior is not what we Westerners want to see in the European Union. The Israelis act more like Europeans than the Turks and deserve EU membership far more than the Turks.
The Times Erects a Paywall, Plays Double Or Quits
The free market is brutally efficient. In this market, the price of a good or service is determined by what it is worth.
For example, the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) has excellent reporting and analysis. The WSJ is worth the price that its owners charge, so I willingly pay for a 1-year subscription to the WSJ.
Is "The Times" worth 1 pound per day? Only the market can say for sure.
An interesting but indirect conclusion of my observation is that if a newspaper is so rotten that only free content will attract readers, then the reporters and the editors of that rotten newspaper are being overpaid for the crappy work that they do.
BC Prof Suggests Young Children Need Less Formal Math, Not More
One problem with this study by the professor at Boston College is that the study does not include adequate numbers of people of non-European ancestry.
Intelligence -- and the ability to absorb mathematical knowledge -- depends on 2 factors: culture and genetics. For example, Americans of Japanese ancestry have a slight advantage over other ethnic groups in comprehending mathematical concepts. Delaying the introduction of mathematics would deprive Japanese-Americans of an opportunity to learn the subject.
Americans of African ancestry are at the other extreme. They have much greater difficulty in comprehending mathematics. Delaying the introduction of mathematics in primary school may actually not impact their comprehension of the subject.
By the way, these ethnic differences are one strong argument in favor of maintaining schools that are independent of the federal government. School districts where Japanese-Americans predominate would be free to build a curriculum that is best suited for their ethnic group. The same goes for African-Americans.
The only role that Washington should play is to (1) create national tests of academic knowledge, (2) require that all students up to the 12th grade take the tests, and (3) publish the results. How to respond to the results is left to the school districts. Washington merely measures and publishes. This approach avoids the problem of certain ethnic groups's using lawyers to terminate national standards because certain ethnic groups underperform due to cultural and genetic reasons.
My idea is that Washington does not mandate any national standards. Washington merely measures and publishes.
Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic"
reporter (666905) wrote, "Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes independent voters."
I apologize for the grammatical error. Those 2 sentences should be changed to the following sentences.
Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes of independent voters.
Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic"
Check out the analysis at the "Houston Chronicle". The analysis states, "President Obama 'dramatically broke' a campaign pledge when he announced plans to cancel NASA's $108 billion Bush-era Constellation program to return astronauts to the moon by 2020.
That's the conclusion of an independent fact-checking organization known as PolitiFact.
The organization's nonpartisan assessment is expected to be widely quoted by supporters of NASA who are trying to reverse Obama's decision on Capitol Hill. "
Like many politicians before him, Barack Hussein Obama broke a campaign promise. He outright lied in order to get the votes independent voters.
Many news wires are now reporting that Obama broke his presidential-campaign promise to fund Constellation. In response, his supporters (of whom many are African-American) -- e. g., Beelzebud -- are pumping messages into the blogs and online forums to defend Obama.
Former Astronauts Call Obama NASA Plans "Catastrophic"
During the presidential campaign in 2008, Barack Hussein Obama promised generous funding for many government programs including NASA. According to a typical news report of his promises, "Sen. Barack Obama promised not to cut NASA funding and said Saturday at a town hall meeting he will rely on Florida Sen. Bill Nelson and revered astronaut and former Sen. John Glenn to help form his space policy.
'Under my watch, NASA will inspire the world once again and is going to help grow the economy right here in Brevard County,' said the presumptive Democratic nominee, speaking to a crowd of 1,400 at Brevard Community College's Titusville campus.
Obama has changed an earlier position, in which he planned to delay the Constellation program five years and use up to $5 billion from the NASA budget for education."
Like many politicians of all political parties, Obama tells the voters whatever they want to hear. After he wins election, he quickly changes course.
The principal difference between Obama and the typical dishonest politican is that Obama personally hates Western culture and Western civilization. For 20 years, he attended a church which taught that the West is solely responsible for the failure of non-Western societies.
Of course, Japan is proof that Obama (and his church) is wrong. Not coincidentally, Japan continues to aggressively pursue space exploration. According to a recent news article, "Despite the recession, the [Japanese] government budgeted ¥344.8 billion for space exploration in fiscal 2009, an increase of 10.4 percent from the previous year."
IBM Stops Disclosing US Headcount Data
IBM is clearly trying to hide its US headcount for the purpose of hiding its replacing American employees with foreign workers in other countries.
IBM is one of the few companies that remained consistently profitable during the worst recession since the Great Depression. This profitability was accomplished by replacing high-wage Americans with low-wage foreigners in India, China, etc. Seeing the writing on the wall, IBM management has decided to accelerate the reduction of the American workforce.
The shareholders love this strategy since it maximizes their return on investment. The only problem is a political one: Washington will retaliate against IBM if IBM drastically reduces its American workforce in favor of cheap overseas labor. Hence, IBM has ceased reporting the size of the American workforce.
Dirty? Disgusting? Yes. Good business strategy? Yes.
Toyota Black Box Data Is More Closed Than Others'
plover (150551) wrote, "Wouldn't it be grand if the guys who hacked Ubisoft's latest game took on this challenge instead?"
You would not need to hack the black box if Toyota -- and, for that matter, Japanese society -- put more value on openness and humanity. Though Japan is mostly a Western nation, the Japanese still retain some distinctly Asian features. They include secrecy, devaluing human life, etc.
So, the Japanese engineers at both Toyota and Honda naturally created a closed black box that only their engineers can read and decode. So, naturally, given the same kinds of defects, the Japanese government is less likely to demand a recall than the American government. So, naturally, Toyota works their engineers to death: "death by overwork" killed numerous engineers and salesmen during the 1980s and 1990s.
Yet, unlike other Asians, the Japanese do try to be Western. So, Tokyo -- following the lead of Washington -- has now toughened its language against Toyota. Tokyo, like Washington, is investigating the problems in both the braking system and the throttle system.
Closer to home for most of the techies on Slashdot is the initiative for the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). RoHS is an idea that was first promoted and enforced by the European Union. RoHS is a requirement that electronics manufacturers must minimize or eliminate use of some dangerous substances like lead.
The EU did the courageous step of enhancing the value of human life. Japan followed the lead of the Europeans and now also abides by RoHS rules.
Japan is Western but still must learn from the rest of the West.
US Government Poisoned Alcohol During Prohibition
The deliberate decision by civil servants and politicians to poison alcohol is just another example in which self-righteous people choose to play god. Another horrible atrocity sponsored and conducted by Washington is the infamous Tuskegee syphilis experiment (TSE). Doctors paid by Washington injected syphilis into unsuspecting indigent Americans and studied the progress of the disease. When the experiment began, there was no cure for syphilis. However, after a cure -- i. e., penicillin -- was discovered, the doctors refrained from offering the cure to the subjects of the experiment. Washington wanted to see what happened to the human body when syphilis is allowed to run its course, ultimately killing the victim.
If you are reading my words with disbelief, I suggest that you visit the Web link that I have provided. The TSE was real and was an atrocity committed by the American government against its own citizens.
President Bill Clinton ultimately apologized to the victims and their families.
Suspension of Disbelief
The issue is not really about free speech. The victim in this case is surely free to publish whatever she wants on Facebook, regardless of whether she is suspended from school.
The issue is whether the school has jurisdiction over activities that a student performs outside school. Legally, the school does not have any such jurisdiction.
For example, consider a Christian fellowship meeting. The governing council of a school district can ban the conduct of such a meeting on the premises of the school, but students wishing to attend a Christian fellowship meeting off campus are free to do so. Once you walk off the premises of the school, you are free to do whatever you want.
Consider another example. Smoking cigarettes on campus will result in a suspension. Yet, smoking cigarettes at about 1 foot outside the perimeter of a campus will result in nothing.
A Reflection On Sun Executive Payouts For Failure
With regards to highly compensated senior management, American companies are relatively unique. Among Japan, Europe, and the USA, the ranking from highest relative compensation for the CEO to lowest relative compensation is the following.
Here, "relative" means dividing (1) the annual income of the chief executive officer by (2) the average annual income of the employees who are not part of the management structure.
Table 2 on page 6 of an interesting document analyzing the financial compensation of American CEOs is instructive. For the sake of this discussion, we can reasonably assume that figure in the aformentioned category #2 is approximately the same throughout the West.
Table 2 then, in effect, gives us the relative compensation of the CEOs in the West. The typical American CEO in 2003 received annual compensation that is worth $2.2 million. The typical European CEO received $700,000. The typical Japanese CEO received $460,000.
Was the American CEO worth his pay? American neoconservatives answer, "Yes." They say that such compensation enables American companies to be top-notch competitors in high-technology.
On 2009 November 5, "The Economist" issued a startling report. It asserts, with plenty of evidence, that Japanese companies are the sole manufacturers of numerous components that are critical to the operation of high-technology devices ranging from tiny disk drives to huge nuclear reactors.
So, who is telling the truth? American neoconservatives or the "The Economist"?
Toyota Pedal Issue Highlights Move To Electronics
According to a report just issued by the "Wall Street Journal", the engineers at Toyota have developed an improved pedal that supposedly fixes the problem causing Toyota cars to accelerate out of control. American regulators have approved the fix, and Toyota will send it to dealers by February 8. This fix allows the dealers to resume selling the 8 models of vehicles affected by the recall.
However, a new angle to the problem recently surfaced, according to a report just issued by the "New York Times" on its blog. CTS, which manufactures the throttle pedal for Toyota, claims that "the slow-return pedal phenomenon, which may occur in extreme environmental conditions, should absolutely not be linked with any sudden, unintended acceleration incidents". In other words, though the pedal is defective, the defect did not cause the unintended acceleration. CTS claims that it did not manufacture the pedals in older Toyota vehicles that exhibited the same acceleration problem.
If CTS is telling the truth, then the actual problem may be the electronic throttle control, the so-called drive-by-wire system.
Toyota Pedal Issue Highlights Move To Electronics
The latest defect in Toyota cars is quickly developing into the scandal of the 21st century. The problem started when customers of Toyota vehicles began experiencing sudden unexplained acceleration; these incidents began appearing in 2002. Over time, Toyota management claimed that the problem is the floor mat. So, the management issued a recall to replace all the floor mats.
Then, after further studying the problem, the management claimed that the throttle's pedal sometimes becomes stuck due to weather conditions. This new claim lead to the massive global recall of many vehicles sold over the past 3 years.
However, none of these explanations for the sudden acceleration has been satisfactory. Independent investigations leading to an explosion of lawsuits have determined that the problem is the electronic throttle control (ETC) — the so-called drive-by-wire mechanism that links the pedal via some cables to the fuel controller. According to a report by "Businessweek" and another report by the "Wall Street Journal", Toyota is now the defendant in 3 separate class-action lawsuits. The plaintiffs claim that the ETC is defective.
According to a report by the "New York Times" (NYT), "a few years ago, the company sent out a technical bulletin saying some cars accelerate on their own between 38 and 42 mph, and it reprogrammed the electronics with new software codes".
The NYT notes, "John Heywood, director of the Sloan Automotive Lab at MIT, said because Toyota is the only automaker having this problem, it could be something specific to its design, such as the location and integration of the electronics relay sensor."
Further, the Toyota ETC lacks an important safety mechanism: if the customer presses both the throttle pedal and the brake pedal, then the ETC should give priority to the brake. The Toyota ETC gives priority to the throttle. How can Toyota engineers commit such a gross design mistake? Common sense tells us that the brake should receive priority.
Russian Whistleblower Cop Arrested
The bravery of the policeman who risked his life by publicizing the corruption in his police department is remarkable proof that good people who think and act like Westerners still live in Russia. That he has been arrested and imprisoned is something that everyone on Slashdot knew would happen.
Please. We should not merely talk and type about this tragedy. We should actually do something to help this victim of the Kremlin.
For example, we could start a fund for his legal defense and possible eventual escape from Russia to the West. For the sake of humanity, we must not allow the Kremlin to kill him. The Kremlin has already killed too many innocent people.
If this policeman dies mysteriously in prison, then I hope that someone -- anyone -- assassinates dictator Vladimir Putin.
France Tells Its Citizens To Abandon IE, Others Disagree
This incident underscores the importance of fighting monopolies and ensuring the availability of competitive choices. If Microsoft had succeeded in driving all other browsers out of the market in 2000, then today, we would not have any other choice and would be forced to use a browser with a dangerous security risk.
We should applaud the recent work by the European Commission in demanding that Microsoft design their European version of Windows to allow users to choose the browser that they want -- thus, allowing them to never install Internet Explorer. The European Commission has been better advocate of free-market competition than the American Federal Trade Commission.
Therein lies a bit of irony. Washington often claims that the USA is a freer free market than the European Union. Yet, the Union is the political body which hit -- hard -- Microsoft's anticompetitive behavior.
NY Times To Charge For Online Content
The reason that the "Wall Street Journal" (WSJ) can succeed at charging for content is that the news reports and editorial opinions published by the WSJ are worth what you pay. The quality is outstanding, regardless of your political bent.
The "New York Times" (NYT) also publishes content that is quite good (but is not as good as the content from the WSJ). The NYT will also succeed at charging for its content.
The good things in life are not free. Reporters, columnists, and editors work hard day and night to produce the high-quality content at the WSJ and the NYT. We Slashdotters should not expect that they work for free. Certainly, most Slashdotters will not work for free.
On a side note, a newspaper like the "Sacramento Bee" will not succeed at charging for content. It is mediocre and is not worth any price.
Net Users In Belarus May Soon Have To Register
In the immediately preceding article, the following statement
The imminent suppression of free speech on the Internet likely foreshadows the same sort of suppression in Russia.
should be updated to the following statement.
The imminent suppression of free speech on the Internet in Belarus likely foreshadows the same sort of suppression in Russia.