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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

starglider29a One Second After by William R. Fortschen (796 comments)

Not because it's a great book. It's a good book. The books listed all discuss how to think logically, feel compassionately, seek truth, govern (or dominate) wisely, and every civilized person should be reading them.

But One Second After forces you to think about what happens when logic, compassion, truth, and governance flash into oblivion under the power of an EMP. If you have read all of the above, you need to read One Second After to make you think about what happens if everything they taught you about civilization vanishes.

What do you miss first? How do you know what happened? How long will your meds hold out? Why didn't I think of this beforehand? Why didn't I prepare? Why did the government not harden against this? How can I read all of the above books if my Kindle is bricked?

about 9 months ago

Cometary Impacts May Have Provided Key Elements of Life

starglider29a So 'Gravity is God'... (85 comments)

According to Hawking, Gravity (capital G) created the Universe:
According to TFA, Gravity (capital G) created life (via the kinetic energy of the comets obeying laws of Gravity)
According to Genesis, God created the Universe and life.
Therefore, Gravity = God.

Glad we finally solved that! Can we move on now?

about a year ago

Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

starglider29a Stratigraphy vs. the Created Young Earth (528 comments)

I am aware of many ideas that "young Earth believers" foster to explain the stratigraphy of fossils in a 6K-year old Earth.

Question: What explanations have you heard? What answer can you offer from the middle ground between a scientist (whose expertise relies on that stratigraphic record) and a man of faith who reads the same Bible that the "young Earth believers" do?

about a year and a half ago

Ask Dr. Robert Bakker About Dinosaurs and Merging Science and Religion

starglider29a Flame wars on science articles (528 comments)

It is my observation that reader comments on science article quickly follow a Godwin-like trajectory to a flame war between those who hold to religious (though many are scientists) beliefs and those who hold to scientific (usually atheist) beliefs. The two factions spew hate, obscenity, and generally impugn the intelligence of the other.

Question: What advice can you offer to help the readers, and thus the comment posters, to strike a balance? Can there be some kind of 'kumbaya manifesto' to skip the quarreling and get to the matter at hand? Climate change, dark matter, even human colonization need well-tempered minds, of all persuasions. How do we get there?

about a year and a half ago

"Subconscious Mode" Could Boost Phone Battery Life

starglider29a Obligatory BR (85 comments)

Would this allow Androids to Dream of Electric Sheep? (Too obvious, should have been in the tags.)

about 3 years ago

50 New Exoplanets Found, Billions More Await

starglider29a Re:Another step closer to proving there is no God (208 comments)

...and when do we get there? And why haven't we gotten there yet? I mean, Duke Nukem Forever is out. Didn't we miss a lot of deadlines when it finally released?

about 3 years ago

Chinese Want To Capture an Asteroid

starglider29a Even Chinese must obey laws... (481 comments)

of Orbital Mechanics. Physics, too... when convenient.

  1. Let's start with the mass of this asteroid, so we can determine the VAST amount of energy it will take to "nudge it." Recall that the 365-foot Saturn V pushed a capsule the size of a VW Bug.
  2. Secondly, note the orbital change is a plane change, which takes orders of magnitude more Delta-V than an in-plane maneuver.
  3. Thirdly, what will they gain from this rock that will be worth the effort, energy, money, and risk to the planet?
    Sure, mining asteroids is a great idea, in principle, but not in theory.

about 3 years ago

Internet Explorer Use Slips Below 55%

starglider29a Lies, Damn Lies, and IE at 24.3% (104 comments)

I know this is YMMV source, but according to it, IE hit 50% in August of 2008.

I know how browsers are detected. It's about as scientific as a Slashdot poll.

This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.

For example:

  1. I'd bet that Chrome's download page has a much lower percentage of Chrome users than the general populace.
  2. I'm sure M$ could show you stats with IE at 92% and the rest reading the files from FTP.
  3. Corporate vs. Academic sites would probably see great variation for a single browser.

What makes any one set of browser share statistics any better than any other?

more than 3 years ago

Ask Slashdot: Android Security Practices?

starglider29a Driod slogan v1.1 (173 comments)

"When there's no limit to what Droid gets, there's no limit to what Droid does^H^H^H^H can do to you."

more than 3 years ago

DARPA Building Futuristic Space Exploration Group

starglider29a Space-XKCD (141 comments)

Amazing at how well-timed the previous XKCD turned out to be.

more than 3 years ago

Tech That Failed To Fail

starglider29a Re:Does not apply to FTL (428 comments)

Not the same thing. Analogously, that is like saying "I can mail this letter, and if the envelope is opened, I can tell." vs. "I can mail this letter and get it to Mars in 23 minutes (this month)."

The first defies someone's opinion on a theory. The latter defies physics. You can fool the theory, but you can't fool the physics.

BTW, you just did what I initially complained about. "technological breakthrough."

more than 3 years ago

Tech That Failed To Fail

starglider29a Does not apply to FTL (428 comments)

Sadly, I have heard people use the argument that "the experts miss calls like this one" to point to how we can achieve Faster-Than-Light once we start to "think outside the box".

None of these missed calls, esp. satellite radio, defy the known physics of their day. Those FTL-friendly people see FTL as a mere 'technological breakthrough."

more than 3 years ago

NASA Looking To Build 'Gas' Stations In Space

starglider29a Re:Read the history of polar exploration. (201 comments)

How much energy did it take to keep the polar caches in place? That's the difference. NASA can't just hang it up there, turn on the anti-gravity, and find it there in 10 years. I mean... explorers sailed to new worlds for centuries using nothing but windpower. Why doesn't NASA do the same thing...

Oh, right... they also have to take their own oxygen, and don't have a medium upon which to float. Gotcha...

more than 3 years ago

NASA Looking To Build 'Gas' Stations In Space

starglider29a You need propellant to lift the propellant (201 comments)

Disclaimer: degreed rocket scientist without time to do the math.

Rather than

  1. lift a surplus of propellant to a gas station
  2. have the Mars mission lift with just enough energy to park at L5, Phobos or whereever,
  3. refuel and thrust away to mars... Instead:
  4. launch the required propellant on nearly the same trajectory as the mission, once trajectory confirmed...
  5. Launch the Mars mission with enough energy to travel to Mars
  6. Rendezvous on the long trip, refuel, carry on

Advantages: putting the heavy lifting on the booster on Earth (where logistics is easier), don't waste energy stopping/pausing and restarting the trajectory.
Disadvantages: You better be sure you can refuel in flight.

more than 3 years ago

Can't Get a Real Girlfriend? Get a "Cloud" Girlfriend

starglider29a "Your G/F is named Minuet?!" (250 comments)

"So is MINE! The two-timing $|^+!"

more than 3 years ago

iPad Just Another TV Set?

starglider29a iPad v. TV != iPad v. iPhone (270 comments)

Before I argue whether iPad is a TV, first tell me why my iPhone ISN'T? I recorded Butler v. UConn on my ATT UVerse so my wife would watch it on the iPad in the morning. Couldn't. Make that, 'was not allowed'. But I COULD have watched it on my iPhone. What is the difference between iPad and iPhone?

So, they're saying SIZE matters?

more than 3 years ago

DoE Develops Flexible Glass Stronger Than Steel

starglider29a They only needed the aluminim transparent... (242 comments)

...for the cameras. The whales wouldn't care. They spend lots of time in the dark. And besides, which would make you feel better? magically appearing in a black void? Or looking out and seeing the insides of a Bird of Prey?

more than 3 years ago



Twitter Marks Clean Sites as Harmful, Breaks Links

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  about a year ago

starglider29a (719559) writes "This morning, a website (which I maintain) that has a Twitter presence encountered an "unsafe" warning when clicking on the tweets. "This link has been flagged as potentially harmful." After scanning the site, its database, checking with Google, and 3rd party site scanners, I found no evidence of harm. At noon, The Atlantic posted this article which describes the same issue with the Philadelphia City Paper.

If they are incorrect, how does Twitter justify this slander/libel (IANAL)? Has Twitter become the "credit score" for sites in that they are now guilty until proven innocent?"

iTunes Killer... dead

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  more than 3 years ago

starglider29a (719559) writes "It looks like price isn't the most important thing when it comes to music downloads. Once upon a time, Walmart was an 'iTunes-killer' with deeply-discounted, 88-cent MP3s. But discounts meant little compared to integrated iPod and iPhone integration, a superior iTunes user interface, and the tether created by stored credit cards (which Apple does well)."
Link to Original Source

Google TV sales "Negative"

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  more than 3 years ago

starglider29a (719559) writes "In its fiscal first-quarter earnings release, Logitech said demand for the Revue, which works with special Google TV software to allow viewers to navigate Internet content, had been disappointing. The Swiss firm said customer returns of the Revue have outpaced the device's "very modest sales.""
Link to Original Source

Apple's iOS boots Linux from #3 in OS usage online

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  about 4 years ago

starglider29a (719559) writes ""Apple's iOS mobile operating system is now the third-most popular platform on the Internet, with a share nearly six times larger than Android's, a Web measurement company said Wednesday.

Collectively the devices that run iOS — the iPhone, the iPod Touch and the iPad — accounted for 1.1% of all hardware on the Internet last month, more than enough to shove Linux off its perch as the third-place operating system on the Web.""

Link to Original Source

Google Drops Verizon Wireless As Nexus One Partner

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  more than 4 years ago

starglider29a (719559) writes "Google Inc. (GOOG) has backed away from a plan to make its Nexus One smartphone compatible with Verizon Wireless, the largest mobile carrier in the U.S.

Google said Monday in a blog post that customers waiting for the Nexus One to be available on Verizon's network should go the carrier's website, where they can order the Droid Incredible, a "cousin" device made by Taiwan's HTC Corp (HTCXF, 2498.TW).

The announcement was seen as a blow to Google's only branded phone, as the device will no longer be available to Verizon's more than 90 million subscribers.

"Nexus One is a flop. Everyone knows that now," said BGC Partners' Colin Gillis."

Link to Original Source

Plummer: 'My Sex Injury Made Shatner A Star'

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  about 6 years ago

starglider29a writes "

Veteran actor Christopher Plummer is livid an injury he suffered during from a one-night stand meant that William Shatner played his part in Henry V — because it made the Star Trek actor a star.

Plummer was lined up to perform in the Shakespeare play in 1956 — but an unplanned romp left him unable to take to the stage... "I woke up alone the next morning... (pain) all around my groin and lower abdomen... I started to whimper like a whipped dog. 'So this is what syphilis is like?' I thought. 'I suppose I deserve it, but Christ, how the hell was I to know?'... He adds, "It began to sink in... Shatner, my understudy, would have to go on... (It) instantly brought back the pain. I screamed for a nurse who jabbed me with more morphine.

"I knew then that the Sob (son of a b**ch) was going to be a 'star.'"

Well, that certainly explains some of the vitriol that General Chang carried in his voice when quoting Shakespeare to Admiral, um, Captain Kirk in Star Trek VI. taH pagh, taH be?"
Link to Original Source


Vista browsers to surpass Mac by mid-2008?

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  more than 7 years ago

starglider29a writes "According to browser statistics gathered by, Vista is up to 3.00% in June '07. With Linux at 3.4% and Mac at 4.00% and rising, first order projections place Vista users to surpass Mac users somewhere in mid-2008. This doesn't take into account the publics reaction to Leopard when it is unveiled."
Link to Original Source

Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California

starglider29a starglider29a writes  |  more than 7 years ago

starglider29a writes "Jumbo squid that can grow up to 7 feet long and weigh more than 110 pounds are invading central California waters and preying on local anchovy, hake and other commercial fish populations, according to a study published Tuesday.

"Having a new, voracious predator set up shop here in California may be yet another thing for fishermen to compete with," said the study's co-author, Stanford University researcher Louis Zeidberg. "That said, if a squid saw a human they would jet the other way."

The jumbo squid used to be found only in the Pacific Ocean's warmest stretches near the equator. In the last 16 years, it has expanded its territory throughout California waters, and squid have even been found in the icy waters off Alaska, Zeidberg said.

starglider29a says: This would be YA 'look, climate change' article, were it not for the fact that the Squid Expert is named Zeidberg! ROFLCAKES!"

Link to Original Source


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