Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!



The Milky Way Is Much Less Massive Than Previous Thought

wierd_w Re:What about the supermassive black hole? (118 comments)

I am more interested in radical ideas, like anti-mass, being at work.

Say you have a large aggregation of mass that is orbiting a large, semistationary singularity-- like, a galaxy does.

Outside this rather bumpy gravity well, you have a diffuse cloud of antimass, which then pushes on, and chases the mass as it rotates around the central mass. This pushing cancels out the centripetal force.

It's an interesting idea, as it was recently postulated that there is no real compelling reason for antimass to not exist-- it is a perfectly valid solution in some circumtances-- meaning that the stuff may very well exist.

It would be interesting to see a reinterpretation of the data of for "dark matter maps" of the universe, with antimass pressure substituted for mystery gravity application-- even if the math doesnt add up.


Reglue: Opening Up the World To Deserving Kids With Linux Computers

wierd_w Re:Local recycling is the best way to go. (88 comments)

I can't prove it, (and it is highly inflammatory to say), but I would hazard the following guess as to why:

Corporations have intellectual blinders on. They are far too focused on "Beating the other guys" (financially, economically, technologically, legally, and otherwise) that the very concept of enlightened self interest-- Helping others, to promote a better environment, which they also stand to profit from-- is not given proper attention.

Note, the company you work for only considered this charitable solution after it was discovered to be cheaper and with fewer regulatory hurdles than actual electronic waste disposal. (even though these devices will eventually get there, regardless. nothing lasts forever.) Ultimately, the allure of such initiatives at the corporate level has nothing to do whatsoever with improving the community, and everything to do with foisting a cost center onto somebody else. (Disposal fees for the ewaste now are the concern of the charities that repurpose the waste, and of the people who accept the repurposed waste, when those devices actually do catastrophically fail. Granted, this can be after many years of service-- however, they WILL eventually fail, and they WILL require proper disposal at that time. The people paying for the disposal will be the new owners. Not the company you work for.)

The concept of "enlightened self interest" is far too long term for modern corporate culture to even come close to comprehending-- It uses forces that mature over several decades, often at human-generation timescales. That's where the payoffs on recycling like this REALLY happen-- you increase availability of an essential resource, increasing the possible labor pool in 20 to 30 years, as a consequence of the increased availability of the raw equipment needed to foster competency and skill.

Corporations dont like to think this way. They want to think about how they can cheat the system to increase their profits THIS QUARTER; not how they will get competent workers in 20 years. For the latter, they tend to suckle the teat of modern 'free market capitalism' philosophies, and expect to just magically get what they need, without actually investing in the competencies they are going to need later on.

You see this rapaciously happening in the US-- Our BS with H1B visa abuses, massive over-use of foreign workforce, short-sighted erosion of regulatory laws, and so much more. All have the central theme though: Get the money, get it quick before anyone else can, crowd out everyone else-- the market will always provide, it will be OK.

In a sense, what you have done by revealing this to your employer is highly pathological, when taken in this context-- You have enabled them to circumvent a regulatory compliance directive aimed at ensuring proper disposal of their e-waste, by allowing them to redirect that waste flow into the public commons.

Having been discovered and exploited, I would forecast the following, in this order:

1) This will be suddenly become INSANELY popular. Other companies will follow suit.

2) There will be a glut of viable e-waste in the charity network, far outstripping demand. the real nature of e-waste as refuse will rear its head.

3) This glut of ewaste at the charity level will prompt a less savory secondary market, which appropriates these low cost assets and resells them abroad, or in other municipalities-- for a time.

4) regulators, (sadly, often captured by the companies they are supposed to be regulating) will step in, and impose new regulations prohibiting the disposal of ewaste in this fashion. This is because the e-waste is not being disposed of properly/disposal fees cannot be realistically charged to the new endpoint of the refuse chain. Supply to charities will dry up.

5) Ultimately, after an initial boom, there will be less overall availability of perfectly usable recycled electronics than before.

[obligatory: 6) profit]

There is an alternate pathway, of course, depending on how the regulatory agency(ies) of your country react to the sudden increase in "Domestically sourced E-waste".

4a) Regulators, captured by those they regulate, create regulations that exempt domestic e-waste from the same levels of scrutiny that corporate or business generated e-waste are subject to, to ensure that this loophole remains open at the detriment of the environment, which is against their mandate. (See for instance, how the US's EPA handles domestic ewaste.) To keep this loophole to themselves, new barriers to entry to the "Charity" side get enacted, to restrict the number of recycling charities, which are then controlled via exclusive sourcing/supply contracts. This ensures that "early adopters" continue getting the gravy, while new contenders in the marketplace are left in the cold.

5a) The restriction against spontaneous formation of new charities to service genuine public needs results in a net loss for the society, coupled with the environmental ills of poorly regulated e-waste disposal. (landfills full of refined rare earth elements, toxic byproducts of epoxy decomposition entering ground water, etc.)

[6) profit]

What *REALLY* needs to happen, but which TOTALLY WONT HAPPEN, is this:

4b) Regulatory agencies allow for corporations and businesses to make such "Charitable donations", but still require those corporations and businesses to pick up the tab for proper disposal of that waste later on, using a registration authority.

5b) this allows e-waste to still enter the charity network, leaves the charity network unfettered in its service of the public, and actually facilitates the operation of the charities in question-- ensuring the best possible operation of those charities-- but also makes this "disposal method" less desirable, or possibly equally desirable to direct disposal. (the costs of future disposal may be difficult to predict, but the current cost of disposal is well known.) This ensures that a large percentage of the commercial ewaste stream is properly handled and treated, reducing environmental impact, while still allowing this waste to be "recycled."

[6) profit]

The reason this method will NOT be considered:

It forces commercial producers of ewaste to still be legally responsible for that waste's proper disposal later, which places these producers of waste in a compromising situation; unless they can get some other kickback for contributing to the charity, (such as a tax break) that more than makes up for the amortized risks now associated with the action, it makes the donation of ewaste a non-starter. (This is by design, however-- it prevents the massive glut of ewaste into the charity network.)

As a consequence of the above, "Free market" pundits will decry it as being of the devil, and will actively seek the prevention of such a solution; they favor the initially stated flow of outcomes, because it results in the greatest amount of "market activity", and things like the environment are just "externalities."

Corrupt government officials favor the second stated flow of outcomes, because it ensures a profit stream for early adopters, (which they can be, if they invest early, THEN impose the regs. See how US senators and congresscritters make their fortunes.)

This leaves this much more socially responsible 3rd option out in the cold, as usual.

Getting back to why corporations don't initially "SEE" these things-- they are focused on making the most money they can, as quickly as they can, and externalizing as many costs as they can. Fearing the possibility of my 3rd option (and in addition, other factors such as data security and secure disposal requirements that require complete shredding of the waste) , they shy away from donating ewaste. The actual societal benefits of recycled ewaste in the form of increased domestic labor efficiency are too long term-- and the short term exploitative tactics they are beholden to actually makes their widespread use of this option deleterious to the social good. (a little medicine is good, but too much is toxic. Same here.)


Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development Cell By Cell

wierd_w Re:Singularity (39 comments)

Think about it this way--

You have a system that does $FOO.

you arent sure how it does $FOO, exactly. You see that inputs go in, some magical process $BAR happens inside, and $FOO comes out.

Strong AI strives to reproduce this $FOO.

The issue, is that the process $BAR is very much dependent on what the system is built from. (In this case, complex organic molecules and saline ions). Understanding $BAR is insanely hard, because $BAR is carried out in a highly parallelized fashion, with many many subprocesses going on, many of which are highly dependent upon the method of construction of the system, and exist soley because of that method of construction.

So, you want to build an artificial system that takes the same imputs, does $BAR, and gets $FOO.

Do you:

1) Slavishly reimplement millions of models in the new medium's physical construction, to emulate the quirks and behaviors of the target system's physical construction, wasting huge amounts of energy and making a system that is actually *MORE* complex than the original....


2) Deconstruct all the mechanisms at work in the physical system that currently performs $BAR to get $FOO, evaluate which of these are hardware dependent, and can be removed/adapted to high efficiency analouges in the new hardware platform-- and produce only the components needed for $BAR to be accomplished, to generate $FOO?

The former will most certainly get you $FOO, but is HORRIBLY INEFFICIENT, and does not really shed light on what is actually needed to get $FOO.

The latter is MUCH HARDER to do, as it requires actually understanding the process, $BAR, through which $FOO is attained. It will however, yeild the higher efficiency synthetic system, AND the means to prove that it is the best possible implementation.

Basically, it's the difference between building a rube-goldberg contraption, VS an efficient machine.

about two weeks ago

Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development Cell By Cell

wierd_w Re:Singularity (39 comments)


What it MIGHT give you, eventually, is a set of observations on which to model the synhetic generation of nervous systems (and whole organisms if you have the CPU and memory to blow) within a computational model framework.

What can you do with an emulated nervous system?

Outside of medical research and drug candidate evaluations-- perhaps it could be useful for developing BCIs and the like-- but without a considerable amount more data than just what cells turn into what other cells, the model wont be useful for much.

Also, full nervous system emulation is about the worst possible way to approach strong AI. Just saying.

Models like these are useful for making inexpensive testbeds to test hypotheses against, after said models are vetted-- that's what they are for. They arent for doing non-science with.

about two weeks ago

States That Raised Minimum Wage See No Slow-Down In Job Growth

wierd_w Re:Crazy (778 comments)

If a business can't employ someone for minimum wage, then their business model is broken. They are basically saying that their product or service is of such little value, that people will not pay enough for it such that the workers involved in delivering that product or service can live a bare existence lifestyle.

More like this...

If a business can't employ someone for minimum wage, then their business model is broken. They are basically saying that their product or service is of such little value, that people will not pay enough for it such that the workers involved in delivering that product or service can live a bare existence lifestyle, while exceeding existing shareholder expectations.

about two weeks ago

NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure

wierd_w Re:Snowden's Patriotism is Gaining Acceptance (231 comments)

You misunderstand sir--

I dont hate america. I hate what america has become, and where it is going. America is no longer a place of ideals. It no longer is a place where liberty and freedom are real things, bought and paid for with blood.

America today is a place where you work more than 9 hours a day, every day if possible, with more than half the population either in jail, or having previously been in jail, where you live in inescapable debt to a tiny fraction of the population-- who makes all the rules, and enforce those rules with corrupt courts, secret courts, wiht literal bribery in government, and where you dont really have any real say in the matter. (and if you try, you can find yourself being subjected to extraordinary rendition, and tortured.) It is also the place where big corporations hold more political voice than the general public, where double standards where big money is at stake is the norm, and where all this bullshit is hand waved away with an outright lie that "America is Number One!"

This country gets more and more like North Korea every day.

I'm sorry, but when exactly will you realize that patriotism and jingoism are not the same thing at all? A patriot stands up for what is good and wholesome about his country-- the things he loves about it-- in the face of those things that seek to destroy and undermine those things

I suppose if you love the fact that america is the single most militaristic and self-serving nation on the planet, armed with nukes, and lacking any practical sense to not fuck the world up on short sighted and insane political and military pissing matches, and that it loves its own power so much that it does not even trust its own citizens, and feels it has to spy on, and secretly punish internal dissent in shamelessly illegal ways, Then I suppose the current US is something that you could feel genuine patriotism for.

As for me, I prefer the way the US was 30 years ago-- or even further back yet.

America and americans can look out for american interests, and be proud of their home and nationality, without having to resort to international briggandry, and domestic thuggery.

America and americans can be proud, without "Being Number One!!"-- Like, having an actually rich culture, or having a real, genuine reputation for being a good place to live.

But the lie is so much easier to live, isn't it?

about two weeks ago

How Deep Does the Multiverse Go?

wierd_w Re:Math? (202 comments)

Given a sufficiently large distance between two discrete points in the universe, the rate of hubble expansion between those points can exceed C.

You can think of it this way:

You have a ruler-- You can only move along the ruler at at most, 100 units per second. (we will use this as an analogue for going C) However, for every second, for every 1000 units distance on the ruler, a new unit of distance magically appears. If you have a distance between 2 points that is sufficiently large, (In this case, in excess of 1,000,000 units) more than 100 units will be introduced every second, which is faster than your maximum rate of traversal-- So you will NEVER reach the target-- it receedes faster than you can get to it.

about three weeks ago

NSA Says Snowden Emails Exempt From Public Disclosure

wierd_w Re:Snowden's Patriotism is Gaining Acceptance (231 comments)

It has been my observation that the people who have blistering hatred for Snowden, are the kinds of people who totally embrace jingoism.

They see any kind of "restriction" on government's ability to secure "advantage" and "interest" as allowing "The terrorists to win" (or whatever is the current buzz phrase), As such, they view actions like snowden's as being completely un-american, because he undermined the interests of an american intelligence agency, who was collecting abhorrent amounts of information about everyone and everything--presumably to secure american interests, over foriegn interests. These are the same kinds of people that would support creation of a literal planet-killing super weapon, just to secure american military dominance, and would think nothing of it.

People that chug the jingo-laid come in all colors, all races, all creeds, and all genders: Liberal, Libertarian, Fiscal conservative, raging pinko, and gun toting whacko alike. The unifying feature is that they have bought into the "America is NUMBER ONE!!!!eleveltyone!" mantra.

Seeing that supporting "American interests" without question or hesitation is leading to somethig that is not the america they were promised, with real proof, and real scnadals, with real consequences (FOR THEM), is about the only way to get through to them, short of having them experience the stazi first hand, up close and brutal.

The bullshit needs to stop, and an anti-jingoism movement needs to sweep this country.

about three weeks ago

Mars (One) Needs Payloads

wierd_w Re:Are you really that fucking stupid? (77 comments)

Not in partial G in LEO they haven't.

Yes, actually they HAVE.

Tardigrades in space:

Algae in space:

Did you even remember what you wrote? The second "experiment" had to do with wind, not regolith.

Yes. I Do. Quoted below, with emphasis, because you apparently cannot read.

Data on how much energy is reasonably able to be extracted, so that ideally sized generation systems can be designed, and data on rates of wind blown particle erosion on those devices would be of considerable value.

Also, dune migration and wind blown particle accumulation is one of those things, like waves in a large ocean, that is very difficult to model. This is why data from the actual target environment is actually needed, and why I suggested it. The total theoretical energy is indeed calculable by formula using known data, which I nodded to when I asserted that the low atmospheric pressure posed a significant obstacle, but data collected from the other parts I mentioned, specifically in relation to the particle erosion behaviors for fixed mast objects designed to redicrect airflow, would still be of very significant value.

Now kindly stop being an asshole.

about three weeks ago

Mars (One) Needs Payloads

wierd_w Re:Payloads? Here's what I would like to see. (77 comments)

Who said anything about the first being an experiment?

The experiments you proposed (in a test lab, and in LEO) have already been conducted, which is why I suggested THOSE PARTICULAR ORGANISMS. At this point, the only remaining experiment to see if those organisms could indeed survive in that environment is to send them to that environment and see. However, I did not really intend it as an experiment, I intended it as a precolony groundwork initiative. As I said, a simplistic biosphere could be created, which would radically assist a fledgling colony site.

AND, as I stated initially, it is also the kind of thing that would make the international planetary society come out of their skins, because it would contaminate the purity of mars irrevocably. (then again, MarsONE in general would do that also.)

As for the latter, There's a reason we are still sending spectrometers and chemistry labs to mars. We can simulate the albedo and density of martian regolith, and to a limited extent, we can also simulate the mean bulk chemical constituents, but that does not mean that the regolith simulants produced in a lab will have the same engineering properties of real martial regolith. Such things as the shape of the particles, the reactivity of saline particles in the regolith, and interactions with seasonal dry ice formations on wind diverting surfaces all pose significant engineering challenges to long-term constructions on Mars, which you have so blithely hand-swept away as being answerable with simple models. Here's a hint, we have known about waves and wave mechanics for years, but we still build and use wave tanks, and still do tests in oceans for experimental ocean craft. Theoretical models only can give you what is permissible by the model's constraints. REAL science is conducted against REALITY, not models.

about three weeks ago

Mars (One) Needs Payloads

wierd_w Payloads? Here's what I would like to see. (77 comments)

The kinds of payloads I would like to see delivered to mars are exactly the kind that the international planetary society would come out of their skins over.

Waterbears, antarctic algea, and things of that nature.

Those are lifeforms that could concievably survive indefinatly on mars. (waterbears can live, totally exposed, in the vacuum of space.-- Antarctic algeal forms are able to live in extremely saline conditions just within the first few millimeters of moist rocks, in blisteringly cold temperatures, and engage in active photosynthesis. Together, it is concievable for a highly simplistic, but stable biosphere to be cultivated/initiated on mars.)


In terms of scientific aparatus-- I would be interested in seeing how stationary wind turbines fare on the red planet. There is no surface vegitation of any kind to restrict or stop basically constant howling winds there, however the low atmospheric pressure may mean that while the wind is blowing with gusto, it packs little "punch". As far as I know, there is little data on the total energy yeild of wind energy on mars-- For a colony, wind energy would present a very attractive option over solar, which would be significantly less total energy per cubic meter than what is attainable on earth, especially when one considers the inefficiency of solar to begin with. Data on how much energy is reasonably able to be extracted, so that ideally sized generation systems can be designed, and data on rates of wind blown particle erosion on those devices would be of considerable value.

about three weeks ago

Emotional Contagion Spread Through Facebook

wierd_w Re:Also in Slashdot (127 comments)

1) Proprietary garbage:

While definitely proprietary, "garbage" is at best subjective in most circumstances. However, their recent ham-fisted attempts at forcibly changing the desktop-oriented use pattern of user interaction has a huge steaming pile of market and consumer useability study data behind it to assert that it was "garbage." It was only after having this smeared in their faces that Microsoft has decided to relent, after initial obstinance. IIRC, Unity's and Gnome3's developers are still being obstinate. Microsoft is governed by money, and when people dont buy their stuff, they adapt to make sure people do. FOSS projects are primarily focused on ideological factors-- and when they refuse to accept realities like these, they just become irrelevant, such as they are now, with Mate, Cinnamon, and XFCE4 totally killing them.

2) Everything should be open source when possible:

It should be. By introducing novel or useful concepts and code samples to as wide an audience as possible, the rate of adoption is not hindered by political or financial pressures/constraints. This allows the general population of the planet to make beneficial use of those advances much more quickly, improving human living conditions more expediently.

3) See above; Getting linux kernel running on as many devices as possible increases the whitepaper knowledge base that is available at large, ensuring more developers can get involved with the lowest possible obstacle to entry into the market. See for instance, work being done with neauvou. Nvidia does not want to share information about its secret sauce-- FOSS developers for linux focus energy on MAKING it work, share the results. That work enables other developers wishing to tap the shader units on nVidia cards for computational purposes without having to rely on closed source binary apis, and can get closer to the raw metal as a consequence. Likewise, getting linux kernel running everywhere enables the unlocking of many consumer products that actually house general purpose processing systems so that they can be used in more novel and inventive ways-- see point 2 again.

4) Ubuntu Unity, Ribbon UI and Internet Explorer are crap.

These are all separate and discrete arguments. Not fair claim in one bullet-ed point. Internet Explorer is not a bad browser, per-se--- rather, it does the crime that all browser makers have been making-- Ignoring the W3C and going "lal la la la la la" while they break standards, in order to implement "special features" to make their browsers stand out. Internet explorer just has the financial might of Microsoft behind it, and is a leader in this kind of offense.

Ribbon UI tries to hide useful things under multiple layers of obfuscation to free up some screen real-estate. Functionally, this is little differe3nt from the old contextual menu system, which also relied on such obfuscation. The only difference in the logical sense is the specific method of that obfuscation. Real power users use the shortcut keys. In practice however, since there is no REAL advantage to the ribbon UI, is that it imposes a new barrier to learning and use to seasoned but non-power users of the products impacted, reducing their work performance.

I have already dealt with Unity. See point 1 above.

5) Piracy is good

This is incorrect. That's like saying "Getting angry is good". More, Piracy is the inevitable consequence of abusing the market to create an artificially imposed condition that disadvantages the consumer; the consumer will fight back with piracy. Piracy is neither good nor bad-- it simply is. Like the emotion known as "anger". Many science fiction stories have been penned about the dangers of trying to eradicate "anger" from the human population. It is important, and useful, yet it is neither good nor bad in and of itself. It provides an adrenaline rush and temporarily overrides the logical parts of human elective consciousness, to facilitate fight and flight responses, and provides the fuel to power political movements to end oppressive or onerous political regimes. Likewise, piracy represents an omnipresent factor in the digital marketplace, and it's increase represents not "lost sales", as the antipiracy mantra asserts, but rather the degree of disparity that is being forcibly injected into the transactions taking place in the market place. Piracy is a reference metric, not the bane of digital commerce. Some modest anti-piracy measures are useful and sensible, but draconian ones that promote protest-piracy (*cough* UBISOFT *cough*) are not. The actions of these latter groups is poisoning the market, which is threatening non-offender providers of digital wares. Piracy is not the cause, it is a market effect, that is dependent upon the degrading of good will between vendors and consumers. Piracy is not "Good", piracy is "Useful", and currently "Required". A good deal of market ingenuity and advancement is enabled by piracy of otherwise locked down and inaccessible wares.

6) DRM is always trash

I just covered this. Minimalist DRM, much like a lock on one's front door to deter casual thieves, is useful and acceptable. Insane DRM, designed to force repurchase, is more akin to your insurance company requiring you to install a lethal security system on your house to deter theft, that often times malfunctions and attacks the home owner, to which the insurance company tells you that you must instead buy a new house.

One is acceptable, the other is not. I dont care how profitable it is for the insurance companies to be able to force people to buy multiple insurance policies on multiple houses that they dont need nor want.

7) I love IPv6 and Bitcoin

Again, two entirely discreet subjects. IPv6 addresses a real and serious problem with address space depletion in the IPv4 pool. It isnt so much that "OMG, (*joygasm*) IPv6 is the bestest protocol EVAR!"--- it's "Oh hurray! We wont run out of addresses for a very long time if we can just get people to actually buy routers and devices that will use it before we hit the fucking wall!" Totally different things.

Bitcoin is a double edged sword, and I look at it in the same capacity as barter with a difficult to manufacture artificial substance as a means of currency. It relies exclusively on the scarcity of the bitcoin itself, because it becomes more and more computationally expensive to produce the coins. However, it does not actually have a useful component to it that barter would normally have, so it is inferior to barter. (Bartered goods still have the intrinsic value of that specific item that can be exploited-- EG, you buy a pig, you can get bacon out of it. Not so with a bitcoin. You expend hundreds of watts of energy to create a high information density unique signature-- but afterwards, there is not conceivable way to extract that energy from the bitcoin. A real good was lost in order to gain a product with no REAL use, only the applied and artificial use as a medium of exchange. If the cost of manufacture of a bitcoin exceeds the value it gets as a currency, you actually lose value by its creation! The use of bitcoin as a currency wastes real resources to create artificial and less useful ones in a non-reversible fashion.) In bitcoin's defense, paper money meets the same criteria. Coinage does not however-- You still have the utility of the metal used with coinage.A coin can be un-minted, and returned to useful metal. We use paper money because there is not enough useful metal to make enough currency to satisfy market needs, and because the real needs for those metals exceeds the value of the currency. We NEED copper to make electrical wiring for buildings, homes, and businesses much more than we need pennies. This is why pennies are now no longer made of solid copper.

Bitcoin does have a small redeeming quality to make up for its intrinsic bads involved however. Its purpose for existing is to create a decentralized and unregulated market free of the corruption and manipulation seen in existing fiat* money systems. *(I dont mean that term in a derogatory sense, but in the literal definition.) If another currency system comes along with lower intrinsic badness, that can perform this same function, bitcoin becomes irrational to use.


about a month and a half ago

IRS Lost Emails of 6 More Employees Under Investigation

wierd_w Re:Massive conspiracy (465 comments)

AC, you clearly are in need of a massive civics lesson.

Read these words, and meditate on them:

"I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it."

When you start making it "OK" to silence people you disagree with or disapprove of, it opens the doors for people who disapprove of you, or disagree with your views to silence YOU.

We make the acts of discrimination illegal. Not the idea. People are entitled to their own beliefs, even if those beliefs cannot be substantiated with evidence. We counter this with being allowed to hold our own beliefs, which we attest are substantiated with evidence.

When you start telling people that they must believe the same way that you do, you are perpetrating the same crime that religious authority figures commit when they go on holy wars and crusades.

Resorting to hyperbole, like "only a racist would call this thing a scandal.", you are tit-for-tat in line with religious oppressors that claim things like "Only an infidel" or "Only a godless sinner" to justify their actions.

Do you want to be with that group?

about a month and a half ago

Congressman Asks NSA To Provide Metadata For "Lost" IRS Emails

wierd_w Re:Just imagine "if" (347 comments)

To the people who modded this off topic, It seems that the IRS *REALLY DOES* use NetAPP storage controllers.

Here's a publicly disclosed bidding process document on the matter.

It's dated at last year. I can't imagine that they would just scrap that hardware in under a year's time.

about a month and a half ago

Sony Winding Down the PSP

wierd_w Re:Action 52 and (other?) malware (85 comments)

Android is just one example, there's also apple's model, if you prefer.

still an open and easy to use sdk, but comes with a locked down store model in the device ecosystem, where they act as a content filter. (admittedly, a less than perfect one, but still.)

if you are worried about garbage multicart type offerings poisoning the well, then an apple approval process analogue would do just fine. just leave a way to sideload, and all is golden.

the point is to build up the desirability of the console, so that AAA game studios have incentive to target the platform. they dont want to sink money into development and post production expenses on a title for a platform the market is ignoring. (even when that problem is a chicken and egg type one.) allowing the device to be versatile and friendly for a variety of applications helps bootstrap the process of getting AAA attention, because people will be buying the handheld from a larger market angle, meaning there is a bigger potential market for thier games.

stupidly saying "No, this is a handheld game console only, and you have to be THIS BIG to play!" is how you get left behind in today's world.

about 2 months ago

Sony Winding Down the PSP

wierd_w My old PSP fat is awesome. (85 comments)

Truly. It is awesome. There are only a few small problems with it.

1) UMD disk is proprietary shit. Had they instead used a mini-dvd, the handheld would have been fantastic. But I realize that this is sony, and that they have delusions of owning the media market, despite having CLEARLY lost on all fronts. No Sony, your memory stick tech will NEVER be more user friendly than SDcard. No Sony, your UMD was never going to surpass mini-DVD. No Sony, your MagicGate bullshit for the vita will never catch on. Sorry. Users have the choice of non-sony things that work with all other non-sony things--- which are just as good if not better, than what you offer-- and are perfectly content to let your bullshit die on the vine. Like Vita is.

You SHOULD have used mini-DVD.
You SHOULD have used Micro-SD.

2) Sony dropped the ball bigtime on game selection for the PSP, and further shot themselves in the foot by failing to give proper dualshock type thumbknobs-- Even the (very excellent!) PSONE emulator (which works with basically every PSONE game, with some tweaking!) is rendered less than fully useful because of the lack of the other thumb knob. I bought my PSP fat explicitly to run CFW on it, so that I could play emulated SNES and NES games on it, and to run homebrew apps on it. (It works just fine as a small ebook reader, and as an email reader. Used it for quite some time before I bought a smartphone. Could check my emails anywhere there was open wifi!)

The reason why this was the SINGLE, ONE AND ONLY reason for that purchase decision? THERE WERE NO GAMES RELEASED FOR THE PSP WORTH BUYING, OR EVEN PLAYING. I have had my hacked PSP for.. Jeeze--- YEARS now. STILL, NOT A SINGLE PSP TITLE ON IT. PIRATED OR OTHERWISE. My choice not to buy games, was because there were no games worth having!

BUT-- Again-- the handheld itself is fantastic!

The screen is behind a very robust and thick slab of plastic that keeps it from getting screwed up. The FAT has an out of this world battery life. I could play an emulated snes game for literally 8 hours straight on a single charge! FANTASTIC! I STILL take the hacked PSP on vacation!

Where Sony screwed up?

Again, where they always screw up, and where they have always historically screwed up, and where they will consistently and forever screw up, until the day they collapse from the inside:

1) They were and still are delusional. They want to believe that we will buy something just for the Sony name. We wont. This carries over on anything tied exclusively to Sony products-- be it MagicGate or MemoryStick memory cards, proprietary spinning disc formats, audio CDs with extra special rootkits--- whatever. Does not matter. If it only works in SonyWorld, while everyone else plays in REALWORLD, SonyWorld will always get the attendence that EuroDisney gets-- which is to say, it isn't really in your best interests to try it, sony. If you want us to invest in something, you have to MAKE it WORTH our while. You have to present something tangibly better than what everyone else offers; It MUST be bigger, better, faster, and be all that and a bag of chips; Complacency will NOT work. This should be immensely apparent to even you guys by now. That means if you offer a console to compete with another quality product released by a competitor, YOU NEED TO OUTSHINE THEM IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY. Do any less? You will lose. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. That means having bigger selection, better loading times, better quality gameplay, and all that ball of wax. Giving us a porche that runs on refined plutonium, when there is no real way to get that plutonium, is a good way to waste money engineering a very sexy looking product that nobody will buy. That's where you fucked up with the Vita. Sure, it looks sexy, and probably is a very well designed handheld. BUT YOU DONT HAVE A BIG GAME CATALOG FOR IT. Why spend money on a porche that runs on plutonium, when you can never get the plutonium? Why spend money on a porche that runs on plutonium when you have to deal with deadly ionizing radiation problems and issues with handling the fuel? SAME THING when asking why people would want to buy your consoles when they cant buy games for it (because they dont exist!), and why they would want to buy your consoles when they have to deal with poisonous customer experiences for the few titles that actually do exist. You make porches that run on plutonium to compete with VW Beetles that run on saltwater. The VW Beetle isnt all that fancy, but is well made, and it has a nearly endless surplus of fuel that can be used in it. Cost of ownership is low, and ease of use is very high. People will pick the VW Beetle over your porche every single time.

2) They consistently, without fail, refuse to listen to their user base-- They ignore allowing the easy/open development of software for their devices, and wonder why more open platforms that are easier to code for get all the developers. Here's a hint Sony. IT ISNT PIRACY. If you put a huge ass list of silly secret handshakes involving dancing while naked and slathered in peanut butter-- JUST to get the SDK for your platforms-- NOBODY IN THEIR RIGHT MIND THAT ISNT A PEANUT BUTTER NUDE DANCING FETISHIST IS GOING TO DEVELOP FOR YOUR PLATFORMS! Nintendo started to feel that pretty strongly recently with the epic huge failure of their Wii-U console. Those tools actually thought we would buy a "Slightly upgraded" version of a console that was obscolete the day it hit engineering, 10 years ago, just because it had their name on it. (Nevermind the shitty controller.) Nintendo has a huge list of simple games for the Wii, but they too shot themselves in the foot with poor selection with the Wii-U by refusing to do proper compatibility, and by pissing off developers with retarded peanutbutter naked dancemove handshakes that they only extend to their most specialest of friends. (Really nintendo, your requirements for getting an SDK are absurd. Go fuck yourselves. Go fuck yourselves into obscurity.)

So, Again, My old PSP Fat is AWESOME. It really is!

Too bad you fucked up an awesome handheld with your typical, insane, delusional, and peanutbutter nude dance fettishism-- SONY.

Dont be afraid to let people develop software legitimately for your devices that arent games! Nintendo allowed Opera to dev the Opera Browser cart for the DS! You could just as well have allowed ebook reader app makers to make ebook reader apps for your PSP, or allowed people to make email clients, or any number of other, useful pieces of software for your handheld! But NO. You thought small. You took a good handheld, and stunted it, on purpose, then wondered why it didnt grow. You are idiots. You have always been idiots. You will always be idiots until you wake up and realize that you cant control the universe, and HAVE to play with others to win in the modern world.

Look at Google and Android. A smartphone is more than just a phone. It's a compass. It's a GPS with interactive maps. It's a Fillet-o-fish finder, It's a camera, it's a chat client, ITS ANY FUCKING THING YOU MAKE IT INTO-- BECAUSE THERE IS AN APP FOR FUCKING EVERYTHING.


Sony-- Your killer app is to make a porche that everyone can drive, that runs on saltwater, like your competitors.

Make a handheld gaming console that is beautiful and polished, efficient, and made for gaming-- but versatile, and open to develop for. Dont try to be a smartphone though-- We already have mature offerings for that. Make a game console, that just so happens to run "free" apps--- the counter to current smartphones that are phones that just so happen to run "free" games. Allow advert based revinue streams like Google does. People dont have to sign multimillion dollar development contracts with you for you to make money with your products. Google is fucking HUGE compared to you. Look how they do that, and copy them! Stop being neurotic morons and play in the real word! Let your game console be useful as a bluetooth remote control for stuff like toy cars or airplanes-- with an open API/SDK to use it that way-- Let people FIND uses for your offering! ENCOURAGE tinkerers and small time developers. Get your money up front with a monetized advert stream, like apple and google does.

If you do, you will win.

about 2 months ago

Scott Adams's Plan For Building Giant Energy-Generating Pyramids

wierd_w Re:"free" solar energy (107 comments)

The issue I see is not "Lifting the blocks is energy expensive, therefor wont work!", the issue I see is "Clearing the sand down to bedrock is expensive, and therefor wont work!"

Here's the deal:

Sand grains in the desert are small, and are carried by wind. Wind is powered by solar induced thermal exchanges. Wind energy routinely creates and moves humongous piles of sand around, and the formation of those piles of sand can be controlled by building or placing obstacles to redirect wind flow/speed/pressure. A nearly entirely passive process can be used to deposit the sand, even up on top of the pyramid while it is being built. The only thing you need to lift manually is the sintering system.

However, by the same token, you MUST place the pyramid directly on bedrock to avoid having the sand get blown out from under the pyramid by said wind patterns.(Unless you WANT your pyramid to break in half!) Clearing out several feet of sand is a non-trivial task that is energy intensive. Getting the wind to do this for you is not very feasible.

Once the pyramids(s) is (are) made however, you will have the undesirable consequence of their being made from glass, in an erosive sand environment featuring wind. Glass is substantively "softer" on the mohs hardness scale than is raw crystalline silicon dioxide-- the primary component of sand. The pyramid will get abraded HARD, and will require very aggressive maintenance.

about 2 months ago

The Singularity Is Sci-Fi's Faith-Based Initiative

wierd_w Re:From the article... (339 comments)

Strange, that isnt how I would envision it at all. I would envision it as an iterative evolutionary process simulator with parallel virtual instance simulators all simulating minor variations of itself using (at first) a brute force algorithm over a range of possibly tweakable values, correllating and testing "improvement candidates" based on a set of fixed critera, assembling lists of changes, and restarting the process over again.

Such models have already created wholly computer generated robots that are surprisingly energy efficient, if bizarre to look at.

As humans get better at structuring problems into concrete sets of discrete variables, the better such programs will be able to run without human intervention.

These "AIs" would not in any practical sense, even remotely resemble the intelligence that humans have. They would have much more in common with exponential functions with large numbers of descretized terms, converging on local maxima in their solution domains.

about 2 months ago

Blizzard Sues Starcraft II Cheat Creators

wierd_w Re: Blizzard Shizzard (252 comments)

Your understanding of how the GPL works seems to be flawed.

1) You can use GPL software to run non-gpl software, and be perfectly fine. What you can't do, is make the non-gpl portion of the software be some super fundamental component of the system.


Wine can run windows programs all day long. Simply because windows solitare is running inside wine, does not mean microsoft has to release the source code to sol.exe

Nvidia's binary driver for Linux: It is not explicitly necessary for linux to run. It can be loaded into the GPLed linux kernel, and used perfectly legitimately. This is frowned upon by the community, but still legal.

What you CANT do with GPL software:

Snag up GPL code, modify the living bejeebus out of it, then change the license to closed, and then sell it for money. (Say, what eg, NetApp did with BSD for their ONTAP OS they run on their filers. They stole BSD code, which is perfectly OK to steal-- ;) If they had stolen GPL code, it would be another matter entirely!)

Snag up GPL code, Modify the bejeebus out of it, then distribute binary only copies without also releasing the source code. (Netgear tried to do this some years back with OpenWRT, and when the community they stole from started examining their routers, started demanding they release their sources. You *CAN* get the source packages from netgear, they just hide the page far away from their main website tree.)

The GPL is INSANELY permissive, with the only real restrictions being against changing the license type, or against adding additional restrictions. (Such as not releasing the source for modified versions.)

If your business revolves around keeping the precious in a locked up little box, then the GPL is not for you. (Go plunder BSD like every other gollum like creature with big eyes and a kleptomania problem.) If you dont care about that, then the GPL is just fine. (Does not seem to hurt Netgear any.)

about 2 months ago

Supermassive Black Hole At the Centre of Galaxy May Be Wormhole In Disguise

wierd_w Re:Why it matters (293 comments)

One possible solution is that our wormholes (if they exist) are actually "pre big bang events" for a whole new universe inside the wormhole, and that they actually contain an infinite volume. "White hole" stage happens at the big bang inside, and any subsequent mass energy that falls in from our side just becomes dark energy on their side, distributed everywhere.

It would be interesting to try to plot out how causality works over the bridge.

the way I envision it though (which is almost certainly wrong), is that time is more confined (slower) near the bridge, but becomes less confined (faster) as the space on the other side expands in volume. (Speed is measured as 'planc seconds against unit of spacetime traversed by photon in vacuum' EG, near the bridge, photons appear to travel more slowly, where away from the bridge, they appear to travel more quickly. The actual energy of the photon has not changed, but the ratio between space and time has changed. There is more 'time' near the bridge than there is space, and vise versa further away.)
Any particular "moment" can be seen as a topological point on the 'surface' of the wormhole.

(See for instance this image of the standard inflation model of our universe.)

If you cross your eyes when you look at it, the model resembles a white hole, where the "hole" is the big bang, the energy was delivered "all at once", and what we percieve as time is just a manifestation of the energy delivered. (it would explain why time runs only in one direciton, and a number of other interesting things. it could theoretically explain dark energy, etc.)

Another interesting tidbit: Supermassive objects like sagitarius A have a hard time "feeding". This may account for the inflationary curvature of our own universe if you, again, cross your eyes when you look at it.

EG, early in the universe, mass energy from the higher up one was spilling into ours. (their "hole" was feeding), but as it grew in intensity, the curvature on their end made such feeding more difficult, and the rate of influx slowed sharply-- ending the rapid expansion period.

If that's the case, then some corollary math should add up against observational metrics against black hole feeding on our side, and may give some interesting insights.

Can any of the more physics-head types see if there is a correlation between the estimated energy of the universe at the end of the hyper-expansionary epoch, and the event horizon size of these super massive black holes that can no longer feed?

about 3 months ago



ask slashdot: how should I handle this IP agreement?

wierd_w wierd_w writes  |  about 5 months ago

wierd_w (1375923) writes "Today I was presented with yet another agreement from my employer, as many if not all of us have been faced with in the past. This one however, strikes as as being the closest thing to pure evil I have ever encountered.

having read, and re-read the text of the agreement, i do not see any prohibitions on public discussion of the terms provided there-in, and so I thought I would make mention of the most eggregious sections, and seek feedback on if I should find new employment or suck it up and sign this faustian rag. (I fully understand that any members involved in the legal profession must protect themselves, and regardless of the outcome, will not hold any legally responsible for the contributions they may make.)

now, down to the dirtiness at hand.

aside from the normal language where they claim ownership of every idea and skill i posess, they also make several claims that in my (very much) unprofessional opinion are serious red flags telling me to run as fast as I can. ....
6) Miscellaneous.
        a) A breach of this Agreement will result in irreparable harm to the Company for which there is no adequate remedy at law, and the Company is entitled to injunctive relief and specific performance. The Company need not post a bond or other security to enforce its rights under this Agreement.

  b) This agreement may not be modified, or terminated except in a writing signed by me, and a company officer. A waiver of breach of any provision of this Agreement will not operate as a waiver of any subsequent breach.

  c) The unenforcability of any provision of this agreement will not limit any other provision's enforcability. If any provision is held unenforcable, that provision will be limited or construed to the minimum extent necessary to make it enforceable.

  d) My obligations under this agreement continue after my employment ends.

e) This is not an employment contract. My employment is at-will.

f) This agreement will be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of Washington, without reference to conflicts of law rules. ...

a) and d) especially scare the shit out of me.

the former uses loaded language that I feel should be illegal, because it presupposes a matter of fact that I personally do not find truth in; a cursory examination of civil contract law for the state of washington shows that there is no limit on the possible awarded damages for statutory compensation. My employer could pull a doctor evil, and hold me hostage for a hundred bazillion-million dollars, and be within existing legal remedy as far as I am able to determine. While i do agree that irreparable harm could come from unapproved disclosure of intellectual properties or secrets, i dispute that the available legal remedies are "not adequate." If any of you are more knowlegable about washington contract law, i would love to hear your informal opinions. As-is, i don't believe that this agreement is possible for me, since i simply do not agree with the language of that section of article 6, and cannot fathom how "unlimited statutory damages" cannot service suitable compensation, and why they feel that special injunctive relief and and specific performance are necessary. for any of our lawyer friends here that might shed some light on this, my eyes are peeled!

then there is section d) of the same article, which, when taken in context of e) (at will employment, and not a promise of continued employment) appears to amount to an agreement in purpetuity for a service rendered (at will employment) that by its very nature is decidedly temporal. perhaps they think that i will be exposed to industry secrets that require purpetual protection, but that is not rational, considering that *I* would be creating those "secrets", and the wording of the main body of the contract explicitly states that my "know-how" is included in the agreement. That would mean that my already extensive skillset prior to working here is on the table in this contract, and this agreement would essentially bar me from in any way disclosing anything i know to any unauthorized person, if a very strict interpretation was followed. I could accept a sunset with an absurd term, say 25 years, but not "infinity". Theoretically, i would have to acquire a completely new knowledgebase and find a completely different career if I accept this agreement then seek new employment, as best I comprehend it.

My current thought on a course of action is to seek a modified contract per section b), with a sunset provision, and a statement asserting "fullest extent possible by law" instead of the existing section a) of article 6, as I am actually capable of agreeing with those terms, and should provide more than enough protection to my employer, as I have no interests in stealing or proliferating any of their intelectual properties-- along with some kind of sunset provision for section d).

for the record, this is a fortune 500 company dealing in physical manufacture of aerospace components, but the language of the agreement covers *everything*, including computer code, sketches, diagrams, algorithms, et. al., including my "know-how". (it is specifically mentioned.) I also no not live in the state of washington, nor is the company headquartered there.

Should I bother with seeking to get an agreement I can actually sign in good faith, or should I just start looking for a new job?"

Link to Original Source

"investigate Chris Dodd" petition reaches over 25,

wierd_w wierd_w writes  |  more than 2 years ago

wierd_w (1375923) writes "The situation with the internet petition concerning the investigation of former senator, and current MPAA CEO Chris Dodd has gotten a little more interesting. In just under 3 days, the petition has exceeded 25,000 signatures, meeting the requirements for an official policy statement from the executive branch. Just how many signatures the petition will receive before the deadline of February 22 remains to be seen, but the official reply should be 'interesting' considering the impending elections."
Link to Original Source

Ellsberg supports wikileaks

wierd_w wierd_w writes  |  more than 3 years ago

wierd_w (1375923) writes "Daniel Ellsberg: “EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”

Due to the recent debates over the pros and cons between the wikileaks releases and those of the historic "Pentagon papers", Journalist Daniel Ellsberg, who released the pentagon papers in 1971, has written an editorial on the subject declaring that he rejects the mantra of “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad", and that further “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”"

Link to Original Source


wierd_w has no journal entries.

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>