Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

Comment Re:all our yesterdays (Score 2) 124

If we can build (presumably) ships that are sealed enough to protect us from the great vacuum that is space, and that can last years in the great nothingness that is space, then we can certainly build habitats here on earth to survive the most extreme changes in climate.

At the end, a spaceship that will take us to another solar system is essentially a huge dwelling that contains everything we will need to restart life on another planet - there is no guarantee that we will find the necessary building blocks there. So we would not only have to take our food, but the plants that can produce the food, the animals that would provide meat, the bacteria that all plants and animals depend on, the birds and the bees - everything needed to bootstrap another earth.

And this assumes that we can find a planet that contains the right ingredients to support life. All the minerals that are necessary to grow life e.g. the right quantities of magnesium to create chlorophyll. If we were doing this, we might need a thousand years to get it right.

Put it another way, if you were a weary space traveller, and you happened upon an earth who surface had heated to, say, 25 degrees on average, would you settle there and try to make it work, or would you travel on?

Comment Re:Seems reasonable (Score 1) 196

There are many technical way of going around those problems even better than a black cab driver would.

For example - medical emergency - every Uber car has the Uber app which could have a big red button to dial an emergency number, and potentially route the Uber to the nearest emergency room.

Vehicle involved in wreck - automatically dial 999 or, even better, send detailed report to emergency services detailing the likely severity of the crash and the location of said crash.

Local emergency - they are not morons you know. They are people who have been driving a while and know how to get around local diversions / detours.

In any case, why have these regulations not been necessary until now? In the UK in particular, private hire cars (of which Ubers are classified as private hire) have been doing alright no problem. This only seems to have become a problem at the very moment that Uber entered. In the UK, Uber is private hire - with an app.

The response to Uber is protectionism pure and simple.

Comment Re:Anything important will be preserved (Score 1) 348

I didn't say every detail of the past will be remembered. I specifically said two things.

1. Anything important will be remembered. Unless there is a major upheaval - WW3 - nuclear apocalypse and back to living in caves, as long as we have computers of one kind or another, we will not lose any knowledge that is important and critical to human survival.

2. The best way to preserve knowledge is to disseminate it, and not to invent new archival methods. Teaching and passing on knowledge between generations is the way to do this.

The reason some of the old knowledge was lost was that it was not useful for most people at that time, and wouldn't be for millennia, and because some people preferred to keep knowledge secret rather than disseminate it.

And also, hanging, drawing and quartering is not important, unless you are ISIS.

I don't think the minutiae of how we live is as important as we like to think. It is interesting, for those who are so inclined, but not critical to our survival as humans.

Comment Anything important will be preserved (Score 5, Interesting) 348

The vast majority of things that are worth knowing will always be remembered and preserved. If the few that forgotten become necessary, they will be reinvented.

The world will continue spinning. No need for alarm.

The best way to preserved knowledge is to disseminate it widely. Or, to paraphrase Linus Torvalds, someone somewhere will mirror all the really important stuff.

Comment Re:Remotely brick? (Score 3, Interesting) 202

Maybe not brick it (because people might try to fix it).

Just put a huge warning message that the device is dead and can not be used anymore. Give the people a code that they can use to claim a refund, and tell them they don't even have to bring it to a store. They can just chuck it away and claim a refund.

That way, no parent gives it to a young kid, and they scare them enough into getting rid of it.

Comment Re: Don't put your one egg (Score 2) 239

Always have an insurance

Never have insurance ... unless it is something you can't afford to lose. The cost of insurance is (expected-loss + insurance-company-overhead + insurance-company-profit). If you self-insure, it is just the expected loss. So never insure anything you can afford to lose. It is a bad bet.

Anyway, it is silly to conjecture about who is responsible for what cost. Here is the answer: Read the launch contract.

Wrong.When you self insure, you do not incur the "expected loss". You incur the "actual loss", which may be nothing, or could be more than anything you have.

If I had a $1m car, if I crashed it, I could lose $1m. But If I insured, I would lose the expected loss plus the overhead and profit margin.

The point of insurance is to remove uncertainty. Insurance is not a bad bet. Even very large companies such as Apple will insure because it is sensible to do so.

If you are self-insuring, you might not be using the funds you set aside wisely.

Comment Re:Law of unintended consequences, also frosty (Score 1) 470

accepting defeat means losing the useful original meaning

The original meaning is already lost. If you actually use "begs the question" correctly, 90% of your audience will have no idea what you mean, and the other 10% will think you are being pompous. It is best to just avoid the phrase entirely in both writing and speaking.

This +++
When one identifies a phrase or word in transition, it's probably best to avoid it. I'm afraid to use "literally" now because I have no idea how it will be interpreted.

I reckon they should interpret it "literally".

Comment Re:Waste of helium (Score 1) 190

Why do we "waste" a lot of our resources?

How much rubber and fuel is burned up on a "indy 500" race just so people can drive around in a big oval for hours? That fuel could have went to better uses.

Humans waste things for much less, this is a portable aircraft with a good carry capacity.

I think you wil find that the amount of fuel "wasted" in an actual Oval race is less than the fuel used by all the supporters who flock to watch said race.

Motorsports, at least at the top level, used a negligible amount of fuel compared to other fuel uses.

Comment Re:Moronic argument (Score 3, Interesting) 1145

Now what happened when people smoked away their food stamps? Did we cut them off? No, that would be cruel to the kids. We had to come up with other money from numerous other sources, and the bad behaviors still don't change.

This only seems to be an American problem. Here in the UK, people on benefits are given money. They are even given their rent money and mostly manage to pay their rent rather than drink or smoke it away.

If you treat people like children, they will behave like children. If people can't notice they are hungry or thirsty, and have nowhere to live even when they could afford it, then you have to let them deal with the consequences.

Comment Re:Example Chinese negotiation (Score 1) 89

China spent that money to try and avoid going down the hole with the US. The Chinese and the US economies are very intertwined. If China had not shored up the US dollar, US made products would have become cheaper and their own investments would have become worth less. They were acting in self interest, not out of any desire to help the US.

Comment Re:I've never had one. (Score 1) 105

Well, Amazon Video in not available on the Apple TV. However, it is available on the iPhone, and it allows one to "AirPlay" it to the Apple TV. So, when I want to watch something on Amazon TV, I get the iPhone out and watch it on the 40" TV in HD.As soon as it it outputting to AirPlay, the app becomes a remote control of sorts. Oh, and the iPhone also works as a more capable remote for the Apple TV than the official Apple TV remote.

Smartphones are more capable in some respects than PCs. It's a lot harder to do that on a PC without fiddling.

Comment Re:Good ruling (Score 1) 63

I could say the same about many other pieces of OSS software.

Linux is only technically open source. In reality what goes into the kernel is tightly controlled by Torvalds.

GCC is only technically open source. In reality what goes into GCC is tightly controlled by the GCC steering committee.

Open source doesn't mean that everyone gets to control every piece of software. It means anyone can take that software, makes improvements to it, and release new versions without needing approval from the original authors.

Slashdot Top Deals

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.