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Welcome to Slashdot. Now Go Home. 62

Well, I join slashdot (aka the "sinister Andover keiretsu") full-time today. It seems worthy of a story, although I'll limit it to the YRO section since those have been my traditional stomping grounds. There's no real news below, just some rambling and question-asking, but I hope it will be interesting nonetheless.

My previous job was at the U.S. Department of Energy, where I did web programming for them. Mostly placing huge databases on-line using Cold Fusion. For the last year I've also been a slashdot author/editor part-time, mostly posting YRO stories - encryption, free speech, privacy, etc. Prior that I was studying engineering; prior to that I was in the U.S. military. I turn 27 in a few days.

This job is not a programming job. Although I am fairly familiar with perl, the people working on slashcode and other projects for Andover/VA Linux/OSDN (even we don't know what to call it - OSDN is probably the current official name, but the stationery still says Andover on it...) would run rings around me, so it's doubtful that I could make much of a contribution right now.

Instead, and against all odds, this is a journalism job. This may seem odd for someone who has a partial quote from Kierkagaard as one of my random .sig quotes:

"The demoralization which comes from the press can be seen from this fact: There are not ten men in every generation who, socratically, are afraid of having a wrong opinion; but there are thousands and millions who are more frightened of standing alone, even with an opinion which is quite right, than of anything else. But when something is in the papers, it is eo ipso certain that there is always a good number of people having that opinion or about to express it.

Indeed, if the press were to hang a sign out like every other trade, it would have to read: Here men are demoralized in the shortest possible time on the largest possible scale for the smallest possible price.

What we need is Pythagorean silence. There is a far greater need for total-abstaining societies which would not read newspapers than for ones which do not drink alcohol.

When truth conquers with the help of 10 000 yelling men --even supposing that that which is victorious is a truth: with the form and manner of the victory a far greater untruth is victorious.

The lowest depth to which people can sink before God is defined by the word "Journalist." ... If I were a father and had a daughter who was seduced, I should not despair over her; I would hope for her salvation. But if I had a son who became a journalist, and continued to be one for five years, I would give him up."

Kierkagaard doesn't have a whole lot of faith in the press. Honestly, neither do I. Since I started paying attention to net-activism and politics (circa 1995), I've seen that most journalism is incredibly biased, based on lies and innuendo and press releases and product promotion. Any controversial issue is surrounded by at least two different sides telling stories that are, for the most part, entirely fabricated. Reporters are sometimes complicit in this, and sometimes simply lazy or misled. But the result is the same either way: readers get total crap, and are told it is unbiased reporting.

I hope to change that. Not by shooting all the other reporters in the world; that's too big of a job. Nor by trying to set a good example by being unbiased and impartial myself; that too is too big of a job. Instead I think what I will try to avoid is any suggestion that I am unbiased. Here, let's make it clear: I AM BIASED .

Here are some of my biases (partial list only, the slashdot database couldn't hold a full listing, nor could this keyboard withstand that many keystrokes):

  • pro free speech - there's no substitute.
  • pro encryption - see above item. Encrypted speech is speech.
  • pro privacy - and pro privacy legislation, since self-help solutions are inadequate.
  • pro Linux - but only because I think it's a good OS with lots of potential, I'm not a fanatic about it. I'm typing this on Win 98 right now.
  • anti corporations - the mega-corps hate democracy, and they hate human rights. That's their nature - those things tend to get in the way of maximizing profits. The screwy thing is that many people are convinced we have to let them behave that way, like it's some kind of natural law. No. We don't.
  • anti copyright, patents, and other forms of government monopolies - these do very little good in today's world. They need to be scaled back or eliminated. The original purpose of these monopolies was to make sure useful information was disseminated widely - that objective is now trivial with the advent of the internet. Yet copyright and patent laws keep expanding, not contracting. Why? Because if you make a fortune from a government monopoly, you have the money to lobby for a larger monopoly. It's a very dangerous feedback loop that must be broken.
  • pro science, in all its forms - interesting science is interesting on its face and independent of what they're actually trying to achieve. I think I've given up on my boyhood dream of trying to go to space, but you never know - there's still enough time for me to make it out there if we got our act together.

I hope that's enough for a small taste. I'm trying to dispel all notion that I'm unbiased, or that I'll be presenting everything in an entirely unbiased fashion. If my biases totally offend you, you might want to go right now to your user preferences and check the box to block stories posted by me.

I do hope to avoid the worst excesses - the hatchet jobs, the total lies, the made-up stories. But I won't avoid those because I'm trying to be unbiased, I'll avoid those because they aren't fucking true. I'm a stickler for accuracy; it comes of being an INTP.

I took this job for a number of reasons. I had been at the DOE for three years; time for a change. I enjoyed the stuff I was doing part-time as a net activist and slashdot editor. They pay better than the DOE. It's a full-time telecommute job - I live in New York City, Andover is headquartered outside Boston. They're all good reasons. But probably the main reason is that I think this stuff is important. The next few years are going to determine the shape of the internet to come. It is quite possible that we could end up with a net that looks a lot like, say, cable television. A fair number of choices, but not one of them is anything other than mass-market pablum. Like most people, I want to make a difference in the world. I think that the opportunity exists here.

So, that should be enough about me. If you don't have a pretty good idea of where I'm coming from by now, you never will. Time for some questions to you.

What do you want out of slashdot? What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? Again, my primary interests are in things loosely known as cyber-liberties and scientific endeavors - it is there that I'm most likely to be able and interested in making direct and meaningful changes in the content of slashdot.

I was about to do another list, of suggestions and what-not. But why put my thumb on the balance? I'll just ask again: what do you want to see out of slashdot, that you think I can do?

P.S.: Anyone in NYC want to get together and have a beer or something?

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

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  • Just one thing.

    Change the fscking colors on the YRO pages!


  • It seems to me that to get too carried away with deciding whether there are n types of people or n^100 types of people is to miss the point. The point is to try to segment the personality landscape in a meaningful way, so that if you can locate a person's rough position in that landscape, you may be able to infer things about that person's personality and thought processes (even if the person in question is yourself.)

    You seem to be focused on the granularity of the divisions. Clearly a balance is needed between 12 (horoscopes, generally useless) and 6 billion (pop. of Earth). Sure, everyone is unique, but everyone also shares common traits, often in predictable combinations.

  • Re: drug research... are you interested in protecting the patent on Prozac or the newer patent on The-Drug-Formerly-Known-as-Prozac-but-Now-Known-as -Serifem-Because-it's-Being-Marketed-for -PMS? The point, buried somewhere in there, is that the tech sector has no monopoly on illegitimate and anti-consumer patents. Eli Lilly's rife with 'em. This is an old drug, slipped into a capsule with new colors, and pushed hard on women whom Lilly felt would be stigmatized if they had to take Prozac for PMS. Nevermind that many of them may already be on Prozac for other problems and not realize that the combination of Prozac #1 and Prozac #2 could be lethal. Truth be told, there's growing evidence to show that either one alone could be lethal, too, butdon't say that too loud or you'll irritate Lilly's bottom line.
  • You might need something to eat.

    Besides, cabbages are a higher plant life form, and thus I (and journalists) don't qualify.

  • I don't think slashdot has ever been hacked with the exception of the two publicly announced incidents. As to CmdrTaco's post on the troll forum, well, I imagine he was screwing with the trolls. None of the slashdot authors are particularly fond of the troll population...

    All the actions taken are intended to promote better discussions on the site. Can't post more than once per 70 seconds. Karma cap. Bitchslapping (note that most sites would just yank a user's account permanently, change the password to something random - this gives them the chance to salvage that account if they so choose). None of these are really restrictive, when you think about the alternatives.

    Rob actually has a pretty deep belief in a censorship-free site where people are free to speak. Otherwise, the job would be quite simple: go through and IP-ban everyone who posts crap, and in about one week, the site would be troll-free.

    As to involving the community, well, it's Rob's call. I think it would be nice if he did, but the final decision is going to come down to him anyway, there's no way to have a committee of a few hundred thousand people voting on every new moderation decision.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • Yeah, I think you're right. This is the concept I was struggling with. If we want to classify types we need to group dissimilar people together. Well, looked at this way, it's pretty obvious ;)

    But it still makes me uncomfortable. I mean, I don't mind classifying people as "men" or "women", or where there's some other clear distinction. But it seems that to fall into one MB pot or another might well depend on how you were feeling one particular day, or on exactly how the MB questions are phrased. Then there's the danger that people will make other judgements on you based on your MB result, which aren't entailed by the original answers you gave to the questions. Human nature makes this almost inevitable. This is the thing you mention about "being able to infer things about that person".

    If there are 40 yes/no questions in the test, then you already throw away a lot of information by coallescing the answers. If you then map these 16 possibilities into "subversive" or "benign" ... I think you can see where I'm going. Sheer paranoia, but it makes me interested in people's views on this. And there's some semi-scientific backing for my viewpoint, in information theory.

    In statistical terms, it would be much better to leave the results in the abstract space of 40 binary digits. You can then compare people statistically, and it may turn out that actually only half the "analysis" questions are correlated between people known a priori to be skilled with analysis, whereas the other half are not. Then you might learn something, not only about the people involved, but also about how people in a specific group might affect each other's personalities.

    I'm going off on a tangent now, though ;) Did Meyers-Brigg do this sort of analysis to determine which questions belonged in the different categories, or did they just "decide" what the categories were and then "design" questions to place people into those categories?

    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.

  • What would you like to see more of?
    -- I would like to see more political stories.
    What would you like to see less of?
    -- FUD coming from our camp.

    I think this is called Kuro5hin [].

    ( \
    XPlay Tetris On Drugs []!
  • I agree there's potential for abuse. I think systems like MB are much more useful, and less dangerous, when used for self-evaluation, or perhaps analysis in conjunction with a therapist. Michael used INTP to describe himself, which is OK.

    Trying to use something like MB to drive HR decisions in a company, say, is asking for trouble. I've come across efforts of this kind - I was once even asked to work on a software project which involved developing interactive tests for certain kinds of financial trading skills, which I refused to do. The enormous problem with these tests is that they're only as good as the people who conceive, administer and interpret them. Also, anything like this being used in a business or government environment is invariably being pushed by someone with a financial interest, so it's not uncommon to see snake-oil tactics used to promote the systems, and that misinformation gets blindly incorporated into management's attitudes towards the testing system, resulting in further abuse and distortion.

    But, also in my experience, people's bullshit detectors are usually good enough to prevent this kind of thing being taken too far, so I don't see these systems as much of a danger.

    I don't know how Meyers-Brigg came up with their system. I'm sure they must have done some analysis! Social sciences and especially psychology don't easily lend themselves to rigorous solutions, though. Even the most basic assumptions can be questioned, you usually end up having to create some axioms, typically based on a combination of intuition, guesswork, and prevailing fashion. (The postmodernists would like that last part!)

  • I like to see valuable URLs mentioned in posts being archived subject wise and been put up online. Like all the URLs which cover facts about the patent and copyright issues discussed here, for example. The same for science stories. You gather quite some knowledge through a couple of very informative posts within the thousands of "comic relief and common sense political stuff posts". It is an opportunity to build a knowledge base with URLs gathered from your poster's comments.

    You have a great chance here to build something worthwhile by archiving, catalogueing and subject classifying the material you receive through your posters. This needs to be done by human brains.

    Build a yahoo-like subject category tree online and archive URLs from your stories that matter, please. That would help us a lot. Basically it's a similar job a librarian for scientific libraries would do with regards to subject classification of book titles. You could do the same with regard to subject classification of relevant URLs. It's a very difficult job, but one which I think needs to be done.
  • Also, I just noticed that you don't read comments under 1
    I out interpret I just read all the comments at 1 or above as "I read, just now, all the comments that are at 1 or above" rather than a broader statement of his reading habits.
  • The Meyer-Briggs scale could actually be described as four analog scales:

    E --- I
    N --- S
    T --- F
    J --- P

    The letters only suggest which end of the scale you favor.
    Michael Sims-michael at
  • I'd like to see MORE YRO. This could include civil liberties stories that are geek connected only by implication.... enjoy. ben
  • Fair enough.

    I'll go hassle ocipio now.

    Since we're already waaay offtopic, what's up with metamod? I "haven't been a Slashdot user long enough", therefore I am "currently not eligible to Meta Moderate".

    The FAQ is, to say the least, vague.
  • This prompts em to talk about the fact that there really seems to be little resistance to the 'big media' sure we have these little forums, but everything said is seen. I have looked at various underground sites and they all seem the same, nothing very serious is ever said or done.

    Is it just a sad fact that the required level of paranioa is such that nothing can happen? Has big brother won because the very places we would go to for joining the resistance are run by 'The Party'?

    To try and find others requires sticking my head uncomfortably high, not a pleasant feeling.

    After all how can you be sure to trust anyone?...
  • and as an ex-INTP (I'm ENTP now, pfffbfbfbt), I'll even buy. I plan on being up there before year-end, even. or better, come down and do some journalism on redhat and I'll show you the wild raleigh nightlife.
  • I already
    new that all of the Slashdot editors were biased.


  • What used to be great about slashdot was that Rob kept the users involved in the features he implemented. Now, he adds shit like bitchslapping and karma caps without giving a fuck whether or not the community approves of it. Sure, it's his site and people will keep coming back to read it, but he ought to be a little more considerate.

    Also, I just noticed that you don't read [] comments under 1. I asked you a question [] posting as AC a few days ago, not a big deal but I'd be interested if you had an answer.
  • Count me in too. Maybe we can shoot some pool?
  • What do you want out of slashdot?
    -- More than news!

    What would you like to see more of?
    -- I would like to see more political stories. I would love to see Slashdot used as a mobilization force for the geek voters of the world. With many geek disinterested and feeling that vote or not vote, not much will change, maybe it is time we flexed our muscle as a community. Nader [] anybody? Debates [] anybody? .. we are so busy pushing the technical limits of our world.. we may let it get legislated away. I am reminded of this slashdot article of Tim O'Reilly debating Q. Todd Dickinson [] and the thing that stuck with me about the debate(conversation?) was a statement by Dickinson where he basically said "Tim, I agree with you, where was your voice when we needed it to convince others." We had the Patent Office Director on our side, and he didn't hear a peep of support from us. Right or wrong, the responsibility for the problems in our realm of expertise may be our fault because WE DIDN'T STOP IT.

    What would you like to see less of?
    -- FUD coming from our camp. I use linux on a daily basis, but if the day ever comes where I am spreading FUD about Windows - that may be the day I should be using Windows. (Just cause it is from our side, doesn't make it right)

    ^ This was all posted by a 19 year old - so feel free to dismiss it as silly. You may also feel free to plan your life around my posts.
  • It means that the test was unable to discern what you are. It may mean the test is broken, or that you are broken, or that you are "undifferentiated" (which is a fancy Jungian word for "immature". :)

    The test, relying as it does on self-reporting, is not terribly robust. It is often thwarted and comes up with wrong or inconclusive answers.

    If you are interested in understanding yourself from a MB Type perspective, I recommend reading Type profiles and/or getting skilled help. When a professional councillor does a Typing, they do not rely on the test alone: they have the subject read the associated profile to validate whether or not it's them. And it's reasonable common for someone to say "No, that's not me, try again."

  • So when you analyze the Meyers-Brigg stuff does it seem reasonable to you that a personality type can be encoded in this many bits?

    Yes. *yawn*.

  • by Louis_Wu ( 137951 ) <> on Monday October 02, 2000 @09:24PM (#738432) Journal

    The quintissential example is pharmacuticals (drugs, for those of you in Rio Linda). You (or your company) spend 7 years and 100 Million dollars finding a drug which cures the common cold. It works in 99.44% of cases, and the FDA likes it. Producing this drug only costs (random guess) $0.01 per pill, and one pill will cure your cold for good.

    So competitor company, let's call them MicroDrug, makes the same drug and sells it for $0.10 per pill. Consumers will gladly pay a dime (or quarter after middle-man and retail markup) to be rid of a cold at Christmas. But you have to charge a dollar a pill to make back the money you spent on research. So people don't buy your pills ('A buck, MicroDrug charges $0.15!!!! I'm not buying from that greedy bastard anymore, I'm sticking with MicroDrug.').

    They buy MicroDrug's pills. And you go bankrupt. Which is too bad because you had some good ideas for a drug which might cure Alzheimer's disease, you just needed a few years and ten million dollars to make it work.

    Yes, I know that drug companies aren't all saintly, I doubt if any are saintly. But it makes good business sense to do research on new drugs if you can recover those expenses and make a little money when you sell the researched drugs. Without a patent, or some way to restrict 'embrace and extend' by generic drug companies, the big researchers will not do research. Period. No more new drugs. The only research will be done in universities, and those wonderful people will not be able to do as much work as an entire company.

    This is one example of why we need protection for the solutions of the second type of problem you noted, the ones where all the work is done up front in brains and computers, and the actual gains can be had quite easily.

    Books are a good example too. Tom Clancy needs an economic incentive to write a sequel to The Bear and The Dragon. He does great amounts of work in creating the book, and I get the benefit in a few days by reading it. I don't like paying $20 for it, but the other options are illegal or take a few years.

    If I am to pay less, and others are allowed to use it as the basis of their own work (GPL for books?), Mr. Clancy will still need a monetary incentive to write the book in the first place. How do we solve these problems? What ways are their to inexpensively obtain these works (drugs, books, software, engineering designs, music, etc.) while still providing an appropriate incentive to the people who do the hardest part of creating these things?

    The only idea I have which might help solve this would have to be a small part of an overall solution, but we could have a Creation Cost (which could be amortized over the first production run) which the 'creator' would be guarantteed to receive. There would also be a Profit Sharing percentage, much like the residuals actors get when their shows run in syndication. (Trivia: the contracts the Star Wars cast signed for the first movie didn't have much in the way of provisions for residuals, which was fixed for the second and third movies. Um, fifth and sixth movies? Whatever. It seems that they saw the popularity the movies would have in the future.) So if your creation was immensely successful, you would get paid in proportion to how successful it was. Put both Creation Cost and Profit Sharing together, and you let a programmer sell her software for money she can count on, and if she did a good job and it get's really popular, she'll get more money.

    I don't know if it would work, but it seems reasonable before holes have been shot all through it.

    Louis Wu

    "Where do you want to go ...

  • I just took the test (which I'd never heard about before) and came up "INFP". It says I'm also in a 1% category, but that doesn't mean much because with 16 categories, that gives an average of 6% per category. 10% of the population could be in 1% categories.

    I'd like to see a slashdot reader survey, something a little more structured than the polls. No doubt there would be "privacy! data mining!" complaints, though.
  • The letters only suggest which end of the scale you favor.

    For instance, I have tested INTP a few times, but I have many Extroverted qualities (vs Introverted, E ---I), and I was chairman of a club of 150 people last year. It was hard, but I was told that I did a good job, so I don't think that I'm pure Introvert.

    OTOH, my favorite places are all very isolated, usually involving nature. (I live in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, and if it were light out I could see Pine trees and Redwood trees out my window. NYC, yeech. :)

    On the gripping hand, I've been told by two people who know me well that I am an Introvert who has successfully created a mask of Extroversion to allow me to live in this world. Seems reasonable, but I can't tell yet.

    Louis Wu

    "Where do you want to go ...

  • techiest place to live in or near New York City?
    Park Slope in Brooklyn, or The east village in Manhattan.

    Feel lucky to get a studio apartment for $1200 a month. Look for roommates.

    It's pretty easy to get a job here, it's just that prospective employers expect you to already live here.

    Tips? Join some New York centric mailing lists.
    The WWWAC list for instance is good if you are interested in the web new media thing

  • INPT: A Love of Problem-Solving

    If any type of personifies the absentminded professor, it will likely be the INTP. Their inner reflectiveness - Introversion - enables them to explore all the imaginative possibilities their iNtuition preferences provides. Ther objectivity (Thinking) demands the analysis of all that information, and their open-ended and flexible attitude (Perceiving) prompts them to be responsive to whatever new data presents themselves.

    -- 1st paragraph of a 4 page write up of INTP, in "Type Talk" (Otto Kroeger and Janet M. Thuesen)

    ENTP, here...

  • I'm up for beer. Anytime.


  • Well, yes. The word I was using was "read" (sounds like the color) rather than "read" (sounds like what an oboe player blows).

    But in general, no, I can't read all the comments down to -1. My default threshold is set to 2, because sometimes I'm on a very slow connection, and when the story is interesting I'll read the comments down to 1 or 0, but very rarely do I look at -1. If I'm moderating I always do it at threshold 0.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • Thanks for replying. I see. So the actual number of bits is much larger - it seems 10 questions (~3 bits) times 4 is still only about 12 or 13 bits.

    The reason I ask is that many (smart) people rubbish horoscopes because they say "there are more than 12 types of people in the world". With 10 questions in 4 groups, that's still only - what - 10,000 types of people. I guess you need to map many onto one if you want to try and draw conclusions about personality types, but it's still not enough bits to make everybody unique.

    But there we go - as for biases - I believe that everybody is unique. Not everybody does.

    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.

  • I would like to see more political stories. I would love to see Slashdot used as a mobilization force for the geek voters of the world.

    The problem is that there is no such voting bloc. There is no such thing as the "techie vote". I've noticed that a lot of the /. crowd seems to lean Libertarian or Green. Personally, I lean Constitution []alist, which is a totally different (though not necessarily completely opposite) direction. "Tech" isn't a fundamental issue that bonds people together. Political motivations always have been and always will be shaped mostly by two things: 1) what you think about a person's relationship to God, and 2) what you think about a person's relationships to other people. How you feel about the nature of those two fundamental kinds of relationships will pretty much determine your political stance. Tech is just a tool. Life is still about relationships to others.

    About the only commonality you'll find among geeks (like the /. crowd) is that they're disaffected by the current system. We're big into 3rd parties [], and being the active minority voice. That's a good thing, if for no other reason than it keeps the big guys on their toes — at least a little more than otherwise.

    If you want politics, there are other good places for that. I don't want Slashdot to turn into a "catch all" board for anything that happens across CmdrTaco's brain after eating too many bean burritos. Keep it limited to tech-oriented issues. I'll go to Liberty Rally [] (or my own board once I set it up) to discuss politics and freedom.

    Posted with NN6PR3.

  • It must be great to be so sure of yourself that you don't even have to consider dissenting views. I wish the world was as black and white from where I sit.

    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.
  • Do staff have any different posting priviliges to us mere mortals? If the poster of a story wants to say something in the comments section, I believe it shouldn't be possible for someone with more than one account, or a cadre of Katzhaters, to mod them down to -1. /. crew's comments should be immune to moderation down below the original level that the post was made at, and should always have "Post at 2" option.
  • ...provided you have an account.
    ( \
    XPlay Tetris On Drugs []!
  • or possibly one of the Grey Men in disguise.

    Take your coat off. This place could use more journalists


  • Hope that you enjoy the job. I'm rather jealous.
  • About the bias: anti-patents.
    I understand the thought on ensuring wide disemination of information, but what about protecting the idea that took huge amounts of time, energy and money to generate? I'm not talking about One-Click shopping. I'm interested in drug research, specific genomic protocols, etc. Non-vague, specific patents on ideas and implementations that are non-obvious and take a lot of work to develop. How can your investment be protected without patents?
  • a) Your ability to turn a vague idea into a concrete reality that addresses a real problem ?

    b) A specific solution to a specific problem ?

    If it is a) you will, by definition, always be one step in front of any imitators

    This is, unfortunately, not necessarily true. Difficult problems tend to be of two types: those with obvious but difficult to implement solutions and those with non-obvious but easy to implement solutions. People who implement solutions to the first class of problem genuinely don't need patent protection because the difficulty of implementation is a strong barrier to competetion. People who implement the second class of solutions, though, do need patent protection because once the answer has been discovered there's no real barrier to others getting into the game.

    The big problem is that the second class of solutions are of much greater real benefit to society than the first class. Real long term gain is built around making it easy for anyone to solve a problem, not just making it possible. Some kind of encouragment is needed, and patents have proven themselves to be effective. That's not to say that the implementation of patents couldn't be improved, but the fundamental idea of guaranteeing an inventor temporarily exclusive rights to his invention in exchange for it becoming generally available in time is reasonable.

  • One way:

    What is your competitive advantage ?

    a) Your ability to turn a vague idea into a concrete reality that addresses a real problem ?

    b) A specific solution to a specific problem ?

    If it is a) you will, by definition, always be one step in front of any imitators. If it is b) there is no power in the universe that will keep others from refining your specific solution to the point where your margins all but disappear.

    Patents are a comfortable illusion for people who are not aware that reality is constantly changing.

    - antoine
  • A few reasons. First, no two of the slashdot editors are in the same office (most of the time) - even Hemos has left the Geek Compound. Second, people resubmit the same stories dozens or hundreds of times - the typical scenario is that slashdot is quick on a story, all the other online media reports it the next day, and the newspapers report it the day after that - and we gets waves of submissions for each. For instance, the news about Rijndael being chosen for the AES (we posted it less than an hour after the announcement) will get resubmitted many, many times over the next few days as people discover it in various places and don't see a story on the homepage. Will one of the slashdot editors repost it, not having read the first story? I hope not! But I can't guarantee it.

    Your first example is actually a good one. CmdrTaco's story doesn't use the word "Colossus", which I what I searched on before posting the story myself (to look for repeats, because it seemed vaguely familiar), nor is the URL identical (because the site puts tracking information in the URL). So it would be very difficult to discover the repetition through automated means, I needed to have actually *seen* the previous article and remembered it, which I hadn't.

    We do usually try to make sure it isn't a duplicate. But no system is perfect. It's really a choice: you could have an editor which diligently checks all stories for duplicates (actually, you'd probably need three people working in shifts), but it would add a great deal of lag time to most stories. I think we'd rather cut things a little closer to the edge and accept the occasional duplicate.

    *Shrug*. Other places post lots of duplicate stories, they just change the wording a little bit. Read about 20 stories from one news source regarding, say, Monica's dress, and you'll see how similar they are, how little new content is involved. Here, if we ever link to the same story twice, even years later, we've committed a grievous sin. It's not something we try to do, but I'm not going to get all upset about it either.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • by Proteus ( 1926 ) on Monday October 02, 2000 @10:38AM (#738450) Homepage Journal
    Wow, you worked with Cold Fusion while you were at the DoE? I knew the government was covering up efficient engergy production so that they could starve the public into submission!

    [for the humor-impaired: I'm joking, I know Cold Fusion is an application]


  • This wasn't meant as an attack on you. Actually, I didn't even realize you had posted any of the articles until I read your response.

    I generally don't get worked up about story repeats, but the Sony Webpad articles were on the front page at the same time...
  • First off, Welcome.

    Second, YRO is sort of odd category when you're not American, since a lot of the info doesn't really apply to me. I can comment and pat myself on the back for not moving there, but that's about it.

    I realize that more readers here are probably from the US, but a little attention for the non-Yanks would be cool.

    Actually, the one article I really love to see is one that compares all the internet-related/free speech laws in as many countries as realistically possible.

  • This lnk might give you some of what you are looking for.

    Privacy & Human Rights 2000 []. This survey, by "EPIC" and Privacy International [], reviews the state of privacy in over fifty countries around the world. The survey examines a wide range of privacy issues including, data protection, telephone tapping, genetic databases, ID systems and freedom of information laws. The report finds that there is a worldwide regocnition of privacy as a fundamental human right. Many countries around the world are enacting comprehenisve data protection law to safeguard individual privacy increase. However at the same time, privacy is increasingly being undermined by technical advances and the demands of intelligence and law enforcement agencies for increase surveillance powers. There is a strong need for improved oversight and stricter enforcement of current laws to ensure that legal protections are not ignored as threats to personal privacy increase.

  • That's a heavy job. EPIC publishes a summary of world-wide crypto laws every year - they spend a lot of time and effort on compiling it. And there are a couple of organizations that do thumb-nail analyses of national free speech restrictions - for instance, they rank countries green, yellow or red for good, mediocre or bad. But in-depth analyses would be terribly time-consuming. I'm not ruling it out, you understand, just pointing out the problems.

    On the other hand, if you want to submit stories about your national situation, I will try to run them, if only in the YRO section rather than the front page. You can tag stuff as YRO when you submit it...

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • It's nice to hear about your background. I already new that all of the Slashdot editors were biased. The reason that I read Slashdot is because we all have, pretty much, the same biases.

    Let this be a warning for you to WATCH YOUR GRAMMAR! There is no faster way to lose people's respect or sound unintelligent than to form bad sentences and misspell words.

    Now, about that New York beer invitation, thanks but I'm not living there yet. Do you have any ideas where a mid-westerner such as myself can find gainful employment in NYC? I'm already working and Any other suggestions? What about living? Where is the techiest place to live in or near New York City?

  • You need [] to communicate more. []

    This [] is ridiculous. []

    Why does this keep happening?

    I know, I know. Oh, well. At least I won't be accused of Karma whoring.
  • Many people confuse the common meaning for Extrovert with the Meyers-Brigg term Extravert (note the spelling difference).

    An Extrovert is typcially someone who is outgoing, not afraid to speak to, confront, or deal with people. An Extravert is simply someone who gets energy from being around people. There are shy Extraverts and outgoing Introverts.

    Ask yourself this: do you need time alone each day? That's usually a hallmark of an Introvert.

    I'd guess you're Introverted, but have outgoing qualities (whether learned or natural) that aren't covered by this test.

  • Fellow New Yorker here. Gainfull tech employment in NYC isn't too difficult these days. One of the more interesting places you can look for jobs in the New York New Media Association NYNMA. They have a bulletin board and job post site at

    As for techie places to live... keep dreaming, besides the IMPOSSIBLE housing availability in the city right now (been looking for a decent apartment for 7 months now, still no luck), there really isn't any place thats geek centered. Well, unless you count the entire Manhattan Island ;) But thats probably way out of most normal people's affordability range.

    Anyways Michael, you can count me in for a beer or two, it would be great to meet a member of the geek community that isn't from Boston or CA (not that they are bad, I just can't afford to fly all over the damn country)

    Speaking of which , is anyone up for planning a Slashdot NYC meet? There just aren't enough geek activities in this city. I once mentioned to Tim McEachern (the guy who organizes GeekPride Fest) that it seriously needs to schedule a stop in the big apple.I would sure as hell volunteer.

    (remove the nospam. from my e-mail to e-mail me)
  • Nor by trying to set a good example by being unbiased and impartial myself; that too is too big of a job. Instead I think what I will try to avoid is any suggestion that I am unbiased. Here, let's make it clear: I AM BIASED

    I think a distinction needs to be made here, and I congratulate you for making it. Slashdot doesn't exist to be a "general interest" news site, designed solely for getting the facts out. It is, as its tagline says, News for Nerds. Stuff that matters [to them]. You are rightfully biased, because that's what Slashdot exists for.

    I write news shorts, based on the AP wire and Reuters reports, for our local newspaper. This job depends on being able to condense two pages worth of text into about 3 paragraphs, and I must still do it in an unbiased fashion (preserving the original author's meaning as well). This requires that I be unbiased, shrinking a story about Windows ME being released into the same balanced clump as I'd also shrink a story about a new Linux security hole.

    In short, you're biased because you can be. Newswriters, in my [biased] opinion, should be unbiased because they have to be.


  • i was going to make that same joke

    good thing i read the posts


  • My grammar is pretty good, and my spelling is, well, let's say it's better than CmdrTaco's and leave it at that. :) and are good; you might also try, the New York New Media Association's website, which has many job listings. (However, when I've looked there, a LOT of the listings are from recruiters, and I suspect NYC recruiters are a lot like NYC real estate agents: the best of them are merely sleazy, and the worst are downright criminal.) You can also visit the website and subscribe to the WWWAC list, which has many job listings posted (much higher real company/recruiter ratio).

    As to where to live: heh. How much did you want to spend? Living in a "trendy" part of the city can cost more in rent than it would cost to purchase a mansion in other parts of the country. Suggest you pre-check the availability of DSL and/or cable before you think about neighborhoods, since cable only available in a few places and DSL availability is far from universal.

    I moved out of Manhattan to Staten Island. For the same rent, I got an apartment five times the size and 20 times nicer. The farther you live from Manhattan, the farther your money goes...

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • I took the test at the site linked to from the INTP site and I was rated an INXP does the X mean that it just couldn't classify me, or am I just wierd :)
  • Michael for President!

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • by cdub ( 11709 )
    There's nothing weird about that at all. It just means that you're too close to the center of the T - F spectrum to make a call.
  • You asked if it seemed reasonable. You got an answer as silly as your question.

    Look, there are many valid bases on which to criticise MB theory. Why don't you go find one?

    And if you have a dissenting view, state it, don't frame it as a snarky question. Or at least realize that if you ask a snarky vapid question, you will get a snarky vapid answer.

    Oops, I missed the ad hominem: "Heck, for your personality, I bet we could make do with only 3."

  • I'm interested in this Meyers-Brigg stuff you mention. If you're an INTP that seems to imply (from the site you linked to) that you're highly analytical. So when you analyze the Meyers-Brigg stuff does it seem reasonable to you that a personality type can be encoded in this many bits? Information theory requires at least 33.

    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.
  • X means you are evenly balanced between the two ends. Or in other words, of the ten questions intended to distinguish between Thinking and Feeling, you answered five one way and five the other.

    You may find however that if you read the descriptions of the INTP and INFP that you feel one of them definitely represents you better than the other one does.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • Beer sounds great, but I live downunder, if you're ever down this way drop us a line, you can never have enough beer.
  • I believe that the newest 25% of the user base is not eligible to meta-moderate - the theory being that you need to have been around for a while to get a feeling for the system. (Of course, if you're an old reader with a new account, well...) In any case, I would guess that sooner or later you will suddenly be allowed to meta-moderate.

    Michael Sims-michael at
  • This submission just came in:

    Submitted by ocipio mailto:ocipio@phobiadotms at 2000-10-03 02:49:12

    ocipio writes "The U.S. Government announced that the algorithm, known as Rijndael (pronounced RHINE-dahl), was revealed as the new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), successor to the thirty-year-old Data Encryption Standard (DES). Rijndael was created by two Belgian cryptographers, Vincent Rijman and Joan Daemen. It is open sourced and free to the public. Rijndael is praised for its speed in both hardware and software implementations and its efficency in memory usage. The story can be found on SecurityFocus."

    Our AES story is currently 9th on the main page, about halfway down. I don't want to make fun of this particular guy, he saw some news, he submitted it, that's what we want, but... it makes it difficult.
    Michael Sims-michael at
  • Jesus, you really are a jerk.

    It's a .88 magnum -- it goes through schools.
  • Yea that's what I figured I just found it kind of funny that the website didn't bother to mention what that result ment or that it was a possibility.

    It would also have been interesting if they told you the strength of each characteristic based on your answers (although I could probably go back and figure out which questions affect each trait).

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain