EU Commissioner Renews Call for Serious Fines in Data Privacy Laws
Acually, the EU was a fairly logical evolution of the EEC (European Economic Community), which itself was an evolution of the ECSC (European Coal and Steel Community). The foundation of these earlier unions was not so much to compete as a block with the US, but more to avert another world war. The premise for this being that if you are trading actively with your neighbour and have easy immigration back and forth between the countries, your incentive to go to war with them is somewhat reduced/impeded. That the first agreement was for coal and steel is extremely significant, what with coal and steel being important raw materials for waging war.
What Does It Actually Cost To Publish a Scientific Paper?
Paying to publish is not inherently a bad idea, but needs to come with a corresponding discount on purchase/subscription costs. By moving some of the burden of journal costs from library budgets to research projects you would discourage publishing of every bit of crap that people produce. The system is currently swamped with both journals and papers, many of them awful or of very limited scientific value and this is a major problem. The current system of free publishing encourages this as researchers can just blitz the system in the hope that some gets through, with no built-in limiter to stop them. Making them pay should encourage folk to at least publish less, and hopefully of better quality.
Quantifying the Risk of Texting Drivers
I would agree - i do wonder sometimes if the car makers have actually done any testing to evaluate the usability of their shiny new gadgets. 4.6 secs seems to me like quite a short time compared to some of the in-car distractions i've seen. At least they've stopped drivers from being able to watch movies whilst the car is moving...
Why the Raspberry Pi Won't Ship In Kit Form
If by "x-ray machine with microscopy" they mean an electron microscope with x-ray analysis system (EDS), i do actually know someone who has such a setup at home. He is a bit geeky though...
For Academic Publishing, Princeton Goes Open Access By Default
Definitely time someone with a bit of clout stood up to the scientific publishers. Their business model made a bit of sense in the days when things had to be typeset, printed and distributed, but with modern electronic distribution it is little better than a Mafia-style extortion racket. I'd love to know what they actually do for their money - researchers do the research, write the paper, review the paper and (at least in my field) act as journal editors. And they do these at no cost to the publisher because they are either publically or industrially funded. That the publisher is able to take the copyright and then charge the people who actually funded it to read it, is an ongoing disgrace and (i think) should be an embarrassment to an industry/community which generally prides itself on its open-ness and its "freedom".
Release of 33GiB of Scientific Publications
I know a lot of academics are becoming annoyed by the publishers and their business models. Frankly its a disgrace that most research isn't freely available to the general public. More often than not they have paid for it via taxation and university fees (most research, at least in europe where i am, is taxpayer funded). Add to that the fact that the academics do the work, write the papers, review the papers (for free i might add) and mostly act as journal editors (for free again), and its hard to see really what the publishers are doing beyond hosting the PDF.
Oh and the best bit - when you submit your paper to the publisher, you also sign over copyright. So they even own all the taxpayer funded work. Actually i was wrong at the start, its beyond a disgrace.
Google Wave and the Difficulty of Radical Change
A revolutionary rethinking of how we communicate will always take time to gain inertia. Real people have busy schedules, and you can't just tell everyone you are ditching email etc and moving onto the Wave: You have to get reluctant collaborators onboard and lineup a good project or two with which to get the hang of it at the start. This is never going to happen in 3 months, and i think google know this. I can't help but feel that they cancelled for some fundamental failing that they are not talking about.
Still, i hope it doesn't go away. It has so much potential that it deserves to be developed.
Preserving Memories of a Loved One?
I agree with this. My mother is dying from cancer also, but i'm not running round taking video, audio and making diaries of the event. Just being with her and taking a few pictures of her with her granddaughter is enough. Live for her now, not your future.
Gamer Plays Doom For the First Time
Ahh the memories. Doom2 at 2am sitting in the dark listening to the spider demons pacing back and forth in the rooms i was still to enter. The complete immersion that proper stereo sound gave made my AWE32 worth every penny.
Intel's Superchilled Test Rig
I'm not sure i'd class Liq He as an advantage. Having worked with it i'd call it a pain in the arse, and totally unsuitable for computer cooling. Low heat capacity and insanely low temp mean it has to be transported and stored in large, very well insulated containers, so it lacks the easy mobility of liq N2. Transferring liq He from one container to another also requires some skill if you don't want to evaporate the whole lot during transfer.
Oh, did i mention it gives you splendid burns too.
Iridium Pushes Ahead Satellite Project
This is true, but they still need a large user-base to pay for launching a constellation of satellites into space. This was the problem with Iridium v1 - it cost a fortune to setup and not enough people used it because microwave mobile networks were cheaper.
The same problem still exists - the mobiles we all have and love are a better solution for the majority of the market, and that won't change with Iridium v2. Iridium appeals to users who need connectivity everywhere on the planet, and maybe those wanting extra privacy arising from not going via conventional networks. But thats not a lot of people in the overall scheme of things, especially when you are talking about putting up a load of satellites. It surprises me that they have enough users to be able to afford this upgrade.
Why Paying For Code Doesn't Mean You Own It
Wedding photography has a very well established business plan where the base fee covers the basic costs of the photographer, and the prints supply the profit. You are not paying twice for the same thing - the real cost has simply been split up in a way which is convenient to both the photographer and the customer. As it is not exactly an uncompetitive industry, and you don't see many wedding photogs turning up in Porsches, i'd say the pricing and model were pretty fair.
The reasons for the model relate to the photographer having control over his/her reputation, not to screwing the customer - when photos were still taken on film, the quality of the final print had as much to do with the printing process as the actual taking of the picture. Retaining control over that was important to the reputation of the photographer - if he actually handed you a stack of negatives and let you have them printed by any old mail order company, the lousy final prints would impact his reputation. You *could* argue it is an outdated model now, with the rise of electronic media, but most couples still want prints, and the same problem actually still remains - giving out jpg's and letting people print at home or from a cheap online outlet is going to result in exactly the same quality/reputation problem as in the film days.
The industry is adapting to modern times though, so you will now find some wedding photogs will include a DVD of low resolution images for you to put on the web (and many will host a web presence for you as part of the package). But any you find who are willing to give you full size images and reproduction rights for anything less than a big pile of money are probably not the quality of photographer you want covering your wedding anyway.
Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly
What happens to the authentication if MS goes out of business?
Ok, so its an unlikely scenario, but having someone as big as MS do this will set the trend for web based authentication of everything. How many small companies are going to follow this lead, forcing regular security checks down the throats of customers on the basis that it is an "Industry Standard" way of doing things. And how many of those are going to go bust in a year or two, leaving customers up s**t creak with no method of propulsion?
Toyota Pedal Issue Highlights Move To Electronics
The problem with any tech is that it's nearly impossible to make it perfect. In some situations like airbags, you can make the system very simple and independent, so it's not prone to failure.
Airbags aren't perfect. I know that for sure as i blew the side impact bag in a VW when a tyre popped. How do you think the car knows whether to deploy an airbag? A lateral g sensor, or in more advanced systems there may be sensors in the doors/pillars. Its still electronics that can go wrong.
Police Called Over 11-Year-Old's Science Project
Because the better ones cost more than you are willing to pay.
China Luring Scientists Back Home
My experience echoes this - i review for a number of materials science journals and i've noticed a steady increase in the quality of work coming from the chinese universities. Its becoming well written (in english, which is not easy for them i think) and increasingly relevant. I would predict that before long they will need us less than we need them.
The only case of blatant cheating (copying and pasting "nano particles" all over a SEM picture) came from india, not china.
The Gathering Storm Discussion
Yup, that just about sums it all up
Hans Reiser Gets Sentence of 15-To-Life
ChokeFS? With real-time monitoring of bottlenecks....
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