Bill Clinton Says 'Paint Your Roofs White'
I don't understand your comment about the effect of latitude. I live in the USA, which has a quite different climate from where you're from (Europe, I'd guess). There are large regions of the country that get quite hot in the summer (35 C) for months, but can get very cold in the winter (-5C or so). In this region, early winter snowfall typically blankets roofs for all of the cold months, so the color of the roof is unimportant. After the snow, it'll be white! Now, in the summer, these regions face the same cooling problems as the southern parts of the nation, so a high albedo paint on the roof is a good idea.
I'm afraid I'm also at a loss as to your comment concerning tall buildings. Radiative heating scales with the surface area exposed to the radiation, not the volume (unless the object is partially transparent -- definitely not the case for buildings). The energy delivered by the sun will be lessened by about the same factor for a 10 story building as for a one story building. There may be additional exposure from the sides of the building, but this generally occurs outside the hottest time of the day. Moreover, old buildings would often use tar on the roof. It helped to seal out water and was cheap. But it's black and can really cause the place to heat up.
How To Make a Good Gaming Sequel
I didn't think Fallout 3 was a good Fallout, but it was a good TES game. I really hate the rules for TES, and the voice acting, and the quests ... But (ab)using the rules from Fallout did wonders for their game.
I like New Vegas a great deal. It's a better role-playing game, and the rules are improved (being less open-handed with perks and skill points is the right thing to do). I still miss turn-based combat, though. I always feel that these new run-and-gun stat-building games just aren't as fun as the old turn-based tactical play. But I get the impression that I'm the last person on earth who feels this way.
Police Can Search Cell Phones Without Warrants
You can be compelled to hand over a password, but it requires a court order. However, in the case of having your phone taken when you are arrested, the police don't need your password to see your data if it is unencrypted. They'll just read the phone memory with another device.
Generally, it's easy for the police to seize your property, relatively risk-free for them to damage it, and difficult for you to get it back in a timely fashion.
You can thank the drug war.
Google Street View Wi-Fi Data Includes Passwords, Email Content
This just in: If you don't want to be seen naked while changing, close the blinds.
Warner Bros. Accused of Pirating Anti-Pirating Tech
(Cue loud music, set chapter to be un-skippable)
You wouldn't snatch a purse.
You wouldn't steal a car.
So don't don't illedally download ... er, steal others intellectual property.
Microsoft Shows Off Future Product Tech
Microsoft research does good work. Some of the ideas that come out of there are definitely cool and creative, like surface. Others are new and innovative, like the tablet. What Microsoft can't seem to do is to move ideas from research into products. There's a big institutional roadblock that prevents them from pushing new, innovative, creative, and cool ideas out the door. The result: no revolution.
And yeah, I think it will kill them in the long run if they can't fix that problem.
Cisco's New Router — Trouble For Hollywood
The name-calling helps people read the slashvertisment. It's actually a very well-written bit of guerrilla marketing.
Jeremy Allison Calls Microsoft Dangerous Elephant
In TFA, this is what Allison suggests. OSS needs to build the future they want. He says that patents will still be a threat, but that OSS has a firm foothold in the current software landscape and will be hard to dislodge by patent trolling.
Tolkien Trust Okays Hobbit Movie
Actually, the new title is "The Hobbit! The Musical! On Ice!" It's as faithful to the original you can be and still have it involve lots of ice dancing. Which is not very faithful at all.
Swarms of Solar Powered Microbots On the Way
Which was probably an expression of von Neumann's self-replicating machines: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_cellular_automaton
IBM Patents Tweeting Remote Control
There's a lot of twits out there, and they needed their own messaging protocol.
As far as I see it, it doesn't break my leg or steal my car. They can have at it. Just like they had at Second Life and whatever the revolution-of-the-future was before that.
British Video Recordings Act 1984 Invalid
The Roman Republic lasted some five hundred years without criminal law. From this, you could conclude that the modern notion of criminal justice is unnecessary, even in a large society. But a look inside of Rome might change your mind. Just because the system didn't collapse without this law doesn't mean the law is worthless. It also doesn't mean it's any good, either.
Music Labels Working On Digital Album Format
I agree that this is out of touch. It's also out of touch in a revealing way. The execs are seeking to "add back" to the digital album the things they were used to from the physical album. But the new generation of music listeners have no experience with the old album. To them, the band's "art" is their website. The band's videos (from concerts and so on) are either on the website or on youtube.
I do think there's more to the album than the possibility for theme. I think bands work better when work is focused on creating something longer than a single track. I think the stress of limited studio time to create an LP has enabled some bands to do good work. But this doesn't mean that the album of this century will be like the one of last century.
Classic Books of Science?
I'd go for the collected papers of JW Gibbs. There's a Dover edition out there, so I think it is in the public domain. One of the bright lights of last century's science. He pretty much made modern thermodynamics, and his work is at the heart of a lot of material science.
Not free, but definitely a good read is GI Barenblatt's Scaling, Self-similarity, and Intermediate Asymptotics. You can learn a lot of applied math/ applied physics from that book. The scaling analysis of the atomic bomb and of Olympic rowers are both really neat.
I would avoid pop-press physics books. They're light on science and heavy on BS.
Social Desktop Starts To Arrive In KDE
It's vastly easier to mold KDE into a simple desktop than do do the same with others. I played with XFCE and *Box window managers, but they can't touch how easy KDE is to configure. Besides, I like a lot of KDE apps, and they work well together. The arguments for a light window manager don't always add up to me. I'm not an extemist when it comes to picking software. That's why I like "mixing metaphors" like putting files and program launcher icons on the desktop. It doesn't make sense (is it a file or something else? why put stuff on the desktop, the thing the windows cover?), but it is really convenient.
There have always been strange ideas in KDE that some have found useful but others not so much. There was a simple file-share system, klipper, etc. Many of these quietly faded, but I'm sure they were a big help to someone, else they never would have been written. I feel like lots of plasma is the same, but who knows? Some parts will turn out to be great. In every way that it breaks some UI paradigm, there will be some other way in which that breaking will be useful.
Social Desktop Starts To Arrive In KDE
I know, I know. This is probably different, but when I read the description, I pictured MS Bob with bright, colorful rooms that someone far away thought would put me at ease when using a computer. Then when I start a task, the helpful animated dog pops up, but instead of the vanilla "looks like you're writing a letter," some random jerk from the low end of the internet gene pool pops up and says something in between "Nice letter, fag!" and
I feel like there's too much desktop in my face most of the time. I want it to be a helpful tool, but most often being helpful means staying out of the way. But I am glad KDE is so configurable, so I can mold it into the desktop I want. That part is great.
Why Digital Medical Records Are No Panacea
Major credit card companies depend on thousands of small merchants who use swipe machines. To improve security, these would have to be replaced. It'd be a big headache. Besides, the credit card companies have been quite successful at pushing fraud and "identity theft" onto the victims (merchants and purchasers). They are fairly protected against data breach, in a sick kind of way. Their problem has become your problem.
But medical offices aren't like that. They have computers (that are re-programmable). There are fewer doctors than general merchants who take credit cards. And medical data is more difficult to turn into revenue than credit card numbers.
I don't think that the money is the dominant part of what makes a good system. Very capable, secure systems can be built on the cheap. The basic things that need to be used are available in open source software (image manipulation, cryptography, databases).
"Can you imagine a million patient digital medical record breach? The black mail or power that could be leveraged over people?"
Yes, I can imagine such a breach. It'll probably happen eventually. Good use of cryptography can mitigate the damage. But the idea of filtering through a million records looking for good blackmail candidates, then conducting said blackmail ... for that effort, you could start a legal business.
Digital records make sense: they should be more secure and easier to transfer. There will be pain switching, but the new system will be more efficient in the long run. There were pains moving from horses to cars, from gas to electricity, from wood to coal. But they all got ironed out.
Visualizing Data Inside the 30-ft Allosphere
It sounds like a cool toy, but choosing the correct way to visualize data is really hard. Generally, picking which quantities to plot against each other corresponds to taking a lower dimensional slice of a data set. Picking the right slice isn't just difficult, it's a really important result of the research.
There have been lots of advances in trying to automatically determine these sorts of reductions (the Netflix recommendation contest brought a lot of this to public attention), but for many problems, the "interesting" lower-dimensional space that's plotted corresponds to some important symmetry of the data.
I guess what I'm saying is that in science (like in art) limitations sometimes help guide useful thinking. Just seeing "everything" in 3D 36 degrees with more dimensions represented as sound doesn't necessarily help that.
Red Dwarf Returns In a 3-Part Showing
The humor content is different, to an extent. The American market is broader, though. Darker comedies aren't on network TV, but can appear elsewhere, especially on Comedy Central or Cartoon Network. Both have niche programs where bad people lose at life together.
Also: Many, many American sit-com writers have gone to Harvard. It's like a little factory that turns out awful writers who go across the country and create awful shows. I take it as a black mark upon Harvard. Look what they've done to our culture.
MIT To Make All Faculty Publications Open Access
Your (b) is what happens now, but you're wrong about how much it helps the editors.
I'm sitting down the hall from three editors, none of whom receive money for what they do.
Being an editor absolutely helps with tenure cases. It mean the faculty member is at the top of her field, guiding its development. Service requirements, in the form of refereeing papers and the like, are a big part of how academics are evaluated by their employing university.
The full overview of scientific publication is: grant agency (mostly federal NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD) provides money to a scientist. Scientist does research, writes a paper. Paper goes to a journal where volunteer editors and refs put it through the paces. Then, at the end, some pub giant gets the copyright and sells electronic subscriptions to the journal back to the university for tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Of course, in some journals, they charge the author page fees too. Isn't that wonderful? Pay to write, pay to read.