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How Gaseous, Neptune-Like Planets Can Become Habitable

Jason Levine Re:ahhh! (60 comments)

No, no, no. It's just going to align with us and make it so we can jump and stay aloft for five minutes. I know it's true because I read it online somewhere.

2 days ago
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FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

Jason Levine Re:Comming back to bite you in the ass sometime so (261 comments)

Life in general finds a way, but that doesn't mean that specific species find a way. If it did then T-Rexes would be walking around today. Instead, we have birds which evolved from dinosaurs.

2 days ago
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FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

Jason Levine Re:FDA APPROVAL MEANS ITS SAFE (261 comments)

Great. Now we have GMO Cyborg Mosquitoes.

Thanks, scientists!

2 days ago
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FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

Jason Levine Re:What could possibly go wrong? (261 comments)

That's the beauty of this. While the anti-GMO folks are railing on about imagined long-term consequences, this shows that there really aren't any. It takes out a vast majority of the population for one generation. If you run this program for one year and then stop, these mosquitoes will either come back on their own or their niche will be taken over by other mosquito species. (Remember that not all mosquitoes are the same. There are 80 different mosquito species in Florida. This program is only targeting one of them.) Either way, the ecosystem survives even if this particular species doesn't and if this species survives, the GMO gene doesn't.

2 days ago
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FDA Wants To Release Millions of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In Florida

Jason Levine Re:What could possibly go wrong? (261 comments)

The problem is that people see "GMO", think "what's the worst thing that could happen" (whether or not that outcome is likely or even possible), and then assume that this has a strong chance of happening. At the vary least, they assume that scientists haven't ruled it out because the article they are reading online didn't specifically address what they thought of.

For example:

If a female mosquito mates with a GMO mosquito the genetic reactions could cause the next generation of mosquitoes to be twice as big!!!! (You need to include many exclamation points to make it scarier.) Now, the article doesn't specifically say that this can't happen so this means that it's not only possible but likely. If they release these GMO mosquitoes, we'll be overrun with giant, blood-sucking mosquitoes!!!!!!

(Never mind that this isn't genetically possible. It's likely because someone somewhere thought of it.)

2 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: When and How Did Europe Leapfrog the US For Internet Access?

Jason Levine Re:Government Intervention (474 comments)

Actually, Google has shown that you need to have deep pockets to get over incumbant efforts to keep you out. Many municipal broadband efforts have fizzled because the incumbents muscled them out (sometimes without even serving the area that the municipal broadband network would have covered).

2 days ago
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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Jason Levine Re:That doesn't sound bad (427 comments)

I'd raise the question of price. Just because you have a 25 Mbps option doesn't mean it is priced in an affordable fashion. If your local ISP offers 25 Mbps a month for $300 a month it is available but not affordable. I'm not saying that it needs to be extremely inexpensive, but merely rolling out an "option" and then pricing it such that you know you'll rarely need to deploy it shouldn't give the ISPs the right to claim all of those users have this as an option.

2 days ago
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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Jason Levine Re:What are the practical results of this? (427 comments)

Do you know how much tax payer money has been given to the telecoms for the very purpose of implementing broadband nationwide? We've already paid them and so far got very little in return.

We got exactly what they promised us*.

* Promises retroactively changed after the telecoms lobbied the government to declare the promises retroactively fulfilled even when they weren't really.

2 days ago
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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Jason Levine Re:What are the practical results of this? (427 comments)

In many cases, these government sanctioned monopolies are the result of the dominant corporation buying influence in the local or state government and getting a law passed that outlaws competition (or places so many hurdles in front of it that it might as well be outlawed). For example, the state laws that say that local governments can't launch their own municipal broadband initiatives even if the big corporations don't serve these local areas. The state laws were bought and paid for by the corporations who simply don't want to compete against anyone else (especially not municipal broadband) even if "compete against" means the municipal broadband serves and area that they don't serve. (If they ever decide to one day serve that area then they'll have to compete and that can't be allowed!)

2 days ago
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FCC Officially Approves Change In the Definition of Broadband

Jason Levine Re:What are the practical results of this? (427 comments)

Either that or they'll add "Broadband Improvement Tax" to their below the fold charges. Of course, it won't really be a tax and the money won't really go to improving their broadband access. You can rest assured, though, that your price won't go up!*

* The advertised price, that is. Not counting all of the below the fold "taxes" and fees that they add in.

2 days ago
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FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

Jason Levine Re: I am mad if I cant unplug my employee hotspots (128 comments)

True. As much as people like knocking PHB's and management in general, there are some problems where a technological solution isn't appropriate and a management solution is.

2 days ago
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Justice Department: Default Encryption Has Created a 'Zone of Lawlessness'

Jason Levine Re:When everyone is guilty... (423 comments)

If you're locked up for years, despite having done nothing wrong, I'm not sure I see much difference.

And that doesn't even get into how your life could be ruined after the "oops, sorry about the imprisonment. You're free to go." Your old job definitely won't be available and new job opportunities might be skittish about hiring someone who went to prison. Even if they've expunged your record, people might still know you went to prison, might still think of you as guilty, and treat you as such. In short, your suffering might not end once you get out of jail.

There's a good reason that our justice system is supposed to be stacked in favor of the defendant.

3 days ago
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FCC Prohibits Blocking of Personal Wi-Fi Hotspots

Jason Levine Re: I am mad if I cant unplug my employee hotspots (128 comments)

If the employees are turning on their personal hotspots and using that, you don't have a security problem. If they are both connecting to the hotspot and to your network, you can stop this by booting them off your network. What you can't do, though, is put a hotspot jamming device in place to knock out all personal hotspots.

4 days ago
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FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Jason Levine Re:$5 Million File (94 comments)

Step 1. Don't complete repairs you are required to do. Pocket $X that you would have spent making the repairs.
Step 2. Get Fined $Y (where $Y $X).
Step 3. Pay fine.
Step 4. Add a below-the-fold "Rural Phone Investigation Tax" onto everyone's bill such that the incoming money from this is more than $X + $Y.
Step 5. Profit many times over!

(Actually making the repairs is optional.)

4 days ago
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FCC Fines Verizon For Failing To Investigate Rural Phone Problems

Jason Levine Re:Success! (94 comments)

Corporations are people.

All people are equal.

Some people are more equal than others.

4 days ago
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Verizon, Cable Lobby Oppose Spec-Bump For Broadband Definition

Jason Levine Re:What a bunch of A-Holes (255 comments)

All too true. I should have said "traditionally, if Americans wanted video entertainment..." I can already see this with my kids. When they want entertainment, they turn to (generally in this order):

1) Video games (this includes WiiU and games on their tablets).

2) Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, or other online sources.

3) Cable TV shows that have been DVRed.

4) Live cable TV.

Live cable TV is a last resort and is often used as background noise while they do something else. My generation (born in the late 70's/early 80's) is the tipping point. We still turn to cable TV but are finding we're just as comfortable without it and using online sources. The generation before us mostly turns to cable TV but the cable companies can't bet on that group supporting them indefinitely. Unfortunately, a combination of short-term thinking (plan for next quarter, not ten years from now) and attempting to keep their status quo power will ensure that the cable companies will do everything they can to slow down Internet Videos takeover.

5 days ago
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Comcast Ghost-Writes Politician's Letters To Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

Jason Levine Re:The system is corrupt ... (180 comments)

This is precisely why all of those people who bray about deregulation and the free market are either deluded, or in on the scam

In many cases, the free market approach works in theory, but not in practice because theory little things like buying influence, gobbling up companies to make local monopolies, dividing territory to make local monopolies, etc don't exist. The folks who keep saying "the market will fix everything" look at the theory and ignore that the theory also includes a public with access to enough data to make an informed decision (no hiding charges below the fold - i.e. advertising $50 a month and then adding in $30 in "fees and taxes") and with enough choices to be able to vote with their wallets.

I would love for the free market approach to work with Comcast. Really, I would. Sadly, Comcast has taken the free market, bent it over, and is currently doing some unspeakable things to it while saying they need to buy out Time Warner Cable so they can "serve the customer better." (I think "serve the customer" is cable-speak and I don't think I want what they really plan on "serving" us!)

5 days ago
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Comcast Ghost-Writes Politician's Letters To Support Time Warner Mega-Merger

Jason Levine Re:circle jerk (180 comments)

They can also promise a nice, cushy lobbyist position after the Congressman retires from public office. So you act like a good little politician and parrot just what your corporate masters tell you to say so that when you decide to step down you will be paid a good wage to sit around doing nothing with the occasional passing corporate "requests" on to your old colleagues.

5 days ago
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"Once In a Lifetime" Asteroid Sighting Monday Night

Jason Levine Best Chance For Viewing (59 comments)

"The best chance for viewing will be from 8 p.m. ET Monday to 1 a.m. ET Tuesday."

Or, when the big winter storm slams my area making it impossible to see anything in the sky except falling snow.

Thanks, Mother Nature!

5 days ago
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How Do We Know the Timeline of the Universe?

Jason Levine Re:We Really Don't (152 comments)

It might seem like nitpicking, but "guess" to me always implies taking a stab in the dark with little to no evidence and ending there. A scientific hypothesis, meanwhile, usually starts with some data, builds an argument that X should be true because of the initial data, and is subjected to testing to either confirm it or disprove it.

To give an example, you are presented with a clear cube filled with gumballs. A guess would be glancing at it and saying "600?" A hypothesis would be measuring the sides, estimating the size of each gumball, figuring out that there should be 1,000 gumballs, and then opening up the cube and counting the gumballs.

5 days ago

Submissions

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Back Up Photos With Amazon's Unlimited Photos Cloud Drive?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about 3 months ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I currently use external hard drives as my backup method. While not as foolproof as automated online backup, it has proved less expensive for me considering that my backups are pushing 1 TB. Around 600GB of that amount are photos or videos. Today, Amazon announced that they are making Cloud Drive storage for photos unlimited for Amazon Prime members. Assuming you kept a local backup as well and that you were already an Amazon Prime member (which I am), would you trust Amazon Cloud Drive to backup 600GB of photos?"
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What To Do With Old Domains

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  about a year ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "While looking to buy a new domain for a website idea I had, I realized that over the years I've purchased quite a few domain names. I'm not a domain hoarder by any stretch of the imagination, but 14 domains isn't a small number either. Of those domains, only 6 are actively being used. Many of the others were used for web projects that died out or that never launched. I could let the domains expire or possibly sell them (some might actually take in some cash), but I'm afraid of the domains being grabbed by spammers or other nefarious individuals. Holding onto them is an option, but increasingly I'm wondering why I'm paying annual fees for domain names that I'm not using and likely will never use again.

How do you handle old domain names in your possession that you no longer need?"
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Best Science Fiction/Fantasy for 8 Year Olds

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in Science Fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults.

Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's "I, Robot". He liked these but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head.

Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8 year old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"
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Teaching Your Children Computer Skills At Home

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "My son's school district, like many across the country, is facing budget issues. Already, art and music are being cut and two elementary schools are likely to be shut down. (One of which my son currently attends.) My wife recently found out that our school doesn't even have a computer teacher. Nobody's teaching the kids how to use word processing programs, how to browse the Internet, etc. They have "computer time" in which someone watches over them while the kids are allowed to visit PBSKids.org and similar websites.

My son is very bright and computer savvy for a first grader, but obviously I want him to know how to do more than simply load up a website. We've discussed home schooling with varying degrees of seriousness. Even if we don't home school, we might want to supplement what he's learning in school with computer lessons at home. My wife is a teacher and has access to various resources, but I was wondering what resources the Slashdot community might recommend.

How do you teach your children about computers and how to use them? Do you know of any websites or programs that would be appropriate for my first grade son to use? (I've already introduced him to TuxPaint, TuxMath and TuxTyping.)"
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Theft of Services Claim with Honor System Paywall

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Towards the end of the day yesterday, I received an e-mail from someone claiming that my company's employees had been stealing his services. I always take claims like this seriously, so I read on. Apparently, his website is called the North Country Gazette. It appears to be a "news" site, but structured like a blog. Each article contains the text: "Free access to The North Country Gazette is limited to one visit, one article, no exceptions. After your free trial, a subscription is needed and without same, your access will be denied. To sign up, see subscription ad on this page. If you have questions, contact us at news@northcountrygazette.org"

The e-mail claimed theft of services because an employee visited two articles without paying. I thought it might be a scam (the threatening tone of the e-mail didn't help) so I visited the site to make sure it was legit. Soon after my one article view, I received a second e-mail calling me "obstinate", telling me to "do your job instead of surfing the internet" and threatening legal action if we visited his site again.

The thing is, though, he doesn't seem to have any kind of paywall in place. No mechanism to detect if a user has viewed an article and stop them from viewing more like other paywalls I've encountered. Just a system to detect when his honor system isn't honored. How seriously should I take his threats? Can someone really sue over theft of services due to three page views (four if you count me accessing his home page)? Can some small text on a website (which doesn't even contain a "pay here" link) really bind you into paying for a subscription? I will definitely be informing my company's legal counsel, but I was wondering if anyone on Slashdot has heard of anything like this?"
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Killer Sue Wikipedia To Remove Their Names

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "Wolfgang Werlé and Manfred Lauber killed a German actor in 1990. Now that they are out of prison, German law states that they can't be referred to by name in relation to the killings. Therefore, they have sued to get Wikipedia to remove their names from the Wikipedia article about the killings. The German edition of Wikipedia has already complied, but the English edition is citing US freedom of speech and a lack of presence in Germany as reasons why they don't need to remove the name. In a bit of irony, their lawyer e-mailed the NY Times: “In the spirit of this discussion, I trust that you will not mention my clients’ names in your article.""
Link to Original Source
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Ask Slashdot: Inexpensively Streaming Media?

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Jason Levine (196982) writes "I recently won a Roku box and my family and I have been enjoying watching Netflix movies/TV shows via it. So much so, in fact, that we are considering canceling our cable service. Canceling cable would save us $65 a month. Of course, this would mean the loss of a big entertainment source for my children (age 6 and 2), my wife and me. We have a decent DVD collection, but it tends to be hard to find the right DVD and play it for the boys. (The DVDs are in stacks and tend to get disorganized.) I'd rather rip them to my upstairs computer and stream the video, but I need some help.

First of all, we don't have a large budget to work with. Yes, we'd be saving per month without the cable bill, but my wife won't let me spend thousands on equipment so that we can save $800 a year. That said, our requirements are low. We don't have any HD televisions in the house and don't have plans to upgrade our existing sets anytime soon. So while it might be nice if the solutions can handle HD, there's no need to spend more money on an HD-compatible product.

Secondly, running ethernet cable is out of the question. My wife refuses to let me drill holes in the walls/floor and to be honest, I don't blame her. My wireless network (current router a Netgear WGR614 v5) tends to cut out at times. Powerline networking intrigues me, but the wiring in the house is old and I'm afraid that it won't be a stable connection. Another option I found was ethernet-over-coax. Would I be better off upgrading my wireless network (replacing the router and/or adding an access point somewhere) or going with a powerline or coax solution?

Third, ditching cable would mean we would lose our cable-provided DVR. While most shows we watch would be viewable via Hulu, we would like to still be able to record shows (especially kids shows on PBS) and play them later. What kind of DVR system would you recommend?

Lastly, my desktop computer isn't exactly the newest system in the world. It is 6 years old and, while not underpowered, might not be up to handling some tasks. Would I be better off building or buying a DVR/Media Center box? If so, how much would I wind up paying for this?

Thanks for any advice you can give."
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Wii outsells 360, PS3, PS2, PSP combined in April

Jason Levine Jason Levine writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Jason Levine writes "Ars Technica is reporting that, during the month of April, the Nintendo Wii outsold not only the XBox 360 and the Sony PS3, but the 360, PS3, PS2, and PSP combined. The Nintendo Wii sold 714,200 units. Microsoft's XBox 360 sold 188,000 units and Sony's PS3 sold 187,100 units. The PSP moved 192,700 units and the PS2 moved 124,400 units. In addition, six of the top 10 games sold in April were Nintendo Wii games."
Link to Original Source

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