Lessons Learned From Google's Green Energy Bust
I think this speaks a lot about how companies and the population are increasingly thinking in rather short terms and how little respect the modern tech elite have for those who came before them. There seems to be this attitude that difficult problems are only unsolved because the 'wrong' people have looked at it and flush with arrogance for solving comparatively simple internet related ones they believe that they are smarter and thus will quickly tackle what those 'researchers' and 'old fogies' could not.
I don't think that accurately reflects the attitude, although it might sometimes seem that way. There is nothing wrong with thinking that coming at old problems from a new direction, with fresh ideas, and bringing the latest science and technology to bear on the problems, might throw up new solutions. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Having respect for "those who came before" doesn't mean assuming that problems can't be solved just because they haven't been solved already.
Amazon's Luxembourg Tax Deals
There is a big difference between an allowance and a loophole; where you are allowed to write down xyx against your tax bill, that is an intended tax allowance by your tax authority, put in play for whatever reason - balancing the tax system, encouraging certain types of spending, buying votes, etc. Such allowances are all part of making sure everyone pays a fair amount of tax, and everyone ultimately benefits.
A loophole however is not intended; a loophole is legal only because governments have not figured out how to close it. Clearly Amazon is expected to pay some tax on its non-US earnings, and it's not. This is not in any way the intent of the governments of the countries in which Amazon operates. Taking advantage of such loopholes benefits nobody except Amazon; taxpayers in the countries that Amazon operates in are deprived of tax revenue that would benefit them directly, and local competitors to Amazon who do pay their taxes are squeezed and put out of business, ultimately again to the detriment of everyone except Amazon.
Microsoft Enters the Wearables Market With 'Band'
To be fair, nobody has really hit a mass-market sweet spot with this class of device yet, so it's worth a shot for Microsoft, normally they are later to the party than that. Although personally I think they've gone too niche with the health focus and the $200 price tag, and I wouldn't bet against you on the Microsoft Band being discontinued in a couple of years. Maybe they just wan to dip their toes in the water of the wearables market for now, and this is a fairly low-key, unambitious start that will pave the way for the Microsoft Watch :).
Browser To Facilitate Text Browsing In Emergencies
Umm, did you read the article yourself?
Comcast Allegedly Asking Customers to Stop Using Tor
"Then TOR will be wrapped by a VPN service, and Comcast will be fscked."
Let's not forget that rights holders are already calling for VPN users to be assumed to be criminals. So it's far from impossible that what they're doing for TOR now, they may do for VPNs later. Sure they would have to have some sort of system to allow "approved" VPN connections, so that people who need them for work wouldn't be screwed, but I wouldn't rule it out.
German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails
FTA: " This doesn't mean that every incoming email should now be checked and processed individually by a Google employee, the court said. But the company has to provide the possibility for users to contact it via email, it said. It was left up to Google how to deal with future incoming email."
So it seems to me that the court is not saying every customer email has to be individually checked. Maybe it would be sufficient for someone to have responsibility to look at a sampling of emails to that mailbox, that would satisfy the "possibility" of users contacting Google that way.
"If Google does not change its conduct, it could be fined up to €250,000 about US$323,000), the court said."
Alternatively since that fine is so small in Google terms, if it's a one-off, maybe they should just pay it and carry on. I wonder how long it would take for further action to result if they did that.
Low-Carb Diet Trumps Low-Fat Diet In Major New Study
Easy to make such glib statements, but the whole point is to find out what is the ideal balanced diet. Both the groups in this study were eating all the things you'd include in your balanced diet, however the low carb group took a greater proportion of their calories in the form of fat, whereas the low fat group too a greater proportion in the form of carbs.
Deputy Who Fatally Struck Cyclist While Answering Email Will Face No Charges
Look, the dead guy should just consider himself lucky he's not being tried post-mortem for getting in the way of an officer.
The Passenger Pigeon: A Century of Extinction
"If the Passenger Pigeon has been extinct for this long, it's safe to say that ecosystems have adjusted to their demise."
If the ecosystems can adjust to their demise, then surely they could equally well adjust to their return?
"Let's not see what the consequences of re-introducing them are."
Why not? I'm curious.
"There is no way to predict the effect."
There 's no way to predict the effect of any given action or inaction. For all you know, reintroducing passenger pigeons could be the best thing ever to happen to the North American environment.
"If they are planning and engineering these hybrids just to study their work in captivity, well, that is just as wrong."
Why is it just as wrong? Something isn't true just because you say it is; try to provide some rationale behind the statement. You've stated concerns about re-introducing the critters to the wild, so surely studying them in captivity is the perfect solution.
The 2014 Hugo Awards
I agree about the winners in recent years, although I usually peruse the best novel nominees, quite a few of my favourite books have been "losing" Hugo or Nebula nominees.
Microsoft Research Brings Kinect-Style Depth Perception to Ordinary Cameras
It is apples and pears on one hand, however the fact that the camera needs a modification, however small, means that you will still be buying a special bit of hardware to make your gesture control work, so in that sense it is in the same boat as the Leap. Except of course that the piece of hardware in question should be a lot cheaper, and could easily be included in laptops/tablets/monitors at minimal extra cost, if it really works that well and the idea takes off.
Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe
Glad I came back to look for later replies, thanks for that.
Cosmologists Show Negative Mass Could Exist In Our Universe
This kind of subject always leads to a cascade of stupid questions in my head that I can't answer, leaving me feeling even dumber than usual. Does negative mass necessarily imply negative weight? What about momentum and kinetic energy? If a lump of matter with negative mass hit something, would it actually absorb energy from it rather than imparting energy to it? Would a negative-mass planet have an anti-gravity field? Is it even meaningful to talk about matter with negative mass, or is some physicist going to pop up and explain to me that negative mass is a property of some sort of field, and not something that could actually be expressed by anything that I would recognise as matter?
Child Thought To Be Cured of HIV Relapses, Tests Positive Again
Umm, they couldn't find any trace of the HIV virus, or specific antibodies to it. It seems reasonable to hope that someone is cured of a disease if you can't find any trace of said disease in their body. And it's not like they jumped the gun on it, she was supposed to be on anti-viral drugs because they weren't sure the virus was gone.
US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent
I wonder if this ought to invalidate crap like the infamous Amazon one-click patent. After all it was also just a generic software implementation of a long-established system, namely storing someone's payment and address details for use with future purchases.
Toyota Investigating Hovercars
The trouble with those car-sized hovercraft is the turning and braking profile, which is nowhere near good enough for public roads designed for cars. Now a design something like the Aero-X hoverbike might be able to improve on that - by hovering a bit higher and tilting the entire craft, you could effectively vector a large proportion of the lift airflow for turning force, as opposed to redirecting a bit of the horizontal thrust only with a fin as with conventional hovercraft. Aerofex don't seem to make any such claims about their design though, they seem to be targeting off-road use only, and I guess turning that way might present problems for other road users/pedestrians getting hit by the airflow.
To distress my enemies, I'd force on them ...
I used to disable adblock on slashdot, and not use that disable ads option either; I've even clicked the odd ad on rare occasions. I have no problem with reasonably sized static ads. But they started having those stupid ads expanding at the bottom of the screen when your mouse went near them; those were the final straw, adblock enabled again. As far as I'm concerned, ads that pop up or expand or move or anything like that are too annoying.
4K Displays Ready For Prime Time
"Hmm, I just thought of something that I heard about a good while back but haven't seen any movement on - "peripheral vision" TVs. I seem to recall reading years ago about a type of TV that used lights around the edges to dimly shine the peripheral colors on the TV image around the room parallel to the TV, giving the illusion to your peripheral vision of an expansive screen."
The Man Behind Munich's Migration of 15,000 PCs From Windows To Linux
I think you're just trolling. Seriously? You're annoyed that common usage of a term has diverged from its original correct usage? Better rip out about 90% of your dictionary and burn it then. So operating systems using the Linux kernel have become known as Linux in common parlance; how infuriating. I tell you, I am completely fascinated to know what other earth-threatening evils are giving you ulcers right now.
Microsoft Continues To Lose Money With Each Surface Tablet It Sells
It's a shame TFA didn't provide a breakdown of device types, I would have been interested in the percentage of Surface versus Surface Pro devices, but also I would like to know if they included convertible ultrabooks as tablets. I find it a bit unlikely that Windows tablets could hit 6% without convertibles, but they really aren't part of the "tablet market" IMHO.
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Mandriva 2007 Spring
Well, I gave up on Ubuntu 7.04. Spent a fair few hours trying to fix the various problems I had with it, but IMHO some things should work out-of-the-box, and an old WNIC and CD-RW (that both worked out-of-the-box with Ubuntu 6.10) are definitely in that category. So, having played with Mandrake back when it was still called Mandrake, and rather liked it, I decided to see what that's like these days.
I have to say, first impressions are that it's very civilized. Ndiswrapper is installed by default, and the network manager has a built in graphical interface to it. So no messing about trying to get a working net connection up so I can download ndiswrapper, then faffing around trying to configure it to get my ZyXel USB adapter working. Just put in the Windows driver CD for the ZyXel, select the .inf file, et voila - works great. Given that driver support is a recognized major issue for Linux, every distro really ought to do it this way.
There seems to be a lot of hype around Ubuntu, and it does seem to have a great community using it (seems to be much harder to find info/help on Mandriva), but I have to say right now, it ain't my favourite distro. I'll see how Mandriva goes for a while.