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Comments

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Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy

anaesthetica Re:Plato (1277 comments)

Your reading of Chapter 8 of The Republic is not very good.

Plato's argument follows by analogy from his tripartite division of the psyche (mind/soul) into eros (desire), thymos (will), and logos (reason). Keeping these parts of the soul in balance would allow one of live with arete (skill).

There are five forms of government put forward by Plato: aristocracy, timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and tyranny. Each is related to an imbalance of the republic, just as an individual's psyche might be imbalanced.

Timocracy is rule by those with honor (typically military), a trait linked to thymos. Oligarchy isn't rule by the elite per se, but rule by those with wealth (because wealth and honor are conflated in this society). Democracy is a kind of libertine state in which the excesses of eros are indulged. These forms of government emerge out of each other, as timocracy degenerates into oligarchy, which in turn degenerates into democracy, out of which a demagogic tyrant finally emerges to establish tyranny.

Aristocracy, the ideal form of government according to Plato, was one in which the wisest ruled. The wisest, of course, were philosopher-kings—people who had successfully balanced their psyches with logos directing their thymos and eros toward their long-term interests.

It's best not to read The Republic as a direct report on what Athenian democracy was really like. It was a philosophical analogy between the health of the individual's psyche and the health of the body politic.

But it's safe to say that Plato was not pro-democracy. I think one of the more devastating accounts of Plato's political theory is in Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies.

more than 3 years ago
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Utah To Teach USA is a Republic, Not a Democracy

anaesthetica Re:A Constitutional Federal Republic (1277 comments)

The whole idea that the word "democracy" is somehow bad is purely an American phenomenon.

It's not really an American phenomenon either. While there was some skepticism during the Cold War of groups labeling themselves as "democratic" or "for democracy," this was because it was the regular tactic of socialists. For example, Students for a Democratic Society was a well-known socialist front. And we still have countries like the Democratic People's Republic of Korea claiming the label 'democracy' in the name of socialism.

In Europe, democracy has not always been viewed as a good thing. It wasn't until quite recently that democracy was viewed as a good thing. Ever since classical writers like Thucydides and Plato, democracy has been viewed with suspicion, as a degenerate form of government. Their view remained dominant in Europe up until the Enlightenment started changing people's ideas.

But even Enlightenment philosophers were not really interested in democracy. Most were republican theorists, desiring limits on the arbitrary power of sovereigns, and, at most, mixed constitutions. Many, like Voltaire, were quite comfortable with "enlightened absolutism." In the Perpetual Peace Kant distinguished between the republic (the optimal form of government) and democracy (which he viewed as majoritarian tyranny). Jefferson and the Federalists, when designing and debating the U.S. Constitution, argued for a mixed republican government, including elements of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy.

In the United States I think it may be more common to reassert the notion of republicanism as a way of arguing against the notion that every and any aspect of life can be put to a vote. For Kant (and the American 'Founding Fathers'), a republic is distinguished by representation, constitutionalism, and checked and divided powers. Having large spheres of private life, civil rights, and civil society protected from interference from the government are fundamental tenets of republicanism, and you probably will find them asserted more vociferously in the United States, which has a longer republican tradition than nearly every other European state with the possible exceptions of Switzerland and some of the Northern Italian states before the risorgimento.

more than 3 years ago
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Netgear CEO Says Jobs's Ego Will Bite Apple

anaesthetica Re:Overtaken? Yes. Bite them? No (500 comments)

The argument that's being missed or glossed over goes something like this: Apple's current iTunes store success depends heavily on it holding a commanding share of the market. As Android overtakes iOs in popularity, it will become less and less attractive for content providers to bend to Apple's demands. Why spend significant amounts of time developing your app to meet seemingly arbitrary requirements when there's a bigger platform that requires none of that? Why fork over a hefty share of your sales to Apple when you can sell for free in the bigger Android market next door?

This is a good point but misses out on a few things that differentiate the two markets. The iOS market is not just iPhone, but also includes iPad and iPod Touch. People often compare Android phones to iPhones, but this is a misleading picture of the size of the two markets for app developers.

Second, there seems to be a difference between the customers shopping in the Android markets versus those in the iOS markets. Specifically, the instance of piracy is higher in the Android market, and the willingness of customers to purchase non-free apps is lower. The Android market is based to a greater degree on free apps that are advertising-supported, rather than paid for up front.

Even if the number of Android users is higher than the number of iOS users, the actual market for paid apps may still be much smaller, due to the difference in customers that the two platforms attract. Unless these differences even out, iOS may still be a more attractive program for developers.

more than 3 years ago
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Should Dolphins Be Treated As Non-Human Persons?

anaesthetica Re:Human vs. Person (785 comments)

"Person" is some being that has a personality.

Vincent: Want some bacon?
Jules: No man, I don't eat pork.
Vincent: Are you Jewish?
Jules: Nah, I ain't Jewish, I just don't dig on swine, that's all.
Vincent: Why not?
Jules: Pigs are filthy animals. I don't eat filthy animals.
Vincent: Bacon tastes gooood. Pork chops taste gooood.
Jules: Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know 'cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker. Pigs sleep and root in shit. That's a filthy animal. I ain't eat nothin' that ain't got sense enough to disregard its own feces.
Vincent: How about a dog? Dogs eats its own feces.
Jules: I don't eat dog either.
Vincent: Yeah, but do you consider a dog to be a filthy animal?
Jules: I wouldn't go so far as to call a dog filthy but they're definitely dirty. But, a dog's got personality. Personality goes a long way.
Vincent: Ah, so by that rationale, if a pig had a better personality, he would cease to be a filthy animal. Is that true?
Jules: Well we'd have to be talkin' about one charming motherfuckin' pig. I mean he'd have to be ten times more charmin' than that Arnold on Green Acres, you know what I'm sayin'?

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Creating Cloud-Based Mac?

anaesthetica Re:more like cloud boot iCrap (204 comments)

I believe Steve Jobs referred to Macs using a car metaphor (must be a Slashdot regular). He said that Macs (or PCs more broadly) were like trucks. Most people won't need that amount of utility/capability (they drive cars), but a certain chunk of us will (we drive F-150s). Macs/PCs will still be around to serve that market, even if it shrinks in comparison with tablets (iCrap as you so eloquently put it).

If I had to guess that the ratio toward which Mac vs. iCrap would converge, I would guess that it would reflect the 90-9-1 rule. Probably 10% will want a full featured PC of varying power, while the other 90% will be happy with something that gives them access to the net/media and performs their daily tasks (email, basic text editing, MyTwitFace, music).

more than 3 years ago
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Is Reading Spouse's E-Mail a Crime?

anaesthetica Re:Are you guys really loosing it in the U.S? (496 comments)

just because you're in a relationship

Well, they weren't "just in a relationship." They were married, with all the legal and moral implications of that institution. Comments like parent's are a signal of the extent to which marriage as a social institution has been de-institutionalized. A married couple was legally perceived to be one 'legal person.' That conceit has been challenged an undermined progressively to the point where we get absurd cases such as the above where a cheating wife can sue her (second) husband out of spite/vengeance for having discovered her betrayal of the marriage oath.

Social conservatives rage at the imminent acceptance of gay marriage when in reality they should be ringing the tocsins over the unmourned death of the entire institution of marriage.

more than 3 years ago
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Moscow Has Eyes On WikiLeaks, Too

anaesthetica Re:In Soviet Russia... (579 comments)

All this outcry has done little except prove the exceedingly dubious moral fibre of very powerful elected political figures the world over.

Please, that had been proven long ago.

What this actually proves is that if you set up an organization that acts like a foreign intelligence agency, other intelligence agencies will start to treat you like one.

more than 3 years ago
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US Army Unveils 'Revolutionary' $35,000 Rifle

anaesthetica Re:Defilade (782 comments)

The strategies/tactics of Napoleon and the writings of Jomini are more or less required material for officers. Given the amount of innovation they introduced it's not surprising that the terms they invented are still used. While the French are naturally the butt of jokes given their pathetic showings since Napoleon, I suspect most officers have a reverence for Napoleon that goes beyond contemporary political squabbling.

more than 3 years ago
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Sciencey Heroes For Young Children?

anaesthetica Re:physicist! (614 comments)

I was given Surely You're Joking... as a graduation gift (by my Spanish teacher, oddly enough) after finishing the 8th grade. This book is a life-changer. It teaches you how human and fun a public figure can be, especially in a field as ostensibly esoteric and abstract as theoretical physics. Playing jokes at Los Alamos while building the nuclear bomb, playing bongos in a samba band, taking up nude portraiture, learning how to pick up women in bars--the stories are enough to convince anyone that being a scientist isn't going to be boring.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Announces iLife '11, FaceTime Mac, Lion, Mac App Store, MacBook Air

anaesthetica Re:Ron Gilbert (827 comments)

Apple does too: go to the "Apple Menu > Mac OS X Software..." which takes you to http://www.apple.com/downloads/

AFAIK that's been there since the very earliest releases of OS X. The Mac App Store seems to be more or less an upgrade to this webpage.

more than 3 years ago
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Apple Announces iLife '11, FaceTime Mac, Lion, Mac App Store, MacBook Air

anaesthetica Re:App Store looks interesting... (827 comments)

You forgot to include:

  • Handle the update mechanism You don't have to worry about building update checking into your apps and nagging your users into automatically checking for and installing updates. The App Store will check and notify the users. This is probably a win for the whole ecosystem, since it will improve security and reduce the amount of things developers have to worry about
  • Handle the installation process No more worrying about setting up an installer (using the OS X one or using a third-party installer), or using a .dmg and instructing users to drag the app to the Applications folder. In the video, the app downloaded and installed itself with no unzipping, disk mounting, or installer. Makes it super simple for both the developer and the user.

more than 3 years ago
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GM Criticized Over Chevy Volt's Hybrid Similarities

anaesthetica Re:Decent competitor? (657 comments)

The cold hard fact is that we had surplusses [sic] for years until the day Bush passed that tax cut.

The cold hard fact is that Clinton and the republican congress left us with a projected budget surplus. That's an awesome bipartisan accomplishment for a government that hadn't run a budget surplus in decades. But it wasn't an actual budget surplus. It was an all-things-being-equal-if-existing-trends-continue future budget surplus.

What that projection didn't take into account was the popping of the dot com bubble and the 9/11 attacks, neither of which were foreseen and both of which individually would have done serious damage to budgetary projections.

The bubble had already burst by the time Bush took office and passing those tax cuts was a foolhardy response, attempting to grow out of a downturn. 9/11 further tanked the economy and tax receipts.

The the cold hard fact is isn't "gee if Bush hadn't passed those tax cuts everything would be hunky dory." In fact, even with those tax receipts we'd still have a massive unprecedented deficit. It's that the budget projections were just that, projections, and they didn't anticipate either a bubble collapse or the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor.

Congress has been unwilling to stop the growth in federal spending, despite the fact that it has outstripped our tax receipts for decades now. Runaway spending is the long-term structural problem: taxes go up and down, but spending never goes down. A policy of regularly raising taxes to cover our collective bipartisan inability to say no to new spending, to say no to entitlement growth, and to say no to wars of choice is the 'Neverland' policy.

more than 3 years ago
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GM Criticized Over Chevy Volt's Hybrid Similarities

anaesthetica Re:Decent competitor? (657 comments)

Low taxes are not responsible for the deficit. An inability to control spending is responsible for the deficit.

more than 3 years ago
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Anonymous Knocks Out Ministry of Sound Website

anaesthetica Re:Wow (240 comments)

"English 50 Cent"

Wouldn't that be 50 Pence?

more than 3 years ago
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Unions Urging Actors Not To Work On Hobbit Movie

anaesthetica Re:First Union? (576 comments)

Sociologist known as David Harvey

Yes, if by 'sociologist' you mean unreconstructed Marxist. I took classes with one of his peers and have seen Harvey speak in person two or three times. Merely referring to him as a 'sociologist' is like calling Ayn Rand an 'economic thinker'--seriously misleading by omission.

more than 3 years ago
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Rackspace Shuts Down Quran-Burning Church's Sites

anaesthetica Re:Stupid (1695 comments)

Pro tip: Christians, Muslims, and Jews all have the same god.

Pro tip: there is no god.

more than 3 years ago
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The Moon Is Shrinking Like a Wrinkled Apple

anaesthetica Re:Nuke it (116 comments)

Make sure to nuke it when it's a full moon, otherwise we might not get the whole thing.

about 4 years ago
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US Senate Passes 'Libel Tourism' Bill

anaesthetica Re:A republican in favor of free speech ? (467 comments)

Neither major party in the US wants to censor the kind of thing this bill is about.

Yeah, if they couldn't libel each other, the two parties would have to start talking about facts, and that would pretty much be the end of the U.S. party system. This is a matter of survival!

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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The Year in Operating Systems: No Big Ideas

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 5 years ago

anaesthetica writes "El Reg summarizes 2008 as a year without any big ideas in operating system development. They place a kind of generalized blame on the need for legacy support and on the internet. Windows Server 2008 is compared with the long line-up of Unix and Unix-like operating systems, with the notable absence of Apple's Mac OS X. Their conclusion:

But actual change deep inside the operating system, aside from new hardware and scalability enhancements, is not really coming at a fast pace. When you are running legacy applications on legacy operating systems, this is what customers want: as little change as possible.

"

Link to Original Source
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Startup Seeks to Preempt Patent Trolls

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 5 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "The WSJ reports that a San Francisco startup is buying up patents with the promise never to assert them in order to help large corporations hedge against patent trolling firms. The company, RPX Corp, receives an annual fee in exchange for licensing the patents it has purchased. Cisco and IBM have already signed up for this service of 'defense patent aggregation.'"
Link to Original Source
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "Physorg.com is featuring a story asserting that hydrogen is economically infeasible as a replacement for our current energy sources. The premise is that isolating and converting hydrogen into a usable energy source takes up a great deal of energy to begin with, and that subsequently that hydrogen fuel is only useful in about 25% of our economy. Apparently, the increasing scarcity of water is going to make hydrogen too costly and just as politicized as oil. From the article:
[Fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel's] overall energy analysis of a hydrogen economy demonstrates that high energy losses inevitably resulting from the laws of physics mean that a hydrogen economy will never make sense. The advantages of hydrogen praised by journalists (non-toxic, burns to water, abundance of hydrogen in the Universe, etc.) are misleading, because the production of hydrogen depends on the availability of energy and water, both of which are increasingly rare and may become political issues, as much as oil and natural gas are today."
"
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "The American Mathematical Society is featuring an article with an in-depth explanation of the type of mathematical operations that power PageRank. Because about 95% of the text on the 25 billion pages indexed by Google consist of the same 10,000 words, determining relevance requires an extremely sophisticated set of methods. And because the links constituting the web are constantly changing and updating, the relevance of pages needs to be recalculated on a continuous basis."
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "A back-of-the-envelope calculation by Russell Seitz indicates that the electrons constituting the flow of information on the internet weigh about 50 grams, or less than two ounces. Of course, this doesn't factor in the weight of the computers and physical networks themselves. From the article:
Forbes publisher and blogger Rich Karlgaard recently lamented his $1,200 monthly home utility bill. That's a lot of PG &E , but the yearly power bill for the global internet is just $3 per capita- a bargain even by third world standards. Yet looking at my ISP bill I'm not too happy - a dollar a day seems a trifle high when you reckon the weight of the penny's worth of electricity my computation consumes. My daily fix of electrons in motion costs me about half a billion dollars a pound.
"
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?"
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

anaesthetica (596507) writes "The New Yorker writes that Nintendo is fine with third place. Between Sony and Microsoft both trying to build the most comprehensively next-generation console, and barely breaking even in their efforts, Nintendo decided to go a different route. Wii doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it focuses on simple fun playing games--a strategy which turns out to be much better for Nintendo's bottom line and stock prices. From the article:
A recent survey of the evidence on market share ... found that companies that adopt what they call "competitor-oriented objectives" actually end up hurting their own profitability. In other words, the more a company focuses on beating its competitors, rather than on the bottom line, the worse it is likely to do.

This sounds like the strategy that Apple adopted out of necessity a few years back.

"
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anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  about 8 years ago

anaesthetica writes "Forget Wikipedia and the Encyclopedia Galactica, Der Spiegel reports that an "Encyclopedia of Jihad" set of online textbooks has been making its rounds online since at least 2003. The Encyclopedia resembles the old Anarchists Cookbook, geared for aspiring jihadists around the world. Now that it has found a home on the internet, the Encyclopedia has gained a life of its own. From the article:
Al-Qaida's Afghanistan veterans were apparently the first to publish the "Encyclopedia" on the Internet... Over the years, volunteers repeatedly revised and updated this original encyclopedia. After the "Second Electronic Version" appeared, it became almost impossible to determine who exactly was responsible for these ongoing revisions.
"

Journals

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802.11n Good Enough to Replace Ethernet for Enterprise

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 6 years ago A new report says that the increased speeds and other features of 802.11n should be enough to replace Ethernet on any companies' WANs in the next two to three years. While 802.11n speeds still fall far short of those of gigabit Ethernet, The Burton Group believes that they should be good enough for most uses. In fact, in its list of recommendations on when to deploy 802.11n, one of the criteria listed is "when fast Ethernet (100Mbps) throughput is good enough."

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Presidential Candidates' Tech Records

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  about 7 years ago Technology Daily features an overview of each major U.S. Presidential candidate's record on technology issues. The information was "compiled from the Congressional Record, speeches and statements on campaign Web sites." Third party candidates are ignored, but eight Democrats and eight Republicans are covered. This information is an important jumping-off point for the informed Slashdot voter.

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James Madison on Intellectual Property

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago The Volokh Conspiracy, a legal blog, writes about James Madison and his opinion on intellectual property. Madison, "Father of the Constitution" and author of the Bill of Rights, disliked the idea of intellectual "property," viewing it as a dangerous grant of monopoly. While he stressed that such grants ought to be strictly limited, he apparently went further saying that the government ought to be able to buy back the grant of monopoly to protect the public from being fleeced or placed under inconvenient restrictions.

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Camino 1.5 Released

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago It's been a long time coming, but the Camino browser for Mac OS X has reached a new milestone. Camino 1.5 is based on Gecko 1.8.1, and includes a slew of new features including spell checking, session saving, improved pop-up blocking, enhanced plug-in control, and window zooming, among others. All this comes wrapped in a website redesigned by Jon Hicks. You can read more about the release at Camino Planet.

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The State of Mozilla as a Platform

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

A number of stories have recently surfaced asking where Mozilla is going as a platform and whether it risks being outflanked by proprietary rivals. Chris Messina, a former Flock developer and SpreadFirefox volunteer, posted a 50-minute vlog enumerating his concerns about Mozilla. His discussion centered around Mozilla 2 potentially missing the forest for the trees, becoming overly focused on the short-term successes that Firefox has enjoyed, while failing to outrun the proprietary flanking actions being undertaken by Adobe and Microsoft for the next generation internet technologies.

Richard McManus at Read/WriteWeb expands the discussion of Mozilla's direction. His central concern is the adoption of microformats and what that will mean for Mozilla's position. He comments that microformats are already a step in the direction that Messina is pointing toward--a web that remains open.

Mike Shaver, technology strategist for Mozilla, has posted his own discussion of Adobe and Microsoft's proprietary tools intended to close off the web--Apollo and Silverlight--and what this means for Mozilla, if anything.

Finally, concerning Mozilla missing the forest for the trees, Ben Goodger, lead Firefox developer, reports on a Mozilla Corp board member, Brendan Eich, essentially writing off the non-Firefox products offered by Mozilla. Goodger wonders whether it would be a better strategic move for non-Firefox developers to begin seeking greater autonomy from Mozilla Corp, a speculation that Mike Pinkerton, lead developer of Camino, caught flack for a couple months ago when he opened the possibility of dropping Gecko for WebKit.

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Does Linux "Fail To Think Across Layers?"

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago John Siracusa writes a brief article at Ars Technica pointing out an exchange between Andrew Morton, a lead developer of the Linux kernel, and a ZFS developer. Morton accused ZFS of being a "rampant layering violation." Siracusa states that this attitude of refusing to think holistically ("across layers") is responsible for all the current failings of Linux--desktop adoption, user-friendliness, consumer software, and gaming. ZFS is effective because it crosses the lines set by conventional wisdom. Siracusa ultimately believes that the ability to achieve such a break lies more with an authoritative, top-down corporate capacity, rather than with the grass roots, fractious Linux community.

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Some Schools Ending Laptop Programs

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago The New York Times reports that schools are abandoning their laptops-for-students programs. It turns out that the expense of providing laptops, expense of repairing laptops, difficulties of school network management, and discipline problems stemming from pornography, cheating, and cracking more than outweighed the educational benefits. Indeed, a number of schools have concluded that far from improving student achievement, laptops either had no effect or actively hindered academic performance. Apparently, politicians embracing technology as a quick fix for social problems doesn't always work out.

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Digg Users Revolt Over HD-DVD Key

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago Social news site Digg has been flooded with stories reprinting the HD DVD processing key covered earlier here. At one point, the entire front page was comprised of stories which in one way or another were related to the hex numbers that were removed by Digg administrators. Digg users quickly pointed to the HD DVD sponsorship of Diggnation, the Digg podcast show. Is this outburst a hissy fit thrown by immature users acting without regard to Digg's legal liability, or is it a legitimate act of civil disobedience?

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Google Misspells Own Name on Valentine's Logo

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago As is tradition, on any significant holiday, major or minor, Google produces a special version of its logo. However, its Valentine's Day logo this year seems to be missing the "L". But it's the thought that counts--so Happy Valentine's Day from Googe!

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Lucas: 'Empire' Was the Worst of the Trilogy

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago Entertainment blogger David Poland recently attended a Publicists' Guild luncheon which George Lucas attended. Lucas was present to give an award to Sid Ganis, the in-house publicist for Empire. Lucas credits Sid for creating the aura around Empire as the best of the three original Star Wars films, when, according to Lucas, "it was actually the worst one."

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Spotlight Improvements In Leopard

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago Mac OS 10.5 Leopard is set to feature several new enhancements to Spotlight, Apple's desktop search, according to ComputerWorld. These include searching across multiple networked Macs, parental search snooping, server spotlight indexing, boolean search, (sorely needed) better application launching, and quick look previews.

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Germany Quits EU-Based Search Engine Project

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The Quaero project, a French initiative to build a European rival to Google, has lost the backing of the German government. The search engine was announced in 2005 by Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroeder, but the German government under Merkel has decided that Quaero isn't worth the $1.3-2.6 billion commitment that development would require. Germany will instead focus on a smaller search engine project called Theseus. From the article:

According to one French participant, organizers disagreed over the fundamental design of Quaero, with French participants favoring a sophisticated search engine that could sift audio, video and other multimedia data, while German participants favored a next- generation text-based search engine.

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Video Broadcast Sites Newest Threat to Our Children

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

The New York Times is breathlessly reporting on the rising danger facing our nation's children: video broadcast sites. Unlike video-upload sites, like the previous banes-of-our-children YouTube and Google Video, these new websites offer live video broadcasts and chats between their users. The kicker: these websites promise no monitoring by their staff for conduct or misbehavior. Will Stickam and PalTalk become the next MySpace, or will they finally succeed in destroying our cam-kids? From the article:

"The only thing you get from the combination of Web cams and young people are problems," said Parry Aftab, executive director of the child protection organization WiredSafety.org.

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Wal-Mart Is Pushing Compact Fluorescent Bulbs

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

While we all know from reading the internet that Wal-Mart is irredeemably evil, a recent twist of events reveals that the world's largest retailers is going to make low-energy consuming compact fluorescent light bulbs a featured item. These energy-saving bulbs use 75% less electricity and produce 450 pounds fewer greenhouse gases. Currently only 6% of homes use them, but Wal-Mart's 200 million consumers may change that. From the article:

"The environment," Mr. Scott said, "is begging for the Wal-Mart business model."

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Hydrogen Won't Save Our Economy

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Physorg.com is featuring a story asserting that hydrogen is economically infeasible as a replacement for our current energy sources. The premise is that isolating and converting hydrogen into a usable energy source takes up a great deal of energy to begin with, and that subsequently that hydrogen fuel is only useful in about 25% of our economy. Apparently, the increasing scarcity of water is going to make hydrogen too costly and just as politicized as oil. From the article:

[Fuel cell expert Ulf Bossel's] overall energy analysis of a hydrogen economy demonstrates that high energy losses inevitably resulting from the laws of physics mean that a hydrogen economy will never make sense. The advantages of hydrogen praised by journalists (non-toxic, burns to water, abundance of hydrogen in the Universe, etc.) are misleading, because the production of hydrogen depends on the availability of energy and water, both of which are increasingly rare and may become political issues, as much as oil and natural gas are today."

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The Math Behind PageRank

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago The American Mathematical Society is featuring an article with an in-depth explanation of the type of mathematical operations that power PageRank. Because about 95% of the text on the 25 billion pages indexed by Google consist of the same 10,000 words, determining relevance requires an extremely sophisticated set of methods. And because the links constituting the web are constantly changing and updating, the relevance of pages needs to be recalculated on a continuous basis.

top

The Internet Weighs Less than Two Ounces

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago

A back-of-the-envelope calculation by Russell Seitz indicates that the electrons constituting the flow of information on the internet weigh about 50 grams, or less than two ounces. Of course, this doesn't factor in the weight of the computers and physical networks themselves. From the article:

Forbes publisher and blogger Rich Karlgaard recently lamented his $1,200 monthly home utility bill. That's a lot of PG &E , but the yearly power bill for the global internet is just $3 per capita- a bargain even by third world standards. Yet looking at my ISP bill I'm not too happy - a dollar a day seems a trifle high when you reckon the weight of the penny's worth of electricity my computation consumes. My daily fix of electrons in motion costs me about half a billion dollars a pound.

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Apple's Smart Phone Depends on OS X Tie-Ins

anaesthetica anaesthetica writes  |  more than 7 years ago According to AppleInsider, Apple is not only working on a cellphone + mp3 player iPhone, but is working on a second model designed to be a smart phone, highly integrated with Mac OS and .Mac. The smart phone has gone through several iterations, as the notoriously demanding Mr. Jobs ordered the elite team working on the phone to redesign and re-engineer their prototypes. Capabilities are reported to include Front Row interface, syncing contacts and iCal with .Mac, "call ahead", iChat video conferencing integration, WiFi, and a slide-out keyboard. Too good to be true?

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  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>