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Microsoft Is Bringing WebRTC To Explorer, Eyes Plugin-Free Skype Calls

arisvega Re:Wrong strategy (66 comments)

Some time ago I took a long, hard look on "Skype alternatives". Let me share my finds with all of you:

Skype is Shit. Let me repeat that: Skype is Shit, and this Shit that Skype is mostly became shit after Microsoft messed with it. Allow me to elaborate:

- Call quality auto-degrades, when Skype 'decides' you are not to be prioritized. No other option given to the user to prioritize or adjust it in any way; useful settings to manage call parameters are virtually non-existent;

- Land line connectivity is poor, with low success rates (try it for yourselves: try calling from your regular phone the line you just failed to get a connection, and see how quick and crisp the result is);

- Privacy is a joke, even the links one pastes in Skype's chat interface trigger Microsoft spider bots that show up to check on the link shared. Again, try this for yourself and see what happens. I would not be surprised if the infamous Facebook policy is applied (the one that saves not just what you post, but what you type in the textboxes, even if you hit Backspace);

- The super useful desktop sharing function was made a PREMIUM service. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

- Over the years, and version after version, the ads have become audaciously overwhelming. The current image of Skype's window on your desktop crammed with its glam and glitter ads is plain silly. Grandma (for whom most of us maintain Skype) is having a hard time figuring out where to click to bring up which window that may or may not have the big green button she is looking for.

- Dodgy background processes and connections doing dodgy things. Again, be my guest and check for yourselves. Try your everyday sysadmin tools and see what you get.

>> Skype works on any Windows/MacOS computer, virtually any iOS

I will challenge that: depends what you mean by "works". For example, it does not work on my Mac. And by "does not work" I mean that a not-so-old version will fail to connect. "Have you tried the new version?", you may ask. No thanks, I decided against it after reading the EULA. Again, try it; it was an insightful read for me. Clearly there was lots of effort put into writing it, so why not do them a favour and read it? Note that the juice here is not my predicament and my ideas of what 'this software works' means, but Microsoft's choice to piss on their users and cripple earlier versions in order to extort upgrades.

>> A better comparison would be Google Hangouts

I understand this, but really, it boils down to whether you believe that you are getting a good deal or not from Google (or anyone) for your person. If you go this way, you would be an utter fool if you expect any kind of privacy on your otherwise designated 'private' communications. Google will keep recordings of your sessions at least until a biblical proportion flood or a meteor impact event physically destroys its data centres. Until then, Google (or whoever is in their shoes at the time) will ever-analyze and dissect your data, with current and ever-developing algorithms and resources: that's what Google DOES in its core.

A very simple to set up a convenient videoconf scheme is to use something o p e n s o u r c e (say Jitsi), and use it to handle an o p e n (say XMPP) protocol. Set one up for grandma as well, show her where the green button is, and videochat with her with strong end-to-end encryption, keeping those magick cookie formulae of hers only between her and you. You taught grandma Skype, you can teach grandma this one as well. Grandma knows.

Make sure you at least give your friends and associates a chance to break out of this Skype/Hangout trap that we tech-informed people have totally set up for ourselves, stop using the ".. but everybody uses Skype .. " and ".. but my contacts .. " excuses, and deliver the message that the architects of this centralized, interceptable, controllable and overseeable form of arranging global communications can shove it arbitrarily deep into their own faschist arses, by refusing to use it and informing as many people as you can about the obvious and ridiculously easy to obtain alternatives.

If you go the extra mile and pay the excruciating amount of $10 to some third telephony party, you can also integrate them via SIP and have the ability to place numerous calls to landlines and cells. Again, numerous small companies, numerous plans for diverse budgets.

Overall, why ever prefer a 'blackbox' type software, for something you can do with opensource? Because the blackbox "just works", "works better", "has guarantees" and the like, that's why: only that this is not the case with Skype and Google, since simple opensource buggy XMPP-handling programs at their first buggy steps already perform better than the establishment.

about 1 month ago
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Finding Life In Space By Looking For Extraterrestrial Pollution

arisvega Re:That Would Assume (95 comments)

Aliens don't know better than to shit where they eat. We could be the only species in the galaxy that's so stupid.

But can you imagine if not? Imagine: an alien civ, similar to this one, but at an earlier stage of development. Ripe to be exploited. Would you then, for one, welcome yourself as their alien overlord?

about 5 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Many Employees Does Microsoft Really Need?

arisvega Re:Depends what you want to do with them (272 comments)

It also depends on what kind of business you run: judging from Microsoft's products and behavior for the past decades, I would guess that it needs about a dozen software engineers, a bunch of sysadmins, and quite a few tens of thousands of lawyers.

about 5 months ago
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Single European Copyright Title On the Horizon

arisvega Just to get through the misleading stuff: (94 comments)

After the election of a new European Parliament in May this year, Jean-Claude Juncker has been nominated to become the new President of the European Commission

Basically, all of EU 's administration that matters is chosen by the running governments of the member-states: all administration is merely an assembly of the guys already in charge. The European Parliament has had very little to say on administrative issues, and this is the first term that the European Parliament's members will presumably have the power to block EU directives (something that remains to be seen how it works out): and this is the only part that they will have in the law-making process --the European Parliament DOES NOT have the power of legislative initiative.

FYI, so you do not get carried away by flashy designations and think that this is an actual parliamentary representative democracy akin to national parliaments: it is not.

about 5 months ago
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Two Earth-Like Exoplanets Don't Actually Exist

arisvega Known issue, Has workarounds: (102 comments)

M dwarfs are very interesting because they are the most common kind of star, and they have a very high potential of hosting planets able to support DNA-based life as we know it. M dwarfs are also expected to exhibit strong magnetic activity (star spots are magnetic features) as they are highly convective. Star spots appear darker in the optical wavelength, and can easily be mistaken for planets.

There is active research going on that tries to filter out this interference caused by the magnetic effects, and as most public-funded science is unfortunately (and audaciously) paywalled

about 5 months ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

arisvega Re:I see a problem here... (380 comments)

I can elaborate on why this is theorized to be if you want, but I doubt you really care.

Please do, I am all ears: there are cartels that have been around for almost a century and still show no signs of weakening, so I am quite curious to hear how you came to perceive the cartel situation as such.

about 6 months ago
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New Chemical Process Could Make Ammonia a Practical Car Fuel

arisvega Re:I see a problem here... (380 comments)

Actually, I think the crux of the problem is that you don't understand price theory. Price is not determined by the cost of the inputs. Rather, society determines the price via their actions in purchasing or not purchasing a good

You cannot be serious.

about 6 months ago
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Musk Will Open Up Tesla Supercharger Patents To Spur Development

arisvega Re:He continues to show himself to be ... (230 comments)

From a stock holder perspective. it's a very dumb move.

.. unless it works, which will make it a very brilliant move.

about 6 months ago
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Google Using YouTube Threat As Leverage For Cheaper Streaming Rights

arisvega YouTube is not all there is (197 comments)

This will certainly backfire not very long from now: basic reasons why youtube is big is because a) was early, and b) is a high-bandwidth streaming service that you can dump (and find) more-or-less what you want. Take this away, or make it complicated, and soon the tech-savvies or the home/small business people will pull out; and the middle class iPad living room seniors surfers will --sooner or later-- follow.

about 7 months ago
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Why Are There More Old Songs On iTunes Than Old eBooks?

arisvega I agree, plus proposal: (77 comments)

The music industry has a long and sordid history of ripping off the artists...

This.

The music industry got cold sweat from the diversity of available media (vinyl, magnetic tapes, optical disks, whatever) and the easyness of internet sharing and binded the artists with all-encompassing contracts, taking the music out of their hands: you are not allowed to perform your own songs in public without your label sanctioning it (and making millions from your fans by selling them beer) first because, technically, they are not your songs any more.

In return, the label sends its armies of lawyers (along with corrupt government elements) to Hell and beyond to track, terrorize and imprison teenagers who had the audacity to publicly share even a small exrept of the (formerly yours) work, and grand you your 0.00000000001% cut from the process.

I only know the book publishing "established" rules a little bit, and -unexpectedly- they are not too much in favor for the writer either.

A good initiative, especially in the music industry, is to have different classifications: streaming is not vinyl is not concert, and those things need to be handled seperately. Artists need to stop signing those all-encompassing deals and a very good start would be e.g. to use a label to produce an LP, then go to a different label and let them handle your content via streaming on the internet: do NOT give up all rights for your art, because that is what you live from. The labels will resist of course but if enough artists do it, then it is done.

about 9 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

[..] an outlandish system of universal volunteering which barely even works in theory let alone practice?

I understand how you may be convinced that money is the only viable option, and other systems that you are conditioned to believe that 'barely even work in theory' seem to you like naive romantic notions. A world without money? How is that even possible, right? THAT is how bad the situation is.

The request was that you be less ridiculous, not as utterly absurdly ridiculous as possible.

Instead of acting like an opinionated smartass, may I suggest that you direct your vigor towards actually investigating a few of those 'outlandish' systems and their underlying principles: ubuntu may be a very good place to start.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Do You Still Trust Bitcoin?

arisvega Re: As Frontalot says (631 comments)

Or they quote you Iceland or Cypress

It is called Cyprus

And I believe that 'they' are quoting it only in your head: Iceland and Cyprus handled their economic perils in entirely different ways.

about 10 months ago
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Report: Space Elevators Are Feasible

arisvega Flying pigs (374 comments)

Flying pigs are also doable.

That does not mean that they are a good idea, or that they are easy to make.

about 10 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

Ok, I spend 7 hours working on some code. It requires 1000 hours of code. hmm, might take a bit don't you think?

That would depend on how many people from your community volunteer their time to contribute to it.

That is what 'community' means: you do not have to write the code alone.

about 10 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

Volunteering isn't bartering. Assuming you meant bartering...

It is not bartering in the strict meaning I guess, no. Still I did not mean bartering, I meant exactly what I said.

in exchange for what?

In exchange for nothing! That is what volunteering means!

Picture everybody doing this --or for starters, picture a small town doing this, so you can also get an idea of how it can spread to neighboring towns.

Consider this scenario: a bridge breaks, and needs to be fixed: it needs engineers, masons perhaps, other experts, workers, all that. Those are the the ones that are going to physically fix it. It may also need replacement material, which has a 'cost' (a monetary cost). Last, there is a bunch of politicians and burreaucrats that have to rule on the economics and whatnot and the rest of the 'administrative stuff' regarding the rebuilding of the bridge, which is a crowd that somehow has hypnotized everyone over the years into believing that their work is essential.

In this scenario, the town's experts volunteer time to do their best to fix the bridge. The town's best minds, via an emergent selection from the town itself, are on to it. People who have nothing direct to volunteer, volunteer snacks and entertainment for the people who do the work. Snacks get too many too soon, and the town has an excess that it can perhaps DONATE to a neighboring town (that is going through a similar 'bartering', if you want to call it as such, process) and that neighboring town may have an excess of bridge material (the material that has a 'cost') to DONATE to the town with the faulty bridge.

Where does money fit here? Nowhere. Where do burreaucrats fit here? Nowhere. Bridge gets fixed? Hell yes.

As long as people keep greed in check, this can work surprisingly well.

about 10 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

Ok, I spend 7 hours working on some code. It requires 1000 hours of code. hmm, might take a bit don't you think?

Depends on how many others volunteer along.

If many, all of the volunteers' hours can easily add up to more than 1000 hours. Hmm might take less than 'a bit', don't you think?

about 10 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

So, I assume you propose a barter system then?

I do: volunteer 7 hours per week of your expert knowledge (or your strength and vigor, if you have no expert knowledge) to your community.

Be less ridiculous.

You first.

about 10 months ago
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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World

arisvega Re:Vive le Galt! (695 comments)

MONEY ALLTOGETHER is not a good idea. Think for yourself, instead of waiting for some authority to think for you.

about 10 months ago
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Finnish Police Board Wants Justification For Wikipedia's Fundraising Campaign

arisvega Re: BETA sucks. (252 comments)

It breaks the moderating system. Would you like me to Google that for you?

Perhaps also bring you some coffee or tea while you wait?

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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China's Tianhe-2 Tops Supercomputer Chart Again

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about 6 months ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "China has the world's most powerful supercomputer for the third time in a row as the country once again ups its presence in the global top 500.

Tianhe-2 was top of the twice-yearly list that keeps tabs on supercomputer development and growth.

Since the last list, China had 20% more supercomputers in the top 500, while US representation went down 15%.

However, the US still dominates the chart with 233 computers making the latest tally.

China had 76, up from 63 in the last count. This is almost as many as the UK (30), France (27) and Germany (23) combined.

The full list is to be published Monday (today) at a conference in Leipzig, Germany."

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Scientists Report Observation of Dirac Monopoles

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about a year ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "From their abstract: " [..] Here we demonstrate the controlled creation of Dirac monopoles in the synthetic magnetic field produced by a spinor Bose–Einstein condensate. Monopoles are identified, in both experiments and matching numerical simulations, at the termini of vortex lines within the condensate. [..] These real-space images provide conclusive and long-awaited experimental evidence of the existence of Dirac monopoles. Our result provides an unprecedented opportunity to observe and manipulate these quantum mechanical entities in a controlled environment."

I am trully sorry for the fact that the article is paywalled by a publisher that adds almost no value to it. Research from public funding has to be public, period. But this discovery/technique is Nobel-prize nomination material, so I think it worths a look."

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Occulus Rift Used in Virtual Reality Prototype with Live Motion Capture

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about a year ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "A researcher at University College London has developed a prototype augmented reality system which enables users to interact with virtual objects, avatars and websites, all bundled with live motion tracking.

Before you get too excited, note that the system is rather difficult to be made portable, as it uses fixed cameras to perform motion capture.

The system, developed by William Steptoe (and presumably his team?), researcher at University College London, uses a head-mounted display and panels fitted to the hands to insert virtual objects into the room in which you sit or stand, enabling interaction with virtual objects, avatars and websites.

In this demonstration he uses the technology to interact with objects around him and brings up tablet-like displays to get online. He even uses his Occulus Rift to put on a virtual Occulus Rift on."

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China 'Flies First Stealth Drone', Japan Steps Up Defence

arisvega arisvega writes  |  1 year,3 days

arisvega (1414195) writes "The BBC reports that 'China successfully flew a stealth drone for the first time on Thursday, state media said, citing eyewitness reports. A drone, called "Sharp Sword" by the media, made a test flight for around 20 minutes in Chengdu, reports said. China has been developing stealth aircraft in recent years, including J-20 and J-31 stealth fighters. Following that incident, Japan said it would shoot down unmanned aircraft in Japanese airspace.'

'In September', the BBC continues, 'an unmanned drone flew close to a group of disputed islands in the East China Sea, raising tensions with Japan. China's defence ministry said that any attempt by Japan to shoot down Chinese aircraft would constitute "an act of war".'

Point is, will UAV skirmishes eventually become an intermediate --and alternative-- level of conflict, perhaps a step above cold tensions and diplomatic sanctions (since UAVs can be very well armed indeed) but surely still below a full-blown war? And would The People's Republic of China actually go to war over a dead drone?"

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Row over US mobile phone 'cockroach backpack' app

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about a year ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "A US company that has developed an "electronic backpack" that fits onto a cockroach allowing its movements to be controlled by a mobile phone app has defended itself against cruelty claims.

For the "electronic backpack" to work the cockroaches have to be placed in icy water to subdue them before sandpaper is used to remove the waxy coating on the shell of the insect's head.

An electrode connector and electrodes are then glued on to the insect's body and a needle is used to poke a hole in their thorax in order to insert a wire. Their antennae are then cut and electrodes are inserted. A circuit is attached to their backs, and signals are received through a mobile phone app allowing users to control the cockroaches' movements to the left and to the right.

The Roboroach weighs 4.5g and is compatible with most mobile phones. It overrides the insect's antennae making it turn left and right at the flick of a switch."

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Japan military 'needs marines and drones'

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about a year ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "The State of Japan is apparently seeking 'Deter and Respond' military capabilities, perhaps as an artifact from being "embroiled in a bitter row over islands with China" and being "deeply concerned by North Korea's nuclear ambitions", as reported by the BBC.

Since the end of WW II, under Article 9 of its post-war constitution, Japan is blocked from the use of force to resolve conflicts except in the case of self-defence. Now, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is looking to expand the scope of Japanese military activities — potentially a highly controversial move that would anger its neighbours.

The post-war constitution was of course put in place by the then victorious west, who would now have an interest to fully back up this move: though Japanese officials claim that any new upgrades will not be used for preemptive strikes, the result will be arms and battalions installed close to The People's Republic of China, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and The Russian Federation.

Read more on the source URL. It will be interesting to track how this plays out."

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Facebook sued over 'like' button

arisvega arisvega writes  |  about 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "Facebook is facing legal action over its use of the "like" button and other features of the social network.

It is being sued by a patent-holding company acting on behalf of a dead Dutch programmer called Joannes Jozef Everardus van Der Meer.

Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook's success was based, in part, on using two of Mr Van Der Meer's patents without permission.

"We believe Rembrandt's patents represent an important foundation of social media as we know it, and we expect a judge and jury to reach the same conclusion based on the evidence," said lawyer Tom Melsheimer from legal firm Fish and Richardson, which represents the patent holder.

Facebook said it had no comment to make on the lawsuit or its claims."

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Bin Laden Unit Seal Team Six Punished Over Video Game Consulting

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "Seven US Navy Seals have been disciplined for revealing secrets during work as paid consultants on a video game, officials say.

They received reprimand letters and had half of their pay docked for two months for work on Medal of Honor: Warfighter.

The active-duty troops reportedly include one member of the team that killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

They were charged with violation of orders, misuse of command gear, dereliction of duty and disclosure of classified material.

The seven troops worked for two days during the spring and summer on the recently released video game, according to CBS News.

The game's maker has boasted that real commandos, both on active duty and retired, were involved with the process of designing the game to make it as realistic as possible."

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Apple Paid Only 2% Corporation Tax Outside US

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "Apple paid less that 2% corporation tax on its profits outside the US, its filing with US regulators has shown.

Apple paid $713m in the year to 29 September on foreign pre-tax profits of $36.8bn, a rate of 1.9%.

It is the latest company to be identified as paying low rates of overseas tax, following Starbucks, Facebook and Google in recent weeks.

It has not been suggested that any of their tax avoidance schemes are illegal.

All of the companies do pay considerable amounts of other taxes in the UK such as National Insurance and raise large sums of VAT."

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New Zealand Prime Minister Apologizes to Megaupload Boss Kim Dotcom

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "He said sorry because a New Zealand law enforcement agency was judged to have illegally spied on Mr Dotcom.

The investigation was illegal because the agency is only authorised to spy on foreigners. Mr Dotcom became a New Zealand citizen in 2010.

In a statement, Mr Key said: "I apologise to Mr Dotcom... We failed to provide that appropriate protection for him." The illegal surveillance was the result of "basic errors" said Mr Key.

The spying was carried out just before police raids that shut down file-storing service Megaupload."

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Bitcoin theft causes Bitfloor exchange to go offline

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "One of the biggest Bitcoin currency exchanges has been taken offline after 24,000 units (~$250,000) of the virtual currency were stolen from its computer servers.

Bitfloor's founder, Roman Shtylman, said he had kept unencrypted "keys", which the thief accessed and used to take the money, putting Bitfloor's future in doubt.

Mr Shtylman said his New York-based service was the biggest of its kind in the US and the fourth largest in the world.
"As a last resort, I will be forced to fully shut Bitfloor down and initiate account repayment using current available funds”, said Roman Shtylman, Bitfloor chief executive.

Another blow to Bitcoin, since UK-based Bitcoinica was hacked twice this year and subsequently sued by several of its users after they had alleged it was not able to honour their withdrawal requests. The firm has since ceased operations for what it terms "a transition period"; and last year another exchange, Japan's MtGox, suspended operations for several days after one of its accounts was compromised causing the currency to plummet in value. The service acted to compensate users who had been caught up in the sell-off.

What do you think, Slashdot crowd? Will we ever see Bitcoin taking off?"

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Vote on What the Very Large Telescope Observes

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "The Slashdot crowd may be aware of VLT, the Very Large Telescope array (a collaboration between several European countries) located at the Atacama desert in Chile, operating at the visible and infrared wavelengths and producing some very detailed images and exciting new science, significally boosting astronomy and astrophysics research for the past couple of years without the hassle and the expenses of orbital observatories. Now, and for the first time in its history, there is a public invitation calling YOU to vote on which of the 16 proposed locations you would like the array to be pointed at, without the need for a scientific proposal. Astronomers are standing by to do your bidding!"
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EU Parliament Adopts Resolution on eCall

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "In its resolution adopted today, the European Parliament has called on the European Commission and the Member States to make sure that the eCall system is be installed in every new vehicle by 2015.

Vehicles equipped with the eCall system will automatically contact the emergency services in the event of a crash.

Even if no passenger is able to speak, a minimum set of data will be sent through the system, including the exact location of the crash site.

It is expected that the eCall system will reduce the emergency services’ response time and thus save hundreds of lives in the EU every year. eCall will be dormant most of the time (no mentioning on what 'most of the time' is, though) and will not allow vehicle tracking outside emergencies (no elucidation on the nature of 'emergencies' either)."

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Laser Treatment for Earth-bound Asteroids

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "A recent publication (for the math-versed) proposing the deployment of a Solar-powered, space-borne fleet of LASER cannons that would deflect Earth-bound asteroids caught the attention of international news agencies.

Do you think this ambition can in reasonable time turn into a fair-priced, life-saving (or indeed Biosphere-saving!) project, that will be to the benefit of all mankind? How threatened would you feel from the possibility of this proposed array being hijacked by extremely depraved individuals, ones capable or guilty of great crimes? And, are you not glad that now someone has published a paper on it, so Megacorp cannot 'patent' this Earth-saving idea?"

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How Abused is the Term "Green Economy"?

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "Quite a lot, if one believes this this (oddly enough) non-paywalled Nature magazine article. Added to the dissapointing, non-binding outcome of the Rio+20 (the United Nations' Conference on Sustainable Development) is a dispute with the so-called Developing Countries, since they do not acknowledge the calling for a transition to a "Green Economy". Instead, they consider "Green Economy"-proposed restrictions as inhibitors for development prospects and business opportunities.

Bolivian President Evo Morales voiced those concerns by stating that this presented "Green Economy" model is a merely a modern form of Colonialism, employed by countries from the "wealthy North" with the goal to establish footholds for intervention mechanisms (IMF, anyone?). Then, they can interfere with and manipulate other Countries' National and Large-scale Planning affairs by invoking environmental concerns as an excuse.

The Bolivian President also called out to the African countries to "protect their natural wealth against multinational corporations", at a time almost five years later back from when the "Chinese Invasion" in Africa was news.

Since there have been stories on Slashdot considering the environmentally ethical face of production, consumption and technology, I thought this will make an interesting topic for discussion"

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If one of the following got stolen NOW, which one would hurt you the least?

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "x My Smartphone
x My Personal Laptop
x My Work Laptop
x My Car
x My Collectibles"
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"First Base" in Greek Courts for ISP-level Blocking

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "At a first level (the lowest court level in the Greek judiciary system) an order has been issued (article in Greek, Google translation is fair enough) for a "plan on behalf of Internet Service Providers regarding he implementation of technological measures to deny access to internet users for webpages through which illegal copies of copyrighted work are being distributed". The order seems to be general and descriptive, and is a manifestation of the implementation process for an even more general and vague larger-scale EU directive, which is the common source that caused the rulings recently posted on slashdot regarding the UK, the Netherlands and Finland. This appears to be one of the reasons that prompted Anonymous to launch defacing attacks on Greek government websites some three months back."
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How Likely Am I To Be Hit By A Meteoroid?

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "With the recent meteor sighting (video) over UK and the smoking fall (video) in Israel, that sounds more and more like a fair question. Even though the author of the main article has yet to acquire a grasp on the distinction between asteroids, meteoroids, meteors and meteorites (see definitions) he still makes an easy to read popular article with some number-crunching, car analogies, and he even uses the new buzzword "micromort". From the article: "Working out the chances of an Earth-asteroid collision and the damage it would cause is not like an insurer dealing with a collision between two cars: there is almost no direct historical data, so astronomers create equations relating to the size of an asteroid, how many there are around, how often they might hit the Earth and what the explosive force of any impact would be. These estimates are continually being revised and are subject to some esoteric disputes.""
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Bioterror Fears Halt Research On Mutant Bird Flu

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "You probably remember the story about a month ago on a debate regarding the publication of a paper on a super bird flu strain. Now the debate is over, since fear has prevailed and the team of scientists who created this potentially more deadly bird flu strain have themselves temporarily stopped their research.

In a letter published in Science and Nature, the team calls for an "international forum" to debate the risks and value of the studies.

US authorities last month asked the authors of the research to redact key details in forthcoming publications, since a government advisory panel suggested the data could be used by terrorists.

The new buzzword seems to be "Biosecurity", a field that apparently already features experts who fear an altered, more contagious form of the virus could spark a pandemic deadlier than the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak that killed up to 40 million people.

Be that as it may, where does the slashdot crowd stand on the issue of reducing, censoring, or even halting research results in the name of potential misuse by terrorists, or anyone else for that matter? And who gets to decide what branches of research are to be "allowed"? If we start going down that road, will we ever return?"

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NEOShield to assess Earth Defence

arisvega arisvega writes  |  more than 2 years ago

arisvega (1414195) writes "NEOShield is a new international project that will assess the threat posed by Near Earth Objects (NEO) and look at the best possible solutions for dealing with a big asteroid or comet on a collision path with our planet.

The effort is being led from the German space agency's (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, and had its kick-off meeting this week.

It will draw on expertise from across Europe, Russia and the US.

It's a major EU-funded initiative that will pull together all the latest science, initiate a fair few laboratory experiments and new modelling work, and then try to come to some definitive positions.

Industrial partners, which include the German, British and French divisions of the big Astrium space company, will consider the engineering architecture required to deflect one of these bodies out of our path."

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