top Cable Companies: We're Afraid Netflix Will Demand Payment From ISPs
This might be reasonable if it was coming from a group who hadn't spent huge sums of money fighting to stop legislation that would have made it illegal for either netflix or comcast to charge for the specific route. That being said if Comcast, Time Warner, etc. make Netflix pay to be inside their networks now and in the future Netflix turns around and says "if you don't pay us to stay we will remove our servers from your networks and your customers will have to get Netflix through standard routing" then I have no sympathy for them but they may be right in worrying.
top Obama Administration Says the World's Servers Are Ours
I agree with everything you have stated. However, the situation is not one of Microsoft being required to produce their own documents, they are being required to produce other's documents. So the analogy would be that Microsoft has a rental storage facility in Ireland and the US wants them to riffle through a unit and send some documents they find. That is far less reasonable and clear cut as your summary.
top In 2012, Facebook Altered Content To Tweak Readers' Emotions
This is quite interesting research that should never have been done. I am rather surprised that the National Academy published the results of a study which violated multiple ethical guidelines put in place to protect human subjects. Did Facebook track the number of suicides in the 700,000 sample? Was the rate of those given a sadder than average stream have a higher or lower rate? Do the Facebook researchers address the ethical questions posed by performing such an experiment at all?
top Evidence of a Correction To the Speed of Light
The summary (and linked article) do a poor job of explaining the process and imply some change in the speed of light (there isn't one). The problem with the article (http://arxiv.org/abs/1111.6986) is that it ignores a bunch of more relevant data: Fermi-LAT observed photons from the same GRB over a very wide energy range placing an extremely good limit on effects like this proposed in the article (http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3463).
Furthermore this is NOT new; the original article was posted in 2011 and only recently published in the "New Journal of Physics" which has apparently only published 16 volumes and I believe has had its email permanently redirected to my spam box.
Finally why do people link to Medium and not the actual article for physic related news items? We have demanded open, free access to all our papers since the birth of the internet (I speak as a physicist). Do everyone a favor and find the arxiv link and include it in your summary when submitting physics stories to Slashdot.
top Aliens and the Fermi Paradox
We have had the ability to send out communications to the cosmos roughly the same amount of time we have had weapons capable of killing us all if used improperly. What are the odds that we will have sent something to someone listening before we either kill ourselves or are thrown back into the stone ages by some natural event? Basically I do not find it hard to believe that intelligent life, over time, may not be so great at propagating itself for the time needed to communicate with other civilizations.
about a month and a half ago
top Reading Rainbow Kickstarter Earns One Million Dollars In Less Than a Day
Thanks to you both for being good reasonable people. Props to you both.
top The Major Theoretical Blunders That Held Back Progress In Modern Astronomy
What is described in both the summary and article are not scientific consensus. Scientific consensus is NOT the "merely mobbing using peer reviews and grant committees." Scientific consensus is just that, you look at what researchers are concluding in their studies and you see if there is a mountain of evidence pointing to a similar conclusion: e.g. virtually everyone who throws up something sees it fall back down points to gravity. But there is almost always someone who sees something really odd: e.g. one person threw up something that floated away and never saw it again like a helium balloon. We, as scientists, do not conclude that gravity has a problem from this but that perhaps helium balloons are special. My point is that scientific consensus is an emergent phenomena: it appears when conditions are right from apparent randomness (like statistical mechanics). Peer reviewers do not get to kill papers because they don't like them, in fact they DO NOT GET TO KILL PAPERS. They get to criticize the work and ask for more evidence and clarification and the authors get to respond. So if your work is rejected it is generally for one of two reason: not good enough to warrant publication in the journal you chose (not everything is published in Science) or you failed to make your work compelling enough in the face of criticism.
top How Nest and FitBit Might Spy On You For Cash
The article is very misleading. Nest is working with some power companies which offer their customers financial incentives to allow the power company to dial back their AC units during high load times. Pepco in DC offers the same service but you have to pay for their thermostat. This isn't selling user information this is letting the power companies access their customers' thermostats if and only if that customer allows it. Nothing in the article says anything else is happening than this but states it in a very deceptive way. If the article actually had some evidence of something more nefarious it would be fine but as it is just doesn't stand up.
This is a link to the Nest program: https://nest.com/energy-partne...
top Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0
The comments on this thread are saddening. People seem to have neither read nor understood even the short summary:
Google isn't paying students but paying teachers to encourage female students to use the Khan Academy web class. Discrimination is not, not paying for someone else. Google is doing this as a charity. Should charities that focus on small immigrant communities be forced to spend their resources outside of their mandate?
top Google: Teach Girls Coding, Get $2,500; Teach Boys, Get $0
They are not bribing people to code. They are paying teachers to enlighten girls to resources that are available to them to learn to code. Finally I have a question for you: Is a well paid engineer being bribed to do their job? Paying someone to do something for you or for society is pretty far from a bribe.
top How Engineers Are Building a Power Station At the South Pole
One cannot put a nuclear reactor on Antarctica at this point by international treaty: you can neither store nor dispose of waste there and taking it offsite costs too much.
top Ancient Pompeii Diet Consisted of Giraffe and Other "Exotic'" Delicacies
Sea urchins are very common on the coast of Northern California. It is pretty much only eaten by fishermen and at Japanese restaurants though.
Regardless, I suspect that the point of the article was that sea urchins aren't native to the sea immediately surrounding Pompeii. While it is likely Giraffes were walked from Africa, taking a barrel of sea water and sea urchins even 100 miles in a ox cart would still be considered just as exotic.
top Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You
If I could buy and used a 150k robot car now I would. I would get my neighbors together and buy 10 for the block. Sell all our other cars and close the road in front of our houses to all traffic aside from the robotic cars. We would save money and have a huge area we could convert to a park for the large number of young kids we have on our block. Or we could wait till someone actually makes a production model for 75k and do it all then.
top Hillary Clinton: "We Need To Talk Sensibly About Spying"
Excellent argument for why one should vote for a third party candidate in their representative or pretty much any local election. Not so much for voting for the US President. The person elected will be from one of the two major parties. That person will have a significant amount of power over the political activities for the next four years. I often find that, while I actively like neither side, I often loath the stated goals of one side. Thus for a US Presidential election it makes no sense to vote for a 3rd party candidate who will not win when my vote could go against the candidate I loath. This is far from ideal and not something I think is good but it is the result of our system. Give me proportional voting or some way to pick who I WANT above who I like marginally more than the candidate I loath and I (and I think you) would be happy.
Scientific American In Blog Removal Controversy
It should also be noted that the blog with the offensive editor is a business partner of Sci-AM so they are not an innocent bystander.
This blog has a screen shot of Sci-AM's "Partner Network" before it was edited. Furthermore, her Sci-AM blog IS her blog. As others have pointed out, Sci-AM is being inconsistent at best in their actions.
top Partner of Guardian's Snowden Reporter Detained Under Terrorism Act
I agree it is just as misleading to use partner to imply ONLY a personal relationship when the facts of the matter indicate that he was both a personal partner and a journalistic partner.
top First California AMBER Alert Shows AT&T's Emergency Alerts Are a Mess
I had the exact experience as yourself in mid June when they turned this feature on. For me it was 5 alerts about flash flooding from the same rain storm all within 30 minutes. This might make sense if I am living in some place where I might fear being washed away or stuck in a canyon without any place to go. However, I live in Washington, DC and their idea of "flash flooding" is "the street has a lot of water on it and you should slow down." Like you I turned off the alert system. Most interestingly I did NOT get such a warning when I was near a touch downed tornado about the same time.
The problem, as I see it, is not with the manufacturers but with those responsible for sending out these alerts and regulating how they are delivered. The blaring, buzzing, craziness should be reserved for impending DANGER. A text message like alert with media that respected silent modes and quite times would serve the community much better for non-dangerous alerts (e.g. AMBER alerts).
top Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
I care about correcting the actual problem and by being inaccurate with this discussion it diverts attention from the true problem. Stating it is illegal when it has been made legal by the Patriot Act (through Congress) and FISA (through case law) makes it sound like we can simply go and find the "people" who did the dirty work and put them away and all will be good again. The problem, as I see it, is that our elected officials (and appointed officials by Chief Justice Roberts) have made legal something which the populous clearly thinks should not be. The solution is NOT going on a witch hunt within the NSA but demanding that these laws be revoked, the FISA courts arguments be made public and allow those affected to be represented in any court making decisions affecting them. Removing the head of the NSA (which should also be done) does not solve the underlying problem.
top White House: Use Metric If You Want, We Don't Care
I generally agree with you but Celsius is just as arbitrary as Fahrenheit. Why is water at a specific pressure and humidity a reasonable thing to define a temperature scale on? If there is a "natural" temperature system it would be defined by absolute zero and the Cosmic Microwave Background temp. There is no ambiguity and you can measure it anywhere (but it does change with time but very very long times with respect to humans).
Fahrenheit has some benefits:
* 0-100 is about what temps people live in
* the difference between steps is about the level people can tell the difference
What are the benefits of Celsius? That if I measure the pressure and humidity I can tell when water is going to boil or freeze? That I can cram most of the temps that people deal with regularly between 10-40?
top Supreme Court Rules For Monsanto In Patent Case
I agree with the other posters that THIS case certainly seems like the defendant was trying to avoid paying for a copyrighted good. However, what I don't understand is that a seed differs from most other copyrighted works in a very special way: it is self replicating. It would be as if I made a useful piece of software that sends out copies of itself to random people (aside from its useful part). Then when I found someone who was using one of the copies it sent out I would sue them. This sounds like how the RIAA would upload songs to torrent sites then sue the people who downloaded them. How is this reasonable? Sure Monsanto has a patent on the genes (something I also disagree with) in the seed but it is putting those genes into a product which spews itself out into the world. Shouldn't a patent/copyright holder hold some responsibility for not disseminating their own product?
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