Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comments

top

Medical Records Worth More To Hackers Than Credit Cards

jc42 Re:Calls from Credit Cards on "Suspicious Activity (77 comments)

Because under US law, credit card companies are liable for the cost of credit card fraud above a nominal amount, they have strong incentives to continuously search for and attempt to block fraudulent transactions. I don't think there is any comparable legal driver that forces health providers to bear the financial cost of similar fraud from patient info loss, nor are they necessarily "in-line" to see the exploitation of information stolen from them. ...

Perhaps the significant difference here is that, with credit cards, the main usage is bogus charges that have an immediate monetary value. With the medical information, there's no specific dollar amount that's been "stolen"; the value is in who's willing to buy the information. This doesn't result in any specific charge against the medical corporation or the patient, so the financial system considers its value to be zero.

This is also what might make it difficult to fight. You can't just say that the medical corporation is responsible for an charges over $50, because there are no such charges in the patient's name. The only effective way of fighting the problem will involve the (mis)use of the medical data.

I've seen this comment from some Scandinavian sources, to explain an interesting curiosity: In recent decades, a lot of medical "advances" have come from Scandinavia, and what they've mostly had in common is that they started with study of accumulated medical records, what the statistics folks (including my wife ;-) call "data dredging". This has turned up all sorts of interesting correlations. Now, we can cue the "Correlation is not causation" mantra here, but in fact such correlations are often pointers to useful research, as people try to explain them.

The interesting part of this is the explanation of why this data dredging happens so much in Scandinavia. The explanation seems to be that the governments there didn't try to make the medical records very secret. Rather, they imposed serious financial repercussions to "misuse" of the data. Thus, here in the US, expensive medical problems (e.g., a positive HIV test) typically result in loss of job and permanent unemployment. In Scandinavia, firing an employee because of expensive medical problems can result in serious fines against the employer. So employers have an incentive to find good medical help for employees instead of firing them. (The fact that medical services aren't charged to employers also helps.)

I haven't seen much discussion of this outside of Scandinavian sources, though, and there might be a lot more going on. But there is definitely a problem in the US, where medical data is a valuable commodity that can be used for all sorts of anti-social (and anti-individual) purposes for profit. But the medical industry doesn't suffer when this happens, so they have little incentive to "waste" resources preventing it.

yesterday
top

LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

jc42 Re:How much is that doggy in the window? (song lin (147 comments)

How do you propose it gets around blackouts? If it did you would have the entire epicenter relying on fringe cell phones for service. It's like having an entire town piggy backing on a handful connections. Those who are in range will have their batteries toasted before you could say YouTube.

Well, one thing that might help is a "social responsibility" campaign. Publicise the fact that this is an inherent problem, and the solution is for as many people as possible should be prepared with extra batteries; portable battery packs, etc. Explain to people that the system will only work if enough people have the extra power in their pockets to keep the messaging system alive. And that, in an emergency situation, they might avoid using sites like youtube. ;-)

Granted, some people will enjoy leeching off the rest of us. But it's possible that, by calmly explaining the situation to people, most of us will do what it takes to keep the system up and running.

yesterday
top

LTE Upgrade Will Let Phones Connect To Nearby Devices Without Towers

jc42 Re:How much is that doggy in the window? (song lin (147 comments)

Don't we already have a tech called bluetooth for that?

Bluetooth doesn't handle phone-calls or SMS. That and that it's generally just a goddam trainwreck - I admit that, on occasion, it will actually work.

The nearest thing I know of is the Serval project.

The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project had this capability from the start. Their normal setup is a flock of laptops with only wireless comm hardware, all talking to and relaying messages for their neighbors, plus a wired machine somewhere in the area that provides access to the outside world.

Actually, this was the intended "normal" situation back in the ARPAnet era. It didn't make sense to the military funders to rely on a single relay machine that would be an easy target. But suppliers of the commercial Internet never liked the idea, because they've always wanted to charge customers for every device with access. A flock of devices using a single member's Internet access was explicitly banned at first because of this. As they slowly realized that they couldn't continue to hold the Internet back that way, they switched to the approach of software that hands packets to a single router/gateway box, and not directly to any neighbor.

We still see this very clearly with email, which on most customers' gadgets requires sending a message to an email "server" (typically on an ISP's machine), rather than directly to the target machine. If members of your family want to send messages to each other's gadgets, do the messages go directly to their machine? Or do they go to an address on some company's machine, which tells the recipient that they have a message? This isn't accidental; it's done that way so that the company has access to all your messages, and you have to continue to pay them or lose the ability to send messages to people within your own household.

This isn't necessarily silly. I live in a house with 3 floors (plus a basement ;-). Such verticaly houses are fairly common here in New England. My wife's "home office" is in the (half-size) top floor, a finished attic actually, and if I'm working a couple of floors lower, messages like "Lunch?" or "Mail's here" are much faster by email or IM than by running up and down stairs. It's often annoying when local IP packet storms (especially at lunch/dinner time) interfere with delivery of such messages. This sort of "insignificant" traffic would work better if the original machine-to-machine design were implemented. But the commercial ISP market would lose if they couldn't charge for (and read) such traffic, so we can expect them to fight it.

yesterday
top

Medical Records Worth More To Hackers Than Credit Cards

jc42 Sounds about right (77 comments)

"When I've looked at hospitals, and when I've talked to other people inside of a breach, they are using very old legacy systems — Windows systems that are 10 plus years old that have not seen a patch."

No surprise there; that's about how long it takes to process all the paper work (mostly due to HIPAA) to get a new system approved for use inside a hospital. The new Windows 8 purchases should be coming online sometime around 2024.

If you want to install a patch, the approval process starts all over from scratch ...

yesterday
top

Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

jc42 Re:Moderation (115 comments)

Wohoo! I got informative + insightful + flamebait mods for my message! That's one of the mods I've been trying for for years (plus the rare chance to use "for" twice in a row).

Now to see if I can achieve the ultimate: getting "funny" along with flamebait and (informative or insightful). Preferably all four, though I'd wonder if that's actually achievable if you start with 2 points.

2 days ago
top

Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

jc42 Re:Safari monopoly (115 comments)

If they'd install a decent browser (in addition to the crippled browser that came with their tablets)

That would require buying a second noon-iPad tablet on which to run a non-crippled browser. Because the iOS API lacks support for runtime generation of executable code, all browsers in Apple's App Store are either Safari wrappers or, in the case of Opera Mini, remote desktop viewers.

So which case describes Chrome? I have it installed on an iPad, and it lacks most of the "walled garden" flakinesses of Safari, pretty much doing things the way browsers on non-Apple systems do them. Thus, Safari balks when you try to get it to display a PDF in a page, but Chrome does it like you'd expect, and sometimes even sizes it to its container correctly. Safari can display PDFs ok, if it's the only thing in a tab, but if you try to surround a PDF "object" with HTML, Safari flatly refuses, showing the "not implemented" message instead. I've taken to including a link to the PDF inside the "not implemented" failure message, and clicking on that link works fine, showing that Safari is quite capable of displaying such files. It just doesn't like to do so inside a web page with, say, additional information about the PDF. But somehow Chrome implements both cases. Google finds a number of complaints about this, and comments that nobody seems to be able to find a fix for Safari's flakiness in this case (and many more ;-).

3 days ago
top

Yahoo Shuttering Its Web Directory

jc42 Re:Yep (115 comments)

Tablet focused design has ruined the web

Nah; the people who still use the web haven't seen much of anything "ruined". They see the web they've long seen, just with a larger set of web sites each month, and maybe a few new features in their browsers. It's just the suckers that succumb to the vendors' enticements into their Walled Gardens that think things have changed. If they'd install a decent browser (in addition to the crippled browser that came with their tablets), they'd see that the web is chugging along as it always has, some parts of it good and other parts not so good.

The fact that the marketers have pushed their New! Improved! products for small, portable computers doesn't mean that the old products have suddenly lost their capabilities. It just means that some of the customers have been persuaded to switch to other things that may or may not be any better.

The biggest problem with "the web" from a tablet user's viewpoint is all the old sites built by "designers" who haven't yet learned that their sites need to work on whatever screen the visitor has, including the small screens that so many people are carrying around now. The days are past when a site designer could design only for people with screens as big as the fancy one sitting on the designer's desktop. If your site doesn't work on the small screens, you won't attract many of the billion or so people who weren't using the web 5 years ago, but are now.

This isn't the fault of "tablet focused design"; it's a problem caused by designers' contempt for people with such small, cheap and portable equipment. They've been essentially anti-tablet since before tablets even existed. But they're slowly coming around, as they slowly realize how crappy their sites really are, from the viewpoint of most newcomers to the Internet.

(Actually, the web has always worked a lot better if you consciously avoid sites created by "designers". Those built by people with an engineer's concern for usability have always been a lot more useful, and they tend to work pretty well on tablets, phones, etc. The "designers" usually don't think they look pretty. But people continue to use google a lot, for example, despite its blatant lack of "design". Or maybe because of it. ;-)

3 days ago
top

Apple Yanks iOS 8 Update

jc42 Re:Apple's QA vs. Android's QA (203 comments)

I am wondering how a company that has all the money and talent can't catch a bug like this. Their test surface is laughably small compared to what Android or Windows has to support. What is going on there? What process are they using?

It's a well-known software phenomenon: The time it takes to build and debug a program is proportional to the number of people involved. Some argue that it's closer to the square of the number of people (due to the number of interactions in the graph connecting the portions written by different programmers). If you want a bug-free app developed quickly, give it to one person, and make sure that one person understands the problem well.

Actually, a more fun analysis says that the time is really just a function of the (square of the) number of managers managing the development team. But that might be taking cynicism a bit too seriously.

about a week ago
top

Scotland Votes No To Independence

jc42 Re:Everyone loses (474 comments)

Actually, there's quite a lot of history in various parts of the world when parts of a political entity split off. Sometimes this is done peacefully, sometimes it involves serious fighting and wars. An interesting recent case was in Switzerland, where in 1978 the Canton of Bern split, with the northern part forming the new Canton of Jura. You can read a lot about it online, including a couple of wikipedia articles. It's fairly well encoded in Swiss law, where similar votes happen every few years, typically involving a municipality with a large population that wants to secede from its canton and join another. The typical reason for such splits is as in Scotland, where the people in an area feel poorly served by the government, and think they can do better as part of a different county/state/whatever, or perhaps as an independent unit as Jura did.

Here in the US, we had a similar vote in 1863, which resulted in the new state of West Virginia being formed. This is often presented as part of the Civil War split off of the Confederacy. Historians tend to interpret it as more of a case of the western population feeling poorly treated by the remote state government in Richmond, which collect taxes in the mountains, but provided few government services in return. West Virginia did apply to the federal government for statehood, which was ratified after a few years. Unlike the Southern secession, this was done without (further) warfare. A funny aspect of the story is that now, several counties in the northeast of West Virginia have openly discussed seceding and joining either Virginia or Maryland, for pretty much the same reasons. Unlike Switzerland, though, the US doesn't have much in the way of official laws that deal with such political reorganization and redrawing of political boundaries.

The story in Scotland may work out as it often does in Switzerland, where many of the votes for secession fail. The reason is that the referendum functions as a "wake-up call" to the government. It's typical for a lot of public discussion to happen, and the government(s) make promises to fix the problems that triggered the referendum. Sometimes, as people have suggested here, the government reneges on its promises. This will be followed by another vote a few years later, which will often succeed. Or the government may fix many of the problems, which will satisfy the voters and repeated votes will fail.

The Scots would probably do well to continue discussing the issues publicly, and keep the London government aware that they can't continue to get away with everything without repercussions.

about two weeks ago
top

On Independence for Scotland:

jc42 Re:Shetland and Orkney (192 comments)

Yes, this is correct, and my bad for perpetuating the myth. I read once that Shetland was closer to Oslo than Edinburgh, but that's also blatantly false. ...

More accurately, I've seen it stated as "closer to Bergen than Edinburgh". Or course, some people might not know where Bergen is. In any case, Shetland historically has always been rather remote from either "mainland", and they've pretty much been on their own all along. If they have problems in the middle of their winter, they can't much rely on help from anyone in the rest of the world.

about two weeks ago
top

On Independence for Scotland:

jc42 Re:Probably a bad idea, but... (192 comments)

Well, I've always sorta liked the Scottish historians' observation that, strictly speaking, it was Scotland that took over England, not the other way around. That was after the first Queen Liz died, back in 1703. The new king was the fellow who was already King James VI of Scotland, and became King James I of the United Kingdom of Scotland and England; uh, I mean of England and Scotland.

Of course, a more accurate description wouldn't interpret this as either country taking over the other. It was really more a case of the inbred population of royalty, who were really neither Scottish nor English, agreeing among themselves who should be the next monarch over both of those populations, and giving both jobs to the same fellow. He then spent much of the rest of his life trying to merge them into a single "nation" -- and not succeeding all that well. But this wasn't any real benefit to the majority of either the Scottish or English populations. Or the Welsh or Irish or Manx or Cornish or Shetlanders or ..., for that matter. Or those Colonials over across the Pond.

about two weeks ago
top

Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jc42 Re:Not True, I Saw It Online: (85 comments)

There's no measurable genetic differences. There's only one race: the human race, and that's all that ever was and ever will be.

It's not an all-or-nothing situation. There are statistical genetic differences between various groups of people (though superficial features like skin color are often not closely related to ancestral groupings). One of my favorite such statistics was the calculation that some time in the late 1980s, the US population passed the mixing point where more than 50% of Americans now have sub-Saharan African ancestors. Most such people look "white", of course, since they have only a small fraction of African genes.

I recently read that the accumulated DNA data shows that between 20% and 25% of the US population has "Native American" genes, though again in most of that population is primarily "white". I'm part of that population, with an Ojibwa great-grandmother, though nobody would ever guess by looking at me that I'm not of pure European ancestry.

One thing I've found difficult to discover is what fraction of the US is purely European. If you try googling the topic, it mostly teaches you one thing: Most people don't understand even such simple statistics. You find lots of matches for the part of the population that's "white" or "of European ancestry", but the phrasing implies that they're talking about people who are predominantly European. There's data on the small populations that are purely African or purely Asian or whatever, but it's hard to find any information on the (probably small) population that's purely European.

Of course, for most purposes this all qualifies as idle curiosity. But there are at least a few medical reasons for studying it, in addition to general curiosity about where we all came from.

about two weeks ago
top

Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jc42 Re:Hmmm (85 comments)

Is there a connection with the adjacent story?

Yeah; if you look back a couple of million years, we're all related to chimpanzees.

about two weeks ago
top

Europeans Came From Three Ancestry Groupings

jc42 Re:Finnish (85 comments)

You don't need to learn languages to do linguistics. You need to learn about languages.

While working on a linguistics minor for my CS degree, I heard a number of versions of the quip that a linguist is someone who knows 100 words in each of 100 different languages. Of course, this should be followed with the observation that the main focus of linguistics is understanding the structures of languages, and vocabulary is interesting only in that it shows relations between languages. This doesn't generally require having a large enough vocabulary to be fluent. Most of the actual linguists I've met are fluent in only a few languages. These are often languages that are radically different from each other, though, since radical differences in how to express something would be interesting to a linguist.

about two weeks ago
top

Dealership Commentator: Tesla's Going To Win In Every State

jc42 Re:Not in Tesla's favour (156 comments)

This leads to the question of whether there will be some sort of sweeping federal action in Tesla's favor.

I'd say that's a poor choice of wording. If any such action was taken, it would be AGAINST dealers. It won't be in favour of any single company. It should be fair for all.

It should be. But history (e.g. the "only sell through registered dealers" laws) says it won't be. It'll be in favor of whoever pays the most bribes to the right officials.

about two weeks ago
top

Once Vehicles Are Connected To the Internet of Things, Who Guards Your Privacy?

jc42 Re:I have a phone in my pocket (130 comments)

no, but while there are no regulations on mandatory tracking equipment for phones, there are all sorts of regulations on cars. If we got legislation on the books to mandate this tech then it would be illegal to drive without letting the govt track you.

That's already the case in the US (and as I recall, we discussed it here a few years back). US law for some time has required that new auto tires contain an RFID tag. Granted, those can't be read at a distance, but they can be read by sensors under the roadway or in poles next to the street.

It's hard to believe that the purpose of this can be anything but tracking. Yeah, such tags might have other uses, but would any of those uses have resulted in laws mandating the tags?

about two weeks ago
top

Once Vehicles Are Connected To the Internet of Things, Who Guards Your Privacy?

jc42 Re:I have a phone in my pocket (130 comments)

... It knows where I am. It knows how fast I'm going. ...

Well, maybe, and maybe not.

I recall a couple years ago, when I was traveling south on a street in a nearby town, but when I glanced at the GPS gadget, it showed me about a block north of where I was -- and headed north. Traffic was light, so I looked at it frequently, to see what it did, and it showed me continuing north, until my actual location was nearly a mile south of what it showed. Then it decided I'd made a U-turn, and was proceeding south at a rather high speed. Finally, the little You-Are-Here icon reached my actual position, and slowed down to match me. A bit later, I checked its records of that trip, and it showed a max speed somewhat over 250 mph.

So if the police had access to that data, I'd have got a ticket for going about 8 times the legal speed limit. I sorta suspect that most judges would laugh and toss it out. But if it'd been only twice the speed limit, I'd probably have had a large fine to pay.

And note that the position was credible, though it was roughly a mile off. A couple of months ago, however, I noticed that, while my bearing and speed seemed accurate, my GPS position was roughly 100 miles SE of my actual position, which put me maybe 10 or 20 miles east of Cape Cod, driving along in the ocean. It stayed that way for at least 15 minutes, and then suddenly popped over to a local street a few blocks from my actual position.

I've also seen it showing my position as being in north-central Canada, and somewhere in Nevada, when I was actually in the Boston metro area.

So if the police are tracking our GPS position and speed, we have no defense. Yes, maybe the judges will dismiss the tickets that are obviously so badly wrong. But if they're only off by a few miles or mph, we'll all be getting completely bogus tickets that we'll have to pay.

Of course, they may still dismiss them for people who "look right" and "talk right", as they do with claimed drug offenses. ;-)

about two weeks ago
top

German Court: Google Must Stop Ignoring Customer E-mails

jc42 Re:define "customer" (290 comments)

Simply contact the account manager that has been assigned to you. It's no problem at all to contact Google if you're actually bringing in revenue for them.

In my experience, it is still a problem. Some years back, I signed up to run some google ads on a few web sites that I was responsible for, added their code to my pages, and got a few hundred dollars a month for the orgs that I was helping run the sites. After a while, I got a notice from google that the sites were violating some unspecified terms in their TOS, and the money stopped. I sent a good number of emails to various google support addresses, asking for details of the claimed violation. I never heard back from anyone at google. So I removed the ads from the sites.

Presumably the small amount they paid these orgs to run their ads was a small portion of what google got from the advertisers. But this apparently didn't justify wasting their people's time explaining to us what we were doing wrong. The wording in their TOS docs were ambiguous enough that, as a programmer, I couldn't figure out what might be wrong, and I couldn't see any way of testing changes to the code to see if I could turn the contract on and off by changing a site's behavior. If their response time has a quantum of a month, it's difficult to test the effect of changes.

We suspected that their problem with us was that we had a rather low click-through rate. The ads I saw were remarkably irrelevant to the topics of the sites, and no amount of playing with keywords changed this by much. Our keywords did work well with google search to direct people to the sites, but this apparently wasn't good enough to also direct the right ads to the sites. Mostly, I just shrugged, and said "So much for google's vaunted targeting of ads".

But our inability to get any response at all from their support people didn't do much to fix whatever they thought the problems might have been.

about three weeks ago
top

Apparent Meteorite Hits Managua, Nicaragua, Leaving Crater But No Injuries

jc42 Re:Taste like chicken? (107 comments)

Do dinosaurs taste like chicken?

They ought to. Recent research has shown that chickens are the closest living relative of T. Rex.

Really? Do you have a reference for the research?

If it's true that T.rex is closer to chickens than to pheasants, peafowl, and other Phasianinae, it would mean that the Phasianinae family dates back to before the K-T disaster. This would sorta imply a major reorg of the Therapsids, as well as the entire Aves class.

So it's be interesting to read about the research on this discovery.

about three weeks ago
top

Two Explorers Descend Into An Active Volcano, and Live to Tell About It

jc42 Re:It is spelled Vanuatu, you fucking retards. (66 comments)

Every single one of you didn't even catch the fact that the name was spelled incorrectly.

While you were busy pretending to be intelligent, the world was watching you and laughing.

Wrong; I noticed the mispelling in the summary, and I noticed the misspeling in the article. And I noticed the comment about it in the short "discussion" below the article. So when I came here, I did a scan for "spell" to see how many people noticed. What, no matches? So I slid the little sliders that control the level of comments visible, all the way to the right -- and I found your comment. Of course, with with a score of 0, it might be missed by a lot of readers. But I didn't have mod points, so I replied instead, to tell you that you were wrong to say "Every single one of you" missed it.

There are probably others, too, but they just shrugged, mumbled something about the poor knowledge of geography in the kids these days, and read on.

(And I do have a general policy of mispeling the word "misspell" during spelling flames, but so far hardly anyone has ever called me on it, so I conclude that it's a futile exercise in meta-humor. ;-)

about three weeks ago

Submissions

top

Neanderthal nuclear genome sequenced

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 4 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The first successful sequencing of the Neandert(h)al genome has been published in Science, by a team led by Svante Päbo of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Among their conclusions is that the Neandertals most likely did interbreed with the Cro Magnon invaders from Africa. There were a number of gene variants shared with modern Europeans but not with several other groups in Africa. The article states that "Modern humans and Neanderthals are so closely related that a comparison of their genomes must take into account the fact that for any particular part of the genome, a single modern human and a single Neandertal could be more similar to each other than two modern humans would be." So it looks like we'll have to look for a different hominid for the split that produced Homo sapiens. And, of course, further research is needed."
Link to Original Source
top

That nice format of the past few days reverted

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 5 years ago

jc42 writes "For several days, slashdot's main page showed on my screen (in several browsers) in a very nice format: Just the stories. That left column which is mostly just white space was missing, and that silly right column that took up half the screen and just listed a few of my recent messages was also missing. I could make the window about 1/3 the width of my 1920x1200 screen and see 4 or 5 summaries at a time. It was a real pleasure to be able to read /. without wasting most of the screen space. Today, it reverted to the old format, with mostly wasted space and a narrow column for the stories, one at a time. If I want to get more than one summary on my 1920x1200 screen, I again have to make the browser window full screen, and most of the screen is blank. Is there some reliable way to get the simple format again? It'd be nice to be able to read /. in a format that doesn't waste 2/3 of the window with stuff that I don't read. (And is there some better way to ask such questions? I've long wished there were a /. "place to ask dumb questions", but I've never seen one. Of course, there might be one that I don't about. If so, I'll go ask my dumb questions there. ;-)"
top

Latest Earth-crossing asteroid passes by tonight

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jc42 writes "Astronomers have been looking at the first images of asteroid 2007 TU24, the 250-meter asteroid that will pass 540,000 km from the Earth at 8:33 UTC (3:30 EST) Tuesday morning. So get your telescopes out; it's a 10th-magnitude object. Or just hold your breath as the time approaches. Maybe astronomers will get good enough numbers for its 2000-year orbit to calculate how long until it hits our planet. It might be sobering to consider that it was just discovered last October, and we know about maybe half of the objects like this in Earth-crossing orbits."
Link to Original Source
top

OLPC "Give One, Get One" offer extended to

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 6 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The One Laptop Per Child program has extended its North American "Give One, Get One" program to the end of the year. It seems they've been deluged with orders, and are realizing that this thing could be very popular in the First World, too. My wife and I have ordered some as Xmas presents for children/grandchildren, since it seems to be the first computer aimed at kids that, as some reviewers comment, "isn't a toy". We're wondering if we should get some for ourselves, for our second childhood. We're both software developers who'd like to get our hands on this new GUI. Anyone else have any comments, pro or con? Have you ordered one? Why?"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "NPR, PCworld, and some 400 other news sources (according to Google News) are reporting on a new Google feature: Google Earth, in cooperation with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum now presents details of the growing disaster in Darfur. They give a virtual tour of the area, with details of events in many villages in the words of local residents. So in addition to their "Do no evil" motto, they apparently now have a policy of exposing evil. Needless to say, the Sudan government didn't exactly cooperate with this project."
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 7 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "The latest skirmish in the ongoing escalation of "Intellection Property" rights to cover everything in our culture, a number of news sources are telling the story of James Worley, a "portly fellow with a full white beard" who was being mistaken for Santa Clause by children at Disney World in Florida. He was approached by Disney people and ordered to change his appearance, because "Santa is a Disney Character". Is there anything that Disney doesn't now claim to own?"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  about 8 years ago

jc42 (318812) writes "A recent study published in Nature documents the accelerating release of methane from melting permafrost. Methane is a greenhouse gas 23 times more "effective" than carbon dioxide, so this may signal more rapid warming in the near future. If you don't subscribe to Nature, the Guardian has a good summary. [Ed: What's an appropriate topic for this? I see nothing appropriate in the menu.]"
top

jc42 jc42 writes  |  more than 8 years ago

jc42 writes "Breaking news: The IAU has voted, and Pluto is now a "dwarf planet", not a "planet". Note the bit about an astronomer holding up a Walt Disney Pluto under an umbrella. Cue the endless debate on this vital topic ..."

Journals

Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?