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Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

openfrog Re:So long as it is consential (363 comments)

Absent that they're being compelled and I do have a problem with that.

I do. 'Big History', to begin with, is so ugly a term and reminds one so much of Novlang that it is scary. World History is fine with me, or is too 'liberal'?

Otherwise, your post is insightful. You point out how these ugly things are forced upon unwilling public institutions.

about three weeks ago
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Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

openfrog Summary wrong about weigth (363 comments)

Summary says:
"The battery would add about 100 kg to an existing Tesla car's battery weight."

The article summarized says:
"According to Tzidon, the new battery technology can store enough energy to take a car 3,000 kilometres with 100 kilograms of aluminum-air batteries. For comparison, the Tesla Model S battery is estimated to be more than 500 kilograms."

Sigh...

about 4 months ago
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Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

openfrog Non event... (186 comments)

After reading Slashdot for many years, I am coming back after two months of not visiting and what do I see? Another anti-Google posting using all the power of the anecdotal... This is a non-event, and Google will change track in this case as soon as they are pointed out their mistake.

I am not sure if I will have the courage to go through today's list. I remember this place as one where I could read intelligent comments, but those who used to make this place what it was have now almost all left...

about 5 months ago
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Google Starts Tracking Retail Store Visits On Android and iOS

openfrog Dup... please! (157 comments)

Not only a dupe, but one of the first remark on the discussion was that, not CREDIT CARD COMPANIES already track your every purchase and visits to specific stores, and have done this for a long time.

This is a forum of well-informed people. We would want to read about Google other things that what the PR firm hired by Microsoft spews out day in or day out.

Either that or I am going to find another IT news forum. I want to read informed opinions, and while we still find interesting discussions here, it is becoming far and between... Anyone else having this feeling?

about a year ago
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Debunking the Lorentz System As a Framework For Human Emotions

openfrog Re:Rosenham Experiment (124 comments)

Insights are one thing, but constantly trying to hammer objectivity into something so complex as human behaviour is always going to be flawed.

Granted, and Sokal and others do very well here debunking the spurious claims of Fredrickson and Losada. However, let's not be carried over in the same generalities about human sciences that surrounded his original hoax, and let us by reminded of the Bogdanov affair, where two clowns managed to get PhDs in physics and in mathematics, and published articles in peer-reviewed journals IN THOSE FIELDS on topics such as what happened just after the Big Bang (see Wikipedia article: Bogdanov Affair). Neither you or I would claim that these hoaxes invalidate in any way, serious or otherwise, our current understanding of physics and mathematics... but they are indeed a nuisance and more seriously, can be used by interested parties to cause damage in public opinion.

I would really wish to read Alan Sokal on the Bogdanov Affair...

about a year ago
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USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

openfrog Anyone questioning this whole story? (955 comments)

I am interested in issues of privacy, and considering that Google has left China over such an issue, the original story sounded quite implausible to me.

I have read the original document that was supposedly leaked about PRISM. I still have to be convinced of its authenticity.

Even more so after reading a quite sensible account of this whole story, gathered by eight contributors to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/technology/tech-companies-bristling-concede-to-government-surveillance-efforts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

If people are led to believe that everything we do online is available to the NSA in the manner described in the supposedly leaked document, it will be much more difficult to lead campaigns about real threats, like SOPA, etc.

about a year ago
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IBM Makes a Movie Out of Atoms

openfrog First interesting comment... (102 comments)

Atom jokes are fine, but the parent is the first interesting or informative comment on the whole thread.

The "making of" linked at the end of the movie is well made and stimulating. I particularly liked this comment from the director of the project:

"If I can do this and I can get a thousand kids join science, rather than go to law school, I would be super happy".

about a year ago
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Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

openfrog Re:If we can't manage a planets resources... (414 comments)

...then we are basically a cosmic cancer.

Quite right. Furthermore, and this is where I find difficult to follow Hawking's spiel, if we entertain the dream that we will eventually find another place to live, this will be used to keep the lid, the already quite heavy lid, on efforts to properly address environmental issues on planet earth.

about a year and a half ago
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Why PC Sales Are Declining

openfrog Re:Bringing home programming homework (564 comments)

So in a PC-less household, what happens when Junior brings home programming homework from school? Programming is something that smartphones and tablets have historically been bad at, especially with the application approval model used by Apple iDevices.

Raspberry Pi

about a year and a half ago
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Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

openfrog Re:Profound implications! (88 comments)

The issue is not that they can tell which phone number you use, obviously. As I see it there are three problems with this kind of tracking technology:

Secondly, mass surveillance is not just about you as an individual. By looking at where you go when and how long you stay there and correlating this with who else goes there at the same time one can make deductions about social networks within society without ever looking at one person up close.

I am with you on abuse from repressive regimes. But when you say "with this technology", I fail to understand. All the uses and abuses you mention are already not only possible, but routinely done by repressive regimes, and some. "This technology" adds nothing to the equation, except perhaps marginal cases where they would want to track you "across devices".

In this regard, I can only find that the profound implications mentioned in the article are not so much profound as they are obscure.

about a year and a half ago
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Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

openfrog Re:Profound implications! (88 comments)

Here's what it does mean.

With access to this data (even if its through an abstraction API), I could match back a profile created based on one device (using a device ID) with a new device owned by the same person.

So lets say I'm a retailer and I want to track your visits to my stores based on your device ID... with this abstracted "fingerprint" API I could conceivably request a match back for your new device against the database and get your old device ID in response, voila - anonymous transition of the profile to your new device. I can now continue tracking you with no lost history.

Mmmmh! You begin with the proviso: "With access to this data"...

Well if you have access to this data, you will not be a retailer...

about a year and a half ago
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Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

openfrog Profound implications! (88 comments)

Profound implications for privacy... The analogies are perplexing. Should I also worry about the fact that I have ten fingers with ten fingerprints at the end of them (not mentioning toes) means that it is impossible for me to have privacy? Recent research on 1.5 Million users shows that phone numbers uniquely identify subjects 100% of the time. That does not sound like this has profound implications for privacy, does it? Now admittedly, they talk about randomly chosen "spatio-temporal points", meaning, if you think of it, that you have a good chance at any time, of being either at home or at your place of work. But since your phone number already identifies you, the profound implications for privacy referred to in the article somehow escape me...

about a year and a half ago
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Hitachi's Tiny Robo-Taxi Carries 1 Passenger and No Driver

openfrog 6 km/h on sidewalks! (86 comments)

The company conducted a test in Tsukuba (Ibaraki Prefecture) within a roughly 18 km wide sidewalk. It can get to a speed of 6 km/h.

However, not only the video does not show it in operation in situ, but does not even show it running at all. The presentation instead consists of stills showing someone sitting in it and entering or exiting.

The story is interesting in that it shows a companies rushing to demonstrate the technology and how it can be used.

about a year and a half ago
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Should We Be Afraid of Google Glass?

openfrog Two-way transparency argument a valid one (307 comments)

If the police officers and border guards were forced to wear them, they perhaps would have an incentive to treat you decently and not to violate your rights.

If worn by participants in a demonstration, also interesting, especially if streamed live.

The argument of equalizing the relation between the powerful and the powerless in surveillance does have merit. Especially when the NSA is currently building a 65 Megawatts datacenter, where they will have the possibility to trace everyone whereabouts.

From another commnent: yes a red LED will blink when recording.

about a year and a half ago
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Tech Leaders Create Most Lucrative Science Prize In History

openfrog Inexact summary and linked article (147 comments)

The article stated makes it look like this is the initiative of Zuckerberg, and manages to misreport the scale of this prize.

See the foundations website: http://www.breakthroughprizeinlifesciences.org/

Not 11 prizes totalling 33 millions as reported, but 5 prizes of 3 M each.

Also the sponsors are listed, in that order,

                Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki
                Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan
                Yuri Milner

about a year and a half ago
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Google Looks To Cut Funds To Illegal Sites

openfrog FUD Campaign continuing (347 comments)

I have mod points, but not finding anyone questioning this source... Have you RTFA? This is The Telegraph! There is no source cited AT ALL. You don't know who said what in which context. Nothing.

Microsoft has hired the CEO of Burton-Marsteller with the official function of spreading FUD on Google.

But frankly, this sounds more like this comes from The Onion... Nobody here questions sources anymore?

about a year and a half ago
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Do Patent Laws Really Protect Small Inventors?

openfrog Re:Wrong Premise, Approach from a Different Angle (267 comments)

From the article:

Mr Baylis has been lobbying for the patent system to become more robust and to turn the theft of intellectual property into a white-collar crime that carries a prison sentence... Currently patent infringement is considered to be a civil matter in the UK rather than a criminal matter... ...Students need to be taught about intellectual property in schools...

Mr Baylis is representing himself as the small guy (incorrectly claiming the invention of the crank radio), making the exact case that the big guys are currently lobbying the government for.

If Mr Baylis had been what he pretends he was, with the laws he is advocating for, he would have risked ending up in prison on top of losing his house.

about a year and a half ago
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Billionaires Secretly Fund Vast Climate Denial Network

openfrog Re:Don't forget the disinformation. (848 comments)

'We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,' says Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust.

And don't forget the disinformation. We can't have all that freedom with an informed public.

Oh for that, when we achieve the goal of a "limited government", we can spend a bit again to institute a ministry of truth.

about a year and a half ago
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Google Nixes Some Calendar Features and Other Software Offerings

openfrog New features (235 comments)

On other news sites, I read that Google today announces 18 new features. http://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2012/12/google-communities-and-photos.html etc.
And here: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/14/google-gives-google-end-of-year-update-adds-low-bandwidth-hangouts-full-size-mobile-photo-backups-better-event-planning-animated-gifs-and-more/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+(TechCrunch)&source=email_rt_mc_body&ifp=0

Just Google it...

But on Slashdot, I read that drivel coming right out of Burston-Marsteller, or some other PR drone.

This is supposed to be a technology forum but somehow, some Slashdot editors perhaps seem to think that this is 'provoking' material, in the good sense of being humorous and driving up the number of comments?

But at what price? At what price, just in terms of credibility, for a beginning?

Could someone answer that?

about 2 years ago
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Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing

openfrog Re:Darwin awards (655 comments)

...that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.

We are pleased to announce that in recognition of their high engagement and their high motivation to disregard facts, those 8% are all eligible to a Darwin award.

I think the Darwin Award would only be appropriate if their actions harmed themselves without having the same negative consequences on the rest of us.

Indeed, I can only agree with you. On the other hand, if an 8% of ignorants is enough to prevent us to act collectively, we are in for the highest Darwin award (or next to the highest as the highest would be the extinction of all life): a Species Darwin Award.

about 2 years ago

Submissions

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The World Wide Web is twenty today

openfrog openfrog writes  |  about a year and a half ago

openfrog (897716) writes "On 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web ("W3", or simply "the web") technology available on a royalty-free basis. By making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.

By late 1993 there were over 500 known web servers, and the WWW accounted for 1% of internet traffic, which seemed a lot in those days (the rest was remote access, e-mail and file transfer). Twenty years on, there are an estimated 630 million websites online.

The CERN has a very nice commemoration page."
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Microsoft very particular style of "competing" now in the open

openfrog openfrog writes  |  about 2 years ago

openfrog (897716) writes "The New York Times has an interesting article about Mark Penn joining Microsoft, in charge of "strategic and special projects".

Penn made a name for himself in Washington by bulldozing opponents through smear campaigns. Now he spends his days trying to do the same to Google, on behalf of its archrival Microsoft.

This a scaling up of the anti-Google campaigns he has been mounting up since 1990 as CEO of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller, on behalf of his old Harvard friends Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Presenting this as a defensive posture for past wounds inflicted on Microsoft, the new strategy is described as moving from working in the shadows to one of perpetrating attacks in plain view.

Reading this makes one feel like distant the idea that capitalism works from competing to bring a better product to the consumer.

I propose creating a new category on Slashdot to track down this behaviour, where we would detect and expose distasteful PR strategies in action, for the benefit of journalists, bloggers and reviewers who could otherwise fall in for the lies."

Link to Original Source
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South Korea to revisit decision on banning evolution from textbooks

openfrog openfrog writes  |  more than 2 years ago

openfrog (897716) writes "The South Korean government is poised to appoint a new committee that will revisit a controversial plan to drop two examples of evolutionary theory from high school textbooks. The committee, to be led by insect taxonomist Byoung-Hoon Lee, a member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, has been asked to re-evaluate requests from a Korean creationist group to drop references to bird and horse evolution that they argue promote "atheist materialism."

At the same time, about 50 prominent Korean scientists are preparing to present government officials with a petition, organized by the Korean Association of Biological Sciences, which calls for rejecting the proposed changes.

"When these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion" says Jae Choe, an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University in Seoul who helped organize the petition."

Link to Original Source
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Avaaz website under massive attack

openfrog openfrog writes  |  more than 2 years ago

openfrog (897716) writes "Right now, the Avaaz website is under massive attack, which has been going for 36 hours straight. An an attack this large is likely coming from a government or large corporation.

Their people-powered campaigning has been fearless, and they have taken on the world's worst actors head-on, in ways that genuinely hurt them — from the Syrian and Chinese regimes to Rupert Murdoch, Big Oil and organized crime. The Syrian dictatorship called their campaigner 'the most dangerous man in the world', and a UK inquiry recently revealed emails between Murdoch's news corporation and top levels of government saying the Avaaz campaign against Murdoch was their biggest concern.

Avaaz is raising money to take its security to the next level. Can Slashdotters help with suggestions on how best to build their infrastructure?"

Link to Original Source
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Students assigned to write Wikipedia articles

openfrog openfrog writes  |  more than 5 years ago

openfrog (897716) writes "An inspired professor at University of Washington-Bothell, Martha Groom, made an interesting pedagogical experiment. Instead of vilifying Wikipedia as some academics are prone to do, she assigned the students enrolled in her environmental history course to contribute articles. The result has proven "transformative" to her students. They were no longer spending their time writing for one reader, says Groom, but were doing work of consequence in a "peer reviewed" environment, which enhanced the quality of their output. What do you fellow Slashdotters think of the idea that in our colleges and universities lies a potentially large and untapped resource for Wikipedia?"
Link to Original Source

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