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How Big Telecom Smothers Municipal Broadband

sam_nead Re:um (111 comments)

Soros hasn't funded them in the last decade. "They are not journalists" - they won a Pulitzer...

about two weeks ago

Lavabit Loses Contempt Appeal

sam_nead Re:I miss Groklaw :-( (128 comments)

If I had mod points then one would be yours. "Wahhhhh!", indeed.

about 4 months ago

Ford Exec: 'We Know Everyone Who Breaks the Law' Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car

sam_nead Re:Herpin' the Derp (599 comments)

For example, sketching a picture of a dead president on a napkin and handing it to the nearest bystander doesn't typically appease the magic paper enforcement officers.

You are wrong, and you are right. You will find the following of interest.

about 8 months ago

Square Is Discontinuing Monthly Pricing On February 1, 2014

sam_nead Re:Swipe? (114 comments)

Essentially every shop in the UK has a chip and pin reader. Contactless payment (with a home-grown card) is standard on the London underground. I assume it is only a matter of time before contactless payment spreads to the shops.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: What Is a Reasonable Way To Deter Piracy?

sam_nead Re:life-long updates (687 comments)

I suggest that you _not_ spend time thinking deeply about DRM: every minute thinking about DRM is a minute not spent coding up your project. If you can contact a sufficiently large audience then Kickstarter is worth trying. Otherwise you could offer updates. Both are ways of asking for money in advance for product/service later.

about a year and a half ago

Missouri Legislation Redefines Science, Pushes Intelligent Design

sam_nead Re:Christians, physicians and hospitals (813 comments)

Bible - "For when I am weak, then am I powerful."

Orwell - "Weakness is strength".

Awesome. Never saw that before. Thanks!

about a year and a half ago

Asteroid Resources Could Make Science Fiction Dreams and Nightmares a Reality

sam_nead Re:Hello, economics (223 comments)

Hmm. Refueling communications satellites. Interesting idea. "Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."

about a year and a half ago

Asteroid Resources Could Make Science Fiction Dreams and Nightmares a Reality

sam_nead Re:Hello, economics (223 comments)

"The piece that everyone forgets about this is that while the raw mineral resources themselves have some value, they have another feature that is extremely valuable, which is that they are outside of a deep gravity well."

And so we deduce that the resources, outside of the deep gravity well, are only valuable to communities living outside the deep gravity well. Ie, nobody. There is nothing up there worth something to people _down_here_.

I believe that this is a highly non-trivial bootstrapping problem. You need unimaginable technologies in orbit (power satellites? nano-materials that can only be built in zero-gravity?) to make it worthwhile to go up there and start the process. However, nobody will come up with those technologies until there is a huge industrial base in orbit... So it is impossible to get started.

Sorry to be a downer. (No pun intended.)

about a year and a half ago

Objective-C Overtakes C++, But C Is Number One

sam_nead Re:Agreed. (594 comments)

Don't knock having primate ancestors. Some of my best friends are primates.

more than 2 years ago

Iran Plans To Unplug the Internet, Launch Its Own 'Clean' Alternative

sam_nead Re:Good. (301 comments)

From the article:

The organization says that the system "consists of an Intranet designed ultimately to replace the international Internet and to discriminate between ordinary citizens and the 'elite' (banks, ministries and big companies), which will continue to have access to the international Internet."

If that is accurate and if I follow your naming scheme correctly, in this case the "bad guys" want continued access to the wider world. It is the "ordinary citizens" who need to be "left alone" by the "good" guys. Did I get all that right?

more than 2 years ago

Ask MIT Researchers About Fusion Power

sam_nead Re:Dense Plasma Focus (318 comments)

Please mod parent up. I'd like to hear an answer to this.

more than 2 years ago

Detecting Chess Cheats Taxes Computers

sam_nead Re:Cage Matches! (159 comments)

It's a YouTube link. Not exactly going to be some graphically disgusting video. Unless you think Beyond Thunderdome is graphically disgusting.


more than 2 years ago

Boycott of Elsevier Exceeds 8000 Researchers

sam_nead Re:Open Access and Old Business Models (220 comments)

Unfortunately, within the academic world, the quality of publications on your CV is determined by the perceived quality of the venue (e.g., high-impact journals, low-acceptance conferences, etc.), as opposed to the quality of the actual work getting published.

This is true and unfortunate, but there is a serious lack of more accurate means of measurement. I'm curious - what do you suggest as a better way to compare 400 candidates applying for 4 jobs? Don't forget the most important constraint: you are not an expert in any of their fields.

more than 2 years ago

Boycott of Elsevier Exceeds 8000 Researchers

sam_nead Re:Open Access and Old Business Models (220 comments)

you publish articles in prestigious journals so that others read your work.

No, no, no. In maths, cs and physics, that is what preprints are for. The journal process can take years -- it is much too slow to be used as a means of communication.

And a big part of how professors are judged for tenure is how many good articles did they publish in prestigious journals.

This part is correct. Classy journals are used by tenure and hiring committees as a way of measuring quality across sub-disciplines of a larger field.

more than 2 years ago

Boycott of Elsevier Exceeds 8000 Researchers

sam_nead Re:Open Access and Old Business Models (220 comments)

PS: And, yes, there is always for pre-prints, where you can get most of the papers anyhow, if you are willing to take the risk.

What risk? What are you talking about? I'll guess: You think think that peer-review is a guarantee of correctness. If so: that is not the case.

more than 2 years ago

Google 'Solve For X' Website Goes Live

sam_nead Re:Priority #1: (80 comments)

Inner-lords, I think.

more than 2 years ago

The Destruction of Iraq's Once-Great Universities

sam_nead Re:News? (444 comments)

This is a good opportunity to put Occam's razor to use. We know that in sudden, widespread disruptive events people loot.

They loot libraries? After a disaster I might loot a store, or an abandoned police station/military post, I guess, but a library? For books? "Hey, its the end of the world! Let's go snag some calculus textbooks!"

more than 2 years ago

America's Turn From Science, a Danger For Democracy

sam_nead Re:U.S. is established on religion, so (900 comments)

"The western world is in the midst of a catastrophe of demographics caused by insufficient breeding."

Population growth, and its corollary consumption growth, will probably end civilization as we know it within 100 years. Please see

It seems to me that the only sane response is to look for new/alternative sources of energy and, at the same time, re-engineer society to that it doesn't rely on growth for its stability.

Of course the human race will survive the end of civilization. But that is not very interesting.

more than 2 years ago


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