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Comment: Re:Time to become a better shopper (Score 4, Insightful) 211

by Accordion Noir (#47116445) Attached to: Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

I'd say that WalMart is getting close to a monopoly in towns I've visited where a few years before there were hardware stores, grocery stores, fabric stores etc, and a somewhat functional downtown, and now there is ... Walmart. It's not the only place you can buy things in the country, but it has pretty much driven some whole towns out of business.

There's anecdotal evidence for you.

+ - Even more Wikipedia donors caught editing their own Wikipedia articles-> 2

Submitted by powersynth102
powersynth102 (3582869) writes "The first installment of Wikipediocracy's expose of major cash donors editing their own Wikipedia articles was greeted with yawns. Well, the second entry has appeared, and this one lists several major donors — all of whom heavily abused Wikipedia COI rules, and edited their own articles without notification. One turns out to be the John Templeton Fund, a notorious supporter of right-wing religious causes. Another is the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit run by Qatar's royal family and a former customer of banned-for-eternity PR firm Bell Pottinger. The Qatar Foundation simply hired another PR firm, who kept editing. Increasingly, it appears that an organization can edit, and bias, its own Wikipedia content with impunity......provided money is given to the Wikimedia Foundation."
Link to Original Source

+ - Fighting radiological terrorism with changes to medical procedures & technol->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes ""This article lays out changes in medical technology that should be discussed at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit (March 24-25). Although 'High-risk radiological sources like cobalt 60 and cesium 137 serve valuable purposes in industry and research, particularly in medicine...'these sources are usually located in publicly accessible spaces, like hospitals or universities...' The article details alternative technologies that could be used instead of technology that relies on radioactive sources. One such change could come in the area of blood irradiation: '...a gradual phase-out of cesium chloride use in pre-transfusion blood irradiation on a global scale—a domain in which non-isotopic alternatives are considered to be the most viable in the short-term.' I'm glad someone is thinking about these things.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Church Committee Members Say New Group Needed to Watch NSA

Submitted by Trailrunner7
Trailrunner7 (1100399) writes "In a letter sent to President Obama and members of Congress, former members and staff of the Church Committee on intelligence said that the revelations of the NSA activities have caused “a crisis of public confidence” and encouraged the formation of a new committee to undertake “significant and public reexamination of intelligence community practices”.

In the letter sent Monday to Obama and Congress, several former advisers to and members of the Church committee, including the former chief counsel, said that the current situation involving the NSA bears striking resemblances to the one in 1975 and that the scope of what the NSA is doing today is orders of magnitude larger than what was happening nearly 40 years ago.

“The need for another thorough, independent, and public congressional investigation of intelligence activity practices that affect the rights of Americans is apparent. There is a crisis of public confidence. Misleading statements by agency officials to Congress, the courts, and the public have undermined public trust in the intelligence community and in the capacity for the branches of government to provide meaningful oversight,” the letter says."

Comment: Re:Fly me to Mars or even to the Moon. (Score 1) 401

Interesting question. What use would this study be for Nasa? Why would they pay for it?

Nasa is one of the concrete government programs that has programs that are designed to run for decades. Space does not have an election cycle or quarterly reports. They build real things that have to be shepherded for years to get to the point where they can get results. That long-term vision might make a study like this useful.

If the economy collapses, engineers aren't going to be making much use of Hubble any more. So a few bucks to look at this, even as simply a potential future funding barrier seems ok by me. And yeah, like this costs as much as making a nice CGI video of the next Mars probe.

The simple solution to all concerns raised here is... huge taxation of the elite, and spend it all on cool Nasa stuff! They left that part out of the report.

Comment: Re:The difference is scale. (Score 4, Insightful) 401

Only Rich People can travel quite quickly and easily.

Try getting citizenship in Iceland, or getting past the immigrant holding-camps in Australia, or over the border separating Mexico from the North, or moving from Africa to most of the European countries.

It's a curiosity of the corporate-libertarian economic model that capitol is multinational, but labour is stuck with the economy their dealt. That's part of the problem that this study seems to address. The elite do not have to care about the majority, because they and their offspring will be able to run from the worst of the problems for the longest – probably. But unless the elite are forced to see themselves at risk, and lose some of the benefits of their elite status, they will oppose change, and with their concentration of power that will cause problems for everybody.

Pretty creepy stuff. Maybe some elitists will read this study and save us! Or some other plan....

Comment: Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score 2) 635

by Accordion Noir (#46008813) Attached to: U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

I don't want to spend time carrying groceries because I have to do more important things like drive to the gym. Wait....

Cars designed the way Americans live. It is a unique lifestyle that has lasted less than a hundred years. It may well change in less time than that and be a historical curiosity. It is difficult to change it right away, but I do think most of us will live better as we drive less.

Comment: Re:Paging Cold Fjord (Score 1) 108

by Accordion Noir (#45902115) Attached to: Mystery of FBI Documents Posted To US Press In 1971 Solved

I've admired these folks – known only by their cheeky "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" name – since I first read about them 25 years ago. Their actions made the world a better place to work for change.

They brought to light (along with the Senate Church Committee hearings) that in the name of fighting terrorism (they used to call it "extremism") the FBI was functioning as a terrorist organization. The FBI itself used to define terrorism as using violence or breaking the law for political ends. The FBI did that. Their Cointelpro actions were illegal, and for political aims. They should have been investigating themselves.

But these folks did it for them! I thank them, and only wish I ever had the chance to contribute something so damn cool.

Comment: "I am not a number!" The Rover rover is coming! (Score 1) 59

by Accordion Noir (#45799911) Attached to: NASA Could Explore Titan With Squishable 'Super Ball Bot'

They say in the video they could have dozens of them operating together. Did anybody else think of old TV shows, and prepare to panic?

The Rover, "a floating white ball that could coerce, and, if necessary, disable inhabitants of The Village, primarily Number Six."

If they come back to Earth like that old Venus probe, we're in trouble.
(Yeah, I remember these episodes of the Six Million Dollar Man from when they came out. I strongly suspect they were not as good as the Prisoner.)

+ - The economic decline of the Soviet Union reduced mercury concentration in fish->

Submitted by Accordion Noir
Accordion Noir (1256202) writes "Virginia tech researchers and a team from the US, Canada, and Russia have released a study indicating that the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 may have had positive environmental results in fish. Reduced mercury releases from mining in areas effected by the economic disarray in Russia led fish to have lower levels of methyl mercury than those in rivers on the Norwegian border or in Canada, where mining continued.

Ice-fishing was used to take samples during November and December, prime season for burbot, a "cod-like" fish at the top of the food-chain in its fresh-water habitat. Research began in Russia between 1980 and 2001, when funding was cut. “More studies are needed in the Russian Arctic if we are to better understand how mercury moves through this type of environment,” said study co-author Leandro Castello.

The article, “Low and Declining Mercury in Arctic Russian Rivers,” is published in today’s (Dec. 20) issue of Environmental Science & Technology, a journal of the American Chemical Society."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:When you have a bad driver ... (Score 1) 961

by Accordion Noir (#45587297) Attached to: Is the Porsche Carrera GT Too Dangerous?

Come now – "a tricycle can become deadly"?

Many, many more people run over their children in the driveway compared to the number of kids killed by their toys.

Cars are the number one cause of death for children after infancy. When we complain about people worrying about stupid things, this is what they should worry about. More than half of all kids are killed by automobiles, far more than any other cause. (Center for Disease Control, fun interactive graphs about death and dying).

If a specific kind of car adds even more danger to this carnage, (hmm, a pun) I see no reason why they shouldn't be removed from the road. I'm happy to blame drivers, but I'd like to take dangerous tools out of their hands too.

Now, whether the issue of regulating the minuscule number of these exotic cars matters in the overall issue of traffic danger, is another matter. We should not focus on a few cars without looking at what measures would actually increase safety in general. But if these cars (and the people who chose to drive them) are costing other people's lives, I'm happy to take their keys away. Let them drive a tricycle, no?

Comment: Re:Idea (Score 1) 481

by Accordion Noir (#44513895) Attached to: Bill Gates Promotes Vaccine Projects, Swipes At Google

Eisenhower was talking about vast military spending, not helping poor people (or whole populations) with basic medical care. If the national debate was over whether we should have private military insurance, that would be interesting. "Sorry, no cheap oil for you, you didn't pay for your invasion insurance."

Air is water with holes in it.