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Science

Nature Vs. Nurture: Waging War Over the Soul of Science 235

Posted by samzenpus
from the born-this-way dept.
derekmead writes "Wherever determinism appears, controversy attends, raising specters of days when colonialists, eugenicists, public health officials, and political idealists believed they could cure the human condition through manipulation and force. Understanding those fears helps shed light on the controversy surrounding a recent paper (PDF) published in the American Economic Review, entitled, 'The "Out of Africa" Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development.' In it, economists Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor argue that the economic development of broad human populations correlate with their levels of genetic diversity—which is, in turn, pinned to the distance its inhabitants migrated from Africa thousands of years ago. Reaction has been swift and vehement. An article signed by 18 academics in Current Anthropology accuses the researchers of 'bad science' — 'something false and undesirable' based on 'weak data and methods' that 'can become a justification for reactionary policy.' The paper attacks everything from its sources of population data to its methods for measuring genetic diversity, but the economists are standing by their methods. The quality of Ashraf and Galor's research notwithstanding, the debate illustrates just how tricky it's become to assert anything which says something about human development was in any way inevitable."
Government

US Postal Service Discontinuing Saturday Mail Delivery 582

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the one-more-nail dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Postal Service has been losing billions of dollars each year as Americans increasingly rely on online communications that drive down mail volumes. Now, Reuters reports that the Postal Service plans to drop Saturday delivery of first-class mail by August, saving $2 billion per year. 'The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America's changing mailing habits,' says Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. But the Postal Service is already facing some pushback for moving forward with delivery schedule changes. 'Today's announcement by Postmaster General Donahoe to eliminate six-day delivery is yet another death knell for the quality service provided by the U.S. Postal Service,' says Jeanette Dwyer, president of the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. 'To erode this service will undermine the Postal Service's core mission and is completely unacceptable.' Package deliveries will continue under the new plan and were a bright spot in a bleak 2012 fiscal year, with package revenue rising 8.7 percent during the year. Donahoe says the changes would allow the Postal Service to continue benefiting from rising package deliveries as Americans order more products from sites such as eBay Inc and Amazon.com Inc."

Comment: Re:It's a trap! (Score 2) 171

by Anon E. Muss (#41896225) Attached to: GM Brings IT Dev Back In House; Self-Driving Caddy In the Works
At the macro level, adding employment to Detroit would be a good thing. At the micro level, it could be a bad thing for individuals who take a job at GM, and then find themselves working in conditions that make Dilbert look good by comparison. I understand "any port in a storm, and any job in a recession." But if you have a choice, would you really want to go to work for somebody who is absolutely hated by many of his prior employees?
Security

GoDaddy Goes Down, Anonymous Claims Responsibility 483

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A member of the Anonymous hacktivist group appears to have taken down GoDaddy with a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS). The widespread issue seems to be affecting countless websites and services around the world, although not for everyone. Godaddy.com is down, but so are some of the site's DNS servers, which means GoDaddy hosted e-mail accounts are down as well, and lots more. It's currently unclear if the servers are being unresponsive or if they are completely offline. Either way, the result is that if your DNS is hosted on GoDaddy, your site may also look as if it is down, because it cannot resolve."

Comment: Re:At the end of the day (Score 5, Insightful) 387

by Anon E. Muss (#41155499) Attached to: Why Juries Have No Place In the Patent System

The jury saw that, and decided that that was wrong.

And therein lies the problem. The point of a trial is to decide what is LEGAL. It's great when Right and Wrong correspond to Legal and Illegal, but it doesn't always work out that way. One reason it doesn't is because right vs. wrong can be very subjective, but legal vs. illegal is supposed to be very objective.

I'm concerned that this jury simply got offended that "Samsung copied Apple", and didn't fully consider the prior art that would make such copying perfectly legal. The foreman saying they wanted to "send a message", in clear violation of the judge's instructions, calls the result into question.

Comment: The fight is really all about the codec (Score 2) 211

by Anon E. Muss (#40953689) Attached to: Microsoft Picks Another Web Standards Fight

From a purely technical perspective, Microsoft's proposal may actually be the better choice. The problem is that CU-RTC-Web doesn't mandate a codec, and lets the peers negotiate. Microsoft spins this as being flexible, and at a purely technical level, it is. The problem is that if the standard doesn't mandate some reasonable baseline codec, you're going to end up with implementations that can't talk to each other. Microsoft knows this, and they doesn't care.

Google isn't exactly a Saint either. They know full well that Microsoft and Apple won't implement VP8 (for semi-defensible technical/legal reasons, as well as evil intent). WebRTC with VP8 is unlikely to ever be available on iDevices, and that's a significant chunk of the market. Google knows this, and they don't care.

Programming

New Analyst Report Calls Agile a Scam, Says It's An Easy Out For Lazy Devs 491

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-i-just-revamped-my-entire-lexicon dept.
msmoriarty writes "We recently got a copy of a new Voke analyst report on Agile, and the firm basically blasts the movement from top to bottom. Some highlights: 'The Agile movement is designed to sell services. ... Out of over 200 survey participants, we received only four detailed comments describing success with Agile.' 'Survey participants report that developers use the guise of Agile to avoid planning and to avoid creating documentation required for future maintenance. ... Be aware that the Agile movement might very well just be either a developer rebellion against unwanted tasks and schedules or just an opportunity to sell Agile services including certification and training.' So did the analysts just talk to the wrong 200 people?"
Linux

+ - [Videos] Linaro engineers talk about the status of Linux on ARM-> 2

Submitted by
Charbax
Charbax writes "Some of the worlds best developers work at Linaro optimizing the future of Linux on ARM. In this 4-hour video series several of them describe software solutions for the upcoming ARM big.LITTLE architecture (ARM Cortex-A15 and ARM Cortex-A7), demonstrate how Linaro Android 4.0.4 runs twice as fast as stock Android 4.0.4 on the TI OMAP4430 Pandaboard, talk about the future of Android, unify the ARM bootloader, combine multiple ARM SoCs into one Linux Kernel for ARM. Canonical works to support ARM Servers, Mark Shuttleworth talks about the opportunity that ARM constitutes for Ubuntu on Laptops and Servers. The CTO of Linaro talks about the next billions of ARM Powered devices that they are working to optimize Linux for."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Sucks for Lightsquared (Score 5, Insightful) 178

by Anon E. Muss (#39043817) Attached to: FCC Bars Lightsquared From Using Airwaves

Really, the FCC and/or the GPS equipment manufacturer should be the ones being penalised.

As a practical matter, there's no way to do that. If you allow Lightspeed to operate, you penalize the USERS of the (allegedly) badly designed GPS devices. It does suck to be Lightspeed, because GPS really is much more important than them.

Power

+ - HP's New ARM Servers: It's All About Power->

Submitted by
snydeq
snydeq writes "HP's decision to go with ARM for its new Redstone server "platform" is a blow to Intel, but the real story is that AC power now costs more than hardware, InfoWorld reports. 'HP's new high-concept initiative, Project Moonshot, under which the Redstone project was launched ... is actually a pretty bold plan: Push the data center toward extreme low-power servers and "hyperscale" architecture (another way of referring to a large private cloud). As a proof of concept, you're supposed to be able to squeeze more than 2,800 Redstone servers in a single rack. According to HP Labs, this configuration yields 89 percent less energy, 94 percent less space, and an overall cost reduction of up to 63 percent compared to traditional server systems.'"
Link to Original Source
Chrome

No Tab Relocation Coming For Chrome 574

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the trust-us-we're-designers dept.
shaitand writes about Google disagreeing with the desire of Chrome users to put tabs under (rather than above) the location bar: "This issue has had overwhelming feedback from users with no notable dissent. But Google revealed their view on the community, saying that feedback and comments aren't considered, and today moved to silence dissent and lock comments on the issue. [A Chromium developer] says, 'Commenting on this bug has absolutely no effect at all on the likelihood that we are going to reconsider. So that people don't get their hopes up falsely, I'm locking this bug to additional comments.'"

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