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WSJ Refused To Publish Lawrence Krauss' Response To "Science Proves Religion" 556

First time accepted submitter Kubla Kahhhn! writes Recently, the WSJ posted a controversial piece "Science Increasingly Makes a Case for God", written by non-scientist Eric Metaxas. Noted astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss wrote a simple and clear retort in a letter to the editor, which the WSJ declined to publish, but Richard Dawkins did.
United States

Statisticians Study Who Was Helped Most By Obamacare 739 writes We know that about 10 million more people have insurance coverage this year as a result of the Affordable Care Act but until now it has been difficult to say much about who was getting that Obamacare coverage — where they live, their age, their income and other such details. Now Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz report in the NYT that a new data set is providing a clearer picture of which people gained health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The data is the output of a statistical model based on a large survey of adults and shows that the law has done something rather unusual in the American economy this century: It has pushed back against inequality, essentially redistributing income — in the form of health insurance or insurance subsidies — to many of the groups that have fared poorly over the last few decades. The biggest winners from the law include people between the ages of 18 and 34; blacks; Hispanics; and people who live in rural areas. The areas with the largest increases in the health insurance rate, for example, include rural Arkansas and Nevada; southern Texas; large swaths of New Mexico, Kentucky and West Virginia; and much of inland California and Oregon.

Despite many Republican voters' disdain for the Affordable Care Act, parts of the country that lean the most heavily Republican (according to 2012 presidential election results) showed significantly more insurance gains than places where voters lean strongly Democratic. That partly reflects underlying rates of insurance. In liberal places, like Massachusetts and Hawaii, previous state policies had made insurance coverage much more widespread, leaving less room for improvement. But the correlation also reflects trends in wealth and poverty. Many of the poorest and most rural states in the country tend to favor Republican politicians.
The Internet

The Inevitable Death of the Internet Troll 571 writes James Swearingen writes at The Atlantic that the Internet can be a mean, hateful, and frightening place — especially for young women but human behavior and the limits placed on it by both law and society can change. In a Pew Research Center survey of 2,849 Internet users, one out of every four women between 18 years old and 24 years old reports having been stalked or sexually harassed online. "Like banner ads and spam bots, online harassment is still routinely treated as part of the landscape of being online," writes Swearingen adding that "we are in the early days of online harassment being taken as a serious problem, and not simply a quirk of online life." Law professor Danielle Citron draws a parallel between how sexual harassment was treated in the workplace decades ago and our current standard. "Think about in the 1960s and 1970s, what we said to women in the workplace," says Citron. "'This is just flirting.' That a sexually hostile environment was just a perk for men to enjoy, it's just what the environment is like. If you don't like it, leave and get a new job." It took years of activism, court cases, and Title VII protection to change that. "Here we are today, and sexual harassment in the workplace is not normal," said Citron. "Our norms and how we understand it are different now."

According to Swearingen, the likely solution to internet trolls will be a combination of things. The expansion of laws like the one currently on the books in California, which expands what constitutes online harassment, could help put the pressure on harassers. The upcoming Supreme Court case, Elonis v. The United States, looks to test the limits of free speech versus threatening comments on Facebook. "Can a combination of legal action, market pressure, and societal taboo work together to curb harassment?" asks Swearingen. "Too many people do too much online for things to stay the way they are."
The Almighty Buck

Flash Mobs of Trading Robots Coalescing To Rule Markets 251

An anonymous reader writes "Financial markets experienced a series of computer glitches recently that brought operations to a halt. According to a researcher at the University of Miami, mobs of ultrafast robots, which trade and operate at speeds beyond human capability, may be responsible for these "flash freezes". From the article: '"Even though each trading algorithm/robot is out to gain a profit at the expense of any other, and hence act as a predator, any algorithm which is trading has a market impact and hence can become noticeable to other algorithms," said Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami (UM) and lead author of the new study. "So although they are all predators, some can then become the prey of other algorithms depending on the conditions. Just like animal predators can also fall prey to each other." When there's a normal combination of prey and predators, he says, everything is in balance. But once predators are introduced that are too fast, they create extreme events.'"

UK Government To Spy On Computers of the Jobless 278

An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"

Ask Richard Dawkins About Evolution, Religion, and Science Education 1142

Richard Dawkins is an author and an evolutionary biologist. For 13 years, he held the Simonyi Professorship at the University of Oxford. His 1976 book The Selfish Gene helped popularize the gene-centric view of evolution and coined the word "meme." Several other of his books, including Climbing Mount Improbable, River Out of Eden, and The Greatest Show on Earth have helped to explain aspects of evolution in a way non-scientists can more easily understand. Dawkins is a frequent opponent of creationism and intelligent design, and he generated widespread controversy and debate in 2006 with The God Delusion, a book that subjected common religious beliefs to unyielding scientific scrutiny. He wrote, "One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding." Most recently, Dawkins wrote The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, a graphic book that aims to introduce kids to science. He's also recently begun a video series titled "Sex, Death, and the Meaning of Life" about how our world would look without religion. Mr. Dawkins has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us. Post your suggestions in the comments below, but please limit yourself to one question per post. We'll post his responses sometime next week.

Warmest 12-Month Period Recorded In US 297

First time accepted submitter seanzig writes "Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground provides a good overview of the State of the Climate Report from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC). May 2011 through Apr. 2012 broke the previous record (Nov. 1999 — Oct. 2000). A number of other interesting records (e.g., warmest March on record) and stats emerged. It just presents the data and does not surmise anything about the causes or what should be done about it."

The iPhone Is a Nightmare For Carriers 438

New submitter HungryMonkey writes "According to the latest EBITDA numbers from AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, the subsidies they have to pay Apple in order to carry the iPhone are drastically reducing their profits. From the Article: '"A logical conclusion is that the iPhone is not good for wireless carriers," says Mike McCormack, an analyst at Nomura Securities. "When we look at the direct and indirect economics that Apple has managed to extract from the carriers, the carrier-level value destruction is quite evident."' So one money sucking leech has attached itself to another money sucking leech?"

150th Anniversary of Greenhouse Climate Theory 407

An anonymous reader writes "It was 150 years ago that John Tyndall, one of history's truly great physicists, published a scientific paper with the far-from-snappy title On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapours, and on the Physical Connexion of Radiation, Absorption, and Conduction. The BBC has an article on John Tyndall and his contributions 150 years ago to the physics behind the study of climate change."
The Almighty Buck

Marx May Have Had a Point 1271

Hitting the mainpage for the first time, Black Sabbath writes "While communism has been declared dead and buried (with a few stubborn exceptions), Karl Marx's diagnosis of capitalism's ills seem quite bang on the money. Harvard Business Review blogger Umair Haque lists where Marx may have been right." It's a pretty good read once you get past the author's three paragraph disclaimer that he is not a communist. The MIT news also ran a short interview discussing the economic trends in August this morning.
Linux Business

Should Enterprise IT Give Back To Open Source? 312

snydeq writes "InfoWorld reports on the fight over open source 'leeches' — companies that use open source technology but don't give back to the open source community. While some view such organizations as a tragedy of the commons, others view the notion of 'freeloaders' as a relic of open source's Wild West era, when coding was a higher calling and free software a religion. To be sure, increased adoption by mainstream enterprises has played a hand in changing the terms of this debate. Yet, as the biggest consumer of open source software, enterprise IT still gives almost nothing back to the community, critics contend, calling into question the long-term effect corporate culture will have on the evolution of open source — and the long-term effect open source will have on rewiring companies toward collaboration."

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.