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Japanese Turning To "Therapeutic Ringtones" 75

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-two-calls-and-see-me-in-the-morning dept.
indiavision writes "A host of young Japanese are drawn to the allure of 'therapeutic ringtones' — a genre of melodies that promises to ease a range of day-to-day gripes, from chronic insomnia to a rotten hangover. Developed by Matsumi Suzuki, the head of the Japan Ringing Tone Laboratory, an eight-year-old subsidiary of the Japan Acoustic Laboratory, the tones are a hit with housewives as well as teenagers."
Government

Bill To Ban All Salt In Restaurant Cooking 794

Posted by timothy
from the too-stupid-to-live-as-long-as-possible dept.
lord_rotorooter writes "Felix Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, introduced a bill that would ruin restaurant food and baked goods as we know them. The measure (if passed) would ban the use of all forms of salt in the preparation and cooking of food for all restaurants or bakeries. While the use of too much salt can contribute to health problems, the complete banning of salt would have negative impacts on food chemistry. Not only does salt enhance flavor, it controls bacteria, slows yeast activity and strengthens dough by tightening gluten. Salt also inhibits the growth of microbes that spoil cheese."

Comment: Not So Fast (Score 4, Informative) 853

by CaffeineJedi (#29235339) Attached to: Emergency Government Control of the Internet?

was a bipartisan bill, as one of the co-sponsors, Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [ME], is a member of the GOP.

Olympia Snowe votes with Democrats more than Republicans. She was one of the only three Republicans in the Senate and House that voted on the $787 billion spending bill. One of those "Republicans," Arlen Specter, is now a Democrat.

Here is a visualization which performs an energy minimization mapping to group politicians by their voting record.

You can clearly see where Olympia Snowe votes in relation to the two parties. Saying this bill is bi-partisan is a more than a bit of a stretch.

Comment: Re:not-so-good? (Score 1) 646

by CaffeineJedi (#27385321) Attached to: Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

Actually seeing as churches are tax exempt for property taxes and income taxes and often sit on prime real-estate while pocketing millions of dollars I would say that they do quite well for themselves.

The issue isn't about the money, but I agree with the hypocrisy of the tax exemption situation. The issue is that we have concocted this monolith known as public education. Since there is no diversity of choice, people will inevitably fight for control of the monolith. Anyone who doesn't think that people should bring up issues important to them in this public situation is effectively saying--"Hey, we're happy to take your money, but not for you to have representation. Sit down and shut up."

Let's just imagine that instead of corporations, we had "The Public Company System" that was supported by tax dollars. Inevitably, people are going to fight for what the system should produce. Instead of allowing people to produce whatever they want, we'll have this one company produce some relative percentage of every good we need.

This leads to your statement about equal time for Wiccan beliefs. I don't know if you're trying to create some reductio ad absurdum, but I really think it backfires. Why should everyone be represented minimally in one system, when they can be represented totally in another?

Why should we force people to live the "average," or "equal time" belief system, when we could just let them live their own? Public education forces this living-the-average scenario.

Comment: Re:not-so-good? (Score 1) 646

by CaffeineJedi (#27384959) Attached to: Mixed Outcome of Texas Textbook Vote

Name one case where a scientist has seriously demanded that any church give equal time to preaching evolution!

Name one church that has ever argued that they're entitled to $5000-$7000 a year per school child by governmental force.

The issue here is freedom, and the cause of this problem is compulsory public education. To everyone who exclaims "but they shouldn't be able to teach that in public school," I would ask why you believe in forcing people to monetarily support an institution they don't believe in.

That's a lot more intense moralizing than the creationists. Really, whose system here is more practically malicious?

Comment: Re:Not traditional DRM? (Score 1) 232

by CaffeineJedi (#27354361) Attached to: Stardock, Microsoft Unveil Their Own New Anti-Piracy Methods
Seriously, do you *not* believe that the threat of punishment is an effective deterrent for piracy in the first place?

If you knew that EA would send you to prison for a while or fine you thousands of dollars for placing a game on the pirate bay, would you still do it?

Punishment is a very effective deterrent, and anyone who doesn't believe that should question why we have laws in the first place. Having laws against murder doesn't deter murder--threat of punishment does.

Comment: Re:Great Depression? (Score 1) 873

by CaffeineJedi (#26195265) Attached to: The US economy is heading toward ...
Totally agree with you Artifakt. This situation definitely has eerie overtones from what happened in Weimar and currency runs have almost always led to wars or large scale social revolts. Worse for the U.S.--we are the major reserve currency. If foreign lenders stop purchasing U.S. debt and unload dollars, the strength of any currency devaluing will be heavily multiplied. If my post made it sound as if this was going to be smooth sailing ahead then I was ineffective in communicating my real point.

The $55 trillion dollar outstanding CDS market was used as an argument for the government to further cartelize the banking industry. I believe that this has significantly increased the overall risk to the economy and created a false sense of security. Also, unlike other more standardized markets, there are absolutely no standards in the CDS system; most of the contracts literally are held in filing cabinets on paper between two parties and it will take months-years to clear the CDS system. This particular set of derivatives had really no risk of a global run on the banking system, purely based on the structural problems of clearing the contracts.

However, we have now further centralized our risk to a few institutions and will be headed for a wild ride when the upcoming "real" economic problems (such as the alt-A & option-ARM mortgages, lack of accrued savings) collide with our monetary and financial institution problems in the future. The government only knows one way out of this as far as I'm concerned and that is to issue money and debt without abandon.

Current wisdom today holds that this is a long-term deflationary scenario, which I think is absolutely ridiculous. Deflation occurred in the Great Depression because huge bank runs moved money out of the financial system into the First Bank of the Family Mattress. Price decreases are not confirmation of deflation, any more than the destruction of Nasdaq was. One would have hoped that the '70s stagflation would have killed this line of idiotic Monetary Keynesian thinking, but here we are again.

We are almost certainly headed for very sustained inflation in the CPI sense in the medium to long term, coupled with decreasing asset prices such as market capitalization and home equity. This is due to the fact that CPI inflation lags true monetary inflation (sometimes by years). The asset "deflation" + consumer goods "inflation" will be a slow burn process because of the massive capital injection into the banks that has prevented asset and debt liquidation from occurring.

The cartelized investment banks are now very well capitalized (I believe I heard a month ago that they were almost at 100%!!!) and barely lending. I think the real travesty will occur as soon as everyone believes that the problem has been mainly contained, as that is when the big banks will lend again and monetary expansion will occur at an accelerated rate due to fractional reserve banking. Also, who knows, maybe the government will force these banks to make loans even though the banks (wisely) don't wish to do so in the current environment.

A few thoughts :-)

Comment: Re:Great Depression? (Score 1) 873

by CaffeineJedi (#26188581) Attached to: The US economy is heading toward ...

There are over 50 TRILLION dollars of these CDS out there carried by banks who use them as collateral to make loans. They are actually worthless at this time so these banks are in reality bankrupt. That is why banks can not loan right now.

This is very misleading. The $55 trillion dollar figure is the "notional" value of the CDS contracts. Most of these contracts cancel each other out. I believe the residual discrepancy between these opposing ~$27 trillion dollar freight trains is expected to be a maximum of $1 trillion. Big, but not catastrophic. Here is more info: http://seekingalpha.com/article/65104-a-misleading-chart-on-credit-default-swaps

I will agree with the poster though, the media is in fact being very pollyannish about the possible downsides that still exist. What we have heard about is the "subprime" mortgage crisis. That however, is just the tip of the iceberg--we have 4 years worth of high default rates on option-ARM and alt-A mortgages which will be unpleasant, to say the least.
Look here for more details: http://www.businessweek.com/the_thread/hotproperty/archives/2007/11/the_reset_probl.html

Most worrisome of all, the government is involved now. More than likely they'll print U.S. currency into oblivion to pay for all of this "stimulus" and trying to keep house prices artificially high.

Power

+ - Europe's First Solar Thermal Power Online

Submitted by
rohar
rohar writes "According to BBC News, Solucar, a division of Abengoa has brought Europe's first commercial solar thermal power station online. It is generating 11MW using a heliostat flat mirror and central tower solar steam system. A video of the system is available from BBC.

The system design would integrate very well with the SHPEGS concepts and combining this type of CSP plant with seasonal thermal storage and a massive air-coupled solar heat pump has a very strong potential for high summer insolation/cold winter climates like Canada and the Northern US and Europe."
AMD

The CPU Redefined: AMD Torrenze and Intel CSI 200

Posted by Hemos
from the i-believe-the-children-are-our-future dept.
janp writes "In the near future the Central Processing Unit (CPU) will not be as central anymore. AMD has announced the Torrenza platform that revives the concept of co-processors. Intel is also taking steps in this direction with the announcement of the CSI. With these technologies in the future we can put special chips (GPU's, APU's, etc. etc.) directly on the motherboard in a special socket. Hardware.Info has published a clear introduction to AMD Torrenza and Intel CSI and sneak peaks into the future of processors."
Intel

+ - Desktop quad-core CPUs compared

Submitted by Dr. Damage
Dr. Damage (123558) writes "Intel and AMD have both showcased their high-end desktop quad-core solutions, but those are pricey and sometimes power-hungry. Both CPU makers offer arguably more attractive solutions that cost less and yet are more energy efficient. The Tech Report has tested that concept by pitting five quad-core desktop configs against one another, including the less expensive Core 2 Quad Q6600 and Athlon 64 FX-70. The tests include benchmarks in 64-bit Vista, Folding@Home in Linux, and a novel way of measuring the energy used to render a scene."
Microsoft

ODF Threat to Microsoft in US Governments Grows 269

Posted by Zonk
from the cropping-up-everywhere dept.
Tookis writes "Another setback for Microsoft has cropped up in the space of document formats in government organizations. The state of California has introduced a bill to make open document format (ODF) a mandatory requirement in the software used by state agencies. Similar legislation in Texas and Minnesota has added further to the pressure on Microsoft, which is pushing its own proprietary Office Open XML (OOXML) document format in the recently released Office 2007. The bill doesn't specify ODF by name, but instead requires the use of an open XML-based format."

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