Another good suggestion for Asimov is his short story "The Last Question" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... which succinctly covers a vast timespan.
PS. How is this News for Nerds? Why isn't the story tagged "troll"?
Unusually these days for a politician she was originally a science graduate ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher#Early_life_and_education ) rather than coming in as a career politician or purely legal background (although she did switch track and become a barrister)
Some of this showed through in her leadership style - trying to do the logical thing for the best long term results (at least in her analysis) rather than trying to win the popularity contest and appealing to the masses. Sometimes this worked out (surely everyone can at least agree that earning the nickname 'iron lady' is pretty cool? and my memories of the 80s are that most peoples standard of living improved significantly) but in other cases it contributed to her downfall - e.g. the per-person 'poll tax' vs. a property-based tax for local services (such as rubbish/refuse collection) surely makes some logical sense to many slashdot readers? but unfortunately it made a larger number of people pay more tax than those unaffected / getting a a tax reduction so it was a political disaster.
for 1-4, In parallel we really need to solve the much more difficult http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkinson's_law problem first re: overpopulation.
Otherwise the more food and water an area can provide in a perfect scenario the greater the end suffering will be when some inevitable problems occurs and the now larger population's demand's exceed what the land can supply : either due to war, drought/crop-failure or just the feedback delay between successfully increasing child survival rate and there being a baby-boomers population spike in high-consumption adults.
Maybe Education can help with that, but even in '1st-world' countries we still seem to have a problem with some people having many more children than they have the means to support themselves (currently a bit of a hot political topic in the UK with the government wanting to try and reduce the cost of supporting people on 'benefits')
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
The battery gives unlimited cycles*
*fair use policy applies.
Are we part way through a transition from shops being where you both browse / research products and purchase them, to separating these two phases of the shopping process.
The way I see it there is still a need for bricks & morter 'showrooms' where you can go and compare products side-by-side or even try them out in real life : e.g when buying a netbook / laptop, I always go to the local PC world or similar to try out the different keyboards and see how the displays look.
However to make the purchase, it is clearly more efficient and therefore cheaper to sell through either giant mail-order only warehouses (e.g. order from amazon, or order direct from the manufacturer) or something like Argos for when you want to be able to collect it yourself same-day.
The problem is how the showrooms get payed for? will we move instead to individual manfactures paying for showpiece storefronts (maybe Apple stores already are this? do they expect to make a profit on on-store sales, or are they just giant adverts driving their sales through other channels?)
The current middle-ground that retailers seem to be using is the online 'reserve and collect' - but they still tend to be keeping the much of their stock on the shelves rather than having it all more efficiently stacked away in a warehouse out the back.
You must NOT be able to prove your vote was counted correctly for a specific candidate. That leads to bribes/threats
Here you've highlighted probably the biggest problem to overcome : how to allow voters to verify that their own vote has been correctly counted (and be able to prove that the vote was rigged if not), but in an anonymous and deniable way (to avoid coercion) : it may not be possible to have both at the same time (but I'm not an expert on the subject : maybe the unreadable-article has an answer).
OTOH if we live in a society where you may later be threatened in to proving how you voted (showing your hash-receipt, revealing your private crypto-key or password, revealing what secret mark / signature you put on your ballot paper etc. depending on how any such verification system is implemented), democracy would seem to have failed us anyway and the actual results of any such sham election probably irrelevant.
There are ways to do this and meet your requirements, but there is more to it than the 3 you listed.
Indeed, it is a tricky problem - I was trying to keep it simple and just answer the parent's post about what such a system might offer over and above today's sytems : I was hoping it was implied that it would also include existing features such as anonymity (and telling you how many votes each candidate / option received)
and how much better is it than marking a circle with a pen and having someone scan the ballot into a machine?
In an ideal system, anybody should be able to independantly verify the following (which currently can't be done in a simple paper based ballot)
- was _my_ vote counted correctly for the candidate I selected (or not counted if I chose not to participate)
- Are all the votes that have been counted attributable to real voters
- has each person voted either 0 or 1 times
Unfortunately I can't RTFA to see how many of these ideals the proposed system achieves, as it seems to be a video rather than a text based article.
The BBC news article on this ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11632944 ) has a selection of comments from other people in the industry too - I think this one sums it up better for me than the quotes from Broughton (re-quoting from bbc article):
Mr Carrivick, of BAR UK [.....] said airport security seemed to be a "layered approach".
He added: "Every time there is a new security scare, an extra layer is added on to procedures.
"We need to step back and have a look at the whole situation. Standards change fairly regularly and this puts pressure on airports and airlines. We need to decide what we are trying to do and how best to do it."
1 : put the windows-taskbar (or linux desktop equivilent) on the side(s) of the screen - ideally the left side otherwise it slows down the time taken to hit the scroll bar or window-close buttons with the mouse. You'll have to make it a bit wider than it normally is tall and learn to live with only viewing the 1st few letters of the window titles.
2 : combine as many menus or toolbars together as possible - eg. in Firefox have the menu, back/fwd buttons and URL location all on the same line. Not all windows apps seem to allow you to put toolbar buttons on the same line as the menus, but wherever that feature exists you should use it.
3 : Remove all the other toolbars / excess status-bars - use the menus or learn keyboard shortcuts for your favourite applications (using the keyboard shortcuts is vastly more productive than hunting the toolbar buttons)
4 : Modify the window theme to make the fonts and icons for menus, window-titles, scroll-bars and min/max/close buttons as small as possible that you can still read them / click on them.
5 : (this one I have more problems with) - try using auto-hiding menus / panes / taskbar (notably in visual-studio which has many many panes of useful info). This one I'm not so keen on because it slows me down considerably, having to first move the mouse to make a pane show, then move the mouse to select the item of interest. Similarly you can try to use full-screen mode in apps that have it available and you don't need to view multiple apps concurrently.
You are right (but somehow got marked as 'Troll') - I should have worded it as you suggest : "patents can, at least in some circumstances, stifle innovation"
Mind you this is Slashdot and where would we be without spelling mistakes, uninformed opinions and sweeping generalisations?
I was at the london science museum last week and saw something interesting on the information board regarding one of the steam engines on display. Unfortunately I didn't think to take a photograph / transcribe it, but this blog gives a summary: http://www.currybet.net/cbet_blog/2006/08/engineering-parallels-at-the-s.php
To quote the blog's transcription of the caption:
In 1769, James Watt had taken out a patent that allowed him to dominate steam-engine design and improvement. As a result, other engineers were prevented by law from developing new, alternative designs."
When the patent expired other engineers were able to innovate again, particularly Richard Trevithick. He experimented with using steam under a much higher pressure, and as a result was able to build smaller and more powerful engines, which enabled him to build the first locomotive railway engine capable of hauling a load.
So even the science museum is suggesting that patent's stiffle innovation, and have been doing so for over 200 years
In a few years presumably some even higher bandwidth specification will come along - no problem if they used version-numbers, but once you have labelled the first generation "standard" and the current generation "High Speed" what're you going to be left with to use next and not end up looking stupid?
"new higher speed", "max speed", "ultimate speed", "super more ultimate than ultimate speed", "I Can't believe its not high speed... speed"?