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Comment Re:There is no such thing as non-empirical science (Score 4, Interesting) 364 364

There's no problem at all with being a mathematician or a philosopher of science. I'm a physicist, and I don't think any of my colleagues would argue that these fields should go away or that physicists shouldn't work in them. Emmy Noether is a great example of how people outside physics can help develop new physics.

But... relativity wasn't accepted until it was tested. Neither should any other theory coming out of advanced mathematics. Simply being around for a long time is not enough to move a set of math from clever speculation into physics. We've been down this path before. Allowing foundational theories to be integrated into the rest of physics without verification might end up fine, or it might waste the careers of a generation of physicists. Today, that also might mean many billions of dollars of funding and significant public trust.

You say this like there's some cabal deciding on 'allowing foundational theories into the rest of physics without verification'.

If you look at the Dec. 2014 Nature article that sparked the NYTimes article, you'd see that the concern there isn't even about the conduct of science itself -- it's about the worry that apparent dissent among scientists will fuel anti-scientism. So we'd better work out these 'what's experimentally verifiable' questions far away from the inquiring public.

There's no real worry that somehow the world's best and brightest physicists have forgotten about falsifiability.

Comment Re:There is no such thing as non-empirical science (Score 1) 364 364

If we find any more Emmy Noethers, and they happen to be housed in physics departments, I say we continue their funding. Of course, it's always hard to judge which will be the more long lasting contributions, but if it weren't, it wouldn't be "research".

I swear, funding of basic research has enough enemies in this world -- it hurts to see it all over slashdot.

Comment Re:There is no such thing as non-empirical science (Score 2) 364 364

Who says the only useful/productive mathematical and scientific activities are hypothesis generation?

When Emmy Noether develops algebraic invariant theory, does she know that some physicists are going to call her up for help with general relativity?

After enough of these cases, physicists are trying to develop their own interesting, novel mathematical contributions. Who knows, maybe some of them will have applications.

The most outrage I can muster here is that some of these researchers are housed in the wrong departments. The horror.

-I find redundant sign-offs annoying

Submission + - Are Secret Laws Possible? The NSA Investigates

Dster76 writes: A public meeting on whether secret laws are possible kicks off tomorrow at the University of Pennsylvania, hosted by U Penn's Center for Ethics and the Rule of Law. The keynote speaker is none other than the Deputy Director of the NSA. I wonder what his take will be? If you're in the area, maybe check it out and let us know.

Submission + - The Case of the Copyrighted Detective: The Saga Continues

Dster76 writes: Slashdot has discussed the tangle involving Sherlock Holmes and Copyright before. Well, they're at it again.

A new wrinkle has emerged: a 'Sherlock Holmes scholar' has filed for a declaratory judgement that all of the Sherlock Holmes writings are in the public domain. But the estate has responded — with hilarious arguments.

If this goes in favour of the Conan Doyle Estate, then it's hard to see how copyright is about expressions and not ideas.

Comment Re:It is a TEA (party) tax (Score 1) 1239 1239

That is to say, the Republicans have a majority in the House. So the only way they could have rendered Tea Party congressmen irrelevant was with the cooperation of non-Tea Party Republicans. But any Republicans who defected from Tea Party positions would be "primaried". So none of the non-Tea Party congressmen (House members) were willing to defect. So, why blame Democrats?

Comment pssst... the drm is easily breakable (Score 1) 161 161

Folks, the Adobe DRM for eBooks is laughably easy to break. Please, guys, keep all this quiet. Adobe DRMed books can be easily turned into non-DRMed ePubs that are reflowable, portable, and in OPEN STANDARDS format.

Please, don't make too much noise that might change my favorite ebook store's (shortcovers) mind about using a DRM format that's easy to break into something nice.
Games

Copyright and the Games Industry 94 94

A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."

Comment Re:It's a secret plot, and they succeeded! (Score 3, Insightful) 202 202

Hey, let's play a game.

If you have x third party pieces of software, how many configurations must you test to find 1 piece of software causing crashes?

If you have x third party pieces of software, how many configurations must you test to find 2 pieces of software causing crashes?

Yeah, WinMo 6.1 is it for me. No more.

Let's all be honest: the only reason people have ever used WinMo at all is a lack of choice.

In fact, right now I'm using a WinMo 6.1 gadget, but instead of syncing my desktop Outlook appointments with it using Activesync, I let Google be the middleman.

After how many years, and Activesync is still unstable requiring weekly reinstalls? Changing timezone still turns whole day appointments into monstrosities that are time sensitive and cross multiple days? Duplicates still randomly pop up?

WinMo is over. The end. Goodbye.
Books

Submission + - Shortcovers service: Kindle killer?

Dster76 writes: Up in Canada, we can't yet buy the Kindle or use Amazon's service for electronic books. In a couple of days, one of our book chains, Indigo, will launch an electronic book and periodical service that they claim has distinct advantages over the Kindle. From a few of the company's blog posts, it is apparent that the most popular Ebook reader competitor will not be supported. (See comment #4. Apparently, the product manager doesn't do "alot" of reading himself). Is the future of Ebooks on non-E-ink devices? Can a service succeed by expecting you to read full length novels, or even magazines and newspapers on cellphones and laptops? Is there a future for Kindle and Sony's Book Reader?

How can you do 'New Math' problems with an 'Old Math' mind? -- Charles Schulz

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