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Comment Re:I see plenty of people reading (Score 1) 264

There was never a golden age of literature when everyone read authors that meet your approval. If people are reading more breezy escapism and genre fiction today than they were before, I'd look at why they feel they need that escapism. Anyway, even a hack can write a pretty good book every once in a while -- especially given that most hacks are unnaturally prolific.

Comment Re:How Does One Become an Editor? (Score 4, Informative) 372

Yes, that happens sometimes. People get a bit fanatical about reverting vandalism. The best thing to do is to always use an edit summary with polite, neutral language that directly cites Wikipedia policy. For example: "remove unverifiable, unsourced statement, per [[WP:V]]" or even just say something terse like "unsourced". That will signal to people that you're at least vaguely familiar with Wikipedia's policies and not a simple vandal who likes to randomly remove sentences.

When people challenge you, tell them the burden of proof lies on them. You can cite [[WP:BURDEN]], Wikipedia policy which explicitly states this.

Comment Re:Pseudoscience debunked? (Score 1) 374

To some extent. Its use is controversial and losing support, but there are still some old school hold-outs who swear by it. I think what we're seeing is a few of these hold-outs lashing out in a last, desperate attempt to save their image, but, with some luck, this will end up being the final nail in their coffin.


Aging Is a Disease; Treat It Like One 625

theodp writes "In a letter to Sergey Brin, Maria Konovalenko urges the Google founder to pursue his interest in the topics of aging and longevity. 'Defeating or simply slowing down aging,' writes Konovalenko, 'is the most useful thing that can be done for all the people on the planet.' Calling for research into longevity gene therapy, extending lifespan pharmacologically, and studying close species that differ significantly in lifespan, Konovalenko says 'it is crucial to make numerous medical organizations recognize aging as a disease. If medical organizations were to recognize aging as a disease, it could significantly accelerate progress in studying its underlying mechanisms and the development of interventions to slow its progress and to reduce age-related pathologies. The prevailing regard for aging as a "natural process" rather than a disease or disease-predisposing condition is a major obstacle to development and testing of legitimate anti-aging treatments. This is the largest market in the world, since 100% of the population in every country suffers from aging.'"

Comment I don't think most people care (Score 4, Insightful) 272

I've tried making that argument, but most people won't really care until it becomes a talking point beaten to death by demagogues on TV. Also, I cringed a bit when I read that summary, because every phrase screams "leftist academic". That's one of the quickest and easiest ways to get dismissed by moderates and center-right allies.


Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize 719

An anonymous reader writes "A Swedish professor of sociology has nominated Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Giving him the prize would also 'save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama' the prize, according to professor Stefan Svallfors. He notes ultimately that at great personal cost, 'Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.'"

Comment Re:On his watch (Score 1) 240

Sounds a lot like Mozilla's attempts to clone everything that Google does, except in a half-assed way. Kind of funny, really, because I hadn't actually thought to connect Steve Ballmer and Asa Dotzler like that before. When you think about it, though, they seem pretty similar. Neither Microsoft nor Mozilla seem terribly interested in actually doing anything until Apple/Google do it first.

Comment Re:what?? (Score 4, Insightful) 608

Well, yeah. But Google has an enviable image and works in emerging markets, where they can set consumer expectations. Microsoft has a crap image and works in entrenched markets, where customers have strong opinions and entrenched ways doing things. This is a bit of a simplification, of course, but I think it helps to explain why people complain so much about everything that Microsoft does, while they give Google a free pass.

Comment Re:Just askin... (Score 1) 221

There's a difference between opt-in and covert actions taken without permission.

However, I don't see why anyone would let MIT have access to their e-mail account, just so that they can simulate having the civil liberties violated. But, then again, I don't see the point to a lot of things that get posted to Slashdot.

United States

Snowden Claims That NSA Collaborated With Israel To Write Stuxnet Virus 491

andrewa writes "In an interview with Der Spiegel Snowden claims that the NSA, amongst other things, collaborated with Israel to write the Stuxnet virus. Not that this is news, as it has been suspected that it was a collaborative effort for some time. When asked about active major programs and how international partners help, Snowden says: 'The partners in the "Five Eyes" (behind which are hidden the secret services of the Americans, the British, the Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians -- ed.) sometimes go even further than the NSA people themselves. Take the Tempora program of the British intelligence GCHQ for instance. Tempora is the first "I save everything" approach ("Full take") in the intelligence world. It sucks in all data, no matter what it is, and which rights are violated by it. This buffered storage allows for subsequent monitoring; not a single bit escapes. Right now, the system is capable of saving three days’ worth of traffic, but that will be optimized. Three days may perhaps not sound like a lot, but it's not just about connection metadata. "Full take" means that the system saves everything. If you send a data packet and if makes its way through the UK, we will get it. If you download anything, and the server is in the UK, then we get it. And if the data about your sick daughter is processed through a London call center, then ... Oh, I think you have understood.'"

Why Protesters In Cairo Use Laser Pointers 303

New submitter Ahmed Shaban writes "Why do protesters in Cairo use laser pointers? At the beginning, they were used to light up snipers on rooftops. Later, it just became fashionable to use them, and such things spread very fast among the youth of Cairo, who can find the high power laser pointers for sale on the sidewalks. The article contains amazing photos of a chopper lit up by green laser pointers."

"It doesn't much signify whom one marries for one is sure to find out next morning it was someone else." -- Rogers