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XKCD Author's Unpublished Book Remains a Best-Seller For 5 Months 119

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-before-it-was-big dept.
destinyland writes Tuesday is the official release date for the newest book from the geeky cartoonist behind XKCD — yet it's already become one of Amazon's best-selling books. Thanks to a hefty pre-order discount, one blogger notes that it's appeared on Amazon's list of hardcover best-sellers since the book was first announced in March, and this weekend it remains in the top 10. Randall Munroe recently announced personal appearances beginning this week throughout the U.S. (including Cambridge, New York, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area) — as well as a Google Hangout on Friday, September 12. Just two weeks ago he was also awarded the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story — and now many of his appearances are already sold out.

Comment: Re:Today's "Natives" eliminated the Clovis culture (Score 4, Interesting) 49

by Savage-Rabbit (#47797245) Attached to: DNA Reveals History of Vanished "Paleo-Eskimos"

There is a lot of scientific reasons to doubt the Solutrean hypothesis, and very little scientific reason to back it. For instance, the lack of DNA or linguistic similarities. As of now, it is a theory mostly supported by the Discovery channel and such.

40 thousand years of contact, with no evidence to show for it? It seems very unlikely. There's been pretty good written records in Europe for more than 2,000 years, surely if there was constant contact with the New World there would have been some kind of record.

Leaving the Solutrean hypothesis aside for a minute some of these 'crazy' ideas that our ancestors were more mobile than we give them credit for have been stigmatized by the great egos in the scientific community in the past to the point where putting serious effort into investigating them was the equivalent of professional suicide. Even so sometimes, not always, but sometimes, they deserve better than to be ignored. In fact there is a written record that goes back at least a thousand years about contact between Europe and N-America:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saga_of_Erik_the_Red
These records have been well know for a long time but nevertheless until the discovery of L'Anse aux Meadows was rubbed in their faces some scientists thought accounts of Viking travel to the Americas were folk tales that should not be taken seriously. Since then Native American DNA has been found in Icelanders and that DNA is thought to be the result of pre-Columbian contact. Basically there is now genetic evidence that at least one Native American woman was brought to Iceland where she married a local man resulting in a group of living descendants:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/11/101123-native-american-indian-vikings-iceland-genetic-dna-science-europe/
This is not really so surprising if you think about it. If the Vikings, who count among the greatest navigators and seafarers in history, could find America. Why is it unthinkable that some Native Americans could not have gone back with them to Europe? There is no mention of this in the Sagas or contemporary annals but does that mean it didn't happen? The DNA seems to tell a different story. Another good example is that there is a growing body of evidence that Native Americans had pre Columbian contact with Polynesians which was considered laughable not so long ago. In retrospect it seems pretty ridiculous to think that scientists once considered it obvious a people who are arguably the greatest navigators on earth and who were capable of sailing for thousands of miles over open ocean between tiny islands with primitive technology would have missed what are by far the two biggest islands in the Pacific but that's sicentists for you. In the end they are only human and it takes a change of generations for the thinking to change.

Comment: Re:More accuratly "self preservation" (Score 1) 372

by jhantin (#47794189) Attached to: Microsoft Defies Court Order, Will Not Give Emails To US Government

The technical solution would be to design their storage in such a way that it is _impossible_ for the company to read a customer's data.

"Impossible to read a customer's data" is not a strong enough condition. For example, if a provider uses a convergent encryption scheme, they clearly cannot read their customers' data, yet it becomes possible to deduplicate encrypted data — and consequently to identify everyone who has copies of a given plaintext, or perhaps to guess at a password embedded in a configuration file.

Comment: Re:But is it reaslistic? (Score 2) 353

The final point to remember with terrorism is one of motivation. Terror attacks only work to achieve the terrorists' aims if they are very carefully targetted and choreographed along with a political campaign, to make them look like attacks against a mutually-disliked foe. This is why the IRA in Eire and Northern Ireland are largely silent these days; they changed from being seen as freedom fighters to being thought of as a general blight upon the entire society. Islamic terrorists are already being cast as such a blight, and never really get the chance to put over their side of the argument.

The IRA in the Irish Republic largely achieve it's aims, independence from Britain and they are not exactly gone. They supported the IRA in N-Ireland operationally and logistically throughout the troubles. As for the IRA in N-Ireland they weren't exactly angels but then the UVF wasn't exactly a legion of boy scouts either (anybody remember the Shankill Butchers?). I'm not in favor of either organization but the IRA does have one good point: the Irish situation in its entirety is a witches broth cooked up by the British and they deserve no pity when they complain about it's foul taste. Whether intentionally or not, by stamping the IRA 'terrorists', you simplify the situation in Ireland and make it sound as if the IRA 'terrorists' unbalanced a previously peaceful British province where everybody lived in harmony and contentment. Britain built a society in Ireland where Catholics were second class people and it is not surprising that when the Catholic challenges of that social order during the 20th century caused the Protestant elite to feel threatened, the ongoing and centuries long project of brutal religious and ethnic reengineering of Ireland blew up in the Britain's face (yet again). That is the real root cause of the Irish troubles. Organizations like the IRA, UVF and for that matter ISIS, Hamas and the likes are just a symptom of some deeper problem.

"The vast majority of successful major crimes against property are perpetrated by individuals abusing positions of trust." -- Lawrence Dalzell

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