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The Internet

Berners-Lee: Web Access Is a 'Human Right' 480 480

jbrodkin writes "Two decades after creating the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee says humans have become so reliant on it that access to the Web should now be considered a basic right. In a speech at an MIT symposium, Berners-Lee compared access to the Web with access to water. 'Access to the Web is now a human right,' he said. 'It's possible to live without the Web. It's not possible to live without water. But if you've got water, then the difference between somebody who is connected to the Web and is part of the information society, and someone who (is not) is growing bigger and bigger.'"

Comment Expectations (Score 2, Insightful) 349 349

It may well be that CompSci grads have higher expectations and refuse to take the first thing offered to them. When you hear about the salaries talked about on /., HN and Reddit, who the hell wants to take a job for £15k working for Asda as a maintenance programmer?

Another aspect is: how many CompSci grads will initially attempt to start their own consultancy or work freelance as opposed to Creative Arts grads? And what percentage of them will be successful? It's impossible to draw too much from these statistics, because they assume that all graduates are equally suited to traditional employment, and that traditional employment is what they seek. With CompSci, where you can make a living as a freelancer without needing too many contacts or a huge reputation, it ain't necessarily so...

Breaking the Squid Barrier 126 126

An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Steve O'Shea of Auckland, New Zealand is attempting to break the record for keeping deep sea squid alive in captivity, with the goal of being able to raise a giant squid one day. Right now, he's raising the broad squid, sepioteuthis australis, from egg masses found in seaweed. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because the squid he's studying grow rapidly and eat only live prey, making it hard for them to keep the squid from becoming prey themselves. If his research works out, you might one day be able to visit an aquarium and see giant squid."

Comment Re:Very easy, and very easy to get caught (Score 1) 684 684

I teach an entry-level computing class in a large European university. So long as it doesn't comprise the entire assessment, students sitting together and working the lab out is a good thing, I think. It's how most of the real world works, after all. You need to have some individual assessment, but working in small study groups to crack a problem is probably the best way to learn. Having the peer-pressure to do the work, and to contribute to the group, can really encourage a student to surpass the effort that they may have been happy with individually.

Comment Re:A ramble from the TAs view (Score 1) 684 684

Hm - it could be that he wasn't getting the support he needed. But, in my experience the people who cheat are not the type who would directly come and ask for support. Cheaters tend to be people who don't know the answers because they never really tried, and therefore don't have a huge emotional investment in the course. The cheating generally occurs as a last-minute attempt to hand in something 'reasonable' without having had to do the work.

I've found that the students that come and ask for help directly are a little too proud to scheme off someone else's work - and that since they are willing to work at the course and come for help when necessary, they rarely need to cheat.

Comment Re:what about retirement for RIAA? (Score 1) 427 427

I'm not instigating an 'insane left vs. right debate' ;-)

I agree that your solution would be relatively cheap, but it would be wrong. There seems to be an attitude that those associated with the ??AAs deserve to be supported by the public. Why them, and not people who deliver measurable benefit to society - teachers, garbagemen, nurses and so forth?

Comment Re:what about retirement for RIAA? (Score 1) 427 427

I think I'd rather that artisits and musicians provide for themselves, just like everyone else. I don't owe them special rights to work created 50 years ago, nor do I owe them any special retirement fund that is denied to software developers, private tutors, or any other work-for-hire private market participant.

Corporate musicians and artists are better treated by our society than almost any class of persons throughout history. Yet we can probably all agree that these people contribute less to creativity and originality than most independent artists, where an 'artist' is defined purely as someone who creates something.

There's really nothing special about these people - music existed before the 1930s, and it will exist even if we allow the RIAA to go to the wall. Their advantage is hype, marketing and spin. They've no celestial right to that.

Comment Re:For fuck's sake! (Score 1) 427 427

I can't help but think that this is a troll, and the mods have been taken for suckers.

If we look at the major creative works of the last 100 years, there's Disney animated film, the creation of Rock & Roll, the majority of Science Fiction, almost all Televisual and Film works and a bunch more things that have built on 'plundering the past of its riches'. Disney ripped off the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen (Grimm and Andersen 'plundered' folklore), Rock & Roll was based on blues rhythms, most SciFi is folklore, rewritten with shiny robots and there's nothing on TV or in Film that doesn't rip-off Shakespeare, Shaw and Wilde.

Yes, that's pretty facile, but you have to remember to what I am responding ;-) These things are all worth watching, and learning from. Simply because they are not entirely original does not mean that they are worthless...

Still, congratulations, DNS-and-BIND - I think that when you are unable to see any worth in contemporary culture, you qualify for a stick, a cap, a bus-pass and possibly a kid-infested lawn!

Comment Re:Of course we don't need running shoes (Score 4, Insightful) 776 776

Well, evolution can skew towards all sorts of benefits in long life. This can happen quite easily if having grand parents who help look after the family mean that the youngest survive to reproduce.

To say that evolution is all about reproduction is nonsense. It's also about raising offspring to survive better than the environment and other predators can kill them off.

Microsoft Asks Open Source Not to Focus On Price 461 461

Microsoft's supposed open-source guru Sam Ramji has asked open-source vendors to focus on "value" instead of "cost" with respect to competition with Microsoft products. This is especially funny given the Redmond giant's recent "Apple Tax" message. "While I'm sure Ramji meant well, I'm equally certain that Microsoft would like nothing more than to not be reminded of how expensive its products can be compared with open-source solutions. After all, Microsoft was the company that turned the software industry on its head by introducing lower-cost solutions years ago to undermine the Unix businesses of IBM and Hewlett-Packard, and the database businesses of Oracle and IBM."

Kiss your keyboard goodbye!