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Comment: Re:Dubai is a Disneyland. Only bigger. (Score 1) 265

I'd have no problem with building a high-tech nation within a few years, if I'd actually be seeing some real progress, but I don't. I'm seriously sceptical of Dubai and its likes gaining critical mass and actually building sustainable societies

The prince of Dubai would be well advised to use all that money of his of building universities, implementing basic human rights and getting a modern society going and perhaps building a modern armed force to defend it. Since it doesn't look that way, I'm not placing my bets to high on this whole Dubai thing.

Eh? Dubai's leadership has been doing exactly the things you say you would like to see. Well, except militarizing their economy - and this is arguably a good thing. Progress since independence from the British in 1971 has been astounding: when the British left in 1971, illiteracy was >70%, life expectancy a bit over 50 years, and there were no universities. Illiteracy is now 7.5%, life expectancy is 76.7 years, and Dubai has between 50 and 60 colleges and universities. Oil revenues now contribute less than 7% of GDP, and the country has become a huge international financial and transshipping center. Development of luxury (and non-luxury) skyscrapers, hotels, and vast artificial islands, etc., is almost unbelievable. There are about 25 free trade "innovation zones", where the government is working to get critical masses of private companies - they are in fact highly capitalistic - to work together to create the same magic that we saw in the US in Silicon Valley and the Route 128 areas. The government is one of the most stable in the region, and it is showing remarkable and sustained insight in how to drive progress. Plus there is a lot of tolerance for Western ideas - in fact, Western civil law is used in the innovation zones, not Sharia law. There are, I am sure, things to criticize about Dubai, just as there are about many other countries. But they are getting far more things right, and in a big way, than most other places. The best reason to visit is that it will blow away your preconceptions; I recommend this highly.

Comment: Re:News for Nerds? (Score 1) 586

There are 2.4 Doctors per 100,000 people in the US.

The number of doctors per 100,000 people in the US is a bit higher than this. Per the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were 834,769 professionally active physicians in the US in November, 2012. The US population at the time was 314.8 million (per the US Census Bureau's Population Clock), making the number of doctors per 100,000 people a more reasonable 265. Here's a graph showing the number of physicians per 10,000 (note - not 100,000) people in the US.

Comment: Re: Have u thought about.. (Score 1) 524

You're not a programmer are you? There's no such thing as bug-free code. Just like no writer can proof read his own novel, no programmer can truely find every bug in his own code.

It is a sad commentary on programmers as a group that statements like this are posted, and worse that they garner so much support from the chattering masses. Excellent programmers always strive to write code with few bugs; and sometimes they succeed. I personally wrote a package of high-precision arithmetic calculations that was used for many years by a prominent Wall Street firm, and am quite sure (for a variety of sound reasons, not just "belief") that this software (about 4,000 lines of C) is bug-free. For examples that are more publicly known, consider the 420,000 lines of code in the space shuttle, which had a total of 17 detected bugs in 11 major releases (see Good Question – How does NASA write perfect code for the space shuttle computers? by Marshall Brain, May 27, 2009); the whole system is not perfect, but major subsystems are.

Comment: Re:increase wasn't apparent in overweight (Score 2) 70

The evenness of the cutoff's in standard BMI interpretation (nice, round numbers like 25 and 30) is a really good clue that these are not scientifically-validated numbers. There are a lot of studies on BMI vs. mortality; here's a peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, and a crucial slide. Note that the model-derived curve supports the usual interpretation that BMI in the 18.5-25 range is optimal; the bars showing actual data, though, show that BMI between 27 and 28 is optimal.

A summary recommendations for your patients: for men, BMI of 23-30 looks healthy. For women, BMI of 18.5-30 looks healthy.

For all patients (as I am sure you already know): exercise! The data showing health benefits from even moderate exercise are compelling, and exercising more is better for you, within a very broad range.

[Sorry - I just accidantally posted the text above as Anonymous Coward - not my intention.]

Comment: Re:No (Score 1) 625

by Rich.Miller.6 (#38043102) Attached to: Is American Innovation Losing Its Shine?
I can't figure out if you're trying to make a point by being silly, or really believe what you've written.

Re 2: we often hear "Government does not create [drive?] innovation" repeated, as if enough repetition will constitute proof that this is correct. It isn't. For a humorous video showing numerous benefits and innovations we receive from our government, I recommend Socialism is BAD! on YouTube.

Re 3: the U.S. Constitution reserves education for the States, so you have a perhaps-unintentional point here. That notwithstanding, there are lots of examples of things the Federal government has done for education, including Pell grants, Brown v. Board of Education, and (to some eyes, at least) "No Child Left Behind".

Re 4: dropping the minimum wage will not increase demand for manufactured items, so is highly unlikely to spur manufacturing in the US - there is widespread agreement among those who have studied it that the US economy is suffering from a shortage of demand, and fixing this problem is part of what must be done to increase in-US manufacturing.
Space

Hubble Accuracy Surpassed By Earthbound Telescope 87

Posted by Soulskill
from the and-we-can-get-to-this-one dept.
randuev writes "A high-speed adaptive optics system helped the Large Binocular Telescope (on Earth) to beat the accuracy of the Hubble Space Telescope's observations. 'A special sensor detects atmospheric distortions in real time and controls the mirror to adjust its position to compensate, effectively canceling out the blurring. The mirror can make adjustments every one-thousandth of a second, with accuracy to better than ten nanometers.' Now, that's what I call real-time. This nifty trick multiplied the Strehl ratio (optical quality) of the LBT by about 80 times. The new system was tested in May and June, so hopefully we'll soon see more space around us in higher resolution on Google Sky."
Businesses

Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy 160

Posted by kdawson
from the you-say-pirate-we-say-patriot dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill spotlights a study released by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which concludes that companies relying on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue to the US economy every year. The report claims that fair use — an exception to the copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted materials — is crucial to innovation. It adds that employment in fair use industries grew from 16.9 million in 2002 to 17.5 million in 2007 and one out of eight US workers is employed by a company benefiting from protections provided by fair use (PDF). Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) says the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved; otherwise, content owners will control access to movies, music, and art that will no longer be available for schools, research, or web browsing. Lofgren tied the copyright issue with the question of net neutrality. Without net neutrality 'content owners will completely control and lock down content. We're going to be sorry characters when we actually don't see fair use rights on the Web,' says Lofgren. 'If we allow our freedom to be taken for commercial purposes, we will have some explaining to do to our founding fathers and those who died for our freedom.'"
Earth

Microbial Life Found In Trinidadian Hydrocarbon Lake 141

Posted by timothy
from the blame-la-brea dept.
KentuckyFC writes "Pitch Lake is a poisonous, foul-smelling hell hole on the Caribbean island of Trinidad. It is filled with hot asphalt and bubbling with noxious hydrocarbon gases and carbon dioxide. Various scientists have suggested that it is the closest thing on Earth to the kind of hydrocarbon lakes they can see on Saturn's moon Titan. Now a group of researchers has discovered that the lake is teeming with microbial life which is thriving in the oxygen-free environment with very little water, eating hydrocarbons and respiring with metals. Gene sequence analysis indicates that these bugs are single-celled organisms such as archea and bacteria. The researchers say the discovery has exciting implications for the possibility of life on Titan. There is a growing sense that Titan has all the ingredients for life: thermodynamic disequilibrium, abundant carbon-containing molecules, and a fluid environment. There is also evidence that liquid water may not be as important for life as everybody has assumed, since some microorganisms can make their own water by chewing on various hydrocarbons. That may make Titan an even better place to look for life than previously thought."
Image

Genetic Disorder Removes Racial Bias and Social Fear 319

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-you-need-is-love-and-different-genes dept.
People who suffer from a rare genetic disorder called Williams Syndrome have a complete lack of social fear. They experience no anxiety or concerns about meeting new people or being put into any social situation, and a new study by Andreia Santos suggests that they also don't have any racial bias. From the article: "Typically, children start overtly gravitating towards their own ethnic groups from the tender age of three. Groups of people from all over the globe and all sorts of cultures show these biases. Even autistic children, who can have severe difficulties with social relationships, show signs of racial stereotypes. But Santos says that the Williams syndrome kids are the first group of humans devoid of such racial bias, although, as we’ll see, not everyone agrees."
Biotech

Monitor Your Health 24x7 With the WIN Human Recorder 66

Posted by timothy
from the paranoia-count-high dept.
kkleiner writes "Japanese venture firm WIN Human Recorder Ltd is set to bring a health monitor patch to market that is capable of keeping tabs on all your vitals. The HRS-I is a small (30mm x 30mm x 5mm) lightweight (7g) device that adheres to your chest and relays the data it collects to a computer or mobile phone via wireless connection. While the HRS-I only directly monitors electrocardiograph information, body surface temperature, and movement (via accelerometers), it can connect to sensors for heart rate, brain waves, respiration and many other important health indicators. WIN is selling the HRS-I for around ¥30,000 (~$330) and providing monitoring software for around ¥10,000 (~$110)."
Graphics

Disney Releases 3D Texture Mapper Source Code 83

Posted by timothy
from the nice-of-them dept.
dsavi writes "Ptex, Walt Disney Animation Studio's cutting-edge 3D texture mapping library which was first used on nearly every surface in the 2008 animated feature Bolt, was released under the BSD license on Friday. Quoting the announcement on monophyl.com: 'We expect to follow Ptex with other open source projects that we hope the community will find beneficial. We will soon be launching a new Walt Disney Animation Studios Technology page under disneyanimation.com. It will include links to our open source projects as will as a library of recent publications.' This looks good for open source 3D graphics."

Comment: Re:Oh God, not the bourbon. (Score 3, Insightful) 766

by Rich.Miller.6 (#30752928) Attached to: Organ Damage In Rats From Monsanto GMO Corn

With a corporation, it isn't a matter of wanting to kill humans. It is simply a matter of accounting.

If the cost of killing humans is much less than the expected profit, then it is the corporation's duty to kill humans, since it is the corporation's duty to maximize profits for the shareholders. That's the whole purpose of a corporation, to maximize profits for the shareholders.

You are being ironic, I hope. The idea that "corporations exist solely to maximize shareholder value" isn't a Given Truth - it's just another idea about how society can organize a (big) part of its activities. As such, it should be evaluated like any other idea: see what it leads to. One direct consequence is the argument that if something is legal and maximizes return to shareholders, a corporation has a fiduciary duty to do it. This argument was made in defense of British ships participating in the slave trade until 1807, even though chattel slavery was declared unlawful in England in 1772 and Scotland in 1776, and slavery itself in 1799. Another consequence is the idea that corporations have no social obligations - that maximizing shareholder return is required, regardless of other consequences such as, say, global economic meltdown and huge government transfers of money to banks and Wall St. firms during the last year or so.

These aren't the only ways for corporations to behave, nor do they appear socially desirable. Here's a reference for those interested in examining this further: http://www.allaboutbranding.com/index.lasso?article=373

Books such as Marjorie Kelly's The Divine Right of Capital: Dethroning the Corporate Aristocracy already point out the inhumane way corporations have departed from serving the public, even though the roots of corporate duty were in the public good. Maximizing returns to shareholders was the obsession at Enron and Andersen

Always think of something new; this helps you forget your last rotten idea. -- Seth Frankel

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