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Submission + - Disney replaces longtime IT staff with H-1B workers (

Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."

Submission + - US military pays SETI to check Kepler-22b for alie (

iComp writes: "The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) has announced that it is back in business checking out the new habitable exoplanets recently discovered by NASA's Kepler space telescope to see if they might be home to alien civilisations. The cash needed to restart SETI's efforts has come in part from the US Air Force Space Command, who are interested in using the organisation's detection instruments for "space situational awareness"."

Submission + - Quantum Effects Fueling Photosynthesis (

boley1 writes: "Physicists have found the strongest evidence yet of quantum effects fueling photosynthesis.

Multiple experiments in recent years have suggested as much, but it’s been hard to be sure. Quantum effects were clearly present in the light-harvesting antenna proteins of plant cells, but their precise role in processing incoming photons remained unclear."

The idea of photosynthesis being straightforward chemistry is pretty much dashed.


Submission + - AT&T Dead Last in Satisfaction Survey (

redletterdave writes: "Consumer Reports' latest ratings survey of cell phone carriers revealed that Verizon Wireless scored the highest satisfaction score out of the four major U.S. service providers, earning particularly high grades for texting and data service. Verizon was followed closely by Sprint and T-Mobile USA, but all three companies earned scores lower overall than their figures from last year. AT&T was at the very bottom of the list for the second year in a row. While AT&T's satisfaction score in 2011 wasn't as bad as its score from 2010, the Dallas-based cell phone provider, which recently discontinued its bid to acquire its better rival T-Mobile, still ranked at the bottom of the pack. Last year, AT&T was the only carrier for the Apple iPhone, but still managed to receive the lowest scores. The company is a bottom-feeder when it comes to keeping customers happy, even though
AT&T boasts more than 100 million subscribers, adding 2.1 million customers in the third quarter alone. AT&T is notorious for its dead zones and dropped calls, which was partially why AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile in the first place. A separate J.D. Power and Associates customer care survey gave AT&T its lowest score, with Verizon Wireless similarly taking the top score."


Submission + - Robots to patrol South Korean prisons (

bukharin writes: As reported by various sites, South Korea is planning a trial of robotic prison guards in Pohang. The idea is that the robots will roll around the prison monitoring conditions inside the cells and communicate back to human guards if they detect a problem such as violence. Apparently the human guards are happy with the idea because they get to do less, especially overnight. And if you were worried about Skynet, you needn't be: according to Prof. Lee Baik-chul of Kyonggi University, who's running the trial, '... the robots are not terminators. Their job is not cracking down on violent prisoners. They are helpers.' Good to know.

Comment Here come moral relativists (Score 5, Insightful) 374

Sorry, no. Moral relativism is complete bullshit. Some things are morally wrong ABSOLUTELY. One of them is supressing your populace's ability to communicate. I'm sick and tired of people justifying morally corrupt behavior just because it's state-sanctioned. Sorry, forcing women they have to wear a head-dress is absolutely not acceptable. Denying them basic human rights is absolutely not acceptable. Persecution of homosexuality is absolutely not acceptable. EVEN IF ALL THESE THINGS ARE STATE SANCTIONED. I'll take that one step further and say that it is even absolutely morally unacceptable for a radical state to possess nuclear weaponry, even more absolutely morally unacceptable for such a regime to have such unabashed hatred based on another people's religion.

The difference between a state and a mob is that one controls the military and one does not. Simply being a group does not magically grant anyone moral superiority or the ability to redefine basic human rights. Saying that its ok for ANYONE to do that is fucking retarded, and something that is continued by apologists. Your moral 'relativism' is the reason why atrocities like this are allowed to perpetrate.

Comment Is this necessary? (Score 4, Interesting) 321

I was under the impression that there was nothing to be gained by doing the schrodinger's cat experiment. The idea is that in collapsing the probability wave of any object, the "observer"-object (really anything that the collapsing object interacts with, conciousnes not required!) essentially becomes a superposition of states. This forms an outward expanding wave of super position with the individuals caught within the wave observing it as collapsed and those outside the event observing all those that interact with the superpositions becoming superpositions themselves.

For example scientist-A is in an isolated box and has a cat in an isolated box. The cat is a superposition either dead or alive, is definately one or the other when he opens the box. Let's say for him, the cat is dead when he opens it and that makes him sad. However the scientist-B, outside the larger box which contains scientist-A can now say that the box is filled a superposition of A-with dead cat (sad scientist), and A-with live cat (happy scientist). This is because scientist-B does not know the result of scientist-A opening the box,only that room now contains a superposition of a sad or happy man with a dead or live cat. Only when B opens this larger box does it the superposition of A collapse for scientist B. Now B is in the same position - he is now be a superposition of states of scientist-B seeing sad-man with dead cat, and scientist-B seeing happy-man with live cat. So the idea is that ALL quantum events function in this way. Performing this on any object, be it virus or molecule or cat. Of course because the real world has no such isolation boxes, these wavefronts of collapse and local superposition happen continuously and undetectably.

So what will happen is they'll go through all this difficulty to superpose two states. Then view the virus, seeing it in one state - all the while oblivious that they are now intertwined with that superposition to an outside observer.

Comment Nothing new here (Score 4, Insightful) 151

This is a basic business fact, has been known for decades, and is one of the big reasons why people are justifiably against increased taxes.

It happens on every level of government - city, county, state and finally country. Tax increases at any of these levels tend to drive away businesses, lower taxes and incentives draw them in. The only thing that makes this news-worthy is that cloud-computing is a fairly new industry. Surprise, surprise they react to taxes like any other business.

Of course, every level of government NEEDS taxes, but tax increases to pay for various social services ultimately have to be finely balanced between driving away business with the need for those services. Heavily taxing business to provide for such services helps the community in the short term, but drives away the business and hurts the community through job loss in the mid to long term. Did the social service help the community greater than the loss of the jobs hurt it? There-in lies the delicate balance that is illustrated by the issue of taxes and business migration. Again, nothing new.

Comment Re:Space Shuttle? (Score 1) 227

Obviously I mean the fact that shuttles have had a hand in making them "become increasingly visible." I'm sure there's some natural processes that can create them, but are more rare than shuttle launches - i.e. large volcanic eruptions (such as the one in the late 1800s) or something else we haven't identified.

Comment Space Shuttle? (Score 3, Insightful) 227

Aren't they caused by the space shuttle? I could swear there was an article a couple weeks ago on slashdot about it. Basically they found that they tend to form hours after the shuttle launch, particularly around Antarctica. The shuttle's boosters release X tons of water into the high atmosphere, at altitudes water can't regularly attain, which gets caught by high moving winds that drive it south, where they crystallize.

Interestingly enough we just had a shuttle launch just a couple days ago.

Comment Re:I doubt it... (Score 4, Interesting) 385

No it won't. The damaged is caused by radiation which destroys DNA. Radioactive particles that are helium or larger are stopped by your skin. Smaller particles ionize organic molecules within your body producing highly reactive radicals. Maybe its these radicals you call energetic particles? Anyway even if you remove them the DNA damage from the radiation is still there, and often the extent of the radical damage is beyond the coping mechanism of the cell. Acute damage is in the radiation, radical damage is the slow damage of aging.

Like the GP said, the methods of radiation damage are diverse, it is impossible for there to exist a single pill that treats it from all these aspects. The pill would need to be a cluster of several different types of DNA repair enzymes (to repair DNA damage from all the possible ways of bond damage), as well as being an antioxidant (to absorb radicals) and some sort of protein 'digestant' (to remove the denatured proteins). Since the body took 3+ billion years to come up a couple dozen enzymes to fulfill these purposes, it seem unlikely (downright impossible!) that a single molecule could be created to take their place.

Comment Re:I thought they.. (Score 4, Informative) 635

I really don't know why your post is filled with such vitriol. Anyway there is nothing secret about the "scientific means" behind it (as much as you wish there was by the fact that you used quotes...). The test is valid because they used an enormously large sample size and a library of several hundred pictures, which through its massive sample size, were able to distill down using statistics to those 10 pictures which had the highest positive predictive value!

Those 10 pictures were specifically chosen because they were the most deterministic pictures. If I took all of Pollock's works and showed them to tens of thousands of people, and recorded all the responses I'm sure I could produce a handful of pieces by Pollock which have a high correlation among viewers to a specific object - i.e. that one piece is viewed as a 'bat' by 80% of viewers. Taking it one step further, Pollock's art was never even designed to be used in such a way, however the inkblots were from the onset intentionally designed to maximize their correlation, and thus future predictive value.

I've taken the exam myself with a group of about 10 others as a learning experience. On average, the answers correlated completely except for one individual. By the end, it seemed each person had answered one "wrong" i.e. hadn't seen the "right" image. However, that didn't mean the group had any psychological pathology, as the incorrect answers were not given consistently. A 90% correlation means on average, the average (healthy) person will agree with an image 90% of the time. If a person answers 6 out of 10 wrong, the statistical likelihood of that occurring in a healthy individual becomes suspiciously small.

That is the power of the inkblots and the science behind them - science without quotes.

Comment Re:Are the images important? (Score 2, Insightful) 635

You were really really close...

      1. Get a series of inkblots together
      2. Gather and correlate data on how healthy people describe blots
      3. Gather and correlate data on how people with known problems describe blots
      4. Show inkblots to patients
      5. See how their results line up with previous correlations
      6.1 Verify validity of inkblots with strong correlation thus establishing the utility of the inkblots
      6.2 Sell to to psychiatrists/psychologists as a diagnostic tool
      7 profit

      Or conversely
      6.2 Doctor uses statistical results on real patient.
      6.3 Results help to diagnose patient.
      6.4 Payment from patient for services rendered leads to:
      7. profit

He's dead, Jim.