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Submission + - The Public Collection: Indianapolis's own 'Big Free Libraries'->

Robotech_Master writes: Indianapolis has just launched a great new series of art installations intended to promote both art and literacy. The Public Collection will act as a sort of artistic big version of the "Little Free Libraries" that have been popping up lately—offering hundreds of books to the general public, including homeless and hospital patients, absolutely free.
Link to Original Source

Comment Of Virgins and Karma (Score 1) 112

It's not as if this idea is exactly unknown, though the outfit I know of (and subscribe to) that's doing it right, Karma, now only gives 100 megabytes for free, then you have to pay for more. (Though if you use your personal referral code, anyone who buys a hotspot saves with it $10, and you get $10, too. Thanks to a couple of blog posts, I've earned nearly $400 worth of free WiFi so far.)

That being said, 100 megabytes is more than enough for someone to hook up for long enough to check his email, do a little social networking, and so on. And they give it to you at the full 4G LTE super-speed. not some super-throttled you-really-should-pay-us-if-you-want-it-faster scheme.

The one problem with the scheme is that the public nature of it means you don't get the benefit of password encryption on your WiFi. But VPNs are pretty cheap these days.

Comment Re:WIRED has it right (Score 1) 1033

The "No Award" option has been present for years, and has been used multiple times before when the majority of the voters felt that nothing in a given category merited an award this year. That's not a "slate," that's a valid voting choice people can make if they think all the nominations either suck or simply should not have been nominated. There's nothing new about it being used again now, save that so many of them happened at once. Fans sent a strong message that they will not tolerate some minority diddling with the nominations.

Even if it was a "slate," if you're going to say that the original "slate" was a valid means of nominating, the idea of an opposing "slate" being used to cancel it out should be equally valid.

Comment WIRED has it right (Score 1, Insightful) 1033

This whole movement came out of the same place as GamerGate. A reactionary minority group, upset that their media fandom was getting too diverse, tried to spark a backlash. It didn't work for GamerGate, and it didn't work for the Puppies either.

The fans rejected the Puppies' attempt to stuff the ballot with their own (largely subpar) works, and now the Puppies are claiming victory with a refrain that sounds an awful lot like "Those grapes were probably sour anyway."

Comment It's because humans suck at judging risk. (Score 1) 523

Gregory Benford had a great column about this, all the way back in 2000. It also involved a nuclear powered satellite.

It's human nature to react more extremely to new things, especially if they seem "unnatural." This might have been a survival instinct in bygone days, when the hominid who noticed that bush was out of place could take another path and avoid getting eaten by the sabertooth tiger behind it. But like so many such instincts, it translates poorly into the technological era.

Submission + - Designers & Dragons is the complete history of role-playing game publishers

Robotech_Master writes: Evil Hat Productions is Kickstarting a four-volume history of the RPG industry that's already met its funding goal almost seven times over. Comprising half a million words altogether, it tells the story of pencil-and-paper role-playing games from their very beginnings, and you can read the e-book of the first volume for kicking in just one buck. $1 for the first e-book, $15 for all four, print volumes starting at $25 and up.

I've reviewed the first volume of it here. I found it extremely thorough and well-written.

Submission + - New recipe produces ammonia from air, water, and sunlight-> 1

mdsolar writes: Nitrogen is essential for all life. But even though nitrogen makes up 78% of the atmosphere, it's in a form that can't be used by living organisms. Instead it's tied up in nitrogen molecules made up of two nitrogen atoms that share a strong triple bond that's not easily broken. A century ago, two German chemists, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, figured out how to sever those bonds with high pressures and temperatures and weld nitrogen atoms with hydrogens to make ammonia, thereby converting nitrogen into the starting material for a nitrogen-rich fertilizer that can be taken up and used by microbes, plants, and people. That process has been so successful that ammonia-based fertilizers now enable farmers to feed billions more people than our planet could otherwise support. But ammonia production also comes at a high environmental cost, as it is responsible for 2% of worldwide energy use and thus a massive greenhouse gas footprint. However, on page 637 of this issue, U.S. chemists report that they've come up with a way to synthesize ammonia from air, water, and sunlight. If the approach can be scaled up, it could offer a means for making an essential commodity without a major cost to the climate.
Link to Original Source

Comment This needs to be seen (Score 2) 1

I feel it's really important that this piece get approved. The media is replete with Hachette, its authors and agents, and the various traditional publishing old-guard trying to stack the deck against Amazon. The other night the New York Public Library held a so-called "panel discussion" that was essentially an excuse to get together and bash Amazon. We need more people to hear the other side!

Comment "Forgot Your Password?" (Score 1) 388

If your email's already been registered somewhere, try the "forgot your password?" link? It'll send the new password out to, duh, your email.

Likewise, you can stick on a +whatever on the end of your userID to make it into a "different" email address (and this will also help you know which websites are leaking your email.

Comment I'm too nice (Score 3, Interesting) 924

I was watching G.I. Joe: Retribution in a theater with a "zero tolerance" cell phone policy, and the jerk in front of me took his phone out and texted several times during the movie. I considered asking him to stop, but I just don't like getting into confrontations. I further considered going and telling a staffer, but I didn't want to miss part of the movie to do it. Also the guy was there with a kid, and I didn't want to be responsible for ruining the kid's movie experience.

I'm just too nice. :P

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