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Google

The History of the NORAD/Microsoft and Google Santa Trackers 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the NSA-only-has-santa-metadata dept.
theodp writes: Marketing Land's Danny Sullivan has a pretty epic post on How Google Became A Santa Tracker Tradition To Rival NORAD, and wonders if future generations will think of Santa tracking as synonymous with Google, just as past ones have felt about NORAD. Until it split with Google in 2012 (for unknown reasons) and hooked up with Microsoft, Sullivan explains, NORAD had really been the only place to go for a serious, dependable Santa tracking service. "There's a big part of me that wishes Google had gotten out of Santa tracking when it split from NORAD," says Sullivan of the divorce. "The NORAD Santa tracker brings back memories from my childhood; it brings back memories of me being a father with young kids checking in on Santa's progress. In contrast, Google feels to me like an upstart interloper messing with my nostalgic memories. But maybe Google's a welcome alternative to others. It's not uncommon to see the occasional complaint about a NORAD "Santa Cam" video showing Santa being accompanied by fighter jets. Some might prefer a Santa tracker that's not connected to a military organization. Of course, some might not feel one connected to a giant company is necessarily preferable. Part of me is also sad that when I go to NORAD's own site, I get a big Internet Explorer icon in the top right corner, which effectively opens up an ad for Microsoft. I guess I feel it's too blatant. Of course, complaining about the commercialization of something Christmas-related, I suppose, is kind of useless." Sullivan adds, "Overall, I'm thankful to the many people who are involved with both operations [NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker], who work hard to make children smile on Christmas Eve.""

Comment: Article summary: Use time-in more than time-out (Score 1) 323

by Walking The Walk (#48652911) Attached to: Putting Time Out In Time Out: The Science of Discipline

The point of the article is made near the end, which is to use less time-outs (which should still be used, as a time of reflection), and more "time-ins", which is apparently teaching your child about emotional events as they occur through the day. Based on the examples given, I would guess "time-in" is something we already do with our kids; it's just talking over events like "Wasn't it funny when Sarah sneezed milk out her nose?" Then listening to our kids tell their version. The new thing is to somehow "teach" them what that emotion means. I'm OK with a psych doing research that confirms common parental practices work, but there was a lot of vague hand-waviness about "teaching" emotions, and they skimmed over the fact that once a child is in school or daycare, the majority of their daily events aren't shared with their parents. Discussing such events therefore requires discovering them, which is difficult when the response to "How was your day at school?" is a terse "Okay".

PS: I actually read through TFA, which was rather long and filled with the author's opinions more than the psych's study results and opinions.. I don't recommend reading the article by the way, it was a lot of filler text with very little discussion of the main topic. It could use an editor's review - for example, it alternates between "time-out" and "timeout". Plus the title is misleading - it explicitly says time-ins aren't a counter-point to time-outs, it simply encourages that time-ins be added to the daily routine.

Toys

Ask Slashdot: What Can I Really Do With a Smart Watch? 230

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-measure-the-battery-drain dept.
kwelch007 writes I commonly work in a clean-room (CR.) As such, I commonly need access to my smart-phone for various reasons while inside the CR...but, I commonly keep it in my front pocket INSIDE my clean-suit. Therefore, to get my phone out of my pocket, I have to leave the room, get my phone out of my pocket, and because I have a one track mind, commonly leave it sitting on a table or something in the CR, so I then have to either have someone bring it to me, or suit back up and go get it myself...a real pain. I have been looking in to getting a 'Smart Watch' (I'm preferential to Android, but I know Apple has similar smart-watches.) I would use a smart-watch as a convenient, easy to transport and access method to access basic communications (email alerts, text, weather maps, etc.) The problem I'm finding while researching these devices is, I'm not finding many apps. Sure, they can look like a nice digital watch, but I can spend $10 for that...not the several hundred or whatever to buy a smart-watch. What are some apps I can get? (don't care about platform, don't care if they're free) I just want to know what's the best out there, and what it can do? I couldn't care less about it being a watch...we have these things called clocks all over the place. I need various sorts of data access. I don't care if it has to pair with my smart-phone using Bluetooth or whatever, and it won't have to be a 100% solution...it would be more of a convenience that is worth the several hundred dollars to me. My phone will never be more than 5 feet away, it's just inconvenient to physically access it. Further, I am also a developer...what is the best platform to develop for these wearable devices on, and why? Maybe I could make my own apps? Is it worth waiting for the next generation of smart-watches?
Earth

Denmark Makes Claim To North Pole, Based On Undersea Geography 190

Posted by timothy
from the that-land-is-our-land dept.
As reported by The Independent, A scientific study has found that Greenland is actually connected to the area beneath the polar ice where the North Pole lies – thanks to a huge stretch of continental crust known as the Lomonosov Ridge. Since Greenland is a Danish territory, that gives the country the right to put its hat in the ring for ownership of the stretch of land, Denmark’s foreign minister [Martin Lidegaard ] said. ... Of the five Arctic countries – the US, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark —only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in the North Pole territory until now. "This is a historical milestone for Denmark and many others as the area has an impact on the lives of lot of people. After the U.N. panel had taken a decision based on scientific data, comes a political process," Lidegaard told The Associated Press in an interview on Friday. "I expect this to take some time. An answer will come in a few decades. Why such a big deal? As Business Insider notes, The U.S. currently estimates that the Arctic sea bed could contain 15% of the earth's remaining oil, along with 30% of the planet's natural gas and 20% of its liquefied natural gas. Whichever country is able to successfully claim the Arctic would have the right to extract these resources.
Transportation

Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work? 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-get-what-you-pay-for dept.
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far, which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services. Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off? Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.
Education

2014 Geek Gift Guide 113

Posted by Soulskill
from the watch-out-for-robot-santa dept.
With the holidays coming up, Bennett Haselton has updated his geek-oriented gift guide for 2014. He says: Some of my favorite gifts to give are still the ones that were listed in several different previously written posts, while a few new cool gift ideas emerged in 2014. Here are all my current best recommendations, listed in one place. Read on for the list, or to share any suggestions of your own.
Twitter

An Algorithm To Prevent Twitter Hashtag Degeneration 162

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes The corruption of the #Ferguson and #Gamergate hashtags demonstrates how vulnerable the hashtag system is to being swamped by an "angry mob". An alternative algorithm could be created that would allow users to post tweets and browse the ones that had been rated "thoughtful" by other users participating in the same discussion. This would still allow anyone to contribute, even average users lacking a large follower base, while keeping the most stupid and offensive tweets out of most people's feeds. Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.
Twitter

Twitter Should Use Random Sample Voting For Abuse Reports 132

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-us-everything dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Twitter has announced new protocols for filing and handling abuse reports, making it easier to flag specific types of content (e.g. violence or suicide threats). But with the volume of abusive tweets being reported to the company every day, the internal review process will always be a bottleneck. The company could handle more abuse reports properly by recruiting public volunteers. Read what Bennett thinks below.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source? 488

Posted by Soulskill
from the afraid-of-linus's-wrath dept.
Jason Baker writes: Most everyone is using an open source tool somewhere in their workflow, but relatively few are contributing back their time to sustaining the projects they use. But these days, there are plenty of ways to contribute to an open source project without submitting code. Projects like OpenHatch will even help you match your skill set to a project in need. So what's holding you back? Time? Lack of interest? Difficulty getting started?
Medicine

WHO Timeline for Ebola Containment Proves Hard To Meet 78

Posted by timothy
from the mythical-doctor-month dept.
The Associated Press, as carried by Salon, reports that the World Health Organization's intended timeline for limiting the spread of Ebola in the several West African countries where it has claimed thousands of lives has proved to be too optimistic. According to the article, Two months ago, the World Health Organization launched an ambitious plan to stop the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, aiming to isolate 70 percent of the sick and safely Ebola 70 percent of the victims in the three hardest-hit countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — by December 1. Only Guinea is on track to meet the December 1 goal, according to an update from WHO. In Liberia, only 23 percent of cases are isolated and 26 percent of the needed burial teams are in place. In Sierra Leone, about 40 percent of cases are isolated while 27 percent of burial teams are operational.

Comment: Too bad Canadian Thanksgiving is long past (Score 1) 24

by Walking The Walk (#48476389) Attached to: Syrian Electronic Army Takes Credit For News Site Hacking
"claiming responsibility for the hacking of multiple news websites, including CBC News" - CBC being the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "suggested the attacks were meant to coincide with the U.S. Thanksgiving on Thursday" - which had very little effect on us Canadians, seeing as our Thanksgiving was a month ago. Smooth move, morons.
Cloud

Clarificiation on the IP Address Security in Dropbox Case 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes A judge rules that a county has to turn over the IP addresses that were used to access a county mayor's Dropbox account, stating that there is no valid security-related reason why the IP addresses should be exempt from a public records request. I think the judge's conclusion about IP addresses was right, but the reasoning was flawed; here is a technically more correct argument that would have led to the same answer. Keep Reading to see what Bennett has to say about the case.
Facebook

How Facebook Is Influencing Who Will Win the Next Election 72

Posted by Soulskill
from the setting-up-a-scapegoat dept.
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Forbes: [Facebook] announced yesterday that it was shutting down a feature that the Obama campaign used in 2012 to register over a million voters. During the election supporters shared access to their list of Facebook friends list with the campaign through an app. Researchers have found that while people view often political messages with skepticism, they are more receptive and trusting when the information is coming from somebody they know. The feature was credited with boosting Obama’s get-out-the-vote efforts which were crucial to his victory, but Facebook has decided to disable this ability in order to (rightfully) protect users from third-party apps collecting too much of their information.

The company insists that it favors no particular ideology and that its efforts are “neutral.” The first part is likely true, but the second is not possible. The company’s algorithms take into account a proprietary mix of our own biases, connections, and interests combined with Facebook’s business priorities; that is the farthest thing from neutral. Facebook says it just want to encourage “civic participation,” but politically mobilizing the subsection of people that are on their network is not without its own impacts.

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