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Comment: Re:What I am opposed to ... (Score 1) 1766 1766

... is the closing of minds
ideas are dangerous to closed minds.

However, an open mind is no reason not to properly categorize things.

The question of what is versus what isn't science is one of philosophy. Science requires certain underlying philosophical assumptions; the question of what assumptions should be used is fair to debate... but is NOT a scientific question.

Assumptions of basic Boolean logical and Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory axioms are exceptionally uncontroversial in philosophy. They allow for construction of most of the familiar mathematics geeks play with. If you make the assumption of the Strong Church-Turing Universe Thesis to bound complexity, you can derive (or, being sensible, read the papers where Wallace/Dowe and Vitanyi/Li derived) a formal relationship between "Minimum Description Length Induction, Bayesianism and Kolmogorov Complexity", which allows for a rigorous definition of science as competitive testing for a very formal sense of "simplest descriptive explanation for all the evidence". And, no, "God Diddit!" doesn't win, because it's insufficiently descriptive of the evidence under the formal criteria.

As such, Intelligent Design becomes a candidate hypothesis rejected because it does not descriptively explain the evidence anywhere near as concisely as Evolution. Intelligent Design is not science, any more than the idea of the Luminiferous Ether is. Perhaps the Search for Intelligent Design might remain a scientific pursuit (as SETI is), but to do so it must admit that it has failed even more miserably than SETI.


+ - Mixed news on Wiretapping from 9th Circuit USCoA

abb3w writes: The bad news: the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that the Al-Haramain lawyers may not submit into evidence their recollections of the top secret document handed to them detailing the warrantless electronic scrutiny they received. "Once properly invoked and judicially blessed, the state secrets privilege is not a half-way proposition." The good news: they have declined to answer and directed the lower court to consider whether "FISA preempts the common law state secrets privilege" with respect to the underlying nature of the program itself... which also keeps alive hopes for the EFF and ACLU to make those responsible answer for their actions.

Coverage at CNET, the NYTimes, and elsewhere; PDF of ruling here.
The Media

+ - Journalists Can't Hide News Anymore 2 2

Hugh Pickens writes: "Robert Niles at the Online Journalism Review comments on the story about the 13-year-old girl who took her own life after making friends with a boy she'd met on MySpace who turned on her. The boy didn't exist. 'He' was the creation of the mother of one of the girl's former friends. But the newspaper didn't name the woman, citing concerns for *her* teen daughter. Bloggers went nuts, and soon uncovered the woman's name, her address, phone number and business registration records and plastered them all over the Web. "The lessons for journalists? First, we can't restrict access to information anymore. The crowd will work together to find whatever we withhold," wrote Niles. "Second, I wonder if that the decision to withhold the other mother's name didn't help enflame the audience, by frustrating it and provoking it to do the work of discovering her identity." Here are links to the original story on the girl's suicide, to one of the bloggers who uncovered the woman's identity, and to another look at the journalistic issues involved in naming names."

Judges Reinstate Charges In Google Age Discrimination Suit 291 291

theodp writes "A California appeals court has reinstated former Stanford prof Brian Reid's age-discrimination suit against Google, ruling that a lower Court erred in siding with Google and rejecting Mr. Reid's claims. From the Court Decision (PDF): 'We conclude that Reid produced sufficient evidence that Google's reasons for terminating him were untrue or pretextual, and that Google acted with discriminatory motive such that a factfinder would conclude Google engaged in age discrimination.' As side notes, helping Reid make his case is CS Prof Norman Matloff, while Google's actions are being defended by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati of pretexting-was-not-generally-unlawful fame."

Copy Protection Backfires on Blu-ray 378 378

An anonymous reader writes "The first two Blu-ray releases to hit the market encrypted with BD+ (an extra layer of protection designed to stave off hackers) are wreaking havoc on innocent consumers. As High-Def Digest reports, this week's Blu-ray releases of 'Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer' and 'The Day After Tomorrow' won't play back at all on at least two Blu-ray players, while load times on other players (including the PS3) are delayed by up to two minutes. 'The most severe problems have been reported on Samsung's BDP-1200 and LG's BH100, which are both said to be incapable of playing back the discs at all. Less catastrophic issues (error messages and playback stutter) have been reported for Samsung's BDP-1000. The discs appear to play back fine on all other Blu-ray players ... Calls placed to both Samsung and LG customer support revealed that both manufacturers are aware of the issue, and that both are working on firmware updates to correct it. Samsung promised a firmware update within 'a couple' weeks, while LG said an update is expected in 3-4 days.'"
The Internet

ISP Guarantees Net Neutrality, For a Fee 217 217

greedyturtle writes "Ars Technica has up an interesting article on the first ISP to guarantee network neutrality. It's called COmmunityPOwered Internet, aka Copowi. The offer of neutrality comes at a higher price — mostly due to uncompetitive telco line pricing schemes — $34 for 256K DSL, $50 for 1.5 Mbs, and $60 for 7 Mbps. The owner claims to need only 5,000 subscribers to move his ISP into the national arena from the 12 Western states where it now operates. Would you be willing to spend the extra bucks for network neutrality?"
The Courts

DMCA Means You Can't Delete Files On Your PC? 511 511

DragonHawk writes "According to Wired, John Stottlemire found a way to print duplicate coupons from by deleting some files and registry entires on his PC. Now he's being sued for a DMCA violation. He says, 'All I did was erase files or registry keys.' Says a lawyer: '[The DMCA] may cover this. I think it does give companies a lot of leverage and a lot of power.' So now the copyright cartels are saying that not only can we not copy things on our computers, but we can't delete things on our computers? Time to buy stock in Seagate."
The Internet

Japanese Researchers Aim to Replace the Internet 214 214

Gary writes "Japanese communications minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that Japan will start research and development on technology for a new generation of network that would replace the Internet, eyeing bringing the technology into commercial use in 2020. The envisaged network is expected to ensure faster and more reliable data transmission, and have more resilience against computer virus attacks and breakdowns."

Music DRM in Critical Condition? 377 377

ianare writes "Universal Music Group, the largest music company on the planet, has announced that the company is going to sell DRM-free music. The test will see UMG offering a portion of its catalog — primarily its most popular content — sold without DRM between August 21 and January 31 of next year. The format will be MP3, and songs will sell for 99 each, with the bitrate to be determined by the stores in question. RealNetwork's Rhapsody service will offer 256kbps tracks, the company said in a separate statement. January 31 is likely more of a fire escape than an end date. If UMG doesn't like what they're seeing, they'll pull the plug. UMG says that it wants to watch how DRM-free music affects piracy rates."

+ - Turing's unpublished algorithm for normal numbers->

ferespo writes: A group of argentine scientists have given an almost full proof for an algorithm by Alan Turing, hand written by himself on the reverse of the sheets of his original paper about what would later be known as "Turing machines"

"In an unpublished manuscript, Alan Turing gave a computable construction to show that absolutely normal real numbers between 0 and 1 have Lebesgue measure 1; furthermore, he gave an algorithm for computing instances in this set. We complete his manuscript by giving full proofs and correcting minor errors. While doing this, we recreate Turing's ideas as accurately as possible. One of his original lemmas remained unproved, but we have replaced it with a weaker lemma that still allows us to maintain Turing's proof idea and obtain his result."

Link to Original Source

+ - NYC man Arrested for Reciting First Amendment

CWRUisTakingMyMoney writes: 'Reverend Billy' — a cross between a street-corner preacher and an Elvis impersonator (but blond) — was arrested on harassment charges last week while reciting the First Amendment through a megaphone in Manhattan's Union Square. Have we reached the point where we can't even (rather uniquely) recite from our own Constitution without being arrested or shouted down?

+ - iPhone root password cracked in three days

Dimentox writes: reports that "The iPhone root password has been cracked, The information came from an an official Apple iPhone restore image (rename as a zip file and extract). The archive contains two .dmg disk images: a password encrypted system image and an unencrypted user image. By delving into the unencrypted image inquisitive hackers were able to discover that all iPhones ship with predefined passwords to the accounts 'mobile' and 'root', the last of which being the name of the privileged administration account on UNIX based systems..."
"The information came from an an official Apple iPhone restore image (rename as a zip file and extract). The archive contains two .dmg disk images: a password encrypted system image and an unencrypted user image. By delving into the unencrypted image inquisitive hackers were able to discover that all iPhones ship with predefined passwords to the accounts 'mobile' and 'root', the last of which being the name of the privileged administration account on UNIX based systems."
The Courts

+ - Is RIAA's Linares Affidavit Technically Valid? 1 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "In support of its ex parte, "John Doe", discovery applications against college students, the RIAA has been using a declaration by its "Anti-Piracy" Vice President Carlos Linares" (pdf) to show the Judge that it has a good copyright infringement case against the "John Does". A Boston University student has challenged the validity of Mr. Linares's declaration, and the RIAA is fighting back. Would appreciate the Slashdot community's take on the validity of Mr. Linares's "science"."

The early bird who catches the worm works for someone who comes in late and owns the worm farm. -- Travis McGee