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Submission + - Freeman Dyson talks Interstellar Travel, Climate Change and more... (

Tulsa_Time writes: he life of physicist Freeman Dyson spans advising bomber command in World War II, working at Princeton University in the States as a contemporary of Einstein, and providing advice to the US government on a wide range of scientific and technical issues.

He is a rare public intellectual who writes prolifically for a wide audience. He has also campaigned against nuclear weapons proliferation.

At America's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dyson was looking at the climate system before it became a hot political issue, over 25 years ago. He provides a robust foreword to a report written by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change cofounder Indur Goklany on CO2 – a report published [PDF] today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Submission + - Criminal complaint against Turkish Presidency of Telecommunication

mod_insanity writes: After the terrorist bombings happened during the civil demonstrations with the name of Peace,Labor and Democracy in Ankara capital of Turkey once again Turkish citizens face internet censorship. While country is still in shock with the biggest terrorist attack in its history, Turkish Government tries to hinder communications over internet through slowing down social media sites Facebook and Twitter.
This is not the first time that Turkish authorities take action against freedom of speech and information. As such precautions have been taken before with the surfacing of telephone recordings of high rank officials' corruption and bribery, this time a criminal complaint has been filed against TIB (The Presidency of Telecommunication) with the accusation of narrowing down the bandwidth and disrupt access to the social media.
Lawyer Ömer Faruk Eminaaolu registered in Ankara, filed a law suit against TIB and other bodies which may be involved and stated that it is out of the law to cut communications and I press charges so that this unlawful act would never happen again.

Submission + - How Putin Tried to Control the Internet (

derekmead writes: In this excerpt from the recently published The Red Web , Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan describe how the Kremlin has been trying to rewrite the rules for the internet to make it “secure” as it is understood by Russia’s secret services.

Vladimir Putin was certain that all things in the world—including the internet—existed with a hierarchical, vertical structure. He was also certain that the internet must have someone controlling it at the top. He viewed the United States with suspicion, thinking the Americans ruled the web and that it was a CIA project.

Putin wanted to end that supremacy.

Just as he attempted to change the rules inside Russia, so too did he attempt to change them for the world. The goal was to make other countries, especially the United States, accept Russia’s right to control the internet within its borders, to censor or suppress it completely if the information circulated online in any way threatened Putin’s hold on power.

Comment Re: Professional Engineers have the power to say n (Score 5, Insightful) 618

It's fascinating to see how many posters here automatically assume that it must be the PHBs who pressured the engineers into this. Very few assume that the engineers saw an opportunity for a bonus or for the PHB to owe them one, and added the cheat function voluntarily. I've not seen any posts so far that suggest an engineer thought of the cheat and suggested it to a PHB.

A reminder that we tend to think of our peers as being much more ethical than "them" and look for reasons to think of them as victims of force or circumstances, and assume that "they" are only motivated by sheer callous greed. Whoever the "them" is.

Comment Re:Erdogen is an Islamofascist (Score 1) 145

They did commit what they'll reluctantly admit were mass killings of Armenians (what the rest of the world correctly recognizes as genocide) in the aftermath of World War I.

During the Ottoman era, they did occupy Greece and were, like virtually every occupying force, remarkably brutal. This got a lot of attention in the West because they were oppressing Europeans and Christians (instead of Asians and Muslims).

But here's a story about them. During the Irish genocide by famine (when a country exports food during a famine and the occupying foreign land owners raise rents during a period of starvation, that's genocide, whether the original cause was natural or not), the then Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Majid Khan, offered to send food and 10,000 pounds sterling. England refused to allow this.

Why? Why would it refuse the kind of aid that would have saved several thousand lives?

Queen Victoria gave only two thousand pounds and a gift greater than that would make her look ungenerous.

The Sultan insisted on giving something and finally they bargained him down to one thousand pounds. He also send three ships worth of food, but kept it quiet.

Comment Re:having lived in Turkey (Score 2) 145

Technically, the government is secular (women working in government offices are even forbidden to wear head scarves, for example), but Erdogan has been doing everything possible to uproot that. As in many countries, the cities tend to back full separation of church/temple/mosque and state, while the rural areas tend to want religion integrated into government.

As you say, for a long time the military was a strong force for secular liberalism and the standard-bearer for Ataturk's secularist reforms and even led several coups to restore secular and democratic rule. Erdogan, though, made sure early on in his administration to gut their capacity to affect policy, let alone lead a coup.

I don't think that Turkey's capacity to be a mix of Muslim culture and secular government is entirely gone, but it's certainly diminishing. If it had a stronger and more diverse economy, Tunisia might be in a position to do so, but poverty (which often breeds Islamism, just like it does Christianism) and terrorism have virtually ruled out that possibility.

Comment Re: buh, bye (Score 1) 495

I can't imagine it being feasible for major elections, but it would be great if there were a voting option to say, "None of these candidates." If the majority of voters select that option, the candidates are replaced with a new batch.

Comment Re:No change (Score 1) 134

One of the main reasons ebooks sold so tremendously (in volume, not price) on Amazon in the first few years was the huge number of public domain books that were suddenly free for the downloading. There was also a big spike in volume and price from this being the next generation of a format, rather like CD sales were inflated during the first few years of their popularity because people were getting on CD what they previously had on LPs or cassettes.

Where illustrations, graphs, tables, or seeing a page as a whole are important, physical books still have the advantage. I'd imagine that will last until there's a next-generation breakthrough in display.

Comment Re:Unsympathetic (Score 1) 83

I'm definitely not convinced of anything by this study, but it does suggest that there might be something worth examining more rigorously. If the study could be consistently replicated with people who don't have a language (or language family) in common, then it would be more indicative.

It should also be audio-only, since the instructions of "don't use facial expressions" are almost futile, considering how many our expressions are involuntary or unconscious.

Comment Timing, psychological marketing, the Oprah effect (Score 1) 273

Whether it's invention, integration, or just plain copying, a product has to be timely, to appeal to real and perceived needs. Steve Jobs was fortunate to be developing and marketing products during a time when gadgets and other small personal devices were taking on an extra psychological meaning to consumers. The same way that a vast number of consumers felt as though their cars were an extension of their ego and had to both reflect and enhance who they are, gadgets (and sneakers) started to do the same thing. Oprah Winfrey, for example, got a lot of her fame and fortune by combining a generic kind of spirituality with materialism and gadgets, a like of spirituality of consumption.

Apple products always implied that the people who own them are defying Big Brother or "think different." Even things like the white earbuds and headphones were designed to stand out in a crowd. People could simultaneously feel more creative and more attuned to art and design, and get the benefits of flaunting conspicuous consumption.

Even in times when a lot of people can't afford to buy a car or home, and can't show off their big electronics as a sign of conspicuous consumption, they can do so with the latest Apple device.

Comment Re: Does indeed happen. (Score 1) 634

IANAL, but the general principles of the ADA are fairly straightforward.

The ADA prohibits asking directly about disabilities or anything else that's not directly related to the job. However, it is legal to ask questions that might reveal a disability, as long as it relates to the job.

For example, if I'm hiring for warehouse stocking, I could ask if you're capable of lifting a 20-pound box, if the job involves that. I couldn't ask, though, if you have any physical disabilities, or ask somebody who wouldn't be required to lift boxes fairly regularly.

If the person I'm hiring might have to lift one box maybe once or twice a month, but it's not a significant proportion of their job responsibilities, then if they had a disability, letting them ask somebody else to do it or providing some mechanical means would be considered a reasonable accommodation.

Comment Re:This is a curse... (Score 1) 339

... for politicians, bureaucrats and profiteering corporations.

We already do that, time and time again. How many war profiteers, dishonest corporations, politicians, and other malefactors have been caught out in barefaced lies already? Of those, how many have suffered the consequences?

Confronting a self-righteous liar with the truth typically only inflames their self-righteousness and that of their followers.

Comment Re:Consequences (Score 2) 210

If the person(s) posting the review can provide evidence that the reviews were based on fact, they could counter-sue for Malicious Prosecution. Some of the owner's responses on Yelp are potentially actionable as well (particularly defamation). While no reputable attorney would take on a suit just for the potential defamation (it would be virtually impossible to prove damages against an anonymous reviewer), if the reviewer(s) sue for Malicious Prosecution, they'd probably throw in the defamation charges just to get the owner's responses in front of the jury.

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