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Notel Media Player Helps North Koreans Skirt Censorship 53

Posted by timothy
from the one-day-will-be-on-ebay.nk dept.
An anonymous reader writes A small portable media device, costing roughly $50, is allowing North Koreans to access and view foreign media despite tight government censorship, according to a Reuters report. The 'Notel', a mashup of notebook and television, is being described as a symbol of change in the repressed society. Used to watch DVDs and shared content from USB sticks and SD cards, the media player can be easily concealed and transported among families and friends. According to correspondents in the region, as many as half of all urban North Korean households have a notel and are swapping a broad range of banned media such as soaps and TV dramas from South Korea and China, Hollywood blockbusters, and news clips — all of which is strictly forbidden by Pyongyang law.

Comment: Re:BBC not to blame here, Clarkson is (Score 1) 637

by goose-incarnated (#49352483) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

Even if that is not true what is not in dispute is that he physically assaulted another person and some lines cannot be crossed no matter who you are or what you bring in.

Nobody really believes that "no excuse for violence" canard, do they? The world certainly isn't run that way.

The business world certainly does. You have to be very rich and very powerful to get away with punching a colleague and JC just found out that he's not as powerful as he thought he was. He's like the rest of us - punch colleague, get fired.

Comment: Re:what will be more interesting (Score 1) 637

by goose-incarnated (#49352419) Attached to: Jeremy Clarkson Dismissed From Top Gear

There's no excuse for this, but as others have said there's a bit more to it. Clarkson may or may not be a primadonna (vs just being a knob, as May referred to him several times), but given the stress he was under and the alcohol, him blowing his top over something small isn't a huge surprise. He certainly deserved to be disciplined, but I'm not sure sacking him outright was the best decision. One thing I am certain of is that the BBC will come to regret it.

You always sack over violence. If JC is smart he'd pay off that producer big-time not press charges; a couple million quid at least. All indications on JC are otherwise, however; he'll lose a lot more in future income with a GBH conviction than a couple million quid.

Comment: Re:There is no such thing as equal work (Score 1) 345

That problem is solved by providing paternity leave. It the wave of the future, and men should be pushing for it so they can spend some time with their newborn kids as well.

I used to think that too but I changed my mind. There's no point in doing that in the current marriage climate; not enough couples are together so paternity leave ends up useless to the unattached father and thus he may not take it anyway, making him even more valuable than women and attached men.

Unintended consequence: if only 2% of men are unattached fathers[1], they would be selected for the most by employers. This preference would lead to more men forfeiting paternity leave, and this situation would continue in a vicious cycle until *all* men forfeit their paternity leave. The end result would be an even greater resistance to hiring young women.[2] Another unintended consequence is that this situation makes being an unattached father even more desirable than it is now. There are precious few benefits to a man in marriage right now, so adding more points to the "don't get married" side is going to make the current decline in birth rates accelerate to off-a-cliff levels.

[1]The figure is a lot higher than this, IIRC.
[2]Older women have probably already had all the kids they want to and thus have a lower risk of taking maternity leave.


Robobug: Scientists Clad Bacterium With Graphene To Make a Working Cytobot 41

Posted by samzenpus
from the cyborg-virus dept.
Zothecula writes By cladding a living cell with graphene quantum dots, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) claim to have created a nanoscale biomicrorobot (or cytobot) that responds electrically to changes in its environment. This work promises to lay the foundations for future generations of bio-derived nanobots, biomicrorobotic-mechanisms, and micromechanical actuation for a wide range of applications. "UIC researchers created an electromechanical device — a humidity sensor — on a bacterial spore. They call it NERD, for Nano-Electro-Robotic Device. The report is online at Scientific Reports, a Nature open access journal."

Comment: Re:Let them sell cake (Score 1) 876

A sole proprietorship is a business...

Then they shouldn't get the tax relaxations that businesses get.

Income to sole proprietorships is treated as individual income, no different than any working stiff, for tax purposes. They pay individual income tax rates.

Correct me if I am wrong, but do they not get to deduct the cost of running the business from taxable income? So, they receive $100k a year in revenue from business operations, and it costs $20k a year for their car (used for business), then they only pay tax on the $80k.

I dunno about you, but my car, that I use exclusively in getting a salary, is not tax deductible. Hence, I do not feel that it is wrong to say that sole proprietorships get tax breaks that I do not get, even though I have to expend costs in bringing in revenue.

This road does not end in a good place. For anyone of any beliefs, or even of no beliefs.

While I do broadly agree with you, I have to emphasise that when you are a business, and get all the tax breaks for your costs in running that business, then you should also deal with all the crap (no exclusivity in who buys your product/service) that comes with those advantages.

As to your muslim example, if he operates a business selling hardware he will experience legal trouble if he refuses to deal with people who want to buy hardware for use in a non-halaal butchery.

The other side of the coin, however, is work-to-order. Should a muslim/xtian/jew photographer experience legal troubles in advertising "I choose what work I will take on"?

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 482

by goose-incarnated (#49343305) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

I knew a guy with a Masters in CS who loudly proclaimed optimizing was a pointless exercise.

These days it might just be for most use-cases. For example the "research" above show this - the time consumed in 1 million inefficient string concatenations is what... less than 5 minutes? If you only perform a few hundred string concats at a time the program's user won't even notice the delay. If, like most use cases, you only concat a few strings at a time (say, a few tens) the user *certainly* won't notice. Not that I agree with such inefficiencies[1], but I *do* see the "why optimise" PoV.

There are only two rules for optimisation:
1. Don't optimise.
2. (For experts only) Don't optimise yet!

[1]One of my tasks in my first year of employment was to take a TCP stack and port to a different micro. My second task was given when the code was going through tests - I had to speed it up by a factor of two. I understand optimisation, and the important thing that I understand is that I do not have to do it much anymore!

Comment: Re:Check their work or check the summary? (Score 1) 482

by goose-incarnated (#49343239) Attached to: No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

And this is why we should not teach CS101 in Java or Python. If they'd been forced to use C this whole experiment would have turned out differently.

Not at all. If you wrote your C in memory string handling as stupidly as they wrote the Python and Java you will still get worse performance in C (e.g. each iteration malloc a new string and then strcpy and strcat into it, and free the old string; compared to buffered file writes you'll lose). It's about failing to understand how to write efficient code, not about which language you chose.

Yeah, but at least then they'd have to actually *write the inefficient code out*, thereby learning why it is inefficient. With Java and Python the novice does not know about the inefficiency because it is hidden behind a "+" operator. This is why OP said to teach in C - you have to implement the concatenation yourself and in the process you learn how not to do it.

I never cheated an honest man, only rascals. They wanted something for nothing. I gave them nothing for something. -- Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil