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Submission + - SPAM: Functioning brain follows famous sand pile model

thelanrecoke writes: In 1999 Danish scientist Per Bak made the startling proposal that the brain remained stable for much the same reason a sand pile does; many small avalanches hold it at a balance point, where — in the brain's case — information processing is optimized. Now scientists have showed for the first time that a brain receiving and processing sensory input follows these dynamics.
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Submission + - Disney backs off plan to have its IT staff train their H1B replacements->

helixcode123 writes: Apparently in response to backlash, Disney has reversed their plan to replace U.S. workers with foreign replacements. According to one employee “We were told our jobs were continuing and we should consider it as if nothing had happened until further notice.”
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Submission + - The Weak Force does more than just cause radioactive decays

StartsWithABang writes: There are four known fundamental forces: gravitation, electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force. But while we often speak of gravitation as an attractive force between masses (or anything with energy), of the electric force as charged particles attracting or repelling, of quarks and gluons attracting one another and keeping nuclei bound together, we describe the weak force as “responsible for radioactive decay.” Is this right? Shouldn’t the weak force, you know, be a force? Shouldn’t there be a weak charge and attraction or repulsion based on that charge? As it turns out, there ought to be one, but due to the fact that it’s less than one-millionth the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, we were unable to measure it. Until 2013, that is, when we did for the first time!

Submission + - Pornhub is going to make a porn film in space->

schwit1 writes: In one small thrust for man and one giant leap for mankind, two people are set to have sex in space for the first time in human history, but for porn not procreation — Pornhub is crowdfunding a space mission to shoot an adult film in low-Earth orbit.

The site hopes to launch the mission and shoot Sexplorations in 2016, covering the pre and post-production costs itself but seeking $3.4 million from IndieGogo crowdfunders.

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Comment Robots ahead of time... (Score 1) 46 46

The next step is to realize that we should be sending a robotic mission with this stuff a few years earlier. That way whenever the first people get there, they'll find a cleared landing field and radio guidance towers, as well as a place to stay after they debark.

Of course the fly in the ointment is that you send robots and have them spend a few years building your base. Then someone else comes in before you and claims "rights of salvage" over all of that "abandoned property" they just found.

Submission + - At Zappos.com, "No Bosses" Management Style Not For Everyone

schnell writes: From The Washington Post: "In March, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh issued an ultimatum of sorts to his employees. If they didn't feel like they could get behind the company's radical new management system—in which there are no traditional managers or job titles—he would give them until April 30 to decide whether they wanted to leave in exchange for at least three months' severance. Now that the deadline has passed, it turns out that 210 employees, or about 14 percent of the online retailer's 1,500 workers, have taken Hsieh up on it."

The anti-?)management style Zappos has adopted, created by a programmer and called "holacracy" must sound like a dream to some. Still, it doesn't seem to be working out for everyone. Is this a matter of personal preference, or is there really no organizational structure that will truly make everyone happy?

Comment Re:He's also an interesting candidate for this (Score 2) 395 395

I'm generally in favor of free market capitalism, but sometimes I'm not sure that's what I'm seeing right now. I also think that problems arise when revenue and profit become the number one goal, especially at the expense of the products and services that are supposedly being sold for that revenue and profit.

Submission + - Bernie Sanders, H-1B skeptic

Presto Vivace writes: Will the Vermont senator raise the visibility of the visa issue with his presidential run?

The H-1B visa issue rarely surfaces during presidential races, and that's what makes the entrance by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into the 2016 presidential race so interesting. ... ...Sanders is very skeptical of the H-1B program, and has lambasted tech firms for hiring visa workers at the same time they're cutting staff. He's especially critical of the visa's use in offshore outsourcing.

Submission + - What Is Space?->

An anonymous reader writes: Many physicists, writes Jennifer Ouellette in “How Quantum Pairs Stitch Space-Time,” have long “suspected a deep connection between quantum entanglement — the ‘spooky action at a distance’ that so vexed Albert Einstein — and space-time geometry at the smallest scales.” How might entanglement stitch together the structured fabric of space-time? One compelling recent idea, writes K.C. Cole in “Wormholes Untangle a Black Hole Paradox,” suggests that quantum entanglement “could be creating the ‘spatial connectivity’ that ‘sews space together,’ according to Leonard Susskind, a physicist at Stanford University and one of the idea’s main architects.” This idea, though still in its infancy, would solve the troublesome black hole firewall paradox and, enticingly, could help explain quantum gravity.

To illustrate how space-time might arise from quantum entanglement, Quanta Magazine invited Owen Cornec, a data visualization fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, to imagine peeling back layers of space to find a network of entanglements. The resulting interactive presentation serves as the third installment of our series on “The Quantum Fabric of Space-Time.”

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Submission + - FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For 'Stupid' Ideas About Encryption->

blottsie writes: At a hearing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the FBI endured outright hostility as both technical experts and members of Congress from both parties roundly criticized the law enforcement agency's desire to place so-called back doors into encryption technology.

"Creating a technological backdoor just for good guys is technologically stupid," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a Stanford University computer science graduate. "That's just stupid."

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Submission + - Wellness App Author Lied About Cancer Diagnosis

Freshly Exhumed writes: Wellness advocate Belle Gibson, who translated her high profile as a cancer survivor into publishing success, has admitted her cancer diagnosis was not real. Ms Gibson, 23, who claimed to have healed terminal brain cancer by eating wholefoods, made the admission in an interview with the Australian Women's Weekly. The success of Gibson's book, The Whole Pantry, and her smartphone application, which advocates natural therapies, has been largely dependent on her high-profile as a cancer survivor. Sadly, we've seen this sort of behaviour before. It would seem that Belle Gibson has emulated Dr. Andrew Wakefield in knowingly decieving the public in ways that could possibly be dangerous to the health of believers.

Submission + - If Earth never had life, continents would be smaller-> 1 1

sciencehabit writes: It may seem counterintuitive, but life on Earth, even with all the messy erosion it creates, keeps continents growing. Presenting here this week at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union, researchers say it's the erosion itself that makes the difference in continental size. Plant life, for example, can root its way through rock, breaking rocks into sediment. The sediments, like milk-dunked cookies, carry liquid water in their pores, which allows more water to be recycled back into Earth’s mantle. If not enough water is present in the mantle about 100 to 200 km deep to keep things flowing, continental production decreases. The authors built a planetary evolution model to show how these processes relate and found that if continental weathering and erosion rates decreased, at first the continents would remain large. But over time, if life never evolved on Earth, not enough water would make its way to the mantle to help produce more continental crust, and whatever continents there were would then shrink. Now, continents cover 40% of the planet. Without life, that coverage would shrink to 30%. In a more extreme case, if life never existed, the continents might only cover 10% of Earth.
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