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Comment: Re:Reprieved ! (Score 1) 63

by homsar (#44816735) Attached to: Evidence of 100,000-Year-Old Life Found In Antarctic Subglacial Lake
What about Earth-like life of opposite chirality? As far as I know there's no advantage to our chirality, it's just a spontaneous symmetry-breaking style effect, so it seems plausible that another planet might have identical-seeming biochemistry but be of the opposite chirality.

Comment: Re:This affects all measurement units (Score 1) 177

by homsar (#42529957) Attached to: Standard Kilogram Gains Weight

When the kilogram prototype gains mass, this affects the kilogram, pound, liter and fluid ounce equally.

The litre is just another word for cubic decimetre; since the metre is defined in terms of the speed of light and the second (which in turn is defined by atomic properties), and not in terms of the kilogram, the litre will not change volume. Similarly the fluid ounce is defined as a fraction of a gallon; the gallon is defined in terms of cubic inches; the inch is now defined as 25.4mm: again the metre is the only dependence. So again, even though fluid ounce sounds like it should depend on mass, in fact it is a unit of volume and so behaves like one.

+ - Adobe's "Mystery" CS2 Software Giveaway->

Submitted by dryriver
dryriver (1010635) writes "Yesterday, Adobe put up a mysterious webpage from which it's now 7 year old CS2 line of products (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, Premiere and others) could be freely downloaded by anyone. (http://www.adobe.com/downloads/cs2_downloads/index.html) The page even included valid serial numbers that will unlock the CS2 apps for anyone who wants to. This strange "giveaways" page at Adobe.com quickly went viral on the internet after a few tech bloggers reported on it. An Adobe spokesman said initially that the CS2 downloads are for existing owners of Adobe CS2 software only, who may not be able to activate their software anymore, due to the CS2 activation servers having been shut down by Adobe. But the internet at large took this webpage as meaning "Free Adobe CS2 Software for Everyone", which was probably not what Adobe had in mind initially. It seems that at this point, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded their "free" CS2 products and installed them, and started using them. So Adobe is in a bit of a PR "pinch" now because of this — Do you tell all the thousands of people who have downloaded CS2 products in the last 48 hours that "you cannot use these products without paying us". Or do you accept that hundreds of thousands of people now have free access to 7 year old Adobe CS2 products, and try to encourage some of them to "upgrade to the new CS6 products"?"
Link to Original Source
Government

US Scientific R&D Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom 609

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
The tough economic times have had a huge effect on scientific research and development funding. The looming "fiscal cliff" may be the last straw for many programs. "The American science programs that landed the first man on the moon, found cures for deadly diseases and bred crops that feed the world now face the possibility of becoming relics in the story of human progress. American scientific research and development stands to lose thousands of jobs and face a starvation diet of reduced funding if politicians fail to compromise and halt the United States' march towards the fiscal cliff's sequestration of federal funds."
Censorship

In UK, Twitter, Facebook Rants Land Some In Jail 233

Posted by timothy
from the greater-good dept.
concealment writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press story, as carried by the Houston Chronicle:"In Britain, hundreds of people are prosecuted each year for posts, tweets, texts and emails deemed menacing, indecent, offensive or obscene, and the number is growing as our online lives expand. 'Fifty years ago someone would have made a really offensive comment in a public space and it would have been heard by relatively few people,' said Mike Harris of free-speech group Index on Censorship. People take it upon themselves to report this offensive material to police, and suddenly you've got the criminalization of offensive speech. Figures obtained by The Associated Press through a freedom of information request show a steadily rising tally of prosecutions in Britain for electronic communications — phone calls, emails and social media posts — that are grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character — from 1,263 in 2009 to 1,843 in 2011. Justice Igor Judge said in his judgment that the law should not prevent 'satirical or iconoclastic or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humor, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.'"

Comment: Re:Must be nice (Score 1) 401

by homsar (#41968485) Attached to: Wayback Machine Trumps FOI Tribunal

Yes we do. We just don't have a constitutional document that you can point at and say "That's the constitution" like the US does.

The Government, or to give it its current full title, Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (there's a clue there—the Government belongs to Her Majesty, so she is not a part of it), consists of the ministers, not the monarch, who acts on the advice of the ministers/government.. The word government is also sometimes used casually to refer to all of Parliament, which again sits under the monarch.

I imagine this is historically related to the emergence of Parliament and the Government from the gradual weaning of power away from the monarch, rather than the from-scratch construction of a system of government. If it makes you feel better, think of government in this context as a homonym (or a polyseme if you prefer) with the word that is used elsewhere.

"I got everybody to pay up front...then I blew up their planet." "Now why didn't I think of that?" -- Post Bros. Comics

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