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Comment Re:Shutdown new tech ASAP, it's scary! (Score 1) 228

The company operated the UAVs in class B airspace over New York City. It's not "away from an airport" but is less than 5 miles from LaGuardia Airport, and is also the densest metropolitan area in the country. One of the issues was a series of flights over 432 Park Ave, which is the second-tallest building in NYC at nearly 1400 feet. The company took their 360* VR images up to 1400 feet, as well some separate aerial shots from a helicopter that were legal.

It's not illegal to fly over NYC. But if you plan to fly, you must follow FAA rules regarding transponders and such, and file flight plans with the ATC. Keep in mind that Manhattan is almost in the middle of 3 airports and its airspace is heavily trafficked.

Comment Re:biased algorith (Score 1) 177

In this particular case, future predictability doesn't work. The sample size is way too small (as SCOTUS only hears ~80 cases/year), and the cases are not evenly distributed. The last couple years, for example, the court has become very conservative and happens to hear a significantly higher percentage of business-related cases. It's hard to predict anything from that.

It would make more sense to divide the data into training and validation/cross-validation data sets like in a standard machine learning approach.

Comment Re:3,458? (Score 2) 387

It depends on how many cases you expect. Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, so a single case is considered an epidemic. Ebola is so rare and deadly that a small number is needed for it to be called an outbreak or an epidemic. Whooping cough is more common, but this recent outbreak is at a much higher rate than normal.

Comment Re:Why the Paywall Hate? (Score 1) 361

That's a good point. But I don't think people would be paying for single articles because they're too lazy to pull out their credit card. But yes, most subscriptions wouldn't be useful unless you subscribe to a newspaper that you read every day.

It seems that many people nowadays consider their Facebook News Feed and Twitter to be "news." And that's just sad.

Comment Why the Paywall Hate? (Score 3, Insightful) 361

I pay for the NYT, Ars, and The Economist, although the last 2 really aren't newspapers. Why does everyone here hate "paywalls"? Running a newsroom is extremely expensive. From the beat reporters and copy editors all the way up to the editorial board, plus all the foreign bureaus with their own reporters, a "real" newspaper needs to support a ton of people. I'm also a huge fan of investigative reporting, which you rarely ever see outside of major newspapers because the paper and the reporters must invest a huge amount of time and money.

Aggregation sites are nothing like a real newspaper. But at least Ars Technica has a large amount of original content (including their great feature articles), instead of resorting to Huffington Post-style click generation with "articles" that summarize someone else's hard work.


GitHub Takes Down Satirical 'C Plus Equality' Language 575

FooAtWFU writes "Some clowns and jokers over at 4chan thought it would be a funny idea to put together a web page for a programming language named 'C Plus Equality' as a parody of feminism, dismissing OOP as 'objectifying' and inheritance as "a tool of the patriarchy". But this parody was apparently too hot to host at Github, which took down the original Github repository after receiving criticism on Twitter, prompting a backlash and inquiry into the role of free speech and censorship on Github's platform. The project has since found a new home on BitBucket, at least for the time being." Comments on an article describing the research which sparked the parody call the parody's language "fake," and compare it to the 1996 Sokal affair. (It also reminds me a bit of Jesux.)

Comment Re:Good Start, But a Long Way to Go (Score 1) 162

This could easily backfire, especially when patent trolls have an army of high-paid lawyers. Just the threat of having to pay millions of dollars for the plaintiff's legal fees means that you had better have some really good representation as well. And if you lose, you end up paying all of your own legal fees as well as the army of lawyers working for the patent troll. In most cases, it would just be cheaper to settle which actually strengthens the capabilities of patent troll racketeering.

Isn't it cheaper to settle in most cases anyway? Currently, the ones willing to fight a patent suit must have huge amounts of cash. Smaller companies don't have the resources to pay millions to defend a patent lawsuit to begin with. When beat that online "shopping cart" patent, did they win any money? Most of the other online retailers had settled earlier, and Avon and Victoria's Secret had lost even larger verdicts in court.

Submission + - Finally, a Bill to End Patent Trolling (

jellie writes: According to Ars Technica, a new bill introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has received bipartisan support and has a real chance of passing. In a press call, lawyers from the CCIA, EFF, and Public Knowledge had universal praise for the bill, which is called the Innovation Act of 2013. The EFF has a short summary of the good and bad parts of an earlier draft of the bill. The bill will require patent holders who are filing a suit to identify the specific products and claims to are being infringed, require the loser in a suit to pay attorney's fees and costs, and force trolls to reveal anyone who has a "financial interest" in the case, making them possibly liable for damages.

Whirlpool Ditches IBM Collaboration Software, Moves To Google Apps 101

cagraham writes "Appliance maker Whirlpool has decided to stop using IBM's "Notes" collaboration software, and instead move to Google Apps for Business. The Wall Street Journal reports that the decision was based on both worker's familiarity with Google Apps, and lessening the IT workload. Because most workers have used (or use) apps like Google Calendar and Google Docs, Whirlpool's IT staff won't have to devote as much time to initial software training. This move lines up with recent enterprise reports, which largely forecast an increasing move to cloud based software. Whirlpool's contract with Google will cover all of their 30,000 employees."

Comment Re:Banksters (Score 2) 116

Here's a recent example: Blythe Masters, an executive at JP Morgan Chase, may escape prosecution after having manipulated energy prices in California and Michigan. Officials have accused her of rigging prices, and they also accuse JP Morgan Chase of trying to cover up the evidence. Strangely, the recommendation was for a civil case, not a criminal case, against Ms. Masters.

Comment Re:Universities or @home projects (Score 2) 237

I agree. I would start out looking at university job postings first. My own field is genomics and bioinformatics, and there really is a huge need for programmers and data analysts. Actually, my first research assistant position was as a programmer in a lab in which I did MATLAB programming. MPI and GPGP programming is very useful too.

As someone else mentioned, you can also work for the large national labs or supercomputing centers as well. A lot of the supercomputers are publicly owned, and there's a fairly large staff of people who maintain the systems or develop for them.

Comment Re:The bigger news here... (Score 1) 214

Judges also ask questions during oral arguments specifically to direct the subject or issues in a certain direction. For example, during the debate over Obama's health plan (PPACA), Scalia asked questions about the government forcing people to eat broccoli, while other justices asked questions about requiring car insurance payments.

Thomas is unusual because he almost never speaks, yet he clearly has a political bias. Back in January, he finally asked a question (or made a comment, no one is quite sure) for the first time in seven years. It was surprising enough that it was noteworthy.


Medical Firm Sues IRS For 4th Amendment Violation In Records Seizure 365

cold fjord writes "A healthcare provider has sued the Internal Revenue Service and 15 of its agents, charging they wrongfully seized 60 million medical records from 10 million Americans ... [The unnamed company alleges] the agency violated the Fourth Amendment in 2011, when agents executed a search warrant for financial data on one employee – and that led to the seizure of information on 10 million, including state judges. The search warrant did not specify that the IRS could take medical information, UPI said. And information technology officials warned the IRS about the potential to violate medical privacy laws before agents executed the warrant, the complaint said." Also at

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