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Comment Re:"Fully Half Doubt the Big Bang"? (Score 1) 600 600

Isn't this perception of refinement mostly the result of the different models attempting to explain the same phenomena though (phenomena that are of course happening regardless of the theory we use to explain them)? As such, later theories would typically "contain" earlier ones as special cases or approximations. I think this is a weird use of the word refinement though, as if a plane would be a refinement of a line. I don't know, but I can't help but feel that calling e.g. relativity and quantum mechanics refinements seriously undervalues how important these theories have been, not just as mathematical curiosities but also in how we view the world, and how impressive feats of mind and science they are.
Privacy

Verizon Employees Fired For Snooping Obama's Record 344 344

longhairedgnome writes "The curiosity in President-elect Barack Obama's phone records came with a high price tag for Verizon Wireless employees. According to CNN, the workers who snooped on Obama's phone records have been fired. 'This was some employees' idle curiosity,' a company source told CNN and added 'we now consider this matter closed.' Justice served? What about legal possibilities?" Can we expect anyone who followed a warrantless wiretap from the Bush administration to also be fired then? I mean, they violated our privacy as well.
Space

Magnetic Portals Connect Sun and Earth 235 235

MaxwellEdison writes "Scientists have discovered evidence of magnetic portals connecting the Earth and the Sun every 8 minutes. 'Several speakers at the Workshop have outlined how FTEs form: On the dayside of Earth (the side closest to the sun), Earth's magnetic field presses against the sun's magnetic field. Approximately every eight minutes, the two fields briefly merge or "reconnect," forming a portal through which particles can flow. The portal takes the form of a magnetic cylinder about as wide as Earth. The European Space Agency's fleet of four Cluster spacecraft and NASA's five THEMIS probes have flown through and surrounded these cylinders, measuring their dimensions and sensing the particles that shoot through.'"
The Courts

Lawsuit Between Apple and Psystar Moves Toward Settlement 242 242

An anonymous reader writes "Psystar and Apple have agreed to alternative dispute resolution to keep the public eye away from their disagreements, and to reduce legal costs. This will eliminate any rulings that would set a precedent over Psystar's claim that Apple is violating anti-trust laws by tying Mac OS X to only their hardware and thus creating a monopoly. This could result in a profit for Psystar's business, but eliminate their line of open-computing Mac-compatible PCs. On the other hand, what's to stop a similar company from doing the same thing?"
Biotech

Single Neuron Wired To Muscle Un-Paralyzes Monkeys 180 180

GalaticGrub writes "A pair of paralyzed monkeys regained the ability to move their arms after researchers wired individual neurons to the monkeys' arm muscles. A team of researchers at the University of Washington temporarily paralyzed each monkey's arm, then rerouted brain signals from a single neuron in the motor cortex around the blocked nerve pathway via a computer. When the neuron fired above a certain rate, the computer translated the signal into a jolt of electricity to the arm muscle, causing it to contract. The monkeys practiced moving their arms by playing a video game."

Comment Re:Easy Answer (Score 2, Insightful) 163 163

Just some thoughts then, to try to answer that question.

Even though the information itself might have not been anything they had any real need to hide, your act of snooping is invasive in itself. They trusted you to behave responsibly and you failed, it's as simple as that.

You personally seem to think that such an invasion of privacy is something bad. This means that you would (by your own standards) hurt someone just to prove a point. I'd say this is not a quality i generally admire in people (And I might very well tell that to someone doing so)

Remember that it is never the victims fault, it is the perpetrator who performs the act. Their failure to defend against privacy intrusions does not justify your behavior anymore than my failure to take self-defense classes justifies someone assaulting me. Just because he follows up the beating by handing me a leaflet to the local gym doesn't really make it ok.

I have yet to see any problem, however complicated, which, when you looked at it in the right way, did not become still more complicated. -- Poul Anderson

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