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Science

Rumors of Higgs Boson Discovery At LHC 225 225

Magnifico writes "LiveScience is reporting that scientists are abuzz over a controversial rumor that the 'God particle' has been detected by a particle-detection experiment at LHC at CERN. The Higgs boson rumor is based on what appears to be a leaked internal note from physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile-long particle accelerator near Geneva, Switzerland. It's not entirely clear at this point if the memo is authentic... The buzz started when an anonymous commenter recently posted an abstract of the note on Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit's blog, Not Even Wrong. This could be a flat-out hoax or a statistical anomaly or... confirmation of the particle that bestows mass on all the other particles."

Comment: Amazon pages will have to be blocked (Score 3, Informative) 200 200

Australia's game classification system has no "adult" category, so many games sold without any controls at all elsewhere in the world are flat out banned ("Refused Classification") here.

So if what Conroy has announced here goes ahead, a whole pile of product pages at Amazon (among others) are going to have to go on the blacklist. (Leisure Suit Larry is among the games banned in Australia.

The problem is that many of the proposed filtering solutions work by routing traffic to IP addresses that host prohibited pages to a proxy server. As we saw with the Internet Watch/BT/Wikipedia debacle, this approach is likely to cause problems with high traffic sites (and may well overload the proxy server).

Danny.

Comment: sex crimes and pornography in Japan - the evidence (Score 1) 662 662

http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/online_artcls/pornography/prngrphy_rape_jp.html

Within Japan itself, the dramatic increase in available pornography and sexually explicit materials is apparent to even a casual observer. This is concomitant with a general liberalization of restrictions on other sexual outlets as well. Also readily apparent from the information presented is that, over this period of change, sex crimes in every category, from rape to public indecency, sexual offenses from both ends of the criminal spectrum, significantly decreased in incidence.

United States

Barack Obama Wins US Presidency 3709 3709

Last night, around 11pm, all the major networks announced that Senator Barack Obama had won the election. Soon after, Senator McCain conceded. There were no crazy partisan court hearings, just a simple election. This is your chance to talk about it and what it means for the future of our nation.

Comment: anthropomorphism as the origin of religion (Score 1) 621 621

A good argument for the origins of religion in anthropomorphism is Stewart Guthrie's Faces in the Clounds (link is to my review).

"Attributing human or animal agency to events is an explanatory strategy which, while it sometimes fails, is in general extremely effective. Since other humans and, after them, animals are the most important things in our environment, it is vitally important to take them into account when they are there -- important enough that erring on the side of caution means accepting regular anthropomorphic and animistic 'errors'."

Danny.

Comment: The legal definition of "invent" (Score 1) 104 104

Time of application does factor into this.

True, the United States has a "first to invent" patent rule, but the government's definition of "invent" is bit tricky. The court precedents say an invention isn't really "invented" until the inventor either files a patent, practices the invention (that is, makes or sells something that uses the invention), or publishes a detailed description of it.

To oversimplfy that a bit: It's not legally an invention until the public knows about it. Inventing something in secret doesn't secure the inventor's rights.

And, as you point out, the WOTC patent was filed at least 5 months before WizKids demonstrated "Pirates" at a trade show. If WizKids wants to say they invented CSGs (which doesn't seem to be their argument, by the way), they need to prove that there was a public record of the invention (by anyone who isn't WOTC) before the patent was filed.

At the moment, WOTC has the prima facie evidence of invention, because they were the first to prove they were trying to invent something. Which sounds crazy when I phrase it like that, but that's the way it works.

VMS must die!

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