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Comment Re:First amendment? (Score 1) 250

Of course the first amendment applies here. The government can't abridge the freedom of the press, it doesn't say anything about only criminal prosecution. So the government (in theory) shouldn't be able to compel the press to pay damages to Sony.

What Sony does have the power to do is to stop advertising in said press, or complain about it loudly. Legal action, I'm picking the press to win this one.

Comment Re:Related paper: Oversimplifying quantum factorin (Score 1) 62

Very interesting to see this idea has some history to it. I'm not surprised that other people thought of it too!

Like you, I had noticed that the number of qubits used (7) was smaller than the number needed to implement Shor's algorithm. I actually asked Shor about this and he said, "15 is special, because it is 4 to an integer power minus 1." I asked him what that meant and it said "it means it's divisible by 3."! This told me that there are special classes of numbers that are easy to "factor" (by which I mean "to run Shor's algorithm on") if only you know you are in the class.

What really stimulated us to write the paper was the observation that 21 had been factored on only a qutrit. The numbers being factored were growing, but the size of the quantum computer was shrinking. Surely something fishy was going on.

Comment Re:Related paper: Oversimplifying quantum factorin (Score 1) 62

Dear AC,

I'm glad you liked our paper and it stimulated your research. I had not actually read your paper when I posted the link to mine and I'm still thinking it over. I think you would agree that your approach is not a general factoring method, but rather depends on the factors having some structure, even if you don't need to know the factors entirely.

Submission + - First commercial quantum computer not so quantum after all (

An anonymous reader writes: A new paper asks "A machine consisting of nearly 100 quantum circuit elements can compute the solution to a classic problem in mathematics, but is it a quantum computer?" Almost certainly not, it turns out. This could be embarrassing for D-Wave, the company touting the device.

Submission + - Putting "Quantumness" to the Test (

An anonymous reader writes: A new paper by the Canadian computer company "D-Wave" shows how to use their device to do a computation in graph theory. Contrary to earlier reports, however, the machine appears not to be acting as a true quantum computer.

Comment Re:Uglier than Firefox 3. (Score 1) 435

>> "Block images from this site" has disappeared as a right-click option.

This annoys me too. However, you can do right-click "view image info" and that leads to a "block images from this site" checkbox. So the functionality is there, just harder to get to.


Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

What the iPod Tells Us About the World Economy 380

Hugh Pickens writes "Edmund Conway has an interesting article in the Telegraph where he analyzes where the money goes when you buy a complex electronic device marked 'Made in China,' and why a developed economy doesn't need a trade surplus in order to survive. For his example, Conway chooses a 30GB video iPod 'manufactured' in China in 2006. Each iPod, sold in the US for $299, provides China with an export value of about $150, but as it turns out, Chinese producers really only 'earned' around $4 on each unit. 'China, you see, is really just the place where most of the other components that go inside the iPod are shipped and assembled.' Conway says that when you work out the overall US balance of payments, it shows that most of the cash for high tech inventions has flowed back to the United States as a direct result of the intellectual property companies own in their products. 'While the iPod is manufactured offshore and has a global roster of suppliers, the greatest benefits from this innovation go to Apple, an American company, with predominantly American employees and stockholders who reap the benefits,' writes Conway. 'As long as the US market remains dynamic, with innovative firms and risk-taking entrepreneurs, global innovation should continue to create value for American investors and well-paid jobs for knowledge workers. But if those companies get complacent or lose focus, there are plenty of foreign competitors ready to take their places.'"

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