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Comment: Re:So long as it is consential (Score 2) 363

by openfrog (#47840591) Attached to: Bill Gates Wants To Remake the Way History Is Taught. Should We Let Him?

Absent that they're being compelled and I do have a problem with that.

I do. 'Big History', to begin with, is so ugly a term and reminds one so much of Novlang that it is scary. World History is fine with me, or is too 'liberal'?

Otherwise, your post is insightful. You point out how these ugly things are forced upon unwilling public institutions.

Comment: Summary wrong about weigth (Score -1) 363

by openfrog (#47170947) Attached to: Group Demonstrates 3,000 Km Electric Car Battery

Summary says:
"The battery would add about 100 kg to an existing Tesla car's battery weight."

The article summarized says:
"According to Tzidon, the new battery technology can store enough energy to take a car 3,000 kilometres with 100 kilograms of aluminum-air batteries. For comparison, the Tesla Model S battery is estimated to be more than 500 kilograms."


Comment: Non event... (Score 2) 186

by openfrog (#46800459) Attached to: Google Aids Scientology-Linked Group CCHR With Pay-Per-Click Ads

After reading Slashdot for many years, I am coming back after two months of not visiting and what do I see? Another anti-Google posting using all the power of the anecdotal... This is a non-event, and Google will change track in this case as soon as they are pointed out their mistake.

I am not sure if I will have the courage to go through today's list. I remember this place as one where I could read intelligent comments, but those who used to make this place what it was have now almost all left...

Comment: Dup... please! (Score 1) 157

by openfrog (#45379317) Attached to: Google Starts Tracking Retail Store Visits On Android and iOS

Not only a dupe, but one of the first remark on the discussion was that, not CREDIT CARD COMPANIES already track your every purchase and visits to specific stores, and have done this for a long time.

This is a forum of well-informed people. We would want to read about Google other things that what the PR firm hired by Microsoft spews out day in or day out.

Either that or I am going to find another IT news forum. I want to read informed opinions, and while we still find interesting discussions here, it is becoming far and between... Anyone else having this feeling?

Comment: Re:Rosenham Experiment (Score 1) 124

by openfrog (#45180807) Attached to: Debunking the Lorentz System As a Framework For Human Emotions

Insights are one thing, but constantly trying to hammer objectivity into something so complex as human behaviour is always going to be flawed.

Granted, and Sokal and others do very well here debunking the spurious claims of Fredrickson and Losada. However, let's not be carried over in the same generalities about human sciences that surrounded his original hoax, and let us by reminded of the Bogdanov affair, where two clowns managed to get PhDs in physics and in mathematics, and published articles in peer-reviewed journals IN THOSE FIELDS on topics such as what happened just after the Big Bang (see Wikipedia article: Bogdanov Affair). Neither you or I would claim that these hoaxes invalidate in any way, serious or otherwise, our current understanding of physics and mathematics... but they are indeed a nuisance and more seriously, can be used by interested parties to cause damage in public opinion.

I would really wish to read Alan Sokal on the Bogdanov Affair...

Comment: Anyone questioning this whole story? (Score 1) 955

by openfrog (#43960517) Attached to: USA Calling For the Extradition of Snowden

I am interested in issues of privacy, and considering that Google has left China over such an issue, the original story sounded quite implausible to me.

I have read the original document that was supposedly leaked about PRISM. I still have to be convinced of its authenticity.

Even more so after reading a quite sensible account of this whole story, gathered by eight contributors to the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/08/technology/tech-companies-bristling-concede-to-government-surveillance-efforts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

If people are led to believe that everything we do online is available to the NSA in the manner described in the supposedly leaked document, it will be much more difficult to lead campaigns about real threats, like SOPA, etc.

+ - Oracle discontinues free Java time zone updates->

Submitted by Noel Trout
Noel Trout (2945005) writes "For a long time in the Java world, there has been a free tool called the "tzupdater" or Time Zone Updater released as a free download first by Sun and then Oracle. This tool can be used to apply a patch to the Java runtime so that time zone information is correct. This is necessary since some time zones in the world are not static and change more frequently than one might think; in general time zone updates can be released maybe 4-6 times a year. The source information backing the Java timezone API comes from the open source Olson timezone database that is also used by many operating systems. For certain types of applications, you can understand that these updates are mission critical. For example, my company operates in the private aviation sector so we need to be able to display the correct local time at airports around the world.

So, the interesting part is that Oracle has now decided to only release these updates if you have a Java SE support contract. See the following link:
Being Oracle, such licenses are far from cheap.

In my opinion, this is a pretty serious change in stance for Oracle and amounts to killing free Java for certain types of applications, at least if you care about accuracy. We are talking about the core API class java.util.TimeZone. This begs the question, can you call an API free if you have to pay for it to return accurate information? What is the point of such an API? Should the community not expect that core Java classes are fully functional and accurate? I believe it is also a pretty bad move for Java adoption for these types of applications. If my company as a startup 10 years ago would have been presented with such a license fee, we almost certainly could not have chosen Java as our platform as we could not afford it."

Link to Original Source

+ - Clearing Up Wayland FUD, Misconceptions->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In clearing up common misconceptions about Wayland (e.g. it breaking compatibility with the Linux desktop and it not supporting remote desktops like X), Eric Griffith (a Linux developer) and Daniel Stone (a veteran X.Org developer) have written The Wayland Situation in which they clearly explain the facts about the shortcomings of X, the corrections made by Wayland, misconceptions about Wayland, and the advantages to this alternative to Canonical's in-development Mir."
Link to Original Source

+ - Deep Sea Trash Revealed with ROVs: Debris Discovered 7000 Feet Below

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Deep beneath the ocean's waves, strange creatures such as rockfish and gorgonian coral thrive in the icy depths. Yet there's something else you'll find if you go searching beneath the sea: trash, and lots of it. Researchers have discovered that our trash is accumulating in the deep sea, particularly in Monterey Canyon off of the coast of California. Scientists knew that trash was affecting shallower depths--about 1,000 feet beneath the water. Yet they were unsure whether the effects extended to the truly deep parts of the ocean that reached up to 13,000 feet. They decided that there was only one way to find out: look for themselves."

Comment: First interesting comment... (Score 2) 102

by openfrog (#43602987) Attached to: IBM Makes a Movie Out of Atoms

Atom jokes are fine, but the parent is the first interesting or informative comment on the whole thread.

The "making of" linked at the end of the movie is well made and stimulating. I particularly liked this comment from the director of the project:

"If I can do this and I can get a thousand kids join science, rather than go to law school, I would be super happy".

+ - The World Wide Web is twenty today

Submitted by openfrog
openfrog (897716) writes "On 30 April 1993 CERN published a statement that made World Wide Web ("W3", or simply "the web") technology available on a royalty-free basis. By making the software required to run a web server freely available, along with a basic browser and a library of code, the web was allowed to flourish.

By late 1993 there were over 500 known web servers, and the WWW accounted for 1% of internet traffic, which seemed a lot in those days (the rest was remote access, e-mail and file transfer). Twenty years on, there are an estimated 630 million websites online.

The CERN has a very nice commemoration page."

Comment: Re:If we can't manage a planets resources... (Score 2) 414

by openfrog (#43440049) Attached to: Stephen Hawking Warns Against Confining Ourselves To Earth

...then we are basically a cosmic cancer.

Quite right. Furthermore, and this is where I find difficult to follow Hawking's spiel, if we entertain the dream that we will eventually find another place to live, this will be used to keep the lid, the already quite heavy lid, on efforts to properly address environmental issues on planet earth.

Comment: Re:Profound implications! (Score 1) 88

by openfrog (#43291329) Attached to: Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

The issue is not that they can tell which phone number you use, obviously. As I see it there are three problems with this kind of tracking technology:

Secondly, mass surveillance is not just about you as an individual. By looking at where you go when and how long you stay there and correlating this with who else goes there at the same time one can make deductions about social networks within society without ever looking at one person up close.

I am with you on abuse from repressive regimes. But when you say "with this technology", I fail to understand. All the uses and abuses you mention are already not only possible, but routinely done by repressive regimes, and some. "This technology" adds nothing to the equation, except perhaps marginal cases where they would want to track you "across devices".

In this regard, I can only find that the profound implications mentioned in the article are not so much profound as they are obscure.

Comment: Re:Profound implications! (Score 1) 88

by openfrog (#43290951) Attached to: Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints

Here's what it does mean.

With access to this data (even if its through an abstraction API), I could match back a profile created based on one device (using a device ID) with a new device owned by the same person.

So lets say I'm a retailer and I want to track your visits to my stores based on your device ID... with this abstracted "fingerprint" API I could conceivably request a match back for your new device against the database and get your old device ID in response, voila - anonymous transition of the profile to your new device. I can now continue tracking you with no lost history.

Mmmmh! You begin with the proviso: "With access to this data"...

Well if you have access to this data, you will not be a retailer...

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. - Han Solo