Mystakaphoros writes "Mike Masnick of Techdirt argues that we can all put down our wooden shoes and take a chill pill: technology 'rarely destroys jobs.' For example, telephone operators have largely gone by the wayside, but a (brave) new world of telemarketing and call center support jobs have opened up because of advances in technology, not to mention the Internet. Masnick points out writing from Professor James Bessen that makes the same point: 'In other cases, technology creates offsetting job growth in different occupations or industry segments. For example, word processors and voice mail systems reduced the numbers of typists and switchboard operators, but these technologies also increased the number of more highly skilled secretaries and receptionists, offsetting the job losses. Similarly, Amazon may have eliminated jobs at Borders and other national book chains that relied on bestsellers, but the number of independent booksellers has been growing and with it, more jobs for sales clerks who can provide selections and advice that Amazon cannot easily match.' That said, I think it's worth asking: if machines are going to replace all our fast food workers, are we going to start paying our gourmet chefs minimum wage just because we can?"
Kelly Beatty has a unique perspective on the world of astronomy: Beatty's been on the staff of Sky & Telescope magazine for nearly 40 years as a writer and editor, including a stint heading "Night Sky" magazine. He's also written what's been called "the definitive guide for the armchair astronomer," and teaches astronomy to people of all ages. (He even has an asteroid named after him.) Besides being fascinated with the objects we can see in Earth's skies, Beatty takes the skies themselves seriously: his Twitter handle is NightSkyGuy for a reason. We talked a few weeks ago, in dark-skied rural Maine, about his involvement with the International Dark-Sky Association, and why you should care about ubiquitous light pollution, even if you don't have a deep interest in star-gazing. (And it's not just to be courteous to your neighbors.)
An anonymous reader writes "Humans have progressed and evolved creating complex tools throughout the years. Based on artifacts and fossils in combination with research, scientists have known that people have used tools made from all kinds of materials. Now in a new study, two research teams discovered that the first specialized set of bone tools were created by Neanderthals in Europe."
An anonymous reader writes "A Google engineer visiting Vietnam discovered a large portion of Vietnamese high school students might be able to pass a Google interview. According to TFA (and his blog), students start learning computing as early as grade 2. According to the blogger and another senior engineer, about half of the students in an 11th grade class he visited would be able to make through their interview process. The blogger also mentioned U.S. school boards blocking computer science education. The link he posted backing up his claim goes to a Maryland Public Schools website describing No Child Left Behind technicalities. According to the link, computer science is not considered a core subject. While the blogger provided no substantial evidence of U.S. school boards blocking computer science education, he claimed that students at Galileo Academy had difficulty with the HTML image tag. According to the school's Wikipedia page, by California standards, Galileo seems to be one of the state's better secondary schools."
skade88 points out comments from Blizzard exec Rob Pardo, who says the company has internal builds of Diablo 3 running on consoles. It's been known for months that Blizzard has been working on something like this, but now we have the first indication of how far along the project is. Pardo said, "We're still kind of exploring it. We've got builds up and running on it. We're hoping to get it far enough along where we can make it an official project, but we're not quite ready to release stuff about it. But it's looking pretty cool." According to lead designer Jay Wilson, we'll start seeing information on "the next big Diablo thing" next year, which probably refers to an expansion.
An anonymous reader writes "In a hearing in the US District Court today, it was determined that Google will pay a net total of nothing for Oracle's patent claims against them. In fact, Google is given 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay legal fees to Google (in a similar manner to how things are done for frivolous lawsuits). However, it is not quite peaches and roses for Google, as Oracle is planning on appealing the decision in the case.'"
Have you looked at Khan Academy? http://www.khanacademy.org/
alphadogg writes "The little cameras in your home are multiplying. There are the ones you bought, perhaps your SLR or digital camera, but also those that just kind of show up in your current phone, your old phone, your laptop, your game console, and soon your TV and set-top box. Varun Arora, founder of startup GotoCamera in Singapore, wants you to turn them all on and let his company's algorithms analyze what they show, then sell the results as marketing data, in a sort of visual version of what Google and other firms do with search results and free email services."
hypnosec writes "Microsoft's Flight Simulator series, which was in dormant state until now, will see a re-launch this spring and that too for free. The name of this series will be simply Flight, and players will have free access to the digital sky with this simulator. In other words, it will be available as a free download; however, the user would need to buy additional content to enhance their experience. The content that can be purchased includes aircraft as well as new environments. Microsoft states that the most amazing part of this game is the user can experience some real life locations like Big Island of Hawaii along with 'region-specific weather patterns, foliage, terrain and landmarks.'" [Video demo here.] I'd like to know where the ESRB finds "crude humor" or "mild violence" in there.
An anonymous reader writes "After many years I am finally considering entering the smartphone era. Within the mainstream, there seem to be four OS choices: Windows, Android, Blackberry, or iOS: Android comes out as clear winner to me. However, all of the choices in one way or another require sharing a lot of personal information in the Cloud run by their respective corporations. Let alone Blackberry's centralized mail servers; there is no way to have an Android smartphone working decently without sharing all of your contacts, calendar appointments, and other stuff with Google. While Android is less intrusive than iOS, the lack of privacy remains quite annoying no matter how comfortable it is to have your own calendar and contacts centralized. In 2011 is there any option, other than living in a cave, to keep one's own life private while enjoying the wonders of modern smartphone apps?"
wiredmikey writes "Supercomputer maker Cray today said that the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) awarded the company a contract to build a supercomputer for the National Science Foundation's Blue Waters project. The supercomputer will be powered by new 16-core AMD Opteron 6200 Series processors (formerly code-named 'Interlagos') a next-generation GPU from NVIDIA, called 'Kepler,' and a new integrated storage solution from Cray. IBM was originally selected to build the supercomputer in 2007, but terminated the contract in August 2011, saying the project was more complex and required significantly increased financial and technical support beyond its original expectations. Once fully deployed, the system is expected to have a sustained performance of more than one petaflops on demanding scientific applications."
hackingbear excerpts from a story at Engadget: "Instead of resting on its laurels as China's third-largest wireless provider, China Telecom is now looking to branch out into relatively uncharted waters — namely, the U.S. consumer market. ... The proposed service would provide customers with handsets that could be used in both China and the U.S., theoretically appealing to Chinese-Americans, students or businessmen who travel frequently between the two countries ... and would even consider purchasing or constructing its own network in the States,' with the 'capacity to spend 'hundreds of millions or billions' on stateside acquisitions.' At its home turf, despite being a state-owned company, China Telecom, along with China Unicom, is being investigated over alleged monopolistic practices by the Chinese government. The two companies would face penalties of up to 10 percent of their annual business revenues if they were found guilty of monopolistic practices. This is the first such investigation into China's large enterprises since the Anti-Monopoly Law came into effect in 2008."
destinyland writes "Amazon announced this morning that they're making Kindle ebooks available for free in America through 11,000 local public libraries. 'We're thrilled that Amazon is offering such a new approach to library ebook...' said one Seattle librarian, and one Kindle blog listed out the top advantages to having them available in libraries."
mikejuk writes "The whole world seems to be going in ARM's direction. The latest version of Windows 8 will run on ARM processors, Raspberry Pi is a $25 ARM based machine and now the open source Arduino platform has a new member — the ARM-based Arduino Due announced at the Maker Faire in New York. The Due makes use of Atmel's SAM3U ARM-based process, which supports 32-bit instructions and runs at 96Mhz. The Due will have 256KB of Flash, 50KB of SRAM, five SPI buses, two I2C interfaces, five serial ports, 16 12-bit analog inputs and more. This is much more powerful than the current Uno or Mega. However, it's not all gain — the 3.3V operating voltage and the different I/O ports are going to create some compatibility problems. Perhaps Intel should start to worry about the lower end of the processor world."