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Comment: Credit Google for Being Open (Score 3, Insightful) 265

by steve_thatguy (#33240466) Attached to: Google Responds To Net Neutrality Reviews

I'll give credit to Google for at least responding directly to their detractors and explaining their position in what seems like an honest and open way (you'd think if they were trying to sell us on swampland that they wouldn't use the word "compromise"). In spite of everyone's criticisms I still think Google adheres to the "don't be evil" mantra as well as they possibly can.

That said they should've stuck to their guns. Their new Net Neutrality position sucks.


Texas Textbooks Battle Is Actually an American War 1252

Posted by kdawson
from the molding-young-minds dept.
ideonexus writes "I've been lackadaisical when it comes to following stories about Texas schoolboard attempts to slip creationism into biology textbooks, dismissing the stories as just 'dumbass Texans,' but what I didn't realize is that Texas schoolbooks set the standard for the rest of the country. And it's not just Creationism that this Christian coalition is attempting to bring into schoolbooks, but a full frontal assault on history, politics, and the humanities that exploits the fact that final decisions are being made by a school board completely academically unqualified to make informed evaluations of the changes these lobbyists propose. This evangelical lobby has successfully had references to the American Constitution as a 'living document,' as textbooks have defined it since the 1950s, removed in favor of an 'enduring Constitution' not subject to change, as well as attempting to over-emphasize the role Christianity played in the founding of America. The leaders of these efforts outright admit they are attempting to redefine the way our children understand the political landscape so that, when they grow up, they will have preconceived notions of the American political system that favor their evangelical Christian goals."

Comment: Me Too Post (Score 1) 460

by steve_thatguy (#30940442) Attached to: 2 Displays and 2 Workspaces With Linux and X?

I've wanted this for as long as I've had dual-monitors. I wound up settling for an nVidia TwinView setup, but if I could find a way for each of these to be their own separate workspace that would really be terrific. I'm surprised this is so hard to set up--it seems like it shouldn't be that difficult with X.


One Variety of Sea Slugs Cuts Out the Energy Middleman 232

Posted by timothy
from the would-never-leave-the-house dept.
dragonturtle69 writes with this story, short on details but interesting: "These sea slugs, Elysia chlorotica, have evolved the ability to gain energy via photosynthesis. Forget about genetic modifications for sports enhancements. I want to be able to never need to eat again — or do I?"

Comment: Maybe Not Ridiculous (Score 1) 541

by steve_thatguy (#30172832) Attached to: Linus Torvalds For Nobel Peace Prize?

I know it seems a little far-fetched, but the globalization possible due to technology has caused a lot of conflict and strife in terms of politics, business practices, etc. The open source movement, which became prominent mostly through projects like Apache, Firefox, and especially Linux, is one of the best examples we have so far for the potential good of globalization--where people are coming together across the world irrespective of race, religion, or nationality and working toward a common goal for the greater good of the entire world (or at least the part of the world who benefits from their software). It's a model for the potential of global peace and cooperation.

Not saying Linus is by any means a shoe-in for it, but I don't think it's an absurd idea.


Wireless Network Modded To See Through Walls 161

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the still-can't-see-through-pants dept.
KentuckyFC writes "The way radio signals vary in a wireless network can reveal the movement of people behind closed doors, say researchers who have developed a technique called variance-based radio tomographic imaging which processes wireless signals to peer through walls. They've tested the idea with a 34-node wireless network using the IEEE 802.15.4 wireless protocol (the personal area network protocol employed by home automation services such as ZigBee). The researchers say that such a network could be easily distributed by the police or military wanting to determine what's going on inside a building. But such a network, which uses cheap off-the-shelf components, might also be easily deployed by your neighbor or anybody else wanting to monitor movements in your home."

RIAA's Elementary School Copyright Curriculum 507

Posted by kdawson
from the impressionable-young-minds dept.
selven writes "In a blatant campaign devoid of any subtlety, the RIAA is fighting for the hearts and minds of our children with its Music Rules, a collection of education materials on how to respect copyright. The curriculum includes vocabulary such as 'counterfeit recordings, DMCA notice, "Grokster" ruling, legal downloading, online piracy, peer-to-peer file sharing, pirate recordings, songlifting, and US copyright law.' There is no mention whatsoever of fair use. Compounding the bias, it includes insights such as that taking music without paying for it is 'songlifting,' and that making copies for personal use and then playing them while your friends come over is illegal. On the bright side, it includes math showing that the total damages from copyright infringement by children in the US amount to a measly $7.8 million."

Comment: The Important Thing is Existence (Score 4, Interesting) 207

by steve_thatguy (#29284559) Attached to: Serious Design Failure At

In terms of government it is considerably harder to make bring these things into existence and to remove them once they're already there. Changing it after it already exists is trivial. And that's what's important and significant about this: it exists. The general population has facilitated access to something that was obscure and hidden behind a wall of government before. This may not seem like much but I think the successful creation of this type of transparency throughout the government, and if possible embedding it systemically into government processes, that we will see a great improvement in terms of freedom, success, and efficiency of our government.

It's similar to the way open source applications always get bugs patched faster than commercial implementations--crowdsourcing is a good way to catch errors. That will undoubtedly apply to government as well, especially when many politicians make their living relying on their practices being obscured from the public.


Gardeners Told to Give Exhausted Bees an Energy Drink 200 Screenshot-sm

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-what-bees-crave dept.
In an effort to help Britain's declining bee population, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is urging gardeners to leave out a homemade energy drink for tired bees. The RSPB says that a mix of two tablespoons of sugar with a tablespoon of water makes a perfect bee-boosting drink. Val Osborne, head of wildlife inquiries at the RSPB, said, "Many people keep seeing bees on the ground and assume they are dead, but chances are they are having a rest. Much like us, a sugary drink could boost their energy levels and a simple sugar and water combination will be a welcome treat."

+ - Earth's Period of Habitability Nearly Over

Submitted by steve_thatguy
steve_thatguy writes: In yet another way life on Earth is doomed to extinction, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) were presented with research suggesting that Earth is nearing the end of the time it will be capable of sustaining life as we know it. How near? Very on a cosmological timescale, or one half to one billion years people-time. Around that time, the Sun will become too hot for liquid water to exist on Earth. This is not really a new doomsday scenario, however now we know we fall on the trailing end of the life-sustainability timeline.

+ - Scientists Create Artificial Bones from Wood

Submitted by steve_thatguy
steve_thatguy writes: According to Discovery News, Italian scientists have made artificial bone from wood. Created by blasting wood blocks with heat until they are nearly pure carbon then coating them with calcium, the scientists say the material allows bones to heal faster and more securely. Unlike titanium, the wood-based artificial bones flex slightly much like real bone, and the porous nature of the wood allows for better bio-activity with surrounding tissue. Though human testing is still likely years away, the material is currently being used successfully in sheep and may have other industrial applications.

Comment: Entirely Net-Based? (Score 5, Informative) 817

by steve_thatguy (#29011181) Attached to: Chrome OS Designed To Start Microsoft Death Spiral
I don't know the tech details of ChromeOS yet, but I get the impression it's mostly if not entirely net-based. I think that's going to leave Microsoft with a fairly comfortable marketshare even if it takes off because, to some extent, many people want *their* files and *their* processing to be solely under *their* control. There's something to be said for having your own house with your own yard and fence versus living in an apartment building with millions of other people. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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