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Submission + - Cart Leads Horse for Years, Says Slashdot Reader

mtrachtenberg writes: Seriously, folks. This competition to develop the tiniest compute thing that can be plugged into a power brick and an HDMI port is a little ridiculous.

Can we please have HDMI monitors that include power and HDMI connectors to an internal pocket for compute units that will go inside their shells. Fans, too, that can be set on or off to cool the pocket. The companies can get together with a standard form factor or, if a company was Apple, it could do up proprietary shapes so only their "compute units" will fit in their monitors, and let the best approach win (or lose, as the case may be).

But seriously, if you need a screen that is 12" to 96" diagonal, and you are paying thousands for it, why are you worried about shrinking the thing that costs hundreds and generates images for that screen.

There. I feel better now.

Submission + - Science's Biggest Fail - Everything About Diet and Fitness

HughPickens.com writes: Scott Adams of Dilbert fame writes on his blog that science's biggest fail of all time is 'everything about diet and fitness':

I used to think fatty food made you fat. Now it seems the opposite is true. Eating lots of peanuts, avocados, and cheese, for example, probably decreases your appetite and keeps you thin. I used to think vitamins had been thoroughly studied for their health trade-offs. They haven’t. The reason you take one multivitamin pill a day is marketing, not science. I used to think the U.S. food pyramid was good science. In the past it was not, and I assume it is not now. I used to think drinking one glass of alcohol a day is good for health, but now I think that idea is probably just a correlation found in studies.

According to Adams, the direct problem of science is that it has been collectively steering an entire generation toward obesity, diabetes, and coronary problems. But the indirect problem might be worse: It is hard to trust science because it has a credibility issue that it earned. "I think science has earned its lack of credibility with the public. If you kick me in the balls for 20-years, how do you expect me to close my eyes and trust you?"

Submission + - Malaysia flight MH17... not the first... probably not the last

Flytrap writes: Whoever brought down the Malaysian airliner should be held accountable... But history shows us that geopolitics often overshadows accountability and very few of the parties responsible for such disasters are ever held accountable.

An article contrasting the downing of Malaysian Flight M17 (by forces still to be determined) with the downing of Korean Air Flight 007 by Soviet fighters and the downing of Iran Air Flight 655 by the USS Vincennes got me thinking about why the standards of accountability are so inconsistent.

The Independent catalogues 7 passenger planes that were shot down prior to Malaysian Flight M17 (I added 2 more for completeness). This article also raises questions about why some parties are able to get away with downing a civilian aircraft while some parties are held accountable (the article does not attempt to answer the question)
  • 1954. Cathay Pacific VR-HEU shot down by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. Ten people on board were killed.
  • 1955. El Al Flight 402 shot down in Bulgarian airspace by two MiG-15 jets. Seven crew and 51 passengers were killed.
  • 1973. Libyan Airlines Flight 114 shot down by Israeli Phantom jet fighters. Only 5 survived of the 113 on board.
  • 1978. Korean Air flight 902 shot down by Soviet Sukhoi fighters after it violated Soviet airspace. Remarkably nearly all the passengers on board survived an emergency landing on a frozen lake. Two people were killed.
  • 1978. Air Rhodesia Flight RH 825 and Flight RH827 shot down by Zimbabwe People’s Liberation Army (Zipra) using ground-launched Stela missiles. 10 survivors were murdered at one of the crash sites, in the other none of the 59 passengers and crew survived.
  • 1980. Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 brought down by a missile fired from French Navy aircraft over the Tyrrhenian Sea. All 77 passengers and 4 crew were killed.
  • 1983. Korean Air Flight 007 shot down by Soviet fighters after the pilot strayed into Soviet airspace. There were no survivors.
  • 1988. Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by the USS Vincennes using a surface-to-air missile while in Iranian territorial waters. All 290 passengers and crew were killed.
  • 2001. Siberia Airlines Flight 1812 shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Black Sea using a BUK S-200 missile. All 66 passengers and 12 crew members died.

The Russians, of course have their own take on this inconsistency, and one suspects that they are counting on a continuation of this practice, in the event that they may have had a hand in the downing of Flight M17. However, despite their obviously ulterior motives, they have a valid point, which other web sites are beginning to also pick up on.

Not withstanding what may have happened in the past, we should not let that get in the way of holding those who may be responsible for shooting down Flight M17 accountable, regardless of whether their act was deliberate or accident — when you wield weapons of that nature, one has to accept culpability for how they are used. The question for us, is: how do we do that when the standard of accountability set by prior incidents is so low and inconsistent and seems to be overshadowed by geopolitical agendas that make it hard to sift fact from fiction — Colin Powell's very detailed presentation to the UN security Council of fake made up evidence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, comes to mind.

Submission + - Why fundemantal research matters (forasach.ie)

fiannaFailMan writes: Governments sometimes see the value of science in purely economic terms, resulting in short-term thinking about what should be funded. For example, the Irish government has been criticized for focusing to much on scientific research that produces immediately tangible benefits, i.e. jobs, that bolster the image of politicians. "Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, European Research Council president, recently reiterated a criticism made two years ago that Ireland is too focussed on research aimed at immediate job creation and as a result is missing out on potential funding. He is also quoted as saying that basic science must be left to flourish before people move to exploit it to create jobs."

Submission + - Should Billionaire-Backed Code.org Pay Its Interns?

theodp writes: Code.org's Corporate and Founding Donors page reads like a Who's Who of the world's wealthiest corporations and individuals. But a job posting entitled Marketing / Communications Intern (Seattle only, part-time, unpaid, Sept-Dec) (screenshot) makes it clear that no portion of the tax-deductible donations will trickle down to the successful candidate, who will be required to put in an unpaid 10-20 hours/week "under pressure" in a "fast-paced environment" for four months "assisting marketing efforts for December’s global Hour of Code campaign, coordinating prize packages, managing partner commitments and events in databases and researching media prospects." So, does this count as one of the "high-paying jobs" provided by the computing revolution that Code.org supporters told California Governor Jerry Brown about last May in a letter touting the Hour of Code? Perhaps Code.org is just trying to be frugal — after all, it's requiring K-12 teachers from school districts in Chicago, New York City, Boston, and Seattle to report to the presumably rent-free offices of Corporate Donors Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to be re-educated on how Computer Science should be taught.

Submission + - Google Sacrificed Innovation to Avoid Pissing Off Steve Jobs

theodp writes: In addition to affecting one million employees, reports PandoDaily's Mark Ames, Apple and Google's wage-fixing cartel also sacrificed innovation so as not to anger Steve Jobs. "One the most interesting misconceptions I've heard about the 'Techtopus' conspiracy," writes Ames, "is that, while these secret deals to fix recruiting were bad (and illegal), they were also needed to protect innovation by keeping teams together while avoiding spiraling costs." Not so, argues Ames, who describes how Google cancelled plans to have former Apple employee Jean-Marie Hullot run a small engineering center in Paris after Jobs expressed his disapproval. A promise from Google Sr. VP of Knowledge Alan Eustace that "Jean-Marie will not be working on anything to do with cell phone handsets" wasn't good enough for Jobs, who told Eustace, "We’d strongly prefer that you not hire these guys [Hullot and his team]." Breaking the news to Hullot, Eustace wrote, "Steve is opposed to Google hiring these engineers. He didn't say why, and I don't think it is appropriate for me to go back for clarification. I can’t risk our relationship with Apple to make this happen over his objections." In a follow-up e-mail to Jobs, Eustace wrote, "Based on your strong preference that we not hire the ex-Apple engineers, Jean-Marie and I decided not to open a Google Paris engineering center. I appreciate your input into this decision, and your continued support of the Google/Apple partnership." Ames notes, "It's worth taking a moment to reflect, again, on what was happening here: in a field as critical and competitive as smartphones, Google's R&D strategy was being dictated, not by the company's board, or by its shareholders, but by a desire not to anger the CEO of a rival company." Jobs, who reportedly took glee in Google's only-too-eager termination of an employee who crossed his path, was apparently viewed as one not to be trifled with. Asked by lawyers last year to describe Steve Jobs' view on hiring in Silicon Valley, Google co-founder Sergey Brin responded, "I think Mr. Jobs' view was that people shouldn't piss him off. And I think that things that pissed him off were — would be hiring, you know — whatever."

Submission + - Slashdot creates beta site users express theirs dislike (slashdot.org) 4

who_stole_my_kidneys writes: Slashdot started redirecting users in February to its newly revamped webpage and received a huge backlash from users. The majority of comments dislike the new site while some do offer solutions to make it better. The question is will Slashdot force the unwanted change on its users that clearly do not want change?

Submission + - Slashdot beta sucks 9

An anonymous reader writes: Maybe some of the slashdot team should start listening to its users, most of which hate the new user interface. Thanks for ruining something that wasn't broken.

Submission + - HP denies access to Service Packs and Firmware for out-of-warranty customers.

joshitnc writes: In a move that is sure to put a wedge between HP and their customers, today, HP has issued an email informing all existing HP customers that they would no longer be able to access or download service packs, firmware patches and bug-fixes for their server hardware without a valid support agreement in place, stating:

"You are receiving this communication because you have been identified as a customer using HP ProLiant Servers and HP Services.

HP has made significant investments in its intellectual capital to provide the best value and experience for our customers. We continue to offer a differentiated customer experience with our comprehensive support portfolio. HP, as an industry leader, is well positioned to provide reliable support services across the globe with proprietary tools, HP trained engineers, and genuine certified HP parts. Only HP customers and authorized channel partners may download and use support materials. In line with this commitment, starting in February 2014, Hewlett-Packard Company will change the way firmware updates and Service Pack for ProLiant (SPP) on HP ProLiant server products are accessed. Select server firmware and SPP on these products will only be accessed through the HP Support Center to customers with an active support agreement, HP CarePack, or warranty linked to their HP Support Center User ID and for the specific products being updated. We encourage you to review your current support coverage to ensure you have the appropriate coverage to maintain uninterrupted access to firmware updates and SPP for these products."

If a manufacturer ships hardware with exploitable defects and takes more than 3 years to identify them, should the consumer have to pay for the vendor to fix the these defects?

"Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it." -- Mark Twain