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Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away! 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes: Growing income inequality was one of the top four issues at the 2015 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, ranking alongside European adoption of quantitative easing and geopolitical concerns. Felix Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, said there was a consensus that global inequality is getting worse, fueling overriding pessimism at the gathering. The result, he said, could be that the next big revolution will be in regulation rather than innovation. With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people's mind, the world's super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. "I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway," he said. Looking at studies like NASA's HANDY and by KPMG, the UK Government Office of Science, and others, Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, warns that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a "perfect storm" within about fifteen years.

Comment: Re:Nope (Score 1) 331

by tverbeek (#48895761) Attached to: UHD Spec Stomps on Current Blu-ray Spec, But Will Consumers Notice?

Blu-ray is already a physical-media format that we don't need. The CD isn't obsolete simply because a higher-capacity disc came along to replace it; it's obsolete because there's a better way to music files: the internet. The DVD is on the way out for the same reason. In fact, if not for the streaming rights being a licensing clusterfuck, Netflix would have completely shut down its DVD-mailing business by now. We don't need another higher-resolution media format. We just need a convenient way to watch movies at whatever resolution our display devices can manage, and that's the internet + a licensing clearinghouse.

Hardware

Quantum Computing Without Qubits 81

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-it-work dept.
An anonymous reader shares this interview with quantum computing pioneer Ivan Deutsch. "For more than 20 years, Ivan H. Deutsch has struggled to design the guts of a working quantum computer. He has not been alone. The quest to harness the computational might of quantum weirdness continues to occupy hundreds of researchers around the world. Why hasn't there been more to show for their work? As physicists have known since quantum computing's beginnings, the same characteristics that make quantum computing exponentially powerful also make it devilishly difficult to control. The quantum computing 'nightmare' has always been that a quantum computer's advantages in speed would be wiped out by the machine's complexity. Yet progress is arriving on two main fronts. First, researchers are developing unique quantum error-correction techniques that will help keep quantum processors up and running for the time needed to complete a calculation. Second, physicists are working with so-called analog quantum simulators — machines that can't act like a general-purpose computer, but rather are designed to explore specific problems in quantum physics. A classical computer would have to run for thousands of years to compute the quantum equations of motion for just 100 atoms. A quantum simulator could do it in less than a second."

Comment: Re:Uninterested people aren't worth it (Score 5, Interesting) 480

by tverbeek (#48794717) Attached to: How Bitcoin Could Be Key To Online Voting

While it's true that low-interest voters tend to be low-information voters, there is also the problem that highly-interested voters are often highly misinformed voters. You have fundamentalist preachers frightening their congregations to vote in favor of bans on same-sex marriage by telling them horror stories about gay couples adopting babies to molest; or dogmatic political organizations telling their members to vote against a candidate because she's going to take their handguns and hunting rifles away, when all she said was that she'd look into restricting sales of assault weapons. Voters who haven't been mainlining bullshit propaganda crafted to "mobilize the base" can actually have a better grasp of the truth.

Comment: Re:Yes, but for specific reasons (Score 4, Interesting) 182

Another human that you create is not a "semi-autonomous bot". It is a self-aware person, and is held responsible for its own actions. Maybe if you can demonstrate that your bot is sentient and fully autonomous, that'll get you off the hook.

Comment: You just have to run faster than the other fellow (Score 1) 598

by tverbeek (#48738477) Attached to: Tumblr Co-Founder: Apple's Software Is In a Nosedive

One thing in Apple's favor is that their primary competitor (still Microsoft) keeps doing so many things wrong with their software. I recently bought a Surface Pro (for the hardware, which is on par with Apple's in terms of quality design and manufature) and Windows 8.1 has managed to break so many of the things they'd finally gotten right in Vista 2.0 (Win7).

Comment: Well That About Wraps It Up For God (Score 5, Funny) 755

by tverbeek (#48700227) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."

"But," says man, "[that article in the Wall Street Urinal says that science] proves that you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. Q.E.D."

"Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.

– excerpted from Douglas Adams (for the cretins in the audience)

Earth

Trees vs. Atmospheric Carbon: A Fight That Makes Sense? 363

Posted by timothy
from the just-don't-use-spreading-bamboo dept.
StartsWithABang writes Yes, carbon levels in our atmosphere are rising, it's causing the Earth to warm and the climate to change, and our dependence on fossil fuels isn't going away anytime soon. Yet even if we ceased all carbon emissions today, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is already high enough that it is likely to result in long-term catastrophic effects. But getting that carbon that's already in the atmosphere out of it isn't a pie-in-the-sky dream, it's a solvable problem that's as easy as planting a tree, something every one of us can help do with very little time, money and effort.

Comment: Terciles (Score 1) 286

by tverbeek (#48633445) Attached to: At 40, a person is ...

It's a simple matter of terciles and life expectancies. Average life expectancy in the post-industrial world is about 80 years. Dividing that into three equal categories, you get (roughly) 0-26 = young age, 27-53 = middle age, 54-80 = old age. Of course with increases in life expectancy (and to make the math easier), you could use 30-59 as the middle group, and save a bunch of late-20s people the anxiety of already being "middle-aged", but it's still a bit silly how that term has become (in some people's minds) a euphemism for "old".

(And for the record, I'm 49: very accustomed to being "middle-aged".)

Movies

Top Five Theaters Won't Show "The Interview" Sony Cancels Release 589

Posted by samzenpus
from the nothing-to-see-here dept.
tobiasly writes The country's top five theater chains — Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark, Carmike Cinemas and Cineplex Entertainment — have decided not to play Sony's The Interview. This comes after the group which carried off a massive breach of its networks threatened to carry out "9/11-style attacks" on theaters that showed the film. Update: Sony has announced that it has cancelled the planned December 25 theatrical release.

If I were a grave-digger or even a hangman, there are some people I could work for with a great deal of enjoyment. -- Douglas Jerrold

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