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Comment: Re: The universe is probably teeming with life, bu (Score 1) 608

by zap1992 (#46838347) Attached to: Are Habitable Exoplanets Bad News For Humanity?

And intelligent life is even rarer still. In 4 billion years of evolution, intelligent life (i.e., intelligent enough for high technology) has only evolved once and has only been around a few million years. But I don't think we're in serious danger of extinction any time soon. We're extremely adaptable, and once we establish self-sustaining colonies on other worlds, it's very unlikely that any act of nature will kill us off. That means the only plausible threat to our survival is ourselves, and we've been getting less violent throughout our history. That trend probably won't reverse any time soon.

I suspect that, once intelligent life does evolve, it probably survives more often than not. That means there probably aren't many species anywhere near our level of technology, as most are probably much, much older than us.

Comment: Tidal forces (Score 1) 84

by zap1992 (#45589411) Attached to: How Much of ISON Survived Its Closest Approach To the Sun?
While the Sun's heat probably played a role in ISON's destruction, I think the main reason it broke up was because of the Sun's tidal forces. ISON was within its Roche limit, where the tidal effects of the Sun were enough to overpower ISON's own gravity, tearing the comet apart. Most of it is probably orbiting the Sun right now as a very small ring.

+ - Optical memory in glass could record the last evidence of civilization-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Using nanostructured glass, scientists at the University of Southampton have demonstrated the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional digital data by femtosecond laser writing. The storage allows unprecedented parameters including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1000C and practically unlimited lifetime."
Link to Original Source

+ - What's actually wrong with DRM in HTML5? ->

Submitted by kxra
kxra (2826067) writes "The Free Culture Fondation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C's Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C’s self-stated mission to make the benefits of the Web “available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.” The FCF counters the three most common myths by unpacking some quotes which explain that 1. DRM is not about protecting copyright. That is a straw man. DRM is about limiting the functionality of devices and selling features back in the form of services. Second, that DRM in HTML5 doesn’t obsolete proprietary, platform-specefic browser plug-ins; it encourages them. And third, that the Web doesn’t need big media; big media needs the Web."
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Comment: I don't understand why it's still around (Score 1) 417

by zap1992 (#43185983) Attached to: If I could (or had to) ban texting in one place ...

It doesn't make any sense to me. It's a very limited, antiquated, and error-prone medium. Now that so many people have smartphones that are capable of email and IM, it doesn't really make sense that we should continue to use this. Why should I be forced to use such a tiny computer because you're not at your desk?

(I assume that "texting" refers specifically to SMS text messaging, as most people use the term, not as any message containing text.)

Comment: Probably not worth the cost (Score 1) 322

by zap1992 (#42888893) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Features Belong In a 'Smartwatch'?
With all the features people want in this thing, the battery will probably have to be pretty big or you won't get much use out of it. (It will be enough of a change to have to plug my watch in every night; I don't want to have to do it every few hours.) Which means the only way anyone is going to release something like this is if it has very limited features--maybe just time, date, a few basic alerts, etc., which means it probably won't be worth the cost. But then again, people will spend $500 on a watch that keeps worse time than the one that came with my breakfast cereal, so you never know.

+ - John E. Karlin, Who Led the Way to All-Digit Dialing, Dies at 94->

Submitted by g01d4
g01d4 (888748) writes "Who was John E. Karlin? “He was the one who introduced the notion that behavioral sciences could answer some questions about telephone design,” according to Ed Israelski, an engineer who worked under Mr. Karlin at Bell Labs in the 1970s. And you thought Steve Jobs was cool. An interesting obituary in the NYT."
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Comment: I hope not (Score 1) 1

by zap1992 (#42838825) Attached to: Microsoft rumored to be taking a 'meaningful look' at Office for Linux
Part of what gives us, as GNU/Linux users, a unique cultural identity is our choice of software. In general, we don't use proprietary software, and bringing popular proprietary programs like Office or Photoshop to our platform would ruin our status as the free operating system. While it might draw in new users, GNU/Linux is more valuable as a free operating system than a popular one.

+ - What could have been in the public domain January 1, but isn't->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2013? Under the law that existed until 1978 Works from 1956. The films Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, The Best Things in Life Are Free, Forbidden Planet, The Ten Commandments, and Around the World in 80 Days, the stories 101 Dalmations and Phillip K. Dick’s The Minority Report, the songs Que Sera, Sera and Heartbreak Hotel, and more What is entering the public domain this year? Nothing."
Link to Original Source

+ - Free Software Foundation Campaigning To Stop UEFI SecureBoot->

Submitted by
gnujoshua
gnujoshua writes "The article title is "Free Software Foundation Campaigning To Stop UEFI SecureBoot". However, this is simply not true. We want computer manufacturers to implement Secure Boot in a way that is secure. If a user can't disable Secure Boot and they are unable to sign their own software (e.g., bootloader, OS, etc), then we call that particular implementation "Restricted Boot." We don't want computer makers to implement Restricted Boot. We want them to implement Secure Boot and to provide a way for individuals to install a fully free OS on their computers. Many computer makers *are* implementing UEFI Secure Boot in this way and we want to continue encouraging them to do so. Please add a correction/update to this article because it is very damaging to our work. Below is the complete text of our statement that we ask people to sign:

We, the undersigned, urge all computer makers implementing UEFI's so-called "Secure Boot" to do it in a way that allows free software operating systems to be installed. To respect user freedom and truly protect user security, manufacturers must either allow computer owners to disable the boot restrictions, or provide a sure-fire way for them to install and run a free software operating system of their choice. We commit that we will neither purchase nor recommend computers that strip users of this critical freedom, and we will actively urge people in our communities to avoid such jailed systems."

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