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+ - Nobel Peace laureate Obama spending billions on US nuclear arsenal 2

Submitted by ltorvalds11
ltorvalds11 (3774511) writes "Barack Obama’s vision of a nuclear-free world seems to be unraveling at an alarming rate. In 2009 he won the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment for nuclear disarmament. Five years on, the US’s nuclear arsenal sees a $355 billion investment.
In April 2009, Obama outlined his dream of a planet free from nuclear weapons in a speech in Prague. He claimed it was not just a dream, but a real plan, and said that although the threat of global nuclear war had diminished, the risk of a nuclear attack had gone up.
The plans to upgrade and replace America’s nuclear arsenal are certainly ambitious. Washington is planning to upgrade eight nuclear facilities across the country, which employee 40,000 people, but the costs will run into tens of billions of dollars.
On August 22, veteran Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic party, posted a statement on his party’s website, questioning whether the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner should hand the accolade back. “Usually the Nobel Peace Prize is handed to people who fought for peace for 20, 30, 40 or 50 years, who did prison time. This man has not lifted a finger. And in recent years he has organized wars. Ukraine is in flames, the Mideast is troubled, and there are problems in Afghanistan. Throughout his term in power – not a single peacekeeping operation; we see only death, aggression and refugees. The Peace Prize should be recalled immediately to avoid disgracing the award,” Zhirinovsky said."

+ - Lizard Stowaways Revise Principle of Ecology->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a study published today in Nature, Helmus and his co-authors tracked the recent spread of Anolis lizard species across the Caribbean and found that island biogeography will have to be revised. The physical distance between landmasses is no longer important. Shipping lanes are.

The study’s finding signals a major shift in ecology. Until very recently, the field was focused largely on the natural world. Most ecologists viewed humans as an artificial influence that confounded their experiments rather than a driving force shaping the environment and the composition of its residents. But in the last few years, this view has begun to change, as scientists have realized that culture and commerce can’t be isolated or reversed. Human forces must be factored into even the most basic ecological models. The new study is the first to formally update one of the most important mathematical theories in ecology, redefining it to include human factors."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Even my DVDs are streamed (Score 1) 152

by zarmanto (#47566103) Attached to: What percentage of your media consumption is streamed?

... I don't like the relatively labor-intensive process of ripping from DVD, compressing, etc...

I rip nearly everything to my computer as well. Note that it's generally only "labor intensive" for the computer... for the person sitting at the computer, it's really more of an exercise in patience than anything else:

* Insert DVD,
* Open MakeMKV, click a few buttons,
* Wait.
* Open Handbrake, click a few buttons,
* Wait.
* Add resulting file to media distribution platform of your choice. * Done!

What's more, if what you're ripping isn't particularly popular at the moment, then you're liable to find that it takes less time to rip it than it does to pirate it.

Comment: Re:Streaming devices (Score 1) 394

by zarmanto (#47254381) Attached to: Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

Except that nobody watching benefits nobody... and that is the reality for the vast majority of those hundreds of channels which are perpetually being multicast by cable companies. I get that the cable companies do not (choose to) perceive the additional cost from multicasting all of those channels... but there are indeed measurable costs to them, and one of those costs is the bandwidth usage of all those unwatched channels, which could otherwise be reallocated to help remedy that network clog issue that you mentioned. In addition, more and more consumers are already shifting their usage from the broadcast model to the streaming model on their own; it's not like the cable company is going to be able to stop the problem from getting worse. Thus, it is ultimately in their best interest to accept the inevitable, and find a way to reliably profit from the changing habits of their customer base. And -- aside from primarily sports enthusiasts -- their customers aren't really watching "live" television multicasts nearly as frequently as they once were. Thus, the case for multicast based systems becomes less compelling, every single day.

In addition to that, your observation brings up an ironic tie-in to the topic at hand, in that broadcast is an always-on technology which perpetually burns up power at both ends of the connection; thus, properly completing the transition to streaming will clearly save the cable companies some not-insignificant sum of money, in reductions to their own utility bills. (Not that customers will see that reflected in their bills, of course.)

Comment: Streaming devices (Score 1) 394

by zarmanto (#47253635) Attached to: Cable Boxes Are the 2nd Biggest Energy Users In Many Homes

The world is rapidly moving away from the cable model... and the cable box itself is no exception. Therefore, the solution to this issue is pretty clear: transition away from big box cable endpoints to Roku or AppleTV endpoints. This moves customers into the future by shifting away from a DVR model to a streaming model, and it shifts away from insanely power-hungry boxes to devices which typically use about 1 to 3 watts at peak use.

(It's actually a simple solution to multiple problems. Unfortunately, the cable industry has been resisting these types of moves for so long, that even though they've effectively already lost this battle on multiple fronts, (for all practical purposes) they still resist just because of muscle memory.)

Comment: Super HD (Score 1) 202

by zarmanto (#47166197) Attached to: Netflix Ditches Silverlight For HTML5 On Macs

This doesn't appear to be specifically broken out anywhere, but I think it's an important point that the Silverlight Netflix client software has never supported greater than 720p at 3Mbps. Adding support for HTML5/MSE/EME to Safari will mean that Mac users can finally view all of those "Super HD" streams in full 1080p on their computers. (I've been chomping at the bit for that one, myself... now, if Apple would just release those darned beta redemption codes, so I can go play!)

Comment: Re:Linux soon? (Score 1) 202

by zarmanto (#47165999) Attached to: Netflix Ditches Silverlight For HTML5 On Macs

... If the Linux client was a pre-compiled binary, it could probably be made reasonably secure against people trying to copy content. At least as secure as a DVD or BluRay anyway.

I'd say, you just answered your own question: If a Linux binary could be made "at least as secure as a DVD or BluRay," then Big Media would instantly label it as a non-starter, because optical media is not even remotely secure at this point; all you need to do is pop open MakeMKV, and those movies will come off of the disk in an unencrypted format in short order, ready to be converted by Handbrake for whatever purpose you might find appealing, from PSP to piracy.

Which, I think, is actually the entire point of going to DRMed streaming media... Big Media is actually trying to make it harder to decrypt their content, rather than maintain the status quo.

Comment: Gotta love Street View (Score 1) 286

I glanced at the Google Street View link in the ITWorld.com article, and the 2007 imagery for that location shows that the bike lane didn't exist at that time... and likewise, it shows that nobody is parked in front of the hydrant. Move forward, and all three of the subsequent snapshots of that location show cars (which were no doubt all ticketed) parked alongside the newly painted bike lane, directly adjacent to that hydrant -- but more interestingly, the photos also show "no-parking" markings on the street leading up to just a bit before that hydrant. At a glance, any reasonable person would interpret the street markings to indicate that parking there was perfectly legal, and expected. And really, how much more than "a glance" do most people give to their city parking, when they're probably already late for work?

That said: I wouldn't necessarily go straight to NYPD malice for the explanation. Seems to me, someone in the DOT simply wasn't paying enough attention to his surroundings when he designated the street re-painting requirements, (oops) and low-paid NYPD traffic cops simply discovered and took advantage of the situation to easily meet their ticket quotas, without ever really asking or caring about the "why."

+ - The feature phone is dead... long live the "basic smartphone"!

Submitted by zarmanto
zarmanto (884704) writes "The numbers have been telling us for awhile now that (formerly expensive) feature phones have been slowly displaced by ironically more "feature rich" high-end smartphones, so it should come as no surprise to hear that the other end of the market is also receiving active encroachment by low-end smartphones. Now, ARM is suggesting that it's actually quite conceivable for OEMs to produce a "smartphone" for as little as $20 — as long as you compromise a bit on those things which actually make it a smartphone in the first place.

So, is this just more graying of the line between smartphones and feature phones? Or is this an indication that the feature phone (as we used to know it) is finally well-and-truly dead?"

Comment: No effective standard? (Score 2) 300

by zarmanto (#46900037) Attached to: Yahoo Stops Honoring 'Do-Not-Track' Settings

"However, we have yet to see a single standard emerge that is effective, easy to use and has been adopted by the broader tech industry.' It looks like this is another blow to privacy on the web."

I don't know about you, but I can think of one fairly effective and extremely easy to use "standard"... AdBlock.

Comment: Re:And projectors? (Score 1) 347

And how do they propose determining the price for a projector, when a single unit can readily have a screen size ranging from 30 inches to 300 inches?

Easy: they charge the maximum the device is capable of (in this case, 300 inches).

Well, I don't know about you, but I didn't buy a projector because it could project a maximum size of 300 inches... I bought it because it was far cheaper than practically every other remotely comparable large-form-factor television, even when projecting at "only" 80 inches, as I am. Thus, when the price of the hardware is factored into the equation, the amount of dough that you can expect to squeeze out of your viewing audience is dramatically impacted.

Which is to say: if Dreamworks actually goes down this path, then they had better find a way to convince every other studio to follow them... otherwise, I'll just stop watching Dreamworks films entirely in favor of their competition. (Pixar puts out some pretty darned good stuff, after all.)

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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