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Math

Submission + - Historian: Mass violence to erupt in 2020, mathematical pattern suggests (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: Historian Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut, has assumed the role of the world's biggest bummer with his recent prediction that widespread violence will erupt worldwide sometime around the year 2020, as profiled in this recent feature in Nature. What has many people worried is that he's backing up this premonition with a mathematical formula, known as cliodynamics.

Turchin is credited with coining the term cliodynamics, which is the study of historical mathematical data like population figures and global economic performance to identify patterns of similar behavior. Turchin's studies point to a cycle in which society at large becomes engulfed in widespread violence every 50 years.

The current pattern dates back at least to 1870, when economic disparity in the U.S. led to urban violence, and follows the 50-year cycle to the anti-Communist fervor and race riots around 1920, followed by the political assassinations, terrorist attacks and domestic violence in 1970, Turchin told Nature. By that logic, Turchin believes we should circle the year 2020 on our calendars as the year when we start locking our doors.

Government

Submission + - How the new 'Protecting Children' bill puts you at (zdnet.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering H.R. 1981, a bill that would order all of our online service providers to keep new logs about our online activities, logs to help the government identify the web sites we visit and the content we post online. This sweeping new "mandatory data retention" proposal treats every Internet user like a potential criminal and represents a clear and present danger to the online free speech and privacy rights of millions of innocent Americans.
Government

Submission + - Murdoch's Drone at The Daily Might Be Illegal (forbes.com)

nonprofiteer writes: The News Corp iPad newspaper has a drone they've been using for news gathering — mainly flying it over disaster zones in N. Dakota and Alabama. However, FAA regulations on drones are mighty restrictive at the moment, and they're not to be used for commercial purposes (tho law enforcement is free to let them fly). FAA now examining Daily's use of its drone. Could set a precedent for how private businesses can use them.
Data Storage

Submission + - eBay Deploys 100TB of SSD, Cuts Rackspace By Half

Lucas123 writes: "eBay's QA division was facing mounting performance issues as related to its exponential growth of virtual servers, so instead of purchasing more 15K rpm Fibre Channel drives, the company began migrating over to a pure SSD environment. eBay said half of its 4,000 VMs are now attached to SSD. The changeout had improved the time it takes the online site to deploy a VM from 45 minutes to 5 minutes and had a tremendous impact on its rack space requirements. "One rack [of SSD storage] is equal to eight or nine racks of something else," said Michael Craft, eBay's manager of QA Systems Administration."

Comment Re:unobtainable books. (Score 1) 234

As for the future, well, digital copies are actually a LOT harder to preserve long term. I myself have files that I can no longer open, because I no longer have a copy of the word processor "Sprint" running on MS-DOS 5.0. They're less than twenty years old, and are essentially unusable.

Well that's just short-sightedness. There are still converters for Sprint format however, and I'd be happy to convert them for you if you promise not to put them into another proprietary format.

By contrast, I once held and read a hand-written breviary from fourteenth century Italy, a good six and half centuries old and still usable. If we could find a way to archive digital information which would guarantee its usability a mere century from now, I'd rest a lot more easily.

Yeah, but I have more books on my cell-phone than currently exist from the fourteenth century.

Comment Re:Victory against Google-oply = good (Score 2, Insightful) 234

Could you be a little more obviously prejudiced? And while you're at it, could you please identify how anyone (Google or not) goes about getting access to (or rights for) a book by a dead author that's not longer in print?

It sure would be nice if all those works weren't effectively dead (and their knowledge lost) just because my local bookstore or library can't get them.

Comment Re:"Most" doesn't mean "very". (Score 1) 465

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