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Submission + - Appeals court slams record companies on DMCA in Vimeo case

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the long-simmering appeal in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld Vimeo's positions on many points regarding the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. In its 55 page decision (PDF) the Court ruled that (a) the Copyright Office was dead wrong in concluding that pre-1972 sound recordings aren't covered by the DMCA, (b) the judge was wrong to think that Vimeo employees' merely viewing infringing videos was sufficient evidence of "red flag knowledge", and (c) a few sporadic instances of employees being cavalier about copyright law did not amount to a "policy of willful blindness" on the part of the company. The Court seemed to take particular pleasure in eviscerating the Copyright Office's rationales. Amicus curiae briefs in support of Vimeo had been submitted by a host of companies and organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Public Knowledge, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.

Comment Re:Seems Too Expensive (Score 3, Insightful) 106

If you're talking about the back room of a walmart store, then maaaaaaybe. But installing static cameras and/or rails that capture EVERY location's contents accurately doesn't scale well with the 1 million sqft standalone warehouses they're talking about. The costs would far exceed any benefit. And gods forbid if you want to reconfigure your racks! Meanwhile, if you can make a $500 drone that can do inventory counts automatically, even if you have to manually program its flight path each time you change your rack layout, you've just saved a crapload of money.

Comment Re:When I was a kid... (Score 1) 324

I've been wondering about that. I've got a heat pump, and one down side is that it fares poorly when the weather is significantly below freezing. It's been a wicked couple of winters around here in the Mid Atlantic, and it would have been nice to tap into a huge store of moderate temperature just a few feet below ground.

Comment Re:EVs aren't that much better (Score 1) 630

Many countries are phasing out coal in favor of natural gas, which pollutes less and (due to fracking) has dropped considerably in price. It costs around $1.99 per gigajoule today (http://www.eia.gov/naturalgas/weekly/).

Note also that not all environmentalists are in favor of ending nuclear energy. New nuclear plants are being built now, approved by the Obama administration: "DOE’s investments in nuclear energy help secure the three strategic objectives that are foundational to our nation’s energy system: energy security, economic competitiveness, and environmental responsibility." (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/06/fact-sheet-obama-administration-announces-actions-ensure-nuclear-energy). There is indeed a quandary among environmentalists because the issue of nuclear waste is contentious, but many in the environmental movement recognize that nuclear power can be part of an overall strategy in reducing carbon emissions.

Comment Gripe: Math versus Science (Score 1) 267

Science is respected for its reputation for certainty, and Math is seen as the purest (and thus most certain) of the sciences.

This bugs me. Math, on its own, is so "pure" that it has no connection to the universe whatsoever. Aliens don't appear in pure math. Neither do electrons, polymers, or three-toed sloths. Math is purged of all real world things. Math can't predict anything about the real world. Even the simplest tautologies, like "two apples are equal to two apples", requires extra real-world semantics to apply an abstraction like "equal" (which has many different definitions) to actual things like "apples".

So when people say "according to math", they're aspiring to a certainty that it doesn't earn. You could say "according to science". Science will always incorporate some form of math. But it's not identical, and if scientific claims seem "weaker" than math claims, we just need to live with that. Because we don't, in fact, really truly mathematically "know" anything about aliens. Not even a probability: our probability estimates are themselves subject to enormous amounts of guesswork.

Sorry for the distraction, but this bugs me. The article itself doesn't seem to be of much merit; it's all old news. So I'm gonna gripe about the headline instead. Thank you for your time.

Submission + - IBM Giving Everyone Access To Its Quantum Computing Processors (fortune.com)

An anonymous reader writes: IBM said on Wednesday that it's giving everyone access to one of its quantum computing processors, which can be used to crunch large amounts of data. Anyone can apply through IBM Research's website to test the processor, however, IBM will determine how much access people will have to the processor depending on their technology background — specifically how knowledgeable they are about quantum technology. With the project being "broadly accessible," IBM hopes more people will be interested in the technology, said Jerry Chow, manager of IBM's experimental quantum computing group. Users can interact with the quantum processor through the Internet, even though the chip is stored at IBM's research center in Yorktown Heights, New York, in a complex refrigeration system that keeps the chip cooled near absolute zero.

Submission + - Study Suggests Free Will Is An Illusion (iflscience.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A new paper published in the journal Psychological Science has attempted to define and investigate the subject of free will. By asking participants to anticipate when they thought a specific color of circle would appear before them, something determined completely by chance, the researchers found that their predictions were more accurate when they had only a fraction of a second to guess than when they had more time. The participants subconsciously perceived the color change as it happened prior to making their mental choice, even though they always thought they made their prediction before the change occurred. They were getting the answers right because they already knew the answer. “Our minds may be rewriting history,” Adam Bear, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology at Yale University and lead author of the study, said in a statement. The implication here is that when it comes to very short time scales, even before we think we’ve made a conscious choice, our mind has already subconsciously decided for us, and free will is more of an illusion than we think.

Comment Re:No (Score 1) 238

It's a bit more complicated than that, but the conclusion is correct.

You're describing a local hidden variables theory, in which the particles already have a definite value at the point where they were entangled. That doesn't quite describe reality; with some subtle experiments you can see that they interact in ways slightly different from ones that are already set. But that difference still doesn't allow you to communicate.

Comment Re:Local maximums = Global minimums (Score 1) 382

I wonder what it would take to make it safe down to 40 meters, the limit for recreational divers. Use your phone as your dive computer and to take pictures while you're down there. They already make wireless regulators; they can't be hard to adapt to Bluetooth. (I have no idea what the range of Bluetooth is under water.)

Comment Re:Local maximums = Global minimums (Score 1) 382

Is anybody making a phone with no jacks at all? Just wireless charging and Bluetooth headsets? That would give you a great opportunity to really seal the device.

Right now not having a charging jack would prove a bit of a pain, but for a specialized heatseeking kind of market I could see people getting into a really ultra-thin phone completely devoid of the need to accommodate any connectors.

Comment Re: Dangerous (Score 1) 155

You can think of a heat pump as a reversible refrigerator. In cooling mode, it works just like a refrigerator: the compressor compresses gas, lets it radiate heat of compression outside, then pumps it inside to evaporate.

The remarkable thing is that you can turn the process around to heat the inside instead of the outside. You compress the gas outside to make it hot, then pump it inside to release that heat. A carefully-designed valve causes it to go from liquid to gas, or reverse, depending on where you want to absorb heat: outside, even in winter, the evaporated, chilled gas can be warmed up by the outside air.

The trick is getting the right refrigerant, which turns from liquid to gas and back around the temperature you want. I dunno why they've chosen CO2 here, but I suspect it has to do with the ambient temperatures in Alaska.

Comment Re:Only $1 million? (Score 1) 429

Yeah, I suspect that they're pretty aggravated by it. It does have the advantage of keeping her name in the news at a time when she might otherwise vanish, and "all publicity is good publicity", but I don't know how much her staff are enjoying those sour grapes.

It shouldn't have come as a complete surprise, though. She's always had high negatives, though it's disappointing that so many of them come from concerted Republican campaigns to smear her. (Remember that Barack Obama had a fightthesmears.com site set up the minute he won the nomination.) It's unsettling to have liberals repeating Republican talking points, in addition to creating their own.

It set her up for there to be some kind of opposition. And the Democratic party has been taking its liberal wing for granted for quite some time, allowing centrists like Obama and both Clintons to get their votes knowing that they'd be unable to get more than the palest pink liberal agenda items actually achieved. I happen to be a left-leaning centrist myself, and think that's about the right thing, but real leftists are understandably upset.

In the end they have the opportunity to realize that they've dragged one candidate a bit left, and get that candidate elected over a far-right candidate. That would be a win, and if it's not the win they were hoping for, it's also the one that doesn't have every Republican and half of the Democrats upset at going too far left. We'll see if they'd rather have half a loaf than none.

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