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Comment The concept of "aether" returns. (Score 2) 259

The old ways are best:

This finding is relevant because it suggests the existence of a limited number of ephemeral particles per unit volume in a vacuum.

In other words, there is no nothingness; everything is something. Thus we're looking at vacuums being a variation of type of substrate of matter, not an absence of matter. Mind-blowing. Be sure to drop acid before reading this.

Comment I had high hopes for Anon. (Score 1) 72

At first, I was excited by this. A new way of looking at the world! Crowd-sourcing! etc.

Now I'm cynical. Crowd sourcing translates to witch-hunts. The ideas that Anon have adopted are the same old ones that got us in this mess in the first place.

You want news? Go to Slashdot or Hacker News.

Stoned basement-dwelling teenage life dropouts should not be determining what we think is "news"

Comment The users, of course, but with a caveat. (Score 1) 262

This is a trick question.

The users drive the software; their use defines it and their input is the most important.

However, the users are their own worst enemy. They have trouble translating the effects they want into the designs that are required in the software.

Thus I think the users need the most input, but that needs to be filtered through developers, the smart managers (1-2% on any job), and the user experience folks.

That is, if you want functional software. Users are their own worst enemy and are self-defeating; if you just want to make some bucks quickly, the marketers are the most important as they'll go flatter the users and come back with a list of buzz-words and then make sure the software has those features, even if in barely functional form. But you'll sell more product in the first cycle.

Comment Interesting (Score 1) 400

Ultimately, within a hundred years, this world is going to be absolutely miserable to live on and some really pissed off person is going to create a biological weapon and bring it all down... all because people are desperate for power over others but refuse to live by the rules they themselves create. I guess it is good that I will be dead before then. I wonder how much suffering I will see before I die. The suffering from World War 2 was apparently not enough.

I hope you elaborate.

It seems to me that despite our technology, society is directionless, people are miserable under the surface, we're not really achieving anything and discontent is spreading.

Comment We can make a horrible world. (Score 4, Insightful) 400

Our technologies and laws allow us to do lots of things.

We should perhaps ask instead, what kind of society we are making?

If we're making a miserable place that focuses on details of law-breaking more than the big factor, which is how safe/smart of a driver someone is, we're penalizing good behavior and encouraging people to live in a nit-picky miserable world.

We can make a horrible world, if we want; however, we might prefer not to.

Submission + - Tiny Chiplets: A New Level of Micro Manufacturing (nytimes.com)

concealment writes: The technology, on display at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, is part of a new system for making electronics, one that takes advantage of a Xerox invention from the 1970s: the laser printer.

If perfected, it could lead to desktop manufacturing plants that “print” the circuitry for a wide array of electronic devices — flexible smartphones that won’t break when you sit on them; a supple, pressure-sensitive skin for a new breed of robot hands; smart-sensing medical bandages that could capture health data and then be thrown away.

Submission + - Secrets of FBI Smartphone Surveillance Tool Revealed in Court Fight (wired.com)

concealment writes: The actions described by Rigmaiden are much more intrusive than previously known information about how the government uses stingrays, which are generally employed for tracking cell phones and are widely used in drug and other criminal investigations.

The government has long asserted that it doesn’t need to obtain a probable-cause warrant to use the devices because they don’t collect the content of phone calls and text messages and operate like pen-registers and trap-and-traces, collecting the equivalent of header information.

The government has conceded, however, that it needed a warrant in his case alone — because the stingray reached into his apartment remotely to locate the air card — and that the activities performed by Verizon and the FBI to locate Rigmaiden were all authorized by a court order signed by a magistrate.

Comment Kept in check for years (Score 1) 348

I think that's all true, but originally in 1900 or so, students were expected to know how to do things: they had to have abilities, outside of special disciplines. Since that time, education has been moving more toward having them memorize steps through specific tasks, which makes them good cogs (true, true) but unable to act outside of that narrow framework. Students today lack the ability to go into an unknown situation and reason it out; what they have is the ability to, given a known situation, repeat a series of steps, with no real connection to the desired consequences of those steps.

Comment Value of American currency has declined. (Score 0, Offtopic) 190

$100m is the new $20m. While this fact is virtually never reported, American currency has lost a huge amount of its actual spending value since 2007. A lot of this is hidden behind the lower quality, quantity or degree of innovation behind products; they're cheaper to make and so can be sold for the same price, which is worth less than it was.

When Americans wake up to how much they've lost, despite the numbers not changing all that much, they will surely write a lot of strongly-worded text messages to their representatives.

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