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Comment Re:Meh, Software Center (Score 5, Informative) 285

The software centre took forever to load in 11.10, but is waaaaay faster in 12.04. It's actually usable now and I prefer it to Synaptic for my simple needs because the installations are handled by a daemon: you can start something installing, queue up a bunch more installations, close the GUI, and it will keep downloading/installing everything in the background.

Comment Re:Where does all the money go? (Score 1) 178

There's one more step between 4 and 5: Usually the journal will typeset your article, hopefully proofreading it and fixing the engrish. Depending on how well the journal is set up, this may involve retyping your beautifully formatted LaTeX submission from scratch *facepalm*. The typesetter/proofreader is paid to do this.

Also, in my experience compulsory page charges for the author are much more common in open-access journals than reader-pays journals - which is another reason that all authors haven't switched to open-access journals.

Apart from the typesetters, the publisher, sales, and marketing people get paid. If the journal goes open access, then presumably the sales people could all be laid off though...

Comment Re:So (Score 5, Informative) 1105

The details of the plan are that it's an emissions trading scheme, initially with a fixed price per tonne of CO2 emitted. Only heavy-emitting companies have to pay it - I can't remember what the threshold is, but it affects roughly 500 companies. Of course those companies will pass much of the costs onto consumers, however they will also put effort into reducing their carbon emissions to gain financial advantage. Petrol/gas is specifically exempt from the trading scheme for individuals.

The modelling of increased cost of living, which takes into account increased grocery prices, electricity prices, etc, comes out at $10 per week for the average household. The government is spending part of the money raised in the form of tax cuts and pension increases, compensating low income earners a bit more than $10 per week. If those low income earners then reduce their carbon footprints (get rid of the second fridge, buy the now-cheaper goods with a lower carbon footprint), then they come out ahead. Those earning over $80K can afford the $10 per week.

Comment Re:So (Score 5, Insightful) 1105

Without a carbon tax, industry has no incentive to reduce their emissions. With a carbon tax, they have a small financial incentive to do so. Therefore they will pick the lowest hanging fruit to save some money, in the process lowering their emissions. While there is still low-hanging fruit (e.g. now, coming from where there's no incentive not to emit CO2), a carbon tax can reduce a nation's emissions without forcing large changes in how things are done.

I vaguely remember that a month or two ago, a mine in Queensland (possibly the one owned by the Indian who threatened to pull out of Australia if the carbon tax went through) worked out how to reduce their emissions by 30%.

The other effect is that the added cost of coal power due to the carbon tax/trading scheme makes gas somewhat more financially viable and renewables significantly more financially viable.

It's a very neat theory, and it's easy to see how it will affect businesses either gently (with a low price on carbon) or eventually reshape industries (with a high price).

Comment Re:GNOME Survey (Score 1) 315

Whenever people complain about how crappy the Unity/Gnome 3 graphical interface is, the fanboy answer is 'yes, but you can just type the name of the application to run it', without even realising how retarded that sounds.

Yeah, or you can type what the application does, e.g. searching for "Movie" or "Video" you get Totem and Pitivi, searching for "Command" or "Command line" you get a variety of terminals. I think it searches not just the program names but the descriptions. This behaviour has worked well for me.

I think Unity's dash as an integrated Gnome Do. As I used Gnome Do as a launcher before Unity, I've been very happy with Unity's dash.

Comment Re:Might add a warning... (Score 3, Insightful) 404

Here in Australia, laser pointers above 1mW are considered prohibited weapons - in the same category as crossbows and knuckledusters. You need to get a prohibited weapons permit to own one (and keep it in a safe), and you need to get two more permits to buy one from overseas. I had to go through all this paperwork and police checks - and I was a scientist getting them delivered to my university office! Let's not tell the politicians about the CO2 lasers sitting in the labs downstairs eh.

Comment Re:As always (Score 2) 209

Sure, but lack of correlation, or indeed anticorrelation as is the case here, refutes causation. If a implies (causes) b, and b is true, then that says nothing about whether a is true. However, if a implies b, and b is false, then a must be false.

Of course there are many other factors at play in these crime rates - and I wouldn't 'credit' violent games with reducing crime levels, but this does provide a useful argument against the idea that violent video games cause violent behaviour.


Submission + - Apple Updating iOS to Address Privacy Concerns (

wiredmikey writes: Apple today responded to several of the common questions it has recently received about the gathering and use of location information by its devices.

The company also said that over the next few weeks it would release a software update for iOS that would reduce the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, cease backing up the cache, and delete the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off. Additionally, Apple said that in the next major iOS software release the cache would be encrypted on the iPhone, though a timeline for that was not provided.


Submission + - Apple's XCode IDE Is No Longer Free ( 1

GlobalEcho writes: Apple has historically made its development tools available free to anyone willing to register on their website and wait for a 1GB download. Starting with XCode 4, the software will cost $4.99 for anyone not already a paid member of their Registered Developer program ($99/year). The new version will now come as an App Store download.

Comment Re:Who exactly is fighting back? (Score 2, Interesting) 641

guess which of the following two grants will get funded and which won't: 1) man is not the cause of global warming/we're along for the ride on a system controlled in large part by solar output and other effects, give us money to study what they are, or 2) MAN IS DESTROYING THE PLANET, WE MUST BE STOPPED, WE WILL ALL DIE IF YOU DON'T FUND THIS RESEARCH.

If either of those grant applications would get funded in your country, then the entire grant system needs to be scrapped and rebuilt - they are both putting the conclusions before the research. Science is very different to lawyering - with lawyering your conclusions come first (i.e. your client is innocent) and you gather as much evidence for your conclusions as possible. Scientists on the other hand have the luxury of adapting their conclusions to fit the data. Sometimes this means a null result, but often this is worth publishing too and will get you more grants.

A variation on your first suggestion that doesn't imply bad science would be "to investigate the effect of solar flares on Earth's temperature and climate". In fact there has been a lot of publicly funded science on this topic, and I think a significant connection was pretty much ruled out back in the 90's (though I haven't checked).

Comment Re:Missing role: deleters (Score 4, Insightful) 160

Yes, this is really quite pathetic. On several occasions now I have wanted some information on a particular topic (e.g. a shitty old game I picked up, my mobile phone, or even a description of lemon party). I go to the wikipedia page, I can tell that several people went to the effort of writing an entry on that topic but the page was deleted by someone who decided that no-one would ever want to see that information. This is arrogance in the extreme - destroying some people's work because they incorrectly assumed that no-one would ever want to see it. Was the article getting in the way before it was deleted?!

Surely Wikipedia could have a link to view pages that were 'deleted' for non-notability - what would be so bad about that?

Submission + - Ubuntu dumps the brown, gets new visual identity ( 4

buntcake writes: Canonical has launched a new visual identity for the Ubuntu Linux distribution. Ubuntu is shedding its previous brown look and adopting a more professional color scheme with purple and orange. The colors will be used in a new GNOME theme and boot splash for Ubuntu 10.04. According to updated design documents that were published in the Ubuntu wiki, "light" is the underlying concept behind the new visual identity. It displaces the "human" concept that has been part of Ubuntu's theming and brand vernacular for the past five years. Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon has posted a screenshot and additional information.

Submission + - Paper "hacks into" Govt website by guessing URL (

thelamecamel writes: "According to the NSW state government, the Sydney Morning Herald, a local newspaper, attacked the government's "website firewall security" for two days to research a recent story. The affected government minister said that the website was accessed 3727 times, and that "This is akin to 3,727 attempts to pick the lock of a secure office and take highly confidential documents..." and has referred the matter to police. But how did the paper "hack" the website? They entered the unannounced URL. Security by obscurity at its finest."

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