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Comment Unserious ruminations from Woz (Score 1) 198

In 1982, Woz saw the future as having portable laptops; they duly came out several years later. He was deeply involved in the microcomputing field, and the ever constant miniaturization was readily apparent to any observer. Not to mention adults during 1982 would have likely experience the transition from desk calculators to handheld calculators. Woz's prediction may have been a rarer one (I don't know on this), but it was in the very-near-future and rather obvious to anyone with a hint of imagination. Accurately predicting fifty-eight years into the future? Yeah, no, I don't think so.

Netflix Replacing Star Ratings With Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down (variety.com) 97

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Variety: Get ready to say goodbye to star ratings on Netflix: The company is getting ready to replace stars with Pandora-like thumbs ups and thumbs downs in the coming weeks. Previously-given star rating will still be used to personalize the profiles of Netflix users, but the stars are disappearing from the interface altogether. Netflix VP of Product Todd Yellin told journalists on Thursday during a press briefing at the company's headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., that the company had tested the new thumbs up and down ratings with hundred of thousands of members in 2016. "We are addicted to the methodology of A/B testing," Yellin said. The result was that thumbs got 200% more ratings than the traditional star-rating feature. Netflix is also introducing a new percent-match feature that shows how good of a match any given show or movie is for an individual subscriber. For example, a show that should close to perfectly fit a user's taste may get a 98% match. Shows that have less than a 50% match won't display a match-rating, however.

Comment Where's the risk? (Score 1) 130

The article, accurately summarized and absent any clickbait titles: "They have a faster supercomputer than we do. That means they are ranked higher, and are faster than ours. We want the fastest supercomputers. Whoever has the fastest supercomputer can solve all our problems, but that person only. It should be us, so we need the fastest supercomputer."

It's About Time Astronauts Got Healthcare For Life (mashable.com) 283

Miriam Kramer, reporting for Mashable: NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria flew to space four times for the space agency between 1995 and 2007. While in space, his eyesight deteriorated, a well-documented medical issue NASA's known about for years, and one that many astronauts have experienced first-hand. For many astronauts, their eyesight readjusts once they get back to Earth. That wasn't the case for Lopez-Alegria, though. His eyesight got significantly worse during his time in orbit, and NASA isn't paying for his contacts or doctor visits today, years after his retirement from the agency. However, he still travels to Houston, Texas once per year to allow the agency to gather data about his health, without any expectation that NASA will offer treatment for any conditions that may have developed because of his time in space. In other words, while Lopez-Alegria's eyesight deteriorates, NASA benefits from the data he provides to the American space program, without medical recompense to him today. The lack of health care for former astronauts has long been a sore spot at NASA, but now it threatens the agency's future. Deep space missions beyond the moon, like a mission to Mars, require a better understanding of how extended spaceflight affects the human body.

Comment Re:Jobs can't hide the resources waste of solar (Score 1) 364

I work with the data that is presented. There are externalities with everything, solar included; I don't have the data or stats training to do my own study on that. Based on the data the OP is presenting, and the conclusions made, I proved that it was sloppy, omitted necessary information, and generally misleading. I did the calculations with the given facts, and pointed out qualifications. If someone can build on that, that's good too.

Comment Jobs can't hide the resources waste of solar (Score 0) 364

In 2016, natural gas alone produced 28,000G GWh. Solar utilities have the *capacity* of 28,081 GWh; how much was actually generated is left unsaid. To be nice, let's also add the 16,974 from non-utility generation; actual amount of energy generated is also left unstated. The natural gas industry employed 392,869 people to generate 28,000 GWh of power. Solar takes 373,807 employees, plus a sketchy 260,077 (this is worse, you'll see why in a sec), for a total of 633,884 employees to produce, with optimal conditions, 28,081 GWh of power. Now, less inputs for greater outputs is the definition of efficiency, and with greater efficiency you consume less resources to produce the same amount of product. This is how wealth is created and waste is minimized. Under an optimal scenario, natural gas production, in terms of employees, is 62% more efficient than solar energy production. Natural gas takes one employee per 14 GWh of energy generated. Solar takes one employee to produce 22.6 GWh of energy; under optimal conditions that *do not exist.* Solar is consuming energy and resources to create unnecessary, make-work jobs, which also removes employees that could be better utilized in productive endeavors. Solar may create jobs, but it's destroying resources to do so. And isn't that counter to what environmentalists claim to want?

Netflix is 'Killing' DVD Sales, Research Finds (torrentfreak.com) 316

Netflix has become the go-to destination for many movie and TV fans. The service is bringing in billions for copyright holders, but it also has a downside. New research shows that the availability of content on Netflix can severely hurt physical disc sales, which traditionally have been the industry's largest revenue source. From a report: A new study published by researchers from Hong Kong universities provides some empirical evidence on this issue. Through a natural experiment, they looked at the interplay between Netflix availability and DVD sales in the United States. The experiment took place when the Epix entertainment network, which distributes movies and TV-shows from major studios including Paramount and Lionsgate, left Netflix for Hulu in 2015. Since Hulu has a much smaller market share, these videos no longer reached a large part of the audience. At least not by default. The researchers used difference to examine the effect on DVD sales, while controlling for various other variables. The results, published in a paper this week, show that DVD sales increased significantly after the content was taken off Netflix, almost by a quarter. "Our difference-in-difference analyses show that the decline in the streaming availability of Epix's content leads to a 24.7% increase in their DVD sales in the three months after the event," the paper reads.

'Tooth Repair Drug' May Replace Fillings (bbc.com) 130

Teeth can be encouraged to repair themselves in a way that could see an end to fillings, according to scientists. From a report on BBC: The team at King's College London showed that a chemical could encourage cells in the dental pulp to heal small holes in mice teeth. A biodegradable sponge was soaked in the drug and then put inside the cavity. The study, published in Scientific Reports, showed it led to "complete, effective natural repair." Teeth have limited regenerative abilities. They can produce a thin band of dentine -- the layer just below the enamel -- if the inner dental pulp becomes exposed, but this cannot repair a large cavity. [...] Scientists discovered that a drug called Tideglusib heightened the activity of stem cells in the dental pulp so they could repair 0.13mm holes in the teeth of mice. A drug-soaked sponge was placed in the hole and then a protective coating was applied over the top. As the sponge broke down it was replaced by dentine, healing the tooth.

2016 Was Second Hottest Year For US In More Than 120 Years of Record Keeping (climatecentral.org) 436

Last year was the second hottest year for the United States in more than 120 years of record keeping, according to the National Climatic Data Center, marking 20 above-average years in a row. While Georgia and Alaska recorded their hottest year, every state had a temperature ranking at least in the top seven. Climate Central reports: The announcement comes a week before the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which released the U.S. data, and NASA are expected to announce that 2016 set the record for the hottest year globally. Both the global record and the U.S. near-record are largely attributable to greenhouse gas-driven warming of the planet. In addition to the pervasive warmth over the last year, the U.S. also had to deal with 15 weather and climate disasters that each caused more than $1 billion in damage. Together, they totaled more than $46 billion in losses and included several disastrous rain-driven flooding events. These events, along with continued drought, lay bare the challenge for the country to learn how to cope with and prepare for a changing climate, said Deke Arndt, the climate monitoring chief of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. The temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average for 2016, displacing 2015 and ranking only behind 2012, when searing heat waves hit the middle of the country. More notable than the back-to-back second place years, Arndt said, was that 2016 was the 20th consecutive warmer-than-normal year for the U.S. and that the five hottest years for the country have all happened since 1998. Those streaks mirror global trends, with 15 of the 16 hottest years on record occurring in the 21st century and no record cold year globally since 1911.

The US Government is Loaning Millions of Dollars To Jumpstart Urban Farming (businessinsider.com) 131

An anonymous reader writes: Every year, the US Department of Agriculture devotes millions of dollars to farmers in rural areas. The government is increasingly starting to offer assistance to urban farms, too. In 2016, the USDA funded a dozen urban farms, the highest number in history, Val Dolicini, the administrator for the USDA Farm Services Agency, tells Business Insider. In 2017, he expects the USDA to funnel even more money toward farms on rooftops, in greenhouses, and in warehouses. USDA Microloans, a program that offers funding up to $50,000, is specifically geared toward urban farmers. Established in 2013, the program has awarded 23,000 loans worth $518 million to farms in California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Though it is open to all farmers, urban farmers often apply for it because it offers the money on a smaller scale than other programs. Seventy percent (or about 16,100 of those loans) have gone to new farmers, many of them in cities.

US Scientists Scramble To Protect Research On Climate Change (cnn.com) 534

Long-time Slashdot reader ClickOnThis quotes CNN: Some scientists and academics are embarking on a frenzied mission to archive reams of scientific data on climate change, energized by a concern that a Trump administration could seek to wipe government websites of hard-earned research... The chief concern: publicly available climate change data and research found on government websites would be wiped clean or made otherwise inaccessible to the public. Some worry the information could only be retrieved with a taxing Freedom of Information Act request.
One associate professor at the University of Texas tells CNN, "There is a very short window for when the new administration will come in and that's why there's a lot of anxiety. There's a lot of information to save."

World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind (bloomberg.com) 220

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that's worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. From a report on Bloomberg: This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The chart shows the average cost of new wind and solar from 58 emerging-market economies, including China, India, and Brazil. While solar was bound to fall below wind eventually, given its steeper price declines, few predicted it would happen this soon.

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