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Comment Celebs (Score 1) 176

I only heard about this because Pee-Wee Herman shared the news of it, and of his application, some time ago. I'd like to say I hope he makes it, but then we'd be without Pee-Wee Herman here on Earth.

I forwarded the news to Jane Wiedlin (Guitarist for The Go-Gos) who said she'd be interested in going, but I never saw anything on her FB that said she had filed the paperwork.

I tried to get a couple of other celebs interested but so far all I know is Pee-Wee Herman put in his application. Wouldn't it be interesting if he wins the contest?

Submission + - FOI Request reveals UK Houses of Parliament workers' passion for adult content (independent.co.uk)

Anita Hunt (lissnup) writes: Hot on the heels of Dave Cameron's demands to make such content universally "opt-in", the Independent reports "Westminster computers were prevented from accessing sex sites 114,844 times last November alone and on 55,552 in April, while February saw just 15 and in June officials blocked 397 attempts." No explanation has been offered for the variation, although it would be interesting to know if the fall in the number of recorded/reported attempts coincides with the date the FOI request was filed.

Comment Re:Say what you will (Score 1) 142

How "good" anyone has it in the United States of America, where even those in poverty are living better than 85% of the rest of the planet (yes, I did pass college level Anthropology with a 4.0) is entirely due to the continent's natural wealth. There is plentiful food because there is fertile soil, and there is plentiful water because there are large bodies of fresh water.

Our rights and expectations, however, are very low. And our quality of civilization doesn't match our quality of life. The US consistently ranks very low in educational scoring and simultaneously ranks as among the most physiologically unhealthy populations on the planet. I am pretty sure, despite how you might try to catch these facts aside into some other category of data, that these are things that directly impact "quality of life" and "standard of living".

Meanwhile, all of that is entirely fucking besides the point. All you're trying to do is sideline this into a discussion about what resources the United States has to offer its citizens.

In reality the United States was founded on human rights violations, it has succeeded throughout history by violating human rights, and it is an international embarrassment in terms of human rights to this day. If you really, really think you can handle the argument, go ahead, test me.

Submission + - A Video Game to Rejuvenate the Brain? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Designing activities to reverse the mental effects of aging is tricky. But NeuroRacer, a new racing video game created by neuroscientists shows promise in reversing some signs of decline.

The heart of the issue is whether practicing a video game can strengthen skills that are useful away from a computer. After training with NeuroRacer, older adults showed improvements in their multitasking skill. In fact, they scored better than untrained 20-year-olds. They also maintained this skill for 6 months after the training, without further practice. Indeed, even outside the video game world, people who trained with NeuroRacer saw improvements on certain tests of memory and attention.

Comment Not the system I was expecting to read about. (Score 1) 40

I had assumed that I was going to read about an internal system IBM uses to determine which projects to pursue, that operates similar to "Kickstarter" but where the donors offer their professional services as employees of IBM toward projects proposed by various members of various departments.

I think a system like that would work if each user had to spend "priority" in some fashion. For instance, you could be doled out 5 priority tags to attach to a particular skill tag which you will in turn offer toward a project that shares or requests the involvement of that skill tag.

You would whore yourself out, 5-4-3-2-1.

Then if the project you tagged with the top priority (5 we'll say) falls through from lack of support, then you will find yourself fulfilling the duties you pledged with the next priority down. And so on down the line until you're a failure because you didn't pick any winners.

Then the successfully "funded" projects would go into overtime, and the people who haven't "found work" would be able to tag themselves onto the second echelon of support, like a reserve or a bullpen, or even (if the project can find use for them) as active participants.

Instead "well uh they gave them all uhh $100, uhhhh, you can buy a car with that, or uhhhhhh a candy bar even!"

Comment Seems unfeasible; point the finger; (Score 1) 225

It seems like there are many reasons why this won't work. Why are they trying to beat this thing thermally? It seems unsustainable at the outset, in terms of cost and maintenance, let alone whether it will work in terms of mechanics and chemistry. If it's such a grand scheme that it's projected two years out, maybe the assumption should be that it's too complicated for Tepco to handle and/or it's too complicated for the delicate situation on the ground at Fukushima (where what integrity exists seem to be falling apart quickly).

And though it seems like Tepco and Japan have been a bit incompetent in handling things like disclosure, responsibility, approach, and honesty, it probably will never happen that Japan will be elbowed out of the way by any outside agency, including the UN. Japan still has Tepco on the ground at Fukushima because it's Tepco's problem and potentially Tepco's fault. It's much easier to keep the blame-monster fully enclosed in one cheap and effective enclosure than to spread its infection to numerous other parties. If Tepco fails, Japan can blame them because nobody else has had a hand in it. If Tepco moves out of the way and lets the Japanese government handle it, then Tepco can be dispatched for being incompetent, and potentially all of their resources and assets can be liquidated toward the effort. Having a third party involved make it a potentially stickier situation with less decisive consequences and less narrow goals and demands to be met.

You can take that relationship and expand on it to see why it is almost a bad idea to step in from outside of Japan. If radioactive plumes reach California and nobody has been involved but Japan and Tepco, then who can be blamed? Only Japan and only Tepco. If it has become an international effort involving Russians ... no, bad idea ... involving some engineers from somewhere (?) then that at worst leaves us with even more parties to blame and, potentially, even more duplicity along the way while at best it leaves us with a sort of muddied water where feel-good "we're all in this together" has completely erased the instinct to place blame. Without the prospect of blame and consequences, you get foot-dragging and indecisiveness which all the bleeding hearts in the world won't drag out of lethargy.

You can say that the real-world, radio and chemical consequences should be enough to push us all to shove those competitive instincts out of the way but I personally don't think that will ever happen.

As some have pointed out, Fukushima isn't even a talking point. Grand standing and chest-beating over an obviously snafu situation where major news reporting more closely resembles yellow journalism than actual information and where the politically accused party is being accused by those with vested interests in that party's failure who've made this accusation and failed before, is the call of the day.

I'm sure the level of sardonic "irony" so prevalent in global culture today is enough that most people can understand why Japan will be left to figure this out on their own until they ask for help, and why at which point any countries expected to help will have to be dragged out of bed kicking and screaming by citizens "blowing whistles" about irradiation before any semblance of effort is really shown.

Comment [ ] Click if you accept these terms and conditions (Score 1) 373

So, let's look at this another way out.

By making this statement, the German government is informing the population of people they are legally/politically responsible for, the German people.

So, the German government can release themselves of any responsibility for what happens to you or your information if you're a German using Windows 8.

Does the headline read, "German government bans Windows 8 in Germany"? No.

So, this is similar to the President of the American Psychiatric Association stating to the press that the field of Psychiatry has no idea how psych meds work or what they really "do", that it's all theoretical. Though he stated this in context of an academic rebuttle on a loosely related subject, it was still a statement. And didn't the rate of class action lawsuits against the drug companies over the side effects of psych meds decline to the point where it's been awhile but new drugs are still coming out all the time? Or are we to believe the art was also, coincidentally, perfected at around the same time?

Now the German government is released from responsibility of what happens to you or your computer while you're using Windows 8.

But wait, there's more!

Not only could you no longer hold the German government responsible for protecting you while you use Windows 8 as a German citizen ... *gasp*!

You can't hold the German government responsible for what the German government does to or with your computer as a citizen of *any* country while you're using Windows 8, especially not if you dare to contact a server or client located somewhere in Germany!

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