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Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles Screenshot-sm 104

It's the tripnaut! writes "The BBC reports that Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around 'as high as a kite', a government official has said. 'The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,' says Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania. 'Then they crash,' she added."
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NIH Spends $400K To Figure Out Why Men Don't Like Condoms Screenshot-sm 844

The National Institutes of Health has given $423,500 to researchers at Indiana University's Kinsey Institute to figure out why men don't like to wear condoms. The institute will also study why men have trouble using condoms and investigate "penile erection and sensitivity during condom application." "The project aims to understand the relationship between condom application and loss of erections and decreased sensation, including the role of condom skills and performance anxiety, and to find new ways to improve condom use among those who experience such problems," reads the abstract from Drs. Erick Janssen and Stephanie Sanders, both of the Kinsey Institute.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 543

I have been living without using credit for a little over five years. It is not hard at all. The trick is this: you wait until you have the money for something before you buy it.

The hardest part is getting started. You need to build a small nest egg for capital purchases (car, house, etc) before going credit-free. Then, you need to have the discipline to replenish that nest egg once you make a capital purchase, even if it means tightening your belt sometimes.

In fact, phone plans are the only thing I can think of that I can't use. I also worry a bit about what will happen if I ever decide to go back into the credit game: voluntarily not using credit is as bad for your credit rating as a bankruptcy.

Comment Just look at Chernoble (Score 1) 806

The towns around Chernoble have been abandoned for quite some time, which should satisfy your curiosity about how real cities decay if suddenly left alone.

Chernoble is also a great robotic testing ground because people still can't really go there for long periods, so no cheating.

The question of how cities would decay if humans suddenly died off en masse is moot. The reason is that before long, the world's nuclear reactors (especially the older designs) would start running out of coolant and going Chernoble themselves. Will Smith will not be fighting vampires 3 years later because radiation would have killed him already.

And, of course, we could use Chernoble for movie sets and kill off the god awful generation of actors that is plaguing American cinema.
Cellphones

ESRB Eyeballing Ratings For iPhone Games 72

Kotaku reports that the ESRB is thinking about expanding their game ratings to include games sold on the App Store. They realize that evaluating every single game is not feasible, but they may still be underestimating the amount of work they'd be taking on, and it could negatively affect some developers. Quoting: "'ESRB has seen increases in rating submissions each year since its founding and has always been able to keep pace,' the ESRB's Eliot Mizrachi told us. 'We have rated more than 70 mobile games to date and will undoubtedly rate more in the future as the market grows.' Seventy? Over the past, what, four or five years? It's a piddling number when you think of the hundreds of games available through the App Store. Further, many of them are mobile adjuncts to console releases, a different sort of beast from iPhone games. Not all of those need or deserve a rating; but if Apple brings in the ESRB to rate games, with the idea that it'll help parents control what their kids buy for their iPods, then unrated games are likely to be blocked by such filters. The incentive would definitely be there to get a game rated. And what of the cost? Getting a game rated isn't a free service; the ESRB levies a fee that covers the cost of looking through the code and rating the game."
Input Devices

Better Tools For Disabled Geeks? 228

layabout writes "We've seen tremendous advances in user interfaces over the past few years. Unfortunately, those UIs and supporting infrastructure exclude the disabled. In the same timeframe there has been virtually no advance in accessibility capabilities. It's the same old sticky keys, unicorn stick, speech recognition, text-to-speech that kind-of, sort-of, works except when you need to work with with real applications. Depending on whose numbers you use, anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 keyboard users are injured every year — some temporarily, some permanently. In time, almost 100% of keyboard users will have trouble typing and using many if not all mobile computing devices. My question to Slashdot: Given that some form of disability is almost inevitable, what's keeping you from volunteering and working with geeks who are already disabled? By spending time now building the interfaces and tools that will enable them to use computers more easily, you will also be ensuring your own ability to use them in the future." Follow the link for more background on this reader's query.

Comment Use the repositories (Score 1) 251

I am not sure why this is news, actually. The repository for Chromium has been available for Ubuntu for some time. Instructions for adding it are here:

https://launchpad.net/~chromium-daily/+archive/ppa

The big advantage to this is that you get the nightly builds automatically every time you update; no need to mess with downloading and installing debs

Comment Speaking of browser innovation... (Score 0) 251

Speaking of browser innovation, why is it that we still don't have any major browsers that have detachable/retachable tabs? Konqueror has done this for years: you can right click on an open tab and detach it to its own window, or drag one window into another to consolidate them.

I personally find this really handy, to the point that I am willing to overlook that several popular javascript libraries (like jQuerry) are buggy in Konqueror which breaks a lot of useful websites (google aps, yahoo mail...) and I use it anyway.

Yet none of the other browser people have done this. Does anybody know why?

Comment Re:Not quite that simple (Score 1) 800

We as geeks really need to stop underestimating people. It reflects poorly on us.

I have worked in tech support, so I have seen the way that many people use their computers. While a few people do surf the web as you describe, their numbers are small. While it is true that most people do not see the benefit of changing browsers and therefore stick with the default, most of them can and do change their home page, most of them know what a bookmark, address bar and search box are, and most of them use google.

By the way, I have seen very few computers for the home that have a microsoft home page. In my experience the manufacturer sets it to their own page. It is only the corporate boxes that have MSN, as far as I have seen.

Funny side note, the time I told somebody to go to slashdot.org, he typed /..org in the address bar. After that I used google.

Comment Re:Not quite that simple (Score 1) 800

Your observation of the phenomenon is correct, but you're a tad naive when it comes to "why". This has less to do with the domain name, and more to do with what the domain owners pay Google.

Bullshit. I would gladly pay google for higher placement in their results, and I have the money to do it. Show me the form where I can sign up, please.

Comment Re:Not quite that simple (Score 1) 800

I don't believe that for one second. Google doesn't care about the domain name it the site sucks.

Yup, but if the content is the same as somebody else's, then google uses the domain name to tell the difference. For people who sell real products and services, there often just is not that much content to put on the site. Then, things like the domain name make a difference.

Comment It is not about the site (Score 2, Insightful) 800

Yet some of the most successful sites don't do that at all. Google, Yahoo and Amazon are fantastically successful, and both Slashdot and Digg are doing pretty well for themselves.

Those are all sites that are successful because they have regular readers/frequently repeating customers. If you sell widgets, and people only buy widgets once a year, people will go to your site once a year. Nobody links to widgets on their blogs. A lot of companies sell things that you buy once or twice in your life. Unless you want to get billions of dollars of capital together to build a company that immediately dominates your sector (it is spurious to claim that you could repeat google or amazon on a startup budget today) good SEO is really the only path.

Most of the sites that I visit that have descriptive names are using names that are descriptive of what company runs them rather than what they do (and that company name was already known/trademarked).

This is my point. In the case of the OP, the trademarked name is already registered. This is a serious problem.

I'm sure it helps you a little in search results, but it doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal.

When was the last time you purchased something from a company on the fifth page of Google? A small company I worked for paid thousands of euros to an SEO get first page google ranking. Our business (which was already pretty good) doubled immediately. Our main competitor had a position called Vice President of Search Engine Optimization, that is how important this is in a sector that has real, physical products (cheap consumer goods don't count).

Comment Not quite that simple (Score 4, Insightful) 800

In meatspace, if a business sets up in a poor location, it affects their traffic because it is a PHYSICAL business. More importantly, no land = no business. On the internet, very few people even type URLs anymore, they google everything. All that domain registration does is place a few letters in the address bar of people's browsers.

Of course, the name does enormous things for your placement in google. Just do a google search for "buy flowers": at least half the results have the search the search terms right in the domain name. This is not a coincidence. If the name describes what you do and is also your branded name, your success in google is almost guaranteed.

Having a domain name that describes your company is tremendously important for a variety of reasons, not least of which is google ranking. Further, with modern browsers, the address bar searches your history. If you have your name or your product in the domain, this helps people find you a second time. Google Chrome is even better: search and address bar are the same. While I despise these people who park pages, their price is usually worth it if you are a company and the name is good.

So, in the cyber-world, picking the name actually does make a big difference in the amount of traffic you get. Having "widgets.com" really is the equivalent of being off of the highway, while "example.com/widgets" is really miles down the road.

Also, giving up domain names means completely abdicating your surfing to search engines and people who know SEO. Not a good idea.

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