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Comment Re:So what? (Score 1) 848

Why posting as AC? This attitude toward users and needs seems to me very healthy. And it may have much more in your reflection that is visible on the surface, such as the reference to IT instead to PC. IT may be dying as a mass industry that users never found very satisfying. I doubt that PC will ever die at least because we need PC for spreadshhets, word processors and industrial computing appliance.

Comment Re:Who can tell... (Score 3, Informative) 209

There is no such tax at all at the moment. President Sarkozy told to the press that this kind of tax could exist in the future. This means the government has to propose a law which it hadn't, that the parliament vote for it (there are at least two turns between the two houses if every PM agrees which is highly unlikely, and otherwise many turns until an agreement is reached) and finally that the government fund the law which means the chance that such a law would be implemented in very low.

Comment Re:Definitely not (Score 1) 427

Seriously, some people would also have some problems with the test you propose. Perhaps what you depict is (1) an intelligence test (2) for people that work in university, not real life people. I think we now have another more urgent problem than defining when a machine is quite human like, namely what is an human exactly? If you define being a human as being sociable with concrete contributions then perhaps the Turing test is not the best one but it's a starting point.
Security

Submission + - Computers makers fuel violence in Congo

JPLR writes: "A campaign group says western firms are fuelling violence in DR Congo by failing to check where their minerals come from. Coltan is mainly used in electronic devices. The same was also advocated since years by missionaries without anybody listening. For example countries like Congo and Uganda export Coltan without any Coltan mine on their territory. We are talking of millions of persons assassinated and even more raped in Congo, Rwanda since 15 years. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/8159977.stm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan#Coltan_in_DR_Congo"
Space

Submission + - NASA needs a philosopher

JPLR writes: From the moment the Soviets launched Sputnik I into orbit around the Earth in 1957, everybody looked upon the so-called space race as just one thing: a military contest. But physicists were quick to point out that nobody would choose space as a place from which to attack Earth. As a result, the space program has been killing time for 40 years with a series of orbital projects ... The purpose of those orbital projects has been mainly to keep the lights on at NASA. But there is no high purpose in those projects. And once more it is the late Wernher von Braun who comes up: At this moment, what remains the only solution to recovering NASA's true destiny, is of course... . http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/19/opinion/19wolfe.html
Image

Study Finds Delinquent Behavior Among Boys Is "Contagious" 245

According to a new study, if everyone else was committing a crime, you would too, at least if you are a boy. The 20-year study showed what every grandmother could tell you; children from poor families, with inadequate supervision and bad friends were more likely to end up in juvenile court. What was more surprising is that exposure to the juvenile justice system seemed to increase the chance that the boy would engage in criminal activity as a young adult. "For boys who had been through the juvenile justice system, compared to boys with similar histories without judicial involvement, the odds of adult judicial interventions increased almost seven-fold," says study co-author Richard E. Tremblay.

Comment Re:An interesting PR problem (Score 1) 173

Are you sure the USSR saw it as a competition to go to the moon? If there was a competition, they never made that kind of statement to my knowledge. And there was not one single organisation in USSR to manage the Space business, and it was not supervised by the army or some similar extraordinary agency. Perhaps they were completly baffled by the NASA Space program as were many US scientists at that time: "Lee A. DuBridge, Presidential Science Advisor, expressed the scientists' viewpoint in congressional testimony on the FY 1970 NASA budget: "Nothing can do more harm to support for the space program than to have a series of missions for which there are no clear objectives"
Space

More First-Light Data From Herschel Space Telescope 21

davecl writes "First-light images and spectra have now been released for all three of the instruments on Herschel. (The first images came out a couple of weeks back.) The news is covered on the BBC, on the ESA website, on the Herschel mission blog, and elsewhere. The data all looks fantastic, and is especially impressive since the satellite was only launched about 7 weeks ago. I work on the SPIRE instrument and help maintain the blog; but even I am astounded by the amount of information in the SPIRE images."
Image

Churches Use Twitter To Reach a Wider Audience 169

In an attempt to reverse declining attendance figures, many American churches are starting to ask WWJD in 140 or fewer characters. Pastors at Westwinds Community Church in Michigan spent two weeks teaching their 900-member congregation how to use Twitter. 150 of them are now tweeting. Seattle's Mars Hill Church encourages its members to Twitter messages during services. The tweets appear on the church's official Twitter page. Kyle Firstenberg, the church's administrator, said,"It's a good way for them to tell their friends what church is about without their friends even coming in the building."

Comment Re:WTF? (Score 1) 658

It's true that we need doctors and engineers (I am an R&D engineer) but I am constantly astonished by the number of persons working in R&D or simply sitting behind a computer at large companies, banks or administrations. By first hand in my company I know that many computerized workplaces are pure joke where there are workflows but people still print orders and send them to colleagues by the internal snail mail. I also saw many times scientist writing scientific paper during a meeting on another subject. There are even shops that can write a paper for you if your ideas are not clear, you just have to send them an hugly canvas and they write a paper that will be accepted in most conferences on the topic. So I wonder if someone can kindly point out me academic papers showing that education higher improves the wealth of a nation. In fact I would be happy if someone could find a paper schowing that having a very high percentage of "knowledge workers" actually slow down the economy ;-)

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