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Comment Re:Good idea (Score 1) 102

You don't get to live in Phoenix, do you? Nothing is comparable to the awesomeness that is Phoenix...

Ahhh, but I DO get to live in Phoenix. Valley of the Sun. Land of the broken dams with burst Goodyear Tire rubber bladders, where the Mexican drug cartels have put a $1 mil price on the local sheriff's head... ah yes, welcome to my home.


Lasers Approach Their Ultimate Intensity Limit 384

Flash Modin writes "Death Star style superlasers? Don't bet on it. High-power lasers currently in development appear to be nearing the theoretical laser intensity limit, according to new research set to be published in the journal Physical Review Letters. Ultra-high-energy laser fields can actually convert their light into matter as shown in the late '90s at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC). This process creates an 'avalanche-like electromagnetic cascade' (also known as sparking the vacuum) capable of destroying a laser field. Physicists thought it might be a problem for lasers eventually, but this work indicates the technology is much closer to its limit than researchers believed. A preprint is available here."
Social Networks

Sifting Authorities From Celebrities On Twitter 86

holy_calamity writes "Celebrities like Britney Spears may be the 'most followed' on Twitter, but new service PeerIndex mines the content of tweets and tracks the spread of links and phrases to reveal the hidden experts in specific areas, from cloud computing to venture capital. The authorities the site finds for a given subject often have only a few hundred followers, but the content of their tweets is known to spread widely. Could data mining tools like this be the future for people or businesses looking for new collaborators, advisers and influencers?"

Study Says Your Personality Doesn't Change After 1st Grade 221

A study authored by Christopher Nave, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, says that our personalities stay pretty much the same from early childhood all the way through old age. From the article: "Using data from a 1960s study of approximately 2,400 ethnically diverse schoolchildren (grades 1 - 6) in Hawaii, researchers compared teacher personality ratings of the students with videotaped interviews of 144 of those individuals 40 years later. They examined four personality attributes - talkativeness (called verbal fluency), adaptability (cope well with new situations), impulsiveness and self-minimizing behavior (essentially being humble to the point of minimizing one's importance)." This must explain my overriding need to be first captain when we pick kickball teams at the office.

Inside the Mechanical Turk Sweatshop 267

Barence writes "PC Pro has investigated the appalling rates of pay on offer from online services such as Amazon's Mechanical Turk, YouGov surveys and affiliate schemes. One Mechanical Turk task the writer tried involved finding the website, physical addresses and phone numbers of hotels for a travel website, for only $0.01 per hotel. The details often took more than a minute to locate, which equates to a rate of around $0.60 an hour, barely enough to cover the electricity bill. Meanwhile, filling out surveys for YouGov generates a maximum income of £3 an hour, and you could end up waiting more than a year for your cheque to arrive, because the site only pays out when you reach £50. 'The result is often that those who carry out online or casual work do so for surprisingly low rates of pay, with no job security or protection from unfair terms and practices,' an employment lawyer told PC Pro."

Comment Copyright Violation "Bounty Hunters" (Score 1) 1

I'm not questioning the veracity of this post, but I do wonder how frequently Righthaven is capitalizing on the these copyright theft incidents. That's because I've noticed that most major news services, including Associated Press and even China PRC's Xinhua both offer free reprint rights for bloggers or other non-commercial websites. It is very easy, you merely request the article, give your website URL, an email address, and then receive the right to post a nicely formated or iFramed version of the article, usually for a fixed period of time, like a month. Redistribution isn't allowed, although anyone who wants a copy can do the same thing as you did, requesting permission, from the repost on your site.

Submission + - Anthrax Advisory (sciencenews.org)

Ellie K writes: "For months, perhaps years now, we've heard nothing about the anthrax bacterium. In 2001 and 2002, several acts of terrorism involved airborne anthrax in a medium of white powder. However, in this recent incident, which was not part of any terrorist activities, animal hides on drum surfaces were contaminated with anthrax, and resulted in gastrointestinal anthrax rather than inhalation or cutaneous infection. Apparently the anthrax bacterium can live on in the animal skin hides used for drums, and is a concern of sufficient significance to warrant a CDC advisory as well."

Submission + - Trolling for Dollars 1

mernilio writes: Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission. And he says he’s making money.

“We believe it’s the best solution out there,” Gibson says. “Media companies’ assets are very much their copyrights. These companies need to understand and appreciate that those assets have value more than merely the present advertising revenues.”
The Internet

The 'Net Generation' Isn't 435

Kanel introduces this lengthy review in Spiegel Online this way: "Kids that grew up with the Internet are not 'digital natives' as consultants have led us to believe. They're OK with the Net but they don't care much about Web 2.0 and find plenty of other things more important than the Internet. Consultants and authors, mostly old guys, have called for the education system to be reworked to suit this new generation, but they never conducted surveys to see if the members of 'generation @' were anything like what they had envisioned. Turns out, children who have known the Net their whole lives are not particularly skilled at it, nor do they live their lives online." "Young people have now reached this turning point. The Internet is no longer something they are willing to waste time thinking about. It seems that the excitement about cyberspace was a phenomenon peculiar to their predecessors, the technology-obsessed first generation of Web users. ...they certainly no longer understand it when older generations speak of 'going online.' ... Tom and his friends just describe themselves as being 'on' or 'off,' using the English terms. What they mean is: contactable or not."

Claimed Proof That P != NP 457

morsch writes "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100-page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be quite genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing. Given that $1M from the Millennium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."

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Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun