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The Courts

Supreme Court To Hear Aereo Case 211

schwit1 writes "The Supreme Court will hear broadcasters' challenge to the legality of startup Aereo, in a case that may not only determine the future of digital streaming of station signals but of network television itself. Without comment, the justices on Friday agreed to accept ABC Television Stations vs. Aereo, in which the television networks are seeking to halt the Barry Diller-backed venture, contending that its offering of streams of station signals in New York and other markets violates the public performance provisions of the Copyright Act. Justice Samuel Alito took no part in the consideration of the petition, the court said, without elaborating. Typically such recusals are for a potential conflict of interest, and Alito has previously said that his family owned stock in the Walt Disney Co."

Physicists Claim First Observation of a Quantum Cheshire Cat 148

KentuckyFC writes "Last year, a group of theoretical physicists suggested a bizarre experiment based on a quantum phenomenon known as weak measurement. Unlike ordinary measurements that always change the state of a quantum object, a weak measurement extracts such a small amount of information that it leaves the quantum state intact. For example, a weak measurement can detect the presence of a photon by the deflection it causes when it bounces off a mirror. However, this does not change the photon's quantum state. The new idea was to make two weak measurements on a quantum system that is in a superposition of states, the goal being to separate the location of this quantum system from its properties, like a Cheshire cat. Now a group of experimentalists say they've observed a quantum Cheshire cat for the first time in an experiment involving neutrons. They passed a beam of neutrons through a magnetic field to align their spins and then sent them through an interferometer in which the neutrons pass down both arms of the experiment at the same time. They then used weak measurements to locate the neutrons in one arm while measuring their magnetic properties in the other. Voila! A quantum Cheshire cat."

Comment Re:More FUD (Score 1) 937

The aging population should live in towns in which you can walk to where you need to go (or ride a cart); if they can't, we've made a mistake in how we design towns.

As for demanding the ability to travel anywhere, in robot cars - that's a new high in self-entitlement.

We're in a world rapidly hyperheating from fossil fuel burning a construction (25% of carbon dioxide emissions come from laying concrete, for roads I assume, mostly). We've a rapidly expanding population worldwide; wildlife is disappearing as humans build suburbs in their spaces (literally in east Africa - elephants live in a tiny swath of land surrounded by new suburbanites who are pissed the elephants are messing up their new gardens, all made possible by car access). Not a world which needs more humans demanding more access at any time. I would call that a civilization of spoiled-rotten children in adult bodies. Our selfishness is killing everything else. Perhaps a health dose of NO is needed.

Cell phones and associated toys make about 60 million tons of tech garbage every year. Your *use* may be a success story, but the off-loaded exterior costs are not passed on to you, so you don't consider what a disaster they've been. Extend this to other technologies. We need to simplify, not constantly add more circuits onto an already-overdesigned and unstable mess.

Comment Re:Boring Drive (Score 1) 937

Put ten millions of them on roads with bicycles and small children. And kids with HERF guns.

This is a solution in search of a problem. Humans + cars are the most deadly killing even in man's history, slaughter worse than all the death tolls of all our wars combined; the appropriate solution is trains.

Cars + computers is a solution to a *suburban* problem, a problem created by the existence of cars driven by people and the road topology that results from their capabilities, a problem of needing to travel long distances at any time for all reasons to random destination. That problem can't be solved by rail because the houses aren't laid out for rail.

More efficient, more sane, to lay out towns for rail access than to build billions of robot tanks to emulate trains.

Comment Invisibles: things that aren't cars on the road (Score 1) 937

Curious: CAN self driving cars see bicycles? If they can, do they know how to anticipate a bicycle's movements? How about recumbent trikes? Pedal powered vehicles of any time? Anything that isn't a car - how do they fit into the world of computing machines driving speeding tanks?

We are nowhere near ready for robot cars. Humans are general purpose computing machines that can perform pattern recognition tasks that no software can. If we are really concerned about human error to the extent we want to eliminate humans, then we should go back to formula and start building rail lines again. Making cars into trains is inefficient, not to mention impossible. A waste of time and resources in a world rapidly running out of both.

Comment Re:Privacy My Arse (Score 1) 599

The Bill of Rights never were stone: hence the Amendments.

But the 9th Amendment WAS designed for such things as privacy - "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." I am aware the nuance of the amendment can be argued, but the thrust of the law is obvious. Enumerated rights (the BofR and the Constitution itself) don't mean others don't exist. Such rights, as, say, the right to not have a citizen's horse and carriage tracked forever using ethereal invisible rays broadcast by tiny wizards in a horses's brain. Every conceivable SF possibility didn't have to be painstakingly imagined by the Constitutional Congress in the late 18th century. Nor do we need to create a new amendment every time someone invents something novel that tap dances around the law, or common sense. Or uncommon sense, as most people don't care or don't recognize the possibilities in things such as universal surveillance.

Well, I like that interpretation, and I know the actual law will never be used in that fashion. But it should be.

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