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US Scientific R&D Could Face Fiscal Cliff Doom 609

The tough economic times have had a huge effect on scientific research and development funding. The looming "fiscal cliff" may be the last straw for many programs. "The American science programs that landed the first man on the moon, found cures for deadly diseases and bred crops that feed the world now face the possibility of becoming relics in the story of human progress. American scientific research and development stands to lose thousands of jobs and face a starvation diet of reduced funding if politicians fail to compromise and halt the United States' march towards the fiscal cliff's sequestration of federal funds."

In UK, Twitter, Facebook Rants Land Some In Jail 233

concealment writes with this excerpt from an Associated Press story, as carried by the Houston Chronicle:"In Britain, hundreds of people are prosecuted each year for posts, tweets, texts and emails deemed menacing, indecent, offensive or obscene, and the number is growing as our online lives expand. 'Fifty years ago someone would have made a really offensive comment in a public space and it would have been heard by relatively few people,' said Mike Harris of free-speech group Index on Censorship. People take it upon themselves to report this offensive material to police, and suddenly you've got the criminalization of offensive speech. Figures obtained by The Associated Press through a freedom of information request show a steadily rising tally of prosecutions in Britain for electronic communications — phone calls, emails and social media posts — that are grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character — from 1,263 in 2009 to 1,843 in 2011. Justice Igor Judge said in his judgment that the law should not prevent 'satirical or iconoclastic or rude comment, the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, banter or humor, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.'"

Comment Re:Must be nice (Score 1) 401

Yes we do. We just don't have a constitutional document that you can point at and say "That's the constitution" like the US does.

The Government, or to give it its current full title, Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (there's a clue there—the Government belongs to Her Majesty, so she is not a part of it), consists of the ministers, not the monarch, who acts on the advice of the ministers/government.. The word government is also sometimes used casually to refer to all of Parliament, which again sits under the monarch.

I imagine this is historically related to the emergence of Parliament and the Government from the gradual weaning of power away from the monarch, rather than the from-scratch construction of a system of government. If it makes you feel better, think of government in this context as a homonym (or a polyseme if you prefer) with the word that is used elsewhere.

Comment Re:Really not a simple choice (Score 1) 658

I'm not a cosmologist, but I have studied it, and I'm pretty sure that the current understanding of the metric expansion of space makes the "emission point" a false idea. To use the overly-abused balloon analogy, if you start off with a deflated balloon/flat rubber sheet with some points marked on and inflate/stretch it, everything gets further apart from everything, but you can't define a point where everything "came from".

Nokia Researcher Puts Firefox OS On Raspberry Pi 75

judgecorp writes "Mozilla's mobile phone operating system only exists in an early beta form, but Oleg Romashin, a researcher at Nokia, has already got it working on the Raspberry Pi and posted video to prove it. We don't think this indicates any alternate strategy for Nokia if Windows Phone doesn't pan out, but it does show that Firefox OS is portable, and the Pi is capable, and both can be played with — which will please both Mozilla and the Raspberry Pi Foundation. And the Firefox OS work in progress is available for download (direct tarball link)."

Comment Re:NBC deserves it. (Score 1) 373

I hope someday the BBC allows foreigners to pay for access to its content without having to do VPN hacks.

If they had planned on doing such a thing, removing the geowall for the duration of the Olympics to show the world what they can get would have been a great way to generate interest in it (before replacing the geowall with a paywall after the Olympics)

Comment Re:Expect networks to run to Congress (Score 1) 373

No, it's paid by those who consume live TV (online, via an aerial, or otherwise). If you don't consume live TV, you aren't required to pay (even if you own a TV used to watch prerecorded materials only). The firm responsible for collecting it, though, will use as much misinformation as possible in making you think you have to pay it, though.

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