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Comment Tax Reform (Score 1) 555

The tax "reform" acts of the 1980s - supported by both Republicans and Democrats - shifted the tax burden off the wealthy and corporations and onto the middle class. 30 years of gradual destruction of the middle class ensued. Today, instead of a progressive system of taxation, the US has a system where the wealthiest and the largest corporations pay little or no tax, while those least capable pay the most. Having a bunch of millionaires under the influence of corporate contributions - then and now - make tax policy is the definition of conflict of interest and reveals the total corruption at the heart of the US system - and its drift toward oligarchy, now almost complete.

Comment Re:That summary is awful (Score 4, Insightful) 211

Absolutely correct. The logic of mikejuk's argument is so flawed is hard to know where to begin. Google isn't just proposing standards because they're nice folks who want everyone to work happily together. Google, like Microsoft, is a huge for-profit behemoth whose goal is domination of the markets they are in and any others they can get into. Doubtless Google has some product(s) of its own that require, or may require such a standard and, not being fools, they realize that hiding behind the figleaf of Mozilla and pretending to be nice will buy them some cred in the open-source world. Microsoft pulls stuff like that only when it thinks it needs to. The W3C will most likely cull what is best from both proposals, have lots of meetings, and come up with something that everyone can live with. That's one way standards come into being.

Comment Friday afternoon lynching (Score 1) 242

I don't know who came up with the idea of Friday afternoon meetings but unless they're accompanied by quantities of alcohol, they usually end up becoming modern day equivalents of lynchings or Soviet-era show trials. They have the great potential to end up destroying morale and productivity. Meetings in general are a tremendous waste of time (IMHO) and a large company is better served by very brief, daily morning meetings among teams or daily updates via some other means of communication, rather than stopping the entire operation dead for an hour or two on a Friday afternoon.

Comment ExxonMobil's science education ads (Score 4, Insightful) 288

What's really nutty about ExxonMobil is that on the one hand, they are spending millions on TV, radio and print ads on how the US needs to improve math and science education, but at the same time roughly two-thirds of their political contributions (corporation and employees) are to Republican candidates. To a person, Republicans have conducted an all-out war on free public education, teachers, and teachers unions over the last 30 years. The leading US scientists over the last 100 years did not, in general, attend tony prep schools or come from wealthy families. If ExxonMobil is actually serious about improving math and science education in the US, they'll stop funding Republican candidates and start funding Democrats, as well as making targeted gifts to grammar and high school math and science programs around the country.

Comment Curiosity and intelligence are most important (Score 0) 504

I studied English, Russian and French literature in college and for the first 10 years of my career worked as an editor. In the early 1990's I fell into programming quite by accident - through a project at my then employer's. I caught the software bug and never looked back. Today, I run my own software development company and work across Windows, UNIX, and Linux. I think that curiosity and intelligence are paramount, followed by a good dollop of old fashioned perseverance. To build a career in a technology-related field requires that you never stop learning. It's the old story: if you enjoy what you do, it won't seem like work.

Comment At least it keeps lawyers employed (Score 0) 187

Well, at least it keeps lawyers employed. Rule one of big business seems to be: if you can't win in the market place, go to court. I seem to recall a bunch of schoolyard bullies (IBM, Sun, Oracle...) crying to the principal in the late 90's about how another schoolyard bully (Microsoft) was being mean to them. Instead of taking their eye off the ball (remember Novell?), Google needs to do a much better job of building relationships and selling its products. Going to court is a pointless diversion and a waste of time and money. Google's goal, as is Microsoft's, is to eliminate the competition and totally control any market they are in. Neither they (nor any of their rivals) are truly interested in fair play. Google would take the same no-bid, no-competition deal Microsoft got in a heartbeat.

Medicine

One Night Stands May Be Genetic 240

An anonymous reader writes "So, he or she has cheated on you for the umpteenth time and their only excuse is: 'I just can't help it.' According to researchers at Binghamton University, they may be right. The propensity for infidelity could very well be in their DNA. In a first of its kind study, a team of investigators led by Justin Garcia, a SUNY Doctoral Diversity Fellow in the laboratory of evolutionary anthropology and health at Binghamton University, State University of New York, has taken a broad look at sexual behavior, matching choices with genes and has come up with a new theory on what makes humans 'tick' when it comes to sexual activity. The biggest culprit seems to be the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism, or DRD4 gene. Already linked to sensation-seeking behavior such as alcohol use and gambling, DRD4 is known to influence the brain's chemistry and subsequently, an individual's behavior."
Graphics

The First Photograph of a Human 138

wiredog writes "The Atlantic has a brief piece on what is likely to be the first photograph (a daguerreotype) showing a human. From the article: 'In September, Krulwich posted a set of daguerreotypes taken by Charles Fontayne and William Porter in Cincinnati 162 years ago, on September 24, 1848. Krulwich was celebrating the work of the George Eastman House in association with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Using visible-light microscopy, the George Eastman House scanned several plates depicting the Cincinnati Waterfront so that scholars could zoom in and study the never-before-seen details.'"
Image

White House Correspondent Tweets His Heart Attack 77

Tommy Christopher, who writes for mediate.com, has reporting in his blood, so much so that he livetweeted every part of his recent heart attack. "I gotta be me. Livetweeting my heart attack. Beat that!" and "This is not like the movies. Most deadpan heart attack evar. Still hurts even after the morphine," were among his updates as he was rushed to the hospital. Christopher is now in stable condition after recovering from emergency surgery.
Australia

Fine-Structure Constant Maybe Not So Constant 105

Kilrah_il writes "The fine-structure constant, a coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction, has been measured lately by scientists from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and has been found to change slightly in light sent from quasars in galaxies as far back as 12 billion years ago. Although the results look promising, caution is advised: 'This would be sensational if it were real, but I'm still not completely convinced that it's not simply systematic errors' in the data, comments cosmologist Max Tegmark of MIT. Craig Hogan of the University of Chicago and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., acknowledges that 'it's a competent team and a thorough analysis.' But because the work has such profound implications for physics and requires such a high level of precision measurements, 'it needs more proof before we'll believe it.'"
Image

Shakespeare In Klingon? 80

stevegee58 writes "As if the Klingon opera described recently here at Slashdot weren't enough, here's an interesting offering for Shakespeare buffs. The Washington Shakespeare Company (based in Arlington VA) will soon be performing selections from Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing in Klingon."
Mars

New Evidence Presented For Ancient Fossils In Mars Rocks 91

azoblue passes along a story in the Washington Post, which begins: "NASA's Mars Meteorite Research Team reopened a 14-year-old controversy on extraterrestrial life last week, reaffirming and offering support for its widely challenged assertion that a 4-billion-year-old meteorite that landed thousands of years ago on Antarctica shows evidence of microscopic life on Mars. In addition to presenting research that they said disproved some of their critics, the scientists reported that additional Martian meteorites appear to house distinct and identifiable microbial fossils that point even more strongly to the existence of life. 'We feel more confident than ever that Mars probably once was, and maybe still is, home to life,' team leader David McKay said at a NASA-sponsored conference on astrobiology."
Books

Judge Chin Says He Will Cut the Google Book Settlement 38

Miracle Jones writes "In a move that has shocked the publishing world, Judge Denny Chin has filed a brief saying that he has decided to cut the Google Book Settlement in half, letting Google host the first half of every book the company has scanned, and letting other interested stakeholders fight for the rights to the rest. 'We think this is a hard decision, but a fair one,' said John Peter Franks for Google. 'We would like to be able to host and control whole books, but at least we get the front half.'"

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