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Comment Re:There must be a very good reason... (Score 1) 579

What they need is a very large sodium sulphur battery, say a few hundred megawatts or more. Of course this is America so there is no way the government could build it, meaning you need to find a way of forcing the power company to invest. They will need it for their own renewables anyway, assuming the plan is to move away form fossil fuel.

Submission + - Google's Duplicitous Stance on Loopholes, Spirit of Law 2

theodp writes: When it comes to tax loopholes, Google has certainly embraced the letter and not the spirit of the tax law. "Google plays by the rules set by politicians," quipped Google's UK head, defending the company's payment of a mere £6m in tax on sales of £2.6bn. "I view that you should pay the taxes that are legally required," added Google Chairman Eric Schmidt. "If the British system changes the tax laws then we will comply." So, one might ask whether Rap Genius was also playing by the letter of the rules, if not the spirit, when Google penalized Rap Genius for its link schemes. After all, don't they have the same fiduciary responsibility to investors that Google says motivates its tax strategy? Well, you could ask, but it wouldn't matter. In a case of what's-good-for-the-goose-is-not-good-for-the-gander, Google makes it clear that it won't countenance BS letter-of-the-law defenses from those who seek to exploit loopholes. From the Google Webmaster Guidelines, "These quality guidelines cover the most common forms of deceptive or manipulative behavior, but Google may respond negatively to other misleading practices not listed here. It's not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique isn't included on this page, Google approves of it. Webmasters who spend their energies upholding the spirit of the basic principles will provide a much better user experience and subsequently enjoy better ranking than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit." So, in Lord Google's eyes, is exploiting loopholes good AND evil?

Submission + - What would it cost to build a Windows version of the pricey new Mac Pro? (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: The new Mac Pro is the most powerful and flexible computer Apple has ever created, and it’s also extremely expensive — or is it? With a price tag that can climb up around $10,000, Apple’s latest enterprise workhorse clearly isn’t cheap. For businesses with a need for all that muscle, however, is that steep price justifiable or is there a premium “Apple tax” that companies will have to pay? Shortly after the new Mac Pro was finally made available for purchase last week, one PC enthusiast set out to answer that question and in order to do so, he asked another one: How much would it cost to build a comparable Windows 8 machine?...

Submission + - The Archaeology of Beer (theatlantic.com)

cold fjord writes: The Atlantic reports, "Dr. Pat McGovern, a biomolecular archeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology ... explains his process to me. “We always start with infrared spectrometry,” he says. “That gives us an idea of what organic materials are preserved.” From there, it’s on to tandem liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry, sometimes coupled with ion cyclotron resonance, and solid-phase micro-extraction gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The end result? A beer recipe. Starting with a few porous clay shards or tiny bits of resin-like residue from a bronze cup, McGovern is able to determine what some ancient Norseman or Etruscan or Shang dynast was drinking ... Details will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Danish Journal of Archaeology. But if your curiosity is more immediate ... head to a nearby wine-and-beer store and request a bottle of the most recent Ancient Ale from Dogfish Head. The Delaware-based brewery ... collaborated with McGovern to make ... a brew that was inspired by the residue found on pottery fragments in a 2,700-year-old tomb in Turkey. Dogfish Head has since re-created six other defunct potables ... based on archeological finds in China, Honduras, Peru, Egypt, Italy, and now Scandinavia. Its re-creation of Nordic grog, Kvasir ..."

Comment Re:Most of the world's religions? No. (Score 1) 152

Censuses, surveys and population registers are all hopeless ways of determining people's religion. In many countries they don't ask about religion on such things, and when they do it tends to get conflated with race and heritage rather than an individuals's actually belief. Many people claim their young children share their religion when they are too young to even understand it, and even adults often feel pressured to say they are one thing to avoid upsetting their families. It's almost like finding it hard to come out as gay.

ln Europe church attendance is an order of magnitude lower than the number of people claiming to be Christian. In the UK it's something like 65% claim to be Christian, mostly CofE, but only about 5% go to church regularly.

Comment Re:Selective Memory... (Score 1) 150

Google only used patents defensively. It is against this kind of abuse, I.e suing the competition instead of innovating. Look at the two biggest players here: Microsoft is struggling to get people to use windows devices and Bing, Apple loves patent litigation and is widely thought of as having fallen behind in terms of innovation and market share.

This consortium is not about protection, it is about attacking Google. Do you think they would even have let Google join? Of they were only interested in protection why sue at all? Google just sits on patents to prevent then being used against them, but these guys immediately start suing. Of Google had won those patients there would be no litigation.

This is the classic definition of patent abuse. None of these guys invented any of this stuff, it was just sold so someone could use it as a shield or a sword as they saw fit.

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 150

Patent wars like this hurt all of us. Less innovation, higher prices. It hurts the US in particular because it is the worst place for patent abuse. You have less choice and your tech companies are hobbled by having to worry about patents all the time and waste money on lawyers.

Your grandfather might have done okay out of it, but it's an immoral gain IMHO.

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