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Comment Re:Put some old news in a new context (Score 1) 237

With fiber optics...I don't think it's very easy. Especially with the new doped fibers that do their own recharging.

It used to be that there had to be transceivers every so often along the fiber, to turn the optical signals back into electronic signals, then generate new laser pulses. The new cables basically build lasers into the fiber, allow it to refresh the signal without going through that process.

Comment Re:Babs, look what you did again (Score 3, Insightful) 432

Businesses aren't some unified group, they're just people like you and I trying to make it in a world that is often unfriendly. It's a small percentage of true douches (looking long and hard at you, Goldman Sachs) that give the name "businessman" a bad name.

Often, the schleps running such a business have no clue about things like the Streisand effect. Come to think of it, why don't you become a businessman and set the record straight? Surely, you could beat out this moron...

United States

The CIA Is Closing the Office That Declassifies Historical Documents 67

Daniel_Stuckey writes "As a result of the sequester-induced budget cuts, the CIA is closing the Historical Collections Division office, which declassifies historical documents, and transferring the divisions responsibilities to the office that handles FOIA requests. The Historical Collections Division is described on its website as 'an important part of CIA's ongoing effort to be more open and to provide for more public accountability.' It is a 'voluntary declassification program that focuses on records of historical value,' including information on the Vietnam War, spy satellites, the Bay of Pigs and other historical scandals and operations."

Comment No water processing plant (Score 5, Informative) 274

It's been years since the event, and Fukushima still doesn't have a radioactive water processing plant. The US has dealt with this problem before, both at 3 Mile Island and some Superfund sites. Water itself doesn't become radioactive (except for tritium, which has a 12 year half life); as with fallout, the radioactives are mostly solids in the water, and can be removed and converted to smaller amounts of solid waste.

With a processing plant, they could reuse the cooling water, instead of building more and more storage tanks.

Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 136

Just another reason we need space less and less. We can explore this vast and empty vacuum just fine from right here.

But without space, we wouldn't be able to enjoy heroic stories about the maintenence staff using up an eight hour spacewalk to MacGyver open an access panel on the telescope. What fun is that?

Comment Re:ChromeOS on a server (Score 1) 63

Not sure how an OS tuned to run on under-powered laptops would be a good choice to use as a server OS.

Me either. Chrome "OS" is mostly a user interface on top of Linux. A server doesn't need a user interface.

If anything, there's an argument for a much simpler server OS than Linux. Something that's more like a virtual machine manager with remote facilities for loading, starting, and monitoring client image. The client images need a minimal OS that's more like a run-time library - no file systems, no drivers, no GUI.

Comment Re:The alternative (Score 5, Insightful) 492

I could be reading this wrong, but it looks like life expectancy is trending upwards since the 50's.

You could be reading it wrong. Note that it explicitly says "life expectancy at birth". There has been a lot of criticism of this sort of things from statistics-enabled researchers, who point out that almost all of the life-expectancy gains in the past century have been through elimination of most early-childhood deaths. Life expentancy at birth has increased, but the life expectancy of someone 30 or 60 years old hasn't actually changed much.

There has been a bit of publicity around related topics lately. Thus, there has been a lot of discussion of the apparent fact that the increase in mammograms has produced no measurable increase in lifetime, just an increase in medical bills for the testing (and the "treatment" of false positives ;-). Similar statistical problems have been reported for prostate-cancer screening, and for an assortment of other medical tests.

Another statistical trick used to make things look better than they are is the common practice of giving cancer survival rates in terms of survival 5 years after diagnosis. This means, for example, that if you were to come up with a new test that diagnoses a cancer 5 years earlier than any existing test, your test would result in a 100% "cure" rate even with no further treatment, and no change in the death statistics. I've heard a couple of interviews in which the interviewer points out this problem, and the interviewee just continues talking about the same "5-year survival" figures.

In general, it seems that if you're over 10 years old, modern medicine really hasn't done much in increase your (statistical) lifespan, though it is sometimes fairly good at extracting money for treatments that don't increase lifespan.

(Perhaps some of the treatments improve quality of life, but the statistics for that don't seem to be widely studied or reported. It might be interesting to be shown wrong in this regard, however. OTOH, there has been a bit of media coverage lately of the problems with "treatment" of false positives.)

(And a more general problem here is that the general public -- and the media -- is generally ignorant of even the most basic statistical concepts.)

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