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Comment Re:Kids will be bored (Score 1) 63

I wouldn't be so sure. I remember when I was little my family was pretty poor, and I used to spend all my time reading (the only tv we had was an old black and white tv with dials and bad reception. This was 1995 mind you...)

My dad bought me a really cheap telescope which is really crappy by the standards of the Galileoscope and I still managed to enjoy it. You could see Saturn and Jupiter decently well enough to just barely make out some of their moons, and seeing the amount of detail on Earth's moon was enjoyable too. It really helped get me into science. Yeah, a lot of kids might be bored by it, but I think a lot might enjoy it too.

Comment Re:so ? (Score 1) 185

Right, good point, that's an example of where a fringe or elitist policy prescription would have counterproductive consequences. But I still think the government classified information system is out of control. Unfortunately it's hard to show the need for reform since it's largely invisible.

The patent system is a mess also, and it's also an invisible problem in the sense that it's partially beyond the technical comprehension of most people, but at least we can present data when we argue about it.

Comment Re:Yes, and no (Score 2, Interesting) 427

You don't have to "prove" anything to file a lawsuit, and Monsanto launches many civil lawsuits based on "raids" (i.e. blatant trespassing) and anonymous tips. Remember these are civil cases, and the cost of defending civil actions can be more than even a large farm can bear.

Read about Pilot Grove for a good example. The suit was settled last year.

Comment Botnet != Supercomputer (Score 1) 303

Botnets are useless for number crunching. There may be many CPUs involved but the communication between processors is dead slow and unreliable. The ability of botnets to send lots of traffic from a huge number of Internet connections in different locations makes them ideal for spamming and DDoSing.

Supercomputers have few or no Internet connections and have no more potential than office PCs for spamming or DDoSing. They do have many powerful CPUs that have no problem communicating with each other as fast as they can, which makes them ideal for number crunching. The use of a supercomputer to a black hat would be for breaking encryption (or they could be useful to comic book villains for simulating nuclear explosions), but a rack of PS3s might be faster than a botnet, and definitely more difficult to trace.

Comment When will they get over it? (Score 1) 625

Millions of innocent jews and others were tortured and killed by members of the Nazi party. It was evil, and it should be condemned.

But it happened. It's part of reality, and it's something we should learn from. Denying its existence (or acknowledging it in a way) by censoring it seems counterproductive to me. Let's no stick our heads in the sand. There are lots of "symbols of evil" that the Germans do not ban. People see them and are told they represent evil, and they can be taught a lesson about evil.

And let's not forget that the swastika was an ancient Hindu religious symbol that had very positive connotations. People should be taught its original meaning and how the Nazis desecrated it.

WWII happened in the 1940's. The Germans are good people. As a culture, they have always been inventive and industrious. And, like every other nation on earth, they have a sense of superiority. And a long time ago, some people took that sense of superiority too far. In a very Microsoft-like way, they dealt with their "competitors" by crushing them, rather than trying to a better job. (Note that I don't think Microsoft are nearly as evil as the Nazis. Bill Gates is excessively competitive, but he's also a philanthropist and deserves recognition for it.) The Germans and everyone else in the world have to grow up and get past this fear of the past.

If you're a white American, and your ancestors owned slaves, should you be ashamed of yourself? No. You can be ashamed of your ancestors, and you can be ashamed of all of the cruelty and torture that went along with it. But you yourself know that slavery was wrong. You're not responsible for it. You can get past it without pretending it didn't happen.

But that's just my opinion.

Comment Re:censorship (Score 1) 625

(I happen to agree it's an inalienable right, but) one of the interesting things about inalienable rights is that not everyone agrees just what they all are.

So regardless of what rights we have inherently, it's a good idea to go through the political process and have government pass laws to protect those rights. At least after that happens, we all have notice of which of our rights are protected, and which ones we have to protect for ourselves (by force, subterfuge, or whatever).

If the German people, overall, are willing to use deadly force against people who exercise their right to sell games where players kill Nazis, then it's good that German law does not protect people's right to sell games where players kill Nazis. Otherwise there would be a conflict and you're eventually going to get into a situation where cops and citizens are shooting at each other in the streets. The way to protect rights is to persuade a (strong) majority that it's a bad idea to infringe rights. In fact, it's the only way. Having laws that are contrary to the actual will of the people, just isn't a stable and sensible situation.


9 Browsers Compared For Speed and Features 363

notthatwillsmith writes "Counting public betas and release candidates, there are a whopping nine different web browsers out today with enough market share to be considered mainstream. Maximum PC explains the differences between the browsers, future and present, so that you can make a more informed decision about the primary tool you use to browse the web. From the rendering engines used to the features that set the different browsers apart, this is a comprehensive, blow-by-blow battle between Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3, Opera 9.6, Google Chrome, Firefox 3.1, IE 8, Safari 4, and Opera 10."
Wireless Networking

Wireless Internet Access Uses Visible Light, Not Radio Waves 264

An anonymous reader writes to tell us that a company has demonstrated a new form of wireless communication that uses light instead of radio waves. "Its inventor, St. Cloud resident John Pederson, says visible-light embedded wireless data communication is the next step in the evolution of wireless communications, one that will expand the possibilities in phone and computer use. The connection provides Web access with almost no wiring, better security and with speeds more than eight times faster than cable."
The Internet

How Web Advertising May Go 229

Anti-Globalism sends us to Ars Technica for Jon Stokes's musing on the falling value of Web advertising. Stokes put forward the outlying possibility — not a prediction — that ad rates could fall by 40% before turning up again, if they ever do. "A web page, in contrast, is typically festooned with hyperlinked visual objects that fall all over themselves in competing to take you elsewhere immediately once you're done consuming whatever it is that you came to that page for. So the page itself is just one very small slice of an unbounded media experience in which a nearly infinite number of media objects are scrambling for a vanishingly small sliver of your attention. ... We've had a few hundred years to learn to monetize print, over 75 years to monetize TV, and, most importantly, millennia to build business models based on scarcity. In contrast, our collective effort to monetize post-scarcity digital media have only just begun."

Titan Balloon Mission Being Drafted 82

eldavojohn writes "After Huygens & Cassini corrected our assumptions about Titan (a moon of Saturn), scientists are now debating about their next mission, and one of the choices is the Titan and Saturn System Mission. What makes Titan a good choice? 'Although the atmosphere of Titan is filled with a smoggy orange hydrocarbon haze, it is primarily composed of nitrogen — just like Earth's. In fact, Astrobiologists think Titan's atmosphere may be quite similar to how the Earth's was billions of years ago, before life on our planet generated oxygen.' We also discussed its liquid hydrocarbons earlier this year."

Microsoft Announces Windows Azure, Cloud-Based OS 419

snydeq writes "Microsoft today introduced Windows Azure, its operating system for the cloud. The OS serves as the underlying foundation of the Azure Services Platform to help developers build apps that span from the cloud to the datacenter, to PCs, the Web, and phones. Cloud-based developer capabilities are combined with storage, computational, and network infrastructure services, which are hosted on servers within Microsoft's global data center network."

Security Flaw In Android Web Browser 59

r writes "The New York Times reports on a security flaw discovered in the new Android phones. The article is light on details, but it hints at a security hole in the browser, allowing for trojans to install themselves in the same security partition as the browser: 'The risk in the Google design, according to Mr. Miller, who is a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators in Baltimore, lies in the danger from within the Web browser partition in the phone. It would be possible, for example, for an intruder to install software that would capture keystrokes entered by the user when surfing to other Web sites. That would make it possible to steal identity information or passwords.'"

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