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Comment Re:The real problem (Score 1) 321

While it's true that OSX has way less malware than Windows, the main cause of malware infections is the users who click anything that's offered to them without thinking.

No. Any system that can be botched more or less accidentally is a complete failure. While GNU/Linux and to a lesser extent OS X are far from perfect, they make it considerably harder to run untrusted code, simply because this is an operation typically not needed during daily use.


Submission + - 130,000 Scientists Warn Against EU Research Budget Cuts (sciencemag.org)

hweimer writes: "In leading up to the European Union summit deciding on its future budget, 130,000 scientists (including 44 Nobel laureates) are warning against cuts on the research budget. In 2006, EU research funding was already slashed by 30%, much more than cuts to sectors such as agriculture or infrastructure development. If you are a scientist, there is still time to join the open letter to the EU member states governments."

Submission + - How Airport Security Is Killing Us (businessweek.com)

another random user writes: This week marks the beginning of the busiest travel time of the year. For millions of Americans, the misery of holiday travel is made considerably worse by a government agency ostensibly designed to make our journeys more secure. Created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Transportation Security Administration has largely outlived its usefulness, as the threat of a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland continues to recede. These days, the TSA’s major role appears to be to make plane trips more unpleasant. And by doing so, it’s encouraging people to take the considerably more dangerous option of traveling by road.

According to one estimate of direct and indirect costs borne by the U.S. as a result of 9/11, the New York Times suggested the attacks themselves caused $55 billion in “toll and physical damage,” while the economic impact was $123 billion. But costs related to increased homeland security and counterterrorism spending, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, totaled $3,105 billion. Mueller and Stewart estimate that government spending on homeland security over the 2002-11 period accounted for around $580 billion of that total.

If Americans really care about saving lives this Thanksgiving travel season, for goodness’ sake, don’t beef up airport security any further. Slashing the TSA will ensure that more people live to spend future holidays with loved ones.

Comment Re:Yes, it WAS about GPL, in a roundabout way. (Score 1) 394

It depends how they do it. If they've done it by making their additions a binary kernel module, they've not (clearly) broken the GPL.

I think you have a hard time proving in court that your product is not a derivative work when it's just a piece of binary waste once you take away the GPLed portions.

Lots of vendors ship binary only kernel modules. Can you imagine how screwed up things would get if the courts ruled right now that binary kernel modules are considered as GPL tainted when loaded into a GPL piece of software?

$ cat /proc/sys/kernel/tainted

Not very much, apparently.

Comment Re:is it shipping to customers ? (Score 1) 394

This is a very different case than Oracle v Google. Google was distributing their own implementation of the Java API, without using Oracle's code. Here, however, RTS is shipping a copy of the Linux kernel. Their defense seems to be that they are somehow exempt from the requirements under GPLv2 because they ship their modifications as a module, but I'm a bit skeptical whether this would actually hold up in court.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 143

There is no single experiment ruling out such a model.

There are conceptual problems. Such as where did the space come from in your model? Or is space curved by your quantum effects (such as a non-zero vacuum energy)?

Spacetime itself does not have to come from somewhere as an emergent concept. It could just be there as it's currently the case with either GR or QFT. Spacetime could get curved via the expectation value of the energy-momentum tensor. No mathemetical ambiguities, no contradiction to experiments, and fully consistent with both GR and the SM. However, I would hardly call this a "unified" description of all forces. Nevertheless, arguing against such a description of nature on purely aesthetic grounds is a bit shaky, IMO.

Comment Re:And? (Score 1) 143

The fundamental problem with the standard model is gravity. In terms of particle interactions, they have it covered via the Higgs particle and gravitinos. But the standard model doesn't have curvature of space.

But you can do quantum field theory in curved spacetime, i.e., without quantizing the gravitational field. There is no single experiment ruling out such a model. So I don't think gravity is a problem for the SM, it's rather our desire to find a unified description of all forces in nature. But of course, nobody knows whether such a unified theory will be correct in the end.

Comment Re:Math (Score 1) 576

The point is actually that the poll averages are reasonably likely to be wrong, because some polls are designed much better than others. Most news outlets just average the polls. Nate Silver weights them in an attempt to give more weight to accurate ones. So, the simple averages of polls are right in most cases, but in a handful of states are sufficiently skewed by biased polls to give an incorrect prediction. Nate Silvers' weighting of polls, on the other hand, got all 50 states correct--and in many so-called "contested" states actually nailed the Romney v Obama share perfectly to 0.1%!

I don't think a safe call can be made that Nate Silver's method (which not only uses poll weighting, but also "state fundamentals") is actually superior compared to simple poll averaging as done by the Princeton people or by Andrew Tanenbaum. While Silver correctly predicted all states in the presidential election, with Florida being sheer luck, he missed the Senate races in MT and ND quite badly (in the latter he claimed a 92% probability for an R win).

Submission + - 42 European Nobel Laureates, 5 Fields Medalists, 30 000 researcher for research (no-cuts-on-research.eu)

An anonymous reader writes: 42 European Nobel Laureates and 5 Fields Medalists recently published in the major European newspapers an open letter http://www.no-cuts-on-research.eu/index.php?file=press.htm to reaffirm the research budget is crucial for achieving economic prosperity and solutions for global challenges.
A petition http://www.no-cuts-on-research.eu/index.php?file=petition.htm , coordinated by the initiative for science in Europe (ISE http://www.i-se.org/ ), was proposed 2010 10 23 and ERC Starting Grant holder and Nobel Laureate Konstantin Novoselov http://www.condmat.physics.manchester.ac.uk/people/academic/novoselov/ is first to sign: "Europe needs to adapt a forward-looking approach that promotes risky though thoughtful and challenging research. The ERC provides the most adequate support for research in Europe and the scope of its activities should be broadened."
After on day : 33 109 signatures,

Comment Re:Just complying with the law (Score 2) 227

Actually, this has nothing to do with the content of the Twitter feed, and therefore is not really a free speech issue. If you read the actual takedown request, you will find that the Twitter account belongs to an organization that was recently disbanded and its assets (to which the account belongs) being seized by the authorities because its goals and actions were directed at overthrowing the constitutional order.

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Quantum Mechanics is a lovely introduction to Hilbert Spaces! -- Overheard at last year's Archimedeans' Garden Party