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Comment Why? (Score 1) 277

If Comcast's acquisition of NBC/Universal is monopolistic, anticompetitive, or inappropriate for some other reason, why should they be able to "buy" an exemption with this agreement? If there is nothing wrong with the acquisition why should the government extort an agreement from them?

Is this profitable or beneficial to Comcast? If so why are they permitted artificially to discriminate against others?

If it is not profitable is the cost paid by the shareholders or their other customers?

Christmas Cheer

Submission + - 2007 Cost of the Twelve Days of Christmas 1

qeorqe writes: PNC has been calculating the cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" since 1984. They calculate all occurrences of all items in the song for 2007 at US$78100 (up 4% from 2006). One day's worth of each item is US$19507.

They also did a calculation for buying everything on the internet at US$128886. That is US$50786 extra. They explain, "In general, Internet prices are higher than their non-Internet counterparts because of shipping costs."

Their valuation of a beer was missing.
Robotics

Submission + - CMU wins Robot Car Challenge 2

qeorqe writes: Tartan Racing Team from CMU has been declared the winner of The Urban Challenge. Autonomous (unmanned)robot cars competed in tasks in an urban setting. Professional human drivers drove on the course as moving obstacles. Vehicles were penalized for violating the California driving laws, collisions, hitting the curb, and various other restrictions.

DARPA sponsored the competition. Tartan Racing Team (CMU) won the $2 million first prize with their entry "The Boss" based on a Chevy Tahoe. Stanford Racing Team won the $1 million second prize with their entry "Junior" based on a Volkswagen Passat. VictorTango (Virginia Tech) won the $1/2 million third prize with their entry "Odin" based on a Ford Escape. Junior had line honors being the first to cross the finish line. The Boss finished shortly after Junior. Because starts were staggared and penalties were applied for errors, a corrected time was used to determine the winner.

MIT's car cut off and hit Team Cornell's car during the competition. Both cars were eventually able to resume.

Congratulations to all participants and especially Tartan Racing Team. Is there any chance of The Boss leading a victory parade through the streets of Pittsburgh?

Some other coverage may be found at WIred and itwire. Earlier slashdot coverage can also be found.
The Courts

Submission + - America's Cup, Court, Catamaran 1

qeorqe writes: Does this seem like Deja Vu?
No we are not back in 1988.

The Swiss won their defense of the America's Cup in 2007 in one of the closest AC matches in history. Since Switzerland is inland, the venue was Valencia Spain. Upon winning, the Swiss accepted a challenge from the Spanish for the next America's Cup. The venue will probably again be in Spain.

The Spanish seem to have conceded most terms of the competition. The Swiss have declared major changes. They are eliminating the current boat design in favor of a new larger design. They are also giving themselves the option to compete in the challenger series.

Larry Ellison (Oracle CEO) is threatening court action according to Stuart Alexander of "The Independent".

"Ellison said that the Spanish challenge was invalid and issued his own."

"Ellison's challenge would be for a 90ft-long boat to challenge in just 10 months' time. His challenge also makes the yacht 90ft wide, indicating a catamaran again. What Ellison really wants, however, is to lever Bertarelli into negotiations."
Robotics

Submission + - Walking on Water

qeorqe writes: A robot is being developed at CMU that walks on water. It is modeled after the basilisk lizard. Information about the robot can be found in a pdf file. They have done both computer simulations and experimented with test models. External counter weights were used with the models.

Information about why you can't walk on water is in a ppt file and also converted to an html file in the Google cache.
Power

Submission + - Solar Powered Air Conditioner by SolCool (inhabitat.com)

Jill writes: "Since the hottest months of the year are also the sunniest — the idea of using solar energy to power your air-conditioner makes perfect sense. SolCool's super smart Millennia air-conditioner uses solar power to cool you down during the height of summer steaminess — cleverly making use of the summer heat instead of blindly fighting it."

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