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Submission + - Entangled Histories: Climate Science and Nuclear Weapons Research (

__aaqpaq9254 writes: Paul N. Edwards has a great paper about the links between nuclear weapons testing and climate science. From the abstract: "Tracing radioactive carbon as it cycles through the atmosphere, the oceans, and the biosphere has been crucial to understanding anthropogenic climate change. The earliest global climate models relied on numerical methods very similar to those developed by nuclear weapons designers for solving the fluid dynamics equations needed to analyze shock waves produced in nuclear explosions. The climatic consequences of nuclear war also represent a major historical intersection between climate science and nuclear affairs. Without the work done by nuclear weapons designers and testers, scientists would know much less than they now do about the atmosphere. In particular, this research has contributed enormously to knowledge about both carbon dioxide, which raises Earth’s temperature, and aerosols, which lower it." Great free paper at the Bulletin.

Submission + - Google applies for mobile patents (

bizwriter writes: Newly public patent applications show that in addition to buying blocks of patents, Google is trying to expand its collection of mobile-related technology patents into the user interface area that Apple has dominated. That would increase the chances of Google having intellectual property that competitors might infringe, providing important additional bargaining chips in legal battles that seem only too certain to continue for it and its hardware vendors.

Submission + - Georgie: Smartphone for the blind, visually impaired (

hypnosec writes: Specially designed smartphone for the visually impaired or partially sighted has been launched in the UK. The device, dubbed Georgie, has a lot many special features including voice-assisted touch screen and apps that will allow for easy completion of day to day tasks like catching a bus, reading printed text and pinpointing location. Designed by a blind couple Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds and named after Mrs Wilson-Hind’s guide dog, the smartphone is powered by Android operating system and uses handsets like Samsung XCover and Galaxy Ace 2 notes BBC. The main reason for developing such a phone according to the couple was that they wanted to get the technology across to people with very little or no sight. “It’s exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight,” said Roger.

Building the LEGO MMO 116

Gamasutra has a lengthy interview with NetDevil's Ryan Seabury, creative director for LEGO Universe, which is due to launch next month. He talks about some of the difficulties in graphically optimizing a game with so many discrete, interactive objects, and mentions that they'll be keeping an eye out for inappropriate contructs to avoid problems similar to those that cropped up with Spore. "One thing we can say is when you build models you have your own property, and you can share that if you want to. If you share something publicly, it will be monitored by a human before it's seen by other people." Seabury also explains their desire to keep the game simple, using players' creativity as a driving force, as well as NetDevil's decision to stay away from a micro-transaction business model.

Comment Re:PGP + really any collaboration software (Score 1) 130

PGP signing could work, but I don't know if it's exactly business-friendly. I don't think PGP encryption would work in this case. There's no way to encrypt to a 'group', you need to encrypt to individual users. That means re-encrypting a bunch of documents every time you have a new hire or someone changes responsibilities.

Comment Re:I don't understand (Score 1) 384

So perhaps your view is a bit too local...
Because the rest of the world sees your medical system when we watch movies like John Q or hear Cutner tell Taub "when you have millions of people thousands of dollars in debt because of medical expenses, it's only a matter of time before one of them does something inexcusable" and books like "The Rainmaker".
The reality is - that in large parts of the US - that's exactly how it works. The doctors want to do a procedure - they call your insurance company to find out if it's pre-approved. If it's not pre-approved, they have to submit a claim and motivation - and if the insurance company turns it down (which they routinely do for all claims over a certain amount, some have been claimed at as low as 5000 dollars) then the procedure doesn't HAPPEN.

Now up there I just cited the fiction that gives us this view of the US as a system where doctors hands are tied and they have to watch their patients die because of greedy insurance companies.
I always take Michael Moore with a (small but not non-existent) piece of salt, but Sicko tells the same story...

In fact, up until this discussion with you - I have never heard a different story, from anybody, ever.

You say you live in a Rural part of the US. Rural communities tend to be small and very caring of one another, that's not a US thing, it's a global thing - the same is found in rural South Africa.
But the vast majority of American's (and people all over the world) don't live in rural areas, they live in big urban cities. I've lived in my appartment (which I own) for three years now - I know the name of one of my 50-something neighbours and I've had two conversations with her - ever.
That's the (sad) reality of citylife. Most people don't HAVE the kind of communities you describe to rely on. If doctors acted like you suggest - even in a city like Cape Town, the doctor would be bankrupt because people wouldn't be able to pay and nobody but their relatives would help and they aren't likely to be able to help that much either.

Either way - I have never favored fully socialized healthcare, I even agree with you that everything does have a price and Doctors put in massive time and money to become doctors and deserve to be rewarded for it.
What I do favor is universal health care. That means - anybody, and everybody can get any life-saving treatment - always.

It's a big enough burden on hospitals just to keep the E.R. doors open so they can treat accident victims and people with heart attacks. There is no way they can do something that takes months of preparation and costs more than 200 thousand US dollars (like say bone-marrow transplants) unless they can be sure of getting paid - the hospital that donates that to one patient is doing a massive disservice to all the others.

I would prefer to see a system here where the richest of the rich and go to the same hospitals as the poorest of the poor - by seeing our state hospitals improve so nobody needs private ones anymore, and the doctors are BETTER paid than the private doctors now. I want to see my nation grow to where we have near zero unemployment, and we all pay taxes - if we can do this with the taxes of only one fifth of the people... imagine what we could do if we had 80% of us paying into that fund ?

But honestly - I couldn't care less HOW the healthcare system works, I don't care what ideology drives it. I care about results.
I want to live in a country where every aids-orphan is guaranteed his anti-retrovirals. I want to live in a country where every sick old lady is guaranteed her pain meds - even in this day where many of them haven't seen their children in decades and live on a pittance of a pension. Where a leukemia patient can worry ONLY about finding a donor, not about finding money to pay for care.

I would really love to live in a world where cities are as caring and community orientated as rural towns are... but that is probably never going to happen. So we have to find other ways to care for the weakest in our society. The sick, the disenfranchised and the suffering.
I don't think the healthcare reform bill is meant to help the good folk of New England, but how about the poor folk of Harlem and South Central ? Do you really think the system works for them like it does for you ? Surely you're not that naive... I've been in South Central, walked in it's streets with my white skin and all without fear ... and I saw horrors - not the kind you expect from watching cops. I saw the kind I expect to see in Zimbabwe.
The difference is, the healthcare system in Zimbabwe has an excuse - a corrupt tyrant who destroyed the economy. The healthcare system in LA has no excuse for being bad enough to let those things happen.
I actually suggest you watch Sicko. Sure it's got a dose of propaganda, if you prefer ignore all the bits about other countries - but look at how your system is treating the majority of your own fellow countrymen.

Oh - and for the record, everything you said about American cultural history can be just as easily said of Afrikaans cultural history. My people, the great freedom seekers ended, who fought against despotic British rule just like your ancestor, ended up inventing appartheid and rationalizing it as the only way to protect that freedom.
Our history is a tool to learn from, it's not an excuse for our mistakes. My culture and yours are incredibly alike (after Middle America, the Afrikaans community in South Africa is probably the last places on earth where educated people are still creationists). Like you we started out as Dutch colonists who were usurped by British rule. Like you we fought back our freedom, over and over and over we had to fight. We only really became self-ruling in 1961... and then we became despots ourselves... just like you.
But we realized where we were going, and we gave up the power voluntarily. We handed it over to a democratic vote and stepped back when we saw what our plan was leading to. America it seems, has yet to learn that lesson. Fighting for a noble cause like your ancestors did, is a complete waste of time if you end up becoming exactly what you fought against - and you have. America has toppled countless democratic governments in the last century - to replace them with dictators because those democratic governments held policies that served their own interests rather than America's (Nicaragua, Brazil, Panama, Iraq in the 80's... the list goes on). The rest of the world doesn't just dislike Americans... we fear America. We fear the imperialistic empire you are turning into.
As long as I, in my little city on the Southern tip of Africa HAS to care who you elect as president, because his choices could destroy my life... don't expect me not to like it.

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