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Comment The National Academies recommended this (Score 4, Informative) 358

This will undoubtedly induce all sorts of railing about both the government and climate, but this step was actually recommended by the National Academies of Science, and I'm happy that it's being seriously considered. The NAS issued in a report that, distilled down, says that we're already paying for climate science, but the info generated by that work isn't reaching the people who need it most, like the ones that have to manage water supplies in the desert southwest. When those people do find the research, it's typically not structured in a way that's especially useful to them. (For a more elaborate summary of the report, see here - full disclosure, i wrote that).

So, this is largely an attempt to take information we're already producing (the government has paid for climate research for a long time through NOAA and the NSF) and make it useful.


Submission + - A Google blunder: the sad story of Urchin (arstechnica.com)

Anenome writes: Google has a track record of buying startups and integrating them into its portfoilo. But sometimes those acquisitions go terribly wrong, as Ars Technica argues has been the case with Google's 2005 purchase of web-analytics firm Urchin Software Corp. 'In the wake of Google's purchase of the company, inquiring customers (including Ars Technica) were told that support and updates would continue. Companies that had purchased support contracts were expecting version 6 any day, including Ars. What really happened is this: Google focused its attention on Google Analytics, put all updates to Urchin's other products on the back burner, and rolled out a skeleton support team. Everyone who forked over for upgrades via a support contract never got them, even though things weren't supposed to have changed. The support experience has been awful. Since the acquisition, we have had two major issues with Urchin, and neither issue was solved by Google's support team. In fact, with one issue, we were helped up until the point it got difficult, and then the help vanished. The support team literally just stopped responding.'

Submission + - iPhone outsold all smartphones in July (arstechnica.com)

mangini writes: Apple's iPhone quickly shot to the top of the sales chart for smartphones, even though its considered a 'crossover phone' and not a smartphone. 'The device accounted for 1.8 percent of all mobile handset sales in July. This number sounds pretty paltry at first glance, but iSuppli says that the iPhone matched the popular LG Chocolate phone in sales during July. It also outsold all other smartphones during the same time period — this included all BlackBerrys, the entire Palm portfolio, and anything from Motorola, Nokia, or Samsung, to name a few.' iSuppli thinks that Apple could sell 4.5 million iPhones by year end — a figure that would surpass Apple's projections.

The "Loudness War" and the Future of Music 687

An anonymous reader notes an article up at IEEE Spectrum outlining the history and dangers of the accelerating tendency of music producers to increase the loudness and reduce the dynamic range of CDs. "The loudness war, what many audiophiles refer to as an assault on music (and ears), has been an open secret of the recording industry for nearly the past two decades and has garnered more attention in recent years as CDs have pushed the limits of loudness thanks to advances in digital technology. The 'war' refers to the competition among record companies to make louder and louder albums by compressing the dynamic range. But the loudness war could be doing more than simply pumping up the volume and angering aficionados — it could be responsible for halting technological advances in sound quality for years to come... From the mid 1980s to now, the average loudness of CDs increased by a factor of 10, and the peaks of songs are now one-tenth of what they used to be."

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