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Submission + - Rudolph the Weapons-of-Mass-Destruction Reindeer 1

theodp writes: Tell your kids they better be extra-nice this year. The Boston Globe reports that Santa Claus will be carrying a missile payload this Christmas. In addition to his reindeer posse, Santa will be accompanied by a jet-fighter escort armed with missiles (video), which the US military has chosen to add to this year’s version of its traditional NORAD Santa Tracker. Adding the jets is "part of our effort to give the program more of an operational feel," said Navy Captain Jeff A. Davis. Some child advocates are not amused. "Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and everything else that is positive about Christmas," said Allen Kanner, a California child and family psychologist. "They are associating this with the military in children’s minds. It is completely out of line." C'mon kids, let's sing: "Snowden got torpedoed by a reindeer, walking home from Putin's Christmas Eve!"

Submission + - Plastic Waste Threatens Marine Diversity (

Rambo Tribble writes: An article in Current Biology (abstract) details the finding that minute particles of plastic waste are affecting marine worms, potentially having grave impacts on marine biodiversity and leading to the accumulation of toxins in marine animals. Unfortunately, policymakers have routinely treated such wastes as benign. The BBC provides more approachable coverage of the findings.

Comment Re:Wait, what now? (Score 1) 462

How many people are unable to fully switch to Linux (but would like to) because some software they must use is Windows-only?

Actually I don't think this is much of a reason anymore; if you really wanted to switch to Linux, VM software (like Virtual Box) is now good enough that you can run most Windows software through it, and using "headless" modes you can even mostly hide the fact that you are using a VM from the user. I think actually it comes down to people not seeing a reason to change; then you may need to retrain staff, etc. and it's easier to just stick with what you know.

Comment Re:Urban Legend becomes reality (Score 1) 141

And now this kid has gone one better than the tall tale, actually living inside the corporate complex of a major tech company.

I guess it's the "major tech company" part that makes this shocking, right?

Yes, I can't remember the last time I remember anyone referring to AOL as a "major tech company" - maybe it was when they bought Netscape?

Comment BASIC (Score 1) 624

I don't remember any of the book titles, but I do remember borrowing many BASIC books from the local library, entering all the sample code into GWBASIC and then playing around with it to see what I could make it do. I suppose if I'd never found those books I probably would never have gotten into computer programming.

After that there weren't really any books; when I moved onto Pascal I learnt from some tutorials I found on a BBS, then I learnt C from internet guides and Java from university. Who reads books anymore when all the information you really need to learn this stuff is on the internet, easily locatable via Google?


Submission + - Bionic Body Parts for the Disabled (

DeviceGuru writes: An interesting 11-minute PBS News Hour video demonstrates several bionics projects that use high-tech robotics technology to create artificial body parts capable of assisting people with disabilities. The video demonstrates a robotic exoskeleton called eLegs, an artificial arm that gets wired into up to the user's nerves, a robotic arm operated by a monkey that's now going into human trials, special glasses that provide bionic eyesight for the visually impaired, and a runner with prosthetic legs who hopes to compete in the 2012 Olympics. The 11-minute PBS YouTube video is well worth watching!

Comment Re:Everybody but me? DOH! (Score 1) 316

I can tell you that I personally picked this option because it points out the irony of these sort of questions so well; everybody who supports these policies seems to think "yeah, they should do that to all the bad people" but never seem to stop to consider that other people might consider _them_ to be bad people. Smoking, public drunkenness, littering - where do you draw the line?

A better question is "Would you support your DNA being put on file to help in solving crimes?" After all, someone you are related to could commit a crime and your DNA could help find them. This question however really drives home that its not just other people's privacy that is in question, but YOURS too.

Comment Re:Price (Score 1) 459

I'm telling you, there's something up with tablets in the US. The cheap tablets and handhelds that you can buy everywhere else in the world just aren't in the US. It seems fishy.

You've obviously never been to Australia. In Australia, everything seems to cost roughly twice the US price. Example: iTunes tracks in the US - $0.99. In Australia - $1.99, even though the Australian dollar is roughly the same value as the US dollar.

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