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Comment Doing God's work? Seriously? (Score 5, Informative) 109

>> is Zynga doing God's work? Is Facebook doing God's work?

Yes, Nathan, you're doing a lot of wonderful work. But that doesn't excuse *how* you're getting your money these days. Your business practices are hurting the entire industry, and putting a big crimp on innovation. The end does not justify the means.

Anyone who has not yet listened to This American Life's episode on Mr. Myhrvold really ought to:

Submission + - Honda's introduces Uni-Cub, a Segway competitor that looks strikingly like Tux! (

McGruber writes: The Wall Street Journal's Driver's Seat blog has the news of Honda's newest electric vehicle, the Uni-Cub, a personal mobility device intended to compete against the Segway. Author Yoshio Takahashi describes it as a "single-seat, unicycle-like vehicle [that] looks something like a vacuum cleaner with a bicycle saddle mounted on top. Indeed, viewed from the side, its black-and-white color scheme makes it look strikingly like a penguin."

Submission + - Innovative demo with click-along technique ( 2

ValH writes: "We're all looking to provide demos that are clearer and more engaging. We've found a way to combine video narrative, background information, plus a web app that is both live *and* coordinated with the narrative. We've had a ton of positive feedback, we've not seen it done before, so we are sharing how we did it. The technical details are described in the article linked below the demo."

Submission + - Putting together a click-along demo (

MaxTardiveau writes: "When you write software for a living, you live and die by the demo. People ask you what your stuff does, and you show them. After a while, you get good at it (usually), but that's not a very scalable model. There's only one of you, and, try as you may, it takes a long time to make more of you.

I wanted to have a live web demo app with a video explaining what the app does, but I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't point things out in the app. Then it occurred to me that, actually, I could. The major video players have Javascript API's that can keep you informed of the video's progress. It's fairly easy, based on that, to use a bit of Javascript and jQuery to highlight specific portions of the app at specific times in the video.

Here's what I learned while putting this whole thing together."

Data Storage

Submission + - Data Safety In A Time Of Natural Disasters (

CowboyRobot writes: "The National Weather Service has begun testing the way it labels natural disasters. It's hoping that the new warnings, which include words like "catastrophic," "complete devastation likely," and "unsurvivable," will make people more likely to take action to save their lives. But what about their digital lives?
Recommendations include: Keep all electronics out of basements and off the floor, Unplug your hardware, Buy a surge protector, Enclose anything valuable in plastic
If the National Weather Service issued a "complete devastation" warning today, would your data be ready?"

Submission + - Megaupload Points Out That The Feds Want To Destroy Evidence In Its Case (

SolKeshNaranek writes: Summary: Megauplload says US Government wants to destroy critical evidence it needs to defend itself. This evidence is on the servers seized by the feds.

Excerpt from the long article:

There are all sorts of problems with the federal government's arguments against Megaupload. Even if the site and its founders are guilty of breaking the law, it's amazingly troubling to look at the details of how the government has gone about proving this. The most immediate situation, as we've been discussing, involves the handling of the data on Megaupload's servers.

Very soon after the raids, the feds told the hosting company that Megaupload used, Carpathia, that it no longer needed the data and that it could be destroyed. As we pointed out at the time, this made no sense at all. After all, the government is alleging that this content is at the center of a criminal conspiracy ring. So why would it want the evidence destroyed? Furthermore, it seems likely that there could be plenty of evidence on those servers that support Megaupload's case (ah, perhaps that's why the government wants it destoryed!).

Of course, since then, a bunch of parties, including Megaupload, EFF, Megaupload users and (oddly) the MPAA have gotten involved in trying to preserve the data, while the hosting firm, Carpathia has asked the court for permission to delete it, get paid for it, or have someone take it off their hands. Megaupload has specifically offered to pay Carpathia to get the servers, but since the government seized all its assets, it can't do that. Plus, the government has objected to this plan. Furthermore, the MPAA — which still wants the data preserved — has claimed that if the content goes to any third party it's infringement — and could lead to the revival of Megaupload.

Remainder of article in link.

Additional related information links:


Nearby Star May Have More Planets Than Our Solar System 102

The Bad Astronomer writes "HD 10180 is a near-twin of the Sun about 130 light years away. It's known to have at least six planets orbiting it, but a new analysis of the data shows clear indications of three more, for a total of nine! This means HD 10180 has more planets than our solar system. And whether you think Pluto is a planet or not, all nine of these aliens worlds have masses larger than Earth's, putting them firmly in the 'planet' category."

Submission + - USGS Implies Connection Between Seismic Activity and Fracking (

samazon writes: According to a recently proposed abstract by the United States Geological Survey, hydraulic fracturing, or more specifically the disposal of fracking wastewater, may be directly correlated to the increase in seismic activity in the midwest. Results of the paper will be presented on April 18th, but the language of the abstract seems to imply that there is a connection. After years of controversy regarding hydrofracking including ground water contamination and disclosure of chemical solutions, the results of the study, if conclusive, could influence the cost of natural gas due to increased regulations on wastewater disposal.

Submission + - How old is HIV? (

An anonymous reader writes: The news may not have seeped into the public consciousness, but recent research suggests that HIV made the leap from chimpanzees to humans sometime between 1884 and 1924, though conditions weren’t ripe for AIDS to spread widely until decades later. The history of HIV — and how African efforts to combat the epidemic have sometimes been more effective than the efforts of the West — are discussed in a revealing new book called Tinderbox, co-written by the Washington Post’s Craig Timberg and noted epidemiologist/medical anthropologist Daniel Halperin. Timberg places a lot of emphasis on the role of male circumcision in limiting the spread of HIV, noting in this interview that “men who have foreskins are 70-75 percent more likely to get HIV.”

Submission + - What is up with Facebook ads? ( 1

MaxTardiveau writes: "We created an ad on Facebook to promote our cool but niche software product, and we immediately got over 200 likes, mostly by young men from India. But this does not make any sense. Why India and not the US or China? Why do we see hardly any of the alleged click-through in our logs? I'm not accusing anyone of anything, I am just genuinely baffled. Are we collateral damage in the click wars?"

Submission + - Breaking should not be hard to do (

MaxTardiveau writes: "I'm always amazed to see how little consideration people put into software breakups, i.e. when you have to, or want to, stop using a main component of your system. Here are a few thoughts on this topic (featuring Demi Moore, no less), and an example of handling this often-painful issue gracefully."

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