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Comment Re:Not interesting (Score 2) 85

Not to nitpick, but "survival of the fittest" is one of the greatest misconceptions out there. A male peacock without huge plumes would be far more efficient in mobility. But since the plumage attracts females, the selection pressure is tilted in a direction having little to do with direct survival characteristics. Indeed we often do NOT see the "fittest" survive, but rather species that specialize and carve out little niches. This also explains why the biodiversity we observe exists.


World's Oldest Fossils Found In Australia 85

Dexter Herbivore sends this quote from the Washington Post: "Scientists analyzing Australian rocks have discovered traces of bacteria that lived a record-breaking 3.49 billion years ago, a mere billion years after Earth formed. If the find withstands the scrutiny that inevitably faces claims of fossils this old, it could move scientists one step closer to understanding the first chapters of life on Earth. The discovery could also spur the search for ancient life on other planets. These traces of bacteria 'are the oldest fossils ever described. Those are our oldest ancestors,' said Nora Noffke, a biogeochemist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk who was part of the group that made the find and presented it last month at a meeting of the Geological Society of America."

Comment Lost yard equipment to E10. Now I'm more careful. (Score 1) 375

I didn't really care about the difference between 100% gas and E10. I thought it was a bunch of hoopla from competing political interests. Then I lost a trimmer and a tiller to ethanol's corrosive powers. Within a couple of weeks of being fueled with E10, both had developed holes in the gas tanks and were dead. Happily my mower didn't suffer the same fate.

The moral? Don't let E10 sit in your trimmer or other yard equipment. In fact, use 100% gas in them when possible.

Comment It's all about containment. (Score 1) 390

The likely concern the government has with this publicly-available classified information is the chance that someone with legitimate access to related information might download and (perhaps unintentionally) combine it with unclassified information. That act causes the all that data to become classified... thus causing an information "spillage" on many unclassified systems. Cleaning up classified information spillages is very expensive for the government... even minor ones.

Thus the main idea here is to stop this problem from occurring before Murphy's Law can take effect. Nothing sinister, just pragmatic.

The Courts

Apple Asks Judge To Shutter Psystar's Clone Unit 346

CWmike writes "Apple wants a federal judge to shut down Psystar's Mac clone operation and order the company to pay more than $2.1 million in damages, according to court documents. The move was the first by Apple since US District Court Judge William Alsup ruled that Psystar violated Apple's copyright and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when it installed Mac OS X on clones it sold. Alsup's Nov. 13 order, which granted Apple's motion for summary judgment and quashed Psystar's similar request, was a crushing blow to the Florida company's legal campaign. In a motion filed Monday, Apple asked Alsup to grant a permanent injunction that would force Psystar to stop selling any computer bundled with Mac OS X; using, selling or even owning software that lets it crack Apple's OS encryption key to trick Mac OS X to run on non-Apple hardware; and 'inducing, aiding or inducing others in infringing Apple's copyright.'" Groklaw has summarized Apple's request as well, and noted that Apple has also filed a motion to dismiss Psystar's litigation in Florida (or transfer it to California, where the above injunction was filed).

The State of Ruby VMs — Ruby Renaissance 89

igrigorik writes "In the short span of just a couple of years, the Ruby VM space has evolved to more than just a handful of choices: MRI, JRuby, IronRuby, MacRuby, Rubinius, MagLev, REE and BlueRuby. Four of these VMs will hit 1.0 status in the upcoming year and will open up entirely new possibilities for the language — Mac apps via MacRuby, Ruby in the browser via Silverlight, object persistence via Smalltalk VM, and so forth. This article takes a detailed look at the past year, the progress of each project, and where the community is heading. It's an exciting time to be a Rubyist."

Comment Re:Free market (Score 1, Insightful) 555

The problem with the "free market" is it isn't free -- the big players have made sure that nobody will ever be able to compete with them thanks to lock-ins, onerous penalties on contracts, and other anti-competitive measures. Not to mention the billions of dollars necessary to start a cell phone service on a national level.

"Free markets" are a myth; you either have regulation or monopoly. Neither of which are very desirable, but that's the way things work outside an Ayn Rand book.


Verizon Droid Tethering Comes At a Hefty Price 555

Pickens writes "Tom Bradley reports in PC World that the new Motorola Droid smartphone will cost users $199.99 with a 2-year contract, with an additional $30 per month for the mandatory 'unlimited' data plan that has a monthly cap of 5Gb. Verizon will charge $50 for each additional gigabyte over the 5Gb limit on the unlimited data plan. Verizon has confirmed that tethering will cost another $30 per month for an additional unlimited data plan that is also limited to 5Gb. If you want tethering you will pay $60 above and beyond the monthly contract for service for an 'unlimited' 10Gb of data per month, and if you plan on connecting with an Microsoft Exchange email account you have to pay another $15 a month. 'Verizon seems to be doing everything it can to make the Droid as unappealing as possible by nickel and diming customers so that actually using it is not cost-effective,' writes Bradley. 'After all of the hype around Verizon's marketing efforts, and generally favorable reviews of the Motorola Droid, users that rush out to get the new device may be in for a shock.' Droid users will have to wait until sometime in 2010 for tethering. 'That service is on our schedule for next year,' says Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney. The delay is because 'the service has to be tested on the phone so until we know it works, we don't offer the service. It is not uncommon for us to introduce the phone and continue to test the service and offer it later.'"

Comment Another standard approved today (Score 4, Funny) 115

In related news, the same body has approved a special security packet encapsulator consisting of pigmented lipids that bond the rolled packet together, with a special imprinted signature to establish non-deniability of the transmitter and ensure the packet has not been intercepted and examined by third parties.

The standard was submitted for approval in '02.

That is, 0002.

Comment HTML 5? (Score 2, Interesting) 417

I think Adblock may do more harm than good. With all the major browsers moving towards HTML 5, advertisers will have many more opportunities to inject intrusive advertising into web content with simple CSS commands. We have already seen CSS-layer popups that require JavaScript to be enabled to make them go away -- which then allows the other ads to display.

At some point these industries have to make money, and they only make money from advertising. There has to be a decent middle ground here.

Comment Re:Peak Oil necessitates energy conservation (Score 1) 874

The problem is that we are basing our species' survival on a resource that was already formed when the dinosaurs first showed up. "Market forces" tend to be more like collapses and disasters, rather than gradual shifts. I think I would rather transition to renewable energy smoothly, than Use the Market Force, Luke. Because there definitely is a Dark Side to it.

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