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Submission + - New Jersey Gov. Christie: Parents should have choice in vaccinations 3

kwyjibo87 writes: New Jersey Governor and self-appointed public health expert Chris Christie weighed in on the public debate of whether or not parents should have a choice in vaccinating their children, telling reporters in the U.K. "I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well, so that’s the balance that the government has to decide," adding "Not every vaccine is created equal and not every disease type is as great a public health threat as others." These statements from Gov. Christie follow President Obama commenting in an interview with NBC: "There is every reason to get vaccinated — there aren’t reasons to not."

Gov. Christie quickly backpedaled on his "vaccine choice" comments, with the Governor's office stating, "The Governor believes vaccines are an important public health protection and with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated," but amending: "At the same time different states require different degrees of vaccination, which is why he was calling for balance in which ones government should mandate."

Submission + - Need for oil the most important reason for interfering in another country's war (

KCStymie writes: University of Warwick reports that researchers have for the first time provided strong evidence that support conspiracy theorists claims that oil is often the root cause for interfering in other countries civil wars. They found that the decision to interfere was dominated by the interveners’ need for oil over and above historical, geographical, or ethnic ties.

Submission + - Mozilla dusts off old servers, lights up Tor relays (

TechCurmudgeon writes: According to The Register:

Mozilla has given the Tor network a capacity kick with the launch of 14 relays that will help distribute user traffic. Engineers working under the Foundation's Polaris Project inked in November pulled Mozilla's spare and decommissioned hardware out of the cupboard for dedicated use in the Tor network. It included a pair of Juniper EX4200 switches and three HP SL170zG6 (48GB ram, 2*Xeon L5640, 2*1Gbps NIC) servers, along with a dedicated existing IP transit provider (2 X 10Gbps). French Mozilla engineer Arzhel Younsi (@xionoxfr) said its network was designed to fall no lower than half of its network capacity in the event of maintenance or failure.

The Polaris initiative was a effort of Mozilla, the Tor Project and the Centre for Democracy and Technology to help build more privacy controls into technology.

Submission + - A mattrass adjusts ambiance, starts coffeemaker, when you wake-up ( 1

mi writes: A smart mattress-cover will turn off lights when you go to sleep, get coffee ready when you’re waking up. Luna’s new device fits around the mattress like a cover, and monitors whether those sleeping on it are asleep. When it senses that they are, it can power down lights or change heating settings. And when it detects that they’re waking back up, it can start brewing coffee or turn the lights back on.

And while you’re asleep, it will track the room temperature and how much sleep you get, creating the perfect conditions. The bed has “dual zone temperature”, which means that it can monitor differnet sides of the bed separately.

The only disturbing piece about it comes at the very end of the article:

Data is stored on the smart mattress cover itself, and then sent to Luna for storage and analysis.

Submission + - NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained (

Vigile writes: Over the weekend NVIDIA sent out its first official response to the claims of hampered performance on the GTX 970 and a potential lack of access to 1/8th of the on-board memory. Today NVIDIA has clarified the situation again, this time with some important changes to the specifications of the GPU. First, the ROP count and L2 cache capacity of the GTX 970 were incorrectly reported at launch (last September). The GTX 970 has 52 ROPs and 1792 KB of L2 cache compared to the GTX 980 that has 64 ROPs and 2048 KB of L2 cache; previously both GPUs claimed to have identical specs. Because of this change, one of the 32-bit memory channels is accessed differently, forcing NVIDIA to create 3.5GB and 0.5GB pools of memory to improve overall performance for the majority of use cases. The smaller, 500MB pool operates at 1/7th the speed of the 3.5GB pool and thus will lower total graphics system performance by 4-6% when added into the memory system. That occurs when games request MORE than 3.5GB of memory allocation though, which happens only in extreme cases and combinations of resolution and anti-aliasing. Still, the jury is out on whether NVIDIA has answered enough questions to temper the fire from consumers.

Submission + - Is a Climate Disaster Inevitable? writes: Astrophysicist Adam Frank has an interesting article in the NYT postulating one answer to the Fermi paradox — that the human evolution into a globe-spanning industrial culture is forcing us through the narrow bottleneck of a sustainability crisis and that civilization inevitably leads to catastrophic planetary changes. According to Frank, our current sustainability crisis may be neither politically contingent nor unique, but a natural consequence of laws governing how planets and life of any kind, anywhere, must interact. Some excerpts:

The defining feature of a technological civilization is the capacity to intensively “harvest” energy. But the basic physics of energy, heat and work known as thermodynamics tell us that waste, or what we physicists call entropy, must be generated and dumped back into the environment in the process. Human civilization currently harvests around 100 billion megawatt hours of energy each year and dumps 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the planetary system, which is why the atmosphere is holding more heat and the oceans are acidifying.

All forms of intensive energy-harvesting will have feedbacks, even if some are more powerful than others. A study by scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, found that extracting energy from wind power on a huge scale can cause its own global climate consequences. When it comes to building world-girdling civilizations, there are no planetary free lunches.

By studying these nearby planets, we’ve discovered general rules for both climate and climate change (PDF). These rules, based in physics and chemistry, must apply to any species, anywhere, taking up energy-harvesting and civilization-building in a big way. For example, any species climbing up the technological ladder by harvesting energy through combustion must alter the chemical makeup of its atmosphere to some degree. Combustion always produces chemical byproducts, and those byproducts can’t just disappear

Comment Re:Show me the use case (Score 2) 74

Well, be happy because you are wrong. Many businesses don't need VR - like the corner market and such - but many businesses do. Anything design related like engineering companies, architecture firms, all the way to travel and entertainment. Hospitals and medical research, automotive, and so on. All will benefit greatly from being able to see and explore things they never could before. This puts million dollar 3D visualization facilities in reach of just about everyone.

And while there are many lining up to play GTA5 or similar first person mayhem kinds of games, regular people can have the equivalent of million dollar simulators in their own homes both for training and for enjoyment. Flight and driving simulations are transformed when the visuals become what you would actually see from cabs, cabins, and cockpits.

There isn't one killer app. It's a killer view in all sorts of different apps. Until you actually experience it it is hard to describe well enough to convey. What I can tell you is I have flown the real deal commercial and military flight simulators. Full motion, hemispherical projection, etc. They may have real cockpits but the out the window view is a 2D projection and flat. Very cool but not totally immersive. Do that in an Oculus Rift and now everything is 3D. You can use a mouse to aim and click on knobs and switches which isn't so realistic, but whatever plane you want to fly is simply a matter of programming. And it is far more immersive and real feeling than any simulator I've ever been in. That is no exaggeration. It's the same for driving sims. In 3D you can "feel" the car breaking loose just from the slight changes in angles that you can now perceive with the head tracking and 3D view. It is astonishing.

Architecture firms have been going nuts that they can now actually enter their creations and fine tune things as well as show them to customers. It's not just a "this is nice" kind of thing. The reports are that the architects are having "wow" moments and are modifying designs that they thought were fine before but once they can explore them in virtual space, they see that things could be even better.

Plenty of people won't have any use for VR at all. But plenty of others will see it as a game changer for their profession, their training, their hobbies, and possibly even their health. It's something you really need to experience to understand. And for the uses that really will push VR into all aspects of any kind of design and training, the game demonstrations don't cut it either.

VR is very weird. Those that haven't seen what it can do are much more likely to claim it is unimportant and will never catch on. Those that have seen can see the potential in everything from games and sims to real world valuable insight generators in many professions. I would bet you haven't actually experienced VR and therefor suffer from the inability to extrapolate. Trust me on this. When you put on an HMD and look around some environment you could never see otherwise, any environment that a computer can generate and synthesize, you will understand.

Comment Nice! I was one of the ones hit by these charges! (Score 5, Informative) 51

I started getting text messages on some celebrity quiz game but was just deleting them until I finally got tired of them. I looked the company up online and saw where people were complaining about getting slammed and charges showing up. I checked my bill and sure enough - there were the charges. I hadn't noticed them because they were down a couple of extra layers under something like "miscellaneous charges". I called T-Mobile to stop it and get the charges refunded but they had me contact the charging company to dispute and the charging company would only refund a couple of months. This had been going on for about 5 months. I called T-Mobile and insisted on total refunds and just got a runaround. I called my Senator and told his staff about it. They intervened and T-Mobile contacted me and gave me a full refund. The Senator's staff contacted me again and asked if I minded if my case data was used in their investigation and I told them not at all. Looks like it has all finally bore fruit.

The company - I would have to check my files for the name - said I had visited some web site and signed up for their celibrity quiz game. I had a static IP address at the time and sure as shit, they had it. I had apparently visited a site that was simply harvesting IP addresses, or somehow they associated my IP with my name. I would never sign up for some celebrity quiz. It was a simple slam.

Glad they all got nailed!

Submission + - Satellite captures glowing plants from space (

sciencehabit writes: About 1% of the light that strikes plants is re-emitted as a faint, fluorescent glow—a measure of photosynthetic activity. Today, scientists released a map of this glow as measured by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a NASA satellite launched in July with the goal of mapping the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The map reveals that tropical rainforests near the equator are actively sucking up carbon, while the Corn Belt in the eastern United States, near the end of its growing season, is also a sink. Higher resolution fluorescence mapping could one day be used to help assess crop yields and how they respond to drought and heat in a changing climate.

Submission + - Woz on being Aussie, and escaping Steve Jobs 'dogma' (

Techy77 writes: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has become an Aussie permanent resident. Wide-ranging interview on how Apple is escaping Steve Jobs' "dogma", why Google Glass is an admirable failure and why he isn't universally liked within Apple.

Submission + - Uber limits 'God view' to improve rider privacy (

mpicpp writes: Uber has rolled back employee access to its "God view" mode, which allows the company to track riders' locations and other data.

The ride service company was faced with questions about its privacy policies from U.S. Senator Al Franken, following a series of recent privacy debacles. Uber's updated policy is detailed in its response to the senator's questions.

Franken sent Uber a letter in November after news reports made two things clear: The ride service company collects lots of data on customers — and some executives don't exercise that power responsibly.

In one case, an Uber employee using "God View" easily tracked a reporter's movements on her way to a meeting. In another case, Uber executive Emil Michael proposed digging up dirt on journalists who were critical of his company and spread details of their personal lives.

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