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America Online

Submission + - Is AOL finally crashing and burning? (

An anonymous reader writes: AOL's disastrous quarterly report showed cash from continuing operations was down 44% from a year ago (while "adjusted operating income" was down 37%), as it continues a rocky transition from monthly subscription fees into advertising. (Their quarterly report also notes "the cessation of large-scale access subscriber acquisition campaigns" — investor-speak for the fact that AOL will finally stop mass mailings of free trial accounts.) Unfortunately, AOL's advertising business "did even worse. Its revenues declined by $110 million...every single segment is down." AOL has already lost 86% of the 30 million subscribers it reported in 2001 — down to just 4.3 million — but advertising hasn't yet filled the gap (possibly because many AOL ads had been displayed to the users AOL no longer has). But at least, as one technology blogger notes, AOL has finally released a mobile application, "In the new definition of 'late to the party'."

Submission + - Human ES cells identical with RP Cells

An anonymous reader writes: Human embryonic stem (ES) cells and adult cells reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state—so-called induced pluripotent stem or iPS cells—exhibit very few differences in their gene expression signatures and are nearly indistinguishable in their chromatin state, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. iPS cells are made by introducing three key genes into adult cells. These reprogramming factors push the cells from a mature state to a more flexible embryonic stem cell-like state. Like ES cells, iPS cells can then, in theory, be coaxed to mature into almost any type of cell in the body. Unlike ES cells, iPS cells taken from a patient are not likely to be rejected by that patient's immune system. This difference overcomes a major hurdle in regenerative medicine.

Submission + - Australian IT Policy Debate Scheduled (

kandela writes: The Australian reports that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will debate Coalition and Greens shadows Tony Smith and Scott Ludlam at the National Press Club next Tuesday. Amongst topics covered in the debate will be the national broadband network and internet filter policy. The event is being put on by the Australian Computer Society and which will be shown on Sky News and hosted by the station's political editor David Speers.

Comment Re:The VA is not a valid comparisson for anything! (Score 1) 804

My atrocious math aside, you miss the point of my post. (And really at $0.66 verses $0.02, either makes my point. Okay, we can all get a free band-aid now, woo hoo!)

My assertion was that you cannot provide the same guaranteed level of care that a veteran gets through the VA on a nationwide scale. Your point about everyone not needing the same dollar amount of health care is well taken, but irrelevant. It doesn't matter that some veterans will use more or less, my point was that on average, the VA can afford to spend $40,000 on each veteran before it is in danger of becoming insolvent because you have 20 tax payers supporting the care of 1 veteran.

If you flip the scenario and have 1 tax payer supporting the health care of 3 citizens, as would be the case with universal coverage, you no longer have a subsidized system like the VA. That doesn't mean universal health insurance is not feasible. It just means you cannot guarantee that it will function with the same quality of care as the VA does.

Again, the VA system is not a health insurance system, it is a system of taxpayer subsidized health care for veterans.

And by the way, 100 million is an accurate enough estimate, especially when you look at the fact that out of the 132 million tax returns filed in 2006, 43 million of showed a $0 tax liability. (link).

Comment The VA is not a valid comparisson for anything! (Score 1) 804

DO you know what group is alway rated the best health care and service through independent studies?
The VA.
That right a government run program. Cheaper drugs, better service, healthier people.

Do you know why the VA is so good? Do you know why veterans get such a good deal on health care?

It's because the VA is not universal health insurance, it's government subsidized health care. Veterans get such cheap health care because the all of the taxpayers in the U.S. pay to subsidize their health care.

The VA is not health insurance. It's a service we in the U.S. provide (and rightfully so!) to all of our Veterans in exchange for the invaluable military service they have provided us.

Any comparison of the the VA to any insurance based scheme of coverage is inherently flawed and impossible to make. There is no way an insurer, public or private, could provide the level of coverage the VA does at the same expense rate.

Think about it, it's simple math. Let's say there are 100 million tax payers in the U.S. and they all pay on average $2 in taxes that goes to support the VA. Let's further assume that there are 5 million veterans eligible for VA health benefits. That means you have $200 million to spend on 5 million people or about $40,000 per veteran for healthcare.

Let's assume that we go with universal insurance in the U.S with the same tax burden as the VA. Now that $200 million has to cover 300 million U.S. citizens. That's $0.02 a person. To get that same $40,000 per person coverage you would have need to generate 12 trillion dollars in revenue, or about $120,000 per tax payer in revenue.

Any comparison of the enduser costs of a VA member to the enduser costs of an insurer are impossible. With the VA you have the many supporting the few. With an insurer you at best many supporting many, and in the case of universal insurance few supporting many.

Comment "State" != Federal Government (Score 1) 1088

"No State shall make any Thing but Gold and Silver Coin a tender in Payment of Debts"

Yes, exactly, no State can issue currency unless its backed by Silver or Gold. The clause in no way limits the Federal Government from issuing fiat currency.

Remember your civics, state governments and the federal government are two autonomous governing bodies. The Constitution, specifically Article I Section 10, was about delineating the separation of powers between them.

Comment Speculation and Investment (Score 1) 199

First off, I watched that video, and Peter Schiff's comments, while prescient, did not call "every American stock" a "speculative gamble." His comments mostly had to do with the unwinding of the credit and housing bubbles, and what little reference he did make to stocks were with respect to financial companies, and with respect to those, he was of course right.

Financial companies' balance sheets are notoriously tough to understand and far from transparent. Go look at a company AIG or Goldman Sachs's 10-Q, and then look at a company like Apple or Caterpillar's and you will see what I mean. In part it's due to the nature of the beast because financial companies often hold all sorts of securities, loans, derivatives, and other paper, and they simply cannot line item all of these in even a couple hundred pages. Additionally some of these assets do not have a liquid market to trade in (i.e., they rarely if ever change hands), and thus, their current value has be be calculated based on projections and models.

Now back to your question of a formal method for investing, there are plenty of books out there for that, and it would take more than one post to outline one. However, here are some simple guidelines for a conservative investor to follow:

1) Always invest in companies that pay dividends. There are plenty of companies out there that pay pretty sizable dividends if you look outside the tech sector. I could go on forever about this, but safe to say that dividends are not only an instant return on your investment, but also if they are reinvested they can act like compound interest. Also, make sure the company is earning enough to pay out its dividend.

2) Only invest in companies whose business you can understand. This is for piece of mind, and will allow you to better see how changes in the economic landscape will affect a given company whose stock you own.

3) Always diversify your investments. No one stock or business sector (e.g., tech, health care, oil, materials) can make up more than 20% of your portfolio. Look at the tech bubble in 2000 or the financial crisis this last year. If you were all in tech or financial (respectively) you were probably did really well during the boom but were wiped out by the bust. Diversification helps mitigate this risk. It'll keep you from maxing out your returns, but it'll also prevent you from catastrophic losses.

Fundamentally, any investment involves taking a risk. The greater the risk, the greater the reward. The key to investing is to understand the downside risk and the potential upside of your investment so that you can make an informed choice in your decision.


Submission + - How DRM can save your local Music Store

morlock_man writes: "Music stores have traditionally been repositories for older formats of media as well as featuring new artists. Using these new distribution formats, these stores can now stock over 10 times as many artists in the same volume of space. And where a customer would previously purchase 1 album for $20, the can now purchase 10 full compilation albums for preview at the same price. Full article."
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple denies "Big Stevie" isn't watching

Webster Phreaky writes: Apple denies Apple TV 'backdoor' claims Apple isn't deleting hacks from the Apple TV, a report explains Macworld staff Apple has denied recent reports that is has enabled a "back-door" into the Apple TV which enables the company to prevent unsupported hacks. A wave of recent reports emerging from hacker websites have claimed that those engaged in attempting to extend the features of the device have seen code they have inserted into the machine disappear overnight, leading to speculation that Apple can return Apple TV units to factory settings. Apple is denying these claims, according to EnGadget. The report explains: "Apple's stance, it claims, is more along the lines of: it's your box, do with it what you please — but be mindful of voiding that warranty." The report suggests that some hacks may not be staying on the machine because the machine isn't built quite the way the hackers think it is at present. (COMMENT): Apple has a MUCH BIGGER Problem, the AppleTV apparently is your typical Apple Buggy Piece of Sh!t according to ALL THE BUG REPORTS on ( 090814465) and Mac Bug reporting sites ( )

Submission + - EFF: Patent Busting -- Prior Art Needed for VOIP

JumperCable writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation is seeking to bust an overly broad patent by a company called Acceris. Acceris claims patents on processes that implement voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) using analog phones as endpoints. These patents cover telephone calls over the Internet.

Specifically, the claims describe a system that connects two parties where the receiving party does not need to have a computer or an Internet connection, but the call is routed in part through the Internet or any other "public computer network". The calls must also be "full duplex", meaning that both parties can listen and talk at the same time, like in an ordinary phone call.

To bust these overly broad claims, we need "prior art" — any publication, article, patent or other public writing that describes the same or similar ideas being implemented before September 20, 1995.

Submission + - Most Americans think media has liberal bias

MCraigW writes: "The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well — 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn't take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows. Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias."

Submission + - Cisco to buy WebEx

georgewilliamherbert writes: C/Net is reporting that Cisco is going to buy Santa Clara, CA based WebEx for $3.2 billion, with the transaction expected to close in the fourth quarter. WebEx had revenues of around $380 million in 2006. This would provide an interesting expansion of Cisco's business into business services.

Submission + - British Toddlers Prepped to Code

Jen writes: "The Early Years Foundation Curriculum, to be installed in 2007 is a list of 'early-learning goals for all schoolchildren and schoolchildren-to-be, starting in infancy. An article in The Guardian gives some details of the plan. Of note to Slashdot, on the list for 40-60+ months is the standard "Complete a simple program on a computer." Since most of the adult population I'm aware of can't do this, it seems a pretty ambitious goal, but maybe it'll solve that upcoming coder deficit in the news a few days back."

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