StartsWithABang writes: When it comes to risk assessment, there’s one type that humans are notoriously bad at: the very low-frequency but high-consequence risks and rewards. It’s why so many of us are so eager to play the lottery, and simultaneously why we’re catastrophically afraid of ebola and plane crashes, when we’re far more likely to die from something mundane, like getting hit by a truck. One of the examples where science and this type of fear-based fallacy intersect is the science of asteroid strikes. With all we know about asteroids today, here's the actual risk to humanity, and it's much lower than anyone cares to admit.
acidradio writes: The city of Monticello, MN (about an hr. drive north of Minneapolis) decided to roll out its own city-wide broadband network after all of the local phone and cable providers shafted them with either expensive or no service at all. Ironically carriers that never wanted to offer any kind of significant broadband in Monticello went to court and the Public Utilities Commission to fight Monticello's construction of this network! If they can't sell the broadband in Monticello nobody else can? Providers testified that it was not feasible for any of them to offer broadband or they could only offer it at low speeds for ripoff prices. After all that Charter is now offering a combined TV/DVR/cable modem package for $60/mo which is normally offered in other communities for significantly more than that. Maybe competition does help the consumer here!
gzipped_tar writes: A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that a public high school teacher in Mission Viejo, California may not be sued for making hostile remarks about religion in his classroom. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by a student charging that the teacher’s hostile remarks about creationism and religious faith violated a First Amendment mandate that the government remain neutral in matters of religion. A three-judge panel of the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the lawsuit against an advanced placement history teacher must be thrown out of court because the teacher was entitled to immunity.
Khyber writes: "In a vote of 56 yeas to 43 nays, with one abstaining, the Cloture Motion to restore Habeas Corpus has been halted, with a 3/5 majority vote unable to be attained. Article 6 states their oath to uphold the constitution, Article 4 states that habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless in cases of rebellion and invasion when the public safety may require it. It's becoming a very dark age, indeed."
Mark D. Drapeau writes: "Could biological metaphors about networking and systems shed light on one of the most difficult issues of our time — terrorism? According to a new op-ed in the 31 July 2007 Washington Times, and a new book entitled The Starfish and the Spider, the answer is a resounding "Yes". An excerpt from the op-ed reads:
*** Most large institutions are organized hierarchically with centralized leadership. Corporations have CEOs, armies have generals, countries have presidents. When competing against centralized organizations, promoting diffusion and disrupting cohesion are considered progressive.
However, al Qaeda has a constantly mutating, horizontal structure composed of an inspirational catalyst in the form of Osama bin Laden and other central figures joined with numerous small groups brought together not by orders but ideology. Here, lack of structure is a strength. Little thought is given, however, to how such a decentralized terrorist network structure affects the strategy for combating it.
"The Starfish and the Spider," a new book about corporate strategy written for a business audience, has a wider application — combating terrorism — and sheds light on this issue.***
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