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Submission + - Helping a billion people see clearly (

Ristoril writes: The term "nerd" has a certain stereotypical accessory associated with it: spectacles. Dr. Joshua Silver of Oxford University wants to bring this indispensable accoutrement of nerd-dom to billions of poor across the world. He and others have established the Centre for Vision in the Developing World (the latest incarnation of Adaptive Eyecare) for this purpose. Their goal is to distribute 1 billion adjustable eyeglasses to the poor of the world by the year 2020 (har har).

The glasses consist of a membrane that can be filled with fluid by the owner to meet their vision correction needs. No optician needed. I believe as the website that produces "News for Nerds," the readers of Slashdot will find this movement to be very compelling. I plan to donate as soon as possible, and perhaps to figure out a way to get myself a pair!

Comment Information Theory? (Score 3, Interesting) 109

I read an article about Information Theory a long, long time ago (which is probably why I can't Google it) wherein the authors demonstrated that the most efficient means of storing information would be by using an alphabet that had e (2.71828183) letters.

It was pretty interesting and has been stuck in my head. In any event, they surmised further that the closest we could get would be if we came up with some sort of trinary alphabet. They also opined that we were damned lucky to have binary as it's the next-most-efficient alphabet.

Comment ISP Safe Haven (Score 2, Insightful) 230

So can we expect ISPs to start incorporating in Texas the way that credit card companies like to incorporate in Delaware? Granted, the former would be for protection from industry harassment and the latter is for protection from usury laws, but if I were an ISP I'd certainly look on Texas as a nice place to call "home" for legal purposes.
United States

Submission + - Scientists and Engineers Honored by President

Ristoril writes: Sixty-seven of America's most promising scientists and engineers were invited to the White House last Friday to hob-nob with the President and other top US officials. From the wiki, The Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers is an award program that honors and supports "the extraordinary achievements of young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers in the fields of science and technology." The official press release is here. Do you think they discussed the the probability of the recent perfect showcase bid?

Comment The sad state of science education (Score 1) 713

What this book and the popularity of these alternative approaches to health and healing show is that people don't believe the science education they were given.

Most people are familiar - at least vaguely - with the Scientific Method. They were introduced to it in middle school or earlier.

While it's fun to laugh at the people that believe in this stuff and meet an early grave or a debilitating chronic condition because of their belief in this hocus-pocus, I believe we'd be better served (and more moral) if we were to focus on the big questions:

Why don't people believe in science? Why don't they know or keep the Scientific Method close to their hearts? What could we be doing better to make sure that quackery like this passes away naturally as it would in any system wherein most people subscribed to the SM?

We all know this stuff doesn't work (beyond the power of the placebo), but we're obviously in the minority. As Stephen Colbert might opine, this stuff is succeeding in the market, so it must be true.

If we want to save people from doom, we should look at improving either the quality or the retention of our science education.


China Launches Antitrust Probe Vs. Microsoft 295

snydeq writes "China has launched an investigation into whether Microsoft unfairly dominates its software market, according to a state media report. A working committee of China's State Intellectual Property Office is investigating whether Microsoft engaged in discriminatory pricing and will also look at Microsoft's practice of bundling other software programs within its Windows operating system, according to the report. The probe is part of a greater sweep of operating systems and other software developed by multinational companies that cost much more in China than in the U.S. 'On the one hand, global software firms, taking advantage of their monopoly position, set unreasonably high prices for genuine software while on the other hand, they criticise Chinese for poor copyright awareness. This is abnormal,' a source said."
The Military

Wikileaks Gets Hold of Counterinsurgency Manual 999

HeavensBlade23 writes in to let us know that Wikileaks has published a US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual, titled Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004). "The document, which has been verified, is official US Special Forces doctrine. It directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it directly advocates the extensive use of 'psychological operations' (propaganda) to make these and other 'population & resource control' measures more palatable."

Replacement For Aging Doppler Radar Being Tested 105

longacre writes "Due to its limited range and slow scan times, the backbone of weather prediction in the US since the early 1990s, the NEXRAD radar system, is deeply flawed in the eyes of meteorologists. A new system being tested by researchers at the NOAA and four universities called the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) network aims to fill the holes left by NEXRAD, using radar nodes piggybacked onto existing infrastructure, such as rooftops and cell towers. From the article: 'Based on faster and more comprehensive data collection, [Distributed Collaborative Adaptive Sensing] processing can refocus the CASA radars on a particularly interesting part of a storm (like an area that looks like it might develop a tornado) without losing track of an entire storm cell. "The system is continuously diagnosing the atmosphere and reallocating resources using wireless Internet as a backbone," says [the CASA team director].' Testing has begun in Oklahoma, Houston, and Puerto Rico, and initial installations could begin in 5 years."

All Your Coffee Are Belong To Us 354

Wolf nipple chips writes "Craig Wright discovered that the Jura F90 Coffee maker, with its honest-to-God Jura Internet Connection Kit, can be taken over by a remote attacker, who can cause the coffee to be weaker or stronger; change the amount of water per cup; or cause the machine to require service (call this one a DDoC). 'Best yet, the software allows a remote attacker to gain access to the Windows XP system it is running on at the level of the user.' An Internet-enabled, remote-controlled coffee-machine and XP backdoor — what more could a hacker ask for?"

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