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Submission + - Amazon challenges the patent system? (uspto.gov)

lite99 writes: It seems that the absurdity of patents has reached a new level? Amazon has patented the use of a white background and lights, arranged the usual way to take photographs of an object. Never been to a studio, no?

Submission + - 2014 And Scientists Still Using FORTRAN! (arstechnica.com)

InfoJunkie777 writes: When you go to any place where "cutting edge" scientific research is going on, strangely the computer language of choice is FORTRAN, the first computer language commonly used, invented in the 1950's. Meaning FORmula TRANslation, no language since has been able to match its speed. But three new contenders are explored here in the article. Your thoughts Slashdotters?

Submission + - The NSA and Snowden: Securing the All-Seeing Eye (acm.org)

ChelleChelle2 writes: Edward Snowden’s release of classified material exposing the existence of numerous global surveillance programs (obtained while working as an NSA contractor at Booz Allen Hamilton) has been referred to as “the most damaging breach of secrets in U.S. history.” Regardless of whether one choses to champion or condemn Snowden’s actions, it is apparent that the NSA needs to dramatically rework its security measures. In this article Bob Toxen, renown author of several books and articles on Linux Security, discusses the security practices that could have stopped Snowden. Equally interesting, he weighs in on the constitutionality and morality of the NSA’s spying on all Americans.

Comment Re:No, actually. (Score 1) 1188

If you do not, and you maintain that you can't compare the statistics, then there's no way you can say crimes are higher in the US either.

I don't think I ever claimed that crimes are higher in the US.

There is an objective reality. There are a certain number of crimes that occur in both countries each year. One country is more crime ridden than the other, even if only by a fraction of a percent. You assert we can't tell the difference.

No. I assert that we can't tell the difference from those sets of figures.

Again, if you can find a different report that you find suitable for comparison from either country, please post it and I'll read it. We can then discuss it.

Tell you what, why don't you start at the UK Stats Office:http://www.statistics.gov.uk/hub/crime-justice/crime/crime-trends/index.html. They explain when recorded crime is a better measure, and when a crime survey is better. If you look at the trend graphs, you can immediately see that in 2007/8 BCS reported 10 million incidents, while Police figures show only 5 million recorded crimes. Surveys report more crimes than police record. Or look at the Home Office report for 2007/8: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb0708.pdf. Burglaries 300,000 according to police, 800,000 according to the survey. Measuring different things in different ways.

You ask in another post "If you are unwilling to consider why methods are picked, what implications those methods have, and what institutional goals are supported by those methods and implications, then you are the essentially the most likely to be bullshitted by statistics.". I suggest that this comment applies very well to the OP who tried to compare US recorded crime figures with UK victim survey figures. And to anyone who gullibly believed the comparison actually meant anything.

Comment No, actually. (Score 3, Informative) 1188

I invite you to poke around the official numbers for both the US and the UK and make a counter argument.

Those statistics are measuring quite different things, and cannot be meaningfully compared.

The US figures are offences recorded by the police.

The UK figures you give are from the British Crime Survey - a survey of people, who are asked if they have been victims of crime. Such surveys always give much higher figures, for a variety of reasons.

In many ways a crime survey gives more useful numbers, as it measures victims rather than crimes, and isn't subject to recording differences. But the two really cannot be compared.

Comment Re:Securing peace by getting rid of the US (Score 2, Insightful) 922

Given how many wars were fought in Europe in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, and how many in the second half of the 20th, something must have happened. If it wasn't US troops, what was it? Why were the horrors of WWII enough to convince Europeans not to fight each other, when the horrors of WWI weren't?

That's just so bizarre it's hard to know where to start...
Apart from the fact that Europeans still are fighting each other in a number of conflicts, even if there had been no armed conflict at all in Europe since WW2, why on Earth would you assume that US presence caused that? Especially given the conflicts that have occured when US troops have been present.
OK, "if it wasn't US troops, what was it?" how about:

  • invention and development of the computer
  • widespread use of television
  • foundation of the United Nations
  • the invention of the bikini
  • the Roswell incident

All of these also happened around the end of WW2. And are as likely as your suggestion. Correlation does not imply causation.

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