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Submission + - SOPA Protest Pages (

RobinEggs writes: Since Slashdot's editorship see fit to post relentlessly about SOPA, but do not see fit to actually take an editorial stance or participate in the blackout, I thought we should at least get a thread in which to discuss the blackout as it unfolds and share with one another the best blacked-out sites.

My favorite so far is from TheOatmeal; their page has a good, simple explanation of the problem and explains it through their normal medium.

Don't forget that SOPA isn't officially dead until the end of the year, even if Eric Cantor has 'tabled' it for the moment. Write your congresspeople. Be heard. Make sure they never come back to this thing while they work for you.

And while you're writing letters to your congresspeople, write slashdot's editors and ask why they haven't done something about SOPA themselves. They buckled for scientology when that 'church' threatened the existence of slashdot, explaining their motives and urging readers to write their congresspeople; why won't they take the same public stance on something that threatens the entire internet?

Submission + - Dennis Ritchie has passed on (

An anonymous reader writes: Dennis Ritchie just passed away. I can think of nothing to say that you don't already know about him, except that once he claimed he'd never been a member of the Demigodic party. He was, of course, quite wrong. I feel like a pillar of the world has just broken.

Submission + - Dennis Ritchie, 1941-2011 (

An anonymous reader writes: Computer scientist Dennis Ritchie is reported to have died at his home this past weekend, after a long battle against an unspecified illness. No further details are available at the time of this blog post. [...]
The news of Ritchie's death was first made public by way of Rob Pike's Google+.

Comment Re:Digital (Score 3, Insightful) 130

Keeping a physical copy of all the books they want to is going to become a very overwhelming task

Given their hundreds of years of experience with an ever-growing collection, I'm confident they know what they're getting themselves into. Consider that their historical entitlement to receive a copy of each book published in the UK dates back to the early 1600s.

The library website implies that they do have digital resources. As for replacing physical with digital, consider that keeping a physical copy of each book is not only nice for continuing the historic archive, but also negates the technical unknowns of maintaining a massive archive of scans for (what I'm sure they hope will be) hundreds more years into the future. Who knows what the digital landscape will look like in hundreds of years...

Comment Re:Methane (Score 1) 186

There are lots of ways to avoid releasing methane. You can bury it deep enough, bury it somewhere cold, or create biochar. Probably lots of other ways too. If you do end up with some methane it's awfully handy for things like heating homes and generating electricity.

Sure...but that's not what TFA says. It's saying that we should just create big piles of organic matter. No burying, lining (under/around the pile), covering or processing of the organic matter required. Just a make a pile. From TFA:

  • "To remove CO2 from the atmosphere, the plant material has to be prevented from decomposing"
  • "Without access to oxygen, bacteria cannot break down plant material"
  • "All that is necessary is to pile the plants high enough, and the carbon at the bottom will stay put indefinitely"

Comment Re:Who is it for? (Score 1) 325

God (since that was mentioned in the review more than anything else, and I would imagine with a higher frequency than in the actual book)?

A quick search found what looks like the book's official website...complete with the author's autobiography which seems to indicate that God could well be a prominent theme throughout the book.

Amongst other things he apparently spent 2 years locked in a room doing nothing but studying the bible + physics and worked on flying cars, but didn't bother with a PhD because he didn't want to waste time trying to convince other people of his ideas...


Big Brother In the School Cafeteria? 425

AustinSlacker writes "An Iowa school district's lunch program asks children as young as 5 years old to memorize a four-digit PIN code so it can monitor what they eat in the school cafeteria - prompting some parents to claim it's an unhealthy case of 'Big Brother.' An over reaction by parents or an unnecessary invasion of privacy?"

School District Drops 'D' Grades 617

Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.

Submission + - Earth's upper atmosphere collapses. None know why (

An anonymous reader writes: An upper layer of Earth's atmosphere recently collapsed in an unexpectedly large contraction, the sheer size of which has scientists scratching their heads, NASA announced Thursday.
The layer of gas – called the thermosphere – is now rebounding again. This type of collapse is not rare, but its magnitude shocked scientists.

"This is the biggest contraction of the thermosphere in at least 43 years," said John Emmert of the Naval Research Lab, lead author of a paper announcing the finding in the June 19 issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters. "It's a Space Age record."

The collapse occurred during a period of relative solar inactivity – called a solar minimum from 2008 to 2009. These minimums are known to cool and contract the thermosphere, however, the recent collapse was two to three times greater than low solar activity could explain.


Submission + - Parrots, People and Pedagogies: A Look at Teaching (

grrlscientist writes: My thoughts on a research paper that describes an interesting technique for increasing active student participation in the classroom, improving reading comprehension and familiarizing students with quickly reading and evaluation scientific manuscripts whilst decreasing boredom and that passive classroom atmosphere that gets in the way of actual learning.

Education Official Says Bad Teachers Can Be Good For Students 279

Zenna Atkins, the chairman of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), has raised some eyebrows by saying that, "every school should have a useless teacher." She stresses that schools shouldn't seek out or tolerate bad teaching, but thinks bad teachers provide a valuable life-lesson. From the article: "... on Sunday Ms Atkins told the BBC that schools needed to reflect society, especially at primary level. 'In society there are people you don't like, there are people who are incompetent and there are often people above you in authority who you think are incompetent, and learning that ability to deal with that and, actually surviving that environment can be an advantage.'"

Comment Re:thousand and one laws (Score 1) 332

I suppose I was more posting facetiously than anything else...I do however very much appreciate your considerably more well-reasoned and eloquent response.

No, neither condensing to a single volume or banning abbreviations would result in positive outcomes. Nor would an arbitrary 1001 law limit for that matter. As you rightly point out, doing all this would result in us having a concise and yet completely unworkable law book.
Instead of imposing arbitrary quantitative restrictions, focus should be on having legislation which is, as you say, functional, complete and comprehensible.

I do think that raising the age of criminal responsibility above 10 should be considered. But that's a completely different topic altogether.

Ultimately, the best way to keep stupid laws of the books is to keep stupid politicians out of parliament.

We can hope, right?

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