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Submission + - Ansel Adams Act Would Allow Photographs in Public Spaces ( 1

davidannis writes: Photographers have been harassed for taking pictures in public places since 9/11. One was arrested for participating in an Amtrak contest. The park service is charging fees. Representative Steve Stockman (R, Texas) addresses the problem with the Ansel Adams Act which he introduced today. It says "It is contrary to the public policy of the United States to prohibit or restrict photography in public spaces, whether for private, news media, or commercial use." The act prohibits government agencies from prohibiting photography for National Security Reasons without a court order, from charging photographers fees, and prohibits equipment from being confiscated.

Federal law enforcement officers or private contractors shall not seize any photographic equipment or their contents or memory cards or film, and shall not order a photographer to erase the contents of a camera or memory card or film.

Comment Surcharges for renewable energy are a crock (Score 1) 288

Here in Michigan, where the law says utilities must produce 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2015 (a low standard compared to other states) I am constantly offered an opportunity to pay extra for my energy to be renewable. Since the utilities are ramping up to the 10% minimum anyway they'll produce no more renewable energy if I pay the premium and no less if I don't. They produced about 4% from renewable sources in 2013. Hence, all the surcharges are is a marketing gimmick and all subscribing does is allow them to sell me the same power at a higher profit margin.

Comment fMRI (Score 1) 552

fMRI looks at what regions of the brain are active (by looking at which the rate at which different regions consume oxygen) and has been used to communicate with patients that can not otherwise communicate. First the patient is told to imagine two different activities (one at a time) like walking through a house and playing tennis. The pattern of brain activation is different for each thing but consistent between trials. Then, you can ask questions like "imagine playing tennis if X or walking through the house if not X" The results have been widely replicated. It has been widely used in MCS (minimally conscious state) but no reason it should not work in locked in patients. You can google it and find lots of article. Here are a couple.

Submission + - Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion ( 1

davidannis writes:

Comcast is expected to announce on Thursday an agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable for more than $45 billion in stock, a deal that would combine the biggest and second-biggest cable television operators in the country. For Comcast, which completed its acquisition of NBC Universal, the television and movie powerhouse, from General Electric less than a year ago, the latest deal would be its second big act to radically reshape the media landscape in the United States. And the merger is almost certain to bring to an end a protracted takeover battle that Charter Communications has been waging for Time Warner Cable.

For consumers, this means an even larger company with a reputation for poor customer service aggressively lobbying against things like net neutrality.

Submission + - Should My Child Stay in an Inner City School? ( 1

davidannis writes: Although I live in an affluent school district and have two kids who attend local schools my youngest child attends Post Oak Elementary in Lansing, MI. It is an inner city school with inadequate funding and a disadvantaged student population. I've been very happy with my choice to send him there because they offer an immersion Chinese program, allowing him to spend half of the day learning in Mandarin and half of the day learning in English. However, I definitely give up a lot by sending him there and now I am struggling with whether I should send him to fourth grade in Lansing or move him. What would you do and why?

Comment Re:Not so fast ! (Score 1) 309

Their fake vaccine programme that preceded their extra judicial murder of Osama Bin Laden is what has caused the distrust.

In fact, there have been problems with Muslim opposition to vaccination, including opposition from the Taliban since long before the U.S. killed Bin Laden.

But even with the express support of political leaders, polio workers have been kidnapped, beaten, and assassinated.[57] In February 2007, physician Abdul Ghani, who was in charge of polio immunizations in a key area of disease occurrence in northern Pakistan, was killed in a terrorist bombing.

In fact Muslim suspicion of vaccines has been a problem for over a decade, causing vaccinations programs to be suspended repeatedly.

However, even if the U.S. disguising an intelligence worker was the cause of the suspicion, would you excuse the killing of firemen by AQ if the U.S. had disguised somebody as a fireman or do people have an obligation to support society and civilization?

Comment It's a cute idea that doesn't fix the problem.. (Score 3, Insightful) 674

even if the problem was not oversimplified. The problem is less that productivity increased but more that political power is more concentrated. I get micropayments for some of my content now, using Google's adsense. It's not enough to buy a cup of coffee a day and I've worked at it. Fundamentally, the problem is how society is structured and the balance between the power of labor and capital. We've seen other great revolutions in productivity from the agricultural to the industrial revolutions. When society distributes those gains more equitably, civilization flourishes and standards of living go up.

Comment The system that really leads to low quality (Score 3, Interesting) 308

You take a young researcher who has put 7 years into a PhD and 3 into a postdoc, have them write grants that on average grant 20% of applicants funding, and give them a mandate to publish or kiss their career goodbye. They can't take a chance on looking at a hypothesis that has a small chance of revolutionizing their field, because if it doesn't pan out they are screwed. So, the researcher chooses a hypothesis that is safe. They spend a year or two gathering data at great expense. Now, if that data comes back and is ambiguous there is a strong incentive to use the data set to test other hypotheses. The problem with that is eventually you find a hypothesis that gives significant results just by chance. Some of the solutions are to:
  1. 1. Evaluate based on more than just publications. Look at what the scientist did, why they did it, and how they did it.
  2. 2. Get journals to publish negative results. That way if you test a theory and find it is wrong, it still counts as successful research.
  3. 3. Set aside 20% of research funds to fund replication of published studies. Right now there is no downside to publishing a result that is likely spurious because nobody is likely to figure it out for decades. If a researcher knows that there is a 20% chance his study will be replicated the following year it will make him very careful to do things right. Make reproducing experiments count toward career progression.
  4. 4. Include grant applications with the papers that they produce. That way readers can see if the hypothesis tested in the paper is actually the one that the scientist set out to test. If not, there should be information on why and on how many alternate hypotheses were tested.

Comment Re:Not that easy to blame the contractors (Score 4, Interesting) 786

Obama and his people delayed the rules for Obamacare so they would not come out before the 2012 elections. That delayed the writing of the code for the website and they continued to issue changes right before the site was about to be released.

Actually, a lot of that delay was to try to accommodate Republican state legislatures and Governors in the hopes that they would step up to the plate and create state run exchanges. In my state (Michigan) the Republican Governor fought the Republican Legislature to be able to build our own exchange but lost.

Comment Re:I donâ(TM)t suppose... (Score 1) 622

So you are advocating that journalists keep all their data on computer because we all know that if data is encrypted that computers are impregnable fortresses of data security -NOT. When data brokerage services, hundreds of U.S. companies, the Iranian nuclear program, and banks are hacked, botnets run wild, not to mention the NSA spying I would argue that even if you had an IT security department you might be safer keeping only paper records.

Comment Dream for Attackers? That's a bit rich (Score 1) 122

E-mail is fundamentally insecure. SMTP is easily spoofed because it has no authentication mechanism. By default every message travels unencrypted and nobody bothers to correct that. I can not remember the last time I got an e-mail that was encrypted. Sure gmail may provide me with an ssl connection to read my mail but any message in my inbox could have bounced all over the net in the clear. Every large e-mail provider has been repeatedly hacked. If you have are using a set of insecure protocols with no encryption adding another possibly insecure service doesn't change things much.

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