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Submission + - "Filthy Rich People Who Happen to be Geeks" and the Coming Tech Backlash (economist.com)

davsi writes: An article in a special "The World in 2014" issue of The Economist sees a brewing populist backlash against the culture of tech behemoths, linking them to the universally-beloved figures of bankers and oilmen. First, there's the parties:

one tech-bash featured a 600lb tiger in a cage and a monkey that posed for Instagram photographs. Google maintains a small fleet of private planes and helicopters at a local airport."

"Sean Parker’s multi-million-dollar wedding last June in a forest in California’s Big Sur stretched the bounds of forgiveness. The 364 guests were dressed in Tolkien-inspired costumes (designed and fitted by the woman who created the costumes for “The Lord of the Rings”). Sting sang one of the the couple’s favourite songs. Mr Parker, who founded Napster and was Facebook’s first president, gave every guest a leather-bound volume relating the “fairy tale” of the couple’s romance."

Then there's the free-riding:

"...so far [many tech companies] have succeeded in protecting themselves from the tax authorities and shareholders alike. Mark Zuckerberg owns 29.3% of Facebook. Larry Ellison owns 24% of Oracle. By contrast the largest single investor in Exxon Mobil controls only 0.04% of the stock.

...with a market cap of $290 billion Google is about six times bigger than GM but employs only around a fifth as many workers.

All this (and more) leads to the conclusion:

...one of the big developments of 2014 will be the growing peasants’ revolt against the sovereigns of cyberspace. The Silicon elite will cease to be regarded as geeks who happen to be filthy rich and become filthy rich people who happen to be geeks.

So: are these tech companies being attacked for being too successful, or are they not living up to their responsibilities? Are a few caged tiger-parties (who hasn't had 'em?) getting blown out of proportion, or have big tech companies been exempted from criticism for too long?

Submission + - Why did dinosaurs grow to giant sizes, while mammals remained relatively small? (insidescience.org)

benonemusic writes: A new study in the journal PLOS ONE suggests that dinosaurs reached gigantic proportions relative to mammals because of differences in their cartilage, making their joints squishier and able to sustain greater amounts of force. Other factors contributed to dinosaurs' larger sizes, including their lighter, air-sac-filled skeletons, and some researchers point out that the sizes of some dinosaurs and mammals were approximately equal, so anatomical differences between cartilage in dinosaurs and mammals may not directly explain why some dinosaurs grew to larger sizes.

Comment Toxic carbon nanotubes vs. nice-sounding jamz (Score 1) 102

I guess it isn't known whether carbon nanotubes are toxic: "These results suggest that carbon nanotubes are potentially toxic to humans and that strict industrial hygiene measures should to be taken to limit exposure during their manipulation." (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0041008X0500013X)

Comment Worth a LyX (Score 1) 1

A great, minimal frontend for LaTeX is LyX. I've been using it for years, and I'd recommend it first as a way to get into LaTeX, but also as a time-efficient way to produce documents when the task does not justify working directly on source (which for me is almost always, given the power of LyX).

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