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Comment The neo-reactionaries are deluded and myopic (Score 1) 730

For most of human history people lived under the social systems these people are advocating. Enlightenment civilization, of which democracy and free markets are only two components, is less than 400 years old, and in that time we've seen a flowering of technological and cultural growth that dwarfs everything else that happened in the previous millennia of human civilization. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I think it more likely the neo-reactionaries are analogous to the cranks who write papers claiming to disprove quantum physics and then post them to the world using tools which depend upon those physics to function.

Science fiction author and Enlightenment champion David Brin has a blog post exploring some disadvantages of neo-feudalism. In that article he links to the Anti-reactionary FAQ with detailed criticisms of their arguments and goals.


Submission + - Pioneer Anomaly Solved (

gstrickler writes: After years of work recovering and analyzing old mission data and vehicle schematics, a just published analysis provides strong evidence for anisotropic thermal radiation being the source of the slowing of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. The theory isn't new, but the recovered data and new analysis provide solid evidence that at least 80% of the deceleration is accounted for by anisotropic thermal radiation. Members of The Planetary Society were instrumental in recovering the data and helping fund the analysis.

The lesson is, in space, it matters what direction your heat radiating surfaces point.

Comment Bill Gates vs other media figures. (Score 1) 832

I don't know how the algebra of media exposition to human awareness works, but in my personal estimation, in regards to aspects of reality and science, Bill Gates is at least 10 times the worth of Jenny McCarthy; let's hope that magnification propagates to all parents and re-assures them that vaccinating their children is the right thing to do.

For so many reasons.

Endangered Species Condoms 61

The Center for Biological Diversity wants to help put a polar bear in your pants with their endangered species condom campaign. They hope that giving away 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms across the country will highlight how unsustainable human population growth is driving species to extinction, and instill the sexual prowess of the coquí guajón rock frog, nature's most passionate lover, in the condom users. From the article: "To help people understand the impact of overpopulation on other species, and to give them a chance to take action in their own lives, the Center is distributing free packets of Endangered Species Condoms depicting six separate species: the polar bear, snail darter, spotted owl, American burying beetle, jaguar, and coquí guajón rock frog."

Measuring the Speed of Light With Valentine's Day Chocolate 126

Cytotoxic writes "What to do with all of those leftover Valentine's Day chocolates? — a common problem for the Slashdot crowd. The folks over at Wired magazine have an answer for you in a nice article showing how to measure the speed of light with a microwave and some chocolate. A simple yet surprisingly accurate method that can be used to introduce the scientific method to children and others in need of a scientific education."

Comment Re:This is not one of those cases (Score 5, Interesting) 233

Okay, I admit, I RTFA, and the crater in question has been dated as millions of years old, long before *anyone* claims humans capable of cultural transmission visited Australia.

According to the article, the author himself thinks that the aboriginal Australians were sophisticated enough to recognize impact craters on the landscape, and what might have caused them, and concoct legends about falling objects to explain them.

With all due respect to the parent post, the Indigenous Australians may have great knowledge that has been dismissed by their Western colonizers, but this is not evidence of such.


Submission + - Mac Attack! Enterprise PC shop switches to Apple (

jcatcw writes: "The largest full-service auto processing company in North America, Auto Warehousing Co, is switching from Microsoft to Apple. Over the next 60 days, AWC will begin systematically pulling the plug on all Windows-based PCs. They'll power up Macs for virtually all revenue-generating operations. The move comes on the heels of a quiet replacement of Windows-based servers for data storage and Web operations, which are now running on Apple Inc.'s Xserve RAID machines. The CIO, Dale Frantz, says "This stuff just works." Some might claim that this move is vengence for a spat with MS over licensing some years ago, but Computerworld's Don Tennant calls Frantz a hero and defends the decision as purely business based. Frantz is in good company. Michael Gartenberg has been there and has the Lessons Learned."

Submission + - Doomsday for the Greenback

jcgam69 writes: The American people are in La-la land. If they had any idea of what the Federal Reserve was up to, they'd be out on the streets waving fists and pitchforks. Instead, they go about our business like nothing is wrong. Are we really that stupid? What is it that people don't understand about the trade deficit? It's not rocket science. The Current Account Deficit is over $800 billion a year. That means that we are spending more than we are making and savaging the dollar in the process. Presently, we need more than $2 billion of foreign investment per day just to keep the wheels from coming off the cart.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Submission + - How underwear led to increased medieval literacy (

Steve writes: "Everyone thinks the printing press led to increased literacy among the average man in the middle ages, but that just might not be the case. Dr Marco Mostert a historian from Utrecht University is instead suggesting that the availability of cheap paper was the main reason more reading material became available. While this isn't surprising the source of the new cheap paper is. It seems that, according to Dr. Mostert, "These rags came from discarded clothes, which cost much less than the very expensive parchment which was previously used for books. In the 13th century, so it is thought, as more people moved into urban centres, the use of underwear increased — which caused an increase in the number of rags available for paper-making.""

Submission + - Is Scientific Consensus a Threat to Democracy? (

chance_encounter writes: "President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus has published an article in the Financial Times in which he seems to equate the current global warming debate with totalitarian thought control: "The dictates of political correctness are strict and only one permitted truth, not for the first time in human history, is imposed on us. Everything else is denounced." He goes on to state: "The scientists should help us and take into consideration the political effects of their scientific opinions. They have an obligation to declare their political and value assumptions and how much they have affected their selection and interpretation of scientific evidence." At the end of the article he proposes several suggestions to improve the global climate debate, including this point: "Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term "scientific consensus," which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority.""

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