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Comment Re:Many methods to speed reading (Score 1) 92

So, there should be a fairly strong correlation between reading speed and IQ, assuming that there's no other factors like dyslexia or lack of access to reading material early in life?

Has that been tested?

Of course, practice is a big determinant in reading speed, and it's a feedback loop. I know people who read slower than they can talk, and they find reading for pleasure to be a foreign concept.

Comment Re:Typical criminal scum... (Score 3, Informative) 204

Thankfully, this AC is smarter than most petty criminals.

I witnessed one iPhone theft, a snatch and run from a bus. The owner set off after the thief but quickly returned to ask the bus driver (me!) to call the cops as the thief had a machete, and the phone owner very sensibly valued his skin more than the phone.

However, instead of just walking into the night before Security and the cops arrived, the thief went to the nearby train station. The security guards there, having been warned by my radio call, promptly apprehended the idiot and he's now doing time for assault with a deadly weapon. Oh, and for theft of an iPhone...

Think about the value of the stuff you carry around with you. If you're a man, maybe a nice watch, maybe some cash in your wallet (but less and less these days) and... your expensive smartphone. A woman might add some jewellery to that list, but probably not much day to day. So what else is a thief going to steal? Especially because there's less point in breaking and entering these days, since the old standbys of VCRs or DVD players are now worth almost nothing, and big-screen TVs are hernia producers!

Comment Re:LOLWUT??? (Score 4, Informative) 386

Funny how Americans think that since breaking Enigma helped them win the WW2 so much, they are entitled to have the same advantage over the wole world now.

Umm... that movie where US troops secured the vital Enigma machine wasn't actually accurate. It was the Brits who stole the intact Enigma and the brightest of the Brits who cracked the code and, to a large extent, helped them win the war. (OK, having a whole lot of US planes and bombs and ships and tanks and stuff to DO something with the intercepted data was also quite significant, but the intelligence side of things was all down to the Poms.)


Debunking a Climate-Change Skeptic 807

DJRumpy writes "The Danish political scientist Bjørn Lomborg won fame and fans by arguing that many of the alarms sounded by environmental activists and scientists — that species are going extinct at a dangerous rate, that forests are disappearing, that climate change could be catastrophic — are bogus. A big reason Lomborg was taken seriously is that both of his books, The Skeptical Environmentalist (in 2001) and Cool It (in 2007), have extensive references, giving a seemingly authoritative source for every one of his controversial assertions. So in a display of altruistic masochism that we should all be grateful for (just as we're grateful that some people are willing to be dairy farmers), author Howard Friel has checked every single citation in Cool It. The result is The Lomborg Deception, which is being published by Yale University Press next month. It reveals that Lomborg's work is 'a mirage,' writes biologist Thomas Lovejoy in the foreword. '[I]t is a house of cards. Friel has used real scholarship to reveal the flimsy nature' of Lomborg's work."

Comment Re:full clone (Score 1) 59

well, they'll just have to clone that parameter too. Unless of course the industrial process used to create the tags makes each one of them a bit different, hence defeating the identification in the first place.

Yes, the individual nature of the devices is the whole point of the exercise.

No, that doesn't defeat the identification, it allows/enhances it. It means that, unless the copier can decrypt the data and encrypt with a new fingerprint, the fingerprint parameter on the copied device won't match the value generated by the reader using the physical characteristics.

Comment This is nothing new (Score 4, Informative) 59

This sort of physical characteristic fingerprinting has been done for years on magnetic stripe cards and EEPROM smartcards, so this is nothing new in theory, just in what physical characteristics are being measured.

In mag stripes, the magnetic remanence of the strip is different from card to card, in EEPROM, differences in the voltage levels and speed of reading of the cells are used.

The general principle is that it's no point having unbreakable crypto if the data can simply be copied to a new medium. Consider a card (of whatever type) that stores monetary value for public transport or photocopying or whatever: Put $100 on it and copy the data, not knowing which bits are what. Copy that data onto a heap of cards bought with $5 of credit on them and sell them in the grey market for $50 each and pocket the profit.

With this sort of technique, though, part of that encrypted data is a fingerprint based on the physical characteristics of the original card. The new cards will generate a fingerprint in the reader that doesn't match the original, making the copies invalid.

Sure, if you can crack the encryption, this method is useless, but that's not the point. Crypto can be pretty good and costs more than a cheap reader/writer to break to duplicate cards/RFIDs.

Comment Historical (Score 1) 182

The publishing business has always been set up in regions.

An author sells rights to publish his/her work to different publishers in different countries, and there's often either legal protection or trade agreements to prevent parallel distribution of editions from other regions.

So, a book might be published by Doubleday in the US but by Pan MacMillan in Australia, and the major book chains in Oz wouldn't carry the Doubleday version (some specialised genre bookshops might.)

This is almost certainly Fictionwise/ereader just catching up with the requirements placed on them by the publishers who provide their ebooks, possibly because the B&N purchase put them above the radar a bit more.


Submission + - Worst April Fools Ever

An anonymous reader writes: There's April Fools jokes, and then there's misrepresenting account balances to customers, allowing them to spend the money, and charging them a steep transaction fee as penalty. The Consumerist reports that online brokerage Zecco pretended to add millions to customer accounts, then panicked when people started using the money to to make real trades.

Submission + - Check if you're alive with a text message

andrewm_za writes: South Africa's Department of Home Affairs now encourages citizens to check whether they're deceased, online or by SMS, "to ensure that they have not been fraudulently declared dead on the population register. In an event that a person is registered as Deceased when still alive, they must report with an affidavit from a police station confirming that they are alive." This lack of confidence in their database comes a few years after the online marital status checker which came about after too many people were married to the wrong spouse. Both online checks sorely lack a Turing test.

Submission + - Did You See That Woman...Wait...She's A Robot! ( 4

Singularity Hub writes: "Check out the HRP-4C robot, one of the first humanoid robots to boldly sidestep the typical transformer look, instead posing as an attractive manga style woman. Is anyone else having flashbacks of the movie Blade Runner where robots are indistinguishable from humans? The HRP-4c robot is slated to strut down the catwalk March 23 (tomorrow) as a model in a Tokyo fashion show."

Submission + - Is Tux moonlighting? Or did he get laid off? (

hsjones writes: "So this evening I'm driving by a convenience store in Gainesville, Florida, when my daughter Guinevere (now 6 yrs. old) suddenly blurts out, "Hey! That store has a Novell penguin!" I figured it was just some picture of a penguin that maybe kinda looked like the Novell Tux that used to sit on my desk. We love penguins (who doesn't?) — especially Linux penguins — so I backed up to investigate. My jaw dropped. It was Tux! Not just sorta-kinda Tux, but the real, official Larry Ewing-drawn Tux, faithfully reproduced — four times! — in roughly 2.5 foot treatments on the walls above the beverage coolers and "Beer Cave"."

Comment Re:Older Palm Pilots (Score 1) 426

The TX has a reasonable battery life, especially given that your wi-fi access is likely to be in short and sporadic bursts, not 'always-on' like a cellphone.

The screen's the same res and similar size to an iPhone and the built-in browser's adequate, or you can run Opera Mobile for a few more bells and whistles.

Oh, and it apparently can be used for other stuff like movies, MP3s, addresses, tasks, ebooks, etc., etc.!


Submission + - Brazillian Doctors Attempt to make Time Lord ( 1

elric667 writes: "A BRAVE Brazilian man is fighting for his life — with TWO beating hearts inside his body. The unnamed 53-year-old is in a stable condition after a 12-hour operation. But docs at Sao Paulo's Heart Institute fear he only has a 50 per cent chance of surviving. The "new" heart was place on the right side of his chest and is linked to his original heart by a vein, arteries of the lung and the aorta."

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