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Submission + - Google attempts to allay privacy fears (thestandard.com)

Ian Lamont writes: "Google is in the midst of a full-court privacy effort in Washington that involves pushing consumer privacy legislation in U.S. Congress, reaching out to privacy advocates in an effort to allay concerns about its acquisition of DoubleClick, and working with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to "fine-tune online advertising principles" that the agency proposed last year. Google has been under fire in Washington in recent years — the FTC investigated the Google/DoubleClick deal and the EFF has issued warnings over Google services in the past. Is Google being sincere about these issues, or is this effort mostly paying lip service to its "do no evil" policy and an attempt to head off future clashes with policy makers?"
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Journal Journal: Does the Flying Spaghetti Monster exist? 6

It all started when supporters of Intelligent Design tried to claim a religious precept should be held on the same level as a scientific theory when it comes to Evolution. From that, the Flying Spaghetti Monster was born, somewhat in jest but also to raise the point: There's no more scientific basis for intelligent design than there is for the idea an omniscient creature made of pasta created the universe.
Math

Submission + - Surfer dude's Theory of Everything (telegraph.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: NewScientist (subscription required) and others are running a story about a promising new Theory of Everything from surfer/snowboarder/physicist, Garrett Lisi. Based on a mathematical shape called E8, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything has many in the physics community taking notice:
"Lee Smolin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, describes Lisi's work as "fabulous". "It is one of the most compelling unification models I've seen in many, many years," he says.
"Although he cultivates a bit of a surfer-guy image its clear he has put enormous effort and time into working the complexities of this structure out over several years," Prof Smolin tells The Telegraph.
"Some incredibly beautiful stuff falls out of Lisi's theory," adds David Ritz Finkelstein at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. "This must be more than coincidence and he really is touching on something profound."

Quickies

Submission + - Theory of everything

wpiman writes: A surfer has stunned the physics community by suggesting and publishing a "theory of everything". It has received some rave review from scientists. Read the paper here. What do you think?
Social Networks

Submission + - An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything

lrohrer writes: "Surfer physicist, Garrett Lisi, proposes alternative to string theory. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtml?xml=/earth/2007/11/14/scisurf114.xml Lisi's inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 — a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan. E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself is 248-dimensional. Lisi says "I think our universe is this beautiful shape.""

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The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa

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