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Submission + - Hillary Clinton promises to look into the alien UFO conspiracy (

MarkWhittington writes: Mediaite noted that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now running for president for the second time, sat down with some local media in New Hampshire when a reporter for the Conway Daily Sun Daymond Steer asked her about UFOs and Area 51. Would Clinton conduct an investigation if she were to be elected president? She answered in the affirmative, enthusiastically. She also speculated that aliens may have already visited the Earth.

Submission + - Why is Microsoft monitoring how long you use Windows 10? (

Mark Wilson writes: The various privacy concerns surrounding Windows 10 have received a lot of coverage in the media, but it seems that there are ever more secrets coming to light. The Threshold 2 Update did nothing to curtail privacy invasion, and the latest Windows 10 installation figures show that Microsoft is also monitoring how long people are using the operating system.

This might seem like a slightly strange statistic for Microsoft to keep track of, but the company knows how long, collectively, Windows 10 has been running on computers around the world. To have reached this figure (11 billion hours in December, apparently) Microsoft must have been logging individuals' usage times. Intrigued, we contacted Microsoft to find out what on earth is going on.

Comment Re:Chapel Hill/ Carrboro North Carolina (Score 1) 654

Agreed. I sometimes drive my car into Times Square on a Sunday morning, because it's more convenient than the train for my family, and we have a thing every week. There are parking spots available (for a few hours) right outside of $20-$25 an hour market-rate private parking lots. It's ridiculous, but I'll keep doing it while it's free. I'm not sure we'd need to make public transit free, though, if we're planning to eliminate free/subsidized parking. That might be enough to effect change all on its own.

Comment Re:Prime Scalia - "Words no longer having meaning" (Score 5, Insightful) 591

Viewing these words as a mistake is the simplest interpretation of the law. The other option is to re-interpret lots of other sections, and change the law to be at odds with how the people writing it meant for it to be interpreted.

The writers of the law clearly wanted to establish state exchanges for any state that wanted them, and a federal exchange for any state that didn't want to roll its own, and that all of these exchanges do the same thing. This might not be apparent in that little snippet, but it's very much apparent in the text of the law itself.

It's not as though the SCOTUS majority is pulling meaning out of nowhere for just this passage. Quite the contrary, they'd have had to re-interpret a lot of text to infer that the law was written so as to exclude subsidies for the federal exchange.

Comment Read & Do the Problems (Score 1) 234

For physics, start by reading an intro textbook.

Be sure to solve the problems at the end of the chapters. You will know physics when you can solve physics problems. If you're not interested in solving the problems, just read some pop physics books.

For astronomy, I would be of no help whatsoever. The math is easier, though; if you can use the Pythagorean Theorem, you're good (I hear).

My background: 36, a Ph.D. in physics, and I work at New York tech startups.

Comment Re:As it's always gone (Score 3, Informative) 266

People who are suffering, ignorant, and afraid are more willing to turn to the supernatural - be it religion or superstitions - as a 'solution' to their problems.


I see parallels between this and any number of other situations that make people desperate:

* Cancer patients turning to stem cell "remedies" from quacks who don't bother looking for evidence

* People with autistic children who can't find a cause so they blame vaccines

* People who can't see any obvious good options, so they turn to psychics

Fear is a wonderful tool if you're a charlatan, as it makes your victims less likely to pause and ask whether you're actually qualified to do (or to know) any of the things you claim.

Submission + - Statistics Losing Ground to CS, Losing Image Among Students

theodp writes: Unless some things change, UC Davis Prof. Norman Matloff worries that the Statistician could be added to the endangered species list. "The American Statistical Association (ASA) leadership, and many in Statistics academia," writes Matloff, "have been undergoing a period of angst the last few years, They worry that the field of Statistics is headed for a future of reduced national influence and importance, with the feeling that: [1] The field is to a large extent being usurped by other disciplines, notably Computer Science (CS). [2] Efforts to make the field attractive to students have largely been unsuccessful." Matloff, who has a foot in both the Statistics and CS camps, but says, "The problem is not that CS people are doing Statistics, but rather that they are doing it poorly. Generally the quality of CS work in Stat is weak. It is not a problem of quality of the researchers themselves; indeed, many of them are very highly talented. Instead, there are a number of systemic reasons for this, structural problems with the CS research 'business model'." So, can Statistics be made more attractive to students? "Here is something that actually can be fixed reasonably simply," suggests no-fan-of-TI-83-pocket-calculators-as-a-computational-vehicle Matloff. "If I had my druthers, I would simply ban AP Stat, and actually, I am one of those people who would do away with the entire AP program. Obviously, there are too many deeply entrenched interests for this to happen, but one thing that can be done for AP Stat is to switch its computational vehicle to R."

Submission + - Time Warner Cable Experiencing Nationwide Outage 2

Wolfrider writes: Breaking news: Reports are coming in from multiple US states that TWC is having a major Internet outage since early this morning. For more info, see:

TWC's customer service reps are reportedly a bit overwhelmed by call volume at the moment, and no ETA yet.

Submission + - 470 million sites exist for 24 hours, 22% are malicious

An anonymous reader writes: Blue Coat researchers analyzed more than 660 million unique hostnames requested by 75 million global users over a 90-day period. They found that 71 percent of the hostnames, or 470 million, were “One Day Wonders,” sites that appeared only for a single day. Of the top 50 parent domains that most frequently used One-Day Wonders, 22 percent were malicious. These domains use short-lived sites to facilitate attacks and manage botnets, taking advantage of the site being “new and unknown” to evade security solutions.

Submission + - $33 Firefox Phone Launched in India (

davidshenba writes: Intex and Mozilla have launched Cloud FX, a smartphone powered by Mozilla's Firefox OS. The phone has a 1 GHz processor, 2 Megapixel camera, dual SIM, 3.5 inch capacitive touchscreen. Though the phone has limited features, initial reviews say that the build quality is good for the price range. With a price tag of $33 (2000 INR), and local languages support the new Firefox phone is hitting the Indian market of nearly 1 billion mobile users.

Submission + - Silicon Valley Underpays (Non-Tech) Minority Workers (

jfruh writes: Tech companies are often faulted for not hiring more minority employees, but in fact they often do — in non tech jobs, such as janitorial and security services. However, a new report indicates that many tech companies pay these workers below the prevailing wages, largely because they hire them through third-party staffing agencies.

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