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Submission + - Wired Shares "Tech Time Warp" Video from 1996 (wired.com)

destinyland writes: On a day when America looks back on those who came before, Wired is remembering a pioneering technology magazine named Mondo 2000 — and sharing video of its editors' legendary appearance on a mid-90s PBS series, "The Internet Cafe". When its host questioned them about cyberpunk, they turned the interview into an ironic media stunt by providing a live, sneering cyberpunk model named Malice (wearing a fake neural implant on his head), as the words "real cyberpunk" jokingly flashed on the bottom of the screen. "At a time when few people outside academia had access to the internet, Mondo 2000 was many a wannabe hacker's introduction to the online world," Wired remembers fondly, even acknowleding that they'd "borrowed" their own magazine's design motif from Mondo 2000, in those early years before ISPs started popularizing consumer internet access.

Submission + - Why Electric Vehicles Aren't More Popular (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ars takes a look at a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences into the reasons why more people aren't driving electric vehicles. Of course infrastructure issues are a part of it — until charging stations are ubiquitous, the convenience factor for using a gas-powered car will weigh heavily on consumers's minds. (Despite the prevalence of outlets at home and work, where the vast majority of charging will be done even with better infrastructure.) But other reasons are much less intractable. Simply giving somebody experience with an EV tends to make the fog of mystery surrounding them dissipate, and the design of the car counts for a lot, too. It turns out car buyers don't want their EVs to look different from regular cars.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Odd Hardware Hack?

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

Submission + - People's Daily 0wn3d (again) by the Onion (nytimes.com)

puterguy writes: China's official Communist Party newspaper, People's Daily, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/world/asia/chinese-news-site-cites-onion-piece-on-kim-jong-un.html once again showed it's Pulitzer-Prize potential in catching this scoop from the Onion. "Not known for its sense of humor, the Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece apparently fell for a parody by The Onion, the satirical newspaper and Web site, when it reported Tuesday in some online editions of People’s Daily that Kim Jong-un, the young, chubby North Korean ruler, had been named the “Sexiest Man Alive for 2012.”
"The brief article, accompanied by a 55-photograph slide show, quoted from The Onion as evidence: 'With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman’s dream come true...'”

Someone is being either very gullible or very subversive. Either way, I imagine heads will roll, perhaps even literally.

Haven't we seen this story before http://politics.slashdot.org/story/12/09/29/0633251/irans-news-agency-picks-up-onion-story

Comment Re:Just don't do it (Score 5, Insightful) 120

If you really feel the need to collect personal data and you *truly* care about the privacy concerns and needs of your customers, then don't go burying such disclosures in a privacy statement that the average user is unlikely to ever see let alone read.

If you truly care about privacy, then either require the user to *opt-in* to such sharing or prominently display the lack of such privacy on the initial splash screen.

Burying the collection of personal data in the middle of some lawyerly gobblygook privacy statement is like mortgage lenders burying key terms in the middle of 100's of pages of documentation. Yeah, it's legally there but no one is actually going to read or understand it.

Comment Re:I had the exact opposite experience (Score 1) 285

IRONIC that a statistics professor taking an online statistics course who is critical of the underlying statistical competency of the online professor would judge an entire teaching methadology based on an N=1 observation, that itself is likely to be a "biased estimator" based on his own personal interests and sour grapes.

Morevover, I found many of his observations to be pedantic and nit-picking. I attended a top ranked school for multiple degree levels in Applied Math and the lectures varied *widely* in quality -- most ranging from poor to average with only a rare excellent (usually from a dedicated junior faculty member who was about to be denied tenure). Some of the most established and famous professors gave the most incomprehensible and disorganized lectures. In fact, even the reviewer's hand-picked examples of terrible pedagogy were often better than the average scribbled and elliptic proofs that I remember from school.

Comment So why can't they swab bottles 3oz (Score 5, Insightful) 427

Why not use this "technology" to resume allowing people to carry liquids >3oz in carry-ons?
Perhaps limit the number of such bottles to save time but if they can swab drinks bought in the security zone, they can swab our drinks while we wait to be nakey-scanned...

Comment I wish Google would have warned us... (Score 2, Interesting) 168

Even though the API was admittedly unsupported it was a core part of iGoogle and was used by many people as part of embedded scripts. While Google has admirably given a nice long notice for terminating iGoogle, it would have been nice had Google given at least a wee bit of warning of its abrupt termination of the weather API. Even its termination was not clear since the returned error page was an old page dated 2009 that seemed to imply that the user had done something wrong. It wasn't until I saw others encountering the same problem that I realized the problem was not on my mind, resulting in a fair bit of wasted debugging and head scratching on my end.

Is it asking too much of a company whose motto is "Don't be evil" to have given a week or two of warning or at least to have spent a minute or two setting up a meaningful and informative error page? Come on Google, you can do better...

Submission + - Knuth Plans 'Earthshaking Announcement' - A JOKE?

puterguy writes: More than 12 hours after the scheduled 5:30PM PDT "Knuth Plans 'Earthshaking Announcement'" the ground remains still here with no evidence of even a passing tremor. Several tweeters claim that it was all a joke. In particular, one reported attendee tweets, "TUG2010 Don Knuth's "Earthshaking Announcement": TeX has new successor. Fix mistakes of tex78. New will use XML, arbitrary prec, autolayout" followed by "Yes, that was the real announcement. No, he's not serious."

So, was it all just a joke? Given the several months of anticipation (the pre-announcement dates back at least to April), is the joke even funny or worth the wait? Is there some hidden truth or significance behind it all? Inquiring minds...

Submission + - Oldest multicellular fossil found (latimes.com)

dargaud writes: "The earliest known multicellular fossil has been discovered in Gabon, pushing back the fossil record for such life forms to 2.1 billion years ago and suggesting that they lived 200 million years earlier than scientists had thought. This is when the continents first stabilized and when cyanobacteria evolved and began producing oxygen."

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PL/I -- "the fatal disease" -- belongs more to the problem set than to the solution set. -- Edsger W. Dijkstra, SIGPLAN Notices, Volume 17, Number 5