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Submission + - Machines Will Outsmart Humans. We Better Be Ready (

An anonymous reader writes: Today, large streams of data, coupled with statistical analysis and sophisticated algorithms, are rapidly gaining importance in almost every field of science, politics, journalism, and much more. How will this affect the labor force? What will happen to the economy in the future, in sight of these rapid changes ahead of us? In a recent Forbes article, computer scientist and author Federico Pistono argues that "the answer to these questions is not trivial, and probably nobody knows with certainty", but "it appears that whenever we believe that computers cannot outsmart humans at some task, we are proven wrong." He goes on to say: "it will depend on us, on how we decide to use the prodigious technology that we are developing, and for what purpose [...] We must start a serious conversation on this issue, before it's too late", echoing the presentation he gave at the TEDxVienna stage last month.

Comment Correction: Only 1295 cables have been published (Score 1) 346

The summary mentions the "recent publication of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables". This is a falsehood that keeps circulating. As of this moment, Wikileaks has published only 1295 of these cables, and I believe nearly all of these are published in the redacted form that has already been made public by cooperating news organizations such as NYT, Guardian, Der Speigel, etc. Glenn Greenwald at Salon seems to be the best source of reasonable reporting about this whole WikLeaks witch hunt: It would be great if the /. editors would correct this misstatement in the story summary.

Submission + - Newegg Violates Labor Laws, Employs Hackers (

An anonymous reader writes: Courthouse News Service writes that Newegg, the online computer retailer that many Slashdotters know and love, has been violating a slew of labor laws, as well as employing hackers "for the purpose of gaining an unfair competitive advantage." Plaintiffs say that a disproportionate amount of Chinese labor is employed with false promises that Newegg would assist them in obtaining green cards, and then forces these employees to work egregiously long hours without breaks.

Comment D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form (Score 1) 451

Although it's a bit more modern than the real oldies mentioned in the post, I consider D'Arcy Thompson's On Growth and Form (1917) to be one of the great classic timeless science books. I had it as a text book for a physiology class 20 years ago and it is still on my shelf. Every once in a while I just like to thumb through it and bask in its coolness (and I am NOT a biologist).

United States

Submission + - Sustainable Fuel For The Transportation Sector

An anonymous reader writes: A chemical engineering research team from Purdue University has proposed an interesting new way to obtain sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels, similar to diesel, for transportation. The proposed method is to combine carbon atoms (from biomass or coal) with hydrogen (obtained from electrolysis of water, electricity being generated by carbon-free source such as wind, solar or nuclear) in a modified Fischer-Tropsch reaction to produce medium chain alkanes similar to diesel. If this works, it will be a viable method to make fuels that our internal combustion engines can run on with no modification, without being based on imported oil supplies, having the potential to be fully renewable (when based on biomass and wind/solar), without the need to build a hydrogen supply chain, without the need to develop car-scale fuel cells, without the need for large batteries, while using a fraction of the land area that biodiesel or ethanol would use, all while using existing transportation infrastructure. Best of all, the carbon released in the final customer's car or truck would be captured by the biomass again, closing the carbon loop.

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