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Comment Ambitious (Score 1) 29

Seems like a very ambitious project. The implications would be vast for intelligence if done correctly. I'm imagining a program parsing through terabytes of satellite data....

Whatever advances come out of the project might also be applied to doing broad semantic studies of how people use video sharing platforms like YouTube. That would be good for better HCI and, of course, getting more relevant content. Exciting and scary stuff.

Comment Re:Lawyer (Score 1) 545

IANAL and this is not legal advice, but this may be illegal depending on the labor laws of the state you work in. I work in California and my employer provided this nice little tidbit from California Labor Code 2870 when I signed my contract ( :

"(a) Any provision in an employment agreement which provides that an employee shall assign, or offer to assign, any of his or her rights in an invention to his or her employer shall not apply to an invention that the employee developed entirely on his or her own time without using the employer’s equipment, supplies, facilities, or trade secret information except for those inventions that either:

(1) Relate at the time of conception or reduction to practice of the invention to the employer’s business, or actual or demonstrably anticipated research or development of the employer.

(2) Result from any work performed by the employee for the employer.

(b) To the extent a provision in an employment agreement purports to require an employee to assign an invention otherwise excluded from being required to be assigned under subdivision (a), the provision is against the public policy of this state and is unenforceable.”

The "relate at the time of conception or reduction ..." clause may bite you depending on when you developed the free software and how broad a judge's interpretation of your employer's business is, but a law like this in your state may give you some wiggle room out of a nasty contract. Good luck.

Comment Re:QQ (Score 1) 336

Wouldn't the same thing apply to these other services? I think we should use the official data as a metric given that we're not sure whether we can trust one service above the others.

Also, I've read interviews from employees at Facebook that say they try to cull duplicate accounts from the statistics they release. Plus, over half of Americans now use Facebook, so I don't think that 600 million is a bad estimate when one considers their international audience.

Comment Re:culture difference (Score 1) 126

right to consume healthcare resources =/= right to freedom of speech. One involves a question of scarcity and property rights whereas the other doesn't. Me writing this post does not prevent you from writing another post, but me taking your money for healthcare prevents you from using that money for other purposes. I personally believe in a right to healthcare, but I believe it's on a different level of debate than freedom of speech.

I think nycto's point was that "cultural differences" should not be held above universal human rights. Saying "this oppression is just our culture" is bad because it essentializes culture to a particular ethnic/national identity and demeans the very people denoted as "part of the culture" because it posits them as unable to embrace liberty. Universal rights > "particularist" multiculturalism. For more info on universalism, see Slavoj Zizek's writings. He probably answers your calculative ethic at some point in his writings, too.

Comment Re:Wrong decision...and fuck the app store anyway (Score 1) 917

I agree with your point about the freedom to run the software you want on Apple's hardware and think that should be more of an issue of contention than whether or not Apple should have removed the gay cure app. Those are two fundamentally separate issues; one is about freedom of software, the other is about whether a company should be forced to endorse hate speech.

Apple made a right move in disabling Exodus's app. Insofar as they're the ones deciding which app to market to consumers using their store, they shouldn't waste their own bandwidth in letting people download an app that would be used to oppress a group that already has enough internalized self-hatred. I'm sure the app would also be downloaded by parents trying to "fix" their gay kids, and we know how trying to change sexuality using other, less ethical electric therapies has worked in the past.

Comment Re:We live in a multimedia word (Score 1) 414

This might just be my love of the classics (including Wuthering Heights) talking, but I think that kids at least need a basic education in some older literature. Kids aren't allowed to choose what to study in math until they have a basic understanding of things like arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. The point of teaching the classics isn't to indoctrinate; it's to give students a basic education so that they can make a more informed decision about what to study in the future.

Submission + - US Dept. of Education Announces Learning Registry ( 1

eldavojohn writes: Plans have been unvieled for a Federal Learning Registry by the United States Department of Education that aims to unify all available federal sources of information under one registry. How would this affect you? From the article, 'Let's imagine you're a high school physics teacher or the head of an online learning company. In either case you might want to build a course on the early years of the US space program in way that integrates history, writing and physics. You might want to use resources that are available from the federal government in this work. In searching for those resources, you learn that each agency has its own repositories (often many of them) and you have to search each site to find the materials. Even internet search engines are of limited (though still significant) help. Finding the right information stored at these different agencies requires significant web research expertise. At this point today you might give up your search because it will take too much of your time to find the resources you need. The point of the Learning Registry to is make it much easier to find and access these federal assets.' The effort claims to have contacted the following about participation: NASA, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Energy, the DoD, the National Science Foundation, the White House, the FCC, NIST, the National Archives and Records Administration, the team, as well as both the Federal CIO and CTO. Of course, the Learning Registry faces the same issues most aggregating sites face like linking disparate meta-data, scalability (imagine what NASA could throw at them) and, like everything else today, tacking on collaboration tools. Hopefully the government follows through with this effort to bring us online learning tools that our tax dollars have already paid for and others find ways to leverage this.

Comment Broadband not as convenient in broad countries (Score 1) 1

I think it's great that countries you wouldn't expect to develop world-class infrastructure are investing so much in the Internet, but it makes me lament the priorities of the U.S. in terms of broadband development. I have no complaints about my personal connection as I live in an urban area (although sprawl is plentiful), but friends from rural areas are stuck with connections akin to old 56k dial-up modems. Dial-up in those areas is something around 5 kb/s at times.

This hurts those areas and broadens the gap in wealth between urban and rural areas because companies aren't really willing to invest in areas with no information infrastructure. Also, education suffers; online schools seem to be a good way to escape bad public schools for kids who really want to take their education into their own hands.

Hopefully, some good policies will help bridge the digital divide. I feel that that's a good start to bridging economic and geographical divides in this country as well.
The Internet

Submission + - Where to for fast broadband? Latvia, Romania! 1

thefickler writes: We've all heard how fast broadbrand is in South Korea, and that's been confirmed by a recently released global legue table of broadband speeds, confirming South Korea remains the country with the fastest average speed of 12 Mbps, followed by Hong Kong and Japan. But get this, the next two spots go to Romania and Latvia, which have enjoyed major speed increses in the past year.
The US is in 16th place with an average speed of 4.7 Mbps. While there’s an argument that this is a poor position for such a major country (and cited as a reason for federal investment in expanding and improving provision), it’s likely also the result of the US having so many rural and remote areas compared to the likes of South Korea. That’s partly borne out by the US having a dozen of the 100 global cities with the fastest average speed, the American contingent being headed up by California’s Monterey Park with an average 7.2Mbps.

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