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Comment State Funded News (Through Your Library) (Score 1, Interesting) 361

Librarian here. Why pay for access when your public library is already paying for the good stuff? Knowledge will always be free at your local public library. Most US libraries have access to paywalled news and scientific articles through Academic Search Premier, Gale and other databases. Our county library system offers free access to Zinio's magazine service, which is pretty sweet. Local (community) colleges usually have reference services available for county residents, and are often willing to mail you a journal article. Using these services take some effort (writing an e-mail or using your library card) so they aren't ideal for instantaneous gratification. Check out to find your local library.

As far as where to get your news, start with an RSS reader (Feedly, Netvibes, gReader) and get the rss feeds for:

The twitter feed of your local newspapers
Google News
Your favorite TV news station (CNN, Al Jazeera, MSNBC, etc)
memeorandum for politics
A few international broadcasters of countries that you are interested in (VOA, BBC, RFI, RFERL, etc)

Comment Re:Ever hear of the university library? (Score 1) 189

university libraries aren't open to the public.

I'd start with New York City's public library system. Find a librarian to help you get access to the various electronic databases, which includes Academic Search Premier and a bunch of others. If you need a specific journal article, print out the abstract or citation that you found on line, and bring it with you to the library. You can often find similar and/or more up to date articles for free with the help of the librarian. If access to the article isn't available through the public library, you might be able to get METRO access to a university library or private special collection: A librarian could also try to ILL you a copy of the article, but it takes some time.

Public university libraries are almost always open to the public...that's SUNY and CUNY. If you are lucky, you can get a daily guest password for the computer databases, but YMMV. I'd call around to a number of public universities and ask about guest policies.

Comment Feedly is NOT a straight RSS Reader (Score 1) 287

I love Feedly. But it is NOT a straight RSS Reader. It personalizes and selects those stories that it thinks you want to read. It also has some pretty neat discovery features. That said, I've used Feedly for weeks, without realizing that I had missed stories from some of my favorite sites. I like to switch between Netvibes and Feedly, honestly.

Comment Re:Next step? (Score 1) 391

>I guess the next step is writing a novel using a hexeditor?

I attempt (almost always unsuccessfully) to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month ( every November.

Of course, the perfect text editor to use for NaNoWriMo: Nano!

I find it lightweight, fully featured and easy to use. It can easily call up the "spell" spellchecker - but it doesn't give suggestions. It also doesn't give a word count.

So when I need more advanced features, I fire up Open Office. has a great grammar checker as well.

I also keep an encrypted diary on Linux using Lifeograph.

I'm very happy that the opensource movement has plenty of free tools for writers!

Comment Re:!MMM (Score 1) 231

Aside from being in the same room, these programmers were barely working together....

I've worked in some crowded office conditions, but absolutely nothing like what is pictured in this article. There are 10 people crowded into this 1 person office space. I could see six people fitting into this space humanely - eg without violating the fire code / without personality conflicts / without bumping into each other while working.

I guess this is why they only hired skinny people for this internship!

Comment Re:Quality isn't such a simple metric, never will (Score 1) 160

However, good clear writing can be judged. The study points out that the best wikipedia entries are done by editors who are GOOD writers who know how to a) contribute new sentences (write a first draft), b) re-write sentences (re-drafting), c) add references (source checking), d) make grammatical and other edits (final drafting).

The formula for writing good content has not changed. It's just the proportions (collaboration) that have made the process more efficient and provided more content which are in need of lots of editing!

Comment Re:Safe tool/weapon (Score 1) 29

This anti-stab knife is horribly flawed. Sure, it is difficult to stab with it, but it looks unsafe. By unsafe, I mean, difficult to sharpen, difficult to chop and cut veggies and meat with. This will lead to injury. Loss of fingers. Etc. This sort of dangerous product is the sort of thing that should be kept off shelves, IMHO.


ASUS Designs Monster Dual-GTX285 4GB Graphics Card 212

suraj.sun writes to mention that ASUS has just designed their own monster graphics card based on the GeForce GTX 295. While the card retains the GeForce GTX 295 name, same device ID, and remains compatible with existing NVIDIA drivers, ASUS has made a couple of modifications to call its own. "the company used two G200-350-B3 graphics processors, the same ones that make the GeForce GTX 285. The GPUs have all the 240 shader processors enabled, and also have the complete 512-bit GDDR3 memory interface enabled. This dual-PCB monstrosity holds 32 memory chips, and 4 GB of total memory (each GPU accesses 2 GB of it). Apart from these, each GPU system uses the same exact clock speeds as the GeForce GTX 285: 648/1476/2400 MHz (core/shader/memory)."

Comment Is this even practical? (Score 1) 379

Is detecting a bullet once fired even practical? A typical rifle bullet travels between approximately 700 m/s to 1000m/s.

Assuming a 1000 m/s bullet, like a 50BMG or 338LM, if a sniper is positioned 2km away, it will take 2 seconds for the round to reach the target. 1km, 1 second.

Problem is that most sniper engagements are not at extreme long ranges. Most occur between 275-550 meters. That means a quarter to a half a second.

That is not enough time to get out of the way of a typical bullet, even if your reaction is instantaneous.

Comment Re:Why is this news? (Score 1) 904

I agree that private individuals and corporations have a right to restrict what they want. But they have to play by the rules that we all agreed upon when we joined the site.

When you sign up, you have to agree to an acceptable use policy which bans "obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit" images.

So how exactly is a woman breast feeding obscene? It is not, of course, and I dare say that the Facebook owners ever intended for these photos to be banned.

But the way that Facebook censors interpret the rule is that is if there is any nipple showing, it gets deleted.

Clearly, management needs to rewrite the censors rule book to allow an exception for breast-feeding.

This has almost nothing to do with the first amendment, and more to do with a woman's "right to privacy" -- ie. the right to do what she wants with her body without prudes or religious nuts making it illegal.

Comment Let's try a better...wait, its legal! (Score 1) 609

Can the police put a beeper/tracker in a container which is sold to a suspect? Yes, according to United States v. Knotts, 460 U.S. 276 (1983) [ ] and United States v Karo, 468 U.S. 705 (1984) [ ].

Basically, a person traveling in an automobile on public thoroughfares has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movements.


Submission + - NASA's Mars Phoenix ready for Launch

StaffInfection writes: "After a one day delay in fueling of the Boeing Delta II-7925 ( elta2/delta2.htm) launch vehicle due to weather, the Phoenix Mars Scout Mission is prepared for launch on Saturday, August 4th, at 5:26 a.m. or 6:02 a.m EDT. The Mars Phoenix lander ( is a table for four — about the size of a modest dinner table. At Mars, it will soft land a suite of science instruments for studying the Martian Polar regolith. Phoenix is the rekindling of the Mars Surveyor Lander, twin to the ill-fated Mars Polar Lander (MPL, Code=MPL). The science payload will analyze the martian polar soil for water and mineral content and study the surrounding morphology and atmospheric conditions. The stationary lander includes an 8 foot robotic arm that will feed soil samples to miniaturized chemical laboratories (MECA, php and TEGA, Landing (animations at &y=2007) will be a Viking style soft landing rather than the air bag system used on the Mars Pathfinder and Rover missions. All missions to Mars are challenging but Phoenix represents a last chance to rectify for the loss of MPL and Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999. All three spacecraft share a common development lineage at Lockheed Martin, Denver. A successful landing will present our first visit to the Martian Polar environment. In the last ten years, American, European and Japanese Mars exploration has resulted in seven successful missions and four failures. Phoenix will be supported by a constellation of orbiters presently at Mars — Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Express and Mars Odyssey, functioning as communication relays."

In Australia, An Ebay Sale is a Sale 267

syousef writes "An eBay sale is a sale says an Australian New South Wales State Judge in a case where a man tried to reneg on the Ebay sale of a 1946 World War II Wirraway aircraft. The seller tried to weasel out of the deal because he'd received a separate offer $100,000 greater than the Ebay sale price. The buyer who had bid the reserve price of $150,000 at the last minute took him to court. 'It follows that, in my view, a binding contract was formed between the plaintiff and the defendant and that it should be specifically enforced,' Justice Rein said in his decision." I haven't found anything like this in previous discussions; have there been similar decisions like this handed down in the US, Canada, or Europe?

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