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Comment Re:Umm (Score 1) 285

They already had this. It's called citing your sources and peer review.

Having read countless research papers that fit your criteria, I can tell you that citing your sources and being peer reviewed are not nearly sufficient. They're necessary steps, to be sure, but I've read more than my fair share of papers from conferences or journals, some even associated with reputable organizations, that were nothing but complete bunk. What you need are citations to trustworthy sources and to be reviewed by trustworthy peers.

The point of citations and peer review is NOT that it is a one-step solution. It is, rather, a way to enable readers to do the second, third, and fourth steps which will lead to a better appreciation of value (or lack thereof) in the work at hand. It is also a way to identify small cliques who refer only to themselves, and to identify multiple mistakes based on a single lie/misconception/myth.

It is telling that the original article assures us that 'the intention is not to be political', because modern political speech rarely tracks back to citations that deserve trust. A case in point is the flawed 'weapons of mass destruction' claims made before the 2003 Iraq invasion: when sources of that information WERE finally examined, there were many embarassments. What benefits could a better information review have offered? Sadly, we cannot know.

Secrecy, and small cliques reasoning in circles were the way of alchemy; science is better. Citations and peer review is why. And, it can work in other fields of ideation.

As for 'trustworthy peers', there's a conundrum. In science, we needn't have trustworthy peers, because authority is not a person, it is an observation. Galileo was forced to recant, but his published observations of the moons of Jupiter were just as authoritative afterward. The authority of a person is an unsteady basis; the absence (or death) of such a 'king' is a cause of uncertainty, which science does not feel deeply, though politics does.

Comment Re:Electricity, Phone, Fiber (Score 2) 107

Keep in mind that a big reasons we managed to wire up the whole country with electric, phone, and cable is that we gave those companies local monopolies on delivery of power, telecom, and TV.

Oh no, that DIDN'T get us the results. Rural electrification was always a federal initiative. Local power companies never would have set up a nationwide grid for power, because that would mean opening their market.

Monopolies always came with regulatory requirements, and when those are enforced, utilities do good things. Monopoly, traditionally, was NEVER A GIFT.

Internet service in the US is DEVOID of regulatory requirements, despite being a virtual monopoly in most regions. So, the service is spotty and this utility is priced at 'all the market will bear'.

That's because 'the greater good' doesn't have a commercial competitive advantage over 'all the market will bear'.

Comment Re:Two different things (Score 1) 69

Yes, there's two different processes patented here. One cuts the gene, and is part of an elaboration that applies the genetic cut to a living cell. So, using CRISPR to make the cut is covered by the Berkeley patent, and using it in the way described by the MIT patent is also covered. To use the MIT procedure, you need a license for the Berkeley procedure as well. So, neither group has 'lost', in the sense that (as far as I can see) both have valid patent protection.

Comment Re:So an American hero might be jailed for life (Score 1) 294

Would Snowden have fared any better with the Obama administration?

That's irrelevant, of course. Only a court can decide.

Recall, historically Aaron Burr was thought to be a traitor by Thomas Jefferson; there was a trial, and a not guilty verdict under justice John Marshall.

Later, Jefferson Davis (President of the Confederate States of America...) was likewise in disfavor, but was never convicted (in fact, though apprehended, was never tried).

That's because the Constitution holds that a crime must be proved in court, in the place where the crime was committed. Jefferson Davis, on trial in Virginia, 1866? With a jury of his peers?

So, what difference does a sitting president make on an accusation of this sort? Our history suggests, 'none'.

Comment Re:what do these people expect (Score 0) 90

so they are sore at apple, for what??? being apple? when you buy apple products you better know that you are at their mercy.

No, they're sore at Apple for being... Sony. When the PS3 got 'updates' that disabled OtherOS (Linux,, usually) , the malfeasance was just TOO much, and owners sued. They won. Apple isn't entirely in charge. There's law on the subject, so courts will decide. That's what courts are for.

Comment Re: So... (Score 1) 157

Republicans respond by trying to make streaming illegal.

Actually, Republicans respond by adding a penalty to the existing rules against photos and videos from the floor. From TFS: Taking photo or video had already been prohibited on the floor, but was never enforced.

Oh, a 'rule' that has never been enforced? That means there has never been a test in court.

This 'rule', it imposes a fine? Was the 'rule' ever confirmed by the Senate? Ratified by a sitting president?

That's rather important, with language in our Constitution about 'No person shall ... be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law'.

What's remarkable is that the video while the house was out of session was being done for purely political purposes, something that C-SPAN was created to avoid.

It's common for a politician (or anyone with a message, actually) to speak openly, to show his face to a camera, to write for public forums, even to make a video. C-SPAN certainly wasn't intended to stop that!

The only real issue here, is using the legislative chamber as a backdrop, which is being made a monopoly of ... not our legislators, but the Speaker of the House, using rules-of-order controls on other legislators outside his/her clique. This whole tempest in a teapot just means the Republican Speaker wants to be in control during hours when he isn't presiding over a session.

Phooey to that!

Comment Re:In other news, water is wet (Score 1) 185

Exactly correct. If a Russian 'intelligence official' knows that Snowden is in town, he'll drop by and get a selfie with the celebrity. Maybe, he'll even make some ambiguous comments about how important their meeting was.

Then, American 'intelligence officials' will take note, and feel duty-bound to suggest that there should be further investigation. Reporters, also taking notes, and Congressional investigators, ditto.

In other quasi-news, scientists say 'we need more research'. Details at eleven!

Comment Re:Read the first volume (Score 1) 381

It's also well worth the effort (and it is a lot of effort) to read the third volume, Sorting and Searching.

I've greatly enjoyed the first three books, and especially Sorting and Searching. The chapters are independent, so you can treat the volumes as a collection of nonfiction short stories. I recommend it as bedtime reading.

Except, these short stories open up possibilities, and contribute to my understanding of ways to handle tomorrow's problems. There are three kinds of computer books: ones that teach one tool (pretty useless ten years later, when the tool obsolesces), ones that teach from the bottom up (again, pretty useless when 6502 is replaced by 65816, and in turn 68000, 68040, PPC601, PPC603e, G3, G4, G5, core duo, Xeon...), and those that teach from the general principles (top-down style).

Algorithms knowledge at the mathematical-tool level really REALLY helps sometimes. And it remains helpful forever (like the Pythagorean theorem) rather than becoming quaint (like the art of making an '035 keypunch program card).

Comment Re: That's nice (Score 1) 142

What are they supposed to do, buy all the parts manufacturers including Samsung and Intel?

Well, no, but it would be nice if the batteries could be replaced, or the OS and other software updated to a more recent version. Third-party and counterfeit batteries for a favorite laptop are ... discomfitting. As is finding that my version of a Safari browser can't ever get an upgrade so my bank will talk to it.

Comment Re:Laws are for suckers! (Score 1) 500

There probably were current legal and Democratic campaign strategy data on the laptops. Keeping them would leave them open to a possibility of FOA requests, leaks, etc.

Excellent observation! The Nixon administration had to sponsor burglars to get data from the Democratic offices in the Watergate building; a corrupt congressional committee could claim access to similarly important data in these laptops under the guise of 'investigation'.

The Fox news treatment suggests that this deal dims that prospect, and the Republican-dominated congressional committee publicly bemoans their lost opportunity. Actually, while the letter from Bob Goodlatte (no other committee members signed it) does include some slanted questions, it is merely a formal request for information. The committee has NOT subpoenaed anything in the computers, and knows no cause ever to do so, and The Honorable Bob Goodlatte has not suggested otherwise.

Comment Re:Good. Hopefully destruction of evidence will... (Score 1) 500

To stop the investigations, we have to destroy the evidence...?

Didn't read the article, did you? The laptops' data relating to the investigation is not to be destroyed. For security reasons, however, OTHER data is to be destroyed, rather than leaving it lying around 'in custody' for an indefinite period of time. There is no grounds for a search of 'everything' on those drives, and no search warrant covering the incidental information that would be erased. So, the Justice department doesn't care (and, absent this kind of agreement, could be careless in handling the hardware). The 'erase-afterward' agreement is sensible.

Comment Re:Stoooooooooopid ; no, just optimistic (Score 2) 93

"If invisible to humans, the power could also be increased without danger of harming someone, further increasing speed and distance." That's an incredibly stupid thing to say, since it isn't true. Just because it's "invisible" to human eyes doesn't mean that it can't/won't hurt human eyes.

But this was about UV light spreading out over several square inches at distance. The lens of the eye is cloudy to near-UV light, and won't focus to a spot. The reason it's invisible, makes it less likely to damage your retina.

Tinkering near such sources, you'd want to be careful, of course. Protective gear, for that wavelength, is rather common, because arc welding produces the same light in hazardous intensities.

As a tower-to-tower relay for high speed signals, it's unlikely to impinge on anyone's face. Weather, though, will be a problem. It won't replace microwave links if reliability is important.

Comment Looks like a good decision (Score 2) 85

The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires agencies of the federal government to honor "any request for records which. . . reasonably describes such records". So, if a description can be entered into a sophisticated search, that's the obvious way one would comply.

The allegation is that only searches of an incomplete index are ever performed for FOIA purposes, and such searches are (1) archaic and unusual nowadays, (2) rarely find the requested material. That's more likely misfeasance than innocent.

The DOJ is an agency that ought to find compliance with law of primary interest, and arguments of 'needlessly duplicative' ring false. The plaintiff's test was amusing: he asked DOJ to find his previous FOIA requests, and was told there was no record...

Comment Latinum induplicability issue (Score 1) 180

>> It's explained that latinum cannot be replicated

>Which is a stupid writer cop-out, there's no good reason for it if transporter technology exists.

Speaking of early SF writers, George Smith's _Venus_Equilateral_ (1940s era) matter duplicators and transmittters were also defeated by a wonder-substance. Writers will ALWAYS add in rights management to technology, because (1) it's imaginable, and (2) it adds complication.

To be a writer, you need imagination. To move a plot, you REALLY need complication....

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