From the Wichita Eagle:
A Wichita State University mathematician sued the top Kansas election official Wednesday, seeking paper tapes from electronic voting machines in an effort to explain statistical anomalies favoring Republicans in counts coming from large precincts across the country.
Valve has announced that they will be allowing content creators to charge for workshop mods:
The Steam Workshop has always been a great place for sharing mods, maps, and all kinds of items that you’ve created. Now it's also a great place for selling those creations. With a new, streamlined process for listing and selling your creations, the Steam Workshop now supports buying mods directly from the Workshop, to be immediately usable in game. Discover the best new mods for your game and enable the creators to continue making new items and experiences.
For just a moment, think back to when the first computers containing Intel's 80486 processor were being released. Things were quite different back then.
On April 24, 1990, shuttle mission STS-31 saw Discovery launch the Hubble Space Telescope successfully into its planned orbit.
From Celebrating 25 years of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope:
On the 24 April 2015 the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope will celebrate 25 years since its launch.
During the 1970s, NASA and ESA began planning for a space telescope that could transcend the blurring effects of the atmosphere and take clearer images of the Universe than ever before. In 1990 the idea finally became a reality and, despite a flaw in the main mirror which was quite swiftly corrected, Hubble has since far exceeded expectations.
It has delved deeper into the early years of the Universe than was ever thought possible, played a critical part in the discovery that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating and probed the atmospheres of planets around distant stars.
Hubble had 5 servicing missions. The main mirror was ground incorrectly, and a significant part of that first servicing mission was to install corrective optics. The effect was dramatic. Who can forget those amazing photos like The Pillars of Creation and Hubble Deep Field? Just think of all the fantastic pictures from Hubble that graced the Astronomy Picture of the Day!
What are your most memorable recollections of the Hubble Space Telescope's accomplishments? Did you see the launch of the telescope or one of the servicing missions? Did you play a role in any of its projects?
ScienceMag has an article discussing the reevaluation of the entire field of Homeopathy. For starters, the FDA has decided to take a new look at how homeopathic treatment are manufactured.
In a 2-day hearing, the agency invited public input on how it should regulate homeopathy—a traditional healing practice that has been called into question by numerous scientific studies.
The problem is that there isn't any evidence beyond the placebo effect for much of homeopathy:
“By its own definition, homeopathy cannot work,” Michael De Dora, director of public policy at the nonprofit Center for Inquiry’s Washington, D.C., branch, told the panel in his Monday presentation. Several large metastudies, including a recent analysis by the National Health and Medical Research Council in Australia, have concluded that homeopathic remedies are no more effective than placebos for treating any condition. “We need not spend much time on this,” De Dora said, “as the federal government is well aware of the scientific evidence against homeopathy.”
Yet, largely due to the political maneuvering on the part to U.S. senator and homeopathic physician Royal Copeland, who co-authored the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the FDA has regulated homeopathic "medicine" since 1938, largely taking a hands off approach.
But homeopath is now starting to cost big money. Homeopathic treatments generally qualify insurance coverage, including Medicare. Because Obamacare now funds medical premiums for the poor, this is costing the government (and government mandated insurance plans) huge sums of money, and inflating premiums for the rest of us.
What If One Country Achieves the Singularity First ?
WRITTEN BY ZOLTAN ISTVAN
The concept of a technological singularity ( http://www.singularitysymposium.com/definition-of-singularity.html ) is tough to wrap your mind around. Even experts have differing definitions. Vernor Vinge, responsible for spreading the idea in the 1990s, believes it's a moment when growing superintelligence renders our human models of understanding obsolete. Google's Ray Kurzweil says it's "a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed." Kevin Kelly, founding editor of Wired, says, "Singularity is the point at which all the change in the last million years will be superseded by the change in the next five minutes." Even Christian theologians have chimed in, sometimes referring to it as "the rapture of the nerds."
My own definition of the singularity is: the point where a fully functioning human mind radically and exponentially increases its intelligence and possibilities via physically merging with technology.
All these definitions share one basic premise—that technology will speed up the acceleration of intelligence to a point when biological human understanding simply isn’t enough to comprehend what’s happening anymore.
If an AI exclusively belonged to one nation (which is likely to happen), and the technology of merging human brains and machines grows sufficiently (which is also likely to happen), then you could possibly end up with one nation controlling the pathways into the singularity.
It's election season in the UK, and the Green Party's policy document has been coming under scrutiny recently. In it is a desire to reduce copyright term to 14 years (not life + 14 years, but 14 years from publication).
Unsurprisingly, this has received a bit of a backlash from various parties.
There's no chance the Green Party will form the next government, so this is all academic, but is this a sensible idea? Are people overreacting?
John Boxall posted this to Google+ and I thought it would be of interest to Soylentils:
Apparently there has been a split in the community behind the hardware side of the Arduino boards, with one long-time member of the team apparently being the major driver behind the split. There's a lot more detail in Boxall's editorial as well as his comments.
According to the Jolla Blog the ship date for the much anticipated Jolla Tablet has slipped: From June-ish to July-ish. (The original ship date was expected to be May).
Jolla had one of the most successful Crowdfunded projects run by IndieGOGO. It ended up being over funded by 480%, exhibiting strong support for another tablet that isn't IOS, isn't Android, and isn't Windows.
Pre-production versions of the Jolla Tablet were judged Best Tablet of Mobile World Congress 15. (autoplay video on the page).
In fact the MWC event played a part in slowing down the release, as Jolla burned the midnight oil getting demonstrators ready for the show. In spite of a not yet completed Sailfish 2.0 operating system and not yet finalized hardware, Jolla impressed all reviewers.
Along the way, Jolla made significant upgrades to to the tablet's specs, including an upgraded Sailfish 2.0. Also added were larger memory, and a just announced new screen.
Sailfish OS can run android apps. The latest release version is Sailfish Äijänpäivänjärvi. (No, I can't pronounce it either). Its currently running on the Jolla phone, available mostly in Europe.
Since Sailfish is based on Ubuntu and Mer, it is Linux, and as such you can install Linux applications. Because of this, it may provide some competition to the big players in the mobile field.
Jolla (pronounced "yala", means small boat in Finish) is based in Finland (Suomi). The company is composed of ex-Nokia veterans. The Tablet's Main Website is rather script heavy.
Disclaimer: While this may read like a slashvertisment, I have no connection to Jolla, other than as a future customer. I participated in the Crowd-funding, (paid the money) but I haven't seen either the Tablet or the Phone yet. I'm eager to get my hands on it. Delays aren't fun, but I'd rather have it right than have it right away.
The New York Times reports that President Obama has offered an emotional apology for the accidental killing of two hostages held by Al Qaeda, one of them American, in a United States government counterterrorism operation in January, saying he takes “full responsibility” for their deaths. “As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations,” including the one that inadvertently took the lives of the two captives, a grim-faced Obama said in a statement to reporters in the White House briefing room.
The White House earlier released an extraordinary statement revealing that intelligence officials had confirmed that Warren Weinstein, an American held by Al Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian held since 2012, died during the operation. Gunmen abducted Warren Weinstein in 2011 from his home in Lahore, Pakistan. They posed as neighbors, offered food and then pistol-whipped the American aid worker and tied up his guards, according to his daughter Alisa Weinstein.
The White House did not explain why it has taken three months to disclose the episode. Obama said that the operation was conducted after hundreds of hours of surveillance had convinced American officials that they were targeting an Al Qaeda compound where no civilians were present, and that “capturing these terrorists was not possible.” The White House said the operation that killed the two hostages “was lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies” but nonetheless the government is conducting a “thorough independent review” to determine what happened and how such casualties could be avoided in the future.
Wired has an article which responds to the view of John Deere and General Motors on what the people who buy their vehicles actually own, which was expressed during comments on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA):
John Deere—the world’s largest agricultural machinery maker —told the Copyright Office that farmers don’t own their tractors. Because computer code snakes through the DNA of modern tractors, farmers receive “an implied license for the life of the vehicle to operate the vehicle.”
It’s John Deere’s tractor, folks. You’re just driving it.
Several manufacturers recently submitted similar comments to the Copyright Office under an inquiry into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
General Motors told the Copyright Office that proponents of copyright reform mistakenly “conflate ownership of a vehicle with ownership of the underlying computer software in a vehicle.” But I’d bet most Americans make the same conflation—and Joe Sixpack might be surprised to learn GM owns a giant chunk of the Chevy sitting in his driveway
The British Medical Journal provides an editorial from Professor David Healy, Head of Psychiatry at the Hergest psychiatry unit in Bangor in which it is stated:
When concerns emerged about tranquilliser dependence in the early 1980s, an attempt was made to supplant benzodiazepines with a serotonergic drug, buspirone, marketed as a non-dependence producing anxiolytic. This flopped. The lessons seemed to be that patients expected tranquillisers to have an immediate effect and doctors expected them to produce dependence. It was not possible to detoxify the tranquilliser brand.
Instead, drug companies marketed SSRIs for depression, even though they were weaker than older tricyclic antidepressants, and sold the idea that depression was the deeper illness behind the superficial manifestations of anxiety. The approach was an astonishing success, central to which was the notion that SSRIs restored serotonin levels to normal, a notion that later transmuted into the idea that they remedied a chemical imbalance. The tricyclics did not have a comparable narrative.
In the 1990s, no academic could sell a message about lowered serotonin. There was no correlation between serotonin reuptake inhibiting potency and antidepressant efficacy. No one knew if SSRIs raised or lowered serotonin levels; they still don’t know. There was no evidence that treatment corrected anything.
CONGRESS IS HELLBENT on passing a cybersecurity bill that can stop the wave of hacker breaches hitting American corporations. And they’re not letting the protests of a few dozen privacy and civil liberties organizations get in their way.
On Wednesday the House of Representatives voted 307-116 to pass the Protecting Cyber Networks Act, a bill designed to allow more fluid sharing of cybersecurity threat data between corporations and government agencies. That new system for sharing information is designed to act as a real-time immune system against hacker attacks, allowing companies to warn one another via government intermediaries about the tools and techniques of advanced hackers. But privacy critics say it also threatens to open up a new backchannel for surveillance of American citizens, in some cases granting the same companies legal immunity to share their users’ private data with government agencies that include the NSA.
The businessinsider.com article seems to best line out the many clues and linkings that this may be the case, not the least of which seems to be that the image of Dr. Canavero is used as the neurosurgeon in the game. Also possibly telling, the article states:
Hideo Kojima, who heads up the “Metal Gear Solid” franchise, tweeted about his next project in 2010: “The next project will challenge a certain type of taboo. If I mess up, I’ll probably have to leave the industry. However, I don’t want to pass by avoiding that. I turn 47 this year. It’s been 24 years since I started making games. Today, I got an ally who would happily support me in that risk. Although it’s just one person. For a start, it’s good.” This makes it sound like Kojima was able to persuade Dr. Canavero to join his venture — to help leverage his authority as a famous doctor and neurosurgeon to promote "Metal Gear Solid 5" with a viral marketing stunt.
The Guardian is reporting on a newly discovered bug in IOS which causes iDevices to continually crash and reboot.
Once the user has entered what its discoverer, security researchers Skycure, dubs the “no iOS Zone”, there’s no way to fix their phone other than escaping the range of the malicious network; every time it reboots, it crashes almost immediately.
The basis of the attack uses a “specially crafted SSL certificate”, typically used to ensure a secure connection, to trigger a bug in the operating system that crashes out any app using SSL.
More info on Skycure's blog.