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Earth

Strong Climate Change Opinions Are Self-Reinforcing 655

Posted by Soulskill
from the opinions-are-like-delusions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A study recently published in Nature (abstract) looked at how personal beliefs altered a person's perception of climate change. Surveying a sample of people in 2008 and then the same people again in 2011, the study looked for 'motivated reasoning,' where 'high belief certainty influenced perceptions of personal experience,' and 'experiential learning,' where 'perceived personal experience of global warming led to increased belief certainty.' According to the article, 'When you categorize individuals by engagement — essentially how confident and knowledgeable they feel about the facts of the issue — differences are revealed. For the highly-engaged groups (on both sides), opinions about whether climate is warming appeared to drive reports of personal experience. That is, motivated reasoning was prevalent. On the other hand, experience really did change opinions for the less-engaged group, and motivated reasoning took a back seat.None of that is truly surprising, but it leads to a couple interesting points. First, the concrete here-and-now communication strategy is probably a good one for those whose opinions aren't firmly set — fully 75 percent of Americans, according to the polling. But second, that tack is unlikely to get anywhere with the 8 percent or so of highly-engaged Americans who reject the idea of a warming planet, and are highly motivated to disregard anything that says otherwise.'"
Open Source

For League of Legends Creator Riot Games, Big Data Is Serious Business 33

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-just-need-a-good-jungler dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Riot Games created the very successful League of Legends gaming franchise, which hosts millions of monthly users. Barry Livingston, director of engineering for the company's Big Data group, talks about how Riot Games scaled up to deal with that enormous data load. Consider all the millions of people playing the game in real time. Picture joining three massive tables — player data, game data, and session data — and you begin to see the full scope of Riot Games' issue. Gamer activity generates more than 500 GB of structured data and over four TB of operational logs every day. Riot Games has also posted 60 open-source Chef and Opscode recipes, among other code samples."
Businesses

Nationwide Google Fiber Deployment Would Cost $140 Billion 327

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-a-dozen-aircraft-carriers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "For a lot of U.S. internet users, Google Fiber sounds too good to be true — 1Gbps speeds for prices similar to much slower plans from current providers. Google is testing the service now in Kansas City, but what would it take for them to roll it out to the rest of the country? Well, according to a new report from Goldman Sachs, the price tag would be over $140 billion. Not even Google has that kind of cash laying around. From the report: '... if Google devoted 25% of its $4.5bn annual capex to this project, it could equip 830K homes per year, or 0.7% of US households. As such, even a 50mn household build out, which would represent less than half of all U.S. homes, could cost as much as $70bn. We note that Jason Armstrong estimates Verizon has spent roughly $15bn to date building out its FiOS fiber network covering an area of approximately 17mn homes.' Meanwhile, ISPs like Time Warner aren't sure the demand exists for 1Gbps internet, so it's unlikely they'll leap to invest in their own build-out."
Businesses

How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation 391

Posted by Soulskill
from the there-oughta-be-a-law dept.
hype7 writes "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting piece on how money in politics is having a deleterious effect on U.S. innovation. From the article: 'Somehow, it seems that every time that [Mickey Mouse] is about to enter the public domain, Congress has passed a bill to extend the length of copyright. Congress has paid no heed to research or calls for reform; the only thing that matters to determining the appropriate length of copyright is how old Mickey is. Rather than create an incentive to innovate and develop new characters, the present system has created the perverse situation where it makes more sense for Big Content to make campaign contributions to extend protection for their old work.if you were in any doubt how deep inside the political system the system of contributions have allowed incumbents to insert their hands, take a look at what happened when the Republican Study Committee released a paper pointing out some of the problems with current copyright regime. The debate was stifled within 24 hours. And just for good measure, Rep Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville and who received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, apparently had the author of the study, Derek Khanna, fired. Sure, debate around policy is important, but it's clearly not as important as raising campaign funds.'"
Earth

Ticking Arctic Carbon Bomb May Be Bigger Than Expected 339

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-invented-carbon-bombs-anyway dept.
sciencehabit writes "Scientists are expressing fresh concerns about the carbon locked in the Arctic's vast expanse of frozen soil. New field studies quantify the amount of soil carbon at 1.9 trillion metric tons, suggesting that previous estimates underestimated the climate risk if this carbon is liberated. Meanwhile, a new analysis of laboratory experiments that simulate carbon release by thawed soil is bolstering worries that continued carbon emissions could unleash a massive Arctic carbon wallop."
Bitcoin

Bitcoins Join Global Bank Network 84

Posted by timothy
from the now-you're-totally-untraceable dept.
another random user writes "Bitcoin-Central, a currency exchange that specialises in virtual cash, has won the right to operate as a bank. They got the go-ahead thanks to a deal with French financial firms Aqoba and Credit Mutuel. The exchange is one of many that swaps bitcoins, computer generated cash, for real world currencies. The change in status makes it easier to use bitcoins and bestows national protections on balances held at the exchange. Under European laws, the deal means Bitcoin-Central becomes a Payment Services Provider (PSP) that has an International Bank ID number. This puts it on an equal footing with other payment networks such as PayPal and WorldPay. As a PSP it will be able to issue debit cards, carry out real-time transfers to other banks and accept transfers into its own coffers."
Government

Some UK Councils Barred From Using Gov't Vehicle Database 84

Posted by timothy
from the and-for-just-a-few-pounds-more dept.
Bruce66423 writes "A number of British councils are being banned from accessing the national Vehicle Database system. While sometimes this appears to be due to technical infractions, the banning of some 'permanently' seems to be as a result of more serious misdemeanours. Trust the government? Not a good idea..."
Advertising

Washington Post To Go Paywall, Along With Buffett-Owned Local Papers 163

Posted by timothy
from the interesting-use-of-the-word-reportedly dept.
McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington Post, and local newspapers owned by Warren Buffett, are all planning to follow the New York Times and install metered paywalls." Buffett's got more than 80 papers right now, and hasn't quit buying them. There's some time to read the WaPo sans paywall, but by mid-year it may be up.
Python

Python Creator Guido van Rossum Leaves Google For Dropbox 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-just-typed-import-guido dept.
New submitter mrvan writes "Guido van Rossum, the proclaimed Python Benevolent Dictator For Life, has left Google to work for Dropbox. In their announcement, Dropbox says they relied heavily on Python from the beginning, citing a mix of simplicity, flexibility, and elegance, and are excited to have GvR on the team. While this is, without a doubt, good news for Dropbox, the big question is what this will mean for Python (and for Google)."
Networking

UK Organization Set Up To Encourage IPv6 Adoption Closes 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the giving-up-the-hexadecimal-ghost dept.
New submitter Sesostris III writes "In April 2010, with £20,000 of government money, 6uk was set up to encourage the adoption of the IPv6 protocol in the UK. In December 2012 the board resigned en-masse in protest at official indifference to its work. 'The biggest organization we needed to join 6UK was the government,' the former director, Philip Sheldrake, is quoted as saying. Without government support, 'there's no material incentive for any organization to go for IPv6.' Government interest can be gauged by the fact that no government website currently sat on an IPv6 address. The UK is among the nations that have done the least to move to IPv6, and lags behind other nations in adopting the new protocol. In contrast, governments like that in the U.S. are encouraging adoption of the new protocol by mandating IPv6 compliance in contracts."
Media

Using Multiple Forms of Media At Once Correlates With Depression, Anxiety 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-tv-and-my-tablet-and-my-ereader-disagree dept.
pigrabbitbear writes "A new study (abstract) from Michigan State University shows that media multitasking exhibits a strong correlation with social anxiety and depression. Importantly, the direction of causality remains to be seen: Does multi-tasking make us more anxious and depressed? Or, as the study's leader, Mark W. Becker, an assistant professor of psychology, put it in an email, 'are depressed and anxious [people] turning toward media multitasking as a form of distraction?' The results of this study aren't conclusive in that regard, he says. But they're an important step. 'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."
Ubuntu

Valve Begins Listing Linux Requirements For Certain Games On Steam 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the fully-updated-GPL-drivers dept.
Deathspawner writes "Perhaps hinting at the fact that the official Steam for Linux launch isn't too far off, Valve has begun updating some game pages to include Linux system requirements. Some games don't list only Ubuntu as the main supported distro, with some listing Linux Mint and Fedora as well. A common theme is that Valve recommends you always use a 'fully updated' OS, regardless of which distro you use. And based on the system requirements laid out so far, it's safe to say that Serious Sam 3: BFE will undoubtedly be the most system-intensive game released at launch."
GNU is Not Unix

RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu 597

Posted by Soulskill
from the matters-of-trust dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation website, Richard Stallman has spoken out against Ubuntu because of Canonical's decision to integrate Amazon search results in the distribution's Dash search. He says, 'Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.) This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. ... What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, "free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," that's much less powerful than saying, "free software won't spy on you." It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this. ... If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute.'"
Advertising

Advertising May Soon Follow You From One Device To the Next 132

Posted by timothy
from the for-that-twilight-zone-feeling dept.
moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."
United States

How Yucca Mountain Was Killed 340

Posted by timothy
from the actually-the-mountain's-doing-just-fine dept.
ATKeiper writes "The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was selected by the U.S. government in the 1980s to be the nation's permanent facility for storing nuclear waste, is essentially dead. A new article in The New Atlantis explains how the project was killed: 'In the end, the Obama administration succeeded, by a combination of legal authority and bureaucratic will, in blocking Congress's plan for the Yucca Mountain repository — certainly for the foreseeable future, and perhaps permanently.... The saga of Yucca Mountain's creation and apparent demise, and of the seeming inability of the courts to prevent the Obama administration from unilaterally nullifying the decades-old statutory framework for Yucca, illustrates how energy infrastructure is uniquely subject to the control of the executive branch, and so to the influence of presidential politics.' A report from the Government Accountability Office notes that the termination 'essentially restarts a time-consuming and costly process [that] has already cost nearly $15 billion through 2009.'"

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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