The American Academy of Arts & Sciences has an interesting article on the relationship between scientists and the public. Rather than point the finger at an ‘ignorant’ public, this article chastises the scientists for a poor understanding of how to communicate with non-technical people. With a look at the issues of climate change, nuclear waste disposal, genetics, and the future of the Internet, the article provides examples of how the experts in these fields are failing to present their message in a way that encourages public discussion and support.
[Regarding living on the moon or Mars] Recent observations of the lunar and martian surface are turning up multiple discoveries of ‘skylights’ — collapsed roofs of hollow rilles or lava tubes. These holes into ready-made underground bunkers could provide ideal shelter for future manned bases on the two worlds. Firstly, they would provide shelter from the barrage of micrometeorites, solar x-rays and deep space cosmic rays.
Secondly, they’d help protect our burgeoning colonists from the extreme swings in surface temperature (on the moon, temperatures vary by 500 degrees F, but inside these lava tubes, the environment remains at a fairly constant -35 degrees). Thirdly, the sci-fi notion of underground space cities could become a reality. [Source].
Some people I know would love to go to Mars or live there even, I dunno.. I don’t see why. Ha ha. I like living here, we have stuff here already. Even if it were possible right now, I would only go there if it were truly necessary. Likewise with the moon.
Gary Phebus wants to donate his heart, lungs, and liver. The problem is he wants to donate them before he dies. Gary was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2008. Phebus says he’d like to be able to donate his organs before they deteriorate, and doesn’t consider his request suicide because he’s ‘dead anyway’.
I thought this was kind of lovely, wanting to help others at the cost of his own life. It provoked a discussion of suicide, DNR, ownership of your body and such on Slashdot.org. ‘Twas kind of interesting to see it spark up that kind of talk! He has the same illness as Stephen Hawking - although Hawking’s been quite lucky with it, it seems [Source]. I’d probably want to do the same as Phebus.
It’s not a terminal disease so far as I am aware and, with appropriate care, you can most probably live contently with it. However, it is not a fate I would like. So if I could, instead, give up my life to give away my insides that could help someone who potentially would have a longer life-span than I probably would have, that sounds fine by me! But who knows what I’d really do, eh?
But speaking of, I need to get on the donor list and research how they take your bone marrow or stem cells if you donate yourself for that! My grandmother said it is very painful. =O Requires you to stay in the hospital for quite some time. Evenso, it would surely be worth it, right? =) So it’d be fine. Just want to know!
While Disney and others have done a great job pushing the end date for works entering the public domain ever further forward, most people have assumed that anything from before 1923 is in the public domain. However, it turns out that this is not true for sound recordings, in part due to an accidental quirk in copyright law history — in that Congress, way back in 1909, believed that sound recordings could not be covered by copyright (they believed the Constitution did not allow recordings to be covered), and thus, some state laws stepped up to create special copyrights for sound recordings. A court ruling then said that these state rules were not overruled by federal copyright law. End result? ANY recorded work from before 1972 (no matter how early it was recorded) won’t go into the public domain until 2049 at the earliest.
"I have no specific desire to take control of mickey-frikkin-mouse away from the Walt Disney Corporation, or similar works from their holders. But I believe the original idea of copyright was to benefit humanity by encouraging people to create more works by granting an author the PRIVILEGE to control how their work was distributed for a limited time.
However, if a holder does not ultimately contribute something back to humanity in exchange for this privilege, then they are literally stealing from humanity.” - says Commenter on Slashdot.org.
More copyright-related malarky.
"The FBI has limited resources, so it needs to prioritize what it works on. However, it’s difficult to see why dealing with copyright infringement seems to get more attention than identity theft or missing persons. In the past year, the FBI has announced a special new task force to fight intellectual property infringement, but recent reports have shown that both identity theft and missing persons have been downgraded as priorities by the FBI, to the point that there are a backlog of such cases.”
- Dear me… And it’s quite sad really, but prompts me to ponder how successful all countries are at finding missing persons. I also wonder how the UK handles copyright stuff, I only hear about it in America. Never here, really.
This is Channel4’s series of documentaries on drugs.
I haven’t really watched any of it but, it seems quite credible. Seeing as this is going on, Channel4 have an online poll asking if viewers think drugs should be legalised or not. Please look at the poll results. The House of Lords, ages ago, already expressed a want for change in the way in which our country handles the subject of drugs.
There are many thoughts surrounding the topic and most seem to want a change. I remember many people expressing disapproval for the decision of cannabis rising up from a Class C drug to a Class B one (our drug classifications are Class C, B and A). Many MPs, policemen and the Advisory Council for Drugs, etc, were not very happy about it - they saw it as pointless. In fact, it caused lots of drama regarding the Advisory Council! A well-respected figure in his field was sacked, a few people resigned because of it, etc. Not everyone was against the reclassifcation, of course. But it seemed quite the unpopular decision.
I hope more discussion over the subject happens and hope that Britain will later on have the balls to actually make a change for the better. I’m not saying the most popular decision is the best one, however.. I think that many of us agree that we need to at least look for the best one and give it a shot ‘cause prohibition ain’t doing so great.
Speaking about it with a few people I know, they are too apprehensive about it or just don’t know enough about drugs to make an informed decision but, with the Drugs Advisory Council and whatnot, the government should be well-informed.
Laurie Santos is trying to find the roots of human irrationality by watching the way our primates make decisions. This video [see source] documents a clever series of experiments in ‘monkeynomics’ and shows that some of the stupid decisions we make are made by our primate relatives too.
An extensive study into the effect of digitalization on the music industry in Norway has shed an interesting light on the position of artists today, compared to 1999. While the music industry often talks about artists being on the brink of bankruptcy due to illicit file-sharing, the study found that the number of artists as well as their average income has seen a major increase in the last decade.
Hackers work extremely fast.
"Following up on yesterday’s story about the PS3 being hacked by one of its own official controllers, there’s now a guide in English that details how to mod a Sixaxxis controller. But thanks to the very latest releases, if you don’t like soldering you can now use an iPod, a Pandora console or even a Dingoo console. Finally, Jaicrab has released a USB firmware loader which will come in handy once the first custom firmware for the PS3 is released. Maybe then we will get region-free Blu-ray, PS1 and PS2 games.” [Source].
Sometimes I think there is pretty much no point in creating piracy restrictions and whatnot a lot of the time because the very same day, someone would’ve already hacked into it so everyone can access it for free. It’s amazing.
I forgot which game it was but, a game came out and pirates managed to crack it extremely quickly. Then the gamemakers failed on something, which caused the people who actually BOUGHT the game to not be able to play it.
Ha ha, so all the pirates had full access yet all the legit buyers didn’t. Poor them! I’ll update this later to get the proper story, so I can explain it better.
Anyways, I love the concept of White (Hat) Hackers.
They are the good kind, the kind that break into a system (or their own system) to point out its flaws and notify the creators to fix this so no one else can do it. I think it’s really sweet ‘cause it just helps to improve things. The Black (Hat) Hackers are the ones that hack in for malicious reasons. There are other kinds though, I think.