The inadvertent hilarity of the Heartland Institute vs. Pope Francis | Ars Technica

The inadvertent hilarity of the Heartland Institute vs. Pope Francis | Ars Technica

As part of the preparation for the encyclical, there’s a meeting going on at the Vatican Science Academy that’s focused on climate change. Guests include everyone from Ban Ki-moon to Nobel Prize winning scientists. Not on the guest list was the Heartland Institute, most notable for putting up a billboard suggesting that people who cared about climate change might be just as deranged as Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber.
When in Rome…

But Heartland decided to go to Rome anyway. I know this because someone has signed me up to its press mailing list, which offers up quotes from expertise-free “experts” that make you wonder whether some of them might need an intervention—or simply a trip back to Earth from whatever planet they seem to be inhabiting.

In the case of the meeting at the Vatican, Heartland starts off relatively restrained. “The Heartland Institute,” its release says, “has brought real scientists to Rome this week to dissuade Pope Francis from lending his moral authority to the politicized and unscientific climate agenda of the United Nations.”

While there are two people with scientific training among the people Heartland has brought, the group is also taking someone with a PhD in Scottish history and the former general counsel for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Virginia, along with Marc Morano, a former staffer for Sen. James Inhofe (the Oklahoma republican who has called climate change a hoax), who is now a full-time climate troll who publishes the contact information of scientists so they can be harassed. And Christopher Monckton, who is, well… a bit bonkers.


Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 leaps out of the Microsoft oven • The Register

Windows 10 preview for Raspberry Pi 2 leaps out of the Microsoft oven • The Register

The operating system image for the Raspberry Pi 2 requires an 8GB micro SD card, though the OS itself is only about 1GB, with the remaining space available to the developer.

This is a special build of Windows 10 called IoT Core. It can run in either headed or headless mode, and when in headed mode it runs GUI apps written for Microsoft’s new Universal App Platform (UAP) in either XAML, HTML or DirectX.

[The storage requirement is high if you are talking about thousands of devices ]

Bad Manager? Blame the Peter Principle – Dice News

Bad Manager? Blame the Peter Principle – Dice News

But in Gallup’s estimation, there are so many bad managers out there that one out of every two employees have “left their job to get away,” according to the study. “Managers who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the U.S. economy $319 billion to $398 billion annually.”

Keep it long: Most science writing advice flops, analysis finds — ScienceDaily

Keep it long: Most science writing advice flops, analysis finds — ScienceDaily

This particular analysis found that shorter abstracts led to fewer citations across all disciplines tested — a refutation of the idea that “brief is better.” Other tests found that using more adjectives, adverbs, uncommon words, signals of novelty and importance, and “pleasant” words boosted citations, despite frequent warnings or rules against using each of these features.

Taken together and literally, the results would advise using a “lengthy, convoluted, highly-indexible, self-describing abstract” to attract more citations. But the authors don’t actually recommend that approach.

“If you were to follow all the rules, it would be absolutely horrible, terrible to read,” Allesina said. “I would discount the suggestions you are typically given, but I would not blindly embrace those we provide. There’s no magic trick; you have to write good papers and good abstracts, and it has to make sense.”

[Sounds like a similar problem with resumes. If there are not enough buzz words then the search engines never pick it up.]

Software vendors be warned: the old rules may no longer apply to government

Software vendors be warned: the old rules may no longer apply to government

GSA has identified 15 terms and conditions common in commercial supplier agreements that it considers incompatible with existing federal law. And where there is a conflict, government’s own commercial terms rule. It’s designed to save everyone time. Vendors won’t have to comb their contracts for offending clauses — they just can’t be enforced.

The Forgotten History of Small Nuclear Reactors – IEEE Spectrum

The Forgotten History of Small Nuclear Reactors – IEEE Spectrum

But nothing in the history of small nuclear reactors suggests that they would be more economical than full-size ones. In fact, the record is pretty clear: Without exception, small reactors cost too much for the little electricity they produced, the result of both their low output and their poor performance. In the end, as an analyst for General Electric pronounced in 1966, “Nuclear power is a big-plant business: it is most competitive in the large plant sizes.” And if large nuclear reactors are not competitive, it is unlikely that small reactors will do any better. Worse, attempts to make them cheaper might end up exacerbating nuclear power’s other problems: production of long-lived radioactive waste, linkage with nuclear weapons, and the occasional catastrophic accident.

[Smaller catastrophe accidents do not give anyone a warm and fuzzy feeling.]

When Integrated Circuits Couldn’t Be Trusted – IEEE Spectrum

When Integrated Circuits Couldn’t Be Trusted – IEEE Spectrum

Today, few equipment manufacturers feel compelled to peer inside the little black boxes that litter modern circuit boards. But in the early days of ICs, reliability problems were common, as shown by this September 1967 ad for a Picker X-Ray microelectronics inspection machine. The machine is pictured in operation, checking incoming ICs at Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., now Northrop Grumman Corp. The company was an appropriate choice because at the time, Grumman was building lunar landers as part of NASA’s Apollo program. The Apollo program was responsible for large improvements in the quality of ICs overall, as NASA and its contractors tracked down manufacturing problems that would otherwise threaten the ability to fly astronauts safely.

[Remember the vacuum tube testers at drug store?]

Key Expert In Supreme Court Lethal Injection Case Did His Research On – Digg

Key Expert In Supreme Court Lethal Injection Case Did His Research On – Digg

A number of legal activists and medical professionals have expressed concern that Evans, a board certified psychiatric pharmacist and the dean of the Harrison School of Pharmacy at Auburn University in Alabama, has testified that he has never used midazolam on a patient and has, in fact, never personally induced anesthesia.

According to his curriculum vitae, which he submitted as part of his testimony, the last time Evans published a paper related to his pharmacology research was in 1996. Moreover, his 300-page expert witness report included more than 150 pages of printouts from, an online consumer website whose disclaimer reads, “not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.”

Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects — ScienceDaily

Can cheap wine taste great? Brain imaging and marketing placebo effects — ScienceDaily

Participants showed significant effect of price and taste prejudices, both in how they rated the taste as well as in their measurable brain activity. The MRI readings related in part to specific areas of the brain that differ from person to person. These differences are also associated with known differences in personality traits. The authors were able to further determine that people who were strong reward-seekers or who were low in physical self-awareness were also more susceptible to having their experience shaped by prejudices about the product.

Verizon warns FiOS user over “excessive” use of unlimited data | Ars Technica

Verizon warns FiOS user over “excessive” use of unlimited data | Ars Technica

Although Verizon says its FiOS Internet service “doesn’t cap usage in any way,” one customer who has been using 7TB monthly for several months in a row got a letter warning him that his broadband will be disconnected unless he reins in his “excessive usage.”

“If this excessive usage continues past May 31, 2015 on your FiOS Internet account, your service will be disconnected on June 15, 2015,” Verizon wrote to the subscriber.

The subscriber pays $315 a month for Verizon’s 500Mbps plan, according to DSLReports.

“If you break it down it accounts to a single ~24 hours of usage at the full 500Mbps, or 20Mbps for a continuous 30 days,” the user told DSLReports. “My usage is irregular and usually spikes up and down and sometimes the connection will sit idle for a day or two at a time. It makes me curious why 500Mbps is even offered if just using a whopping four percent of that connection is prohibited.”

[Haven’t the FCC slapped some wireless companies for cutting off unlimited service? This is ‘wired’ but the issue is the same.]