By timothy from Slashdot's spray-and-pray department
siliconbits writes "The debate about tagging has been going for nearly a decade. Slashdot has covered it a number of times.
But it seems that nobody has yet to come up with a foolproof solution to tagging. Even luminaries like Engadget, The Verge, Gizmodo and Slashdot all have different tagging schemes. Commontag, a venture launched in 2009 to tackle tagging, has proved to be all but a failure despite the backing of heavyweights like Freebase, Yahoo and Zemanta. Even Google gave up and purchased Freebase in July 2010. Somehow I remain convinced that a unified, semantically-based solution, using a mix of folksonomy and taxonomy, is the Graal of tagging. I'd like to hear from fellow Slashdotters as to how they tackle the issue of creating and maintaining a tagging solution, regardless of the platform and the technologies being used in the backend."
A good time to note: there may be no pretty
way to get at them, but finding stories with a particular tag on Slashdot is simple, at least one at a time: Just fill in a tag you'd like to explore after "slashdot.org/tag/", as in "slashdot.org/tag/bizarro
."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's couldn't-happen-here department
An anonymous reader writes "Having been targeted by malware in the past, anti-government protesters in Bahrain are now being hit hard by IP tracking attacks, according to a researcher. Bill Marczak, of Bahrain Watch and Citizen Lab, who is putting together a report on the attacks, said it appeared Bahrain officials had been masquerading as fake activists, sending obfuscated URLs to targets to learn their IP address. The next step is to take the IP address and the time of the click to the relevant ISP to find out who the user is. Then all sorts of things can happen. 'People who have clicked on these links have suffered various types of consequences ranging from having their houses raided and being charged for saying insulting things about the king on Twitter, or losing their jobs,' says Marczak. 'It looks like, from our investigation so far, in one case, the government did lock up the wrong person.'"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's old-ways-is-best-ways department
An anonymous reader writes "When Google first announced Google Reader would be shut down, the news kick-started a very competitive race to create the best alternative. At least one service, however, did not welcome the change, and is now planning to close up shop next month: The Old Reader. In fact, if you navigate to the service's homepage now, you'll be greeted by this sad message: "Unfortunately we had to disable user registration at The Old Reader." In two weeks, the public site will be shut down and a private one, available to a select few (accounts will be migrated automatically), will take its place."
An update on the story says "We have received a number of proposals that we are discussing right now. Chances are high that public The Old Reader will live after all," so a reprieve may be possible.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's name-your-price department
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating report at the Washington Post that Medicare annually pays $69.6 billion for physician services according to an arcane and little-known price list, known as the Relative Value Update over which doctors themselves exercise considerable and less-than-totally-transparent influence. A 31-member committee of the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends what Medicare should pay for some 10,000 procedures — with the fees based in part on how long it takes to complete each one. But this time-and-motion study often fails to take full account of changing technology and other factors affecting physician productivity, so anomalies result. For example, if the AMA time estimates are correct, then 41 percent of gastroenterologists were typically performing 12 hours or more of procedures in a day, which is longer than the typical outpatient surgery center is open and and one gastroenterologist in the Post story would have to work 26 hours, according to the committee time estimates, to accomplish what he gets done in a typical workday. Here's how it works: Medicare pays for a 15-minute colonoscopy as if it took 75 minutes resulting in a median salary for a gastroenterologist of $481,000. It is possible that in 1992, critics allow, when the price list was first developed, a colonoscopy actually took something close to 75 minute when doctors had to hunch over an eyepiece similar to that of a microscope for a look. But technology has advanced and now the images are processed and displayed on a large screen in high-definition video. Responding to criticism that the nation's method of valuing medical procedures misprices payments, a bipartisan group of legislators has drafted a bill that would reshape the way the nation pays doctors. The bill would require Medicare officials to collect data such as how much time doctors spend doing procedures and reducing the doctor payment for overvalued services. 'What started as an advisory group has taken on a life of its own,' says Tom Scully, who was Medicare chief during the George W. Bush Administration. 'The idea that $100 billion in federal spending is based on fixed prices that go through an industry trade association in a process that is not open to the public is pretty wild.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's poor-venus department
vinces99 writes with this excerpt from the UW news service: "It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable 'runaway greenhouse' stage, according to new research (abstract, article paywalled) by astronomers at the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. In the runaway greenhouse stage, a planet absorbs more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the world overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now. One estimate of the inner edge of a star's 'habitable zone' is where the runaway greenhouse process begins. The habitable zone is that ring of space around a star that's just right for water to remain in liquid form on an orbiting rocky planet's surface, thus giving life a chance. Revisiting this classic planetary science scenario with new computer modeling, the astronomers found a lower thermal radiation threshold for the runaway greenhouse process, meaning that stage may be easier to initiate."
If correct, the habitable zone shrinks a bit and a few exoplanets might lose their potentially habitable status. And the Earth will leave the habitable zone in a billion and a half or so years as the Sun gets brighter.Read Replies (0)