By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's it's-a-simulation-anyway department
ananyo writes "Paul Steinhardt, an astrophysicist at Princeton University in New Jersey, and colleagues have posted a controversial paper on ArXiv arguing, based on the latest Higgs data and the cosmic microwave background map from the Planck mission, that the leading theory explaining the first moments of the Big Bang ('inflation') is fatally flawed. In short, Steinhardt says that the models that best fit the Planck data — known as 'plateau models' because their potential-energy profiles level off at relatively low energies — are far less likely to occur naturally than the models that Planck ruled out. Secondly, he says, the news for these plateau models gets dramatically worse when the results are analyzed in conjunction with the latest results about the Higgs field coming from CERN's Large Hadron Collider. Particle physicists working at the LHC have calculated that the Higgs field is likely to have started out in a high-energy, 'metastable' state rather than in a stable, low-energy configuration. Steinhardt likens the odds of the Higgs field initially being perched in the precarious metastable state as to those of dropping out of the sky over the Matterhorn and conveniently landing in a 'dimple near the top,' rather than crashing down to the mountain's base."Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's eternal-recurrence department
First time accepted submitter Landy DeField writes "Tried accessing your Gmail today? You may be faced with 'Temporary Error (500)' error message. Tried to get more detailed information by clicking on the 'Show Detailed Technical Info' link which loads a single line... 'Numeric Code: 5.' Clicked on the App status dashboard link. All were green except for the Admin Control Panel / API. Took a glance 2 minutes ago and now, Google mail and Google Drive are orange and Admin Control Panel / API is red. Look forward to the actual ...'Detailed Technical Info' on what is going on."
The apps dashboard confirms
that there is a partial outage of many Google Apps. The Next Web ran a quick article about this, and in the process discovered there was an outage on the same date
last year.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's unexpected-turn-of-events department
An anonymous reader sent in word that the Obama administration is threatening to veto CISPA in its current form because "The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not
require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information (PDF) when
sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities. Citizens have a
right to know that corporations will be held accountable — and not granted immunity — for failing
to safeguard personal information adequately. The Administration is committed to working with
all stakeholders to find a workable solution to this challenge."
Ars has a few more details
, the EFF urges U.S. citizens to oppose the bill
, and one of the sponsors tweeted that those opposed to the bill are basement dwelling fourteen year olds
. Note that the Administration still wants there to be some kind of comprehensive data sharing law in the name of cybersecurity, so this may very well rear its head again in the coming months.Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's canada-isn't-real-anyway department
quarterbuck writes "Many politicians, especially in Europe, have used the idea that economic growth is impeded by debt levels above 90% of GDP to justify austerity measures. The academic justification came from a paper and a book by Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. Now researchers at U Mass at Amherst have refuted the study — they find that not only was the data tainted by bad statistics, it also had an Excel error . Apparently when averaging a few GDP numbers in an excel sheet, they did not drag down the cell ranges down properly, excluding Belgium. The supporting website for the book 'This time it is different' has lots of financial information if a reader might want to replicate some of the results."
The Excel error is making the rounds as the
cause of the problems with the study, but it's actually a minor component. The study also ignores some post-WWII data for countries that had a high debt load and high growth, and there's some fishy weighting going on: "The U.K. has 19 years (1946-1964) above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with an average 2.4 percent growth rate. New Zealand has one year in their sample above 90 percent debt-to-GDP with a growth rate of -7.6. These two numbers, 2.4 and -7.6 percent, are given equal weight in the final calculation, as they average the countries equally. Even though there are 19 times as many data points for the U.K."Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's please-don't-make-this-a-thing department
MojoKid writes "When it comes to creative advertising potential, it's hard to beat a game like SimCity. In most titles, the idea of in-game advertising makes little sense. Sarah Kerrigan doesn't shop at Victoria's Secret, Booker DeWitt is an unlikely fan of Coca-Cola, and the post-apocalyptic setting of Metro 2033 isn't exactly prime McDonald's turf. But SimCity? SimCity is a game where it makes perfect sense to integrate real-world brands. A city filled with familiar logos and advertising is a city that more closely resembles the real world. That's undoubtedly why EA decided to partner with Crest Toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. And not for in-game advertising, either. The Nissan Leaf DLC that the company launched a few weeks back at least made sense in some context; EV charging stations are going to be an increasingly common site in cities in the future. But the five new SimCity Attractions that the company added in the Crest partnership boggle the mind."
The Escapist points out that this partnership also extends to The Sims Social
, one of EA's Facebook games... which is getting shut down
in a few months.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tomorrow-will-probably-be-a-better-day-for-him department
An anonymous reader writes "Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, a.k.a. 'anakata,' co-founder of The Pirate Bay, has been indicted by a Swedish court on charges of computer hacking and fraud. The prosecuting attorney said, 'A large amount of data from companies and agencies was taken during the hack, including a large amount of personal data, such as personal identity numbers of people with protected identities.' According to Ars, 'The first count of hacking involves allegedly unlawfully using another person's username and password to search Infotorg, a well-known massive privately held commercial database of "private individuals, companies, properties and vehicles." The second count, as previously reported, involves an alleged hack dating back to 2010 of Logica, a Swedish IT firm that contracts with the Swedish tax authority. In March 2012, Logica was hit by an online attack that resulted in around 9,000 Swedes (Google Translate) having their personal identity numbers and names released to the public. ... The third count of hacking, allegedly taking place between July and August 2012, accuses Svartholm Warg of unauthorized access of major Nordic region bank Nordea's computers. The fraud charges accuse Svartholm Warg of allegedly transferring and attempting to transfer money from Nordea to other unauthorized bank accounts.'"Read Replies (0)