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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sunspots 436

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:
Computing: Time, National Public Radio, and many other news outlets report on Internet neutrality. Can, say, Charter, make, say, Netflix download more slowly, because they want to promote their own competing service? There's a court case.
Education: The Atlantic tells us why we should ignore the U. S. News & World Report annual college rankings.
Health: Fecal transplants are becoming an accepted treatment for some intestinal problems, says the Voice of America. Yes, inserting someone else's poop into your gut.
Politics: It's true -- the wealthiest are getting wealthier, and the rest of us are not, reports NPR. That's the wealthiest, as a group.
Science: Some great stuff this week. Wired has an article, with photos, about zombie ants, ants which are infected by fungi, which enter their brains and then alter the behavior of the ants.
National Public Radio tells us about insects that have gears that mesh -- see the photos and videos, if you don't believe this.

NPR has an article on how gelada baboons are closer to using speech than other primates. There's a "Listen to the Story" link, which you should use, on this page.

Image source (public domain)


atlibertytosay said...

Not having net neutrality is a violation of liberty and free speech in my opinion.

atlibertytosay said...

I saw the "gears" on the insect earlier in the week … amazing.

Martin LaBar said...

Yes, they are amazing.

My opinion agrees. Of course, the opinion that matters is that of the U. S. Supreme Court.

Thanks, atlibertytosay.

Weekend Fisher said...

The "gears" thing was really, really cool.

On the Charter v. Netflix question -- reminds me of the old "Microsoft v. Opera" thing about 10 years ago. The story goes that Microsoft was deliberately sending altered html and/or stylesheets to users who came to their site using the Opera browser -- so that it looked like something was wrong with Opera, rather than an intentional distortion of a competitor's performance. So Opera (developed by a Norwegian company) retaliated by having Microsoft pages display in ... Swedish-chef dialect from the Muppet show.

(Apparently you can set Swedish Chef dialect as your language preference in some softwares. The "language" may go by the name "Bork Bork Bork".)

Anyway, as humorous as it was, I think that whole "malicious distortion" thing is at least unethical.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Martin LaBar said...

I hadn't heard that about Microsoft and Opera, but Microsoft hasn't been known for gentle, non-aggressive behavior (and they aren't alone).

That may be why Opera is seldom seen.