2014年9月29日 星期一

One Vision of a Non-Neutral Internet

  1. Zero-rating - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Zero-rating is the practice of mobile network operators (MNO) and mobile virtual network operators (MVNO) to not charge end customers for a well defined ...

  2. 11:31 am ET
    Sep 29, 2014


    One Vision of a Non-Neutral Internet

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    What would a non-neutral Internet look like?
    So far, the debate over net neutrality has centered mostly on whether broadband providers could manipulate the speed of certain traffic on their networks, cutting deals with content partners to serve up their web pages faster than others. It’s easy to imagine an unwitting web surfer accessing some sites quickly and others slowly, and never really figuring out why.
    But now, a different kind of non-neutral Internet is emerging on wireless networks, as mobile companies offer low-cost plans that only give users access to certain popular apps like Facebook FB +0.27%. Such plans, known as “zero rating,” don’t comport with net neutrality, the principle that all traffic should be treated equally. And in these cases there is transparency – the user is fully aware of what’s going on because it’s a plan he or she has chosen.
    The question is whether such plans could someday find their way to wired networks, and how they would fit into the Federal Communications Commission’s view of what Chairman Tom Wheeler calls an “open Internet.” Wheeler indicated in recent weeks that he is seriously considering expanding his proposed rules to cover wireless networks, and specifically questioned at a recent FCC roundtable how the wireless carriers differ from their wired broadband counterparts.
    If the FCC decides to allow zero-rating plans, it’s possible a wired broadband provider might copy the wireless model, giving users access to limited applications for a reduced fee, versus the higher monthly cost of high-speed access. For example, a customer could theoretically to pay a lower monthly fee to connect only their television or gaming console to the Internet, for the purposes of streaming video or gaming and nothing else.
    Similarly, regulators could create plans that that allow low-income consumers to access educational or health resources online without paying for a home broadband connection. It wouldn’t be a neutral net, but for these consumers it might be better than nothing.
    Examples like these muddy the choice for the FCC. They suggest the agency might have to balance a purely neutral net that could exclude a segment of the population against a non-neutral Internet that puts more people online, albeit on a limited basis.
    Net-neutrality advocates have pushed for a flat ban on allowing the service providers to prioritize any kind of content. Their argument is that these limited plans privilege some apps at the expense of the rest, and give wireless carriers the ability to decide what parts of the Internet low-income users can access. If the Facebooks of the world have an in with the carriers, there is no way the future Facebooks of the world could gain a foothold in the market. Innovation, they say, would be stifled.
    People familiar with the FCC’s thinking say the agency still hasn’t made up its mind on whether to ban the zero-rating plans, but regulators in other countries where they are common have moved to do so.
    Prof. Pedro Henrique Soares Ramos of the São Paulo Law School of Fundação Getulio Varga argued in a March academic paper that zero-rating plans in developing countries can result in two Internets, one for those that can pay for the full range of online services and a second, smaller subset of apps that would be affordable to poorer people. The paper also lays out the dilemma facing regulators who must decide whether or not to ban the plans, as some governments have contemplated.
    As they stand, the FCC’s proposed broadband rules would have the agency decide these issues on a case-by-case basis. The FCC would likely start with a presumption against any special deals, unless carriers can prove they benefit consumers directly.
    Wheeler’s proposal would therefore let the FCC prevent the speeding up or slowing down of specific websites on most broadband connections, while leaving the door open for specialized services that appeal to consumers that lack home broadband connections. That’s not good enough for most net neutrality advocates, but it might prove appealing to the 30% of U.S. households without high-speed Internet access, which are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.

2014年9月25日 星期四

New evidence comes to light that may alter a Harvard team's interpretation of the Big Bang.

New evidence comes to light that may alter a Harvard team's interpretation of the Big Bang. | http://ow.ly/BTzCe

Harvard Team's Big Bang Findings Called into Question | News | The...
A European study into the origins of the universe is shedding light and...

A European study into the origins of the universe is shedding light and raising questions on data first gathered through a Harvard telescope at the South Pole and unveiled this past spring.
At a panel discussion in March, a team of Harvard researchers led by associate professor of Astronomy John M. Kovac shared evidence of “cosmic inflation,” the expansion of the universe after the Big Bang. The data—which was collected over three years and analyzed over four—indicated that a gravitational repulsion caused the universe’s exponential expansion.
But findings from the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite suggest that the data collected by Harvard’s telescope, BICEP2, did not completely account for galactic dust.
“What Planck did was they basically said the level of polarized dust emission in the BICEP2 region was...higher than anybody thought it was beforehand,” said Kirit S. Karkare, an astronomy graduate student who is working on the Harvard research team.
These findings have raised some questions in the scientific community about the previous claims made by the Harvard team, although many of the implications are still undetermined.
“The models of polarized dust in our galaxy are pretty uncertain actually,” Kovac said. “If they’re all underestimates, there is a possibility the entire signal device which we measured with very high precision could be explained by galactic polarized dust.”
The Planck data, which will be published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, delves more deeply into the polarization patterns of the galactic dust.
“The issue is there’s a particular signature in the cosmic background,” said Marc Kamionkowski, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University who was not a member of the Harvard team but participated in the March panel. “There is dust in the galaxy that emits polarized light that may mimic the cosmic signal.”
The BICEP2 and Planck teams have both taken data from the dust distribution, and Kamionkowski said that researchers need to proceed carefully.
“[There is] a lot more in the data that has not been taken advantage of, and we should be waiting for more careful analysis,” Kamionkowski said.
As the project moves forward, the groups plan to collaborate on their mapping technologies. They will study the signals that are detected by both technologies and could be attributed to dust, Kovac said.
“What’s really remarkable is that all of these experiments basically are looking for extremely, extremely faint signals,” Karkare said. These signals exist as photons and can be observed by telescopes like BICEP2 and its predecessors, BICEP1 and Keck Array.
“Seeing the difference between a billion and a billion and one of these photons is fantastically difficult to do,” Karkare said.
Over the next several months, Harvard researchers and collaborators will also be developing a new telescope, BICEP3.
“Knowledge gets refined as we add more and more data,” Kovac said. He explained that while the public sphere may latch onto and generate headlines, the team’s focus is to clarify the uncertainties.
“What we’ve learned this year is that this is nothing if not very exciting science,” Kovac said. “Whatever the level of dust, the experiment was wildly successful in achieving breakthrough sensitivity. It is our goal to take that same approach and to apply it to a wider swath of sky—hopefully the whole sky.”

Pseudoscience I was taught at a British creationist school

Pseudoscience I was taught at a British creationist school

Four UK universities recognise a qualification from creationist schools teaching that evolution is a hoax and electricity can be generated from snow
Creationist teaching about the magnetic properties of snowflakes was described by a chemist as ‘bullshit on stilts’. Photograph: Gerben Oppermans/Getty
Students at Accelerated Christian Education schools don’t graduate with GCSEs or A levels: they complete the International Certificate of Christian Education. As BBC Newsnight pointed out last month, the ICCE is unrecognised by the qualifications authority for England, Ofqual. Nevertheless, according to responses to Freedom of Information requests received by the British Humanist Association in recent weeks, four universities – Bath, Cardiff, Essex and Nottingham – recognise the ICCE as an entrance qualification.
I went to an Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) school from the age of 11 to 14, and I can think of many reasons why this kind of education is a poor preparation for university. I spent half of every school day alone in a cubicle, working silently though PACEs (Packets of Accelerated Christian Education) – workbooks that incorporate religious instruction into every academic subject, for example teaching that evolution is a hoax.
These bastions of fundamentalism have been operating in Britain since the early 1980s. In 2010 the BBC reported that there were 60 in the UK.
In 2012 I began a PhD studying ACE, and discovered that little had changed since I left in 1999. I have campaigned against ACE, with some success. The shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt has described its stance on homosexuality as “dangerous” and “backwards”; the Advertising Standards Authority ruled last month that some ACE schools were mis-selling their qualifications; and the press finally noticed they were teaching that wives must submit to their husbands.
In all of this, however, little attention has been paid to the pseudoscience that ACE passes off as education. PACEs sometimes get basic science wrong, but more importantly they demonstrate that ACE can’t tell the difference between science and nonsense obscured with long words. For example, ACE’s Science 1087(aimed at students in year 9) suggests it might be possible to generate electricity from snow:
Scientists have known for years that snowflakes are shaped in six-sided, or hexagonal, patterns. But why is this? Some scientists have theorised that the electrons within a water molecule follow three orbital paths that are positioned at 60° angles to one another. Since a circle contains 360°, this electronic relationship causes the water molecule to have six ‘spokes’ radiating from a hub (the nucleus). When water vapour freezes in the air, many water molecules link up to form the distinctive six-sided snowflakes and the hexagonal pattern is quite evident.
Snowflakes also contain small air pockets between their spokes. These air pockets have a higher oxygen content than does normal air. Magnetism has a stronger attraction for oxygen than for other gases. Consequently, some scientists have concluded that a relationship exists between a snowflake’s attraction to oxygen and magnetism’s attraction to oxygen.
Job 38:22, 23 states, ‘Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?’ Considering this scripture, some scientists believe that a tremendous power resides untapped within the water molecules from which snowflakes and hailstones are made.
How can this scripture, along with these observations about snowflakes, show us a physical truth? Scientists at Virginia Tech have produced electricity more efficiently from permanent magnets, which have their lines of force related to each other at sixty-degree angles, than from previous methods of extracting electricity from magnetism. Other research along this line may reveal a way to tap electric current directly from snow, eliminating the need for costly, heavy, and complex equipment now needed to generate electricity.
My scientific knowledge isn’t superb – not helped by three years of ACE – so I asked Professor Paul Bratermana chemist at Glasgow Universityand a committee member of the anti-creationist British Centre for Science Education, what he thought. “Bullshit on stilts” came his reply, in a brusque email pointing out that snow has no magnetic properties. The prospect of generating free electricity from snow, he added, “bears no relationship to reality”.
It’s difficult to see how ACE has been able to get away with calling this “science” ever since the PACE was written in 1986. But this text demonstrates the way creationists go about doing science. To Christian creationists, the Bible is the Word of God and is free of error. Unless it’s clear that a verse is intended metaphorically, creationists take it literally. This is the starting point for creationist science. They know the Bible is true, so they go and look for confirmation of what it says. If the evidence contradicts the Bible, either the data is wrong or it has been misinterpreted. Either way, you go back and try again until you confirm the truth of the Word of God.
Noah's Ark in an 1860 engraving from the work America by Currier and Yves 1870
According to ACE, the sky before the Flood was suffused with pink due to a canopy of hydrogen enveloping the Earth. Photograph: Apic/Getty Images
This illustrates an overlooked danger of creationism: if the same logic and methods are applied, you can wind up believing almost any irrational claim. It’s also a trademark of Carl Baugh, director of the Creation Evidence Museum in Texas, to whom ACE turns for inspiration in Physical Science 1114, aimed at 16-year-olds. This book claims that Earth was once surrounded by a hydrogen canopy, bathing the world in pink light and stimulating the production of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) in humans.
Researchers have discovered that the hydrogen canopy that may have enclosed Earth before the Flood had some very interesting effects on plant and animal life. The hydrogen in the canopy absorbed blue light, but radiated red light, so the sky was pink rather than blue! Not only did pre-Flood man see the panorama of Creation “through rose-colored glasses,” but the pink light had a definite effect on his mind and body. Modern scientists have discovered that pink light stimulates the adrenal glands to secrete a hormone called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is both a tranquilliser and a neurotransmitter that both calms the person and sharpens his ability to think. The tranquilliser in the hormone can reduce stress and the accompanying medical complications (heart conditions, ulcers, etc) that come with our-hectic, modern-day lifestyles. Some drugs have the same tranquillising effect, but these drugs also decrease the ability to think and respond to the environment. The neurotransmitter in the norepinephrine sharpens the person’s senses and enables him to think clearly by speeding up his nervous impulses.
Metal hydrogen not only filters blue light, but it also has a fiberoptic effects. This means that light from the sun was not only transmitted through the canopy, but was also spread out across the canopy. The light was dispersed around the world – even at night! At sunrise the sky was a vivid pink color. As the colour of the sky changed, the light grew in intensity throughout the morning, until it was a light pink at noon. As the light subsided during the afternoon, the color of the sky returned to vivid pink again at sunset.
The pink colour and the light dispersion worked together to create a perfect working condition. The pink morning sky caused the norepinephrine to begin flowing and stimulating the man to work. At noon, when the pink light and the norepinephrine production were at their peak, the man worked most efficiently. The decreasing intensity of the pink light in the afternoon gradually calmed the person so that by sunset he was relaxed and ready for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Modern scientists are just now discovering what Christians have always believed – that God’s Creation was perfect.
For more information on the subject of Creation model, you might like to read the book Panorama of Creation by Dr Carl Baugh. You might also want to read some of the numerous books on Creation written by Dr Henry M Morris or other contemporary Christian scientists.
It’s difficult to know where to begin. For starters, Braterman points out, hydrogen is transparent in the visible part of the spectrum, there is no such thing as “pink light”, and metals do not have fibre-optic properties. I assumed this entry would have been removed in the 15 years since I left ACE, but a colleague purchased an identical copy this month. Remember, this is taught as science in more than 6,000 schools in 145 countries.
You may wonder why some creationists suggest there was a canopy around Earth before Noah’s Flood. Genesis says that during creation God separated the waters under the heavens from the waters above the heavens. Creationists know there’s no water in space, but they also believe the Bible cannot be wrong about the waters above the heavens. To solve this, some of them postulated that there was a vapour canopy in the sky, which fell as rain during Noah’s Flood. Now, though, even creationists admit to the problems with the vapour canopy, and that’s before we ask how ACE got from water to a pink canopy of metallic hydrogen.
James Williams, an education lecturer at Sussex University, is concerned. “Material is being used to ‘educate’ children that is simply wrong,” he said. “It will implant misconceptions in the minds of young people and once implanted, misconceptions are very difficult to challenge and overcome.”
Teaching this to children misleads them not only about scientific facts, it distorts their view of the nature of science. If students accept what ACE teaches, they will not only believe in falsehoods, they’ll be confused about the distinction between science and pseudoscience. This is hardly a sound qualification for university entrance.
Jonny Scaramanga blogs at Leaving Fundamentalism

2014年9月22日 星期一

IBM's Watson Will Match Cancer Patients With Trials at Mayo Clinic

IBM's Watson Will Match Cancer Patients With Trials at Mayo Clinic

By pairing patients with trials in seconds, the supercomputer will help speed the pace of medical innovation

In 2011, IBM’s Watson supercomputer bested 74-time "Jeopardy!" champion Ken Jennings. The machine, which had taken four years to develop, was a first of its kind: a computer that could understand complex questions, answer them and learn from its mistakes.
But for IBM, developing a cognitive computer—one that can process and contextualize natural language—wasn’t just about winning a game show. From the beginning, the project has been about solving information-intensive puzzles and making everything from banking and real estate to employment and medicine function more efficiently.
This week, IBM announced a partnership with the Mayo Clinic that will use Watson’s smarts to match Mayo patients with clinical trials for which they might be eligible, an initiative that will save time and, hopefully, lives.
At any given time, the Mayo Clinic has about 8,000 active clinical trials, and there are an additional 170,000 worldwide. Typically clinicians have to sift through medical records by hand to find matches for studies, a process that can take weeks and might not yield any viable options. “It’s a data- and time-intensive process and a very complicated question,” says Sean Hogan, vice president of IBM Healthcare. Watson, by comparison, can do the same work in a matter of seconds. “Cancer,” he explains, as an example, “is a race against time.”
Finding subjects for trials will also be a boon for research. As of now, only 5 percent of Mayo patients take part in clinical trials; the Watson clinical trial match program could double that number. Higher enrollment could allow researchers to complete their studies faster, improve the overall quality of their results and make refinements to their methods more quickly.
Initially, the program will focus on breast, colon and lung cancer, but it should eventually expand to include all types of cancer and other diseases. “Clinical trials for cancer are only 25 percent of our trials,” explains Nicholas LaRusso, a Mayo gastroenterologist and the project lead for the Watson collaboration. “Assuming [Watson] is helpful and beneficial, it could extend to all of our clinical trials.”
Mayo’s primary contribution will be Watson’s medical education. The clinic will provide the computer with the data it needs to build its knowledge base—lists of active trials and their criteria and current medical research. Clinicians will then query the system by entering patient records, diagnoses and histories to search for a match.
Because of Watson’s ability to build knowledge cumulatively, LaRusso says, it will get better and better at matching patients with trials over time. “In its relatively immature state, it may tell me that there are 26 trials that this patient is eligible for, but eventually it might be able to narrow it down to three or [even] say ‘this one is the best trial,’” he says.
The project is still in an early proof-of-concept phase, in which both teams are looking for feedback that will make Watson’s recommendations as reliable as possible. LaRusso explains that part of the process is logging how readily clinicians agree with and implement Watson’s suggestions.
Eventually, Watson should even be able to prompt doctors for information that would help it make the best clinical trial recommendation. For instance, Watson might ask the doctor for the results of a specific genomic test. “It’s not only identifying trials, but it’s expressing an opinion about what would be the best trials for a patient,” LaRusso explains. 
At the New York Genome Center, Watson will be used to make sense of vast amounts of genetic sequencing data and medical information to identify personalized treatments for cancer patients. (Jon Simon/Feature Photo Service for IBM)
LaRusso hopes to have Watson online for the clinical trial match program by the end of March 2015. Meanwhile, the team is already thinking about Watson’s next task at Mayo, what LaRusso calls the Clinical Efficiency and Effectiveness Project. For that effort, Watson will synthesize and analyze incoming patient records—histories, prior treatment, past diagnoses—into organized, cohesive histories. “This would be especially helpful for [patients] with diagnostic problems, people that have been seeing multiple doctors and have had multiple tests and prior opinions,” LaRusso says.
The Mayo Clinic isn’t the only institution to see Watson’s potential for crunching complicated medical problems, as several other initiatives are underway across the country. In March, the New York Genome Center announced that it would be training Watson to analyze patient genomes in order to create customized medicine for cancer patients. A partnership with the Cleveland Clinic has borne diagnostic tools that analyze electronic medical records and offer reasoned conclusions and recommendations. Not to mention, the computer has digested all of PubMed and MedLine, two mega research databases, and patient records from at least one major institution, New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Yet for LaRusso, any Watson-based medical advance isn’t just for the benefit of one institution. He expects the fruits of this collaboration to be utilized elsewhere in the medical community and to help the health care system deal with issues of rising costs and shrinking manpower.
“I think [this program] has the potential to substantially help in the transformation of health care,” he says.

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2014年9月15日 星期一

Revolutionary diving suit to be used at site of 'world's oldest computer' find

A new exosuit that allows divers to perform complex tasks at depths of 150 metres will be used to explore the seabed near where the remarkable Antikythera mechanism was found.
Found at the turn of the 20th century, the device, comprised of 40 bronze cogs and gears, was made by the Ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system
Exosuit will enable divers to reach double normal depths during return...

Revolutionary diving suit to be used at site of 'world's oldest computer' find

Exosuit will enable divers to reach double normal depths during return expedition to wreck that yielded Antikythera mechanism
Antikythera mechanism
The remains the Antikythera mechanism, a device of up to 40 cogs and gears that the ancient Greeks used to track the cycles of the solar system. Photograph: X-Tek Group/AFP
Archaeologists began using a revolutionary new deep-sea diving suit on Monday to explore the ancient shipwreck where one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity was found.
The Antikythera mechanism – a 2nd-century BC device known as the world's oldest computer – was discovered by sponge divers at the turn of the 20th century off a remote island in the Aegean.
The complex device of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1,500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.
Returning to the wreck, archaeologists will be using a new diving suit that enables them to dive to more than double the depth they can usually go, and stay safely at the bottom for longer.
The Exosuit, built in Canada by Nuytco Research, will allow divers to reach depths of 150 metres (492ft) and still perform delicate tasks, says the archaeologist Theotokis Theodoulou.
The suit, which resembles a puffy space suit, "expands our capabilities", he told AFP as the research team set off for a month-long expedition to Antikythera, which lies between Crete and the Peloponnese.
"I'll be able to grasp, pluck, clench and dig … for several hours," he added.
Archaeologists believe many other artefacts are yet to be discovered in and around the wreck. Up to now they have only been able to operate at a depth of 60 metres.
A reconstruction of Antikythera mechanismA reconstruction of Antikythera mechanism. Photograph: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images
The Antikythera mechanism was found along with a spectacular bronze statue of a youth in the wreck of a cargo ship apparently carrying booty to Rome.
"We have good signs that there are other objects present," said Angeliki Simosi, the head of Greece's directorate of underwater antiquities, after exploratory dives in the area in 2012 and 2013.
"There are dozens of items left, this was a ship bearing immense riches from Asia Minor," added Dimitris Kourkoumelis, another archaeologist on the team.
The archaeologists also hope to confirm the presence of a second ship, though to be lying about 250 metres away from the original discovery site.
Antikythera, which now has a population of only 44, was on one of antiquity's busiest trade routes, and a base for Cilician pirates, some of whom once captured and held the young Julius Caesar for ransom. He later had them all captured and crucified.
The Greek team is being assisted by Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Massachusetts in the US, which was involved in a dive to the wreck of the Titanic. He has helped with outings to identify ancient shipwrecks over the past five years.
"We may find one or more monumental statues that were left behind in 1901, in the mistaken belief that they were rocks," Foley said.
As well as the Exosuit, the Antikythera expedition will also use robot mapping equipment and new advanced closed-circuit "rebreathers", which will allow divers much more time underwater.
"We will have more bottom time than any previous human visitors to the site, because we dive with mixed gas rebreathers," the expedition's website says.
"Each diver will have more than 30 minutes of bottom time per day, and will enjoy greater mental acuity and a larger safety margin than that of previous divers at Antikythera."