Friday, June 15, 2007

Global warming skeptic: The President of the Czech Republic

Says President Vaclav Klaus:
The issue of global warming is more about social than natural sciences and more about man and his freedom than about tenths of a degree Celsius changes in average global temperature.

As a witness to today’s worldwide debate on climate change, I suggest the following:
■Small climate changes do not demand far-reaching restrictive measures
■Any suppression of freedom and democracy should be avoided
■Instead of organising people from above, let us allow everyone to live as he wants
■Let us resist the politicisation of science and oppose the term “scientific consensus”, which is always achieved only by a loud minority, never by a silent majority
■Instead of speaking about “the environment”, let us be attentive to it in our personal behaviour
■Let us be humble but confident in the spontaneous evolution of human society. Let us trust its rationality and not try to slow it down or divert it in any direction
■Let us not scare ourselves with catastrophic forecasts, or use them to defend and promote irrational interventions in human lives.


The case for reservation in education systems

From the New Yorker magazine review of "Expert Political Judgment", a book that basically says that experts are pretty much useless when it comes to making predictions:
In one study, college counsellors were given information about a group of high-school students and asked to predict their freshman grades in college. The counsellors had access to test scores, grades, the results of personality and vocational tests, and personal statements from the students, whom they were also permitted to interview. Predictions that were produced by a formula using just test scores and grades were more accurate.

(via Marc Andreessen)

I haven't read the book but Mr. Andreessen says it's a must-read. The above paragraph caught my attention. US universities supposedly pay a lot of attention to personal essays etc. in admissions, but isn't an Indian style rigorous testing system a better tool after all?


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Apple starting an online video rental service

Hollywood studios in video talks with Apple

By Matthew Garrahan in Los Angeles

Apple is in advanced talks with Hollywood’s largest movie studios about launching an online film rental service to challenge cable and satellite TV operators.

The service could be significant for Apple. If it signs enough studios, the group will get access to more premium film content.

Apple already sells films that can be downloaded and owned, and has distribution deals with Walt Disney and Paramount. Other studios have shied from tie-ups with Apple because of concerns that digital downloading may hit DVD sales.

But studios will be more enthusiastic about joining its video-on-demand service. Films downloaded to rent are unlikely to affect DVD sales.

Apple, which declined to comment, is believed to be aiming for an autumn release.

A film would cost $2.99 for a 30-day rental. Its digital rights-management software would allow films to be moved from a computer to at least one other device such as the video iPod or iPhone. The software would prevent movies being copied.

One studio executive said the service would “compete against cable companies and anyone else offering VOD into the home”.

VOD is a growing revenue stream for cable companies, such as Comcast, and satellite operators, such as DirecTV. Online services also offer VOD, including Microsoft’s Xbox Live, Movie­link and Unbox, a joint venture between Amazon and TiVo.

However, none of these has a customer base as large as Apple.

Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros and Disney declined to comment. Privately, though, the studios are excited about Apple getting into VOD. “When you think about Apple customers they are so connected to the brand they will try anything to do with it,” said one senior studio executive.

Labels: ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?