Sunday, 25 January 2009

Richard Feynman lectures on quantum electrodynamics

Richard Feynman lectures on quantum electrodynamics at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, 1979 have become iconic research materials. 
Thanks to the Vega Science Trust  these lectures are now online for anyone to access. 
Here's a link to Part 2 : Fits of Reflection and Transmission - Quantum Behaviour. What are reflection and transmission, and how do they work?

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Concealed assault on privacy

Serious concerns have been raised regarding a controversial new amendment to the UK's Data Protection Act. The pressure group NO2ID (which campaigns to prevent the introduction of ID cards in the UK), calls the amendment a "concealed assault on privacy":

"Hidden in the new Coroners and Justice Bill [2] is one clause (cl.152) amending the Data Protection Act. It would allow ministers to make 'Information Sharing Orders', that can alter any Act of Parliament and cancel all rules of confidentiality in order to use information obtained for one purpose to be used for another... This single clause is as grave a threat to privacy as the entire ID Scheme."


Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ofcom rules out top-slicing the licence fee

Ofcom have returned their ruling on the management of the UK's broadcasting licence fee, which is currently used to fund the BBC. This Guardian article provides a useful summary of their decision: "Its report ruled out "top-slicing" the core BBC licence fee to pay for PSB content from other providers. "In contrast, we do not believe that the top-slicing of funding for the BBC's programmes and services should be considered," the regulator said."

This decision will lead to intensive industry debate and reflection about how public service "broadcasting" (PSB) content will be funded in the coming years.