Links for 2011-12-29

  • Tests Cast Doubt on F.A.A. Restrictions on Kindle and iPad –

    The Federal Aviation Administration has its reasons for preventing passengers from reading from their Kindles and iPads during takeoff and landing. But they just don’t add up. Since I wrote a column last month asking why these rules exist, I’ve spoken with the F.A.A., American Airlines, Boeing and several others trying to find answers. Each has given me a radically different rationale that contradicts the others. The F.A.A. admits that its reasons have nothing to do with the undivided attention of passengers or the fear of Kindles flying out of passengers’ hands in case there is turbulence. That leaves us with the danger of electrical emissions. For answers, I headed down to EMT Labs, an independent testing facility in Mountain View, Calif., that screens electrical emissions of gadgets that need to pass health, safety and interference standards.

  • What should physics writers do about the arXiv “freely available but embargoed” problem? « Embargo Watch

    Imagine you’re a writer covering physics. (Or, if you’re a writer covering physics, just be yourself for the moment.) Now imagine you came across a paper called “Disruption of a Proto-Planetary Disk by the Black Hole at the Milky Way Centre” that got your mind’s juices flowing. The abstract looks really interesting, so you’re about to click on the PDF link when you see this: Press embargo until published Hmm, have you been crushed by the “freely available but embargoed” monster yet again? Or are you free to report on this exciting finding?

  • The Big Idea: Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge – Whatever

    On the origin and re-writing for ebook publication of the best space opera series you’ve never heard of. The first two volumes are now available electronically–the first for $0.99, even–so check it out.