Vote For Net Neutrality!

Net neutrality in Britain might be on thin ice, but this week's European Parliament elections could set a new course for digital legislation across the continent.

The British government is in the middle of a massive "Digital Britain" report that will set its position on a range of Internet issues, but an excerpt from the report has the country's net neutrality proponents worried, Ars Technica says.

According to the release, "the Government has yet to see a case for legislation in favour of net neutrality. In consequence, unless Ofcom find network operators or ISPs to have Significant Market Power and justify intervention on competition grounds, traffic management will not be prevented."

The BBC has been fighting with British ISPs over net neutrality because the BBC's iPlayer service for broadcasting to computers is just the kind of high-bandwidth application that providers would like to regulate--read: charge more to use.

Rather than embracing net neutrality, the British government has turned to what it sees as a market-based solution: your ISP must tell you what they're charging for, and if you don't like it, you can switch plans or providers. 

The same battle has been waging in the European Parliament this spring as members have tried to pass a new telecommunications package.

BusinessWeek reported in March that Europe was on the verge of creating a tiered Internet that could stifle small innovators who lack the cash to buy the best bandwidth.  Then in May, members of Parliament tacked on a rider to the telecommunications package that says Internet access is a fundamental right and bans restrictions on the rights of end-users unless a judicial ruling allows it or "public security" is at stake. The Council of Telecoms Ministers now have to approve that when they meet later this month, but the council members are no fans of net neutrality and the fight will likely drag on.

At least European voters get a say in all this during this week's elections. A political organization called Free Software Pact starting identifying candidates who signed on to the group's manifesto, which supports open-source software and net neutrality. As of now there are 174 candidate signatories, whose names you can read at the FSP page.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Are we all multiple personalities of universal consciousness?

Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.

We’re all one mind in "idealism." (Credit: Alex Grey)
Mind & Brain

There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less