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Communications of the ACM

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The opinion archive provides access to past opinion stories from Communications of the ACM and other sources by date.

March 2014


From ACM Opinion

Abstract Ideas Don't Deserve Patents

The Constitution gives Congress the power to grant inventors a temporary monopoly over their creations to "promote the progress of science and useful arts."


From ACM Opinion

Five Ways to Make Sure We Never Lose a Plane Again

Five Ways to Make Sure We Never Lose a Plane Again

For the past few weeks the world's attention has been focussed on the lost Malaysia Airlines plane and its 239 passengers and crew that has apparently crashed in the far reaches of the southern Indian Ocean.


From ACM Opinion

The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends

The Dream of Intelligent Robot Friends

Karotz is an Internet-enabled console in the shape of an abstracted rabbit.


From ACM News

Will We Ever Travel in Wormholes?

Will We Ever Travel in Wormholes?

The universe is huge.


From ACM Opinion

What Oculus's $2 Billion Payday Teaches Us About Innovation

What Oculus's $2 Billion Payday Teaches Us About Innovation

Tuesday's announcement that Facebook is buying the virtual-reality start-up Oculus for $2 billion no doubt left many people scratching their heads.


From ACM Opinion

Who's Afraid of Nate Silver?

Who's Afraid of Nate Silver?

Nate Silver doesn't look very threatening.


From ACM Opinion

A Conversation With Danah Boyd, Author of 'It's Complicated,' About Teenagers Online

A Conversation With Danah Boyd, Author of 'It's Complicated,' About Teenagers Online

Danah Boyd is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, a research assistant professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, and a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center.


From ACM Opinion

The Top 10 Google Glass Myths

The Top 10 Google Glass Myths

Mr. Rogers was a Navy SEAL. A tooth placed in soda will dissolve in 24 hours. Gators roam the sewers of big cities and Walt Disney is cryogenically frozen. These are just some of the most common and—let’s admit it—awesome urban…


From ACM Opinion

Anger on Weibo Over Flight 370

Anger on Weibo Over Flight 370

Tragedy, when its cause and the fate of its victims are still unknown, is supposed to occasion solidarity.


From ACM Opinion

How to Win $1 Billion on NCAA Basketball: A Mathematician's Tips

How to Win $1 Billion on NCAA Basketball: A Mathematician's Tips

Last Thursday, the underground classroom at the National Museum of Mathematics in New York was filled to capacity for a college professor's PowerPoint-aided lecture.


From ACM Opinion

Discovering Two Screens Aren't Better Than One

Discovering Two Screens Aren't Better Than One

For years, techies have argued that getting an extra monitor or two for your desktop computer is an especially effective way to increase personal productivity.


From ACM Opinion

Building BICEP2: A Conversation with Jamie Bock

Building BICEP2: A Conversation with Jamie Bock

Caltech Professor of Physics Jamie Bock and his collaborators announced on March 17, 2014 that they have successfully measured a B-mode polarization signal in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) using the BICEP2 telescope at…


From ACM Opinion

Facebook's Security Chief Talks Encryption Plan

Facebook's Security Chief Talks Encryption Plan

Facebook has built its business upon the sharing of content between people worldwide, but protecting that data is a gargantuan responsibility—one that demands an increasing amount of transparency.


From ACM Opinion

Roomba Creator: Robot Doubles Need More Charisma

Roomba Creator: Robot Doubles Need More Charisma

Colin Angle is co-founder and CEO of iRobot in Bedford, Massachusetts.


From ACM Opinion

Three Questions for Leslie Lamport, Winner of Computing's Top Prize

Three Questions for Leslie Lamport, Winner of Computing's Top Prize

This year's winner of the Turing Award—often referred to as the Nobel Prize of computing—was announced yesterday as Leslie Lamport, a computer scientist whose research made possible the development of the large, networked computer…


From ACM Opinion

When Big Data Marketing Becomes Stalking

When Big Data Marketing Becomes Stalking

Many of us now expect our online activities to be recorded and analyzed, but we assume that the physical spaces we inhabit are different.


From ACM Opinion

Why Google Doesn't Have a Research Lab

Research vice presidents at some computing giants, such as Microsoft and IBM, rule over divisions housed in dedicated facilities carefully insulated from the rat race of the main businesses.


From ACM News

The Future of Brain Implants

The Future of Brain Implants

What would you give for a retinal chip that let you see in the dark or for a next-generation cochlear implant that let you hear any conversation in a noisy restaurant, no matter how loud?


From ACM Opinion

The Search for Life Across the Universe

The Search for Life Across the Universe

When Jeremy Drake was beginning his career in the late 1980s, the question of whether or not we are alone in the universe still seemed beyond the realm of scienc


From ACM Opinion

Hacking Your DNA

Hacking Your DNA

Keeping track of what we reveal about ourselves each day—through email and text messages, Amazon purchases and Facebook "likes"—is hard enough.


From ACM Opinion

Three Things to Take Away from CanSecWest, Pwn2Own

Three Things to Take Away from CanSecWest, Pwn2Own

Browsers, brokers, and BIOS: You could safely call that triumvirate the past, present, and future of security, but you'd be wrong.


From ACM Opinion

A Close Look at the NSA's Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool

A Close Look at the NSA's Most Powerful Internet Attack Tool

We already knew that the NSA has weaponized the Internet, enabling it to "shoot" exploits at anyone it desires.


From ACM Opinion

The Data Brokers: Selling Your Personal Information

The Data Brokers: Selling Your Personal Information

Over the past six months or so, a huge amount of attention has been paid to government snooping, and the bulk collection and storage of vast amounts of raw data in the name of national security.


From ACM Opinion

The True Meaning of Pi Day

The True Meaning of Pi Day

There are holidays like Mother's Day, Earth Day, Thanksgiving Day. Even a Talk-Like-Shakespeare Day. But Friday is Pi Day.


From ACM Opinion

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview

Bill Gates: The Rolling Stone Interview

At 58, Bill Gates is not only the richest man in the world, with a fortune that now exceeds $76 billion, but he may also be the most optimistic.


From ACM Opinion

Flight 370 and the Terror of Being Off the Grid

Flight 370 and the Terror of Being Off the Grid

How can a commercial airliner go missing?


From ACM Opinion

The Search for Aliens Is Just Getting Started

The Search for Aliens Is Just Getting Started

Over the past 50 years, several SETI projects have scoured the cosmos but have yet to turn up anything conclusive. What do you make of this cosmic radio-silence?


From ACM Opinion

The Future of Internet Freedom

The Future of Internet Freedom

Over the next decade, approximately five billion people will become connected to the Internet.


From ACM Opinion

5 Things That Will Remake Big Data in the Next 5 Years

5 Things That Will Remake Big Data in the Next 5 Years

Big data has evolved a lot of the past few years; from a happy buzzword to a hated buzzword, and from a focus on volume to a focus on variety and velocity.


From ACM Opinion

Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It

Why You Should Embrace Surveillance, Not Fight It

I once worked with Steven Spielberg on the development of Minority Reportderived from the short story by Philip K. Dick featuring a future society that uses surveillance to arrest criminals before they commit a crime.

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