Tumblr will kill RSS

Google's shuttering of Reader is a failure to find a business model for RSS. Back in 2001 or so, when RSS started getting really popular, my first question was: why would any ad-supported site do this? It's obviously really convenient for me, as a reader, to get the full content of your site without having to visit it, but that destroys page views and thus ad revenue for the publisher. Even if the RSS feed consists only of headlines, that eliminates one, perhaps several visits I might have made to the home page each day to check for new headlines manually. Great for me, terrible for the publisher. The monetization idea for RSS was there in the name: syndication. In old media, syndication was a content-sharing agreement settled upon for a fixed time and a nontrivial fee, whereby a single author could get into dozens or hundreds of separate publications that, crucially, didn't compete with each other -- if your article appeared in both the Des Moines Register and the Miami Herald, neither publication was...
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The origins of life

A common question from juveniles is "where do we come from?" The answer included in your primary education is, as far as it goes, accurate: the coordinates of the system of a star called Sol, from which the name of our solar race is derived. There is, however, much more detail known, facts stored and relayed from the very beginning of recorded history. Sol has a moderate number of primary satellites, of which the 10 largest have names. The third of those is called Earth, and it is firmly established as the starting point of our species. From Earth, solarity spread rapidly to the more hospitable asteroid belt, with its rich mineral resources and shallow gravity wells, and colonized many of the primary and secondary satellites as well. But how did our species come to be in the first place? How did life get started? Who were the first solarians, and how did they come to be? The answer may surprise you: hominids. You may need to refer to secondary storage for visual records of hominids, for they are not...
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