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Submission + - Can the Internet Breed Killers?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Andrew Keen writes that Anders Behring Breivik may or may not be found to be clinically insane for his meticulously planned mass murder of 77 people in Oslo on July 22, 2011 but beneath or beside his madness, there's something about Breivik that captures the increasingly delusional, violent and narcissistic nature of our digital culture and although it would be crass to blame something as tragic as the mass murder on social media, it would be equally irresponsible to ignore any connection at all between Breivik's troubled personality and the broader culture forces in our electronically networked world. First, there's his self-evidently narcissistic personality which has enabled him to stand in an Oslo court this week and unselfconsciously boast about what he called "the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack in Europe since World War II." Narcissism, of course, wasn't invented by the Internet and it would be absurd to establish a causal connection between self-love and mass murder. However today's digital media culture — which shatters the 20th century mass audience into billions of 21st century authors and enables them all to broadcast their most intimate thoughts to the world — seems to be making narcissism the default mode of contemporary existence. Most troubling of all is Breivik's obsession with the multiplayer role-playing World of Warcraft, a violent online game that he played "full-time" between 2006 and 2007. Indeed, one of the few times that he smiled this week was when the image of his World of Warcraft character, Justicar Andersnordic, was displayed in court. "Breivik's obsession with violent online games, his narcissism, his reliance on Wikipedia and Facebook are warnings about how digital media can corrupt our grasp of reality," concludes Keen. "Breivik may be a worst case scenario, but I fear that there will be more young men like him in future if virtual reality becomes our only reality.""

Submission + - Billionaires and polymaths to unveil a plan to mine asteroids. (

dumuzi writes: A team including Larry Page, Ram Shriram and Eric Schmidt (Google), James Cameron (Director), Charles Simonyi (Microsoft executive and astronaut), Ross Perot Jr. (son of Ross Perot), Chris Lewicki (NASA Mars mission manager), and Peter Diamandis (X-Prize) from a new company called Planatary Resources are expected to announce plans on April 24th to mine asteroids. A study by NASA released April 2nd claims a robotic mission could capture a 500 ton asteroid and bring it to orbit the moon for $2.6 billion. The additional cost to mine the asteroid and return the ores to Earth would make profit unlikely even if the asteriod was 20% gold. But with many raw materials on Earth expected to run out in 50-60 years perhaps now is the right time to invest in this project.

Submission + - GPL Use Declining Faster Than Ever ( 3

bonch writes: An analysis of software licenses shows usage of GPL and other copyleft licenses declining at an accelerating rate. In their place, developers are choosing permissive licenses such as BSD, MIT, and ASL. One theory for the decline is that GPL usage was primarily driven by vendor-led projects, and with the shift to community-led projects, permissive licenses are becoming more common.

Submission + - Director of "Elephants Dream" releasing new Blender-animated film, "Tube" (

TheSilentNumber writes: "Bassam Kurdali's free culture 3D animation, "Tube" is nearing the final stages of production. Tube is a collaborative effort between 56 artists from 22 countries...some of which are at war. After directing the first of the Blender Institute's "Open Movie Projects", Elephants Dream, Bassam wanted to prove the viability of free cultural works and usability of free software like Blender and PiTiVi for independent filmmakers. Just a few days after launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project, the goal has been met, which means we should see the final release in 7 months!"
The Military

Submission + - US Journalists Targeted by Pentagon Propaganda Contractors (

Jeremiah Cornelius writes: While conducting investigative reporting on civilian contractors in the Pentagon's "InfoOps" Internet propaganda operations, two reporters found themselves the subject of a highly targeted, professional media manipulation effort. Reporter Tom Vanden Brook and Editor Ray Locker found that Twitter and Facebook accounts have been created in their names, along with a Wikipedia entry and dozens of message board postings and blog comments. Websites were registered in their names. Some postings merely copied Vanden Brook's and Locker's previous reporting. Others accused them of being sponsored by the Taliban. "I find it creepy and cowardly that somebody would hide behind my name and presumably make up other names in an attempt to undermine my credibility," Vanden Brook said. If these websites were created using federal funds, it could violate federal law prohibiting the production of propaganda for domestic consumption.

Submission + - Google's Secret Switch to the Next Wave of Networking (

infomodity writes: What started as a Stanford project (Stanford Clean Slate) to design an Internet with decades of hindsight as a guide is now being put into practice by Google using OpenFlow. SDN, or Software Defined Networking, is a way of decoupling data and control planes, allowing an open software community to thrive in what is historically a proprietary, ASIC based networking space. With routing and switching control planes becoming open, what will the networks of tomorrow look like?

Submission + - Open source gives Arx Fatalis new lease of life (

An anonymous reader writes: Anyone who is a fan of the games created by Looking Glass Studios (System Shock, Thief) or the Ultima Underworld series by Blue Sky Productions, will no doubt count Arx Fatalis on their list of owned and completed games.

What’s interesting about Arx Fatalis is that development of the game started up again last year even though the original shipped in 2002 (Windows, Xbox). Arkane Studios released patch 1.21 and with it open sourced the engine. That led to an new project called Arx Libertatis, which aimed to update the game to be played on multiple modern operating systems including Windows and Linux.

As the original game was for PC and Xbox, it relied heavily on DirectX. Arx Libertatis changed that by porting the engine to use SDL, OpenGL, and OpenAL so as to open up compatibility for other systems. They’ve also fixed a number of glitches the original game had, updated the rendering system, video resolutions, and implemented a port to the amd64 architecture.

Version 1.0 of Arx Libertatis has just been made available, and already has Windows and Linux versions available (Mac users can play it too).


Submission + - New Quantum Information Processing Technique Revealed (

hypnosec writes: Scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology Research have demonstrated a new technique for creating single photons for usage in optical quantum information processing. Researchers used a laser to excite a single atom in a cloud of ultra-cold rubidium gas. Atoms which have one or more electrons excited to a condition of near-ionization known as the Rydberg state have highly exaggerated electromagnetic properties, interacting strongly with one another. One Rydberg atom can stop the formation of further excited atoms within an area of 10 to 20 microns — which is known as the Rydberg blockade. The scientists found that if they confined the rubidium gas to an area covered by the blockade, they could ensure only one Rydberg atom would form when the laser hit the cloud. In other words, they could reliably create a single photon with well-known properties, which is important in a number of areas of research, including quantum information processing.

Submission + - The Physical Travelling Salesman Challenge 1

mikejuk writes: You probably know that the travelling salesman problem is one of the classics of computer science theory. Now we have a new challenge — the Physical Travelling Salesman Problem and anyone can join in. All you have to do is visit each city once using an optimal route. The new element is that you now have to drive between the cities using a "car" that has inertia and friction — see the video. You can submit an AI bot to solve the problem or drive the course yourself. Try it out at: PTSP

Submission + - 30 Years of the TRS-80 Model 100 (

An anonymous reader writes: An interview with John R Hogerhuis, one of the key players in the still suprisingly active community for the TRS-80 Model 100 portable computer.

As the Model 100 approaches its 30th birthday, John talks about what has kept the machine popular for so long, current software and hardware work that is keeping it relevant, and what modern developers could learn from spending some on a computer from 1983.

Submission + - First full observable universe simulation

slashmatteo writes: The goal of the DEUS project (Dark Energy Universe Simulation) is to investigate the imprints of dark energy on cosmic structure formation through high-performance numerical simulations. In order to do so, the project has conducted a simulation of the structuring of the entire observable universe, from the Big Bang to the present day. Thanks to the Curie super-computer, the simulation has made it possible to follow the evolution of 550 billion particles. Two other complementary runs are scheduled by the end of May. More details on the press release.

Submission + - Megaupload Trial May Never Happen, Judge Says

Turbine2k5 writes: A US judge has put a bomb under the Megaupload case by informing the FBI that a trial in the United States may never happen. The cyberlocker was never formally served with the appropriate paperwork by the US authorities, as it is impossible to serve a foreign company with criminal charges.

Submission + - In Soviet Russia, Bing Searches You!

theodp writes: A newly surfaced Microsoft patent application, reports GeekWire, describes a 'user-following engine' that analyzes your posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to deduce your mood, interests, and even your smarts. The system would then automatically adjust the search experience and results to better match those characteristics, explains Microsoft, such as changing the background color of the search interface to suit your mood, or bringing back only those search results that won't strain your feeble brain. From the patent application: 'In addition to skewing the search results to the user’s inferred interests, the user-following engine may further tailor the search results to a user’s comprehension level. For example, an intelligent processing module may be directed to discerning the sophistication and education level of the posts of a user. Based on that inference, the customization engine may vary the sophistication level of the customized search result.' So, is this the same technology the Microsoft Store used to determine I'd need a $49-an-hour Microsoft "personal trainer" to grasp Windows Live Photo Gallery, the same software that 4-and-a-half year-old Kylie mastered on her own?

Submission + - Judge Say Kim Dotcom May Never Be Tried, Let Alone Extradited (

vik writes: "As Megaupload's Kim Dotcom's megafarce trial continues, the New Zealand Herald reports that his alleged offence not only falls below the threshold for extradition, but also the warrant may not be properly served. "My understanding as to why they haven't done that is because they can't. We don't believe Megaupload can be served in a criminal matter because it is not located within the jurisdiction of the United States," says Megaupload's lawyer Ira Rothken.

Not surprisingly, Kim Dotcom has a few choice words to say about having his business trashed this way, with 220 jobs lost, and millions left without access to their legitimate data."

Submission + - Nanodot memory smashes RAM, sets new speed record (

CPNABEND writes: Boffins in Taiwan and the University of California predict that nanoscale CMOS memory could soon be on its way after research showed nanodot memory operating 10 to 100 times faster than current RAM. The electro-optics researchers also emphasised that they had used materials that are compatible with mainstream integrated circuit technologies...

Submission + - Frogger Synchronized to Real-Life Traffic ( 1

Cerlyn writes: In order to celebrate 30 years of Frogger, Tyler DeAngelo and his friends created a version of Frogger synchronized to actual vehicles on 5th Avenue in New York City.

Unlike a previous dangerous attempt at recreating the game, this version fits safely inside of a Frogger Arcade cabinet, and pictures and videos of the construction of the game are available as well.


Submission + - Evolution's Crowning Achievement - Middle Age

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Reproductive biologist David Bainbridge writes that with the onset of wrinkles, love handles, and failing eyesight we are used to dismissing our fifth and sixth decades as a negative chapter in our lives. However recent scientific findings show just how crucial middle age has been to the success of our species and that with the probable existence of lots of prehistoric middle-aged people, natural selection had plenty to work on. "We lead an energy-intensive, communication-driven, information-rich way of life, and it was the evolution of middle age that supported this." writes Bainbridge adding that middle age is a controlled and preprogrammed process not of decline but of development. "When we think of human development, we usually think of the growth of a fetus or the maturation of a child into an adult. Yet the tightly choreographed transition into middle age is a later but equally important stage in which we are each recast into yet another novel form," — resilient, healthy, energy-efficient and productive. "The middle aged may not have been able to outrun the prey, but they were really good at working out where it might be hiding and dividing up the spoils afterwards" Although some critics says that middle age is a construct of the middle aged, Bainbridge asserts that one key role of middle age is the propagation of information. "All animals inherit a great deal of information in their genes; some also learn more as they grow up. Humans have taken this second form of information transfer to a new level. We are born knowing and being able to do almost nothing. Each of us depends on a continuous infusion of skills, knowledge and customs, collectively known as culture, if we are to survive. And the main route by which culture is transferred is by middle-aged people showing and telling their children — as well as the young adults with whom they hunt and gather — what to do.""