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The Courts

Submission + - US District Court: Game elements in Tetris clone infringe Tetris Co.'s copyright

elegie writes: In the US, a District Court has ruled that the Tetris clone "Mino" infringes the Tetris Company's copyrights with regard to elements of the Tetris game design and gameplay. On one hand, a lawyer said that "a puzzle game where a user manipulates blocks to form lines which disappear" would be noninfringing. At the same time, the Mino game's reuse of such Tetris elements as the dimensions of the playing field and the shape of the blocks constituted infringement. In addition, the Tetris game's artistic elements were not inseparably linked to the underlying mechanics and replicating an underlying idea and/or functionality (which would likely be uncopyrighted) would not justify copying visual expression from an existing game.

Submission + - Android app lets you steal contactless credit card data (

mask.of.sanity writes: An Android application capable of siphoning credit card data from contactless bank cards has appeared on the Google Play store. The app was developed by a security penetration tester for research purposes and will steal card numbers and expiry dates, along with transactions and merchant IDs. It requires a near field device capable phone, or accessory.
The Courts

Submission + - Free Speech For Computers? (

snydeq writes: "Law professor Tim Wu sheds light on a growing legal concern: the extent to which computers have a constitutional right to free speech. 'This may sound like a fanciful question, a matter of philosophy or science fiction. But it’s become a real issue with important consequences,' Wu writes. First it was Google defending — and winning — a civil suit on grounds that search results are constitutionally protected speech. Now it is doubling down on the argument amidst greater federal scrutiny. 'Consider that Google has attracted attention from both antitrust and consumer protection officials after accusations that it has used its dominance in search to hinder competitors and in some instances has not made clear the line between advertisement and results. Consider that the “decisions” made by Facebook’s computers may involve widely sharing your private information. ... Ordinarily, such practices could violate laws meant to protect consumers. But if we call computerized decisions “speech,” the judiciary must consider these laws as potential censorship, making the First Amendment, for these companies, a formidable anti-regulatory tool.'"

Submission + - Google to pay $0 to Oracle in copyright case (

An anonymous reader writes: From the article:
"In a hearing in the US District Court today, it was determined that Google will pay a net total of nothing for Oracle's patent claims against them. In fact, Google is given 14 days to file an application for Oracle to pay legal fees to Google(in a similar manner to how things are done for frivolous lawsuits). However, it is not quite peaches and roses for Google, as Oracle is planning on appealing the decision in the case."


Submission + - Hacker Group Demands 'Idiot Tax' From Payday Lender (

snydeq writes: "Hacker group Rex Mundi has made good on its promise to publish thousands of loan-applicant records it swiped from AmeriCash Advance after the payday lender refused to fork over between $15,000 and $20,000 as an extortion fee — or, in Rex Mundi's terms, an "idiot tax." The group announced on June 15 that it was able to steal AmeriCash's customer data because the company had left a confidential page unsecured on one of its servers. "This page allows its affiliates to see how many loan applicants they recruited and how much money they made," according to the group's post on "Not only was this page unsecured, it was actually referenced in their robots.txt file.""

Submission + - Astronomers catch asteroid in near-miss video (

ananyo writes: Quoting the Nature story:
It may look like a blurry blob, but researchers using the InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF) in Hawaii have posted a video of 2012 KT42 — a small asteroid that zipped past Earth at a distance of just three Earth radii on 29 May — the sixth closest encounter of any known asteroid. The bright asteroid appears fixed, while background stars zip past but in fact the asteroid is zipping along at 17 kilometres per second.
“You get the view of riding along with it,” says planetary scientist Richard Binzel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who led the observations. At its closest, the asteroid was at a distance between the orbit of the space station (about 1 Earth radii) and geosynchronous satellites (about 6 Earth radii).

Submission + - Rim Dropping the Price of its Playbook Down by 66% 1

YokimaSun writes: Following on from the news that Rims partner was pulling the plug on its Blackberry phones,Rim announced it was discontinueing the 16GB version of its playbook, PC Gaming News are reporting that the playbook is being discounted down by as much as 66% which is adding to the demise of Rims attempt at the Tablet Market. Can anything stop the all conquering iPad

Submission + - FDA: Software Failure Behind 24% Of Medical Device Recalls (

chicksdaddy writes: "Software failures were behind 24 percent of all the medical device recalls in 2011, according to data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) Office of Science and Engineering Laboratories (OSEL).
The absence of solid architecture and "principled engineering practices" in software development affects a wide range of medical devices, with potentially life-threatening consequences, the FDA warned. In response, FDA told Threatpost that it is developing tools to disassemble and test medical device software and locate security problems and weak design."


Submission + - Time Warner Cable patents method for disabling fast-forward function on DVRs ( 1

antdude writes: "FierceCable reports "Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) has won a U.S. patent for a method for disabling fast-forward and other trick mode functions on digital video recorders.

The patent, which lists Time Warner Cable principal architect Charles Hasek as the inventor, details how the nation's second largest cable MSO may be able prevent viewers from skipping TV commercials contained in programs stored on physical DVRs it deploys in subscriber homes, network-based DVRs and even recording devices subscribers purchase at retail outlets...""


Submission + - Patch Makes Certain Skin Cancers Disappear (

kkleiner writes: "What if treating skin cancer was just a matter of wearing a patch for a few hours? At this year’s Society of Nuclear Medicine’s Annual Meeting one group of researchers presented such a patch. The patch is infused with phosphorus-32, a radioactive isotope used to treat some types of cancer. In a study of 10 patients with basal cell carcinoma located on their faces, the patch was applied for three hours, then for another three hours four and seven days later. Six months after treatment, 8 of the patients were cancer free."

Submission + - NASA finds major ice source in Moon crater (

coondoggie writes: "NASA said its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has found a crater — dubbed Shackleton — on the south pole of the moon that may have as much as 22% of its surface covered in ice. Shackleton, named after the Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton, is two miles deep and more than 12 miles wide and because of the Moon's tilt is always in the dark. Using laser light from LRO's laser altimeter NASA said found the crater's floor is brighter than those of other nearby craters, which is consistent with the presence of small amounts of ice."

Submission + - New film renders screen reflection almost non-existent (

An anonymous reader writes: Sony has used the SID 2012 conference to demonstrate a brand new combination of conductive film and low-reflection film that promises to render screen reflection almost non-existent in devices like smartphones and tablets.

Sony achieved such low reflections by combining its new conductive film with a moth-eye low reflection film. The key to the low reflectance is the formation of an uneven surface, which consists of both concave and convex structures (tiny bumps) that cover the entire film. The uneven surface means that light won’t just bounce back off the screen creating a reflection, and therefore making the screen usable in a wider range of lighting conditions.

Submission + - Oregon State University Fires Climate Change Skeptic ( 2

brian0918 writes: "With finals approaching, Oregon State University chemistry professor Nicholas Drapela was fired without warning. Three weeks later, he has still been given no reason for the university’s decision to 'not renew his contract'. Drapela, an outspoken critic of man-made climate change, worked at the university for 10 years and was well-liked by students. Oregon physicist Gordon J. Fulks, another critic of anthropogenic climate change, has circulated a letter in defense of Drapela."

Submission + - One-billion-pixel camera catches the smallest details ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: A camera made from off-the-shelf electronics can take snapshots of one billion pixels each — about one thousand times larger than images taken by conventional cameras.

David Brady, an engineer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues are developing the AWARE-2 camera with funding from the United States Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. The camera’s earliest use will probably be in automated military surveillance systems, but its creators hope eventually to make the technology available to researchers, media companies and consumers.

Submission + - TSA Bodyscanner Fail Video - Now with Surveillance Camera Footage! (

McGruber writes: Jonathan Corbett, the subject of the earlier Slashdot Story "The Ineffectiveness of TSA Body Scanners" (, has an update for us.

His video showing him wandering through a nude body scanner with undetected objects is now complete with the feeds from TSA's security cameras at the checkpoint.

Good work Jonathan and thank you TSA for your timely response to his Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request!