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Submission + - IEEE Spectrum Ranks The Top Programming Languages (

An anonymous reader writes: Working with computational journalist Nick Diakopoulos, we at IEEE Spectrum have published an app that ranks the popularity of dozens of programming languages. Because different fields have different interests (what's popular with programmers writing embedded code versus what's hot with web developers isn't going to be identical) we tried to make the ranking system as transparent as possible—you can use our presets or you can go in and create your own customized ranking by adjusting the individual weightings of the various data sources we mined.--Stephen "FTC obDisclosure" Cass.

Officials Use Google Earth To Find Unlicensed Pools Screenshot-sm 650

Officials in Riverhead, New York are using Google Earth to root out the owners of unlicensed pools. So far they've found 250 illegal pools and collected $75,000 in fines and fees. Of course not everyone thinks that a city should be spending time looking at aerial pictures of backyards. from the article: "Lillie Coney, associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, DC, said Google Earth was promoted as an aid to curious travelers but has become a tool for cash-hungry local governments. 'The technology is going so far ahead of what people think is possible, and there is too little discussion about community norms,' she said."
The Courts

The Fourth Amendment and the Cloud 174

CNET has up a blog post examining the question: does the Fourth Amendment apply to data stored in the Cloud? The US constitutional amendment forbidding unreasonable searches and seizures is well settled in regard to the physical world, but its application to electronic communications and computing lags behind. The post's argument outlines a law review article (PDF) from a University of Minnesota law student, David A. Couillard. "Hypothetically, if a briefcase is locked with a combination lock, the government could attempt to guess the combination until the briefcase unlocked; but because the briefcase is opaque, there is still a reasonable expectation of privacy in the unlocked container. In the context of virtual containers in the cloud...encryption is not simply a virtual lock and key; it is virtual opacity. ... [T]he service provider has a copy of the keys to a user's cloud 'storage unit,' much like a landlord or storage locker owner has keys to a tenant's space, a bank has the keys to a safe deposit box, and a postal carrier has the keys to a mailbox. Yet that does not give law enforcement the authority to use those third parties as a means to enter a private space. The same rationale should apply to the cloud." We might wish that the courts interpreted Fourth Amendment rights in this way, but so far they have not.

Submission + - Boson explains high-temperature superconductivity

kgb1001001 writes: Just saw this ( in a newsletter the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Seems like the key to understanding high-temperature superconductivity might be a new elementary particle. The article discusses how they think that the new boson is an emergent phenomena — maybe you can't find everything by breaking things apart in a particle accelerator.

Feed Techdirt: German Prosecutors Tell Entertainment Industry They Won't Help Going After P2P U (

We've never quite understood why in the US and some other countries, a civil matter between businesses and their customers should require help from public law enforcement. However, that's what happened with copyright issues, as the entertainment industry has been able to get various law enforcement organizations from the FBI to SWAT teams to work for them. They've also got the US's top cop proposing legislation for their benefit. However, it looks like folks in Germany have a very different view. Public prosecutors in Germany are apparently telling entertainment industry lawyers that they won't help the industry track down file sharers, noting the "obvious disproportionateness" of trying to go after people for file sharing, and noting that unauthorized file sharing was merely "a petty offense," while pointing out that, despite industry claims to the contrary, "there was no evidence that substantial damage had been done." In other words, they're saying that the German gov't shouldn't get involved in a private business squabble from an industry that is blowing file sharing totally out of proportion -- especially when there's little evidence that file sharing is actually doing any harm. Sounds like a pretty reasonable position.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - New water-cooled hard drives coming (

CoolHandLuke writes: NEC and Hitachi are teaming up on a liquid cooling system for hard drives. The goal is to cut down on noise levels while providing more efficient cooling. 'Hitachi and NEC are developing the water-cooled hard drive systems for desktop computers mainly to reduce noise levels to 25 decibels, 5 decibels quieter than a whisper. To do this, NEC and Hitachi actually wrap the hard drive in "noise absorbing material and vibration insulation." According to Hitachi and NEC, the cooling cold plate they're planning to use is the most efficient plate ever used for heat conduction, which means they'll be able to cool the hard drives quicker and more efficiently.'

Submission + - 30 years in the slammer for pharmacy spammer (

teutonic_leech writes: Internet users can count on a few less e-mails about cheap Viagra and Cialis showing up in their junk mail folders, as well-known spammer Christopher Smith has been sentenced to 30 years in jail by a federal judge. The judge referred to the 27-year-old online drugstore owner as a "drug kingpin" when issuing the sentence, according to the Star Tribune. The sentencing is among the longest convictions related to Internet pharmacies in recent history, said Smith's attorney.

Submission + - Bush and National Security (

Efialtis writes: "With all the controversy caused by earlier national security attempts by the Bush Administration, these next ones make me wonder just what will happen next? Loose more freedoms? Become something of a WWII era Germany?
Bush Tells Congress To Approve New Spy Law
"President Wants A Bill That Modernizes Ability To Eavesdrop On Foreigners", but if we are eavesdropping on foreigners, and those foreigners are communicating with citizens, then aren't we eavesdropping on citizens? Isn't this just a way around the problems with his previous plan; redirection away from the real issue?
Bush Signs Homeland Security Bill
To put it simply...this bill:
  • "Authorizes more than $4 billion for four years for rail, transit and bus security.
  • Requires the screening of all container ships in foreign ports within five years, but give the Homeland Security secretary authority to delay implementation.
  • Establishes a new electronic travel authorization system to improve security for visitors from countries participating in the visa waiver program.
  • Strengthens a board that oversees privacy and civil liberties issues.
  • Establishes a voluntary certification program to assess whether private entities comply with voluntary preparedness standards.
  • Requires the president and Congress to disclose total spending requested and approved for the intelligence community.
  • Provides civil immunity to those who, in good faith, report suspicious activities that threaten the safety and security of passengers on a transportation system or that could be an act of terrorism.
  • Requires the president to confirm that Pakistan is making progress combatting al Qaeda and Taliban elements within its boarders before the United States provides aid to the country."

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.