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Submission + - SPAM: DoD Declassifies Flu Pandemic Plan Containing Sobering Assumptions

An anonymous reader writes: The Department of Defense has just declassified a copy of its 2009 Concept of Operations Plan for an Influenza Pandemic. Among the Plan's scary yet reasonable assumptions are that in the United States, such a pandemic will kill 2 percent of the infected population, or about 2 million people. The plan also assumes that a vaccine won't be available for at least 4 to 6 months after confirmation of sustained human transmission, and that the weekly vaccine manufacturing capability will only produce 1 percent of the total US vaccine required. State and local governments will be overwhelmed, and civilian mortuary operations will require military augmentation. Measures such as limiting public gatherings, closing schools, social distancing, protective sequestration and masking will be required to limit transmission and reduce illness and death. International and interstate transportation will be restricted to contain the spread of the virus. If a pandemic starts outside the US, it will enter the country at multiple locations and spread quickly to other parts of the country. A related document, CONPLAN 3591-09, was released by DoD in 2010. Most public health experts believe that a virulent pandemic is not just likely but inevitable.

Submission + - Clothier Slammed for Using 'Perfect' Virtual Model 2

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Visiting the website for Swedish Clothing Giant H&M is not the only virtual experience customers have as the the company disclosed that the images from the company’s website showing models wearing the latest swimsuit and lingerie in generic, stock-form with their left hand resting slightly below their waist, right arm straight and face looking directly ahead are are not just photoshopped but entirely computer generated. “We take pictures of the clothes on a doll that stands in the shop, and then create the human appearance with a program on [a] computer,” H&M press officer Hacan Andersson told a Swedish newspaper in an article questioning the company’s picture-perfect online models. Advertising watchdogs elevated the controversy by criticizing the chain of lower-cost clothing stores for their generic approach to models, accusing the chain of creating unrealistic physical ideals. ““This illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body,” says a spokesman for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, one of the groups most critical of H&M. “The demands are so great that H&M, among the poor photo models, cannot find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis.”"

Submission + - DoJ investigates eBook price fixing (

dave562 writes: The U.S. Justice Department's antitrust arm said it was looking into potentially unfair pricing practices by electronic booksellers, joining European regulators and state attorneys general in a widening probe of large U.S. and international e-book publishers.

A Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed that the probe involved the possibility of "anticompetitive practices involving e-book sales."

Attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas, have also begun inquiries into the way electronic booksellers price their wares, and whether companies such as Apple and Amazon have set up pricing practices that are ultimately harmful to consumers.

All programmers are playwrights and all computers are lousy actors.