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Google

Bank Goofs, and Judge Orders Gmail Account Nuked 594

Posted by kdawson
from the oops-our-bad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Rocky Mountain Bank, based in Wyoming, accidentally sent confidential financial information to the wrong Gmail account. When Google refused to identify the innocent account owner's information, citing its privacy policy, the bank filed in Federal court to have the account deactivated and the user's information revealed. District Judge James Ware granted the bank's request, with the result that the user has had his email access cut off without any wrongdoing or knowledge of why." The Reg's earlier story says, "Rocky Mountain Bank had asked to court to keep its suit under seal, hoping to avoid panic among its customers and a 'surge of inquiry.' But obviously, this wasn't successful."
Government

G20 Protesters Blasted By "Sound Cannon" 630

Posted by kdawson
from the background-music-by-disaster-area dept.
aaandre sends word of the use of a "sound cannon" on G20 protesters in Pittsburgh. Only a few hundred protesters took to the streets. The NY Times notes: "City officials said they believed it was the first time the sound cannon had been used publicly." The device projects a narrow beam of extremely annoying sound, at levels that can reach 151 decibels, over a distance of a mile or more. The Guardian notes, "It is feared the sounds emitted are loud enough to damage eardrums and even cause fatal aneurysms." Officials of the company that manufactures the sound cannon say that ear damage is only possible if someone manages to stand directly in front of the device for an extended period.
Science

A New Explanation For the Plight of Winter Babies 276

Posted by kdawson
from the prom-night dept.
Ant passes along a Wall Street Journal report on research that turned up a new explanation for the lifelong challenges experienced by winter babies. "Children born in the winter months already have a few strikes against them. Study after study has shown that they test poorly, don't get as far in school, earn less, are less healthy, and don't live as long as children born at other times of year. Researchers have spent years documenting the effect and trying to understand it... A key assumption of much of that research is that the backgrounds of children born in the winter are the same as the backgrounds of children born at other times of the year. ... [Economist] Mr. Hungerman was doing research on sibling behavior when he noticed that children in the same families tend to be born at the same time of year. Meanwhile, Ms. Buckles was examining the economic factors that lead to multiple births, and coming across what looked like a relationship between mothers' education levels and when children were born." Here's a chart in which the effect — small but significant — jumps out unmistakeably.
It's funny.  Laugh.

The First Geek Wedding At a LinuxFest 93

Posted by kdawson
from the merging-the-source dept.
At the Ohio LinuxFest yesterday, two Linux geeks were married — or had their projects merged into a single trunk, as the officiant, Lord Drachenblut, put it. The wedding of Randy Noseworthy (proprietor of the Juiced Penguin) and Janet Edmonson was announced last week and was live-tweeted by at least one attendee — here's his photo of the happy couple. There's also a video of the ceremony, at which Jon "Maddog" Hall offered a blessing via pre-recorded audio.
Update: 09/26 20:03 GMT by KD : In the comments, anyaristow notes that this wasn't the first such wedding; Rob Landly and Fade were married at Penguicon in 2007, with Steve Jackson officiating and Eric Raymond as best man.
Data Storage

RAID Trust Issues — Windows Or a Cheap Controller? 564

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-buy-the-mirrored-cow dept.
NicApicella writes "My new system has two sparklin' SATA drives which I would like to mirror. After having been burned by a not-so-cheap, dedicated RAID controller, I have been pointed to software RAID solutions. I now stand in front of two choices for setting up my RAID: a Windows 7 RC software RAID or a hardware RAID done by the cheap integrated RAID controller of my motherboard. Based on past experiences, I have decided that only my data is worth saving — that's why the RAID should mirror two disks (FAT32) that are not the boot disk (i.e. do not contain an OS or any fancy stuff). Of course, such a setup should secure my data; should a drive crash, I want the system up and running in no time. Even more importantly, I want any drive and its data to be as safe and portable as possible (that's the reason for choosing FAT32), even if the OS or the controller screw up big time. So, which should I choose? Who should I trust more, Microsoft's Windows 7 or possibly the cheapest RAID controller on the market? Are there other cheap solutions?"
Networking

Grad Student Project Uses Wikis To Stash Data, Miffs Admins 268

Posted by timothy
from the going-on-the-beg-forgiveness-principle dept.
Anonymous writes "Two graduate students at the Ivy League's Brown University built a P2P system to use abandoned wiki sites to store data. The students were stealing bandwidth from open MediaWiki sites to send data between users as an alternative to BitTorrent. There was immediate backlash as site operators quickly complained to the University. The project appears to be shutdown, but many of the pages still remain on the web. The project homepage was also taken down and the students posted an apology this afternoon." The same submitter links to two different forum discussions on the project.
The Internet

The Wackiest Technology Tales of 2008 97

Posted by timothy
from the hindsight-is-much-better-than-20/20 dept.
coondoggie writes "Despite the daily drumbeat of new and improved hardware or software, the tech industry isn't all bits and bytes. Some interesting things happen along the way too. Like floating data centers, space geekonauts, shape shifting robots and weird bedfellows (like Microsoft and Jerry Seinfeld). What we include here is an example of what we thought were the best, slightly off-center stories of 2008."

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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