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+ - Hubble finds something astronomers can't explain

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: The Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the explosion of a star that does not fit into any theory for stellar evolution.

The exploding star, which was seen in the constellation Eridanus, faded over two weeks — much too rapidly to qualify as a supernova. The outburst was also about ten times fainter than most supernovae, explosions that destroy some or all of a star. But it was about 100 times brighter than an ordinary nova, which is a type of surface explosion that leaves a star intact. "The combination of properties is puzzling," says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. "I thought about a number of possibilities, but each of them fails" to account for all characteristics of the outburst, he adds.

We can put this discovery on the bottom of a very long list of similar discoveries by Hubble, which this week is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its launch.

+ - German Court Rules Adblock Plus Is Legal

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Following a four-month trial, a German court in Hamburg has ruled that the practice of blocking advertising is perfectly legitimate. Germany-based Eyeo, the company that owns Adblock Plus, has won a case against German publishers Zeit Online and Handelsblatt. These companies operate Zeit.de, Handelsblatt.com, and Wiwo.de. Their lawsuit, filed on December3, charged that Adblock Plus should not be allowed to block ads on their websites. While the decision is undoubtedly a big win for users today, it could also set a precedent for future lawsuits against Adblock Plus and any other tool that offers similar functions. The German court has essentially declared that users are legally allowed to control what happens on their screens and on their computers while they browse the Web.

Comment: "Quality control" (Score 1) 150

by Bomarc (#49524675) Attached to: Incorrectly Built SLS Welding Machine To Be Rebuilt
Given my knowledge of Boeing, the problem isn't with "quality"; the problem is with bad management -- and a culture of failure to admit that management can do no wrong. This can be easily exposed: Take a look at the jobs at Boeing. Look for a software tester / QA position. You will be lucky to find ONE. The jobs you do find are not test/qa; but rather development that can test their own code to the specifications written. And here is where QA comes in: what it there is a problem with the spec? And there is testing: How much testing should be done.

I remember / know of at least two (somewhat recent) incidents with Boeing aircraft that (for anyone that knows software) resulted in a crash of the aircraft -- that can be directly traced to this culture of management can do no wrong and developers test their own code.

+ - Aussie ISP talks of NetFlix shakedown->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Australian ISP Optus today was talking up the idea that Net Neutrality is there to prevent: demanding extra cash from suppliers of content to ensure that their product gets delivered well to consumers. In the same article, it talks of iiNet upgrading its infrastructure to meet the new demand (presumably this cost is already part of customer monthly payments.) One ISP gets it and is doing what we all expect whilst the other is giving us a classic example of why we need Net Neutrality: to ensure that the ISP can't play favourites and extort money out of websites and content providers.
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+ - The Hidden FM Radio Inside Your Pocket->

Submitted by mr crypto
mr crypto writes: Data providers would probably prefer you not know that most smart phones contain an FM chip that lets you listen to broadcasts for free: "But the FM chip is not activated on two-thirds of devices. That's because mobile makers have the FM capability switched off." The National Association of Broadcasters, National Public Radio, and American Public Media — have launched a lobbying campaign to get those radios switched on.
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+ - Denver TSA Screeners Manipulated System in order to Grope Men's Genitals->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber writes: The CBS affiliate in Denver reports: "Two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers."

According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.

“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”

Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.

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+ - Governor orders one week shut down of Thirty Meter Telescope project 1

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Bowing to the demands of about two dozen protesters, the governor of Hawaii has ordered a one week halt in the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) on Mauna Kea.

You can read statements from the governor, the protesters, and the telescope's project manager here. Make sure especially you read the statement by the telescope manager, as it outlines in great detail the negotiations over the past seven years between the telescope and the local community. This project was not forced upon them. They discussed it and agreed to it. As the statement notes,

Following an appeal of the permit and further contested case proceedings, the TMT project has proceeded in full compliance with the law. The TMT site was selected with great care and respect. There are no archaeological shrines or burial sites within TMT's project site. Comprehensive research by expert hydrologists confirm there is no threat to the aquifer.

This is the same story we've seen for the past half century with every telescope that has been built in territories where the local native population has some say in construction. Years of negotiation are ignored just as construction is about to begin by a small number of protesters demanding a halt. The protesters always claim a combination of religious and environmental concerns. In every case, these so-called passionate demands somehow vanish after they are promised some additional cash.

It would a terrible tragedy for Hawaii, and the human race, if this $1.4 billion telescope ends up getting canceled because of the complaints of a handful of people who behave like extortionists. It will also be unfortunate if the government bows to this extortion and rewards them for this behavior.

+ - Snowden statue in NY->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A statue of Snowden showed up in Brooklyn. As quickly as it showed up, it was even more quickly removed. Apart from this, the bust was also hidden by a blue tarp so that New Yorkers do not get any ideas.
  Still, it is nice to see civil disobedience did not completely die in this nation.

Link to Original Source

+ - Judge Allows Divorce Papers To Be Served Via Facebook 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Want to divorce your husband or wife but can’t give them the papers in person? Just use Facebook. No, apparently this isn’t a late April Fools’ joke. The New York Daily News reports Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Matthew Cooper has allowed 26-year-old Ellanora Baidoo to serve her husband Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku divorce papers via a Facebook message. In fact, Baidoo won’t even be the one sending the message. Her lawyer has been granted permission to message Blood-Dzraku using her account. “This transmittal shall be repeated by plaintiff’s attorney to defendant once a week for three consecutive weeks or until acknowledged,” the ruling states.

Techdirt: USPTO Demands EFF Censor Its Comments On Patentable Subject Matter->

From feed by feedfeeder
As you know, last year the Supreme Court made a very important ruling in the Alice v. CLS Bank case, in which it basically said that merely doing something on a general purpose computer didn't automatically make it patentable. This has resulted in many courts rejecting patents and the USPTO being less willing to issue patents, based on that guidance. The USPTO sought to push out new "guidance" to its examiners taking the ruling into account. Soon after the Alice ruling, it issued some "Preliminary Examination Instructions." However, it then issued the so-called 2014 Interim Guidance on Subject Matter Eligibility and sought public comment through March 16 of this year.

Plenty of folks did comment, including the EFF. However, the USPTO apparently was offended at parts of the EFF's comment submission, claiming that it was an "improper protest." In response, the EFF refiled the comment, but redacted the part that the USPTO didn't like. Here's what page 5 of the document on the USPTO site looks like: However, EFF also added the following footnote (footnote 8) on page 6:

On April 2, 2015, the PTO contacted EFF to request that we remove a portion of these comments on the basis that they constituted an improper “protest.” We respectfully disagree that our comments were a protest under 35 U.S.C. 122(c). Rather, our comments discussed a specific application to illustrate our broader points about the importance of applying Alice. Nevertheless, to ensure these comments are considered by the Office, we have redacted the relevant discussion in this revised version of our comments. Our original comments remain available to the public at: https://www.eff.org/files/2015/03/18/eff_comments_regarding_ interim_eligibility_guidance.pdf.
And, of course, if you go to that link, you get the full, unredacted version of the EFF's filing.

As you can see by the full filing, the EFF filing isn't some sort of improper protest. Rather it is a clear demonstration of how the USPTO does not appear to be living up to what the courts are saying in the wake of the Alice ruling. It is difficult to see what the USPTO was thinking in trying to silence the EFF's comment. It is beyond ludicrous on multiple levels. First, it suggests a skin so thin at the USPTO that you can see right through it. Second, it suggests that the USPTO doesn't want people to recognize that its guidance is problematic in light of what actual federal courts are saying. And, finally, it suggests (still) a complete lack of understanding of how the internet and freedom of expression works, thereby guaranteeing that the EFF's complete dismantling of the USPTO's guidelines will now get that much more attention...

Has anyone patented a method and system for self-inflicted shaming for being overly sensitive to someone pointing out your flaws?

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365 Days of drinking Lo-Cal beer. = 1 Lite-year