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Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good 382

Posted by samzenpus
from the think-of-the-children dept.
Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton has some opinions on child safety online and the use of fear mongering. Here are his thoughts. "The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has been running online ads for several years saying that "Each year 1 in 5 children is sexually solicited online", a statistic that has been endlessly repeated, including by vendors of blocking software and by politicians who often paraphrase it to say that 1 in 5 children "are approached by online predators". While others have quietly documented the problems with this statistic, lawmakers still bring it out every year in a push for more online regulation (preempted this year only by the topic du jour of cyberbullying), so it's time for anti-censorship organizations to start campaigning more aggressively against the misleading "1 in 5" number. That means two things: framing the debate with more accurate numbers, and holding the parties accountable for disseminating the wrong ones -- and that means naming names, including those of organizations like the NCMEC that are normally beyond reproach." Read below for the rest.
Toys

Last Sky Commuter For Sale On eBay 189

Posted by kdawson
from the still-waiting dept.
DeltaV900 writes to alert us to an auction on eBay of the last Sky Commuter concept car. About 7 hours remain in the auction and the top bid at this writing is $55,100. The seller (with some help from posters in the auction forum) makes clear that the thing won't actually fly, and in fact never did. Other Sky Commuters may have hovered. This one traveled around to air shows and trade fairs.
Censorship

Egyptian Blogger Silenced by YouTube, Yahoo! 188

Posted by Zonk
from the citizen-journalists-need-credentials-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An Egyptian human rights activist has been muzzled after YouTube and Yahoo! shut down his accounts. Award-winning blogger Wael Abbas regularly writes and posts video about police brutality, torture and sexual harassment in Egypt. One of the videos — of an Egyptian bus driver being brutalized by an officer — was used as evidence to convict two members of the police force. That's a rare occurrence in a country where human-rights groups say torture is rampant. YouTube said the decision to remove Abbas' videos had nothing to do with the Egyptian government, but was rather an internal decision."
Education

UK Schools Warned Off Microsoft Deal 337

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-sign-on-that-dotted-line dept.
rs232 sends in a BBC piece on the UK computer agency Becta advising schools against signing up for a Microsoft educational license because of alleged anti-competitive practices. "The problem was that Microsoft required schools to have licenses for every PC in a school that might use its software, whether they were actually doing so or running something else." We have discussed Becta's role in British education here several times as they have acted as a watchdog warning of perceived Microsoft excesses.
Supercomputing

Eight PS3 'Supercomputer' Ponders Gravity Waves 293

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-you-can dept.
Jamie found a story about a inexpensive supercomputer being used by an astrophysicist to research gravity waves. The interesting bit is that the system is built using 8 PS3s. Since nobody is actually playing games on the system, it makes sense to use them for research projects like this, but I really wonder now what is defining 'Supercomputer'... I mean, a hundred PS3s sure, but 8? I think we are de-valuing the meaning of the word 'super' :)
Google

Google Unveils Flash Ads 225

Posted by Zonk
from the hip-hip-hooray dept.
Gailin writes "Google has announced and given some examples of their new Flash based ads. They seem to vary from average size to full screen-width Flash advertisements, with some interactive abilities. 'Gadget ads can incorporate real-time data feeds, images, video and much more in a single creative unit and can be developed using Flash, HTML or a combination of both. Designed to act more like content than a typical ad, they run on the Google(TM) content network, competing alongside text, image and video ads for placement. They support both cost-per-click and cost-per-impression pricing models, and offer a variety of contextual, site, geographic and demographic targeting options to ensure the ads reach relevant users with precision and scale.'"
Communications

Texting Teens Generating OMG Phone Bills 888

Posted by kdawson
from the time-for-the-unlimited-plan dept.
theodp writes "Last month, Washington high school junior Sofia Rubenstein used 6,807 text messages, which, at a rate of 15 cents apiece for most of them, pushed her family's Verizon Wireless bill over $1,100. She and other teens are finding themselves in hot water after their families get blindsided with huge phone bills thanks to hefty a la carte text messaging charges." Use of SMS in the US doubled from 2005 to 2006.
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - 'Kryptonite' discovered in mine

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "BBC news is reporting that:

"A new mineral matching its unique chemistry — as described in the film Superman Returns — has been identified in a mine in Serbia.

"Researchers from mining group Rio Tinto discovered the unusual mineral and enlisted the help of Dr Stanley when they could not match it with anything known previously to science.

"Once the London expert had unravelled the mineral's chemical make-up, he was shocked to discover this formula was already referenced in literature — albeit fictional literature.

'Towards the end of my research I searched the web using the mineral's chemical formula — sodium lithium boron silicate hydroxide — and was amazed to discover that same scientific name, written on a case of rock containing kryptonite stolen by Lex Luther from a museum in the film Superman Returns.'""

Could a Reputation System Improve Wikipedia? 216

Posted by kdawson
from the must-be-true dept.
Acidus writes, "There is an excellent article in this month's First Monday about using reputation systems to limit the effects of vandalism on public wikis like Wikipedia. It discusses the benefits and weaknesses of various algorithms to judge how 'reliable' a given piece of text or an edit is. From the article: 'I propose that it would be better to provide Wikipedia users with a visual cue that enables them to see what assertions in an article have, in fact, survived the scrutiny of a large number of people, and what assertions are relatively fresh, and may not be as reliable. This would enable Wikipedia users to take more advantage of the power of the collaborative editing process taking place without forcing that process to change.'"

Update on Xara's OS Vector Graphics Project 134

Posted by Zonk
from the vectoring-in dept.
An anonymous reader writes "We first heard from Xara when they announced their plan to release their crown jewels, the Xara X source code under GPL. Now, 5 scant months since going Open Source, Xara has released Xara Xtreme Linux 0.7, a very functional, robust illustration program. What this means for the Linux Desktop is significant: a true professional grade graphics package. And for a glimpse at what Xara can do, you owe it to yourself to see the new Xara Xtreme Linux Screenshot gallery with amazing, unbelievable vector graphic art."

Triple Boot on MacBooks Working 242

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the os-challenge dept.
MikeTheMan writes "By now, everyone probably heard that Apple's recently-released Boot Camp software allows users to install Windows XP alongside OS X. But now, people at OnMac.net have discovered how to triple-boot OS X, Windows XP, and Linux. There are instructions on the Wiki for getting Gentoo running, but it is probably trivial to get other distros working as well."

FDA Questions Swedish Cell Phone Cancer Study 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-you-hear-me-now dept.
ZZeta writes "Following up on the Swedish study on cell phone cancer risk, the FDA released a statement today questioning its reliability. From the statement: 'These facts along with the lack of an established mechanism of action and supporting animal data makes the Hardell et al's finding difficult to interpret.' Also available several links to other studies."

FTC Levies Fine Against Big-league Spammers 82

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the stop-that dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The FTC said it has closed down a spam operation in California that sent millions of unwanted messages to online users across the country and fined the companies involved about $2.4 million. The settlement doesn't shut down the businesses and, based on the financial records of the defendants, the judgment will be suspended upon payment of $475,000."

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