Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
What's the story with these ads on Slashdot? Check out our new blog post to find out. ×

Do You Own Your Native Language? 472

l2718 writes "In a new take on the reach of 'Intellectual Property,' the Mapuche Indians of Chile are accusing Microsoft of linguistic piracy. Their lawsuit alleges that Microsoft needed permission from the tribal elders before translating its software into Mapuzugun, a project which was co-ordinated with the Chilean Ministry of Education." From the CNN Money article: "The Mapuche took their case to a court in the southern city of Temuco earlier this month but a judge ruled it should be considered in Santiago. A judge in the capital is due to decide in the next two weeks whether Microsoft has a case to answer. 'If they rule against us we will go to the Supreme Court and if they rule against us there we will take our case to a court of human rights,' said Lautaro Loncon, a Mapuche activist and coordinator of the Indigenous Network, an umbrella group for several ethnic groups in Chile."

'Long Tail' May Not Wag the Web Just Yet 132

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Expanding on an article he wrote in 2004 (and discussed on Slashdot), Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson argues in his best-seller 'The Long Tail' that the web is changing commerce from a hit-driven business to one focused on niches. But Wall Street Journal columnist Lee Gomes questions Anderson's data, and adds, 'I don't think things are changing as much as he does.' Gomes writes, 'At Apple's iTunes, one person who has seen the data -- which Apple doesn't disclose -- said sales "closely track Billboard. It's a hits business. The data tend to refute 'The Long Tail.' " ' On his blog, Anderson responds that Gomes 'stumbles over statistics and more, and in the end simply makes a muddle of what might have been an interesting debate over the magnitude of the Long Tail effect.'"

Hong Kong Using Children to Hunt for Piracy 259

westcoaster004 writes to tell us that according to The New York Times the Hong Kong government will be using some 200,000 youths to scour the internet for piracy. Members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and nine other youth organizations will be drawn from with the first 1,600 being "sworn in" this Wednesday. From the article: "Tam Yiu-keung, the Hong Kong Excise and Customs Department's senior superintendent of customs for intellectual property investigations, said the program should not raise any concerns about privacy or the role of children in law enforcement. The youths will be visiting Internet discussion sites that are open to all, so the government program is no different than asking young people to tell the police if they see a crime while walking down the street, he said."

Comment Re:Homeschooling (Score 1) 772

By the way, another thing which helped convince me that it isn't a bad idea was the fact that a lot of homeschoolers are ex-teachers. You would be amazed how many ex-teachers there are doing this. Every ex-teacher I talk to says that public schools waste time and they spent the vast majority of their time on a few kids in a class.
Bingo. My mother taught in a public school, then homeschooled my sister and I, and now teaches again for the same public school system. Her reasoning for the homeschooling: "public schools waste time and they spent the vast majority of their time on a few kids in a class." DSD

Enron's Kenneth Lay Dies 868

Don420 writes "This morning the biggest corporate criminal in modern history, Kenneth Lay, died of a massive coronary before he could receive his sentence. Lay was found guilty of being in charge of the scheme that had many lose their live-savings through a scheme of complex offshore holdings and is to thank for our having to live with Sarbanes-Oxely." From the article: "Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001 after investigators found it had used partnerships to conceal more than $1 billion in debt and inflate profits. Enron's downfall cost 4,000 employees their jobs and many of them their life savings, and led to billions of dollars of losses for investors."

Anonymous Online Publication - Fad or Trend? 222

An anonymous reader asks: "Across the web, stories abound regarding censorship and persecution of those who publish content online that may be offensive or conflicting toward certain governments or ideals. It almost seems that you can't attach your name to anything without being heavily scrutinized for the opinions you express. Lately though, I've begun to see several communities that promote an atmosphere of anonymity to protect their users and facilitate open communication on tough subjects. PostSecret is one of the most popular of these sites, allowing a one-way publication medium for visitors to vent their frustrations, similar to Group Hug. However, both of these sites are one-way mediums, and do not provide for anonymous interaction of users. Is anonymous blogging and publication a brief fad, or a serious, growing trend?"

Schneier on Economic Insights to IT Security 58

Scyld_Scefing writes "In his June 29, 2006 Wired News article, 'It's the Economy, Stupid,' Bruce Schneier covers the content of the 2006 Workshop on the Economics of Information Security. Schneier says that economic analysis of IT security issues is relatively new, and links to one of the significant earlier papers from 1991, 'Why Information Security Is Hard -- An Economic Perspective' (.pdf). This article states: 'According to one common view, information security comes down to technical measures. Given better access control policy models, formal proofs of cryptographic protocols, approved firewalls, better ways of detecting intrusions and malicious code, and better tools for system evaluation and assurance, the problems can be solved. In this note, I put forward a contrary view: information insecurity is at least as much due to perverse incentives. Many of the problems can be explained more clearly and convincingly using the language of microeconomics: network externalities, asymmetric information, moral hazard, adverse selection, liability dumping and the tragedy of the commons.'"

Net Neutrality, Schlocky Salesmen vs Monopolist Plumbers 385

Andy Kessler has written a short tongue-in-cheek summary of the net neutrality debate over on the Weekly Standard. Kessler identifies the two sides as the 'schlocky ad salesmen' (Google, Yahoo!, etc) and the 'monopolist plumbers' (Verizon, AT&T, etc) and when you add the politicians to the mix it creates a pretty untenable situation. From the article: "But the answer is not regulations imposing net neutrality. You can already smell the mandates and the loopholes once Congress gets involved. Think special, high-speed priority for campaign commercials or educational videos about global warming. Or roadblocks--like requiring emergency 911 service--to try to kill off free Internet telephone services such as Skype. And who knows what else? Network neutrality won't be the laissez-faire sandbox its supporters think, but more like used kitty litter. We all know that regulations beget more lobbyists. I'd rather let the market sort these things out."

Labs Compete to Build New Nuclear Bomb 949

An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo! News is reporting that two labs are currently competing to design the first new nuclear bomb in twenty years. The new bomb was approved as a part of the 2006 defense spending bill. From the article: 'Proponents of the project say the U.S. would lose its so-called "strategic deterrent" unless it replaces its aging arsenal of about 6,000 bombs, which will become potentially unreliable within 15 years. A new, more reliable weapon, they say, would help the nation reduce its stockpile.'"

Proposal to Implant RFID Chips in Immigrants 559

John3 writes "Some people are OK with voluntarily implanting themselves with RFID chips, but how about making RFID implantation mandatory for immigrant and guest workers? VeriChip Corporation chairman Scott Silverman has proposed implanting RFID chips to register workers as they cross the border. According to Silverman, 'We have talked to many people in Washington about using it...' Privacy advocates see this move by VeriChip as a way to introduce their product to Latin America after a lukewarm reception in North America. Would immigrant workers trade their privacy for the opportunity to work in the U.S.? If this type of tracking is enacted, how long before the government decides to start tracking others for various purposes (for example, pedophiles who are released from prison)?"

Texas to Provide Online 'Bordercams' 730

Dr_Barnowl writes "The BBC reports that Texas intends to erect a network of online webcams at its border to Mexico. The intention is apparently to use viewers as a kind of distributed processing network, with a free phone number to report border-jumpers." From the article: "'A stronger border is what Americans want and it's what our security demands and that is what Texas is going to deliver,' Mr Perry said. The cameras will cost $5m (£2.7m) to install and will be trained on sections of the 1,000-mile (1,600km) border known to be favoured by illegal immigrants " Hey, it's working for Britain, right? Raided and Shut Down 1189

An anonymous reader writes ", a longtime fixture of the BitTorrent community, is currently under investigation. is reporting their servers have been seized by the Swedish police." What's really interesting about them is the strange political power that they held in their homeland. There was much discussion even of a political party. This will be interesting to watch unfold.

Google News, Censorship or Responsible Journalism? 694

MSTCrow5429 writes to mention an article published by WorldNetDaily attacking the policies and actions of Google News. The author takes issue with the practice of removing sites that offer very frank discussions about radical Islam and terrorism as "hate speech." Several sites have complained about removal including The Jawa Report, MichNews, and most recently The New Media Journal. In the termination email to The New Media Journal Google cited several stories as objectionable in order to further explain the action.

Cancer Resistant Mouse Provides Possible Cure 364

Evoluder writes to tell us that scientists at Wake Forest University have found a "cancer resistant mouse" and bred it to make a small army of cancer resistant mice. When transplanting blood from one of these mice to a normal non-resistant mouse they are able to provide "lifetime cancer protection". From the article: "The cancer-resistant mice all stem from a single mouse discovered in 1999. "The cancer resistance trait so far has been passed to more than 2,000 descendants in 14 generations," said Cui, associate professor of pathology. It also has been bred into three additional mouse strains. About 40 percent of each generation inherits the protection from cancer."

China Employs Campus Internet Overseers 337

d'alz writes "China's Internet police, reportedly including as many as 50,000 state agents, have monitored the Chinese citizenry's online habits. They have blocked Web sites, erased commentary and arrested people for what is deemed anti-Party, or anti-social, speech. Several hours each week Hu Yingying, a college student, goes to a little-known on-campus office crammed with computers. There she logs on, unsuspected by other students, to help police her university's Internet forum." From the article: "Under the Civilized Internet initiative, service providers and other companies have been urged to purge their servers of offensive content, ranging from pornography to anything that smacks of overt political criticism or dissent. The Chinese authorities say that more than two million supposedly 'unhealthy' images have already been deleted under this campaign by various mainland Internet service providers, and more than six hundred supposedly 'unhealthy' Internet forums were shut down. These deletions are presented as voluntary acts of corporate civic virtue, but have a coercive aspect to them, because no company would likely risk being singled out as a laggard."

Every successful person has had failures but repeated failure is no guarantee of eventual success.