KentuckyFC writes "Network theorists have always simulated the spread of information through the internet using the same models epidemiologists use to study the spread of disease. Now Chinese scientists say this isn't quite right--it's easy to infect everybody you meet with a disease but it's much harder to inform all your contacts of a particular piece of information. So they've redone the conventional network simulations assuming that people only ever transmit messages to a certain fraction of their friends. And their results throw up a surprise. In these models, there are always individuals or clusters of individuals who are unreachable. These people never receive the information and make up a kind of underclass who eke out an information-poor existence in a few dark corners of the network. That has implications for organizations aiming to spread ideas who will have to think more carefully about how to reach people in these dark corners. That includes marketers and advertisers hoping to sell products and services but also agencies hoping to spread different kinds of messages such as safety-related information. It also raises the interesting prospect of individuals seeking out the dark corners of the internet, perhaps to preserve their privacy or perhaps for more nefarious reasons."
schwit1 writes with news that a recent 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan killed 45 people and caused a new island to form a few hundred meters off the country's coast. The island is roughly 35 meters long, and 7-14 meters high. "Seismologists suspect the island is a temporary formation resulting from a "mud volcano," a jet of mud, sand and water that gushed to the surface as the temblor churned and pressurized that slurry under the ocean floor." Long-time residents of the area say a similar island formed in 1968 after another earthquake, but disappeared a year later. "It is clear that 'the islands are not created because the ground was ... pushed up by the earthquake,' [said geophysicist Paul Earle], but more likely it was a secondary effect of shifting sediments. He also agrees the formation appears to have been caused by a mud volcano, but added that they don't need an earthquake to set them off. There are 'mud volcanoes in Yellowstone that have not been triggered by earthquakes,' he said."
Asiana Flight 214 from Seoul crashed while landing at San Francisco Airport today. Early reports suggest the plane was unstable as it touched down, which led to the tail of the plane breaking off. There are no official casualty reports yet, but passengers were seen walking off the plane. Preliminary estimates say one or two dead and 75 being transported to area hospitals. (Others are reporting two dead and several dozen injured.) Eyewitness report: "You heard a pop and you immediately saw a large, brief fireball that came out from underneath the aircraft," Anthony Castorani said on CNN. "At that moment, you could see that that aircraft was again starting to lift and it began to cartwheel [Ed: he likely means spinning horizontally, like a top]. The wing broke off on the left hand side. You could see the tail immediately fly off of the aircraft. As the aircraft cartwheeled, it then landed down and the other wing had broken." The media has estimated about 290 people were on board the plane. The top of the cabin was aflame at one point, but it's not known yet whether that affected the passengers. "Federal sources told NBC News that there was no indication of terrorism." Some images from the news make it look like the plane may have tried to touch down too early, hitting the seawall just before the runway.
Freshly Exhumed writes with this news (quoting The Guardian): "France runs a vast electronic surveillance operation, intercepting and stocking data from citizens' phone and internet activity, using similar methods to the U.S. National Security Agency's Prism programme exposed by Edward Snowden, Le Monde has reported. An investigation by the French daily [en français; Google translation] found that the DGSE, France's external intelligence agency, had spied on the French public's phone calls, emails and internet activity. The agency intercepted signals from computers and phones in France as well as between France and other countries, looking not so much at content but to create a map of 'who is talking to whom,' the paper said."
ccguy writes "Apple revised its warranty policy in Italy last year after being hit with a €900,000 fine for not complying with an EU-mandated two-year term. The company has today revised the terms of its warranties in France, Germany and Belgium, specifying that customers are entitled to repairs and replacements of their Apple products for a full two years after purchase, and not just one as previously stated. No word yet on when the rest of the EU will see those changes, but it would now seem to be just a matter of time before other countries get the new terms as well."
First time accepted submitter semilemon writes "The Canada Revenue Agency has started paying attention to BitCoin transactions, as it says users will have to pay tax on all transactions using the currency. From the article, "The CRA told the CBC there are two separate tax rules that apply to the electronic currency, depending on whether they are used as money to buy things or if they were merely bought and sold for speculative purposes. "Barter transaction rules apply where BitCoins are used to purchase goods or services," Canada Revenue Agency spokesman Philippe Brideau said in an email. In this situation, that means whatever you've received in exchange for your $1 worth of vegetables must be documented as a taxable gain of at least $1 somewhere. When it comes to trading BitCoins for profit, the tax man says there are tax implications there, too. "When BitCoins are bought or sold like a commodity, any resulting gains or losses could be income or capital for the taxpayer depending on the specific facts," ruled the CRA."
thereitis writes "The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in cooperation with six retailers, is announcing the voluntary recall of all Buckyballs and Buckycubes high-powered magnet sets due to ingestion hazard. CPSC continues to warn that these products contain defects in the design, warnings and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury and death to children and teenagers. An administrative complaint has been filed which is rare, as CPSC has filed only four administrative complaints in the past 11 years." This follows last year's ban on buckyballs.
In the end, the Streisand Effect prevailed, as you might expect, when a French domestic intelligence agency apparently browbeat a French citizen into removing content from Wikipedia. The attention caused the Wikipedia entry on a formerly obscure military radio site (English version) to leap in popularity not only in French, but in languages where it was formerly far less likely to have been noticed at all. Lauren Weinstein makes the case, though, that this sort of move isn't just something to shrug at or assume will always end so nicely. "Even though attempts at Internet censorship will almost all fail in the end, governments and authorities have the capability to make groups' and individuals' lives extremely uncomfortable, painful, or even terminated — in the process of attempts at censorship, and equally important, by instilling fear to encourage self-censorship in the first place."
colinneagle writes "Widespread adoption of 3D printing technology may not be that far away, according to a Gartner report predicting that enterprise-class 3D printers will be available for less than $2,000 by 2016. 3D printers are already in use among many businesses, from manufacturing to pharmaceuticals to consumers goods, and have generated a diverse set of use cases. As a result, the capabilities of the technology have evolved to meet customer needs, and will continue to develop to target those in additional markets, Gartner says."
jfruh writes "Skype made a name for itself by largely bypassing the infrastucture — and the costs, and the regulations — of the legacy telecommunications industry. But now the French telecom regulator wants to change that, at least in France. At issue is not the service's VoIP offering, but rather the Skype Out service that allows users to dial phones on traditional networks. Regulators say that this service necessitates that Skype face the same regulations as other telecoms."
An anonymous reader writes "My fiancee is a professional writer. She has a great industry reputation and everyone that knows her loves her. But her ex-husband has maintained a number of websites in her name (literally, the URL is her name) that are filled with insane ravings and defamatory content. Have you ever had to deal with an internet smear campaign? The results float to the top of every Google or Bing search of her name. He currently lives abroad and cannot be served with legal papers. His websites are hosted overseas as well, and do not respond to conventional letters or petitions. Because of his freedom of speech rights, few U.S. courts will assert that his websites are truly libelous, either, and it's still difficult to prove any real 'damages' are done by it. Still, we'd like to see them go away. I'm turning to the best community of geeks in the world: how do I deal with this given the limited options at my disposal?"
First time accepted submitter mescobal writes "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott warned international election observers not to come closer than 100 feet from a polling place; otherwise, they could be subject to criminal prosecution. The warning was addressed to a group of international observers who intend to monitor polls. The OSCE, an UN affiliated organization of observers, was concerned about voter ID issues among other things. From the article: '“The Texas Election Code governs anyone who participates in Texas elections — including representatives of the OSCE,” Abbott wrote. “The OSCE’s representatives are not authorized by Texas law to enter a polling place. It may be a criminal offense for OSCE’s representatives to maintain a presence within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance. Failure to comply with these requirements could subject the OSCE’s representatives to criminal prosecution for violating state law.”'"
ananyo writes "Bucking a trend of cutting science seen elsewhere, the French government has committed to increasing spending on research and development in its draft austerity budget for 2013. France's education and research ministry gets a 2.2% boost under the proposed budget, giving it a budget of just under €23 billion (US$29 billion). Most other ministries get a cut. The upshot of the cash increase is that 1,000 new university posts will be created, no publicly funded research jobs will be cut and funding for research grants will rise (albeit less than inflation) by 1.2% to €7.86 billion. The move to spend on science during a recession is notable and means that French politicians understand that a sustainable commitment to public spending on science is vital for long-term economic growth. The situation is in stark contrast to that in the U.S. and in the UK, where a recent policy to boost hi-tech industries, unveiled with much fanfare, failed to do much for science. Meanwhile, in Australia, there's alarm over proposals to freeze research grants— a step that could jeopardize 1700 jobs."
itwbennett writes "In the first trial resulting from the controversial three-strikes copyright law, a French court on Thursday fined a man €150 for failing to secure his Internet connection. His negligence led to the illegal download of files, including two Rihanna songs that were downloaded by his wife."