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The Military

Chinese Stealth Fighter Jet May Use US Technology 339

Ponca City writes "In 1999, a US F-117 Nighthawk was downed by a Serbian anti-aircraft missile during a bombing raid. It was the first time one of the fighters had been hit, and the Pentagon blamed clever tactics and sheer luck. The pilot ejected and was rescued. Now, the Guardian reports that pieces of the wrecked F-117 stealth fighter ended up in the hands of foreign military attaches. 'At the time, our intelligence reports told of Chinese agents crisscrossing the region where the F-117 disintegrated, buying up parts of the plane from local farmers,' says Admiral Davor Domazet-Loso, Croatia's military chief of staff during the Kosovo war. 'We believe the Chinese used those materials to gain an insight into secret stealth technologies... and to reverse-engineer them.' Zoran Kusovac says the Serbian regime routinely shared captured western equipment with its Chinese and Russian allies. 'The destroyed F-117 topped that wish-list for both the Russians and Chinese,' says Kusovac."

Italian Consumer Watchdog Sues Microsoft Over 'Windows Tax' 313

An anonymous reader writes with this quote from El Reg: "[An] Italian consumer watchdog is suing Microsoft over the 'Windows Tax' – the near impossibility of an ordinary user getting a refund if they decide to delete Microsoft's software from a new computer or laptop. The class action case says Microsoft makes it too difficult for people who buy a computer with Microsoft software on it to remove that software and get their money back. Most users do not realise that starting the software means you have accepted the end user licence."
America Online

60% of AOL's Profits Come From Misinformed Customers 301

satuon writes "Ken Auletta's big New Yorker piece on AOL (subscription only) this week revealed an interesting detail about the company's inner workings. According to Auletta, 80% of AOL's profits come from subscribers, and 75% of those subscribers are paying for something they don't actually need. According to Auletta: "The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. 'The dirty little secret,' a former AOL executive says, 'is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it.'"

Betelgeuse To Blow Up Soon — Or Not 312

rubycodez writes "A wave of 2012-related hoopla has hit the internet about the star that makes the 'right shoulder' of Orion the hunter: Betelgeuse. Astronomer Phil Plait once again puts rumors to rest. The star will indeed explode as a type II supernova, and when it does it will be brighter than Venus when viewed from Earth, though not as bright as the full moon. It will be visible in the night sky for weeks, and could be visible in the day sky for a short time. But that event could happen today or 100,000 years from now, or as much as a million years from now. Since Betelgeuse is over 600 light-years away, its violent death will not harm Earth in any way, but will definitely provide a huge bonanza of scientific information about supernovae. As geeks, we can only hope the core of Betelgeuse undergoes catastrophic failure in our lifetime."

Auto Incorrect Screenshot-sm 86

theodp writes "Combine smartphone auto correction and fat-fingered virtual keyboard typing, writes Rob Walker, and the results can be hilarious and even shocking. The website Damn You, Autocorrect collects the awesomely embarrassing text messages that you never meant to send. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to masturbate some chicken for bisexuals night!"

The Biggest Hoaxes In Wikipedia's First Decade 219

jbrodkin writes "Wikipedia will celebrate its 10th birthday on Saturday, with founder Jimmy Wales having built the site from nothing to one of the most influential destinations on the Internet. Wikipedia's goal may be to compile the sum total of all human knowledge, but it's also, perhaps, the best tool in existence for perpetuating Internet hoaxes. Top hoaxes include a student who fooled the entire world's media with a fake obituary quote, Rush Limbaugh spouting inaccurate facts lifted from Wikipedia, the incorrect declaration of Sinbad's death, Stephen Colbert's African elephant prank, Hitler posters on the bedroom wall of a teenage Tony Blair, and several fake historical figures invented out of thin air. Wales has taken steps to head off vandalism including preventing unregistered editors from creating new pages and temporarily protecting controversial articles, but Wikipedia's very nature makes it susceptible to the hoaxes described in this story."

iPhone Alarms Hit By New Year's Bug 405

An anonymous reader writes "Non-recurring iPhone alarms stopped working on January 1 for devices running iOS 4.02, 4.1, and 4.2.1. Apparently, it will fix itself by January 3, and the current workaround is to set the alarm to repeat. My girlfriend wasn't impressed, sleeping in, and I wasn't either, having to race her to work!"

Real-Life Frogger Ends In Hospital Visit Screenshot-sm 314

BigSes writes "A 23-year old man has been hospitalized after police in South Carolina say he was hit by an SUV while playing a real-life version of the video game Frogger. Authorities said the 23-year-old man was taken to a hospital in Anderson after he was struck Monday evening. Before he was hit, police say the man had been discussing the game with his friends. Chief Jimmy Dixon says the man yelled 'go' and darted into oncoming traffic in the four-lane highway. Has it come time to ban some of the classics before someone else goes out and breaks a few bricks with their heads after eating a large mushroom?"

Tales From the Tech Trenches Screenshot-sm 99

GMGruman writes "Anyone in IT has a story or two involving stupid users, crazy co-workers, kludgy technology, and airhead managers. Lisa Blackwelder has collected top tales of the tech trenches, covering user antics, office politics, and unusual technical challenges that IT pros faced (usually) with aplomb, insight, and savvy."

NASA To Continue Funding Canceled Ares Project Until March 229

wooferhound passes along this quote from the Orlando Sentinel: "Thanks to congressional inaction, NASA must continue to fund its defunct Ares I rocket program until March — a requirement that will cost the agency nearly $500 million at a time when NASA is struggling with the expensive task of replacing the space shuttle. About one-third of that money — $165 million — will go to Alliant Techsystems, or ATK, which has a $2 billion contract to build the solid-rocket first stage for the Ares I, the rocket that was supposed to fill the shuttle's role of transporting astronauts to the International Space Station. ... The odd scenario, in which NASA is throwing money at a canceled rocket program but can't fund a modernization program, is because of several twists in the legislative process that started a year ago and came to a head this month. At the root of the problem is a 70-word sentence inserted into the 2010 budget — by lawmakers seeking to protect Ares I jobs in their home states — that bars NASA from shutting down the program until Congress passed a new budget a year later. That should have happened before the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year. But Congress never passed a 2011 budget and instead voted this month to extend the 2010 budget until March — so NASA still must abide by the 2010 language."

The 57 Lamest Tech Moments of 2010 123

harrymcc writes "When it comes strange blunders, failed dreams, pointless legal wrangling, and other embarrassments, the technology industry had an uncommonly busy 2010. I compiled a list of the most notable examples--including the lost iPhone prototype, the short life of Microsoft's Kin, the end of Google Wave, the McAfee security meltdown, a depressingly long list of lawsuits over mobile patents, and much more."

Memo Details Gawker Security Strategy 76

Trailrunner7 writes "After a hack of systems belonging to online publishing giant Gawker Media that yielded more than one million passwords, the online media company's chief technology officer has announced new defense strategies aimed at placating their users and preventing further humiliating data breaches. Thomas Plunkett issued a company-wide memo on Friday that lays out the new security measures and suggests the company overlooked security concerns in the rush to develop new features."

Assange Secret Swedish Police Report Leaked 840

letsurock writes "The 68-page confidential report prepared by Swedish police got leaked which tells the police version on the alleged sexual misconduct by the Julian assange. The Swedish report traces events over a four-day period in August this year when 39-year-old Assange had what he has described as consensual sexual relationships with two Swedish women."

Nigerian Email Scam Victim Sues Bank, Loses Appeal Screenshot-sm 312

reidhellyer writes "From California Litigation Attorney Blog: 'While many victims of the so-called "Nigerian e-mail scam" would be too embarrassed to trumpet that fact, others end up infamous for their victimhood like the appellant in a published opinion of the California Court of Appeal in Riverside. In March 2009, Charles Peters received an email from someone purporting to be a citizen of Malaysia. The e-mail informed Peters that certain third parties in the United States and Canada owed the Malaysian money, but that “they can not transfer the funds to any bank account outside America continent due to their new company policy [sic].” He asked Peters to “assist me in receiving the funds and forward to me.” He offered to pay Peters 12 percent of the money. Peters agreed after apparently negotiating an increase of his fee to 15 percent.'"

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux