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Earth

Endangered Species Condoms 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the make-it-growl dept.
The Center for Biological Diversity wants to help put a polar bear in your pants with their endangered species condom campaign. They hope that giving away 100,000 free Endangered Species Condoms across the country will highlight how unsustainable human population growth is driving species to extinction, and instill the sexual prowess of the coquí guajón rock frog, nature's most passionate lover, in the condom users. From the article: "To help people understand the impact of overpopulation on other species, and to give them a chance to take action in their own lives, the Center is distributing free packets of Endangered Species Condoms depicting six separate species: the polar bear, snail darter, spotted owl, American burying beetle, jaguar, and coquí guajón rock frog."
Sony

+ - Sony Gets Bad Press from Grusome Publicity Stunt

Submitted by walnutmon
walnutmon (988223) writes "Sony is suffering a backlash from a recent publicity stunt that seems to have been in bad taste.

In a time of increasing public sensitivity to video game violence, Sony has gone to the extreme by publishing pictures from a party featuring topless cocktail waitresses and, get this: a freshly decapitated goat.

From the article:

The corpse of the decapitated animal was the centerpiece of a party to celebrate the launch of the God Of War II game for the company's PlayStation 2 console.

Guests at the event were even invited to reach inside the goat's still-warm carcass to eat offal from its stomach.

Sickening images of the party have appeared in the company's official PlayStation magazine — but after being contacted by The Mail on Sunday, Sony issued an apology for the gruesome stunt and promised to recall the entire print run.

Sony has been no stranger to bad press in recent years, between a rootkit scandal and countless corporate mishaps, this latest debacle just begs the question: When are they going to learn that there is such thing as bad press?"
Microsoft

+ - Vista Beta and RC's set tp expire

Submitted by AlHunt
AlHunt (982887) writes "According to Computerworld.com Beta and Release Candidate versions of Vista will begin rebooting every 2 hours on June 1.

Apparently, the only way to retain your current settings is to pay $295.00 to MS:

The only in-place upgrade route — one that retains the settings, applications, and data as-is — is from Vista RC1 using a copy of the $259 Windows Vista Ultimate upgrade. Users running either Beta 2 or RC2 can upgrade to Ultimate, but they must do a "clean install," a process that overwrites the hard drive and destroys all data on it.


High price to pay for the privilege of being a MS Beta Tester, I think."
Sci-Fi

+ - How To Prepare For An Alien Invasion

Submitted by IHC Navistar
IHC Navistar (967161) writes "SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) — When the aliens finally invade Earth, you may wish you had listened to Travis Taylor and Bob Boan. And if the invasion follows the plot of a typical Hollywood blockbuster, they might also be the guys called in at the last minute to save the day. After all, they have written "An Introduction to Planetary Defense", a primer on how humanity can defend itself if little green men wielding death rays show up at our cosmic doorstep. And yes, they're serious.

http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0 934498720070425?src=042507_1221_ARTICLE_PROMO_also _on_reuters"
Security

+ - Virus Writers Target Google's Sponsored Links

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the bad guys are gaming Google's sponsored links to spread their junk to people who click on the ads with unpatched versions of Internet Explorer. Attackers apparently bought the rights to several high profile search terms, including searches that would return results for the Better Business Bureau, among others. The story notes this was bound to happen, given the way Google structures sponsored links: "The bad guys behind the attack appeared to capitalize on an odd feature of Google's sponsored links. Normally, when a viewer hovers over a hyperlink, the name of the site that the computer user is about to access appears in the bottom left corner of the browser window. But hovering over Google's sponsored links shows nothing in that area. That blank space potentially gives bad guys another way to hide where visitors will be taken first.""
Privacy

+ - Court rules GPS tracking NOT illegal

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "http://www.engadget.com/2007/02/04/court-rules-tha t-sly-gps-tracking-isnt-unlawful/ [b]Court rules that sly GPS tracking isn't unlawful[/b] It's one thing to offload (illegally) a dozen or so GPS units from a storage facility and beg the police to nab you by leaving them turned on, but for the boys in blue to slide a tracking device into your ride to keep dibs on your doings, well that's another matter entirely. Earlier this month, the Seventh Circuit of the US Court of Appeals "ruled against a defendant who claimed that the surreptitious placement of a GPS tracking device amounted to an unconstitutional search," essentially giving the coppers the green light to add a GPS module to a suspicious ride sans a warrant. While we're sure the privacy advocates out there are screaming bloody murder, the district judge found that they had had a "reasonable suspicion that the defendant was engaged in criminal activity," and it seems that a well-placed hunch is all they need for lawful placement. Interestingly, the government argues that no warrant was needed since "there was no search or seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment," but did add that "wholesale surveillance of the entire population" was to be viewed differently. So while this may come as a shock to some folks out there, it's not like your vehicles have been entirely devoid of data capturing devices up until now anyway, so here's fair warning to be on your best behavior when rolling about."
Biotech

+ - Texas Gov. Pressured to Rescind Vaccination Order

Submitted by
rock_climbing_guy
rock_climbing_guy writes "Recently, the state of Texas became the first state to require vaccination against HPV, a set of strains of viruses that cause warts and cancer, for all girls entering the sixth grade, beginning in September 2006. Texas Governor Rick Perry, as reported by Fox News, is being pressured by the state senate to rescind the order. Many critics of the order say that requiring such a vaccination will encourage premarital sex. Under Texas law, some parents may opt-out of the requirement for their children for religious or philosophical reasons.

How do we balance the need to provide citizens with protection against dangerous diseases with individual autonomy and freedom? Do such mandatory vaccinations violate our civil rights?"

Space

+ - Japan recommends scrapping moon mission

Submitted by
jonerik
jonerik writes "This article from the Associated Press reports that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is recommending that the nation cancel its long-planned program to land ground-penetrating probes from an unmanned spacecraft known as Lunar-A on the Moon. JAXA spokeswoman Satoko Kanazawa. In the works since 1995, and originally scheduled for launch in 2004, the main holdup has been the development of the probe's two penetrators, which would have been dropped from an orbiting satellite and would embed themselves into the lunar surface to transmit seismic data and information on the internal structure of the Moon. Although the final test of the penetrators is still scheduled for July of this year, JAXA now believes that the Lunar-A mother ship has deteriorated too badly over the past decade and would require too large an investment to repair. Instead, JAXA will concentrate on perfecting the penetrator design, with an aim of selling the technology to other spacefaring nations. Although Japan has stated a desire to send its own men to the Moon sometime around 2025, JAXA's level of success in recent years can perhaps best be described as 'mixed', with two 2006 solar sail tests having failed, but two 2004 tests having been successful. In addition, two of four 2003 spy satellite launches also failed, with two more scheduled for launch in the next two months or so. Japan is currently planning launching on the Planet-C mission to Venus in 2010, the joint Japan/ESA BepiColombo mission to Mercury in 2013, and an unnamed solar sail mission to Jupiter planned for sometime after 2010."
Education

Making Light (More) Solid 33

Posted by Hemos
from the but-not-really dept.
quant-guru writes "Man's domination of light continues. New Scientist is running a story that highlights recent theoretical proposals for a photonic insulator, an engineered material that could make photons solidify. From the article: "OK, it wouldn't be a material in the everyday sense of the word, like a solid you could touch, but it could behave like one in some important ways...photons interacting in a quantum material could give us insights into how real materials with quantum properties work." One proposal by Greetree et al. (Nature Physics) (preprint) imagines a device that will allow many photons to interact with each other simultaneously in diamond, with phases reminiscent of real materials (from superfluid to insulating). This could lead to novel devices based on quantum phenomena, for quantum communication or quantum computers as examples. Similar proposals were made concurrently by two other groups: Angelakis et al. and Hartmann et al. (Nature Physics) (preprint). University of Cambridge physicist Charlie Tahan has more information and links (with step-by-step pictures) on his site."

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