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The Courts

Minnesota Pays Video Game Industry $65K In Fees 142

Posted by kdawson
from the don't-let-the-door-hit-you dept.
I Said More Ham writes "Minnesota's attorney general will drop the state's efforts to fine underage buyers of violent videogames after a high court struck down a state law as unconstitutional. The Entertainment Software Association, one of the plaintiffs in the case, announced Monday that the state paid $65,000 in attorney's fees and expenses."
Earth

The World's 10 Dirtiest Cities 286

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-more-dirty dept.
neever writes "You may already know about the pollution plight of Linfen, China. But how about the heavy metals Pittsburghers breathe in on a daily basis? Or the incomparable smog Milanesi put up with? PopSci has culled an eye-opening selection of some of the world's most problematic cities. From the painfully high cancer rates in Sumgayit, Azerbaijan to the acid rain destroying La Oroya, Peru, writer Jason Daley walks readers through the lowest of the low; and explains why, despite it all, there's still hope for these places."
The Internet

Google To Develop ISP Throttling Detector 198

Posted by timothy
from the if-choking-please-call-for-help dept.
bigwophh writes "Google has been very vocal on its stance for net neutrality. Now, Richard Whitt — Senior Policy Director for Google — announces that Google will take an even more active role in the debate by arming consumers with the tools to determine first-hand if their broadband connections are being monkeyed with by their ISPs."
Data Storage

What To Do With a Hundred Hard Drives? 487

Posted by Soulskill
from the build-a-hard-drive-cannon dept.
Makoto916 writes "In five years with my current employer as the IT administrator, I've amassed a sizable cabinet of discarded hard drives; just shy of 100, in fact. All of the drives range in size from 20GB up to 300GB. They've all been stored in anti-stat bags, and spot checks of even the oldest ones show that most of them still work. Individually, they're mostly useless for our line of work, which is digital video production. However, the collective storage potential is quite significant. They are of varying size and speed, but the one commonality is they're all IDE. What is the best way to approach connecting all of these devices and realizing their storage potential? On a budget, of course. Now, I'd never use such an array for critical data storage, but it certainly would be useful as a massive backup array to our existing SAN that does store critical data. I have several spare and functioning PCs, but not nearly enough to utilize their internal IDE controllers; even with multiple add-in controllers, it still wouldn't be enough. Not to mention the nightmare of managing a bunch of independent PCs. I've looked into ATA Over Ethernet and there's a lot of potential there, but current 15 to 20 bay AoE cabinets are expensive, and single device enclosures are so rare that they're also expensive. Are there any hardware hackers out there who have crafted their own home-brew AoE systems? Could they scale to 100 drives? Is there a better way?"
The Courts

RIAA Throws In Towel On "Making Available" Case 252

Posted by timothy
from the that's-sure-a-big-towel-you've-got dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has thrown in the towel on one of the leading cases challenging its 'making available' theory, Warner v. Cassin, in which the defendant had moved to dismiss the RIAA's complaint. We have just learned that the RIAA submitted a voluntary notice of dismissal before the judge got to decide the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint. It will be of interest to see if Ms. Cassin pursues a claim for attorneys' fees in view of recent court rulings that successful copyright defendants are presumptively entitled to an attorneys fee award, even if the dismissal came about from the plaintiffs' having 'thrown in the towel.'"
Earth

Bye Bye Bananas — the Return of Panama Disease 519

Posted by kdawson
from the where-you-gonna-get-your-potassium dept.
Ant sends in a disturbing report in The Scientist on an imminent threat to worldwide banana production. "The banana we eat today is not the one your grandparents ate. That one — known as the Gros Michel — was, by all accounts, bigger, tastier, and hardier than the variety we know and love, which is called the Cavendish. The unavailability of the Gros Michel is easily explained: it is virtually extinct. Introduced to our hemisphere in the late 19th century, the Gros Michel was almost immediately hit by a blight that wiped it out by 1960. The Cavendish was adopted at the last minute by the big banana companies — Chiquita and Dole — because it was resistant to that blight, a fungus known as Panama disease... [Now] Panama disease — or Fusarium wilt of banana — is back, and the Cavendish does not appear to be safe from this new strain, which appeared two decades ago in Malaysia, spread slowly at first, but is now moving at a geometrically quicker pace. There is no cure, and nearly every banana scientist says that though Panama disease has yet to hit the banana crops of Latin America, which feed our hemisphere, the question is not if this will happen, but when. Even worse, the malady has the potential to spread to dozens of other banana varieties, including African bananas, the primary source of nutrition for millions..."
Microsoft

Microsoft Urges Windows Users To Shun Safari 502

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the big-surprise-there dept.
benjymouse writes "The Register has picked up on a recent Microsoft security bulletin which urges Windows users to 'restrict use of Safari as a web browser until an appropriate update is available from Microsoft and/or Apple.' This controversy comes after Apple has officially refused to promise to do anything about the carpet bombing vulnerability in the Safari browser. Essentially, Apple does not see unsolicited downloads of hundreds or even thousands of executable files to users' desktops as being a security problem." Now while downloading a hundred files to your desktop won't automatically execute them, Microsoft's position is that a secondary attack could execute them for you.
Transportation

Buses as Mobile Sensing Platforms? 52

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the jealously-guarding-the-bus-lane dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "According to European researchers, modern buses could be used as mobile sensing platforms, sending out live information to be used to control traffic and detect road hazards. The 3.83 million euro EU-funded MORYNE project was completed in March 2008 with a test in Berlin, Germany. During this test, the researchers 'equipped city buses with environmental sensors and cameras, allowing the vehicles to become transmitters of measurements, warnings and live or recorded videos to anyone allowed to access the data.' "
Mars

The Phoenix Has Landed 369

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the zomg-we-found-ponys dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "Precisely at 7:53PM EST, the "Phoenix Mars Lander" touched-down on the desert-like surface of Mars. Since its launch on August 4th, 2007, the spacecraft has covered more than 680,752,512 kilometers, traveling at average speeds of around 120,000 km/hr. Upon arriving at its destination, the Phoenix will begin its exploration of our intriguing neighbor planet, in a mission to help astronomers resolve at least some of the many questions regarding Mars. The key question remains: can the Red Planet support some form of life?" Hella grats to our nerd brethren — you looked great on the Science channel. Yes I'm watching this live. Can't wait to see what happens next.
Update: 05/26 03:0 GMT by KD : zof sends a link to the first pictures from Phoenix.
Software

South Africa Appeals ISO Decision On OOXML 79

Posted by kdawson
from the first-of-the-dominos dept.
mauritzhansen sends us a blog post by Steve Pepper, former chairman of the Norwegian standards committee responsible for evaluating OOXML, reporting that the South African national standards body, SABS, has appealed against the result of the OOXML DIS 29500 ballot in ISO. From the blog: "In a letter sent to the General Secretary of the IEC (co-sponsor with ISO of JTC1), the SABS expresses its 'deep concern over the increasing tendency of international organizations to use the JTC 1 process to circumvent the consensus-building process that is the cornerstone to the success and international acceptance of ISO and IEC standards.' Having resigned as Chairman of the Norwegian committee responsible for considering OOXML for exactly this reason, I congratulate South Africa on its willingness to stand up for the principles on which standardization work should be based."
Businesses

66% Apple Market Share For Sales of High-End PCs 724

Posted by kdawson
from the factory-to-fingers dept.
An anonymous reader lets us know about a recent analysis of retail computer sales numbers that shines a spotlight on Apple's sales growth as the PC market has flattened. In the lucrative >$1,000 PC segment, in the first quarter of 2008, Apple's retail market share was 66%. This includes a 64% market share for laptops and a market share for desktops of 70%. The article attributes the bulk of this success to Apple's stores. Fortune picked up this report and pointed out the somewhat obvious fact that the >$1,000 PC segment is Apple's by default, since Dell, HP, and Lenovo sell the bulk of their machines in the $500-$750 range, and Apple has only one model selling for less than $1,000. As the analyst said, "If you don't give people a choice [in the Apple stores], people will spend more."
Space

Schoolboy Corrects NASA's Math On Killer Asteroid 637

Posted by kdawson
from the little-child-shall-lead-them dept.
spiracle writes "A German schoolboy, Nico Marquardt, has revised NASA's figures for the chances that the Apophis asteroid will hit earth. Apparently if the asteroid hits a satellite in 2029, its path could be diverted enough to cause it to collide with Earth on the next orbit, in 2036. NASA had calculated the chances as 1 in 45,000 but the 13-year-old, in his science project, made it 1 in 450. NASA agreed." Update: 04/16 16:47 GMT by Z : This is not entirely accurate, it turns out — more details.
Hardware Hacking

+ - Creative Goes After Driver Modder->

Submitted by
FreedomFighter
FreedomFighter writes "The back story: Since the release of Windows Vista, Creative has promised their Sound Cards as being "Vista Ready". Unfortunately, as many unlucky customers did discover, this is not true. What the users actually found were buggy, feature crippled drivers. Creative insisted that features such as Decoding of Dolby® Digital and DTS(TM) signals and DVD-Audio which worked fine in WinXP, would not work on windows Vista. With Creative releasing less than one new driver a year, things seemed bleak. Fortunately, a talented user, Daniel_K, was recently able to "fix" many of the drivers, enabling the incompatible features and also fixing many bugs. Just today Creative has decided to put a stop to this. They removed all links to his modified drivers, and banned several users who were posting links to the now banned drivers. Is it fair to your customers to purposely cripple your own drivers and prevent other people from fixing them?"
Link to Original Source

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