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Submission + - Judge wipes out Safe Harbor provision in DMCA, makes Cox accomplice of piracy

SysKoll writes: The DMCA is well-known for giving exorbitant powers to copyright holders, such as taking down a page or a whole web site without a court order. Media companies buy services from vendors like Rightscorp, a shake-down outfit that issues thousands of robot-generated take-down notices and issues threats against ISPs and sites ignoring them.

Cox, like a lot of ISP, is inundated with abusive take-down notices, in particular from Rightscorp. Now, BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music are suing Cox for refusing to shut off the Internet access of subscribers that Rightscorp accused of downloading music via BitTorrent. Cox argues that as an ISP, they benefit from the Safe Harbor provision that shields access providers from subscribers' misbehavior.

Not so, says US District Judge Liam O'Grady. The judge sided with the media companies ahead of trial, saying Cox should have terminated the repeat offenders accused by Rightscorp. Cox's response is quite entertaining for a legal document: its description of Rightscorp includes the term "shady", "shake-down", and "pay no attention to the facts"

O'Grady also derided the Electronic Frontier Foundations's attempt to file an amicus brief supporting Cox, calling them hysterical crybabies.

This case will be closely watched and can be very damaging for the Internet industry.

Submission + - Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements (

JustAnotherOldGuy writes: At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination. These employees are arguing that they are victims of national origin discrimination, a complaint increasingly raised by U.S. workers who have lost their jobs to foreign workers on H-1B and other temporary visas. Disney's layoff last January followed agreements with IT services contractors that use foreign labor, mostly from India. Some former Disney workers have begun to go public over the displacement process

Submission + - Understanding a 2,000 year old Greek computer (

szczys writes: We attribute great thinking to ancient Greece. This is exemplified by the Antikythera Mechanism. Fragments of the mechanism were found in a shipwreck first discovered in 1900 and visited by researchers several times over the next century. It is believed to be a method of tracking the calendar and is the first known example of what are now common-yet-complicated engineering mechanisms like the differential gear. A few working reproductions have been produced and make it clear that whomever designed this had an advanced understanding of complex gear ratios and their ability to track the passage of time and celestial bodies.

A Call To RICO Climate Change Science Deniers 737

GregLaden writes: The argument could be made that the organized effort to disrupt climate change science and the development of effective policies to address climate change is criminal, costing life and property. The effort is known to be generally funded by various actors and there are people and organizations that certainly make money on this seemingly nefarious activity. A group of prominent scientists have written a letter to President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, and OSTP Director Holdren asking for this to be investigated under RICO laws, which were originally designed to address organized crime.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 133

**: As an unreferenced footnote, fixed devices such as Chromecast should always have a hardwired option. Every other*** fixed device on my network is hard-wired; why should the Chromecast not be? I've never carried the Chromecast between TVs, although it's easy enough to do so.

We move ours all the time and don't have ethernet in most rooms of the house. I'd rather ethernet be optional to keep the footprint smaller.


Computer Modeling Failed During the Ebola Outbreak 193

the_newsbeagle writes: Last fall, the trajectory of the Ebola outbreak looked downright terrifying: Computational epidemiologists at Virginia Tech predicted 175,000 cases in Liberia by the end of 2014, while the CDC predicted 1.4 million cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. They were way off. The actual tally as of January 2015: A total of 20,712 cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone combined, and in all three countries, the epidemic was dying down. But the modelers argue that this really wasn't a failure, because their predictions served as worst-case scenarios that mobilized international efforts.

Comment Unicomp makes quality keyboards (Score 1) 147

I agree, Unicomp keyboards are hard to beat thanks to their buckling spring switches. And the price is awesome: $80 or so for a keyboard that feels *solid*. Compare to at least $120 for most Cherry-based keyboards. I use mine in a software development office (cubicles) and I don't have complains. To the contrary, other developers and sysadmins have bought their own Unicomp after typing a few test lines. Too bad the poster posted as AC, this is a very thoughtful post.

The Pioneer Who Invented the Weather Forecast 33 writes: Peter Moore has a fascinating article on BBC about how Admiral Robert FitzRoy, the man who invented the weather forecast in the 1860s faced skepticism and even mockery in his time but whose vision of a public forecasting service, funded by government for the benefit of all, is fundamental to our way of life. Chiefly remembered today as Charles Darwin's taciturn captain on HMS Beagle, during the famous circumnavigation in the 1830s, in his lifetime FitzRoy found celebrity from his pioneering daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention — "forecasts". There was no such thing as a weather forecast in 1854 when FitzRoy established what would later be called the Met Office. With no forecasts, fishermen, farmers and others who worked in the open had to rely on weather wisdom — the appearance of clouds or the behavior of animals — to tell them what was coming as the belief persisted among many that weather was completely chaotic. But FitzRoy was troubled by the massive loss of life at sea around the coasts of Victorian Britain where from 1855 to 1860, 7,402 ships were wrecked off the coasts with a total of 7,201 lost lives. With the telegraph network expanding quickly, FitzRoy was able to start gathering real-time weather data from the coasts at his London office. If he thought a storm was imminent, he could telegraph a port where a drum was raised in the harbor. It was, he said, "a race to warn the outpost before the gale reaches them".

For FitzRoy the forecasts were a by-product of his storm warnings. As he was analyzing atmospheric data anyway, he reasoned that he might as well forward his conclusions — fine, fair, rainy or stormy — on to the newspapers for publication. "Prophecies and predictions they are not," he wrote, "the term forecast is strictly applicable to such an opinion as is the result of scientific combination and calculation." The forecasts soon became a quirk of this brave new Victorian society. FitzRoy's forecasts had a particular appeal for the horseracing classes who used the predictions to help them pick their outfits or lay their bets.

But FitzRoy soon faced serious difficulties. Some politicians complained about the cost of the telegraphing back and forth. The response to FitzRoy's work was the beginning of an attitude that we reserve for our weather forecasters today. The papers enjoyed nothing more than conflating the role of the forecaster with that of God and the scientific community were skeptical of his methods. While the majority of fishermen were supportive, others begrudged a day's lost catch to a mistaken signal. FitzRoy retired from his west London home to Norwood, south of the capital, for a period of rest but he struggled to recover and on 30 April 1865 FitzRoy cut his throat at his residence, Lyndhurst-house, Norwood, on Sunday morning. "In time, the revolutionary nature of FitzRoy's work would be recognised," says Moore. "FitzRoy's vision of a weather-prediction service funded by government for the benefit of its citizens would not die. In 1871, the United States would start issuing its own weather "probabilities", and by the end of the decade what was now being called the Met Office would resume its own forecasts in Britain."

Obama: Maybe It's Time For Mandatory Voting In US 1089 writes CNN reports that when asked how to offset the influence of big money in politics, President Barack Obama suggested it's time to make voting a requirement. "Other countries have mandatory voting," said Obama "It would be transformative if everybody voted — that would counteract money more than anything," he said, adding it was the first time he had shared the idea publicly. "The people who tend not to vote are young, they're lower income, they're skewed more heavily towards immigrant groups and minority groups. There's a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls." At least 26 countries have compulsory voting, according to the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Failure to vote is punishable by a fine in countries such as Australia and Belgium; if you fail to pay your fine in Belgium, you could go to prison. Less than 37% of eligible voters actually voted in the 2014 midterm elections, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. That means about 144 million Americans — more than the population of Russia — skipped out. Critics of mandatory voting have questioned the practicality of passing and enforcing such a requirement; others say that freedom also means the freedom not to do something.

Obama Says He's 'A Strong Believer In Strong Encryption' 220

An anonymous reader writes: U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Re/code recently on a variety of topics relating to technology. The talk included the president's thoughts on encryption, which has been a controversial subject in tech circles lately after government officials (including Obama himself) have publicly complained about default encryption in modern communication tools. In the interview, he says he's a "strong believer in strong encryption," adding, "I lean probably further on side of strong encryption than some in law enforcement." Obama puts it another way, more bluntly: "There's no scenario in which we don't want really strong encryption." However, the president says the public itself is driving concern for leaving law enforcement a way in: "The first time that an attack takes place in which it turns out that we had a lead and we couldn't follow up on it, the public's going to demand answers."

Comment No pure oxygen (Score 4, Insightful) 116

Having a gun inside a thin-walled spacecraft filled with oxygen sounds crazy,

Having a spacecraft filled with pure oxygen sounds and is crazy. The Apollo 1 fire (1967) showed just how crazy it is. Which is why they don't do it anymore. Neither ISS nor the Russian capsules have a pure oxygen atmosphere. In fact, the ISS atmosphere is ground-level pressure with 20% oxygen. Only the EVA suits have a low-pressure, high-oxygen breathable mix.

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus