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Submission + - Puerto Rico votes to become 51st state (

DrEnter writes: Not really getting much attention in all of the presidential election coverage was the fact that Puerto Rico voted to become a U.S. State yesterday. The option has come up for a vote several times in the past, but never had much popular support until this year when it won with 53% of the vote choosing to change the government structure and a surprising 65% of the vote for choosing statehood as that change. The other choices were a sovereign-free association (31%) and independence (4%). Obama has already committed to supporting the will of the voters and there is currently no major opposition in either the House or the Senate. It looks like the U.S. may have a 51st state in a few months! Now this Wikipedia page can get some attention.

NHS Should Stop Funding Homeopathy, Says Parliamentary Committee 507

An anonymous reader writes "Homeopathic remedies work no better than placebos, and so should no longer be paid for by the UK National Health Service, a committee of British members of parliament has concluded. In preparing its report, the committee, which scrutinizes the evidence behind government policies, took evidence from scientists and homeopaths, and reviewed numerous reports and scientific investigations into homeopathy. It found no evidence that such treatments work beyond providing a placebo effect." Updated 201025 19:40 GMT by timothy: This recommendation has some people up in arms.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Comic Sans, Font of Ill Will 503

Kelson writes "The Wall Street Journal profiles Vincent Connare, designer of the web's most-hated font, Comic Sans. Not surprisingly, the font's origins go back to Microsoft Bob, where he saw a talking dog speaking in Times New Roman. Connare pulled out Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns for reference, and created the comic book-style font over the next week. 'Mr. Connare has looked on, alternately amused and mortified, as Comic Sans has spread from a software project at Microsoft Corp. 15 years ago to grade-school fliers and holiday newsletters, Disney ads and Beanie Baby tags, business emails, street signs, Bibles, porn sites, gravestones and hospital posters about bowel cancer. ... The jolly typeface has spawned the Ban Comic Sans movement, nearly a decade old but stronger now than ever, thanks to the Web."

South Park Creators Given Signed Photo of Saddam Hussein 1297

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park, were given a very special gift by US marines: a signed photo of Saddam Hussein. During his captivity, the marines forced Saddam to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as the boyfriend of Satan. Stone said, "We're very proud of our signed Saddam picture and what it means. It's one of our biggest highlights."
The Courts

The Copyrightability of Twitter Posts 183

TechDirt has an interesting look at some of the questions arising about the copyrightability of Twitter messages. I haven't seen any actual copyright lawyers weigh in yet, but it certainly will be interesting to watch the feathers fly until someone nails down the answer. "[...] it seems like there would be two issues here. The first is whether or not the content is covered by copyright — and, for most messages the answer would probably be yes (there would need to be some sort of creative element to the messages to make that happen, so a simple 'hi' or 'thanks' or whatever might not cut it). But, the more important question then would be whether or not ESPN could quote the Twitter message. And, there, the answer is almost certainly, yes, they could, just as they could quote something you wrote in a blog post."

Blizzard Asserts Rights Over Independent Add-Ons 344

bugnuts writes "Blizzard has announced a policy change regarding add-ons for the popular game World of Warcraft which asserts requirements on UI programmers, such as disallowing charging for the program, obfuscation, or soliciting donations. Add-ons are voluntarily-installed UI programs that add functionality to the game, programmed in Lua, which can do various tasks that hook into the WoW engine. The new policy has some obvious requirements, such as not loading the servers or spamming users, and it looks like an attempt to make things more accessible and free for the end user. But unlike FOSS, it adds other requirements that assert control over these independently coded programs, such as distribution and fees. Blizzard can already control the ultimate functionality of add-ons by changing the hooks into the WoW engine. They have exercised this ability in the past, e.g. to disable add-ons that automate movement and facilitate 'one-button' combat. Should they be able to make demands on independent programmers' copyrighted works, such as forbidding download fees or advertising, when those programmers are not under contract to code for Blizzard? Is this like Microsoft asserting control over what programmers may code for Windows?"

Submission + - YEurope: YCombinator Clone launches in Austria

An anonymous reader writes: YCombinator clone YEurope, a venture firm investing in extremely early-stage european ICT-Startups has just opened their call for applications. From July to September the founders of up to 8 startups will have the chance to come to Vienna and work on their startups. They'll be accepting and fund teams of 1-3 people working on technology startups.

gTalk To Get Video Boost? 89

lotusleaf writes "According to an article at PCWorld, "Google Inc. has bought video conferencing software from Marratech AB", "The client software runs on Windows 2000 or XP, Mac OS X 10.4, or versions of Linux". Could this provide a cross-platform video conferencing boost to gTalk?"

Submission + - Stolen Nuclear Training Software at Palo Verde

SixFactor writes: From here, it was revealed that software used for training at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station was illegally downloaded by a former PVNGS engineer while he was visiting in Iran. He allegedly took the software from the software vendor, which is based in Maryland. The software contained details of the site, and how it operates. There are a couple of obvious possibilities on why he did this: to provide an example of the training used at US plants, to further the nascent Iranian nuclear program; or, for more nefarious purposes. What is troubling is that this person's ability to access the software remained viable after his employment at the site.

The Completely Fair Scheduler 292

hichetu writes "Kernel trap has a nice summary of what is going on behind the scenes to change the Linux Scheduler. The O(1) Linux scheduler is going to be changed so that it is fair to interactive tasks. You will be surprised to know that O(1) is really too good not to have any side-effects on fairness to all tasks."

Feed Seat Belt Intervention Shows Many Lives Can Be Saved On China's Roads (

A novel road safety intervention in Guangzhou, China, has shown the potential for significantly increasing the use of seat belts among drivers and front seat passengers in motor vehicles. "The China Seat Belt Intervention" has demonstrated how simple, cost-effective strategies can save lives in highly populous regions.

Submission + - Sun converts carbon dioxide into fuel

Roland Piquepaille writes: "We all know that the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has a major impact on the Earth climate. But now, chemists at the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have developed "a device that can capture energy from the sun, convert it to electrical energy and split carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide and oxygen." As carbon monoxide can easily be converted to liquid fuel, this prototype device kills two birds with one stone: it helps saving fuel while reducing the concentration of a greenhouse gas. Still, this device needs some improvements before an industrial deployment. Read more for additional references and a picture of the prototype device."

Submission + - Does it signal the death of the Ringtone industry?

An anonymous reader writes: The iPhone like most phones in the future will store your music albums, any song can be used as a ringtone. Why then would you want to pay $1.99 for a low-quality re-sampling of a song? My bet is you won't, similarly any photo from your photo albums stored on the iPhone can be used as wallpaper. So does it mean the death of paid ringtone services? More...

16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Serling