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The Courts

Legal War For WA State Sunshine Law 1364

Posted by kdawson
from the public-acts-public-records dept.
joeszilagyi writes "In a major battle in Washington State, anti-gay rights groups created and got R-71 on the 2009 election ballot. This is a public initiative to put same-sex civil unions up for public vote. The real legal war then erupted: activists created WhoSigned.org to take advantage of WA state's Public Records Act, and put the names of all people who publicly endorsed R-71 on a public, SEO-optimized website. Lawsuits quickly followed, and today it reached the United States Supreme Court, in a matter of months. The records appear to have always been public, but have only been available in digital form since 2006. An assault on civil rights, an assault on marriage, or an assault on sunshine laws and freedom of information?"
Patents

Apple Patent Claim Threatens To Block Or Delay W3C 332

Posted by timothy
from the broad-patents-big-problems dept.
Kelson writes "The W3C Widget specification is running into a problem: Apple claims a patent on automatic updates and is unwilling to license it royalty-free in the event that it impacts the spec. The W3C is investigating to determine whether the spec includes anything covered by the patent, and decide what to do."
Education

US Adults Fail Basic Science Literacy 1038

Posted by kdawson
from the ignorance-can-be-fixed dept.
TaeKwonDood writes "Do you want the bad news first or the good news? The good news is that about 80% of Americans think science knowledge is 'very important' to our future. The bad news is most of those people think it's up to someone else to get knowledgeable. Only 15% actually know how much of the planet is covered in water (47% if you accept a rough approximation of the exact number) and over 40% think dinosaurs and humans cavorted together like in some sort of 'Land Of The Lost' episode. What to do? Pres. Obama thinks merit pay for teachers makes sense. Yes, it will enrage the teachers' union, but it might inspire better people to go into science teaching. It's either that or accept that almost 50% of Americans won't know how long it takes the earth to go around the sun."
Intel

Intel Moves Up 32nm Production, Cuts 45nm 193

Posted by kdawson
from the seven-billion-dollar-bet dept.
Vigile writes "Intel recently announced that it was moving up the production of 32nm processors in place of many 45nm CPUs that have been on the company's roadmap for some time. Though spun as good news (and sure to be tough on AMD), the fact is that the current economy is forcing Intel's hand as they are unwilling to invest much more in 45nm technologies that will surely be outdated by the time the market cycles back up and consumers and businesses start buying PCs again. By focusing on 32nm products, like Westmere, the first CPU with integrated graphics, Intel is basically putting a $7 billion bet on a turnaround in the economy for 2010."
Music

DJ Hero Planned For Later This Year 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the right-after-accordian-hero-and-lute-hero dept.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick spilled the news that the DJ Hero game currently being developed by FreeStyleGames will be released sometime this year. He described it as a "turntable that you actually can play competitively and spin discs and mix songs." In an interview at the World Economic Forum, Kotick also explained why the games industry is in a good position to survive the recent economic troubles, saying that the amount of time people are playing games is on the rise, in part due to their low cost-to-time ratio.
Role Playing (Games)

"Live Expansion" Announced for Warhammer Online 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the stepping-up-their-game dept.
Zonk brings word that Mythic has announced their plans to expand Warhammer Online in the coming months using a series of live events that will open up new careers, gear, and zones. The first event, planned for sometime in March, will allow access to the Dwarf Slayer and the Orc Choppa, as well as a new RvR scenario. Later, players will race to unlock a massive new zone, the Lands of the Dead. The expansion itself is titled "A Call to Arms," and it will be rolled out free of charge.
Media

45% of Dutch Media-Buying Population Are "Pirates" 307

Posted by timothy
from the dutch-treat dept.
Anonymous writes "A non-government study in the Netherlands found that 4.7 million Dutch Internet users 15 years and older downloaded hacked and pirated DVDs, games, and music in the last 12 months — or, about 25 percent of the Dutch population. But there may be an upside to this unauthorized sharing/distribution: 'The average [Dutch] downloader buys more DVDs, music, and games than people who never download,' with illegal downloaders representing 45 percent of consumers who purchase content legally, according to the Institute For Information Law, which administered the study."
Nintendo

Nintendo Brain Games Effectiveness Questioned 63

Posted by Soulskill
from the flickering-boxes-will-make-us-smart dept.
nandemoari writes "While Nintendo boasts that its Wii can make you fit, the game company's popular line of DS 'Brain Games' have for some time promised to make kids smarter by challenging them with word puzzles and math formulas. However, a French professor isn't buying the shtick. University of Rennes professor Alain Lieury, a cognitive psychology specialist in Brittany, France, recently studied a group of ten-year-old children playing a variety of mentally-challenging games. Not all were video games, however; Lieury pitted more traditional games (including sudoku, Scrabble, and regular old reading and homework) against Nintendo's popular line of DS hits, including Brain Age, Big Brain Academy, and Brain Training. Although he credits the Nintendo DS — one of the best selling consoles of all-time — as 'a technological jewel,' he finds Nintendo's claim that it can actually help kids learn is nothing more than pure 'charlatanism.'"
Television

Octopuses Have No Personalities and Enjoy HDTV 482

Posted by kdawson
from the or-was-that-redundant dept.
Whiteox writes about an Australian researcher named Renata Pronk, who has discovered that octopuses prefer HDTV. She recruited 32 gloomy octopuses from the waters of Chowder Bay. Previously, researchers have reported little success when showing video to octopuses. Miss Pronk's insight was that the octopus eye is so refined that it might see standard PAL video, at 25 fps, as a series of stills. She tried HDTV (50 fps) and her subjects reacted to the videos of a crab, another octopus, or a swinging bottle on the end of a string. A further discovery is that octopuses show no trait of individual personalities, even though they exhibit a high level of intelligence. It would certainly be possible to quibble about the definition of "personality" employed, and whether Miss Pronk had successfully measured it.

NVIDIA GTX 295 Brings the Pain and Performance 238

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the is-it-boring-by-your-place-too dept.
Vigile writes "Dual-GPU graphics cards are all the rage and it was a pair of RV770 cores that AMD had to use in order to best the likes of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 280. This time NVIDIA has the goal of taking back the performance crown and the GeForce GTX 295 essentially takes two of the GT200 GPUs used on the GTX 280, shrinks them from 65nm to 55nm, and puts them on a single card. The results are pretty impressive and the GTX 295 dominates in the benchmarks with a price tag of $499."

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