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+ - Ars Technica writer plagiarizes space history posts

Greg Lindahl writes: Last May, I really enjoyed reading an Ars Tecnica post “The secret laser-toting Soviet satellite that almost was” [down, see mirror at archive.org.] It turns out that most of the details were taken from an article titled Soviet Star Wars published in the Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine in 2010. Here are the details of the plagiarism, including some other space history articles with similar copying by the same author. Ars Technica's response? Unhistory! They've removed the posting, but haven't published a retraction or explanation.

+ - Privacy, Search Engines, and Government Monitoring

Greg Lindahl writes: The current kerfluffle about US Government logging information about US citizens not accused of any crime has mainly focused on communications and communications metadata, but that's not the only sort of records retention that might be bothersome. The record of web searches you've made and results you've clicked on could be even more revealing than your phone calls and texts:

Even if you are not a criminal, you probably make searches that you don’t want your minister, boss, or spouse to know about. You don’t expect your doctor to keep a record of every question you ask at a checkup, but your search engine probably remembers every medical search you’ve ever made. And even if you’ve been careful to log out and clear your cookies, those searches are probably associated with your real name.

Read more about this issue: Privacy, Search Engines, and Government Monitoring

+ - blekko donates search data to Comomn Crawl->

Greg Lindahl writes: blekko is donating search engine ranking data for 140 million domains and 22 billion urls to the Common Crawl Foundation. Common Crawl is a non-profit dedicated to making the greatest (yet messiest) dataset of our time, the web, available to everyone, including tinkerers, hackers, activists, and new companies. blekko's ranking data will initially be used to improve the quality of Common Crawl's 8 billion webpage public crawl of the web, and eventually will be directly available to the public.
Link to Original Source
Idle

+ - 2009 Darwin Award Winners announced->

Greg Lindahl writes: From the woman who jumped in a swollen creek to rescue her drowning ... moped, to the man who hopped over the divider at the edge of the highway to take a leak, and plunged 65 feet to his death, 2009 was a year both exceptional and unexceptional for Darwin Award-worthy behavior!
Link to Original Source

The UNIX philosophy basically involves giving you enough rope to hang yourself. And then a couple of feet more, just to be sure.

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