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Star Wars Prequels

+ - Watching Star Wars in Tehran

Submitted by
Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward writes "New on the Bad Guys blog:

The Iranians finally got around to showing Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith on TV last month, with some added commentary. Turns out we Americans have the story all wrong. George Lucas's sci-fi saga, they tell us, is in fact a parable about our own day and age. And guess who the bad guys are... So George Bush is Anakin Skywalker... Dick Cheney — he must be Darth Sidious. Or is he Count Dooku? More at:
  http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/badguys/070508/w atching_star_wars_in_tehran.htm"
Media

+ - Researchers Study O'Reilly's Propaganda Tactics

Submitted by Beetle B.
Beetle B. (516615) writes "Bill O'Reilly may proclaim at the beginning of his program that viewers are entering the "No Spin Zone," but a new study by Indiana University media researchers found that the Fox News personality consistently paints certain people and groups as villains and others as victims to present the world, as he sees it, through political rhetoric...The same techniques were used during the late 1930s to study another prominent voice in a war-era, Father Charles Coughlin. His sermons evolved into a darker message of anti-Semitism and fascism, and he became a defender of Hitler and Mussolini. In this study, O'Reilly is a heavier and less-nuanced user of the propaganda devices than Coughlin."
Software

+ - N.Y. Times to data mine customers for profit.

Submitted by pilsner.urquell
pilsner.urquell (734632) writes "The Village Voiceis running this story:

Having Won a Pulitzer for Exposing Data Mining, Times Now Eager to Do Its Own Data Mining.

Barely a year after their reporters won a Pulitzer prize for exposing data mining of ordinary citizens by a government spy agency, New York Times officials had some exciting news for stockholders last week: The Times company plans to do its own data mining of ordinary citizens, in the name of online profits."
Censorship

Own Your Own 128-Bit Integer 477

Posted by kdawson
from the anyone-can-play dept.
Byte Swapper writes "After all the fuss over the AACS trying to censor a certain 128-bit number that now has something over two million hits on Google, the folks at Freedom to Tinker would like to point out that you too can own your own integer. They've set up a script that will generate a random number, encrypt a copyrighted haiku with it, and then deed the number back to you. You won't get a copyright on the number or the haiku, but your number has become an illegal circumvention device under the DMCA, such that anyone subject to US law caught distributing it can be punished under the DMCA's anti-trafficking section, for which the DMCA's Safe Harbor provisions do not apply. So F9090211749D5BE341D8C5565663C088 is truly mine now, and you can pry it out of my cold, dead fingers!"
Data Storage

+ - Ignore the THUNKing sound from the floppy division

Submitted by The Bastard
The Bastard (25271) writes "An article in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Business Journal reports that Imation is shutting down their floppy disk division.

"Diskettes have been a significant portion of our product portfolio for more than two decades, but they are now only a small, rapidly declining part of the market and they are nearing their end of life," said Subodh Kulkarni, vice president of research and development and manufacturing for Imation, in a press statement.
The sad thing isn't that the floppy division is shutting down; it's that hardly anyone will notice the passing of this once essential component of computing. Slackware 1.0 distro anyone?"
Moon

+ - Mooninite Fallout: Terrorist Hoax Improvements Act

Submitted by theantipop
theantipop (803016) writes "Ars Technica has a story about the Terrorist Hoax Improvements Act, a bill introduced recently by the Senate. The bill aims to "amend the federal criminal code to include a number of new clauses meant to up the ante on wasting government resources. The amendments include extensions to the prohibitions on the spread of false information and mailing threats, increases to maximum prison terms, and allowances for civil suits so that local and federal governments can attempt to recoup expenses related to an incident." This is undoubtedly a result of the Great Mooninite Scare of 2007."
Privacy

+ - Last chance to tell DHS "no" to national I

Submitted by
cnet-declan
cnet-declan writes "If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card, you have only have a few hours left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts. That's because the deadline to file comments on the Real ID Act is 5pm ET on Tuesday. Probably the best place to do that is a Web site created by an ad hoc alliance called the Privacy Coalition (they oppose the idea, but if you're a big Real ID fan you can use their site to send adoring comments too). Alternatively, Homeland Security has finally seen fit to give us an email address that you can use to submit comments on the Real ID Act. Send email to oscomments@dhs.gov with "Docket No. DHS-2006-0030" in the Subject: line. Here's some background on what the Feds are planning."
The Media

+ - Time of use rates and solar power

Submitted by
mdsolar
mdsolar writes "The LA Time is running a story about how California is seeing a big drop off in applications for rebates for solar power systems. It seems that to get a rebate you have to also switch to a time of use rate with your utility. The math is not working out, especially for smaller systems that don't fully cover use during peak hours and so people are deciding not to go with solar. From the article:

The difference between peak and off-peak rates is particularly large in the 11 counties of Central, coastal and Southern California, where Edison provides electricity service to 13 million customers.
Edison charges summer time-of-use rates that range from 29.7 to 35.9 cents per kilowatt-hour between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. It drops to a range of 16.3 to 18.6 cents per kilowatt-hour from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. weekdays and all weekend days and holidays, according to documents filed with the PUC.
There is likely an optimal system size that reduces consumer costs, but with things in flux you'd want some flexibility in your system."
Movies

+ - Holllywood Trying to Starve Canadian Pirates

Submitted by
KenAndCorey
KenAndCorey writes "From an article on the CTV News web site, Warner Brothers has decided it won't be giving Canadians previews of its summer blockbusters.

Citing a failure by the government of Canada to make illegal the recording of movies directly from the screen by camcorder, the studio will not issue advance screenings of such audience pleasers like "Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix" and "Ocean's 13."
This is total crap, as we already know that the Canadian Movie Piracy Claim is Mostly Fiction. But as is the norm in Canada, we try to make it sound like it's not as bad as it may first appear. Douglas Frith of the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors Association says,

We're not looking at the individuals who go in for fun to camcord a film in a theatre. It's organized crime. People are going in, they get paid between $5,000 to $7,000 for a very good copy of a film."
Well, not yet, anyway."
The Almighty Buck

+ - How Does QuickPick Work?

Submitted by UnanimousCoward
UnanimousCoward (9841) writes "A buddy and I had a debate as to how QuickPick (the process with which you let the lottery machine pick your numbers as opposed to picking them yourself) works:
  • I thought that QP tries to generate a set of numbers that hasn't been picked (either manually or automatically). The rational here is that it gives the player some assurance that if he/she wins, he won't have to split it with someone else.
  • He thought it was just a random number generator that didn't look at the existing set of picks.
So I guess I have two questions:
  • Who is right?
  • What algorithm do they/would they use for my scenario?
"
Biotech

+ - RIP dust-to-dust.... hello dust-to-silk

Submitted by Paul Pareti
Paul Pareti (666) writes "Seven years ago there was a weird sci-fi short story in the London Magazine. It imagined a project where hybridised silk moths could be genetically instructed to feed on human cadavers instead of mulberry leaf. So they produce an unusually deep colored silk. Now a team of Japanese scientists is reported in the Proceedings of NASUS to have genetically modified silk moths to produce a range of different colors, depending on diet. Not quite eating human flesh yet; but how long is it before cremation is replaced with digestion? And we get to spin our own burial shrouds...."
Security

+ - Privatization's effect on access to information

Submitted by
Knutsi
Knutsi writes "The Federation of American Scientists' blog Secrecy News has an interesting entry on how privatization can affect access to research materiall.

Los Alamos National Laboratory will no longer permit historians and other researchers to have access to its archival records because Los Alamos National Security (LANS), the private contractor that now operates the Lab, says it has "no policy in place" that would allow such access.
The blog tells how a Harvard researcher failed to get access that would have been grated in the past. Follow ups, here and here."

Logic is a systematic method of coming to the wrong conclusion with confidence.

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