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America Online

60% of AOL's Profits Come From Misinformed Customers 301

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-your-math-again dept.
satuon writes "Ken Auletta's big New Yorker piece on AOL (subscription only) this week revealed an interesting detail about the company's inner workings. According to Auletta, 80% of AOL's profits come from subscribers, and 75% of those subscribers are paying for something they don't actually need. According to Auletta: "The company still gets eighty percent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don't realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. 'The dirty little secret,' a former AOL executive says, 'is that seventy-five percent of the people who subscribe to AOL's dial-up service don't need it.'"
Education

America Losing Its Edge In Innovation 757

Posted by Soulskill
from the chickens-coming-home-to-flip-burgers dept.
jaywhybee writes "Forbes has an interesting article about America losing its edge in innovation because engineers and scientists in the US are not as respected as they are in other countries, and thus fewer youths aspire to become one. Quoting: 'I’ve visited more than 100 countries in the past several years, meeting people from all walks of life, from impoverished children in India to heads of state. Almost every adult I’ve talked with in these countries shares a belief that the path to success is paved with science and engineering. In fact, scientists and engineers are celebrities in most countries. They’re not seen as geeks or misfits, as they too often are in the US, but rather as society’s leaders and innovators. In China, eight of the top nine political posts are held by engineers. In the US, almost no engineers or scientists are engaged in high-level politics, and there is a virtual absence of engineers in our public policy debates.'"
The Internet

British ISPs Embracing Two-Tier Internet 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the free-speech-as-long-as-money-talks dept.
Barence writes "Britain's leading ISPs are attempting to construct a two-tier internet, where websites and services that are willing to pay are thrust into the 'fast lane,' while those that don't are left fighting for scraps of bandwidth or even blocked outright. Asked directly whether ISP TalkTalk would be willing to cut off access completely to BBC iPlayer in favor of YouTube if the latter was prepared to sign a big enough cheque, TalkTalk's Andrew Heaney replied: 'We'd do a deal, and we'd look at YouTube and we'd look at BBC and we should have freedom to sign whatever deal works.' Britain's biggest ISP, BT, meanwhile says it 'absolutely could see situations in which some content or application providers might want to pay BT for a quality of service above best efforts.' PC Pro asks if it's the end of the net as we know it."
Australia

Laser Incidents With Aircraft On the Rise 546

Posted by Soulskill
from the plays-better-with-cats dept.
EqualSlash writes "High-power laser pointers available for cheap are increasingly finding abuse as the ultimate long-distance weapons of pranksters and vandals. The Federal Aviation Administration says laser events aimed on planes have nearly doubled in the last year, leaping from 1,527 in 2009 to 2,836 in 2010. The highest number of incidents was reported at Los Angeles International Airport, which recorded 102 in 2010. Lasers pointed at cockpits can temporarily blind pilots, forcing them to give up control of an aircraft to their co-pilot or abort a take-off/landing. In March of 2008, unidentified individuals wielding four green laser pointers launched a coordinated attack on six incoming planes at Sydney Airport, which resulted in a ban on all laser pointers in the state of New South Wales."
Earth

Greenland Ice Sheet Melts At Record Rate In 2010 654

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-calls-for-a-celebratory-bonfire dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "A study using satellite and ground-based data is showing the Greenland ice sheets are setting a record for the areas exposed to melting and the rate at which they are doing so. NASA says 2010 was a record warm year, and temperatures in the Arctic were a good 3 degrees C over normal."
Networking

Is Retaliation the Answer To Cyber Attacks? 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the with-your-switch-or-on-it dept.
coondoggie writes "Should revenge assaults be just another security tool large IT shops use to counter cyber attacks? It's a controversial idea, and the law generally frowns on cyber attacks in general, but at the Black Hat DC conference last week, some speakers took up the issue of whether and how organizations should counterattack against adversaries clearly using attack tools to break into and subvert corporate data security."
Google

Google Didn't Ship Relicensed Java Code After All 223

Posted by Soulskill
from the deeper-looks dept.
RedK writes "In a follow up to yesterday's news about Google apparently relicensing confidential Oracle code found in Java under the ASL, it seems that the blogger who initially reported the issue was plain wrong, as the files he indicated were in breach of Oracle's copyright do not actually ship with Android. Google has also deleted many of these files, which were mostly used as unit tests."
Biotech

Biotech Company Making Fossil Fuels With a 'Library' of Bacteria 386

Posted by Soulskill
from the micro-slaves dept.
Saysys sends an excerpt from a story at the Globe and Mail: "In September, a privately held and highly secretive US biotech company named Joule Unlimited received a patent for 'a proprietary organism' – a genetically engineered cyanobacterium that produces liquid hydrocarbons: diesel fuel, jet fuel and gasoline. This breakthrough technology, the company says, will deliver renewable supplies of liquid fossil fuel almost anywhere on Earth, in essentially unlimited quantity and at an energy-cost equivalent of $30 (US) a barrel of crude oil. It will deliver, the company says, 'fossil fuels on demand.' ... Joule says it now has 'a library' of fossil-fuel organisms at work in its Massachusetts labs, each engineered to produce a different fuel. It has 'proven the process,' has produced ethanol (for example) at a rate equivalent to 10,000 US gallons an acre a year. It anticipates that this yield could hit 25,000 gallons an acre a year when scaled for commercial production, equivalent to roughly 800 barrels of crude an acre a year."
Censorship

Comics Code Dead 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the may-make-a-shocking-return-in-later-issue dept.
tverbeek writes "After more than half a century of stifling the comic book industry, the Comics Code Authority is effectively dead. Created in response to Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, one of the early think-of-the-children censorship campaigns, and Congressional hearings, the Code laid out a checklist of requirements and restrictions for comics to be distributed to newsstand vendors, effectively ensuring that in North America, only simplistic stories for children would be told using the medium of sequential art. It gradually lost many of its teeth, and an increasing number of publishers gave up on newsstand distribution and ignored the Code, but at the turn of the century the US's largest comics publishers still participated. Marvel quit it in 2001, in favor of self-applied ratings styled after the MPAA's and ESRB's. Last year Bongo (publishers of the Simpsons comics) quietly dropped out. Now DC and Archie, the last publishers willingly subjecting their books to approval, have announced that they're discontinuing their use of the CCA, with DC following Marvel's example, and Archie (which recently introduced an openly gay supporting character, something flatly forbidden by the original Code) carrying on under their own standards. The Code's cousins — the MPAA and ESRB ratings, the RIAA parental advisory, and the mishmash of warnings on TV shows — still live on, but at least North American comic publishers are no longer subject to external censorship."
Mars

Russian Simulated Mars Mission Close To 'Landing' 170

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-wait-for-the-simulated-martian-attack dept.
Dthief writes with this quote from an Associated Press report: "After 233 days in a locked steel capsule, six researchers on a 520-day mock flight to Mars are all feeling strong and ready to 'land' on the Red Planet, the mission director said Friday. The all-male crew of three Russians, a Chinese, a Frenchman and an Italian-Colombian has been inside windowless capsules at a Moscow research center since June. Their mission aims to help real space crews in the future cope with the confinement and stress of interplanetary travel. The researchers communicate with the outside world via emails and video messages — occasionally delayed to give them the feel of being farther than a few yards away from mission control. The crew members eat canned food similar to that eaten on the International Space Station and shower only once a week. None of the men has considered abandoning the mission, although they are free to walk out at any time, mission director and former cosmonaut Boris Morukov told reporters on Friday."
Security

UK Cosmetic Retailer Lush Targeted By Hackers 109

Posted by timothy
from the people-are-bad dept.
Tasha26 writes "Cosmetic retailer Lush stopped its online activities on Jan 21 due to hacking activities. Their website is still down due to 'continuing attempts to re-enter,' and Lush is thinking of spinning a small PayPal outlet as a temporary solution. The company is urging customers who placed an order between Oct 2010 and Jan 2011 to contact their banks for advice on compromised credit card details. The company even posted a message addressed to the hacker, saying, 'If you are reading this, our web team would like to say that your talents are formidable. We would like to offer you a job — were it not for the fact that your morals are clearly not compatible with ours or our customers.'"
Transportation

Solar Car Speed Record Smashed 72

Posted by timothy
from the hats-are-off-to-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word from Australia that "There's a new world record for the fastest solar-powered land vehicle: 88 km/h average speed over one kilometre in a lightweight car that uses about the same power as a toaster." As the article goes on to explain, this solar racer, built last year by students from the University of New South Wales, managed to nab that speed record earlier this month on an Australian navy base airstrip.
IBM

Graphene Won't Replace Silicon In CPUs, Says IBM 81

Posted by Soulskill
from the job-security-to-die-for dept.
arcticstoat writes "IBM has revealed that graphene can't fully replace silicon inside CPUs, as a graphene transistor can't actually be completely switched off. In an interview, Yu-Ming Lin from IBM Research (Nanometer Scale Science and Technology) explained that 'graphene as it is will not replace the role of silicon in the digital computing regime.' Last year, IBM demonstrated a graphene transistor running at 100GHz, while researchers at UCLA produced a graphene transistor with a cut-off frequency of 300GHz, prompting predictions of silicon marching towards its demise, making way for a graphene-based future with 1THz CPUs. However, Lin says, 'there is an important distinction between the graphene transistors that we demonstrated and the transistors used in a CPU. Unlike silicon, graphene does not have an energy gap, and therefore, graphene cannot be "switched off," resulting in a small on/off ratio.' That said, Lin also pointed out that graphene 'may complement silicon in the form of a hybrid circuit to enrich the functionality of computer chips.' He gives the example of RF circuits, which aren't dependent on a large on/off ratio."

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