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Games

EA Patches Spore, Eases DRM 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the slowly-but-surely dept.
EA has released the first patch for Spore, the purpose of which is to fix a number of bugs and tweak some gameplay settings to be more entertaining. Some of the visual effects were upgraded as well. They've also officially responded to the complaints about Spore's DRM, stating their intention to increase the number of allowed installations to five and to set up a system to "de-authorize" systems in order to reclaim the installation credit. They plan to allow multiple screen names per account, which was an issue for many families trying to play the game. This comes not long after EA made similar changes to the DRM of upcoming RTS Red Alert 3, and after Spore's DRM protest spread to in-game creature designs. Reader SoopahMan notes that users in EA's Spore tech support forum are reporting a number of new issues caused by the patch.
United States

Report is Critical of US For Dumping E-Waste Overseas 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-my-backyard dept.
coondoggie writes "In what may be the least astonishing news of the day, some major US companies who say they are environmentally recycling electronic waste — aren't. Rather more startling — they are dumping everything from cell phones and old computers to televisions in countries such as China and India where disposal practices are unsafe to people and dangerous to the environment. Controlling the exportation of all of the e-waste plops on the doorstep of the US Environmental Protection Agency which is doing a woeful job, according to a scathing 67-page report issued by the Government Accountability Office today."
Image

City Uses DNA To Sniff Out Dog Poop Offenders 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-bite-out-of-crime dept.
An Israeli city is using DNA analysis of dog droppings to reward pet owners who clean up after their pets and punish those who don't. A six-month trial program launched this week, in the city of Petah Tikva, to tackle the dog mess problem in a high tech way. The program asks dog owners to take their pets to a veterinarian, who then swabs its mouth and collects DNA. The city will use the DNA database it is building to match droppings to a dog and identify its owner. Owners who scoop up their dogs' droppings and place them in specially marked bins will be eligible for rewards of pet food coupons and dog toys. Those who leave the poo on the street face fines. I wonder what sin you had to commit in a previous life to find yourself the official dog poop examiner of Petah Tikva, Israel.
Hardware Hacking

Workings of Ancient Calculating Device Deciphered 268

Posted by timothy
from the nearly-unbelievable dept.
palegray.net writes "Scientists have discovered new meaning behind the functions of the Antikythera Mechanism, which has been referred to as the oldest known analog computing device. In addition to providing a means to calculate the dates for solar eclipses, the device apparently tracked the four-year cycles of the Olympiad. From the New York Times article: 'Only now, applying high-resolution imaging systems and three-dimensional X-ray tomography, have experts been able to decipher inscriptions and reconstruct functions of the bronze gears on the mechanism. The latest research has revealed details of dials on the instrument's back side, including the names of all 12 months of an ancient calendar.'"
Censorship

IOC Admits Internet Censorship Deal With China 380

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the shut-up-it's-patriotic dept.
Dave writes "BEIJING (Reuters) — Some International Olympic Committee officials cut a deal to let China block sensitive websites despite promises of unrestricted access, a senior IOC official admitted on Wednesday. Persistent pollution fears and China's concerns about security in Tibet also remained problems for organizers nine days before the Games begin. China had committed to providing media with the same freedom to report on the Games as they enjoyed at previous Olympics, but journalists have this week complained of finding access to sites deemed sensitive to its communist leadership blocked. 'I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on website access during Games time,' IOC press chief Kevan Gosper said, referring to Beijing's Olympic organizers. 'I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related,' he said." But yet somehow the mainstream media will ignore this because the Olympics are patriotic or something.
Quickies

+ - Toshiba and NEC to Team Up on 32-nm Chips->

Submitted by
Tech.Luver
Tech.Luver writes "apanese chip makers Toshiba and NEC said on Tuesday they would jointly develop 32-nanometer chips to better keep up with rivals.____________ "The companies will decide in 2008 how and if they will jointly produce the chips, they said. ____________ Chip makers are racing to move to tinier circuit sizes to cut production cost per chip function and enable powerful electronics that run for hours without killing the battery. But the shift also forces changes in fundamental materials and processes and exposes chip makers to huge initial costs. ____________ Samsung, IBM, Chartered Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, STMicroelectronics and Freescale Semiconductor have said they would work through 2010 to develop and produce 32-nanometer chips. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. ____________ ( http://techluver.com/2007/11/27/toshiba-and-nec-to-team-up-on-32-nm-chips/ )"
Link to Original Source
Biotech

Gene Study Supports Single Bering Strait Migration 289

Posted by Zonk
from the nice-to-know-what-the-relatives-have-been-up-to dept.
Invisible Pink Unicorn writes "One of the most comprehensive analyses of genetic variation ever undertaken supports the theory that the ancestors of modern native peoples throughout the Americas came from a single source in East Asia across a northwest land bridge some 12,000 years ago. One particular discovery is of a 'unique genetic variant widespread in natives across both continents — suggesting that the first humans in the Americas came in a single migration or multiple waves from a single source, not in waves of migrations from different sources.' The full article is available online from PLoS."
Security

+ - Firefox 2.0.0.10 is affected by a serious error

Submitted by thisispurefud
thisispurefud (1061012) writes "The latest Firefox 2.0.0.10 includes a serious error, which causes that certain images are not properly represented. The error concerns the representation of vector graphics using HTML and JavaScript. Firefox 2.0.0.10 reacts to the JavaScript method canvas.drawImage() with the exception of "NS_ERROR_NOT_AVAILABLE". The method drawImage() should render pixel images into vector graphics drawing. The developers have now is to investigate the mistake, based on this test page can be demonstrated: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=405584"
Biotech

+ - Has Science Become Corrupted?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Has Science Become Corrupted?

An award winning science author, Gary Taubes has written a book that pans the medical community's treatment of the obesity epidemic. By itself, that isn't particularly worth our time. Diet books are a dime a dozen and we don't cover them on Slashdot anyway.

What is interesting is that it looks like the medical community is behaving in a very unscientific manner. Taubes points out that the current medical orthodoxy has no basis in research. In fact, all the available research points in quite another (more traditional) direction. Here is BoingBoing's take on the story. You can follow the link from there to an excellent podcast of an interview with Taubes on CBC's 'Quirks and Quarks'.

The medical community seems to defer unthinkingly to authority. For instance, when Britain's most respected paediatrician Sir Roy Meadow came up with a crackpot theory (which I thought we have covered on Slashdot but can't find) that sent innocent people to jail, the courts and the medical community bought it hook line and sinker. Of course, he isn't the only one in that boat. Pathologists all over the world have sent innocent people to jail. There's a case in Ontario, Canada right now of a pathologist who screwed up more than twenty cases and sent several people to jail.

People who study expert behavior have found that people need feedback to maintain their expertise. If they don't get the feedback by the nature of the system or because others are too intimidated/lazy to disagree with them, their behavior becomes non-expert. Ericsson points out that surgeons get better as they get older but mammographers don't. Surgeons get feedback immediately. The patient lives or dies. Mammographers may never find out if they are right or wrong.

So, has medicine become a non-science? Is it mostly a non-science? Somewhat? Can physicists feel smug with their repeatable experiments or do they have some 'splainin to do about string theory?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

+ - Police arrest teen for "virtual furniture"->

Submitted by
ekes
ekes writes "According to the German Press Agency (DPA) Dutch police have arrested a teenager and are questioning four more about the "theft" of "virtual furniture" from the online Habbo Hotel http://www.habbo.com/hotel
A police spokesman said the suspects will be charged on two accounts: hacking and burglary.

English report on Expatica http://www.expatica.com/actual/article.asp?subchannel_id=1&story_id=45939"

Link to Original Source
Robotics

South Korea to Build Robot Theme Parks 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-robot-may-not-let-a-human-ride-unless-they-are-at-least-this-tall dept.
coondoggie writes "South Korea officials today said they hope to build two robot theme parks for $1.6 billion by 2013. The parks will feature a number of attractions that let visitors interact with robots and test new products. "The two cities will be developed as meccas for the country's robot industry, while having amusement park areas, exhibition halls and stadiums where robots can compete in various events," the ministry said. The theme parks are not a big surprise because South Korea loves its robots. Earlier this year the government of South Korea said it was drawing up a code of ethics to prevent human abuse of robots — and vice versa."
Biotech

+ - Trees that Eat Pollution->

Submitted by TTest
TTest (1184411) writes "Kinda like in Fern Gully... only real. Scientists at the University of Washington are reporting the creation of fast-growing, pollutant-eating poplar trees. According to a NIH press release, the trees rapidly absorb and break down cancer-causing hydrocarbons from the air and soil around them. The original research publication also mentions that the trees may be cheaper than conventional waste clean-up techniques, prevent erosion, capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and can be harvested to make biofuel or paper."
Link to Original Source

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