TuringTest writes "According to OStatic, European company TomTom (which recently settled a patent agreement with Microsoft) has announced a new open source format OpenLR for sharing routing data (relevant points, traffic information...) in digital maps of different vendors, to be used in GPS devices. The LR stands for Location Referencing. They aim is to push it as an open standard to build a cooperative information base, presumably to operate in a similar fashion as its current TomTom Map Share technology, in which end users provide map corrections on the fly. The technology to support the format will be released as GPLv2. Does that make OpenLR a GPL GPS?"
SphereOfInfluence writes "Dion Hinchcliffe over on ZDNet declared in a new post that the Web OS has finally arrived and that businesses and IT departments must adjust to the fact that everything's starting to move to the cloud. He cites John Hagel's so-called big business shifts of the 21st century and claims cloud computing, crowdsourcing, open APIs, Software-as-a-Service are the future of the workplace. He goes on to present a compelling visual model of the Web OS circa 2009 and examples to back up some of the statements."
Everybody put on your helmet; Smivs writes "Astronomers calculate there is a tiny chance that Mars or Venus could collide with Earth — though it would not happen for at least a billion years. The finding comes from simulations to show how orbits of planets might evolve billions of years into the future. But the calculated chances of such events occurring are tiny. Writing in the journal Nature, a team led by Jacques Laskar shows there is also a chance Mercury could strike Venus and merge into a larger planet. Professor Laskar of the Paris Observatory and his colleagues also report that Mars might experience a close encounter with Jupiter — whose massive gravity could hurl the Red Planet out of our Solar System."
Hugh Pickens writes "Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts has introduced legislation that would roll back a ban on Internet gambling enacted when Republicans led Congress. The legislation would allow the Treasury Department to license and regulate online gambling companies that serve American customers. Frank's bill has roughly two dozen co-sponsors and the backing of the The Poker Players Alliance, with over a million members. But opponents are mobilizing to defeat the bill including social conservatives and professional and amateur sports organizations, which say more gambling opportunities could threaten the integrity of their competition. 'Illegal offshore Internet gambling sites are a criminal enterprise, and allowing them to operate unfettered in the United States would present a clear danger to our youth, who are subject to becoming addicted to gambling at an early age,' says Representative Spencer Bachus, Republican of Alabama and the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee. Another powerful roadblock could be the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada. 'Gaming is an important industry to the state, and anything that affects it will be reviewed carefully,' says Reid's spokesman."
esocid writes "Back in 2005, the MPAA hired Robert Anderson, a former associate of TorrentSpy's owner, to illegally obtain internal emails and trade secrets. He did so by routing the email from the internal server to his own Gmail account. He subsequently sold 34 pages of stolen information for $15,000 to the MPAA. TorrentSpy owner Justin Bunnel sued them for spying, but lost the case due to a ruling that stated it was not illegal since the information was not intercepted under the Wiretap Act. The EFF called this decision a 'dangerous attempt to circumvent privacy laws,' since it implies that the unauthorized interception of anyone's personal email is legal. The appeal could have ramifications for MPAA president Dan Glickman, as the decision is expected around the time of his contract renewal."
alphadogg writes "The spreading Conficker/Downadup worm is now viewed as such a significant threat that it's inspired the formation of a posse to stop it, with Microsoft leading the charge by offering a $250,000 reward to bring the Conficker malware bad guys to justice. The money will be paid for 'information that results in the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally launching the Conficker malicious code on the Internet,' Microsoft said today in a statement, adding it is fostering a partnership with Internet registries and DNA providers such as ICANN, ORG, and NeuStar as well as security vendors Symantec and Arbor Networks, among others, to stop the Conficker worm once and for all. Conficker, also called Downadup, is estimated to have infected at least 10 million PCs. It has been slowly but surely spreading since November. Its main trick is to disable anti-malware protection and block access to anti-malware vendors' Web sites."
KentuckyFC writes "In a truly frightening study, physicists at the University of Oxford have identified a massive miscalculation that makes the LHC safety assurances more or less invalid (abstract). The focus of their work is not the safety of particle accelerators per se but the chances of any particular scientific argument being wrong. 'If the probability estimate given by an argument is dwarfed by the chance that the argument itself is flawed, then the estimate is suspect,' say the team. That has serious implications for the LHC, which some people worry could generate black holes that will swallow the planet. Nobody at CERN has put a figure on the chances of the LHC destroying the planet. One study simply said: 'there is no risk of any significance whatsoever from such black holes.' The danger is that this thinking could be entirely flawed, but what are the chances of this? The Oxford team say that roughly one in a thousand scientific papers have to be withdrawn because of errors but generously suppose that in particle physics, the rate is one in 10,000."
bowman9991 writes "If your country was invaded and occupied by a foreign power, would you blow yourself up to fight back? If someone pointed a gun at your head and threatened to pull the trigger if you refused to sign a document you knew would lead to a hundred deaths (and you signed!), would that make you ultimately responsible? Does superior technology give you the moral right to impose your will on a technologically inferior culture? You wouldn't expect a mainstream television show to tackle such philosophically loaded questions, certainly not a show based on cheesy science fiction from the '70s, but if you've watched Battlestar Galactica since it was re-imagined in 2003, there has been no escape. The final fourth season is nearly over, and when the final episode airs, television will never be the same again. SFFMedia illustrates how Battlestar Galactica exposes the moral dilemmas, outrages, and questionable believes of the present as effectively (but more entertainingly) than any documentary or news program. It's not hard to see parallels in the CIA and US military's use of interrogation techniques in Bush's War on Terror, the effects of labeling one race as 'the enemy,' the crackdown on free speech, or the use of suicide bombers in Iraq."
nk497 writes "The worm that's supposedly infected almost nine million PCs running Windows, dubbed Cornficker or Downadup, could lead to a massive botnet, security researchers have said. The worm initially spread to systems unpatched against MS08-067, but has since 'evolved and is now able to spread to patched computers through portable USB drives through brute-force password-guessing.'"
Anonymous Teacher writes "I work in a small school in Washington and we are trying to prepare a way to watch the inauguration in 20 classrooms over a 1.5 T1. As our bandwidth severely limits the ability to individually stream to these rooms, is there an alternative to presenting it to the students? Are there any sites that offer a downloadable copy of the video quickly after the event that can be hosted locally or is reconfiguring the computers to use a proxy server the best solution?"
An anonymous reader writes "California Rep. Joe Baca has proposed a bill which would mandate placing health warning labels on any video game rated T (13+) or higher by the ESRB. The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009 would require a cigarette pack-like label that reads, 'WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior.'"
arcticstoat writes "AMD is planning to use over 1,000 Radeon HD 4870 GPUs to create a supercomputer capable of processing one petaflop, which the company says will make 'cloud' computing a reality. When it's built later this year, the Fusion Render Cloud will be available as an online powerhorse for a variety of people, from gamers to 3D animators. The company claims that it could 'deliver video games, PC applications and other graphically-intensive applications through the Internet "cloud" to virtually any type of mobile device with a web browser.' The idea is that the Fusion Render Cloud will do all the hard work, so all you need is a machine capable of playing back the results, saving battery life and the need for ever greater processing power. AMD also says that the supercomputer will 'enable remote real-time rendering of film and visual effects graphics on an unprecedented scale.' Meanwhile, game developers would be able to use the supercomputer to quickly develop games, and also 'serve up virtual world games with unlimited photo-realistic detail.' The supercomputer will be powered by OTOY software, which allows you to render 3D visuals in your browser via streaming, compressed online data."
s31523 writes "Today a US airline carrier conducted a 90 minute test flight with one of its engines powered by a 50/50 blend of biofuel and normal aircraft fuel. This was the first flight by a US carrier after other airlines have reported trying similar flights. In February 2008, a Virgin 747 flew from London to Amsterdam partly using a fuel derived from a blend of Brazilian babassu nuts and coconuts. At the end of December, one engine of an Air New Zealand 747 was powered by a 50/50 blend of jatropha plant oil and standard A1 jet fuel."
ruphus13 writes "Alan Cox — one of the lead Linux kernel developers at Red Hat — is leaving the company after 10 years and is heading to Intel, where he can focus on more low-level development tasks. Some are speculating whether this is indicative of a shift to a more 'application-centric' vision at Red Hat. From the article: 'Red Hat is integrating more application related, user- and enterprise-centric tools into its well-established "low-level," "core" development and support tools. It'd be more worrisome if Red Hat neglected to strike out in this direction. Cox was with Red Hat for ten years, and regardless of any suspected change of course within the company, that's a fair amount of time.'"
fruey sends in a New Scientist analysis of the many second thoughts about the Long Tail theory. It summarizes four studies that show, in different markets, that the tail is both flatter and thinner than originally supposed, and that blockbusters are not going away in those markets — they are getting bigger. It's theorized that widely used collaborative filtering software is magnifying the winners' share of the various pies, and peer influence is a large contributor to consumer behavior.