Nova Express writes: Remember how some economists and environmentalists confidently predicted "peak oil" sometime in the 2000s? (Slashdot ran numerous stories on the idea.) It turns out that those predictions of peak oil were wrong. Thanks to improved technology, fracking, shale oil, and declining demand, the world is now going through an oil glut that has prices down around $30 a barrel. "Once again the market has proven much better at adaptation than erroneous neo-Malthusian thinking. Anyone telling you they know exactly how things will unfold should be treated with severe skepticism. The future’s not ours to see."
Nova Express writes: At the most recent Republican Presidential debate, Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the H1-B visa program is badly in need of reform. One tiny problem: Sen. Rubio’s own H1-B bill doesn't implement any of the reforms demanded by Presidential Candidate Rubio. "It does not require recruitment of American workers. It does not require employers to 'pay more than you would pay someone else'...Rubio’s bill would provide Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and his comrades a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers.” Indeed, Rubio's bill "would triple the number of H1-B foreign workers admitted."
Nova Express writes: Hacking group Anonymous are purging Twitter of ISIS supporters in Operation #TangoDown. Within seconds of Anonymous-related accounts @CtrlSec, @CtrlSec0, @CtrlSec1 or @CtrlSec2 designating a Twitter account as an ISIS-supporting account, those accounts are getting suspended.
Nova Express writes: Since today is the traditional Day of the Dead, I thought it would be a good time to look back on dead memes. From Mahir to Boxxy, here are some memes that blazed like wildfire across the Internet, only to lapse into obscurity.
Nova Express writes: "Today Margaret Atwood, with financial backing from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Scotiabank Giller Prize, announced she was launching a new science fiction magazine, Loquacious Cephalopod.. “I’ve always been gratified by the unconditional love I’ve received from the science fiction community for works such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin," she said, "and Loquacious Cephalopod is a way to return that love." The first issue has already lined up some very big SF writers, including Greg Egan and Jerry Pournelle."
Nova Express writes: "Though general public outrage caused the House shelve consideration of SOPA (and the Senate to shelve PIPA), SOPA sponsor Lamar Smith (R-TX) continues to support the bill, saying that "The online theft of American intellectual property is no different than the theft of products from a store" and saying SOPA just needs to be reworked. Further, Smith is still sponsoring another bill, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (HR 1981), which would impose fairly onerous Internet data retention and tracking provisions for ISPs. In light of that, several Republican groups opposed to SOPA have been calling for a primary challenge to Smith for the Texas 21st Congressional District. Now a primary challenger has come forth in the person of former Sheriff Richard Mack, most famous in the gun rights community for his role in a lawsuit that got key provisions of the Brady Bill overturned. But Mack will have an uphill race, since Smith has more than $1.3 million in campaign funds on hand."
Nova Express writes: ""President Barack Obama nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. on Monday to serve as the nation’s solicitor general." Verrilli's most notable cases have been killing Grokster and fighting YouTube on behalf of Viacom. I would say "Meet the new boss, same as he old boss," but since Bush never nominated an RIAA Lawyer for Solicitor General, I'd have to say that in this instance he's actually worse."
Nova Express writes: "Recently a lot of science fiction stories from the 1950s and 60s (including work from still-living authors like Frederik Pohl and Jack Vance) have been showing up on Project Gutenberg as being in the public domain. However, according the science fiction writer Greg Bear and his wife Astrid Anderson Bear (daughter of Poul Anderson, some of whose works were among those put up) Project Gutenberg has made a mistake: 'After conducting legal research on the LEXIS database of legal cases, decisions, and precedents, we have demonstrated conclusively that PG was making incorrect determinations regarding public domain status in many, many works that originally appeared in magazine form...In general, Project Gutenberg is doing a tremendous service by making available texts that have truly long since fallen out of copyright, but they are clearly overstepping their original mandate. They are not merely exploiting orphan works, but practicing a wholesale kidnapping of works that are under copyright protection.'"
Nova Express writes: "If you thought Congress was finished doing the bidding of copyright holders, guess again. "Congress is set to once again consider the Sen Leahy's Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeit Act, a truly awful bill (with the appropriately awful acronym 'COICA'...The bill would allow the Attorney General to institute an in rem action against the domain name of any Internet site 'dedicated to infringing activities,' defined to include any site that 'engages in' copyright or trademark-infringing activities where those activities, 'taken together,' are 'central to the activity' of the site. The court would then be authorized to issue injunctions, not against the offending website, but against 'the domain name' itself, ordering the domain name registrar where the target site's domain name was registered, and the domain name registry responsible for maintaining the authoritative database of names for the target site's top-level domain, to 'lock out' the domain name (and therefore prevent access to the site through use of the domain name). The court could also enjoin any of the thousands of Internet Service Providers, or any 'operator of a nonauthoritative domain name server' (a category that includes virtually all ISPs or operators of networks linked to the Internet), ordering them to 'take technically feasible and reasonable steps designed to prevent [the] domain name from resolving to that domain name's Internet protocol address'""