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Privacy

The Rapid Rise of License Plate Readers 302

Posted by samzenpus
from the eye-in-the-sky dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, tens of thousands of license plate readers (LPRs) are being used by law enforcement agencies all over the country—practically every week, local media around the country report on some LPR expansion. But the system's unchecked and largely unmonitored use raises significant privacy concerns. License plates, dates, times, and locations of all cars seen are kept in law enforcement databases for months or even years at a time. In the worst case, the New York State Police keeps all of its LPR data indefinitely. No universal standard governs how long data can or should be retained."

Comment: This is a relevant comic (Score 2) 268

by ParadoxDruid (#38919573) Attached to: RIAA Wants To Scrap Anti-Piracy OPEN Act
I think I need to just continually post this, and send it (or more "respectable" transcripts, to all my congressional representatives. We don't need new laws for the internet! Our current ones work just fine, thank you. http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2508#comic (Sorry for the double-post, I forgot to log in)
Cellphones

+ - AT&T Caps Netflix Streaming Costs at $68K/Yr 1

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "What would you say if you went to join a gym and were told that it could cost you anywhere from $360 a year to $68,000 a year for the exact same usage? Don't be ridiculous, right? Well, that's really not so different from what the potential costs of streaming video on an AT&T smartphone are. According to AT&T's Data Usage Calculator, 1,440 minutes worth of streaming video consumes 2.81GB, which — if you manage to keep Netflix fired up all day and night — would result in a $360 annual bill under the grandfathered $30-monthly-unlimited-data plan, or $68,376 under the new $20-monthly-300MB plan. Still, that didn't stop a spokesman from characterizing the new AT&T data plans as 'a great value' for customers. So, what exactly does the Bureau of Consumer Protection consider unfair?"

+ - White House Petition to Investigate Dodd for Bribe->

Submitted by
Walkingshark
Walkingshark writes "Chris Dodd's recent statements complaining that the congressmen the RIAA and MPAA bribed aren't staying bribed has spawned a firestorm of anger on the internet. Among the bits of fallout: a petition on the White Houses "We the People" site to investigate him, the RIAA, and the MPAA for bribery! This petition gained more than 5000 signatures in 24 hours and is still growing.

When the petition reaches 25,000 signatures the White House is obligated to respond to it in an official capacity. At that point, one way or another they will have to go on record either supporting the RIAA and MPAA or pushing them under the bus. Either way, it should be quite enlightening to see what their response is."

Link to Original Source
Games

How Gaming Can Save the World 85

Posted by Soulskill
from the low-emissions-and-low-carb dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Game designer and all-around interesting person Jane McGonigal just published a book arguing that playing games will help solve the urgent problems of the real world. To mark the publication, Discover Magazine has a Q&A with McGonigal on several topics, such as: exactly how much gaming is too much? 'There was a really significant study that tracked 1,100 soldiers for a year, and looked at how they were spending their free time with things they considered coping mechanisms—using Facebook, listening to music, reading, working out, or playing video games. They correlated this with incidences of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, suicide attempts, and domestic violence. The found that by a very wide margin, the most psychologically protected individuals—who had the lowest rates of any of these negative experiences—were people who were playing video games 3 to 4 hours a day. ... That was fascinating—it was more beneficial than anything but working out 7 hours a day.' She also talks about how relationships forged in games can change the world, and which world problems exactly is she trying to solve via games. (Hint: think big.)"
Biotech

+ - The Untold Story of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells->

Submitted by
ParadoxDruid
ParadoxDruid writes "Induced pluripotent stem cells are a hot new stem cell type that is able to become any kind of tissue, offering great potential for treating diseases and injuries. Although they look and act just like human embryonic stem cells, these induced stem cells can be made from adult cells that are reprogrammed to an earlier state and consequently can be patient-specific. What is interesting is that while induced stem cells were created from human tissue only in 2007, they have a decades' old history of theories and experiments that is not often reported."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Still a long way to go... (Score 4, Informative) 126

by ParadoxDruid (#27637399) Attached to: Stem Cell Treatment To Cure the Most Common Cause of Blindness
I recently met Pete Coffey, the lead scientist on this effort (he collaborates with scientists in a research group across the hall from mine), and attended his technical talk on this procedure. You are correct, they're transplanting retinal pigment epithelium. However, they've done experiments with both wet AMD and some preliminary work with reviving dry AMD. Very promising work; but yes, very involved surgery with a success rate of 75% even for ideal patients.
GNOME

OpenSolaris 2008.11 – Year of the Laptop? 223

Posted by timothy
from the appealing dept.
Ahmed Kamal writes "Is Linux getting too old for you? Are you interested to see what other systems such as OpenSolaris have to offer? OpenSolaris has some great features, such as ZFS and dtrace, which make it a great server OS — but how do you think it will fare on a laptop? Let's take an initial look at the most recent OpenSolaris 2008.11 pre-release on recentish laptop hardware."
Privacy

New Bill To Rein In DHS Laptop Seizures 311

Posted by kdawson
from the give-it-back-now dept.
twigles writes with news of a new proposed bill that seeks to curtail DHS's power to search and seize laptops at the border without suspicion of wrongdoing. Here is Sen. Feingold's press release on the bill. The new bill has more privacy-protecting safeguards than the previous one, which we discussed last month. "The Travelers Privacy Protection Act, a bill written by US Senators Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., would allow border agents to search electronic devices only if they had reasonable suspicions of wrongdoing. In addition, the legislation would limit the length of time that a device could be out of its owner's possession to 24 hours, after which the search becomes a seizure, requiring probable cause."
Operating Systems

Netbook Return Rates Much Higher For Linux Than Windows 663

Posted by Soulskill
from the old-dogs-new-tricks-etc. dept.
ivoras writes "An interview with MSI's director of US Sales, Andy Tung, contains this interesting snippet: "We have done a lot of studies on the return rates and haven't really talked about it much until now. Our internal research has shown that the return of netbooks is higher than regular notebooks, but the main cause of that is Linux. People would love to pay $299 or $399 but they don't know what they get until they open the box. They start playing around with Linux and start realizing that it's not what they are used to. They don't want to spend time to learn it so they bring it back to the store. The return rate is at least four times higher for Linux netbooks than Windows XP netbooks.'"
Games

Review: Spore 605

Posted by Soulskill
from the evolution-of-games-and-vice-versa dept.
The hype leading up to Spore was excessive. But then, so is the scope of the game; following the growth of a species from the cellular level to galactic domination was an ambitious goal, to say the least. Bringing evolution into the realm of entertainment was something Will Wright hoped and gambled he could do after the success of the Sim franchise. But rather than evolution, Spore became more about creation — creation that allows a single-player game to include the community, as well. It ties the various parts of the game together to make Spore very entertaining as a whole. Read on for my thoughts.
Science

Are 68 Molecules Enough To Understand Diseases? 133

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the enter-the-peer-review dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "A researcher from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) claims that 68 molecules can explain the origins of many serious diseases. After reviewing findings from multiple disciplines, he 'realized that only 68 molecular building blocks are used to construct these four fundamental components of cells: the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), proteins, glycans and lipids,' and he said that 'these 68 building blocks provide the structural basis for the molecular choreography that constitutes the entire life of a cell.'"

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