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+ - Amazon doxx Hachette CEO's email address

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Evil goons at Amazon doxx Hachette CEO's email address, give talking points to trolls

Normally, I'm not one to defend CEOs, even in the relatively genteel world of publishing. But this is really scummy:

Amazon publishes Hachette CEO's email address in pricing spat New York (AFP) — Amazon revealed Saturday the email address of the American head of publishing group Hachette, urging readers to pressure him in writing to end the two groups' simmering dispute over book pricing.

It is also amazingly short sighted."

+ - Former Scientists Are Commandeering NASA Satellite From An Abandoned McDonalds->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""Keith Cowing, a former NASA employee has assembled a team to bring a retired satellite called the ISEE-3 back to life. It’s the first time an external organization has ever taken control of a spacecraft, and they’re doing it with NASA’s blessing. I guess this is what happens when retired scientists get bored?But it gets better—their base for control center is an abandoned McDonlads that they’ve dubbed “McMoons” and they’re using “using old radio parts from eBay and a salvaged flat screen TV” to help run their operation.""
Link to Original Source

+ - SpaceX Hit with Second Suit from Employees, Allege Unpaid Wages->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Law360 (paywall — is reporting, for the second time in a week, employees of SpaceX are sueing the company for "failing to provide rest breaks or pay full wages." This follows another recent complaint "accusing the company of laying off up to 400 employees without proper notification. (;"
Link to Original Source

+ - Enforcing the GPL

Submitted by lrosen
lrosen (220835) writes "I am responding to the article in by Aaron Williamson, "Lawsuit threatens to break new ground on the GPL and software licensing issues."

I want to acknowledge Aaron's main points: This lawsuit challenges certain assumptions about GPLv2 licensing, and it also emphasizes the effects of patents on the FOSS (and commercial) software ecosystem. I also want to acknowledge that I have been consulted as an expert by the plaintiff in this litigation (Ximpleware vs. Versata, et al.) and so some of what I say below they may also say in court.

Let's be open about the facts here. Ximpleware worked diligently over many years to create certain valuable software. The author posted his source code on SourceForge. He offered the software under GPLv2. He also offered that software under commercial licenses. And he sought and received and provided notice of United States patent claims related to that software.

Unbeknownst to Ximpleware, Versata took that GPLv2 software and incorporated it into Versata products – without disclosing that GPLv2 software or in any other way honoring the terms of the GPLv2 license. The reason Ximpleware became aware of that GPLv2 breach is because some months ago Versata and one of its customers, Ameriprise, became embroiled in their own litigation. The breach of GPLv2 came out during discovery.

Ximpleware has terminated that license as to Versata. This is exactly what the Software Freedom Conservancy and others do when confronted by GPL breaches.

That earlier litigation is between two (or more) commercial companies; it is not a FOSS problem. These are mature, sophisticated, profitable companies that have the wherewithal to protect themselves. I know that in my own law practice, whether I represent software vendors or their commercial customers, we typically provide for some level of indemnification. Perhaps Ameriprise and the other customer-defendants can count on Versata defending them against Ximpleware. Such a commercial dispute between big companies – even if it involves the GPLv2 software of a small company and separate indemnification for copyright or patent infringement – is between them alone.

But as to Ximpleware and its GPLv2 copyrighted and patented software, there are a few misunderstandings reflected in Aaron Williamson's article:

1. The notion of "implied patent licensing" has no clear legal precedent in any software licensing. While it is true that goods that one purchases include a patent license under what is known as the "exhaustion doctrine," there is no exhaustion of patented software when copies are made (even though copying of the software itself is authorized by GPLv2). For example, a typical commercial patent license nowadays might include a royalty for each Android phone manufactured and sold. Companies that distribute Android phones and its FOSS software acquire patent licenses so that recipients of their phones are indeed free to use those phones. But that isn't because of some implied patent licenses that come with Android software, but because commercial companies that distribute phones pay for those patent rights, directly or indirectly. I think it is entirely reasonable to require that commercial companies get their patent licenses in writing.

2. Versata's customers who received the (in breach!) GPLv2 software all moved to dismiss Ximpleware's infringement claims against them, pointing to Section 0 of GPLv2, which says that "[t]he act of running the Program is not restricted." What that sentence actually means is just what it says: The GPLv2 copyright grant itself (which is all there is in GPLv2) does not restrict the act of running the program. Nor could it; that is a true statement because running a program is not one of the enumerated copyright rights subject to a copyright license (17 USC 106). The authors of the GPL licenses have themselves made that argument repeatedly: The use of software is simply not a copyright issue.

3. Because there are U.S. patent claims on this Ximpleware software, Section 7 of GPLv2 prohibits its distribution under that license in the United States (or any jurisdictions where patent claims restrict its use). If Ameriprise and the other defendants were outside the U.S. where the Ximpleware patents don't apply, then GPLv2 would indeed be sufficient for that use. But inside the U.S. those customers are not authorized and they cannot rely on an assumed patent grant in GPLv2. Otherwise GPLv2 Section 7 would be an irrelevant provision. Reread it carefully if you doubt this.

The Versata customers certainly cannot depend on an implied patent license received indirectly through a vendor who was in breach of GPLv2 since the beginning – and still is! Versata ignored and failed to disclose to its own customers Ximpleware's patent notices concerning that GPLv2 software, but those patents are nevertheless infringed.

Should we forgive commercial companies who fail to undertake honest compliance with the GPL? Should we forgive their customers who aren't diligent in acquiring their software from diligent vendors?

As Aaron Williamson suggests, we shouldn't ignore the implications of this case. After all, the creator of Ximpleware software made his source code freely available under GPLv2 and posted clear notices to potential commercial customers of his U.S. patents and of his commercial licensing options. Lots of small (and large!) open source commercial companies do that. Although it is ultimately up to the courts to decide this case, from a FOSS point of view Ximpleware is the good guy here!

There is rich detail about this matter that will come out during litigation. Please don't criticize until you understand all the facts.

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag ("

+ - Anonymous launches operation Ferguson

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Hacktivist Group Promises Action In Shooting Death Of Unarmed Teen

Ferguson, Missouri's Police Department has been put on notice. International hacktivist group Anonymous has launched "Operation Ferguson" and promised swift action against authorities in city in response to the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a member of the Ferguson Police Department.

Anonymous has promised to take every web-based asset of the Ferguson Police Department and other corroborating agencies offline as well as release personal information of every officer should any protester by harmed or harassed while protesting Brown's death.

It seems that the mayor saw this coming.

Anticipating a problem, the mayor of Ferguson had the IT Department take down all personal information from the site on Saturday

Anonymous announces Operation Ferguson on YouTube"

+ - TEPCO: Nearly all nuclear fuel melted at Fukushima No. 3 reactor->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Almost all of the nuclear fuel in the No. 3 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant melted within days of the March 11, 2011, disaster, according to a new estimate by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

TEPCO originally estimated that about 60 percent of the nuclear fuel melted at the reactor. But the latest estimate released on Aug. 6 revealed that the fuel started to melt about six hours earlier than previously thought.

TEPCO said most of the melted fuel likely dropped to the bottom of the containment unit from the pressure vessel after the disaster set off by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami."

Link to Original Source

+ - Gore warns markets coal stocks will lose value ->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Former Vice President Gore is warning investors to pull their stock in coal assets or face devastating financial consequences.

In a Financial Times column Gore argues that it would be smart to divest from coal "for purely financial reasons," setting aside the harmful impact he says it has on the environment.

In an attempt to reach investors, Gore makes the case that three "disruptive forces" will hurt stock in coal companies and other investments in the fossil fuel in the future.

First is the growth of renewables, Gore says, such as solar, which are becoming more affordable.

Next, are regulatory changes. Citing the Environmental Protection Agency's latest proposal to cut carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants, Gore says the changes are "curbing demand for coal."

Lastly, he cites the "rising discontent with negative consequences associated with carbon pollution" further adding to the reasons why investors should divest.

"These three disruptive forces significantly increase the probability of a major market correction that will reprice coal assets unfavourably," Gore writes in the column.

"In fact, the repricing of carbon-intensive assets is likely to happen more suddenly and turbulently than many investors expect, as the growing negative effects of carbon emissions — and the market’s reaction — will be neither gradual nor linear.""

Link to Original Source

+ - Bus firm owner charged with harassing customers->

Submitted by BigVig209
BigVig209 (959850) writes "The owner of a bus company that shuttles students between college campuses and the Chicago area has been charged in Lake County with Internet harassment stemming from disputes with customers who had complained about his company's services.

Dennis Toeppen, 50, was arrested last month in Champaign after a former customer complained to authorities that Toeppen had posted lewd statements about him and another customer to the online forum Reddit."

Link to Original Source

+ - Ancient worms may have saved Earth->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "You can credit your existence to tiny wormlike creatures that lived 500 million years ago, a new study suggests. By tunneling through the sea floor, scientists say, these creatures kept oxygen concentrations at just the right level to allow animals and other complex life to evolve. The finding may help answer an enduring mystery of Earth’s past.

The idea is that as they dug and wiggled, these early multicellular creatures—some were likely worms as long as 40 cm—exposed new layers of seafloor sediment to the ocean’s water. Each new batch of sediment that settles onto the sea floor contains bacteria; as those bacteria were exposed to the oxygen in the water, they began storing a chemical called phosphate in their cells. So as the creatures churned up more sediment layers, more phosphate built up in ocean sediments and less was found in seawater. Because algae and other photosynthetic ocean life require phosphate to grow, removing phosphate from seawater reduced their growth. Less photosynthesis, in turn, meant less oxygen released into the ocean. In this way, the system formed a negative feedback loop that automatically slowed the rise in oxygen levels as the levels increased."

Link to Original Source

+ - Verizon Throttles Data to "Provide Incentive to Limit Usage"

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "About a week ago, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked for Verizon's justification on its policy of throttling users who pay for unlimited data usage. "I know of no past Commission statement that would treat 'as reasonable network management' a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for 'unlimited' service," the FCC wrote. In its response, Verizon has indicated that its throttling policy is meant to provide users with an incentive to limit their data usage. The company explained that "a small percentage of the customers on these [unlimited] plans use disproportionately large amounts of data, and, unlike subscribers on usage-based plans, they have no incentive not to do so during times of unusually high demand....our practice is a measured and fair step to ensure that this small group of customers do not disadvantage all others.""

+ - Operation Spicer

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "ICAC blowtorch on Free Enterprise Foundation

As a corruption investigation of political funding began private hearings last July, the NSW National Party updated its 2010-11 accounts with an extra $300,000 that it had not declared to the Australian Electoral Commission.

The money involved an obscure funding body called the National Free Enterprise Foundation. It was spectacularly bad timing, coming as investigators for the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s Operation Spicer were tracing the links between property developers, a different body based in Canberra called the Free Enterprise Foundation and the NSW Liberal Party.

ICAC’s public hearings for Operation Spicer, which resume on Wednesday, have already put the blowtorch on the Free Enterprise Foundation’s role in channelling prohibited donations to the NSW Liberals.

What is less known is that the National Party has its own Free Enterprise Foundation.


+ - Handwriting, Fax Machines, and Swiss Bank Accounts

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Did Graham Richardson send $1m to the wrong man?

On December 6, 1994, Richardson, who had retired from politics eight months earlier, faxed hand-written instructions to the manager of his account, called Streeton Foundation, at Swiss finance company EBC Zurich.

Richardson was a political operator without parallel but a novice to the world of high finance. Did he get the details wrong?

“Ref Streeton Foundation,” Richardson wrote.

“Please pay value 30 December 1994 $A1.0 mill as per separate instructions [from the account at EBC Zurich]. Graham Richardson 6-12-94.”

The handwriting, in documents obtained by Israeli journalist Shraga Elam, is clear. What happened to Richardson’s money next isn’t.

EBC records, revealed by The Australian Financial Review in 2009, show the money was transferred on January 5, 1995, to Dennis Jamil Lattous in Beirut. ...

... Somewhere during the transmission of Richardson’s other instructions an “f” became an “s”.


I have ways of making money that you know nothing of. -- John D. Rockefeller