An anonymous reader writes "The People's Daily newspaper, which is the official news organ of the ruling Communist party in China, apparently recently posted a review of the iPad, where it complained about the locked down nature of the device, noting that 'There are many disadvantages. For example you cannot install pirate software on them, you cannot download [free] music, and you need to pay for movies you watch on them.' You would think a country that is in favor of locking down the internet so much would like a locked up device ..."
An anonymous reader writes "'Officer Bubbles' — the Toronto Police Constable who was videotaped threatening a G20 protester with arrest for assault over the crime of blowing bubbles at a police officer has had enough of mocking videos and comments on YouTube. He has decided to sue everyone involved (commenters included) for more than a million dollars each. The complaint is detailed in his statement of claim — most of the comments seem fairly tame by internet standards; if this goes anywhere, everyone is going to have to watch what they say pretty carefully. The lawsuit appears to have been successful in intimidating the author of the mocking cartoons into taking them down."
nunojsilva writes "Cory Doctorow reports that the Brazilian equivalent of DMCA explicitly forbids using DRM-like techniques on works in the public domain. 'Brazil has just created the best-ever implementation of WCT [WIPO Copyright Treaty]. In Brazil's version of the law, you can break DRM without breaking the law, provided you're not also committing a copyright violation.' This means that, unlike the US, where it is illegal to break DRM, in Brazil it is illegal to break the public domain."
joelkeller writes "I spoke to David X. Cohen, executive producer of Futurama, about the upcoming season, which premieres on June 24 on Comedy Central. He talks about the season finale (!) and how the show is always on the precipice of cancellation."
roh2cool writes "If you are a watch freak and also happen to be a fan of ultra rare (and expensive) gadgets, this might just interest you. The LG GD910 watch phone looks like a normal watch – except for the fact that it can double up as your mobile phone when needed. 'It is quite thin at just 13.9mm and packs in 3G and Video Calling capabilities as well. The phone is quite stylish and the front fascia is covered by scratch-proof tempered glass. It comes with a Bluetooth headset so you don’t have to keep talking like David Hasselhoff talked to his super-car KITT in the “Knight Rider” series.'"
Santa Claus must use advanced technologies to pull off his annual feat. Thankfully, NewScientist has the exclusive about the what and the how. "He relies on some impressive gadgets: miniature flying robots, advanced satellites, highly sensitive surveillance devices, memory-erasing milk, self-assembling toys, and a warp-drive-powered sleigh that's capable of bending and twisting space-time to such an extent that it slips Santa and his reindeer out of the observable universe. In 1949, Kurt Gödel published one of the first mathematical descriptions of how it could work. In his version, the universe has paths called closed time-like curves that might allow you to jump in a ship, fly for a while, and end up right back where you started in space and time."
In the latest example of how just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, one credit union has decided to offer a new feature, dubbed "tweetMyMoney," that allows members to interact with their accounts via Twitter. Can't wait for the next version, "tweetSomeoneElsesMoney." "tweetMyMoney, available exclusively to Vantage members! With tweetMyMoney, you can monitor your account balance, deposits, withdrawals, holds and cleared checks with simple commands. And, you can even transfer funds within your account. It's all available on Twitter, 24/7!"
In a recent article for Offworld, Jim Rossignol writes about how the experiences offered by games are broadening as they become more familiar and more popular among researchers and educators. He mentions Korsakovia, a Half-Life 2 mod which is an interpretation of Korsakoff's syndrome, a brain disorder characterized by confusion and severe memory problems, and makes the point that games (and game engines) can provide interesting and evocative experiences without the constraint of being "fun," much as books and movies can be appreciated without "fun" being an appropriate description. Quoting: "Is this collective imagining of games one of the reasons why they tend to focus on a narrow band of imagination? Do critics decry games because games need, more than any other media, to be something a group of people can all agree on? Isn't that why diversions from the standard templates are always met with such excitement or surprise? Getting a large number of creative people to head out into the same imaginative realm is a monumental task, and it's a reason why game directors like to riff off familiar films or activities you can see on TV to define their projects. A familiar movie gets everyone on the same page with great immediacy. 'Want to know what this game is going to be like? Go watch Aliens, you'll soon catch up.' We are pushed into familiar, well-explored areas of imagination. However, there are also teams who are both exploring strange annexes and also creating games that are very much about imaginative exploration. These idiosyncratic few do seem like Alan Moore's 'exporters,' giving us something genuinely new to investigate and explore. Once the team has figured out how to drag the thing back from their imaginations, so we get to examine its exotic experiences — like the kind we can't get at home."
The blog of Anthony Wesley, an Australian amateur astronomer, has what may be the first photos of a recent comet or asteroid impact on Jupiter, near the south pole. These photos are 11 hours old. The ones at the bottom of the page show three small dark spots in addition to the main dark mark. The Bad Astronomy blog picked up the story a few hours later — but cautions that what we're seeing may not be an impact event. This is all reminiscent of the closely watched impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy on Jupiter in 1994.
An anonymous reader writes "As a kid I was (and still am) heavily influenced by Carl Sagan, and a little later by Stephen Hawking. Now as I have started a family with two kids, currently age 5 and 2, I am wondering who out there is popularizing science. Currently, my wife and I can get the kids excited about the world around them, but I'd like to find someone inspiring from outside the family as they get older. Sure, we'll always have 'Cosmos,' but are there any contemporaries who are trying to bring science into the public view in such a fun and intriguing way? Someone the kids can look up to and be inspired by? Where is the next Science Hero?"
Hugh Pickens writes "Internet entrepreneur Mark Cuban writes that the problem with companies who have built their business around Free is that the more success you have in delivering free, the more expensive it is to stay at the top. '"They will be Facebook to your Myspace, or Myspace to your Friendster or Google to your Yahoo," writes Cuban. "Someone out there with a better idea will raise a bunch of money, give it away for free, build scale and charge less to reach the audience."' Cuban says that even Google, who lives and dies by free, knows that 'at some point your Black Swan competitor will appear and they will kick your ass' and that is exactly why Google invests in everything and anything they possibly can that they believe can create another business they can depend on in the future searching for the 'next big Google thing.' Cuban says that for any company that lives by Free, their best choice is to run the company as profitably as possible, focusing only on those things that generate revenue and put cash in the bank. '"When you succeed with Free, you are going to die by Free. Your best bet is to recognize where you are in your company's lifecycle and maximize your profits rather than try to extend your stay at the top," writes Cuban. "Like every company in the free space, your lifecycle has come to its conclusion. Don't fight it. Admit it. Profit from it."'"
selven was one of several readers to send in the news that Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison. "Bernard Madoff's victims gasped and cheered when he was sentenced to 150 years in prison, but they walked away knowing little more about how he carried out the biggest robbery in Wall Street history. In one of the most dramatic courtroom conclusions to a corporate fraud case, the 71-year-old swindler was unemotional as he was berated by distraught investors during the 90-minute proceeding. Many former clients had hoped he would shed more light on his crime and explain why he victimized so many for so long. But he did not. Madoff called his crime 'an error of judgment' and his 'failure,' reiterating previous statements that he alone was responsible for the $65 billion investment fraud. His victims said they did not hear much new from Madoff in his five-minute statement. They also said they did not believe anything he said. As he handed down the maximum penalty allowed, US District Judge Denny Chin... [said], 'I simply do not get the sense that Mr. Madoff has done all that he could or told all that he knows.'"
gerddie notes a piece up on the EFF site outlining the fairly outlandish legal theories ASCAP is trying out in their court fight with AT&T. "ASCAP (the same folks who went after Girl Scouts for singing around a campfire) appears to believe that every time your musical ringtone rings in public, you're violating copyright law by 'publicly performing' it without a license. At least that's the import of a brief (PDF, 2.5 MB) it filed in ASCAP's court battle with mobile phone giant AT&T."
An anonymous reader writes "If you purchase music or movies online, what happens if the vendor goes out of business? Will you have trouble accessing your content? The question came up recently after HDGiants — provider of high-quality audio and video downloads — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A consumer says his content became locked inside his PC. Walmart customers suffered a similar fate last year when the retailer shut down its DRM servers (a decision they reversed after many complaints). And if Vudu dies? Your content may be locked in a proprietary box forever. Time to start buying discs again?"
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "If one attempted to distill a single prevailing emotion or attitude about government on Slashdot, I think it is fairly arguable that the winner would be cynicism or skepticism. Well here's a story that could make us skeptical and/or cynical about our skepticism and/or cynicism. Chalk one up for those who like to point out that, occasionally, the system does work. You may recall that the US Supreme Court has been mulling over whether to grant the film industry's petition for certiorari seeking to overturn the important Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings decision from the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. This was the case which held that Cablevision's allowing its customers to make copies of shows and store them on Cablevision's servers for later viewing did not constitute a direct copyright infringement by Cablevision, there being no 'copy' made since the files were in RAM and buffered for only a 'transitory' duration. The Supreme Court asked the Obama DoJ to submit an amicus curiae brief, giving its opinion on whether or not the film companies' petition for review should be granted. The government did indeed file such a brief, but the content of the brief (PDF) is probably not what the film companies were expecting. They probably thought they had this one in the bag, since some of the very lawyers who have been representing them have been appointed to the highest echelons of the Obama DoJ. Instead, however, the brief eloquently argued against the film companies' position, dismembering with surgical accuracy each and every argument the film companies had advanced."