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Quickies

+ - Ceiling height affects problem-solving skills

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A recent study at the University of Minnesota suggests that ceiling height affects problem-solving skills and behavior by priming concepts that encourage certain kinds of brain processing. According to researcher Joan Meyers-Levy, "When people are in a room with a high ceiling, they activate the idea of freedom. In a low-ceilinged room, they activate more constrained, confined concepts." The concept of freedom promotes information processing that encourages greater variation in the kinds of thoughts one has, while the concept of confinement promotes more detail-oriented processing. From the article: "Managers should want noticeably higher ceilings for thinking of bold initiatives. The technicians and accountants might want low ceilings." There could be consequences in the world of health care as well, she said. "If you're having surgery done, you would want the operating room to encourage item-specific processing.""
Software

+ - Why Closed Source Software is good

Submitted by neax
neax (961176) writes "I am talking to a group of students regarding the differences between closed and open source software, and the different business models that they use. In particular, I am wanting more information regarding Closed Source software and the business models they use and why they are good, and was wondering it you have any interesting advice or links to assist me in providing the students with all the information....and stuff that is interesting/ funny to use as examples. I am primarily interested in looking for information around why closed source is a good and viable option, rather than from the perspective of why open source is good, because this argument has been rehashed numerous times (go easy on the flamebait please!)"
United States

+ - Hypocrisy of Russian Government

Submitted by
reporter
reporter writes "A large group of ethnic Russians living in Estonia rioted after the Estonian government removed a statue honoring the Russia invasion of Estonia decades ago. The Estonian police arrested 600 rioters. According to a report by the Associated Press, "[the Russian government] said the [Estonian] police had used excessive force to crack down on protesters and demanded that Estonia investigate the death of a Russian citizen in the riots." Yet, this same Russian government — just 1 week ago — directed the Russian police to beat the crap out of peaceful protestors in a demonstration organized by Garry Kasparov. How do you say "hypocrite" in Russian?"
Space

+ - Scotty Heads for the Final Frontier

Submitted by
refitman
refitman writes "The BBC reports that Mr Scott's (James Doohan) remains have been launched into space. James's ashes were sent about 70 miles above the earth on a private SpaceLoft XL rocket. Before the launch, his widow Wende said "While 'Scotty' lived this, Jimmy lived for this,".

Launching a single gram of ashes costs $495 (£248), while sending remains into deep space, a service which comes into effect from 2009 will cost up to $12,500 (£6,257)."
Music

Can Music Survive Inside the Big Box? 90

Posted by Zonk
from the help-help-i-need-to-escape dept.
_randy_64 writes "In a story that ties in nicely with a recent discussion about the possible reprieve for Net Radio, the Wall Street Journal asks Can Music Survive Inside the Big Box? The article discusses how the 'big box' stores (e.g. Wal-Mart, Best Buy) are cutting back on space and acceptance of music CDs. With 85% of music sales still coming from CDs, maybe this is another thing to push the music industry towards better online sales models? 'Thanks largely to aggressive pricing and advertising, big-box chains are now responsible in the U.S. for at least 65% of music sales (including online and physical recordings), according to estimates by distribution executives, up from 20% a decade ago. Where a store that depends on CDs for the bulk of its sales needs a profit margin of around 30%, big chains get by making just 14% on music, say label executives who handle distribution. One of these executives describes the shift as a tidal wave.'"
United States

+ - Canadian professor denied US entry for taking LSD

Submitted by iceOlate
iceOlate (1094287) writes "Vann sez, "Vancouver psychotherapist Andrew Feldmar has been barred from entering the United States. The reason? During a random stop-and-search at a US/Canadian border crossing, a Google search of his name led to his article from the Spring 2001 'Janus Head: Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature, Continental Philosophy, Phenomenological Psychology, and the Arts.' In it Feldmar describes two acid trips he took under the supervision of his graduate advisor in psychology — in 1967. This turns out to have been enough to earn him a life-time ban under the grounds of 'admitted drug use.'

"Feldmar *was* told he could apply for a waiver, and that after a year, and at a cost of around $3,500, he had a '90% chance' of its being granted.
"Oh — and he'd have to go through the process each time he wanted to travel to the US.""

Amazon readying DRM-free online music store?->

From feed by engfeed

Filed under: Portable Audio

Oh boy, we're sensing an all-out war. Of course, the tables are slanted mighty heavily in favor of Apple, but it sounds like Amazon is up to the challenge of stealing some of the digital download market share that Cupertino currently owns. According to the UK's TimesOnline, Amazon is ready to "to launch an online music store next month," and while music execs never thought they'd see the day, this service too should have "reduced protection against copyright infringement." In short, the (hopefully) forthcoming service will serve up at least some DRM-free tracks as Apple's iTunes already does, and as expected, a vast majority of the free and clear music will come from EMI and various other "independent labels." Interestingly, it was stated that Amazon hoped to have the service live "by next month," but it was still unclear as to whether it would meet that goal. No word on whether this service will attempt to undercut iTMS' $1.29 per DRM-free track, but a little competition never hurt anybody, right?

[Via ArsTechnica]

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