Had I the mod points, you would certainly be getting one. Look at me still posting when there's lurking to do...
Qedward writes with an excerpt at TechWorld about a new project from Jon "Maddog" Hall, which is about to launch in Brazil: "The vision of Project Cauã is to promote more efficient computing following the thin client/server model, while creating up to two million privately-funded high-tech jobs in Brazil, and another three to four million in the rest of Latin America. Hall explained that Sao Paolo in Brazil is the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere and has about twelve times the population density of New York City. As a result, there are a lot of people living and working in very tall buildings. Project Cauã will aim to put a server system in the basement of all of these tall buildings and thin clients throughout the building, so that residents and businesses can run all of their data and applications remotely."
New submitter KrisJon writes "The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters. Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of 'suspicious customer activity.' A move like the FinCEN proposal 'raises concerns as to whether people could find their information in a file as a potential terrorist suspect without having the appropriate predicate for that and find themselves potentially falsely accused,' said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel for the Rule of Law Program at the Constitution Project, a non-profit watchdog group."
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Researchers with the European Food Safety Authority discovered variants of the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S in the most widely harvested varieties of genetically-modified crops, including Monsanto's RoundupReady Soy and Maze. According to the researchers, Podevin and du Jardin, the particular 'Gene VI' is responsible for a number of possible consequences that could affect human health, including inhibition of RNA silencing and production of proteins with known toxicity. The EFSA is endorsing 'retrospective risk assessment' of CaMV promoter and its Gene VI sequences — in an attempt to give it a clean bill of health. It is unknown if the presence of the hidden viral genes were the result of laboratory contamination or a possible recombinant product of the resultant organism. There are serious implications for the production of GMO for foodstuffs, given either possibility."
The Bad Astronomer writes "News is going around the web that a scientist in the UK has found life (in the form of microscopic diatoms) in a meteorite, and has even published a paper about it. However, there are a lot of reasons to strongly doubt the claim. While the diatoms appear to be real, they are certainly from Earth. The meteorite itself, on the other hand, does not appear to be real. Many of the basic scientific steps and claims made in the paper are very shaky. Also, the scientist making the claim, N. C. Wickramasinghe, has made many fringe claims like this in the past with little or no evidence (such as the flu and SARS being viruses from space). To top it off, the website that published the paper, the Journal of Cosmology, has an interesting history of publishing fringe claims unsupported by strong evidence. All in all, this claim of life in a space rock is at best highly doubtful, and in reality almost certainly not true."
iComp sends word of a Chinese businessman who pleaded guilty to selling pirated software the retail value of which totaled more than $100 million. The software came from over 200 different companies, and was sold to buyers in 61 different countries over a 3-year period. The man was arrested by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the island of Saipan in 2011, after undercover agents had been working on the case for 18 months (PDF). "Li trolled black market Internet forums in search of hacked software, and people with the know-how to crack the passwords needed to run the program. Then he advertised them for sale on his websites. Li transferred the pirated programs to customers by sending compressed files via Gmail, or sent them hyperlinks to download servers, officials said. ... Agents lured Li from China to the U.S. territory of Saipan under the premise of discussing a joint illicit business venture. At an island hotel, Li delivered counterfeit packaging and, prosecutors said, "Twenty gigabytes of proprietary data obtained unlawfully from an American software company." Officials did not identify the company in court documents."
Hugh Pickens writes "Alexander George writes about a new app that takes the data from a smartphone's accelerometers, GPS, and inclinometer to plot information for braking force, lean angles, speed, and on-track location onto Google Maps to shave precious milliseconds off each lap time in motorcycle races. Race Sense is designed to be a useful tool for someone who races for a living and a very fun toy for those who just like to brag about what lean angle they got at their ride day, and what top speed they reached down the main straight. Australian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer Anthony West provided much of the R&D that went into tweaking the app. 'With sponsorship's so hard to find and I need another way to survive. I spent some of my own money developing it with an Italian guy who also likes to ride himself, and who writes programs,' says West who designed Race Sense to fulfill the needs of a genuine MotoGP racer. 'Sometimes it's one second [separating] 20 people. If you adjust one little thing thinking about something in one corner you can lose four places.'"
theodp writes "The USPTO lowered the bar again on Tuesday, granting U.S. Patent No. 8,296,373 to four Facebook inventors for Automatically Managing Objectionable Behavior in a Web-based Social Network, essentially warning users or suspending their accounts when their poking, friend requesting, and wall posting is deemed annoying. From the patent: 'Actions by a user exceeding the threshold may trigger the violation module 240 to take an action. For example, the point 360, which may represent fifty occurrences of an action in a five hour period, does not violate any of the policies as illustrated. However, the point 350, which represents fifty occurrences in a two hour period, violates the poke threshold 330 and the wall post threshold 340. Thus, if point 350 represents a user's actions of either poking or wall posting, then the policy is violated.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "In 2007 businessman Russell Thornton lost his 3-year-old son at an amusement park. After a frantic 45-minute search, Thornton found the boy hiding in a play structure, but he was traumatized by the incident. It spurred him to build a device that would help other parents avoid that fate. Even though most statistics show that rates of violent crime against children have declined significantly over the last few decades, and that abductions are extremely rare, KJ Dell'Antonia writes that with the array of new gadgetry like Amber Alert and the Securus eZoom our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations, or the satisfaction of weathering them. 'You could argue that those of us who survived our childhoods of being occasionally lost, then found, are in the position of those who think car seats are overkill because they suffered no injury while bouncing around in the back of their uncle's pickup,' writes Dell'Antonia. 'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"
M.Nunez writes with a tale of copyright woes. From the article: "The digital 'Saturday Night Live' archive does not feature a recent Bruno Mars sketch because it includes impersonations of pop singers and their chart-topping hits. Bruno Mars sings several songs that are not owned by NBC, so it can be presumed that the company refrained from uploading the sketch into its digital archive to avoid any legal issues. Convoluted music licensing laws have essentially erased the Bruno Mars sketch from the digital archives of SNL. In the short comedy sketch, Bruno Mars impersonates vocal performances by Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day), Steven Tyler (Aerosmith), Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Louis Armstrong, and Michael Jackson. The sketch cannot be found on NBC.com or Hulu, as a short clip or in either full editions of the episode."
As they did with the first debate, Democracy Now has published the debate questions answered by third party candidates. Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution), and Rocky Anderson (Justice) were present. There's a (long) video with the answers spliced in, and (thankfully) a transcript of all their answers. Gary Johnson was not present, but you can catch him debating Jill Stein Thursday October 18th at 7 p.m. EDT.
another random user sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "Downloading a car – or a pair of sneakers – will be entirely possible, although Ford and Nike won't be particularly happy if people use their designs to do so. A new patent, issued this week by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and titled 'Manufacturing control system', describes a system whereby 3D printer-like machines (the patent actually covers additive, subtractive, extrusion, melting, solidification, and other types of manufacturing) will have to obtain authorization before they are allowed to print items requested by the user. In a nutshell, a digital fingerprint of 'restricted items' will be held externally and printers will be required to compare the plans of the item they're being asked to print against those in a database. If there's a match, printing will be disallowed or restricted."
Jafafa Hots writes "The Supreme Court is set to decide, in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, whether or not First Sale Doctrine applies to products made with parts sourced from outside the United States. If the Supreme Court upholds an appellate ruling, it would mean that the IP holders of anything you own that has been made in China, Japan or Europe, for example, would have to give you permission to sell it. Your old used CDs, cell phone, books, or that Ford truck with foreign parts? It may not be yours to sell unless you get explicit permission and presumably pay royalties. 'It would be absurd to say anything manufactured abroad can't be bought or sold here,' said Marvin Ammori, a First Amendment lawyer and Schwartz Fellow at the New American Foundation who specializes in technology issues."
thomst writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that Google's Thabet Alfishawi has announced YouTube will alter its algorithms 'that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed.' YouTube's Content ID algorithms have notably misfired in recent months, resulting in video streams as disparate as Curiosity's Mars landing and Michelle Obama's Democratic Convention speech being taken offline on specious copyright infringement grounds. Kravets states, 'Under the new rules announced Wednesday, however, if the uploader challenges the match, the alleged rights holder must abandon the claim or file an official takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.' (A false takedown claim under the DMCA can result in non-trivial legal liability.)" Update: 10/05 11:24 GMT by S : Google has clarified its earlier comments. The user videos will be placed in a queue for manual review not by Google, but by the content owners.
An anonymous reader writes "In December the nations of the world will gather in Dubai for the UN-convened World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT – pronounced 'wicket'). The topic of the meeting is nothing less than the regulation of the Internet. Under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union the governments of the world will review the international treaty known as the International Telecommunications Regulations (ITR). The last review of the ITR was in 1988 when the Internet was just aborning. The remarkable and reshaping growth of the Internet provides the excuse for the new review. What's really afoot, however, is an effort by some nations to rebalance the Internet in their favor by reinstituting telecom regulatory concepts from the last century." At least it's being held in a hotbed of unfettered online communication.