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Education

Nonprofit Group Sends Filesharing Propaganda To Students 266

Posted by Soulskill
from the comics-without-comedy dept.
palegray.net writes "The National Center for State Courts, a nonprofit organization, has sent file-sharing propaganda to thousands of students. The supposedly 'educational' materials, presented in the form of a comic strip, are intended to frighten students with gross exaggerations of the legal consequences of sharing music online (lose your scholarship to college, go to jail for two years, and more). From the article: '"The Case of Internet Piracy," however, reads like the Recording Industry Association of America's public relations playbook: Download some songs, go to jail and lose your scholarship. Along the way, musicians will file onto the bread lines. "The purpose is basically to educate kids — middle school and high school-aged about how the justice system operates and about what really goes on in the courtroom as opposed to what you see on television," said Lorri Montgomery, the center's communications director.' I'm not encouraging anyone to break any laws, but this is ridiculous. What's truly discouraging is the fact that several judges appear to be in full support of this sort of 'education.' The propaganda material is available in PDF form, and it lists the judges and others involved in its creation. Wired's post has a summary of the story (which is good, since the story is awful), and Techdirt notes a couple of the legal inaccuracies.
The Military

New Rifle Tech Offers Variable Muzzle Speed 443

Posted by kdawson
from the set-phasers-to-stun dept.
Ponca City, We love you writes "A gun that fires variable-speed bullets that can be set to kill, wound, or just inflict a bruise is being built by a Lund and Company Invention, a toy design studio that makes toy rockets powered by burning hydrogen obtained by electrolyzing water. The company is being funded by the US Army to adapt the technology to fire bullets instead. The new weapon, called the Variable Velocity Weapon System or VWS, lets the soldier use the same rifle for crowd control and combat, by altering the muzzle velocity. It could be loaded with 'rubber bullets' designed only to deliver blunt impacts on a person, full-speed lethal rounds, or projectiles somewhere between the two. Bruce Lund, the company's CEO, says the gun works by mixing a liquid or gaseous fuel with air in a combustion chamber behind the bullet. This determines the explosive capability of the propellant and consequently the velocity of the bullet. 'Projectile velocity varies from non-lethal at 10 meters, to lethal at 100 meters or more, as desired,' says Lund. The existing VWS design is a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifle weapon, but Lund says the technology can be scaled to any size, 'handgun to Howitzer.'"
Earth

Global Warming Stopped By Adding Lime To Sea 899

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-then-nobody-can-have-a-good-gin-and-tonic dept.
Antiglobalism writes "Scientists say they have found a workable way of reducing CO2 levels in the atmosphere by adding lime to seawater. And they think it has the potential to dramatically reverse CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere, reports Cath O'Driscoll in SCI's Chemistry & Industry magazine published today."
Input Devices

Computer Mouse Heading For Extinction 625

Posted by timothy
from the how-much-would-you-like-to-bet dept.
slatterz writes "The computer mouse is set to die out in the next five years and will be usurped by touch screens and facial recognition, analysts believe. Steven Prentice, vice president and Gartner Fellow, told the BBC that devices such as Nintendo's MotionPlus for the Wii and Apple's iPhone point the way to the future, offering greater accuracy in motion detection."
Medicine

Cognition Enhancer Research 189

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the what-happened-to-ginkgo-biloba dept.
oschobero writes to tell us the Economist has a look at pharmaceutical research as it applies to cognition enhancers. While the research is obviously focused on things like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and schizophrenia, the resulting drugs may also have a benefit to healthy minds. "Provigil and Ritalin really do enhance cognition in healthy people. Provigil, for example, adds the ability to remember an extra digit or so to an individual's working memory (most people can hold seven random digits in their memory, but have difficulty with eight). It also improves people's performance in tests of their ability to plan. Because of such positive effects on normal people, says the report, there is growing use of these drugs to stave off fatigue, help shift-workers, boost exam performance and aid recovery from the effects of long-distance flights."
Microsoft

Microsoft Launches WorldWide Telescope 167

Posted by kdawson
from the godspeed-jim-gray dept.
esocid writes "WorldWide Telescope, developed by Microsoft's research arm, knits together images from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Center, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and others. Windows users (only) can browse through the galaxy on their own or take guided tours of different outer-space destinations developed by astronomers and academics. The application allows viewing from different wavelengths such as X-ray, visible light, and hydrogen-alpha radiation. Business Week has a review and some background on the project, which has been in development for years. Google Sky beat them to the punch but Business Week opines that WWT's interface is superior."
Networking

+ - BitTorrent can verify and repair corrupt files

Submitted by
jweatherley
jweatherley writes "I found a new (for me at least) use for BitTorrent. I had been trying to download beta 4 of the iPhone SDK for the last few days. First I downloaded the 1.5GB file from Apple's site. The download completed, but the disk image would not verify. I tried to install it anyway, but it fell over on the gcc4.2 package. Many things are cheap in India, but bandwidth is not one of them. I can't just download files > 1GB without worrying about reaching my monthly cap, and there are Doctor Who episodes to be watched. Fortunately we have uncapped hours in the night, so I downloaded it again. md5sum confirmed that the disk image differed from the previous one, but it still wouldn't verify, and fell over on gcc4.2 once more. Damn.

I wasn't having much success with Apple, so I headed off to the resurgent Demonoid. Sure enough they had a torrent of the SDK. I was going to set it up to download during the uncapped night hours, but then I had an idea. BitTorrent would be able to identify the bad chunks in the disk image I had downloaded from Apple, so I replaced the placeholder file that Azureus had created with a corrupt SDK disk image, and then reimported the torrent file. Sure enough it checked the file and declared it 99.7% complete. A few minutes later I had a valid disk image and installed the SDK. Verification and repair of corrupt files is a new use of BitTorrent for me; I thought I would share a useful way of repairing large, corrupt, but widely available, files."
Music

+ - The worst song ever created by science-> 4

Submitted by Bragador
Bragador (1036480) writes "The unthinkable has been done. Vitaly Komar, Alex Melamid and David Soldier, with the help of an online poll conducted in the '90s regarding the musical tastes of listeners, used their evil brains to bring into existence the allegedly most annoying song ever created in the universe. This piece of art was specifically engineered to displease a maximum of listeners without simply using dissonance and random noises. By also using the same statistical analysis, they allegedly created the most appreciated song that could ever be brought forth from the human psyche."
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The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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