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Government

Obama Administration Withholds FoIA Requests More Often Than Bush's 601

Posted by timothy
from the no-conspiracy-necessary-note dept.
bonch writes "Agencies under the Obama administration cite security provisions to withhold information more often than they did under the Bush administration. For example, the 'deliberative process' exemption of the Freedom of Information Act was used 70,779 times in 2009, up from the 47,395 of 2008. Amusingly, the Associated Press has been waiting three months for the government to deliver records on its own Open Government Directive."

+ - SPAM: engineer jailed over £58,000 stolen kit

Submitted by viralMeme
viralMeme (1461143) writes "An engineer who sold £58,000 of kit stolen from the UK's National Air Traffic Control Centre on eBay to pay off a credit card debt was jailed for 15 months on Monday ..

The judge discounted defence arguments that Woffinden had wiped the information after hearing that the accused lacked the requisite skills to do the job properly, the Daily Mirror reports."

Link to Original Source

+ - HT Superconductors to build Grid Interconnect->

Submitted by physburn
physburn (1095481) writes "Some big and cold is appearing in Clovis, New Mexico. Somewhere in a triangle between, Roswell (UFO), Alberqueue (Left Turn), and Armillo (Do you know the way), a 22.5 square mile, a triangle of High Temperature Superconductor pipeline is to be build. Each leg of the triangle can carry 5GW of electricity. The purpose to load balance and sell electricity between America's three power grids. Previously the Eastern Grid, Western Grid and Texan Grid have been seperate, preventing cheap electricity being sold from one end of America to the other. The Tres Amiga Superstation as it is to be called, will final contact the three grids. The superstation is also design to link renewable solar and wind power in the Grids, and is to use HTS wire from American Superconductor. Some 23 years after its invention today is day HTS came of age.
came of age."

Link to Original Source
Games

+ - Games For Windows Live: Still Not Cutting It->

Submitted by
Thomas Cross
Thomas Cross writes "Games for Windows Live was and is a peculiar endeavor, even for a giant company like Microsoft. It has attempted (and continues to attempt) to provide a suite of mostly redundant services to PC gamers and PC users. From match-making to messaging to voice-chat, most of GFWL’s vaunted “services” are incredibly easy to come by on a PC. Even when they aren't, Microsoft's ham-handed implementation serves as a major road block to many. In the age of Stardock and Steam, GFWL is aging badly."
Link to Original Source

+ - Dyson unveils fan-less desk fan->

Submitted by CNETNate
CNETNate (1469133) writes "James Dyson — British creator of the Dyson vacuum cleaners — has shown off his latest invention: a hollow 10-inch desk fan that uses no blades to pump out air. Dyson's PR department has done a smashing job of getting some of the biggest news sites in Britain to simply quote from the press release, but the technical innovation behind the Dyson Air Multiplier fan is intriguing. But one question remains: why has this been launched in the fall?"
Link to Original Source

+ - Yahoo Settles Advertiser Class Action->

Submitted by gateur
gateur (840898) writes "After years of fighting, Yahoo has finally agreed to settle a class action suit filed for their resale of click advertising to disreputable sites. As expected, Yahoo claims they have settled only to move past the matter and refuses to admit to their unsavory past actions. As one of those members of the class who lost thousands of dollars to click fraud promoted by Yahoo through their partner sites, I wonder whether the $4 million they must pay the law firm will cause them to mend their ways. After all, the loss of a sufficient number of advertisers to make their ad platform financially viable didn't seem to do the trick."
Link to Original Source

+ - SPAM: Will technology change sex?

Submitted by destinyland
destinyland (578448) writes "In the future, "Conventional sex will likely persist...but only as a small subset of a much larger space of pleasurable activities which have been deliberately engineered," according to the futurist magazine H+. They asked radical techs (including the legendary Ray Kurzweil) to describe futuristic "sex after the Singularity", discovering visions of a "post-neurological brain" and "more complex activities that generate even more pleasure and connection between people." The CTO of FutureMax even suggests "The primary purpose of the Singularity will be seen, after the fact, to be Awesome Sex," and concludes: "I love the future. Bring it on.""
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:WTF (Score 3, Insightful) 349

by dlthomas (#29341961) Attached to: Placebos Are Getting More Effective

That guy misses the point.

There is an apparent change here, evidenced by the fact that new tests of old drugs are giving poorer relative results while giving similar absolute results.

It may be due to better testing methods. It may be that there was fraud in the earlier tests which has been gradually weeded out. It may be that people in studies are culturally more eager to please and so are (consciously or unconsciously) making larger lifestyle changes when they enter the study. It may be (as stipulated in TFA) an increased confidence in pharmacology leading to a larger impact of those "other less clear and tangible effects" that PalMD nods to. It is not simply representative of the failure of pharma to find worthwhile new drugs - the fact that old drugs wouldn't pass muster puts the lie to that. What is interesting is that standards have implicitly risen, and no one understands why. This is news, this is interesting, and this should be investigated.

Books

Amazon Offers To Return Pulled Orwell Ebooks 256

Posted by Soulskill
from the act-of-contrition dept.
Back in July, Amazon faced public outrage over their decision to delete ebook copies of 1984 and Animal Farm from the Kindles of customers who purchased them. Shortly thereafter, CEO Jeff Bezos offered an apology, acknowledging that Amazon handled the situation in a "stupid" and "thoughtless" manner. Now, they're offering something more substantial: anyone who had an ebook deleted can now have it restored, apparently with annotations intact. Any customer who isn't interested in a new copy can get either an Amazon gift certificate or a check for $30.

Comment: Re:Like any partially treated wart (Score 1) 275

by dlthomas (#29320561) Attached to: MPAA Pushes Once Again To Close the Analog Hole

IMHO, a better strategy is a short, definite length (say, 14 years - the original maximum term?).

My reasoning is that we can therefore look at something that says "(C) 1994" and know that it's out of copyright, and something that says "(C) 1996" and know it's not (unless the author's placed it in the public domain earlier).

Comment: Re:Like any partially treated wart (Score 1) 275

by dlthomas (#29320515) Attached to: MPAA Pushes Once Again To Close the Analog Hole

They aren't bound by law to take the job in the first place. If they feel their duty to the shareholders in their position is requiring them to act unethically, they should quit. Their duty to the shareholders cannot require them to act illegally (although they may be replaced if they don't, in a lax regulatory climate).

Comment: Re:hire a lawyer IS a practicle step. (Score 1) 221

by dlthomas (#29320495) Attached to: How To Survive a Patent Challenge?

But if you know of a vaguely related patent, and in your expert opinion deem it to be unrelated, you're placing yourself at the mercy of the court - if they decide differently, you're liable for treble damages.

My understanding is that the "correct" thing to do is to hire a lawyer, before you set about inventing anything. Have them do a thorough search, and never look at any patents yourself until they expire.

Of course, this means that inventing anything costs at least the price of a patent lawyer, shutting out the small players - which is why patents should only apply to industries where the cost of research is so high that it dwarfs the price of the patent lawyer (so, y'know, NOT SOFTWARE) and probably not a few other areas as well.

Comment: Re:Story meaning? (Score 2, Insightful) 313

by dlthomas (#29320191) Attached to: How 136 People Became 7 Million Illegal File-Sharers

It does not "obviously" amount to theft. It *is* illicit, and it may be immoral (see Free Rider Problem), but it is not theft. If I steal 10 M&Ms from you, you have 10 fewer M&Ms - not the case if I download your song, in which case you have less than you otherwise would have *if and only if* I would otherwise have paid for it. This clearly is not the case for, say, college students with tens of thousands of dollars "worth" of media on their hard drive.

As for legal uses of "file-sharing" technologies, well - how about the entire world-wide web? We're sharing files...

Specifically P2P file-sharing technologies? Linux ISOs and WoW updates, to name two common legal uses.

Finally, I for one have an emotional reaction to assertions that technology should be restricted unless I can make you understand what it is for - and I don't even personally use any P2P software at the moment.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI

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