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Australia's 2 Largest ISP's Start Censorsing the Web 133

unreadepitaph writes "Looks like after Stephen Conroy's web filter went down in flames he went quietly behind the backs of Australians and struck a deal with Telstra and Optus to start filtering an undisclosed blacklist of sites from organization within and external to Australia. From the article: 'Electronic Frontiers Association board member Colin Jacobs also expressed concern at the scheme, saying the Government and internet providers needed to be more upfront about websites being blocked and offer an appeals process for website owners who felt URLs had been blocked unfairly. "There is a question about where the links are coming from and I'd like to know the answer to that," Mr Jacobs said."

Australian Government Denies Microsoft Bias In OOXML Choice 193

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the Australian Government is not taking criticism of its decision to mandate Microsoft's Office Open XML standard lying down. 'The policy is vendor-neutral which allows its principles and standards to be used across any platform,' they said this week. Yup ... except for the fact that almost no other office suite apart from Microsoft Office supports writing to the standard. And as for Firefox? Turns out 96 percent of Australian Government desktops use Internet Explorer. Looks like bureaucracy is winning here."
The Internet

Meet NELL, the Computer That Learns From the Net 272

bossanovalithium writes "Carnegie Mellon University has taught a computer how to read and learn from the internet. According to Dennis Baron at the Oxford University press blog, the computer is called NELL and it is reading the internet and learning from it in much the same way that humans learn language and acquire knowledge. Basically by soaking it all up and figuring it out. NELL is short for Never Ending Language Learner and apparently it is getting brainier every day."

Astronomers Find Diamond Star 4,000 km Wide 197

tclas writes "The cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus. It's the compressed heart of an old star that was once bright like our Sun but has since faded and shrunk. Astronomers have decided to call the star 'Lucy,' after the Beatles song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.'"

MySQL Cofounder Says Oracle Should Sell Database To a Neutral 3d Party 207

alphadogg writes "Oracle should resolve antitrust concerns over its acquisition of Sun Microsystems by selling open-source database MySQL to a suitable third party, its cofounder and creator Michael 'Monty' Widenius said in a blog post on Monday. Oracle's $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun is currently being held up by an investigation by the European Commission. The Commission's main concern seems to be MySQL, which was acquired by Sun in January 2008 for $1 billion. A takeover by the world's leading proprietary database company of the world's leading open source database company compels the regulator to closely examine the effects on the European market, according to remarks made by Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month. The key objective by Widenius is to find a home outside Oracle for MySQL, where the database can be developed and compete with existing products, including Oracle's, according to Florian Mueller, a former MySQL shareholder who is currently working with Monty Program AB on this matter." Richard Stallman agrees.

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux