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Submission + - China Explores a Frontier Two Miles Under the Sea (nytimes.com)

pickens writes: The NY Times reports that earlier this summer when three Chinese scientists descended more than two miles in a craft the size of a small truck and planted their nation’s flag on the dark seabed, they signaled Beijing's intention to take the lead in exploring remote and inaccessible parts of the ocean floor which are rich in oil, minerals and other resources that the Chinese would like to mine. "They're in it for a penny and a pound," says Dr. Don Walsh, a pioneer of deep-ocean diving. "It's a very deliberate program." The global seabed is littered with what experts say is trillions of dollars' worth of mineral nodules as well as many objects of intelligence value: undersea cables carrying diplomatic communications, lost nuclear arms, sunken submarines and hundreds of warheads left over from missile tests. The small craft that made the trip — named Jiaolong, after a mythical sea dragon — is meant to go as deep as 7,000 meters, or 4.35 miles, edging out the current global leader but China is moving cautiously, its dives going deeper in increments. "They're being very cautious," Walsh adds. "They respect what they don't know and are working hard to learn."

Icelandic Company Designs Human Pylons Screenshot-sm 142

Lanxon writes "An architecture and design firm called Choi+Shine has submitted a design for the Icelandic High-Voltage Electrical Pylon International Design Competition which proposes giant human-shaped pylons carrying electricity cables across the country's landscape, reports Wired. The enormous figures would only require slight alterations to existing pylon designs, says the firm, which was awarded an Honorable mention for its design by the competition's judging board. It also won an award from the Boston Society of Architects Unbuilt Architecture competition."

Submission + - A Tale of Two mooches

dynamo writes: "My brother Dave* and I just released mooch, an iPhone app for keeping track of loans between friends (ex: borrowing $10 for a movie ticket.) When we started, we did some research and, amazingly, there didn't seem to be any iPhone apps out there that did this already. We researched available names during the design process, and eventually settled on "mooch", because lowercase utility names just feel right. mooch version 1.0 was completed and submitted to Apple on Aug. 2nd.

On Sep. 17th, after roughly six weeks** of "in-review" status, mooch posted to the App Store. We were thrilled — until we found out that another app with very similar functionality had been released two days earlier on the 15th (but that had been submitted after ours) — and with a nearly identical name — "Mooch! (IOU)". There are some minor differences in the UI and feature set, but the core functionality is the same as mooch's. (ex: They have a button to send a deadbeat friend reminders per transaction, we have a button to send a reminder email per friend, with the current total and transaction history.)

So, what do you do in this situation? Well, you compete, obviously, and of course we intend to do that. There are enough potential customers for more than one personal loan management app. Our concern is the similarity in name combined with the similarity in function. I can't just say to buy the app called mooch that tracks personal loans, and expect someone to find it, I have to say to get the mooch with the hand grabbing the cash icon. We've pretty much decided not to ask them to change their name — mostly because we don't want to be dicks about it, but also because we probably don't have the legal / financial resources available to make them if they don't want to.

The other issue is that we have a long list of planned features, some of which are already implemented in their application — for example, attaching a photo to a transaction. It seems likely enough that the reverse is true as well. Is it better to announce new features in advance to avoid looking like we copied them, or to keep it under wraps so as not to tip off the competition? Do we have to worry about anything resembling patent issues?

* Dave incidentally also works on the Frankencamera, which was featured on Slashdot a few weeks ago.
** For completeness, about 4 weeks into the review process, Apple very reasonably asked that a small change be made to the UI. We made the change, tested it, and resubmitted within 48 hours."

Submission + - Wolfenstein Being Recalled in Germany (ign.com) 1

D1gital_Prob3 writes: "September 22, 2009 — PCGames.de is reporting Wolfenstein, the latest iteration on the classic first-person shooter from Activision, is being recalled from retails shelves in Germany due to the inclusion of the swastika symbol found somewhere in the game. The German version was supposed to have all symbols removed.

Exact details are a bit fuzzy at the moment, as most of this information is coming via translation; however, it's believed Activision is going to make a statement on this matter this week.

As Planet Wolfenstein points out, two developers on the project, Raven Software and Endrant, have both been part of massive employee layoffs recently. If the German version needs to be edited, perhaps another studio will have to do the legwork."


Submission + - Gates Foundation vs. Openness in Research (iht.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: There have been complaints within the World Health Organization of some oddly familiar-sounding tactics and attitudes by the Gates Foundation. Scientists who were once open with their research are now 'locked up in a cartel' and are financially motivated to support other scientists within the Foundation. Diversity of views is 'stifled', dominance is bought, and GF views are pushed with 'intense and aggressive opposition'. Who would have thought?

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader