jfruh writes "Uber may seem like an unstoppable juggernaut, but its main carhailing service rival Lyft isn't giving up. The company just raised half a billion dollars in funding, much of it from Japanese investors. From the article: "Lyft has raised US$530 million in its latest funding round, and plans to use the money to beef up its IT staff, expand its footprint and boost existing services. Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten led the round. With the latest cash infusion, Lyft has raised a total of $862 million from investors. The ride-hailing company is now reportedly valued at $2.5 billion."
An anonymous reader writes with this news from the UK, as reported by Ars Technica: A 39-year-old UK man has been convicted of possessing illegal cartoon drawings of young girls exposing themselves in school uniforms and engaging in sex acts. The case is believed to be the UK's first prosecution of illegal manga and anime images. Local media said that Robul Hoque was sentenced last week to nine months' imprisonment, though the sentence is suspended so long as the defendant does not break the law again. Police seized Hoque's computer in 2012 and said they found nearly 400 such images on it, none of which depicted real people but were illegal nonetheless because of their similarity to child pornography. Hoque was initially charged with 20 counts of illegal possession but eventually pled guilty to just 10 counts.
New submitter Rideak writes with this excerpt from CNet about an ITC ruling against Motorola in their case against Apple for violating a few of their proximity sensor patents: "The U.S. International Trade Commission today ended Motorola's case against Apple, which accused the iPhone and Mac maker of patent infringement. In a ruling (PDF), the ITC said that Apple was not violating Motorola's U.S. patent covering proximity sensors, which the commission called 'obvious.' It was the last of six patents Motorola aimed at Apple as part of an October 2010 complaint."
It took me about an hour to solve it. I printed it out and additionally to filling in letters I marked the cells where I am not 100% sure that I had the correct letter. I had to do some rollbacks of a few marked cells. I'd say it is as hard as a medium sudoku.
kkleiner writes "On the coattails of CERN's success with the Large Hadron Collider, Europeans and the world at large have another grand science project to be excited about: the Extreme Light Infrastructure project to build the most powerful laser ever constructed. These lasers will be intense enough to perform electron dynamics experiments at very short time scales or venture into relativistic optics, opening up an entirely new field of physics for study. Additionally, the lasers could be combined to generate a super laser that would shoot into space, similar to the combined laser effect of the Death Star in the Star Wars trilogy, though the goal is to study particles in space, not annihilate planets."
Even though I lack any surprise in this announcement, and would actually have been surprised if no 0-day had arisen within the first week after release, please kindly allow me to express, and excuse if it may sound a little childish, my first reaction:
hypnosec writes "Entire cities in the World of Warcraft have been destroyed with no one spared, not even the NPCs. About 13:00 GMT, forums on WOW started getting the first comments from users regarding players and NPCs dying on the Ragnaros-EU realm in Orgrimmar. Users of the online game started reporting that Draenor had a similar sight to offer. Some of the other realms where this was reported include Tarren Mill, and Twisting Nether." Also at Joystiq, and (with more screenshots) at WCCF Tech, which reports that "it appears the damage is most severe in World of Warcraft European servers."
bbianca127 writes "A study has found that fast-food logos are branded into the minds of children at an early age, perhaps fueling the U.S.'s obesity epidemic. The study showed children 60 logos from popular food brands and 60 logos from popular non-food brands. Researchers found that, when shown images of fast-food brands, the parts of kids' brains linked with pleasure and appetite lit up. This is concerning because marketers tap into those portions of the brain long before children develop self-control, and most foods marketed to kids are high in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat."
SchrodingerZ writes "The nuclear power station on Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania shut down abruptly this afternoon. Its shutdown was caused when one of four coolant pumps for a reactor failed to work. 'The Unit 1 reactor shut off automatically about 2:20 p.m., the plant's owner, Exelon Corporation, reported. There is no danger to the public, but the release of steam in the process created "a loud noise heard by nearby residents," the company said.' If radiation was released into the environment, it is so low that it thus far has not been detected. The plant is a 825-megawatt pressurized water reactor, supplying power to around 800,000 homes, thought there has been no loss of electrical service. Three Mile Island was the site of a partial nuclear meltdown in 1979. The Unit 2 reactor has not been reactivated since."
An anonymous reader writes "An article at CNET discusses Google's ever-expanding role in search, and where it's heading over the next several years. The author argues it's becoming less of a discrete tool and more an integrated extension of our own minds. He rattles off a list of pie-in-the-sky functions Google could perform, which would have sounded ridiculous a decade ago. But in 2012.. not so much. Quoting: 'Think of Google diagnosing your daughter's illness early based on where she's been, how alert she is, and her skin's temperature, then driving your car to school to bring her home while you're at work. Or Google translating an incomprehensible emergency announcement while you're riding a train in foreign country. Or Google steering your investment portfolio away from a Ponzi scheme. Google, in essence, becomes a part of you. Imagine Google playing a customized audio commentary based on what you look at while on a tourist trip and then sharing photo highlights with your friends as you go. Or Google taking over your car when it concludes based on your steering response time and blink rate that you're no longer fit to drive. Or your Google glasses automatically beaming audio and video to the police when you say a phrase that indicates you're being mugged.'"
New submitter yukiloo writes "An early Christmas treat for the ordinary Joe who is stuck with a Christmas list that he cannot afford and is running out of time comes from two mathematicians (Evangelos Georgiadis, MIT, and Doron Zeilberger, Rutgers) and a computer scientist (Shalosh B. Ekhad). In their paper 'How to gamble if you're in a hurry,' they present algorithmic strategies and reclaim the world of gambling, which they say has up till recently flourished on the continuous Kolmogorov paradigm by some sugary discrete code that could make us hopefully richer, if not wiser. It's interesting since their work applies an advanced version of what seems to be the Kelly criterion."
Google announced yesterday that it is closing a number of its current products and merging others into similar services. Many of them will continue to be available in the near future to facilitate the transition. The list of affected services includes Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscriber Links. Google's Alan Eustace wrote. "This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people. All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products. As for our users, we’ll communicate directly with them as we make these changes, giving sufficient time to make the transition and enabling them to take their data with them." The link contains brief descriptions of how each service is getting phased out.
castrox writes with an in-depth followup to a story we discussed in June: "Sharing links online, particularly links to copyrighted material, may render you extradited to the United States of America. 'In May, American law enforcement officials opened up yet another front in this war by seeking the extradition of Richard O'Dwyer. The 23-year-old British college student is currently working on his BS in interactive media and animation. Until last year, he ran a "link site" that helped users find free movies and TV shows, many of them infringing. American officials want to try him on charges of criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy.' The case is unique because the site, which the accused Englishman ran, was not located in the US in any way. Does this set a new precedent of things to come? The agency responsible for the extradition request is Immigrations and Customs Enforcement."