Brickwall writes "Florida, faced with a problem of crocodiles returning to residential neighborhoods after being relocated elsewhere, is trying to solve it by affixing magnets to the crocs' heads. The theory is the crocodiles use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation, and the magnets may interfere with that. What I'd like to know is, whose job is it to put the magnets on?" So far the magnet program appears to be working, unfortunately the crocs have started to collect huge amounts of take-out menus and child artwork.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, a Pennsylvania case in which the RIAA's statutory damages theory — seeking from 2,200 to 450,000 times the amount of actual damages — is being tested, the US Department of Justice has just filed papers indicating that it is considering intervening in the case to defend the constitutionality of such awards, and requesting an extension of time (PDF) in which to decide whether such intervention 'is appropriate.' This is an early test of whether President Obama will make good on his promises (a) not to allow industry insiders to participate in cases affecting the industry they represented (the 2nd and 3rd highest DOJ officials are RIAA lawyers) and (b) to look out for ordinary citizens rather than big corporations."
Worlds in Motion is running an interview with GMG Entertainment, a company finding success marketing pre-paid "digital currency cards" used online for games and other entertainment services. Customers and retailers alike are enjoying the simplicity and utility of the cards, and GMG suggests that this segment of the industry will only continue to grow: "I estimate this year that you'll see EA enter this space for some of their games, and a few other big names are absolutely interested. In fact we're in final negotiations with a couple of recognizable names. We tend to estimate the size of the total pre-paid gaming card business when we do our numbers, and this year we're looking to something between $75-100 million dollars in sales across North America. We see that going to $250-300 million in 2009 and being in the region of a half-billion by 2010. We see this market growing dramatically in the next two to five years."
So then they'd be releasing a program that hadn't been tested as thoroughly. Beta means you're testing it by using it, whether you like it or not.
Wiseleo writes "Yahoo decided to massively screw up their entire userbase by changing all user profiles to blank. No warning, no automated way to get data back, and other unwanted changes. The blog has such choice quotes as 'We know this has been a rough transition for some of you and, and are committed to helping you use, understand, and (hopefully) enjoy your new profile,' and, 'We also know lots of you worked hard on your old profiles and want your data. If you feel like you're missing data, we've saved a copy of your old profile (and alias) and our Customer Care team can retrieve this information. You won't, however, be able to revert back to your old profile format, but you will be able to get any data that you think is missing. To do this, please go here to contact Customer Care.' There were 850 comments posted, all negative, on the first day. There are hundreds more today. There is even more outrage on the Yahoo Messenger blog."
truthsearch writes "Defendants can't deny police an encryption key because of fears the data it unlocks will incriminate them, a British appeals court has ruled. The case marked an interesting challenge to the UK's Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which in part compels someone served under the act to divulge an encryption key used to scramble data on a PC's hard drive. The appeals court heard a case in which two suspects refused to give up encryption keys, arguing that disclosure was incompatible with the privilege against self incrimination. In its ruling, the appeals court said an encryption key is no different than a physical key and exists separately from a person's will."
According to a study to be published in The Journal of Political Psychology, you can tell someone's political affiliation by looking at the condition of their offices and bedrooms. Conservatives tend to be neat and liberals love a mess. Researchers found that the bedrooms and offices of liberals tend to be colorful and full of books about travel, ethnicity, feminism and music, along with music CDs covering folk, classic and modern rock, as well as art supplies, movie tickets and travel memorabilia. Their conservative contemporaries, on the other hand, tend to surround themselves with calendars, postage stamps, laundry baskets, irons and sewing materials. Their bedrooms and offices are well lit and decorated with sports paraphernalia and flags — especially American ones. Sam Gosling, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, says these room cues are "behavioral residue." The findings are just the latest in a series of recent attempts to unearth politics in personality, the brain and DNA. I, for one, support a woman's right to clean.
Roland Piquepaille writes "In Plastics' Day in Surgery, Red Herring reports that an international team of U.S. and German researchers has developed a new kind of plastic that can shift between three different shapes when the temperature increases. Even if these polymeric triple-shape materials have not emerged from the lab, they could eventually be employed as removable 'stents' and self-closing fasteners used by surgeons and more generally by the healthcare industry. The Emerging Tech ZDNet blog has additional references and pictures of these morphing plastics."