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The Courts

RIAA's Oppenheim Tries To Protect MediaSentry 216

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's 'Prince of Darkness,' Washington DC lawyer Matthew Jan Oppenheim of The Oppenheim Group, who controls and supervises all of the RIAA litigations against ordinary folks, has requested permission to intervene in the 'probable cause' hearing scheduled next week in Raleigh, North Carolina, against MediaSentry. The hearing was convened by North Carolina's Private Protective Services Board, after complaints were filed by a law firm representing a number of North Carolina State University students who had been targeted by the RIAA based on the unlicensed 'investigation' conducted by SafeNet (the new name for MediaSentry). I guess the RIAA is worried. They should be."

Submission + - Fundraiser for "white male" illness droppe (

gubachwa writes: The student association at Carleton University in Canada recently voted that Cystic Fibrosis was a charity unworthy of receiving money raised during orientation week fund-raising activities. The reason behind the decision, as given in the motion on which the student association voted, is that Cystic Fibrosis "has been recently revealed to only affect white people, and primarily men."

Submission + - Software engineer is top U.S. "mental athlete& (

gubachwa writes: Remembering a phone number or a person's name is likely child's play for Chester Santos, a 31-year-old software engineer from San Francisco. Today Santos won a competition in which he was awarded the title of having the best memory the United States. This competition is not for the feint of heart. Santos was given a deck of 52 cards whose order he had to memorize in under 5 minutes, which he then recited in front of an audience. Full story here.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Historical Look At First Linux Kernel (

LinuxFan writes: KernelTrap has a fascinating article about the first Linux kernel, version 0.01, complete with source code and photos of Linus Torvalds as a young man attending the University of Helsinki. Torvalds originally planned to call the kernel "Freax", and in his first announcement noted, "I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones." He also stressed that the kernel was very much tied to the i386 processor, "simply, I'd say that porting is impossible." Humble beginnings.

Feed Techdirt: EFF Sues Universal Music For Getting Home Video Of Kid Dancing Pulled From YouTu (

Earlier this year, the EFF sued Viacom for being overly aggressive in trying to police its copyrighted content on YouTube. Specifically, Viacom had sent a DMCA takedown notice for a parody clip of The Colbert Report that was clearly protected by fair use. After first denying it had sent the takedown notice, Viacom eventually 'fessed up and then settled the case, promising to be much more mindful of not pulling clips that have a clear fair use defense, and also making it easier for those whose videos were wrongly pulled to get them back online. If you thought that others in the entertainment industry might take notice of this and be a bit more careful about things, you'd be wrong apparently.

The EFF has felt the need to step in again, this time suing Universal Music for getting a home video of a little kid dancing pulled from YouTube. The video is only 29-seconds long and is clearly fair use. More importantly, there is simply no way that anyone would claim that this somehow hurt the commercial value of the song (well, I guess Universal Music implicitly was claiming exactly that). No one is going to use this 29-second clip as a substitute for getting the actual song. In fact, if anything, the video might encourage people to go out and find the song to purchase. Also amusing, of course, is that the song in question is by Prince, who's been in the news quite a bit lately for having a much better understanding of how the music industry works than those who run the record labels. Either way, it appears that the EFF is building up a number of such DMCA-abuse cases -- and it seems likely that they'll eventually use these to demonstrate the problems of the DMCA.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Trapped atoms could lead to quantum computing brea (

An anonymous reader writes: Research being carried out at the National Institute of Standards and Technology could led to massive advances in quantum computing. According to this report by IT Pro, scientists have managed to construct a lattice of rubidium atom pairs that swap spins states. This swapping creates a logical operations such as an if/then statement. If two atoms or quantum bits have opposing states then they should exchange values. The scientists reckon this type of computing could solve problems in hours that today's supercomputers would take years to crack.

Feed Science Daily: Antibiotic Resistance: Doctors' Antibiotic Prescribing Practices Still Contribut (

General practitioners are still prescribing antibiotics for up to 80 percent of cases of sore throat, otitis media, upper respiratory tract infections, and sinusitis, despite the fact that official guidance warns against this practice, according to an analysis of the world's largest primary care database of consultations and prescriptions.

Submission + - Deep packet inspection meets Net neutrality, CALEA (

EncryptKeeper writes: Ars Technica has a in-depth (an disturbing) feature on deep packet inspection. ISPs are starting to turn to deep packet inspection to monitor their network, and more troubling, look at how they can use it to shape, block, monitor, and prioritize traffic. 'The "deep" in deep packet inspection refers to the fact that these boxes don't simply look at the header information as packets pass through them. Rather, they move beyond the IP and TCP header information to look at the payload of the packet. The goal is to identify the applications being used on the network, but some of these devices can go much further; those from a company like Narus, for instance, can look inside all traffic from a specific IP address, pick out the HTTP traffic, then drill even further down to capture only traffic headed to and from Gmail, and can even reassemble emails as they are typed out by the user.'

Submission + - Americans Clueless About Cancer Risks (

Invisible Pink Unicorn writes: "A study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that a surprising number of Americans believe scientifically dubious claims concerning cancer, and that the groups with the greatest burden of cancer are the most likely to be misinformed. For example, the majority of survey respondents didn't think smoking was more likely to cause lung cancer than pollution — despite 87% of lung cancer cases being due to smoking. The most interesting finding was that people who described themselves as knowing the most about cancer were more likely to have false beliefs. Participants who labeled themselves as "very informed" about cancer were more likely to believe underwire bras cause breast cancer, or that quitting smoking did nothing to reduce cancer risks. The article abstract is availabe from the journal Cancer."

Feed Techdirt: Tech Innovators Aren't Big Offshorers (

For years, we've been pointing out that the worries about offshoring have been greatly overhyped. In fact, a new study points out that, despite popular opinion, offshoring isn't particular popular in the tech industry -- especially among companies doing serious innovation. It is more popular in the banking and insurance industries, to be sure, but the tech industry has learned that you don't outsource the actual innovation. That's because innovation isn't a commodity that goes to the cheapest workers. It requires the best workers. Of course, if our immigration policy continues to keep some of the most qualified workers in other countries, then we should expect more innovation to shift overseas as well. That's why it's never made much sense that the same folks who are against offshoring are often against increasing the number of H1-B and other visas for highly skilled foreigners. If you keep them out of the country, the work will only go to where they are. However, if the best innovators are here, then that's where the innovation will stay and there's less incentive to offshore work.

Feed Science Daily: Obesity Is 'Socially Contagious' (

Are your friends making you fat? Or keeping you slender? According to new research the short answer on both counts is "yes." The study suggests that obesity is "socially contagious," spreading from person to person in a social network.

Submission + - Obesity is socially contagious (

gubachwa writes: U.S. researchers have found that obesity can spread through a network of friends, just like the common cold or a penchant for a new style of jeans. So even if you are trying to diet, laying off that Twinkie might not be enough. If your best buddy is still reaching for a bag of chips, his weight gain may eventually be your weight gain as well.

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan