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Idle

Submission + - Did You See That Woman...Wait...She's A Robot! (singularityhub.com) 4

Singularity Hub writes: "Check out the HRP-4C robot, one of the first humanoid robots to boldly sidestep the typical transformer look, instead posing as an attractive manga style woman. Is anyone else having flashbacks of the movie Blade Runner where robots are indistinguishable from humans? The HRP-4c robot is slated to strut down the catwalk March 23 (tomorrow) as a model in a Tokyo fashion show."
Education

IT Students Contract Out Coursework To India 642

An anonymous reader writes "Students studying computing in the UK and US are outsourcing their university coursework to graduates in India and Romania. Work is being contracted out for as little as £5 on contract coding websites usually used by businesses. Students are outsourcing everything from simple coursework to full blown final year dissertations. It's causing a major headache for lecturers who say it is almost impossible to detect." The irony, of course, is that if they actually get jobs in the sector, this will be how they actually work anyway.
Microsoft

Bill Gates Chews Out Microsoft 836

s31523 writes "All of us have one time or another been completely frustrated by certain Windows usability issues, and in many cases our experiences have driven us over to Linux, or kept us there. For anyone that has ever been frustrated, you will be happy to know you aren't the only one. After reading this leaked Microsoft memo from Bill Gates back in 2003, you will surely have more insight into why Vista is a complete disaster due to Microsoft not learning anything from their experiences from XP."
Government

White House Refused To Open Unwelcome EPA E-Mail 497

epfreed writes "The White House lost a case in the Supreme Court about the need for the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases. So the EPA made new rule. And now the NYTimes reports that the White House did not want to get these new rules from the EPA about greenhouse gases. So they did not open the email."
Idle

The Bathroom Server 6

A company was told that when their lease was up they'd have to move to a new suite a floor below. A new business would be taking over their space. This wouldn't have been a problem, except that they had just built a server room in the back of their office — equipped with air conditioning units, ventilation, dedicated and backup power — which couldn't be relocated. The solution building management came up with was to wall off the old door to the server closet and allow access to the server room via the handicapped stall in the ladies restroom. The door in our handicapped bathroom just leads to Narnia.
Microsoft

Microsoft Applies For "Digital Manners" Patent 289

SirLurksAlot writes "Ars Technica reports that Microsoft has recently applied for a patent for a technology which would attempt to enforce manners in the use of cell phones, digital cameras, DVRs and other digital devices. According to the article, the technology could be used to bring common social conventions such as 'No flash photography' and 'No talking out loud' to these devices by disabling features or disabling the device entirely. The article also points out that the technology could be implemented in situations involving sensitive equipment, such as in airplanes or hospitals. The patent application itself is also an interesting read, as it describes a number of possible uses for the technology, including 'in particular zones to limit the speed and/or acceleration of vehicles, to require the use of lights, to verify an indication of insurance coverage and/or current registration, or the like.' While this technology could certainly be of interest to any number of organizations one has to wonder how the individuals who own devices which obey so-called 'Digital Manners Policies' would feel about it."
The Courts

Porn Found On L.A. Obscenity Case Judge's Website 393

Stanislav_J writes "In a bizarre revelation, the judge who is presiding over the Isaacs obscenity trial in Los Angeles was found to have sexually explicit material on a publicly-accessible website. Alex Kozinski, chief judge of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, acknowledged that he had posted the materials, but says he believed the site to be for personal storage only, and not accessible to the public (though he does acknowledge sharing some of the material with friends). The files included images of masturbation, public sex, contortionist sex, a transsexual striptease, a photo of naked women on all fours painted to look like cows, and a video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal. The latter two are especially ironic in that the trial involves the distribution of allegedly obscene sexual fetish videos depicting bestiality, among other things, by Ira Isaacs, an L.A. filmmaker."
Mars

NASA's Phoenix Finally Fills Oven 134

JoeRobe writes "Phoenix has successfully filled oven #4 of the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer instrument (TEGA). They have spent several days now vibrating the screen above the oven, trying to get a significant amount of soil sample into it. From the article: '[T]he oven might have filled because of the cumulative effects of all the vibrating, or because of changes in the soil's cohesiveness as it sat for days on the top of the screen.' Either way, this is the first step toward getting some interesting data from this instrument."
The Courts

Sudoku Addicts Stop Trial 1

A four-month-long drug trial that cost over $1 million has been aborted after it was found that jurors were playing the puzzle game sudoku while evidence was being given. Sydney District Court Judge Peter Zahra stopped the trial after the jury foreperson told him that four to five jurors were playing up to half the time the trial had been going on. Everyone knows that if you get bored on a jury you should watch a movie on your iPod, take a nap or work on your manifesto.
Space

NASA Plans Probe to the Sun 352

FudRucker writes "For more than 400 years, astronomers have studied the sun from afar. Now NASA has decided to go there. 'We are going to visit a living, breathing star for the first time,' says program scientist Lika Guhathakurta of NASA Headquarters. 'This is an unexplored region of the solar system and the possibilities for discovery are off the charts.'"
Security

Study Links Storm Botnet's Growth To Illegal Drugs 207

talkinsecurity writes "Researchers at IronPort today published a study which claims to have found the 'smoking gun' that links the rapid growth of the Storm botnet to spammers that sell prescription drugs illegally over the Internet. The study shows that more than 80 percent of Storm-generated spam is advertising online pharmacy brands, and further investigation showed that spam templates, credit card processing, product fulfillment and customer support are all being provided by a 'Russian criminal organization' that operates in conjunction with Storm. This criminal organization recruits botnet spamming partners to advertise their illegal pharmacy Websites, which receive a 40 percent commission on sales orders. IronPort went as far as to do pharmacological testing on the products, and found that two-thirds of the drugs contained the wrong dosage of the active ingredient, and the rest were placebos."
Communications

Study Finds Instant Messaging Helps Productivity 149

MojoKid writes "Researchers at Ohio State University and the University of California, Irvine conducted a telephone study by randomly surveying individuals employed full-time who use computers in an office environment at least five hours per week. They netted 912 respondents, of which 29.8 percent claimed to use IM in the workplace 'to keep connected with coworkers and clients.' Neither occupation, education, gender, nor age seem to have an impact on whether an individual is an IM user or not. The study theorizes that using IM enables individuals to 'flag their availability.' Doing so can limit when IM interruptions occur. Even if an IM interruption comes when it is not necessarily convenient to the recipient, it is 'often socially acceptable' to ignore an incoming message or respond with a terse reply stating that the recipient is too busy at the moment to properly respond." Also another study recently found that water is wet, and a third study found that most studies waste money.

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