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Space

Sun Produces First Cycle 24 X-Class Solar Flare 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-outside-and-look dept.
radioweather writes "For the first time since solar cycle 24 began, the sun produced a massive X-class solar flare, the strongest type of flare event. This comes from sunspot group 1158, which produced an M-class solar flare on Sunday. The EVE X-ray imager on the solar dynamics observatory shows a bright explosion on the sun, so bright it made a lens flare. The last X-class solar flare was on December 13th, 2006 and was part of solar cycle 23. Look for spectacular auroras in a couple days as the slower Coronal Mass Ejection hits earth. This will be a test of how well our newest technology handles stray energy from such solar disruptions."
Mozilla

Mozilla To Protect Adobe Flash Users 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the helping-those-who-don't-help-themselves dept.
juct writes "Beginning with versions 3.5.3 and 3.0.14 of Firefox, Mozilla is going to check the version of installed Adobe Flash plug-ins and warn users if it discovers an outdated version with potential security holes. Mozilla confirmed this new security feature and said that the Flash version check was part of a wider commitment to 'protect users from emerging threats online.' Just recently, a study confirmed that 80 per cent of users surf with a vulnerable version of Adobe's plug-in."
Idle

+ - Philosophies and programming languages->

Submitted by evariste.galois
evariste.galois (1205072) writes "In Wikipedia, in every article for a programming language, there is a special section "Language Philosophy", in which the motivation and the basic principles of the language design are being analyzed. The author is investigating much further than that, the deeper connections between philosophies and programming languages, by considering most influential thinkers of all time (e.g. Plato, Descartes, Kant) and trying to figure out which programming language fits best with most aspects of their own philosophy (Did you know that Kant was the first Python programmer?). The list is not exhaustive, but this is a funny and educative start."
Link to Original Source
The Almighty Buck

Facebook Finds Grass Greener In Ireland 287

Posted by kdawson
from the o'tax-break dept.
theodp writes "Facebook announced it has chosen tax-haven Dublin for its international HQ, but not all are buying COO Sheryl Sandberg's line about local world-class talent being the motivation behind the move. The Irish Times recently reported that Irish subsidiaries owned by US multinationals are opting to convert to unlimited liability status, concealing the financial performance of their Irish operations from public view. They include Microsoft's incredibly profitable Irish subsidiaries Round Island One and Flat Island Company, Google Ireland Holdings, and a subsidiary of Apple Computer. The conversions have occurred as US tax authorities have increased their scrutiny of international mechanisms used by American multinationals to reduce their taxes at home."
Role Playing (Games)

Age of Conan Expansion Coming In 2009 76

Posted by Soulskill
from the moving-right-along dept.
At the recent Leipzig Games Conference, Funcom developers announced that the first expansion to Age of Conan is planned for a 2009 release. Details about the expansion are sparse, but a significant amount of new areas appear to be in development for that and a free upcoming content patch. Massively points out a video which showcases some of the new content. 1Up has a piece of concept art for the expansion.
The Courts

Judge Rules Man Cannot Be Forced To Decrypt HD 775

Posted by kdawson
from the cold-dead-fingers dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "In Vermont, US Magistrate Judge Jerome Niedermeier has ruled that forcing someone to divulge the password to decrypt their hard drive violates the 5th Amendment. Border guards testify that they saw child pornography on the defendant's laptop when the PC was on, but they made the mistake of turning it off and were unable to access it again because the drive was protected by PGP. Although prosecutors offered many ways to get around the 5th Amendment protections, the Judge would have none of that and quashed the grand jury subpoena requesting the defendant's PGP passphrase. A conviction is still likely because prosecutors have the testimony of the two border guards who saw the drive while it was open." The article stresses the potential importance of this ruling (which was issued last November but went unnoticed until now): "Especially if this ruling is appealed, US v. Boucher could become a landmark case. The question of whether a criminal defendant can be legally compelled to cough up his encryption passphrase remains an unsettled one, with law review articles for the last decade arguing the merits of either approach."

Update: 08/19 23:49 GMT by KD : Several readers have pointed out that this story in fact did not go unnoticed.
First Person Shooters (Games)

The Duke Is Finally Back, For Real 309

Posted by kdawson
from the better-be-good dept.
After the first announcement on 1997-04-27 and over eleven years of fresh start after fresh start, Duke Nukem Forever finally comes to your system. At least if your system is an Xbox 360. Jon Siegler, the webmaster of 3D Realms, confirms this on their site: "As has been reported around the net today, we can confirm that the game has indeed passed final certification with Microsoft on Friday the 15th of August (on our first try, no less). That means the game is done — it is now in the hands of Microsoft." Update: 08/19 10:47 GMT by T : Several readers have written with a correction: this announcement is actually about Duke Nukem 3D, rather than Duke Nukem Forever.
Software

+ - Jack Thompson tattles to GTA maker's mum

Submitted by Stony Stevenson
Stony Stevenson (954022) writes "US attorney Jack Thompson, who has campaigned against video game violence, has sent an open letter to the mother of Strauss Zelnick, chairman of video game publisher Take-Two. The letter, which was sent to lawyers representing Zelnick and not directly to Mrs Zelnick, reads as follows: "Dear Mrs. Zelnick: Your son, as you may know (or maybe you don't know), is Chairman of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., whose most popular video games are the Grand Theft Auto murder simulator games banned in some countries but sold to children here. "We've already received numerous [GTA IV] reviews, and to a one, they are perfect scores. My mom couldn't write better reviews..." Taking your son's thought, I would encourage you either to play this game or have an adroit video gamer play it for you. Some of the latter gamers are on death row, so try to find one out in the civilian population who hasn't killed someone yet."
Government

US Group Calls Canada a Top Copyright Violator 293

Posted by kdawson
from the got-tubes-and-not-afraid-to-use-them dept.
eldurbarn tips a CBC story reporting that the US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance claims Canada has joined Russia and China among the biggest violators of US copyright law. Quoting: "The group's report is the latest to urge the US government into pressuring Ottawa to reform copyright laws." As we have previously discussed here, the current Conservative government had planned to introduce a new copyright law, but dissent from the privacy commissioner and a groundswell of public protest delayed that action. eldurbarn adds, "What makes this story so important now is that this pressure is being applied at a time and in a manner that may cause the Canadian government to fall, forcing an election." Meanwhile, on the other side of the rapidly heating debate, Michael Geist blogs about the forces arrayed against a Canadian DMCA. The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright, which includes a who's who of the telecom, Internet, retail, and broadcast communities, has outlined a list of its copyright reform demands.
The Courts

RIAA Wants $1.5 Million Per CD Copied 408

Posted by Zonk
from the even-the-beatles-aren't-that-great dept.
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not content with current statutory damages, the RIAA is pushing for higher damages for infringement, damages that would total $1.5 million for copying a CD with ten songs. It's all part of debate over the proposed PRO-IP Act. William Patry, a lawyer who wrote the seminal seven-volume reference on US copyright law, called it the most 'outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US.'"
United States

Maryland Scraps Diebold Voting System 209

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the long-overdue dept.
beadfulthings writes "After eight years and some $65 million, the state of Maryland is taking its first steps to return to an accountable, paper-ballot based voting system. Governor Martin O'Malley has announced an initial outlay of $6.5 million towards the $20 million cost of an optical system which will scan and tally the votes while the paper ballots are retained as a backup. The new (or old) system is expected to be in place by 2010 — or four years before the state finishes paying off the bill for the touch-screen system."

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