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Idle

+ - Harry Potter blamed for India's disappearing owls-> 2 2

GillBates0 writes: Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blamed fans of Harry Potter for the demise of wild owls in the country as children seek to emulate the boy wizard by taking the birds as pets. Following Harry Potter, there seems to be a strange fascination even among the urban middle classes for presenting their children with owls," Ramesh said Wednesday, according to comments reported by the BBC.
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Google

+ - Google Admits To Collecting Emails and Passwords!->

wiredmikey writes: Alan Eustace, Senior VP, Engineering & Research Google, in an interesting blog post on how Google will be creating stronger privacy controls, slipped in some very interesting information at the end of his post, disclosing that after Streetview WiFi Payload data was analyzed by regulators, their investigations revealed that some incredibly private information was harvested in some cases.

Eustace noted that "It’s clear from those inspections that while most of the data is fragmentary, in some instances entire emails and URLs were captured, as well as passwords."

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Idle

+ - Pirate Parties Plan to Shoot Site Into Orbit->

palmerj3 writes: It is almost four years ago that The Pirate Bay announced they wanted to buy the micronation of Sealand, so they could host their site without having to bother about copyright law – an ambitious plan that turned out to be unaffordable. This week, Pirate Parties worldwide started brainstorming about a similarly ambitious plan. Instead of founding their own nation, they want to shoot a torrent site into orbit.
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+ - NRO Warns They are on Final IPv4 Address Blocks-> 1 1

eldavojohn writes: According to the Number Resources Organization, they will have issued their final twelve IPv4 blocks in a few months. Each block is 16 million addresses and represents 1/256 of the total addresses issued. We are now down to 12 blocks left in the global pool for issuing to Regional Internet Registries who will then assign the last addresses that will run out sometime later in 2011. The pool of free addresses works out to be less than half of where we were in January. The new numbers from the NRO indicate estimated global pool IP address exhaustion in a few months with the final registrations in late 2011, a year earlier than they estimated at the beginning of 2010.
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The Internet

+ - IPv4 Space Shrinks To 5%->

mayberry42 writes:

The Number Resource Organization, the coordinating mechanism for the five Regional Internet Registries or RIRs, this morning announced that less than 5% of the world’s IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) addresses remain unallocated. The IPv4 pool first dipped below 10% in January 2010, and in the next nine months some 200 million addresses have subsequently been allocated from the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to the RIRs.

NRO anticipates to allocate the last IPv4 address blocks to the registries within months.


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Social Networks

+ - Facebook Implements 'Download Your Profile' Option->

eldavojohn writes: Facebook is rolling out some new changes (including groups) that are supposed to liberate user control. But something that might interest Slashdot readers even more is that they now allow you to download all your information from Facebook. That's everything, all your posts, pictures, videos, friend lists, etc. A video from David of the Open Source team at Facebook explains how it will work although I don't see that option on my profile yet (they are slowly rolling it out). There's not a lot of details it but they at least require you to click a link from an e-mail and reenter your password to get this (to avoid spambots harvesting everyone's data and careless use of public computers resulting in data leaks). Perhaps competitors like Diaspora would be interested in using this base information to germinate user seeds?
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+ - Postdoc Sabotages Grad Student's Cells->

Zerocool3001 writes: "A Nature articles describes how a postdoc was caught dousing a graduate student's cell culture with ethanol to sabotage the graduate student's experiments. The postdoc was only caught after the graduate student got suspicious and called the police who tried to investigate her first and finally placed hidden cameras in the lab. The postdoc was charged, confessed, and finally fled the country.

Those of us in research (especially academic) will be familiar with this sort of thing. It is a little refreshing to know that it happens to other people too."

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Science

+ - Barcode of Life

JamJam writes: Using barcodes assigned to unique DNA identifiers, scientists are working on a handheld scanner that would allow you to identify any plant or bug that you come across. Acting similar to a StarTrek Tricoder the handheld device would display the name of the species, its origin and an encyclopedic description of any living thing you touch with it. According to Barcode of Life Data Systems close to 80,000 species have already been assigned DNA barcodes with 500,000 to be added within the next 5 years.

+ - The greenest datacentre on earth->

An anonymous reader writes: Capgemini has touting its Merlin datacentre in the UK as the most sustainable in the world. This story explains how it's justifying its claim and shows what technology is being used to make it as sustainable as possible. And it's not just about PUE...
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+ - Nations Differ on "Information Weapons"->

DrgnDancer writes: There's an interesting story on NPR's website about recent efforts to control so called "information weapons" on the Internet. What's interesting here is that the term "information weapon", as defined by many of the countries trying to limit them, doesn't mean what you would think. From the article:

"At a U.N. disarmament conference in 2008, Sergei Korotkov of the Russian Defense Ministry argued that anytime a government promotes ideas on the Internet with the goal of subverting another country's government — even in the name of democratic reform — it should qualify as "aggression." And that, in turn, would make it illegal under the U.N. Charter.

"Practically any information operation conducted by a state or a number of states against another state would be qualified as an interference into internal affairs," Korotkov said through an interpreter. So any good cause, like [the] promotion of democracy, cannot be used as a justification for such actions.""

The Russians, and a lot of other countries (Iran and China notable among them), apparently consider the free exchange of information to be an information technology threat. One that must be managed by treaty.

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Patents

+ - ‘Preliminary’ finding invalidates VoIP->

netbuzz writes: The finding by the U.S. Patent Office is only preliminary, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls it “an important first step in busting a patent that stifles innovation and the use of VoIP as a free speech tool.” C2 Communications has used the patent to extract one-time payments from the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Qwest.
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+ - Dimensions go "poof" in quantum gravity->

techbeat writes: Forget Flatland, writes New Scientist. Several different quantum gravity theories all predict the same strange behaviour at small scales: fields and particles start to behave as if space is one-dimensional. It's an observation that could bring together several disparate attempts to unite quantum mechanics and general relativity. To explain how dimensions could vanish, Steven Carlip at the University of California, Davis turns to the idea of "quantum foam", in which quantum fluctuations alter the geometry of space-time, rendering it choppy and inhomogeneous at small scales.
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