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EU To Vote On Proposal That Could Ban All Online Pornography 853

An anonymous reader writes "The European Union is voting on a proposal next week that could lead to a blanket ban on porn in member states, and it seems the measure may well be approved. The proposal, called 'Eliminating gender stereotypes in the EU,' mentions issues such as women carrying a 'disproportionate share of the burden' when raising a family, violence against women as 'an infringement of human rights,' and gender stereotypes that develop early in life. From the proposal: "Calls on the EU and its Member States to take concrete action on its resolution of 16 September 1997 on discrimination against women in advertising, which called for a ban on all forms of pornography in the media and on the advertising of sex tourism." Update: 03/07 19:05 GMT by T : Pirate MEP Christian Engström writes on his blog that citizens writing to the European Parliament about the proposal are not necessarily being heard: "Before noon, some 350 emails [on this topic] had arrived in my office. But around noon, these mails suddenly stopped arriving. When we started investigating why this happened so suddenly, we soon found out: The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the emails on this issue, after some members of the parliament complained about getting emails from citizens."

DOE Wants 5X Improvement In Batteries In 5 Years 305

dcblogs writes "The U.S. Dept. of Energy has set a goal to develop battery and energy storage technologies that are five times more powerful and five times cheaper within five years. DOE is creating a new center at Argonne National Laboratory, at a cost of $120 million over five years, that's intended to reproduce development environments that were successfully used by Bell Laboratories and World War II's Manhattan Project. 'When you had to deliver the goods very, very quickly, you needed to put the best scientists next to the best engineers across disciplines to get very focused,' said U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, on Friday. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research isn't designed to seek incremental improvements in existing technologies. This technology hub, according to DOE's solicitation (PDF), 'should foster new energy storage designs that begin with a "clean sheet of paper" — overcoming current manufacturing limitations through innovation to reduce complexity and cost.' Other research labs, universities and private companies are participating in the effort."

LiftPort Wants To Build Space Elevator On the Moon By 2020 210

Zothecula writes "When the late Neil Armstrong and the crew of Apollo 11 went to the Moon, they did so sitting atop a rocket the size of a skyscraper that blasted out jets of smoke and flame as it hurtled skyward. For over half a century, that is how all astronauts have gone into space. It's all very dramatic, but it's also expensive. Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to take the elevator? That's the question that Michael Laine, CEO of LiftPort in Seattle, Washington, hopes to answer with the development of a transportation system that swaps space-rockets for space-ribbons. LiftPort ultimately wants to build a space elevator on Earth, but the company isn't planning on doing it in one go. Instead, Laine and his team are settling for a more modest goal – building an elevator on the Moon by 2020. This is much easier. For one thing, there’s no air on the Moon, so no icing problems. Also, the lower gravity means that no unobtainium is needed for the ribbon. Kevlar is strong enough for the job. And finally, there’s very little in the way of satellites or debris to contend with."

Eben Moglen: Time To Apply Asimov's First Law of Robotics To Smartphones 305

Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Free software lawyer and activist Eben Moglen plans to give a talk at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference in New York next month on the need to apply Isaac Asimov's laws of robotics to our personal devices like smartphones. Here's a preview: 'In [1960s] science fiction, visionaries perceived that in the middle of the first quarter of the 21st century, we'd be living contemporarily with robots. They were correct. We do. We carry them everywhere we go. They see everything, they're aware of our position, our relationship to other human beings and other robots, they mediate an information stream about us, which allows other people to predict and know our conduct and intentions and capabilities better than we can predict them ourselves. But we grew up imagining that these robots would have, incorporated in their design, a set of principles. We imagined that robots would be designed so that they could never hurt a human being. These robots have no such commitments. These robots hurt us every day. They work for other people. They're designed, built and managed to provide leverage and control to people other than their owners. Unless we retrofit the first law of robotics onto them immediately, we're cooked.'"

Debate Over Evolution Will Soon Be History, Says Leakey 1226

Hugh Pickens writes "According to noted paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, sometime in the next 15 to 30 years scientific discoveries about evolution will have accelerated to the point that 'even the skeptics can accept it.' 'If you don't like the word evolution, I don't care what you call it, but life has changed. You can lay out all the fossils that have been collected and establish lineages that even a fool could work up. So the question is why, how does this happen? It's not covered by Genesis. There's no explanation for this change going back 500 million years in any book I've read from the lips of any God.' Leakey began his work searching for fossils in the mid-1960s and his team unearthed a nearly complete 1.6-million-year-old skeleton in 1984 that became known as 'Turkana Boy,' the first known early human with long legs, short arms and a tall stature. At 67, Leakey conducts research with his wife, Meave, and daughter, Louise, and the family claims to have unearthed 'much of the existing fossil evidence for human evolution.' Leakey, an atheist, insists he has no animosity toward religion."

British MPs Propose Censoring Internet By Default 255

judgecorp writes "An all-party inquiry by British MPs has proposed the Internet should be censored to prevent children seeing 'adult' content. Users would have to opt in to see adult content. The proposal is similar to that already used by mobile operators." From the article: "The move, first suggested in 2010, has been firmed up , after a cross-party Parliamentary inquiry examined the state of online child protection. The current proposal is a 'network-level "Opt-In" system,' going beyond the 'active choice' model launched by ISPs ... last October. ... They also want the Government to 'consider a new regulatory structure for online content, with one regulator given a lead role in the oversight and monitoring of Internet content distribution and the promotion of Internet safety initiatives.'"

Facebook-Deprived Man Sues For $500K Screenshot-sm 259

broggyr writes "According to a story from MSNBC: 'For Mustafa Fteja, Facebook is more than just a hobby. It's the main way the 30-year-old Albanian native has stayed in touch with friends and family all over the world for three years, and when he was inexplicably cut off from it, he did what every other person in this country seems to do when they're mad enough: he sued. In seeking $500,000, Fteja is suing Facebook for disabling his account, in which he had about 340 friends and family and had spent "timeless hours creating content and relationships [Facebook] benefited from," the suit contends. He wants it back on, and he wants the company to pay for the damage of alienating him from his family and friends (about $1500 per friend/family).' Must be nice when you can use a free site and expect to get paid when they cut you off."

Living Earth Simulator Aims To Simulate Everything 241

H3xx writes "An international group of scientists is aiming to create a simulator — nicknamed The Living Earth Simulator — that will collect data from billions of sources and use it to replicate everything happening on Earth, from global weather patterns and the spread of diseases to international financial transactions or congestion on highways. The project aims to advance the scientific understanding of what is taking place on the planet, encapsulating the human actions that shape societies and the environmental forces that define the physical world. Perhaps this is Asimov's concept of Psychohistory come to fruition."

Crime Expert Backs Call For "License To Compute" 327

The Cable Guy writes to mention that Russel Smith, one of Australia's principal criminologists, is pushing for first-time computer users to be required to earn a license to browse the web. "The Australian Computer Society launched computer driver's licenses in 1999. It aimed to give users a basic level of competency before they started using PCs. But the growth in cybercrime has led to IT security experts such as Eugene Kaspersky to call for more formalized recognition of a user's identity so they can travel the net safely. Last week Dr. Smith sat in front of a Federal Government Inquiry into cybercrime and advised Australia's senior politicians on initiatives in train to fight cybercrime. He said that education was secondary to better technology solutions."
The Internet

Cory Doctorow Says DIY Licensing Will Solve Piracy 189

An anonymous reader writes "The founding editor of Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow, has written a report about 'do-it-yourself' digital licensing, which he's touting as the panacea for piracy. Doctorow's solution for content creators is two-fold: get a Creative Commons license and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income. Doctorow refers to this as the middle ground between simply acquiring a Creative Commons license and hiring expensive lawyers for negotiations. He calls do-it-yourself licensing 'cheap and easy licensing that would turn yesterday's pirates into tomorrow's partners.'"

State Lawmaker Wants To Ban Anonymous Posting Online 471

bfwebster writes "According to a local news article from last week, Kentucky state lawmaker Tim Couch wants to ban anonymous posting on the internet in order to 'cut down on online bullying', which he says has been 'a particular problem in eastern Kentucky.' His bill would require posters to register with their real names and e-mail addresses under threat of fines. Looks like another battle in the right for anonymous free speech."
Linux Business

Submission + - How to learn the fundamentals of computing

Tech Student writes: "In a world of "vendor specific" knowledge, where can one get access to learn the fundamentals of computing when you can't get to a physical college (too far away) and you don't have 10 years to Google everything a bit at a time (and can't always count on the reliability of what you find)? Like many self-taught professionals, I am finding it considerably more difficult to educate myself and grow in the 3 fundamentals (programming, databases & networking) that pertain to the underlying architecture of... well, everything computer related, hardware or software, without becoming vendor oriented.

For example, I don't want to pick up a Linux for Dummies book and only learn Red Hat. On the other hand, I can't program (beyond JavaScript) either, so picking up a book like "Linux Kernel Development" is a bit too advanced. Using the Linux example, I'm looking for something that teaches the *nix OS on a generic level. For example, I want to understand the core directory structure, so no matter where it is off root, I know that a directory called "bin" is used for whatever purpose so I can be productive in any *nix environment and not tied to a certain vendor's distribution.

Another example is fundamental enterprise hardware level knowledge. How do you learn this without having an actual job at a company who uses enterprise equipment (or paying thousands for a vendor specific training course)? I've toyed with the idea of building my own clustered Linux 4 blade server with a 4 disk Fiber Channel SAN using really cheap second or third generation components bought from EBay. But what holds me back is some basic knowledge pertaining to the hardware involved and how it fits together, using any O.S.

Or... is it all as simple as this type of knowledge is where the (employment) money is at and you have to "pay to play" to get there?"

Machines take me by surprise with great frequency. - Alan Turing