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Businesses

+ - SPAM: The web vs. U.S. Bank

Submitted by
destinyland
destinyland writes "Online information is creating problems for U.S. Bancorp. A new federal law lets customers opt-out of high-fee overdraft protection. In October a consumer site published an internal U.S. Bancorp memo, which inspired a Washington customer to confront a local manager who insisted that opting out was impossible. He ultimately received an apology from the bank's CEO — but two days later recorded the bank's tellers again wrongly advising customers that opting out was impossible. Now he's posted the audio recording online, targetting the $50 billion a year banks earn from their "courtesy" overdraft protection."
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Education

Male Brains 'Wired for Videogame Obsession' 125

Posted by Zonk
from the i-can-quit-anytime-i-wan-ding! dept.
thinkzinc notes a story indicating that, according to a new study, men have a harder time putting down a controller than women do. Researchers at Stanford did brain imaging work on a group of young test subjects while they played a simple PC game. Besides the 'obvious' conclusion that men were more 'aggressive at gaining territory on the screen', the tests also indicated that male brains showed more activity in the reward and addiction components of the brain. "The lead author, Dr. Allan Reiss, noted that most of the video games that are popular with men are territory and aggression-type games. 'These gender differences in the brain may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become hooked on video games than females,' he said. Other recent surveys indicate that about 40 percent of Americans regularly play games on a computer or console, but young males are two or three times more likely than females to feel addicted to video games, Reiss said. "
Idle

Store Stops Selling Lolita Bed

Posted by samzenpus
If the people who run Woolworth's website had ever read the famous Nabokov novel, seen one of the 2 movies based on it or listened to the police in the 80's they might have known that calling a line of beds for little girls, the Lolita line, wasn't the best Idea. "Now this has been brought to our attention, the product has been removed from sale with immediate effect. We will be talking to the supplier with regard to how the branding came about." says the company. Other controversial products like the Cobain trigger lock and Ahmadinejad's big book of fictional atrocities are still on the shelves.
Privacy

+ - FBI data-mines grocery stores. Did Visa/MC help?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Recent media reports indicate that in 2005-06, the FBI went trawling through grocery store records in order to track down Iranian terror cells. They hoped to be able to locate Iranians through the purchase of specific food items. The problem with this, of course, is that most Iranians buy their middle eastern food at small ethnic markets, and not the big supermarket chains — for the simple reason that muslims are required to eat halal meat, which is not sold in most places. The majority of mom and pop ethnic markets do not have the detailed computer purchase histories that Safeway or Whole Foods have. Thus, what is more likely is that the FBI simply put together a list of everyone who had purchased anything at a middle eastern food market. As this "CNET article discusses, all signs point to the credit card companies (Visa, Mastercard, Amex) providing this data, and not the individual stores. This could be the tip of a (potentially illegal) data-mining iceberg. http://www.cnet.com/8301-13739_1-9812473-46.html"
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The Internet

+ - School shooting at .fi after YouTube videos

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Today a school shooting took place in Finnish school of Jokela, Tuusula. My big condolences to all families and friends of its victims. :(

A student with obvious mental problems took lives of seven people (status at 15:51 +2UTC, one critical with head wound in hospital) with .22 caliber pistol. His is now in police custody. According to his now closed youtube account his previous account got removed: YouTube suspended my previous account but I am back now :) My new account name is German and means "Stormspirit" in English. — reasons that it was full of similar videos showing that he is planning this massacre. People at Youtube and its users surely think that they should have done more than close his account. The question is, how many others are out there, and will we learn something about this? How this will change our access to online services like youtube and goverment reactions to such cases in the future? Finnish PM Matti Vanhanen already stated that it's extremely difficult to prepare to such incidents but I don't fully agree with him as there were clear evident in youtube days before and lot of people saw it.

A really sad story indeed. :("
Biotech

+ - Your Brain Knows More than You Do

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens
Hugh Pickens writes "Have you even "known" something was true that later turned out to be mistaken? Our memories are not always trustworthy but recent research shows that vivid false memories that may seem indistinguishable from true memories may be processed by different parts of the brain. Using an MRI, the study showed (pdf) that when participants had confidence in their answer and they were correct, blood flow increased to the medial temporal lobes containing the hippocampus, important for memory. When subjects had confidence in their answer but were wrong, the frontoparietal region lit up, a region of the brain associated with a "sense of familiarity." The research could one day be used to devise an early test for Alzheimer's disease, or to assess the accuracy of witness testimony and underscores the fact that judges and juries should not use a witness's confidence in their own answers as a signal that the answers are more likely to be true. "It is really surprising, but there is a very weak relation between accuracy and confidence," says Valerie Reyna, a cognitive neuroscientist at Cornell University."

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