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

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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Submission + - Utah the First Official Police State?

greenbird writes: I'm shocked both sides of political spectrum aren't freaking over this. Modern technology has made it much easier for both the press and public to expose misconduct by public officials. You would think this would be encouraged by any benevolent government as it makes the world a better place for everyone except wrong the doers. Not so in Utah. After a video obtained through a freedom of information act request appeared on YouTube of a Utah State Trooper tasering someone, State Senator Chris Buttars has introduced a bill that would allow the authorities to keep the public from viewing any information relating to police misconduct. Forget about warrantless spying. This isn't a step towards a police state. This is the police state should this bill be passed and the law upheld. It essentially removes any public oversight of police actions. That any politician could introduce such a law and not suffer fatal backlash is terrifying to me. I would think the press would be screaming about this as it would represent a severe restriction on their ability to investigate and report on police misconduct. They're suppose to be the first line of defense against government overstepping it's bounds.
The Courts

Submission + - Retroactive Telecom Immunity Unconstitutional? ( 1

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes: "Many non-lawyers on Slashdot have speculated that retroactive immunity for warrantless wiretaps is unconstitutional, and it certainly ought to be, but the most cited reason — 'ex post facto' laws — only apply to retroactively condemning things, not excusing them. The lawyer Anthony J. Sebok has a different argument. He points out that, in other contexts where it was granted (e.g. for asbestos lawsuits), it was only allowed because there was a victim's compensation fund. Therefore, because the government can't reasonably do that here — they can't just give money to suspected terrorists — the immunity provision should be held to be unconstitutional."

Submission + - Microsoft fixing Vista SP1 driver flaw (

whitehartstag writes: "Microsoft late Monday said Vista SP1 won't be available until mid-March because developers are fixing a flaw to do with device drivers that lose functionality when the service pack is installed. The announcement kinda muffles the celebration of earlier that day when Microsoft said it had wrapped up work on Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 and said both the server and client software will be generally available within the next month. The device driver issue was uncovered by beta testers who found that after installing the service pack certain drivers lost functionality and the corresponding devices would not operate."

Feed The Register: The Electric Car Conspiracy ... that never was (

What a hit movie really tells us about innovation

It's almost two years since the debut of Chris Paine's documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? The movie has been a success in US theatres and often comprises one half of a double bill with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. But what the success of the movie tells us is more alarming than any conspiracy it purports to unveil: a disdain for engineering, for technological innovation, and most of all a disdain for us, the consumers.


Submission + - Your Brain Knows More than You Do

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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