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Submission + - UK getting 100Mbps internet by end of 2010 (wired.co.uk)

Lanxon writes: UK cable ISP Virgin Media has announced that it will begin offering the country's fastest broadband speed ever — 100Mbps — to customers before the year is out. The first locations to receive the new speeds will be parts of London and South East England, who could receive the service as early as December. The complete roll-out is expected to take until mid 2012 to finish.

Submission + - Fighting ad blockers with captcha ads (newscientist.com) 1

krou writes: Living in an ad-free internet thanks to ad blockers? That could be a thing of the past if software firm NuCatcha has their way: make captchas into ads. 'Instead of the traditional squiggly word that users have to decipher, the new system shows them a video advert with a short message scrolling across it. The user has to identify and retype part of the message to proceed. Companies including Electronic Arts, Wrigley and Disney have already signed up.'

Submission + - Can open source save democracy?

An anonymous reader writes: Political discussions frequently conclude that democracy is at best a symbol. It is widely understood that lawmakers and politicians generally serve special interests more than they serve the people. This is no secret: everyone knows about lobbyists, campaign contributions, kickbacks, pork, earmarks, and the classic "smoke filled room" where political deals are made in secret. All of these problems can be summed up in the simple phrase, "power corrupts," and empowered individuals are a necessary component of representation-style democracy. We have never had another means of instituting democracy as a broad and general system of governance because it has simply been impractical. But social internet tools change everything. There are now scores of projects building creative and diverse systems meant to apply the principles of open source to the procedures of lawmaking. Can we eventually create real democracy, instead of the cheap imitations we have had to date? Or will we forever be reliant on empowered leaders to guide and protect us?

Submission + - Say no to a government Internet 'kill switch' (infoworld.com)

GMGruman writes: In the name of national security, the feds are considering a law that would let the government turn off the Internet — or at least order broadband providers and ISPs to disable access. InfoWorld blogger Bill Snyder explains why this is a bad idea. Does the U.S. really want to be like China or Iran?

Submission + - SPAM: Scratch - A New Programming Language for Kids 1

ninjaguitar writes: The complex syntax of computer programming languages makes the prospect of becoming a true geek daunting for many.But Scratch is so simple, even kids can do it.
Mitchel Resnick and his colleagues at the MIT Media Lab, supported by the National Science Foundation, are focused on getting young people excited about computer science by using technology as a means to express themselves in creative ways, including through computer programming.The target audience: ages 8 through 16. But you can use it, too.

In Scratch, coding is done with graphical blocks. A student writes code by snapping together blocks, much like LEGO bricks or pieces of a puzzle. Additionally, the blocks are designed to fit only in ways that make syntactic sense. This eliminates the dreaded syntax errors that often frustrate and discourage young computer programmers.
To create a program, students drag-and-drop the blocks to create procedures.

For example, a student could code a procedure that would make a figure dance. Scratch is easy for people to get started, but still provides the complex environment that allows people to design more complicated projects. This is the ideal combination for encouraging novices, while still providing a challenging environment for Scratch experts.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Policy Compliant Anti-Censorship Site Denied (prweb.com)

An anonymous reader writes: On Thu 18th Dec 2009 auDA, the Australian Domain Administrator, took an anti-internet filtering website off-line in less than 3 hours, citing an eligibility policy complaint which would typically take weeks to arbitrate. Since that time the owners of the stephenconroy.com.au domain name have exchanged several public communications with auDA expressing their concern at the speed of the takedown and the manifestly inadequate time they were given to respond to the complaint.

The takedown has received international media attention and continues to draw strong criticism towards the regulator for what has been interpreted as a political action contrasting with other documented eligibility arbitrations. Electronic Frontiers Australia are quoted as saying "This incident reflects worrying concerns about the power that private domain name regulators have to silence critical political speech without going through legitimate legal channels."

The article goes on to explain that the operators demonstrate full compliance with auDA's domain eligibility, who refuse to budge on the domain registrations. This raises serious questions about their original motives for shutting the site down in such a short time and brings in to question the viability of a domain administration regime subject to no external oversight or complaints process.


Submission + - How Norway Fought Staph Infections (yahoo.com)

eldavojohn writes: Studies are showing that Norway's dirtiest hospitals are actually cleaner than most other countries and the reason for this is that Norwegians stopped taking antibiotics. A number of factors like paid sick leave and now advertising for drugs make Norway an anomaly when it comes to diseases like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). A Norwegian doctor explains, 'We don't throw antibiotics at every person with a fever. We tell them to hang on, wait and see, and we give them a Tylenol to feel better.' Norway is the most MRSA free country in the world. In a country like Japan where 17,000 die from MRSA every year, 'doctors overprescribe antibiotics because they are given financial incentives to push drugs on patients.' Is it time to rethink our obsession with medication in the US?

Comment Re:lawyers are mercenaries (Score 1) 321

They probably thought they had this one in the bag, since some of the very lawyers who have been representing them have been appointed to the highest echelons of the Obama DoJ. Instead, however, the brief eloquently argued against the film companies' position, dismembering with surgical accuracy each and every argument the film companies had advanced."

Thus demonstrating again why you should never trust a lawyer. Unless you are still paying him, of course. (sorry nycLawyer)

I think the traditional ire against lawyers is better applied to instances where they foment and churn expensive litigation (e.g., chase ambulances)... not where you pay them to voice your position more eloquently and knowledgably than you could. Moreover, it seems here there's an outside chance that the lawyers just might be voicing their own position...

Comment Re:Yes (Score 1) 820

It may not be the worst movie ever, but it is kinda like releasing a Sherlock Holmes movie where he runs around with a giant gun killing people until he solves the crime. Yeah, it might be a good action movie or whatever, but is hardly consistent with the philosophical underpinnings of the original work. That so few Star Trek fans "get" this is a bit unnerving.

(Mod parent fully 'insightful'). At the same time, though, a broadly entertaining "reboot" like this one can only be good news for Trek fans, who can now reasonably hope that its projected two sequels will recognize those original underpinnings as the only viable (i.e., profitable) direction to boldly go.

Comment Re:Unfortunately I'm a Bit Skeptical (Score 1) 415

So, if I were designing an ultimate survivor species, I'd have it do a grinding incremental evolution most of the time. However, I'd also have members of the species occasionally take huge risks for a possible huge reward. ... If a family member gets lucky then it will be at the top of the food chain for generations.

Hmm... that algorithm seems to favor the emergence of a race of blind squirrels...

Comment Re:Confirmed by the netflix database (Score 1) 129

... movies rated on the weekends were significantly more likely to be rated a 1 or a 5 than during the week ... because people are more likely to watch movies with other people on the weekends and the mob mentality takes over ...

Maybe. But weekenders are also more likely to be those who choose their movies based on advertising "promises"... which makes those viewers 1) less discriminating by nature, and 2) more liable to anger when the movie reneges on those promises.

"The most important thing in a man is not what he knows, but what he is." -- Narciso Yepes